#MondayMeditation: The Peaceful Heart

This week’s classes will focus on the theme of the peaceful heart. The peak pose in each class will be a variation of pigeon pose (or swan pose in Yin classes). A deep hip opener, the pose is one that students seem to love or hate. No matter what feeling it evokes, the true goal of the pose is to find the balance between effort and ease. When we find that balance, we uncover peace in the physical body.

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We can find that same sense of peace in the subtle body by meditating on the peaceful heart.

  • Sit or lie in your favorite meditation position with a straight spine.
  • Focus on the breath as it moves in and out through the nostrils. Begin to follow the breath as it moves in through the nostrils, along the back of the throat, and into the heart.
  • Maintain awareness of the breath and silently say to yourself, “I am <first name> <last name,” for 3 to 5 rounds of breath.
  • Continue your breath awareness and silently say to yourself, “I am <first name>,” for 3 to 5 rounds.
  • Begin to silently say to yourself, “I am,” and gradually focus your awareness on that peaceful space and energy after the words “I am”. If your mind wanders or tries to fill in the space, simply acknowledge what arises and return to the mantra.
  • Spend as much time in that peaceful space as you wish.

Feel free to come explore these themes with me this week. Here’s where I’ll be:

Monday, July 16
* 4 p.m. – Yoga at the Museum, The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette
*7:15 p.m. – Yin Yoga, Community Yoga

Wednesday, July 18
*7:15 p.m. – Restorative Yoga, Community Yoga

Thursday
* 4 p.m. – Yoga at the Museum, The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette

In peace,

Debra

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#MondayMeditation: A New Day

textgram_1522628118.pngThis week brings about some big changes for me. As I’ve shared before, I’ve got a lot of changes going on in life, as we all do. I’m beginning to phase out my classes in Indy at Dragonfly 360. It’s bittersweet. What is now Dragonfly 360 was once All People Yoga Center, where I did my initial yoga training and is the place I think of as my yoga home in Indy. I will love having less time on the road but will miss the students who always bring such a great sense of community to classes there. Thank you to all who have joined me on my journey and thank you for allowing me to be a part of yours.

Love & peace,

Debra

 

What’s Up Wednesday

0422151041Apologies to anyone subscribed to my blog. You may be getting some updates to old posts coming through in the next few days. My dear friend, fellow blogger and extremely conscientious human, The Hungry Philosopher, recently had an experience that has inspired me to go through and remove any images I did not create.

Thanks for your patience!

Debra

#TuesdayTunes: You Can Love Yourself

It’s February and that means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. While I think celebrating love is something we need to do more often, my problem with Valentine’s Day is its focus on defining love in relation to being in a romantic relationship. Love is universal and should be celebrated as such. We can start by remembering that we are worthy of love and this song is one of my favorite reminders of that.

Enjoy!

Peace and love,

Debra

#MondayMeditation: Heart Chakra

I am love

In yoga, the heart is the seat of wisdom and love. Know that you are loving and you are loved. Meditate today on the mantra: I am love.

Peace and love,

Debra

#ThrowBackThursday: Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

photoThink yoga can only be done in a studio setting? Yoga can be done anywhere, including in the middle of a fashion mall concourse (pictured here).

I tend to be a very introverted person and at first was hesitant to practice where non-yoga practitioners could see me. This picture was taken not too very long after my ex and I first split, and I was both feeling lost and re-discovering my independence. It helped to be surrounded by supportive friends. Learning to push past my comfort zone helped me re-claim my strength.

I encourage you to look for places to practice that are outside the normal studio setting (like the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette, where I just happen to teach on Mondays and Thursdays). It can give you a new perspective on your practice and yourself.

 

Peace and love,

Debra

#WellnessWednesday: Reclining Butterfly

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a sequence that included reclining butterfly. You’ll find this pose not just in yin and restorative classes, but in other hatha class as well.

How to do it: Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor and bring the inside edges of your feet together. Bring the soles of the feet to come together while opening the knees wide. If your knees don’t rest on the floor, used blankets, yoga blocks or some other support to support the legs so that your muscles can relax. Turning your palms up helps roll the shoulders and collarbones open.

Benefits:

  • Increases blood circulation to the organs in the lower abdomen
  • Stretches the inner thighs and groins if the feet are close to the body; opens the connective tissue of the hip joint if the feet are farther away
  • Increases range of external rotation in the hips
  • Calms the nervous system

 

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Peace and love,

Debra

#TuesdayTunes: Lotus Sutra

Here’s what I’ve been listening to a lot lately. Enjoy!

 

Peace & love,

Debra

#MondayMeditation: Sacral Chakra

Sacral Chakra mantra

Winter is a time when we often spend more time than normal indoors due to weather and shorter days. We often feel stuck in a rut. To help get rid of those feelings, try meditating on the sacral chakra (svadisthana) to help yourself feel more creative. So find a comfortable seat or reclined position, focus on the space between the pubic bone and belly button, and repeat the following mantra: I am creative. I am confident. I am at secure.

Peace out,

Debra

#ThoughtfulThursday: A Yin Yoga Resource List

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A teacher friend of mine introduced me to yin yoga a long time ago by teaching it occasionally in her yoga classes. I have to admit I didn’t love it at first. The long holds were a challenge for me to settle into and coming out of the poses made me feel like my joints were super old. I learned to accept the practice eventually and realized that it improved my more yang yoga practice.
Fast forward years later to when I was looking at teacher training programs. At that point, my intent was deepen my own practice and not teach. The evening I visited, the studio was culling some of their books and offered them to trainees and those of us visiting. I was looking over the books, when one of the trainers handed me Paul Grilley’s book. She simply said, “This looks like what you need.” I wasn’t sure what to think, but I love yoga and I love books so I thought, “What the heck.”
Fast forward again, and I teach yin yoga three times per week. It’s one of my favorite styles of yoga to practice and to teach. Here are some of the resources I use when I teach with a brief review of each.
Note: All of the resources here have sample practices included.
Clampett, Cheri, and Biff Mithoefer. The therapeutic yoga kit: sixteen postures for self-Healing through quiet yin awareness. Healing Arts Press, 2009.

I love Biff Mithoefer’s yoga kits. You get a book with discussion of the poses and more, a CD to use for practice or listen to cuing tips, and flashcards that are helpful to use when teaching. I admittedly haven’t used this kit as much as the one listed below, but this is a great resource for yin/restorative classes.

Clark, Bernie. The complete guide to yin yoga: the philosophy & practice of yin yoga. White Cloud Press, 2012.

This is by far the book I used the most. It has lots of detail about the poses and counterposes, the meridians, and a lot more. It’s fabulous.

Grilley, Paul. Yin yoga: outline of a quiet practice. White Cloud Press, 2002.

This is a great quick read from the person who helped make yin yoga what it is today. This is the book that made me want to dive deeper into yin.

Mithoefer, Biff. The yin yoga kit: the practice of quiet power. Healing Arts Press, 2006.

Like the kit referenced above, this is very user-friendly. I use the flashcards the most as quick reference points during classes. It’s also great to use the CD when I want to practice yin at home without keeping a constant eye on the clock.

Powers, Sarah. Insight yoga. Shambhala, 2009.

I use this resource the least but it’s good nonetheless. I did a great weekend intensive workshop with Sarah Powers several years ago and her perspective on yin has definitely influenced the way I teach. This is a great resource for those who want to mix more yang elements into their practice or teaching.

Feel free to share any resources you use or questions you have in the comments below.

Peace and love,

Debra

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