Yoga for every BODY with Emily Adams RYT

Have you always wanted to try yoga but are too nervous to take that first step? Or have you tried a class but felt like you needed a little more help to figure out what works for your body? Then Curvy Yoga might just be for you!

A friend asked me to attend yoga class with her for a year but I wouldn't go with her. She was athletic and skinny and I was... well, not athletic and skinny. I was certain that I would be the biggest person in the class and I wasn't sure I would be able to do what was asked. A year later I was still thinking about yoga and finally went to my first class (without that friend!). Attending weekly classes helped me de-stress, increased my mobility, and decreased my shoulder and hip pain. I began to notice and to listen to how my body felt in different poses and throughout my day. I began to take my yoga off the mat and bring more calm to my life. I began to learn to show kindness to myself.

Curvy Yoga is a safe place for you to practice yoga and explore slight differences in poses to find what works for your body. Making slight modifications can sometimes be necessary for proper alignment and safety in a bigger body. It's a place to learn how to use all those props in the studio. It's a place to figure out what to do when your left elbow doesn't reach the outside of your right knee in a twist. Yoga helps you to learn body awareness and you might just begin to understand what that yoga teacher means when she says "what is your pinky toe doing right now?" 

Isn't Curvy yoga just like regular yoga? Why do we need it? Because there are people like me who were afraid to go to a class. Because you want to feel safe. Because you don't know that a regular yoga class is going to be just fine. Because you don't know how to do the poses and might get embarrassed. Because you've tried a pose and couldn't do it. Because you don't know how to make the poses work for you.

Join me at my workshop on January 28. We will explore how to love the body you’re in today, learn “how to” modifications to make yoga poses more accessible in any class, practice the options, and then get a chance to try out those new moves in a 45 minute yoga practice. "You can do this!"

Emily Adams, RYT-200 and Curvy Yoga certified teacher, will be leading this fun, instructional and inspirational workshop. We will explore how to love the body you’re in today, learn “how to” modifications to make yoga poses more accessible in any class, and then get a chance to try out those new moves in a 45 minute yoga practice. Lots of options are offered during the workshop so you can figure out what best works for your body.

Beginners are very welcome; no yoga experience or flexibility required.

January 28th 11:30am-1:30p

Cost $25

The Anatomy Of a Wind Chime

Karen McDonald, Yoga practitioner and Spiritual Director shares her thoughts on things that blow in the wind: 

I rescued a wind chime last week. The hushed instrument caught my eye from my rocking chair position on a mountain porch. The “wind-catcher,” the shape hanging at the end of the center string, had become tangled around the top of the chimes so that it was impossible for it to sing and dance in the breeze. Much like a naughty child in a time-out chair, it was in the corner... brooding. As I untangled the wind-catcher, I discovered that someone had replaced what was once a wooden wind-catcher with a cardboard shape. The cardboard did not have enough weight to engage a song, failing to briskly move the clapper (that circular disc that strikes the chimes), causing it to get stuck outside the circle of chimes — emitting only weak, repetitive notes. I had never considered how important it is for the wind-catcher to have a weightiness about it, being substantial enough to pull the clapper in and out, away from the outside edges of the chimes, preventing it from getting stuck in a restrictive pose, never limiting its song. 

This bound wind chime caused me to reflect on my well-worn habit of letting my mind (clapper) muscle overpower my spiritual heart (wind-catcher) muscle. And in those moments of imbalance my song grows faint or boring - hitting only a narrow range of notes. Martin Laird in Into the Silent Land says, “In fact, because our attention is so completely riveted to what’s playing on the big screen of our thinking mind, we can live completely unaware of the deeper ground of the heart that already communes with God.” Being a teacher of the contemplative Christian tradition, I am constantly inviting others to practice the ancient spiritual discipline of contemplative prayer, exploring that deeper ground, the spiritual heart, where gifts and the Giver wait for us.

Do you find yourself too often living from that restrictive placec in the mind where raging thoughts overtake you, trapping you in a small view dominated by feelings and emotions of the moment? If so, I invite you to continue what you may have already begun in your yoga practice; quieting yourself for twenty minutes at a time, using your breath or a holy word or phrase to calm your mind, bringing you home to that space of ease - and oft—forgotten unconditional love. It is from that place that we are taken by surprise; breaking into song and dance as a wilder, truer, Holy wind catches us.


  Karen McDonald is a spiritual director, trained in the contemplative Christian tradition by Shalem Institute in Washington, DC. Her practice of yoga constantly enriches her own spiritual journey as a mystical Christian. Her one-on-one ministry of Holy Listening occurs with women of any age who find themselves in an unfamiliar land because of transitions happening in and to them. She has lived in the Bristol area for 34 years. Karen is a regular at Bristol Yoga and delights in her roles as a wife, mother and grandmother. 

Karen McDonald is a spiritual director, trained in the contemplative Christian tradition by Shalem Institute in Washington, DC. Her practice of yoga constantly enriches her own spiritual journey as a mystical Christian. Her one-on-one ministry of Holy Listening occurs with women of any age who find themselves in an unfamiliar land because of transitions happening in and to them. She has lived in the Bristol area for 34 years. Karen is a regular at Bristol Yoga and delights in her roles as a wife, mother and grandmother. 

How do you find a yoga practice that is right for you?

During practice, I can hear my breath mix into the flow of everyone else's in the room. I can push myself to achieve my best pose of the day, or I can find myself honoring my body in a resting pose, and no one pushes me to come out of it. I can feel the engagement of the instructor through hands on adjustments, and when I am in my final pose, savasana, I am completely relaxed. My mind, my body and my breathe are at ease. My soul is at ease. I am home!

Read More

Fostering Connection for February

February is a month reminding us to cultivate connection, connection to ourselves and to all of those dearest to our hearts. We live in a society that utilizes technology to encourage connection, ironically, however, it seems we are more disconnected than ever. Technology is constantly competing for our attention with social media, emails, cell phones, and the latest and greatest iDevices. It may appear that we are cultivating connection by staying up to date with people in our lives via social media and our cell phones, but in fact, we are only distracting ourselves from the present moment, developing a relationship instead with our cell phone or social media account (you can literally train the keyboard of your phone to adapt to your texting lingo and have you ever noticed how your social media account knows all of your favorite links to browse?), and missing out on opportunity to connect with ourselves. When we miss these opportunities to connect with ourselves, our ability to connect with those around us suffers as well.

In order to function in today’s society, utilizing technology is pretty unavoidable. In fact, technology has made many good things possible, like bridging the gap between families separated by distance, enabling a more free flow of information, and creating more broadly shared communities of interest. However, there are ways to make the digital world work for you, and not the other way around, so that you can in turn build better connections with the people around you.

Here are a few tips to incorporate technology into your life in such a way that it does not disrupt your quality of life.  

  1. Establish Sacred Times
    Being mindful, make clear, conscious choices about when, where, and how you use technology in your day. Determine sacred times and spaces where you allow yourself the opportunity to “disconnect” in order to truly connect with yourself and others. For example, declare any time you are on your yoga mat a sacred time to truly spend with yourself free from technology, establish “technology free time zones” during your morning and bed time rituals so you can mindfully prepare for and unwind from your day, or ban technology from the dinner table and use that time to connect with your family and loved ones.
     

  2. Make a practice of using technology Mindfully rather than Automatically
    When new technology develops, we learn how it can connect us to loved ones, how it can help us manage our lives, and also how it can distract us. Bring awareness to what is motivating you to reach for your phone at any given moment. Are you bored and just distracting yourself? Or is it truly necessary for your job? Get clear about your intentions behind the use of your technology and even establish times FOR using technology. For example, reserve time(s) in your day specifically for replying to emails so that you can truly give them your full attention, or even reserving similar times in your day for some literal face time using your iDevice or skype network to connect with loved ones.
     

  3. Make the most of Face-to-Face Connections
    Yes, technology has helped us to maintain connections that might have otherwise been lost, but it still does not replace real, in-person connection. When you have the opportunity to share space with another individual in your life, turn off your notifications from your device or turn on airplane mode and give yourself and the other person the space to truly connect with one another free from distraction.

    Applying your mindfulness practice to your relationship with technology can serve to enhance your daily life by allowing you the space to connect more deeply with yourself as well as those around you. If you find yourself still struggling to master your relationship with your device, maybe even consider downloading one of the new mindfulness apps for your phone. Moment is an app for iOS devices that tracks the amount of time spent on your device (Moment Family monitors screen time of any family members with the app on their phone for parents looking to enforce daily limits) and a similar app is available for Android devices called BreakFree. Establish goals for yourself to spend less time on your phone overall, or with specific apps throughout your day and move forward into February with the intention to foster more meaningful connections with yourself and those around you.

 

 

Presented by Marcy Hullander