Yogi Mama Thoughts

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Hi Everyone!
Yogi Mama here! In my reflections today, I was thinking about negative influences in our lives. Do you have someone who is very negative in your life? Is this someone you have to be in contact with? Well, I do!
It can bee very debilitating, especially since I have to be in contact with this person everyday. I’m sure that I am not the only person who must deal with this. So the question is, how do you deal? I try to be very kind since this person needs me in their life. I try not to let the negativity become contagious, but rather try to spread my positivity. To do so, we must shield ourselves from negativity and embrace deep cleansing breaths. Exhale the negativity and inhale the positivity!
While doing this, imagine blowing away your problems! This can clear your head ans allow you to move onto happier thoughts!

Welcome Yogi Mama!

Recently I have been very bad with blog updates, I’ve been super busy teaching the wonderful Stretch Love Yoga students!
So, my mom decided she would love to share tips, philosophies, and ideas to help you grow your yoga off of the mat. So, welcome yogi mama!!!

 

PicsArt_03-07-01.03.07“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu

Hi Everyone!
Welcome to Stretch Love Yoga, I am a Yogi Mama helping out my Yogi Daughter!
Recently I have been trying to apply the philosophy of Stretch Love Yoga into my everyday life. I am a pretty open person, but as I thought about it, I figured if I stretch my mind a little further, I am going to become even more open (Just like a yoga pose!).
It’s true, try it!
If you are faced with a problem, stretch your mind and it may open up to more possibilities. Be open and breathe the stress away, try a bit harder and the answer or solution may pop right into your head!
Afterall, practice makes progress, and not just in your physical practice!

Things I Love About Teaching

Reading the Room

 

Reading the room? What does that mean? I would have never known before I started teaching, but after awhile I began to take “guesses” at what the class needed and geared the class to that. This doesn’t always happen and it certainly isn’t always the way I teach, sometimes I have a clear sequence either planned out or thought out and I want to go through with it no matter what. Sometimes I ask the class what they want to work on, but often times they don’t feel like speaking up, so it’s up to me to figure it out. The first few times I “guessed”, I was right and that really surprised me, as time went by, I realized that if enough people in the room are needing the same thing, it’s almost as if they are giving off signals or vibes. Sometimes I will start a class the way I was planning and then get the sense that the students are more or less advanced and so they need more or less thrown into the practice. I absolutely love the fact that if you as a teacher are receptive enough you can actually pick up on that. And that doesn’t just go for yoga teachers, it goes for teachers of any kind, and for people in general! Don’t get me wrong, I really value planned out classes or planning based on what the students asked for. I just think it is so important not to get set in your ways and to be open to teaching in varying styles to make your classes consistently interesting for both the students and for you. I don’t know about you, but if I were to teach the exact same thing for every class I teach, my week would be a little bit boring. Since I change things up constantly, my job always feels exciting and not like a “job” at all! Being receptive enough to cater to the needs of my students even when they don’t want to verbalize it is one of the MANY reasons that I LOVE teaching yoga!

Things I love About Yoga

Asana – The Physical Postures of Yoga

When you think of yoga, you automatically have the picture of someone doing a posture, people don’t necessarily always think of the meditation or breathing. I absolutely love those other aspects of yoga, but asana is what originally attracted me to the practice, and I will always love it. I started yoga for the exercise that these postures offered (particularly in a hot room), I found many benefits, I lost weight, I gained even more flexibility, I began to get stronger, and most importantly for me, I learned so much about my body. I was a chronic hyper extender in all of my joints and had no idea, I certainly had no idea that hyper extension causes damage to the joints. I was also (and still struggle with) being a chronic back bender. In any position you can imagine I was back bending and not even knowing it, whether it was standing to do the dishes, going for a walk, sitting at a desk, etc. etc. etc. Embarassingly enough, I always was a little nervous of going downstairs with high heels on (which I wore everyday for work at the office and before that I wore everyday to university and highschool). I came to realize that I felt unstable because I had very weak muscles everywhere in my body. Yoga asana brought me to this realization everyday when I would practice and feel like I would die in a simple lunge. Doing any strengthening postures would really bring me to the edge of my limits, I wouldn’t be breathing, I would be turning red from over exertion. It was my goal to do yoga everyday and I had no expiration day on that goal, almost five years later and I’m still practicing everyday. Sometimes when I feel like I have plateau’d in my practice, I look back on just how far I have come in five years. I don’t know the exact percentage to which I have increased my strength, but I know it is well over 200%. To me that seems amazing, in five years I have come so much further than I could have ever imagined and this is mostly due to my asana practice. As my practice has advanced, I have come to realize that the asanas offer so much more than just exercise. These postures actually aid so much in your meditation and pranayama practice. Asana eventually helps to calm your mind (and if you’re anything like I was, you’re thinking of a million things at once) and open your body to allow you to sit (or lie) in one position for awhile and first of all, stay comfortable, and secondly, not have your mind wander. This really improves your way of life overall, even if you haven’t cultivated a meditation or pranayama practice, a dedicated asana practice still offers you the calmness and openness you need to improve your way of life. Getting all these benefits from originally just trying to get in shape is one of the MANY reasons that I LOVE yoga!

Tip of the Month

July’s Tip: Have a Tea Bath!

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Everyone knows that drinking tea is great for you. There are tonnes of health benefits, from antioxidants to fighting free radicals to being heart healthy, etc. So many of us drink it all up throughout the day, but why not try it a different way. Tea baths are becoming a “new thing”. Our skin is the biggest organ on our body and theoretically if consuming tea has all those benefits for us, why wouldn’t absorbing tea through our skin give us the same or very similar results? I was right on board with this as soon as I heard about it, but after some quick research, I was unable to find a whole about it. One comment that was common throughout all the things I read, tea baths are deeply relaxing! So, to my knowledge there is not a whole lot of proof of the benefits of tea baths, but I would think it’s similar to the principles of an Epsom salt bath. Putting the salt in the bath to infuse into the water gives you a chance to allow the bath water and all the goodness it’s infused with to absorb into your body through your skin. The properties in the Epsom salt are great for muscle soreness, so for a tea bath, I feel like you would absorb the benefits of the particular tea through your skin. Give it a shot if it sounds interesting to you, I know I’m going to!

Things I Love About Teaching

How Open Students Are to New Experiences

 

Sometimes when I ask the class in the beginning what they want to work on and crickets chirp, it can be disconcerting because I know that everyone has something they want to work on but are too shy to speak up. Sometimes though, I already have something planned and if no one speaks up, I go ahead with my plan. Many times it involves something new to everyone, which can be a little nerve wracking sometimes because you don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t do something or that the new moves are beyond them, but at the same time, their practices are never going to move forward if they don’t try weird new things. So, no matter how I’m feeling about what I’m planning to teach, I teach it because I eventually realize that my concerns have no merit. After these classes, the students almost ALWAYS tell me that they loved the new thing and can’t wait to practice it again. This blows my mind sometimes, just because it shows to me that people are so much more open minded than I sometimes give them credit for. It seems that everyone loves trying new things and even if it’s really hard, it gives them something to work towards, and everyone needs goals in their practices! Being consistently surprised by my students is just one of the MANY reasons that I LOVE teaching!

Things I Love About Yoga

All The Interconnecting Branches

 

It’s funny to think now, but when I took my first yoga class, I thought it was just a low-impact exercise for flexible people. I soon found out that meditation and pranayama were big parts of yoga as well, but what I didn’t realize was that there are SO many interconnecting branches of practices that weave together and compliment yoga in so many ways. When I took my 200 hour teacher training, I was introduced to kirtan, which is a traditional performance with singing, chanting, and instruments. To me it was like a really relaxing and calming concert where the songs were mostly in sanskrit. When I took my 300 hour yoga teacher training, I was introduced to Ayurveda and fell in love with its principles. Since that part of my training, I have been starting my day by oil pulling, then having a drink of warm lemon water to kickstart my digestive system, having oatmeal everyday for breakfast, etc. Ayurveda tells us that having a properly functioning digestive system is the key to health, so it’s really mindful of what we put in our bodies, but I also find it to be non-judgemental, it doesn’t tell us to be vegan or gluten free or paleo, it just suggests what is most calming and healing on your digestive tract. I also learned about crystals and how healing they can be. I learned about being mindful of the moon cycles and understanding how the moon and its cycles affect our bodies.I learned about grounding myself and energies and vibrations of people and spaces and how to work with these. And moreover, I learned about how just showing gratitude for everything we’re grateful for changes our vibrations and the vibrations of the things we’re grateful for. The point is, from a little seed of just wanting exercise came all this knowledge and wisdom about being mindful and kind. I can’t believe how yoga has opened my eyes and my mind and that’s one of the many reasons that I LOVE yoga!

Recipe of the Month

Ghee

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This is probably going to be the easiest recipe I’ve posted. This is an easy recipe that has more instructions than ingredients and the result is oh so good for you! Ghee can be used as your new cooking oil, it will be cheaper, probably last longer, and has a higher burning temperature than oils! You can use it on popcorn to make the closest thing to movie theatre popcorn without having to leave your home. You can use it in place of butter on foods. It is full of vitamins and minerals, but the mil solids and impurities have been removed, this makes it more compatible with lactose intolerant people. It aids in digestion and therefore can improve your immune system.

Here’s what you’ll need:
-A pound of high quality non-salted butter
-A small saucepan
-A spoon for stirring

Instructions:
-Warm up saucepan on high heat
-Cut up your pound of butter into chunks to aid in the melting time
-Add all of the chunks of butter to saucepan and lower the heat to medium-high
-Stir constantly to aid in melting the butter
-Once the butter has melted, keep stirring and a foam will appear on the top layer of the melted butter
-Keep stirring and scrapping the sides of the saucepan to ensure that the foam stays in the melted butter not on the saucepan
-Keep stirring and you’ll notice that the foam begins to curdle and become a little chunky, that’s because this is the milk solids and impurities.
-Keep stirring and eventually the curdles will sink to the bottom and the consistency of the melted butter (almost ghee) is really liquid-y and golden in colour
-Keep stirring because the milk solids and impurities are now at the bottom and browning, contributing to the beautiful golden colour of your ghee, so we wouldn’t want it to burn!
-You will notice that the mixture starts foaming again, this means you’re almost there!
-Once the foam become bigger bubbles (about 1 cm in diameter approximately), it’s time to strain your ghee!
-Get a fine sieve and strain the gorgeous golden liquid into a glass jar and toss the milk solids and impurities. (Don’t worry, the milk solids/impurities are supposed to be that weird red colour, you did nothing wrong!)
-Let it cool with the lid off until it’s room temperature because you don’t want to close it and allow condensation to form, ghee doesn’t like water!
-Once it’s room temperature store in a cupboard so that it can be in darkness (ghee keeps longer this way).
-After a few days you’ll notice that it starts to become a bit more solid instead of that gorgeous golden liquid, this is totally okay, it doesn’t mean it’s gone bad.
-Enjoy!

Things I Love About Teaching

Sharing What I’ve Learned From My Studies

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One of the most important things to being a teacher, in my opinion, is to always continue being a student. I believe that there is never a point when you have acquired too much information, and if we ever think we get to that point, it should be obvious that there is a lesson to be learned there as well. Having said that, I don’t believe that you should hoard that knowledge to yourself and potentially become judgmental towards others because they don’t do things the way you’ve learned them. The thing is, people do things the way they do them because that’s how they’ve learned, if you wish for them to experience something that you deem important, then you must teach them, or they may never learn it! I am seeing this judgmental behaviour all over social media lately. There are a few huge instagram accounts and the people who have those accounts show incredibly beautiful expressions of inversions mostly, but some other poses as well. You always see other yogis telling them they are doing something wrong, from the way they point, flex, or floint their feet, to the way their legs are positioned. When I see these pictures, it’s quite obvious to me that they know exactly how to do those poses and don’t need the judgement to be able to do them. The most hurtful is when fellow yogis comment that the poses are not “yoga” and the simple fact that they are taking a photo of themselves doing yoga doesn’t make it yoga. I find that interesting because one of the eight limbs of yoga, yama, would probably frown on these comments. Yama, is the first limb of yoga and basically means self restraint, so showing reverence towards others, non-violent behaviour, etc.
ANYWAYS, getting back on subject. I totally believe that in order to avoid these behaviours, we all need to teach each other what we’ve learned. Sure yoga teachers have more of a specialty in sequencing the postures in the best way for our bodies, or knowing alignment queues better, but we can all show each other what we’ve learned. I was taught to always flex or floint my feet in poses like inversions, then someone told me the benefits of pointing my feet… For me, pointing my feet in inversions makes the pose so much stronger, I’ll probably stick with pointing my feet for the foreseeable future. When I teach a class and they try something a certain way they’ve never tried before, and it really resonates in their body, that is such an amazing feeling. The opportunity I get to share what I’ve learned with a room full of yogis is just one of the many reasons that I LOVE teaching yoga!!