Following My Heart…. June 29, 2011

Filed under: Daily Yoga Dose — YouYoga @ 11:30 pm
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Today I took one step further into the world of technology.  I must share with you that I love….love, love, love pens and paper.  This world of keyboards, flat screens, wireless computers and what every else is “techie” puts a little storm cloud over my head, and I hold on tight until it passes.  My friend stopped by today to help me set up a Facebook page for YouYoga.  Very exciting! 

The process as you may already know is very straight forward.  I was thinking no big deal, this is going to be great.  As she helped me set up my page we visited other pages, as well as other blogs.  I was enjoying what the virtual world had to offer…so much information, so much possibility, so many like-minded people to connect with, so many cool photos to enjoy.  While I was in the moment of enjoying my new experience these little thoughts came tapping.  What am I going to continue to share?   How am I ever going to get noticed in this world of “keyword” searches?  Do I really have anything of relevance to share?  After all, I’m new to teaching, blogging……let us not forget Facebook too.

Oh, and the yoga photos… beautiful, but once again….my poses are not that advanced.  Is this what people are expecting from a yoga teacher?  OMG I am hoping not, because I am not there yet.  I don’t even know if there is a yet…this may be all I have to give.  This sounds like the doubt that kept me from teaching for 4 years after getting my certification…don’t you think?  So, I step back and I have a cupcake.  Yes! A cupcake!! While paying for my cupcake I also come across the fortune from a cookie that I kept in bag from several months ago. It states: You do not have to know where you are going to be headed in the right direction.

Alright, I admit that I don’t know how this path of sharing yoga will turn out.  I don’t know if many people will read this blog.  I don’t know if many people will like my Facebook page.  Heck, I don’t know if I will understand how to operate my Facebook page.  What I do know is that I have a passion for yoga.  I enjoy sharing this passion with others.  I also believe that I have a positive impact on my student’s day.  I definitely know that I want to continue in my study and practice of yoga.

Now I may never be able to do some of those wonderfully, beautiful poses that I saw today, but in the bigger scheme of things I don’t think that’s a criteria to connect with people. So, I will trust in my fortune that I don’t need to know, or even understand each step as I walk down the path of sharing yoga….I will just continue following my heart.


Playing Your Edge, Or Working It? June 28, 2011

Filed under: Yoga Practice — YouYoga @ 1:03 pm
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So, I’m in line at Whole Foods and there is a display of magazines.  My eye is drawn to the lady on the front of Yoga Journal.  She is demonstrating the pose, Eka Pada Sirsasana (One Leg Behind the Head Pose).  It’s not so much that her leg is resting behind her head, but I’m more drawn to look of ease and peace on her face….not even one little tight spot in the brow.  I think to myself….I guess she has found her edge.  But what does this mean?  Often time in class you will hear the phrase play your edge, but does anyone really know where their edge lies?

Let’s first define this imaginary space called the edge.  Your edge is that place of feeling a gentle stretch.  The edge is bookend with a feeling of nothing, and a feeling of pain.  Remember if you feel nothing there is no action, but if you feel only pain the possibilities for growth has been squashed.  I refer to this as working your edge which only pays out in aches and frustration the next day.  The goal in yoga is to create a gentle stretch in the body that in time will create space.  Allowing for greater range of motion and flexibility.

The next time you’re practicing yoga ask yourself….am I feeling nothing, playing my edge, or working it?  There is a clear difference between the three.  Ok, if you feel nothing than you’re most likely doing nothing.  Just begin to move a little deeper into your practice.  If you move too fast you will go past your edge on into working your edge.  If you arrive at the place of working your edge you will feel  pain, tension, frustration and have an absence of breath.  Oh yes, and your face will tell the story.  Pull back! It’s alright, just pull back and find that place in the middle. When you pull back you will feel a pleasant stretch, developement of strength, a sense of calm and a flow of breath.  This can also be refered to as the moment of Goldilocks….playing your edge just right.

I can understand wanting to do a pose that you see on the front of a magazine, but we must be mindful that the individual in the pose played their edge to arrive at that destination……yes, it was a journey.  All of our journeys will be different.  If we stay true to our edges…. not trying to work, or push pass them….. all poses will unfold in our bodies eventually.  And yes, your face will tell that story too.


Yoga Off Your Mat June 27, 2011

Filed under: Daily Yoga Dose — YouYoga @ 12:49 pm
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During my evening class last week I had a student ask me how often I practice yoga?  My response was not often on my mat, but very often off  my mat.  She looked puzzled.  Or maybe even that look of….this lady is fruity. 

The reality is I am a mother of two children with busy schedules.  My husband who is very supportive of me and our family works long hours.   Often his work requires that he travel.   I have a home that I enjoy keeping nice, and we all know the time and energy that can take.  I love reading, as well as researching information pertaining to yoga.  This helps me grow as a teacher.  It also helps me keep my classes fun to share with my students.  I have my friends and I have my work.  More time is spent with work than friends, but I am happy to have the fortune of both.  Lastly mentioned, but not lastly thought of  our “poochy woochy” Eddie  needs my love  too!     FYI  “poochy woochy”  translates to a 25 lb, handsome, slightly playful, buff color Cocker Spaniel. 

Summed up, my yoga mat doesn’t get rolled very often for my own personal exploration, or personal practice.  However, what I do have time for is trying to approach the day-to-day with a heightened sense of awareness.  Not heightened in the sense that I had one too many lattes at breakfast, but rather being present in action, in thought, in interaction….. 

For example, as I walk I may notice the heel to ball to toe action with each step.  Or I may notice how my torso sways a bit with each swing of my arms.  When I’m standing in line at the store, or at my kitchen sink I take a moment to notice if my weight is shifted more to one side than the other.  If so, I adjust seeking balance between each foot.  I might even take the time to suck the leg muscles to the bones, as I draw my belly button to my spine, and take a nice breath in.  If I were on my mat, I believe that would be called Mountain Pose…..No?  

An example of being present in thought, is simply being aware of the chatter that lies within.  If I make my way to Costco only to find that I left my well made list at home…this has happened to me more than once.  Do I refer to myself as an idiot?  Or, do I acknowledge that I am trying to do too many things at once?  If  I see myself as an idiot, I’m also saying that I’m inadequate.  This is not a supportive thought.  If I see myself as simply being over busy, I can be more productive in coming up with systems that help me have more success with tasks that need to be done in a day.  So, if you are in Forward Bend and the hands do not meet the Earth… do you think to yourself…. I can’t do Yoga, because I’m not flexible enough.  Or, do you grab some blocks and bring the Earth to you?  If you give up, you aren’t being supportive of what could be.  If you grab those blocks you’re opening yourself up to all that can be.

Lastly, being present in interaction allows you to be mindful in how you share yourself with others.  A little smile can go a long way.  An honest compliment about one’s appearance, or talent can make someone’s afternoon a little brighter….even if only for a moment.  The simple words Thank You with sincere eye contact can let someone know their efforts are truly appreciated.  Ahhhhh, this is the moment of  Namaste.  Seeing the good in others, as we see the good in ourselves.  This is also the way most yoga classes, and definitely my yoga classes, end their practice.  So you see, Yoga can be taken anywhere within your day.  All you need is YOU!  No mat required.


I’ll have the Yin with a side of Thoughts… June 24, 2011

Filed under: Yoga Practice — YouYoga @ 5:29 pm

Oh you know what I am talking about…let’s not pretend.  You make your way through the day of carpool, playdates, work, a quick stop to the store for milk, drop the kids to karate, and finally you arrive in a low lit room, candles burning with soft music playing…..the perfectly picked yoga mat is rolled out so that you may place your tired, but ready for yoga body upon it.  Seeking that moment of peace, silence, clam you begin to breathe…maybe even close your eyes down. 

You’re doing good, you’re feeling good, and then it begins.  The thoughts start rolling in….I hope we don’t have any playdates next week.  The kids have fun, but I am worn out.  I should have picked up some bread when I got the milk… I think we are low on eggs too…darn.  I hope my husband remembers to pick the kids up from karate……..maybe I should call him now.  Class begins and you’re reminded to release the thoughts, drop the brain, and seek the breath.  It seems the harder we try to seek our Yin moment the harder it is to find.

What is this constant need to be engaged on some level whether it is productive or not?  Why is it so hard to step aside and just be. No thoughts, no worries, no what ifs……but just being completely unplugged. Why is it that when we are asked to seek stillness, all of a sudden the bottom of our foot, or the tip of our nose needs to be itched?   What is going on inside of us that we are trying to avoid?  Are these patterns of habit, or patterns of distraction that keep us from having a moment with ourselves?

I really don’t know.  I would imagine that the reason may be a little different for each of us.  But what I do know is it’s important to take time to cultivate a relationship with moments for ourselves.  When we take time for ourselves we create time for us to just be.  As we take this time we can begin to see what real qualities, strengths, talents lie within us.  As we understand and appreciate those qualities we can share our gifts in meaningful ways with others.  When we have this connection our lives are productive allowing us to have a sense of purpose.   If we have a purpose that is connected to our true selves we are then living in the flow of life.

So ask yourself this….  Is being low on eggs important enough to interrupt your moment of seeking Yin?  In the bigger picture, I think not.  If you take the time to plan your moments of seeking Yin make sure you allow yourself the opportunity to seek it fully.  Yes, thoughts will arise and that is natural.  Just remember to replace each thought with your breath helping you find those Yin moments, and in doing so you will be one breath closer to your true self.


What is YouYoga? June 22, 2011

Filed under: Daily Yoga Dose — YouYoga @ 7:45 pm
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Welcome to YouYoga!!! My name is Ericka and I began this blog, because I am a yoga student that has made the big step into becoming a yoga teacher.  Mind you, this was the biggest, slowest, longest step that I have ever taken in my life.  I got my certification from KC Fitness Link 4 years ago this summer…and I walked through the door of teaching just this winter in Overland Park and Prairie Village, Kansas. Long step, right?  Just like all people, when we try something new our lovely friend “doubt” pops up, and encourages us to do something else. 

I found all kinds of something else to do too!!!  However, this yoga thing would not go away….it was ever-present at work, in conversations with friends, and family.  In fact, I began taking a yoga class with my dear friend from work.  And just like the warmth of the sun on a cool, crisp Fall day….it felt so good, and so right.  In those moments of practice, I began to realize that when I practice yoga I also become myself.  Not trying to be anything more….just myself.

As a young child my favorite pass time was to move with music…no limits, no expectations, no boundaries…just freedom of expressions, along with joy of movement. That is what yoga does for me as an adult today!!  I feel in the flow of life as I heard Oprah say.  It is my wish that all who practice yoga experience on some level this flow of life.  This moment where you become one with your true self… limilts, no expectations, no boundaries…just freedom!

As a teacher, I encourage my students to let go and just be.  As adults how often are we allowed such a moment?  As a reader of my blog it is my hope that by sharing my personal stories of teaching, and maybe even some of my life’s lessons too.  It will allow you a moment to let go, and just be.