Category Archives: Self Study

#TuesdayTravels: New Feature

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I have a tendency to be a homebody and be a bit sluggish, a true kapha when it relates to matters of the physical body and activity. The ability to rest and restore is a good skill to have but, when taken to extremes, can lead to dulling of the senses and loss of motivation. To help motivate myself to break unhealthy patterns, I decided to add a new feature to the blog: Travel Tuesdays. My goal is to get out to somewhere new at least once a week and maybe try a new yoga studio or new activity to stoke my inner fire. I’m not talking about big trips to faraway lands every week, but at least places that get me out of my home-to-studio-to-home rut. I’ll share the results here from time to time. Feel free to offer suggestions!

In peace and light,

Debra

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#TuesdayTunes: More than One Way Home

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Yoga is about going deep within to discover the true Self and the unity of all beings. How you get there is your path. Do the practice, the style, the study that works for you where you are now. There is no one way to get there. There are many paths to the one Truth. Find yours.

 

In peace and light,

Debra

#TuesdayTips: Yoga Props

photogrid_1464575967827.jpgI often have students ask me for recommendations for props to buy and use in their practices. I am an advocate for using props in yoga. Whether used to make a difficult pose less so or deepen awareness of alignment in familiar poses, props are useful tools for any level of yoga practice.

Like any multi-million dollar industry, if you want a specialty item you can find it. There are a LOT of props on the market that I’ve never used. Below is a list of some of the props I am most familiar with and some brief thoughts on each. Although not all are essential, these are the props I would suggest purchasing for a home practice. Also, I’m not paid to endorse any of these products.

Yoga mats: An essential for most folks, a yoga mat provides padding and a (mostly) non-skid surface for poses. Options range from cheap open-cell mats to high-end cork mats. The frequency and style of your practice should be the determining factor on what you buy. The mat I use most is my Jade.

Blocks: Yoga blocks are used to bring the floor up to meet our body. Typically they are used under the hands in forward folds, but can also be used to support the hip and other parts of the body depending on the pose. I tend to like the smaller 3-inch blocks because they fit my hands better but most studios have 4-inch blocks.

Strap: Straps are typically used to extend the arms to reach the feet (think seated forward fold or hand-to-big-toe pose). Most straps you can pick up at sporting good or big-box stores are 6 feet long, but 8- and 10-foot options can be more useful.

Blankets: Blankets can be used to support the hips in seated poses, pad the knees in kneeling poses, and cover up during savasana. They are also a lot cheaper than bolsters, which have many of the same uses. Wool blankets offer firmer support than cotton, but I prefer cotton because I am sensitive to wool (who wants to be itchy when they’re trying to relax).

Bolsters: Bolsters tend to be pricey but are super useful, especially for sitting for long periods or if you want to practice restorative poses. Bolsters can vary a lot by shape – round versus rectangular – and size. I would suggest trying out different bolsters before buying.

This is a brief overview and I’ll try to write more on each prop in the future.

 

Namaste,

Debra

#MondayMotivation: Keep It Simple

KeepItSimpleI know I’ve been absent for a while and I’ll post a personal update soon, but for now I’ll just share my motivating phrase for this week: Keep it simple.

Classes this week will focus on simple poses and breath work. My gentle hatha yoga classes will build on Jason Crandell’s ten poses to practice daily, and my yin and restorative classes will focus on a few poses that foster deep relaxation and contemplation.

My motivation for this week’s theme? I tend to overthink things in a pretty significant way, which leads to stress and anxiety. Life goes much more smoothly when I relax and trust the process, so that’s what I’m reminding myself of this week. I’ll share my tips and experiences the rest of this week, so I hope you’ll tune in.

Keeping it simple,

Debra

You’re Never Too…

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On October 29, 1998, John Glenn became the oldest person to fly in space at the age of 77. We have an interesting relationship with aging in our society: we’re often told to respect our elders and listen to their wisdom while at the same time we are bombarded with media and advertising that tells us 40 is over the hill.

Yoga teaches us to let go of attachment to these labels. We often let our labels define us. How often have we looked around and compared ourselves to others thinking things like, “I can’t do this pose as well as her because I’m too fat/old/inflexible…”? Too often, the ways we define ourselves limit us.

I invite you to observe your thought patterns this week and really examine how you label yourself. When we build awareness, we can let go of limiting thoughts and actions and let our true inner Self shine through.

Namaste,

Debra

 

Dream Day Quest and Jubilee

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The 3rd of three annual Emancipation Days of Respect, Dream Day Quest and Jubilee honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by promoting unity, respect and remembrance. Held on August 28th to mark the anniversary of  King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Delivered in 1963, the speech calls for the end of racism in the United States. You can read the full text here or listen to it here.

Unfortunately, racism is all too alive in America. We need to own up to that and we need to do what we can to fix it. Mindfulness can help us build self-awareness but should also help us be aware of others’ experiences. We are all in this together and we are all one.

I have a dream that someday MLK’s dream can be realized and that I will have the courage to help it come true.

In peace and unity,

Debra

 

Happy Birthday: Mavis Staples

The gospel & R&B great Mavis Staples was born on this day in Chicago. If you’re not familiar with her work or that of the Staples Singers, you really should give her a listen.

 

 

 

Peace & love,

Debra

Compliment Your Mirror Day

July 3rd is National Compliment Your Mirror Day. Many tips for the this day involve doing something to improve your appearance or update your look. But today should be about looking beyond the surface and seeing the truly beautiful essence of the pure self. You are strong, you are unique, you are enough just as you are. Remind yourself of that today.

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Second Half of the Year Day

IMG_20170701_141749_875How often do you take stock of your life? We should regularly practice self-study. Today especially, at the midway point of the year, take a little time to celebrate your successes and make plans to change the things you aren’t happy with in your life.

Peace,

Debra

National Pretzel Day

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National Pretzel Day is a great day to get free pretzels, but it also makes me think of the number of times that people tell me they’ve never done yoga because they “aren’t flexible enough” or they “can’t do those pretzel poses.” I usually have two responses to that: 1) saying you’re not flexible enough to do yoga is like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath, and 2) I’m not flexible either.

Yoga can be about doing incredible looking poses, if that’s what you’re into. It can also be about learning what your body and mind are capable of. It can be about whatever you want it to be. Just get on your mat and see what you find.

Peace,

Debra

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