Regina DeWitt's Posts (20)

A Workshop & Kirtan with Gurunam Singh

The Journey Begins ; 
A Workshop and Kirtan with Gurunam Singh

We are blessed to have Gurunam here in Sarasota for his "GRACE OF GOD JOURNEY" tour.
“When one feels the touch of grace, other wants fade away. It comes through yoga, meditation, service and prayer— direct pathways to a clear mind and an open heart.” Gurunam Singh

Gurunam is offering 2 events. 

1. An afternoon workshop,
The Naad of Relaxation. 

2. An enchanted evening of Kirtan. 

"Through God’s Grace, Kundalini Yoga and my spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, I have been touched and felt so much love when I sing. I’m so excited to announce my upcoming international “Grace of God” Tour; inspired by one of my favorite songs to sing at gatherings, the “Grace of God”, 

I personally invite you to join me on this musical and spiritual journey to share the gifts of Kundalini Yoga’s transformational power and together we’ll expand this “circle of grace” to inspire & uplift your heart & soul.

Sunday December 10th 2017
2-4pm
The Naad of Relaxation Workshop

Using Naad Yoga, the Yoga of Sound, and live music with Gurunam Singh, we will explore techniquies to bring the mind and body into a state of calm and balance. There will be a minimal amount of yoga and pranayam at the start of the class followed by lots of chanting, meditations and a deeper exploration of the chakras.
$35

An Enchanting Evening of Kirtan
Sunday December 10, 2017
Prana Yoga and Healing Center 
6:30 - 9:00pm
$20

Combined workshop and kirtan $50
Home cooked Veggie dinner included with combined events purchase only

No pot luck December 10, 2017
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 Double Gong Meditation

5:30- 6:30 pm

$12 donation

 The universe is powered by sound.  The gong is the basic creative sound. Out of the gong comes all music, all sounds, all words.  The sound of the gong is the nucleus of the Word.  It takes three to ninety seconds for the sound of the gong to overtake the mind!  Wow, no wonder I'm out like a light within the first few strokes.   The gong is traditionally used in the Kundalini Yoga tradition as a healing tool. It is like a primitive form of ultrasound. The sound vibrations of the gong move through your body/mind clearing blocks, releasing tension and bringing harmony to your whole body.

 When you join us for Gong Meditation you will make yourself  a comfortable spot on the floor.  Using a yoga mat, cushions, blankets and perhaps even an eye pillow to rest the body on during the next 45 minutes of relaxing, rhythmic gong vibrations.  Most likely you will enjoy one of the most deepest sleeps you have ever experienced.  When finished you will be deeply refreshed and relaxed that only you could describe through your personal experience.  

It is Sound as Therapy!

As you listen to the Gong Sound, it will penetrate every cell and fiber of your body.  Emotions and thoughts are provoked from the subconscious. The entire nervous system is put under pressure to adjust and heal itself.
When that pressure builds, totally relax in the deepest meditation possible.  The sound will carry you beyond all fears.  The pressure will release the nervous system of many illnesses.
The parasympathetic nervous system is ruled by sound. To regenerate nothing is more powerful than the sound of Gong.

 Come for the Relaxation, the Release, & the Renewal.


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We are looking forward to holding our Community Kirtan Sunday! 

Prana Community Kirtan

Dedicate your voice in song as we sing and play music from the heart. Our community Kirtan lead by the Prana Kirtan band and local musicians bring love and warmth to the studio. We can't be community without you. Join us for veggie potluck and bring a dish to share beginning at 5:30pm, At 6:30pm we begin the music. It's all about the sound current, remember you are the instrument and the voice is the opening for sound. Let it come from your heart. 


The potluck begins at 5:30pm; bring a dish to share

Music starts at 6:30pm


You are welcome to join us if you haven't experienced Kirtan before. This is a perfect event if you love to enjoy good food, sing, dance and play music.

Kirtan is a very different kind of music. Based on ancient chants, it has the ability to quiet the mind if listened to with intention. Everyone experiences kirtan differently, and it doesn’t have to be a religious experience. You can think of it as a sing-along. A kirtan concert is not your typical concert either. Everyone sits on the floor, although chairs are usually available. The performers are accessible, in fact there’s not much of a distinction between performers & audience. The wallah (leader) sings the mantra, and the audience sings it back.  As you sing with each other you experience a deep connection with the musicians, the other audience members and yourself. And when the music stops, your mind is quiet.


Join us as we continue the Second Sunday of the Month community Kirtan.
$10 donations

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Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra
with Margie Pacher
 
Restorative Yoga & Yoga Nidra Workshop is designed to facilitate profound self-healing through restorative yoga poses, an intelligent relaxation technique, and an exploratory visualization.

Restorative Yoga places the participant into restful and supported yoga poses using bolsters, rolled-up blankets, and blocks. The participant remains in the pose for 3 to 10 minutes to experience the benefits of the pose.

Following the Restorative Yoga portion of the workshop, participants will experience a specialized guided relaxation and visualization. Yoga Nidra, meaning psychic sleep, places the participant into a deep state of physical relaxation while the mind explores deeper realms of the psyche. Yoga Nidra is an effective way to uproot negative mental patterns and replace them with more positive ones. See your manifestation powers at work in your life!

You'll leave this mini-retreat feeling rested and rejuvenated on all levels!

$30 Early Bird Rate 
 
$40 Day of
Register early. Only 12 spots available.
Visit http://pranayogasarasota.com/events For Event Dates And Times
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Gong Clinic; Sunday November 19th, 2017

Gong Clinic 

Sunday November 19th

2 - 4pm

$15


HEALING POWER OF THE GONG;

On Sunday November 19th we will be holding GONG CLINIC. 
Several members of the community that play the gong and have gone thruough a special training at Prana Yoga have formed this offering of "clinic". Our "gong players" gather, bringing their gongs and play for those who sign up ahead of time for this " Sound Journey" vibrational healing. Not just one or two gongs but 5 to 7! The healing is experiencial. 
We have 2 time slots available. 2pm and 3pm. Pre -register for either one and you will receive 45 min. of vibrational sound. Space is limited.
$15. 

The gong is one of the oldest instruments of healing and has been used for thousands of years in meditation, ceremony and rituals. Today they are used in yoga and meditation classes, sound therapy practice, group gong bath meditations and in palliative and jcancer treatment centers to promote healths and well-being. They are also a wonderful addition at weddings, family celebrations, workshops and music festivals.
"The gong is more accurately a force of energy. like a divine engine, affecting the body's meridians. By and large, after it's over you just feel great." You feel like you've been healed by the spirit of nature. And the wonderful thing about it is that the instruments heal the player while the player is playing the instrument.
We have 2 time slots availablin. We except multiple reservations for each session.

Please call to reserve your time slot...941-928-2137
or on line...www.PranaYogaSarasota.com
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 Sunday November 5th, 2017

5:00 am - 7:30am

A morning practice of  kriya yoga, chant and meditation in the kundalini yoga tradition according to Yogi Bhajan.   Experience your inner essence during the amrit vela.  A time where soul meets the universe.  Yoga! 

"What is sadhana? It’s a committed prayer. It is something which you want to do, have to do, and which is being done by you. … Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best."

~Yogi Bhajan

The Benefits of Aquarian Shadhana:

  • It balances the nervous system, supports a healthy spine, and improves digestion
  • It grounds body, mind, and soul with powerful affirmations
  • It helps us tap into our original light every day and meet life's challenges better
  • It fosters meaningful connections and sacred community
  • It encourages stillness and thereby promotes closeness to God
  • It clears karma

We gather at 5:00am for morning prayer of Japji, followed by an hour of Yoga (Kriya). A set of postures to prepare the body for meditation by listening and chanting the 7  Aquarian chants.
A 2 1/2 hour practice that represents tithing  10% of the day to source.
Join us for this early morning meditation during the amrit vela. When the world is quiet before dawn and our prayers can be heard

During what are called the “ambrosial hours” (the two and a half hours just before sunrise), when the sun is at a sixty-degree angle to the Earth, the energy you put into your sadhana gets maximum results. Your world is quieter. It’s easier to meditate and concentrate before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. 

Develop a regular sadhana and you take control of your life. Develop a deep sadhana and you open the doors of experience. Commit to meet your higher Self each morning and your decisions and your life become original; your life will bear the signature of your soul; your radiance will express the meaningful intimacy of the Infinite in each moment. Immerse yourself in the joy of victory that comes from starting each day with a powerful sadhana and every challenge becomes opportunity. 

   Everyone is welcomed.  No experience required.

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Peace Begins with Me: A Yoga and Activism Course
with Margie Pacher

When: Wednesdays, Nov 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th
Time: 3pm-5:30pm
Peace is an inside job and it begins with each one of us!

Yoga and activism go hand in hand. Why? As yogis we practice because we want to experience sustained wellbeing. Many of us have already experienced what science knows, that yoga boosts mood and overall wellbeing. When we extend ourselves to benefit others, an even greater affect emerges, we experience what psychologists call sustainable happiness. Sustainable happiness is the happiness that emerges from contributing to the wellbeing of other people, animals and the environment through our daily actions in the world. Furthermore, as we use our own passions, talents and skills to benefit others we develop more meaning in our lives.

Over five weeks we will practice yoga, boost our wellbeing, and explore some of the world’s most pressing issues with a group of like-minded yogis. This will be an open, conscious, and nonjudgmental circle to explore topics in a fun way, share ideas, and find more positive solutions for the issues that concern us most. Each session includes a 1-hour yoga class, yoga ethics, humane education activities, visualizations, and happiness homework.

Sessions may be taken alone or attend all sessions for discount.

Great for teens, parents, and yogis wishing to experience wellbeing from the inside out!

Week One:
1-hour Hatha Yoga Class
1.5-hour Peace Begins with Me: The Affect of Cultural Norms, Consumerism, and Advertising

Week Two:
1-hour Hatha Yoga Class
1.5-hour Making Peace with People: Women and Children

Week Three:
1-hour Hatha Yoga Class
1.5-hour Making Peace with Farmed Animals

Week Four:
1-hour Hatha Yoga Class
1.5-hour Making Peace with the Environment

Week Five:
1-hour Hatha Yoga Class
1.5-hour Spreading the Light of Peace into the World: YOU can Contribute to Community and Global Wellbeing

$25 per session
$90 for course ($18/session)
Sliding scale prices available. Contact Margie with questions at margiepacher@yahoo.com or PM on Facebook.

Visit http://pranayogasarasota.com/events For Event Dates And Times

Read more…

Gong Training 1 - Crown of Eternity

Gong Resonance Therapy Training
Module 1:

Gong Techniques (20 Hour Training)

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

February 9-11, 2018 

Are you fascinated by the healing and harmonic resonance of the Gong? Whether you are new to playing the gong or an experienced player, this workshop will offer a new perspective on how to work with this powerful sound current. Expand your relationship with the gong in a way that is transformative yet liberating, playful and creative. No prior experience playing the gong is necessary. Learn a number of gong strokes and playing techniques that will deepen your understanding and experience with the gong. Novices will get a solid base of playing techniques and deep listening exercises to help enter into an active state of meditation while playing. More experienced gong players will get an expanded vocabulary of sonic possibilities, subtleties and dynamics in producing various sounds, textures and tone qualities. We will also focus on playing the gong in different settings – individual therapy, group experience and Savasana. We will have a large selection of gongs to practice with during the workshop. Participants are welcome to bring their own gong(s) to practice with as well.

Curriculum (20 hrs)

– Gong Strokes
– Combining and Connecting Gong Strokes
– Mallets
– Gong Tone Combination/Playing Multiple Gongs
– Gong for Individual Sound Therapy Session
– Gong for Group Meditation/Relaxation
– Gong for Savasana
– Extended Playing Techniques
– Subtleties and Tone Color
– Rhythm and Pulse
– Gong and Movement (Flow and Dance)
– The Nature of Sound
– Deep Listening
– Exercises and Meditations for gong players
– Gong Improvisation
– Playing as a group/Multiple gong players
– How to receive the vibration while playing
– Fearlessness in the gong field
– Experimentation and Exploration
– The Sound of Silence
– Gong Mantras and Toning

Schedule:

Friday, Feb 9, 2018 | 6:00 – 9:30 pm
Saturday, Feb 10, 2018 | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm 
Sunday, Feb 11, 2018 | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm 

Cost:

$265 if paid by December 9, 2017
$295 if paid by January 9, 2018
$375 there after

Space is limited to 16 participants. Advance registration strongly advised!

Cancellation Policy:

100% Refund will be issued if notification is received more than and up to 1 month in advance
A $50 cancellation fee will be subtracted from the 100% refund if notification is received less than 1 month and more than 10 days in advance. Cancellation fee will be waived if you find a replacement for your spot.
No refund is available if notification is received less than 10 days prior to the training.

About Crown of Eternity:


Crown Of Eternity spend their lives serving people through vibration, sound, music, and energy healing. Through their extensive international tours with workshops, trainings, therapy sessions, concerts and retreats they have helped thousands of people connect to their life energy, to deeper relaxation and to self healing. They have performed at Sat Nam Fest, Bhakti Fest, the Kripalu Center, and hundreds of yoga studios and wellness centers throughout North America. They have trained many budding sound therapists on the therapeutic aspects of the Gong. Over the past 20+ years Mike Tamburo has become well known as a multi-instrumentalist and polymath, performing and recording ecstatic and transcendental music as well as folk, ambient and sometimes unclassifiable sounds. He is also an artist and a film maker. As he worked deeper and deeper with the sound current and his own self healing practices, he discovered the healing power of the gong and other tuned metal instruments (singing bowls, bells, sound plates) as well as the healing power of mantra and toning. In 2008 he met Gallina Tamburo, who was on her own journey of healing. Their shared love of ecstatic music, kundalini yoga, the gong, sound therapy, and sacred chanting set the foundation of their relationship, marriage and eventual musical collaboration. In addition to completing their Kundalini Teacher Training at the mother ashram in Espanola, NM and Yoga For Youth Training with Krishna Kaur they have studied with Gongmasters Don Conreaux and Sotantar. They are also trained in the Peter Hess Method of Sound Massage using Himalayan Singing Bowls for healing. They have also studied with John Beaulieu in his Body Harmonics approach of sound healing with tuning forks.

The duo have released 6 CDs together and also run the Sounds Eternal record label that has released many of Mike’s solo recordings. Together, Mike and Gallina have developed their own style of relating to the therapeutic vibrations of the Gong, incorporating ancient wisdom and infusing it with creativity, playfulness and joy. Crown of Eternity offer a unique sonic experience that is as much grounded in tradition as it is groundbreaking. There is an expansive, blissful, ethereal and epic quality to Crown of Eternity’s music. They are truly immersed in vibration. Their CDs include Gong/Bell CDs: “Dream Architecture”, “Earth in Space” and Mantra CDs: “When the Music’s On”, “Vibrate the Cosmos” and “The Cosmos Shall Clear The Path” and Mike’s newest hammered dulcimer release “The Way To Be Free’. Whether they are bathing you in the complex harmonics of multiple gongs, ecstatic instrumentals or their cosmic renditions of sacred Kundalini Yoga mantras, Crown of Eternity delivers a heart centered experience that you will deeply appreciate and remember.

Learn more at www.crownofeternity.com

Read more…

Gong Training Module 2 with Crown of Eternity

Gong Resonance Therapy Training
Module 2

The Healing Power of the Gong

Friday , Saturday and Sunday

February 2-4, 2018 

***Prerequisite: Completion of Module 1: Gong Techniques from our Gong Resonance Therapy Training series + 100 hrs of practice playing the Gong.

Connect to the healing power of the Gong with Crown of Eternity. This weekend intensive module focuses on deepening your understanding of the energetic aspects of Gong playing. We will explore the subtle and dynamic aspects of the Gong – how it affects the mind, the body, the aura and how it opens a space of consciousness that allows us to access and balance the five elements (tattvas) and the pranic body. We will enhance our compassionate awareness and sensitivity to vibration and the deeper aspects of listening within the Gong space. We will begin to explore the therapeutic aspects of the Gong, moving beyond Savasana and working toward a foundation for utilizing Sound as a medicine for the future. This course builds from Crown of Eternity’s Module 1 Gong Techniques in the Gong Resonance Therapy Series intensives. We will have a large selection of gongs to practice in small groups during the workshop. Participants are welcome to bring their own gong(s) to practice with as well.

Curriculum (20 hrs)

– Continued Self Growth through Gong and Meditation
– Gong Techniques Expanded
– Sound and the Elements
– Elemental and Therapeutic Understanding of Gong Strokes
– The Gong and The Energy Body
– Psychophysiological Effects
– The Gong and Nervous System Response
– Unwinding, Destressing and Tension Release in the Sonic Field
– Techniques for One on One Therapy Session
– Client Care and Holding Space
– Subtle Listening
– Listening and Consciousness

Schedule:

Friday, February 2, 2018 | 6:00 – 9:30 pm
Saturday, February 3, 2018 | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (lunch is not provided)
Sunday, February 4, 2018 | 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (lunch is not provided)

Cost:

$265 if paid by December 2
$295 if paid by January 2
$375 there after

Space is limited to 16 participants. Advance registration strongly advised!

Cancellation Policy:

100% Refund will be issued if notification is received more than and up to 1 month in advance
A $50 cancellation fee will be subtracted from the 100% refund if notification is received less than 1 month and more than 10 days in advance. Cancellation fee can be waived if you find a replacement for your spot.
No refund is available if notification is received less than 10 days prior to the training.

About Crown of Eternity:

Crown Of Eternity spend their lives serving people through vibration, sound, music, and energy healing. Through their extensive international tours with workshops, trainings, therapy sessions, concerts and retreats they have helped thousands of people connect to their life energy, to deeper relaxation and to self healing. They have performed at Sat Nam Fest, Bhakti Fest, the Kripalu Center, and hundreds of yoga studios and wellness centers throughout North America. They have trained many budding sound therapists on the therapeutic aspects of the Gong. Over the past 20+ years Mike Tamburo has become well known as a multi-instrumentalist and polymath, performing and recording ecstatic and transcendental music as well as folk, ambient and sometimes unclassifiable sounds. He is also an artist and a film maker. As he worked deeper and deeper with the sound current and his own self healing practices, he discovered the healing power of the gong and other tuned metal instruments (singing bowls, bells, sound plates) as well as the healing power of mantra and toning. In 2008 he met Gallina Tamburo, who was on her own journey of healing. Their shared love of ecstatic music, kundalini yoga, the gong, sound therapy, and sacred chanting set the foundation of their relationship, marriage and eventual musical collaboration. In addition to completing their Kundalini Teacher Training at the mother ashram in Espanola, NM and Yoga For Youth Training with Krishna Kaur they have studied with Gongmasters Don Conreaux and Sotantar. They are also trained in the Peter Hess Method of Sound Massage using Himalayan Singing Bowls for healing. They have also studied with John Beaulieu in his Body Harmonics approach of sound healing with tuning forks.

The duo have released 6 CDs together and also run the Sounds Eternal record label that has released many of Mike’s solo recordings. Together, Mike and Gallina have developed their own style of relating to the therapeutic vibrations of the Gong, incorporating ancient wisdom and infusing it with creativity, playfulness and joy. Crown of Eternity offer a unique sonic experience that is as much grounded in tradition as it is groundbreaking. There is an expansive, blissful, ethereal and epic quality to Crown of Eternity’s music. They are truly immersed in vibration. Their CDs include Gong/Bell CDs: “Dream Architecture”, “Earth in Space” and Mantra CDs: “When the Music’s On”, “Vibrate the Cosmos” and “The Cosmos Shall Clear The Path” and Mike’s newest hammered dulcimer release “The Way To Be Free’. Whether they are bathing you in the complex harmonics of multiple gongs, ecstatic instrumentals or their cosmic renditions of sacred Kundalini Yoga mantras, Crown of Eternity delivers a heart centered experience that you will deeply appreciate and remember.

Learn more at http://www.crownofeternity.com/

Read more…

Yoga; its not about the stretch

Namaste'

Modern science is just catching up to the ancient wisdom of the mind-body connection.  There is a growing understanding of how mental patterns, like stress, can impact the body.  Yoga and proper alignment is an effective method than exercise to change physical patterns and impact the emotions which may be holding there.  Medical science broadly recognizes that our mental state can impact our health for better and worse.   Most of our emotions start in the nervous system then are exported to your muscles.  

"The aim of yoga is to calm the chaos of conflicting impulses."   Good health results from perfect communication between each part of the body and mind, and when each cell communes with every other.  Although yoga is essentially a spiritual science, it leads to a sense of physical and emotional well- being.

All of  the teachers at Prana Yoga are experienced with guiding you into your own mind body connection.  Whether its Hatha or Kundalini tradition, after a session of yoga, the mind becomes tranquil and passive.  Change the mind, then it's easier to change the nervous system, the circulatory system and so on....to a complete state of balance...Health!

See you on the mat!

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The Lost Teachings of Yoga

This article from the Yoga International archives was originally published in October 2002. 

The “lost” teachings of yoga, the profound wisdom that has all but vanished in the West, are not, of course, really lost. But we are rapidly losing sight of them. Yoga cannot be effective, however, unless we apply it in our own lives, and to do that we must be able to draw on its traditional teachings.

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Yoga is not about the stretch.

You have pushed me beyond my comfort zone and fears. You have helped me to change myself - become braver, and stronger. I have taken what you have given me on the mat into my life, and for this I will always be grateful.

Thank you for the quote. I have already passed it on to one of my sons. I will miss you, but will keep you close to my heart.
Sherry Warshauer

Read more…

What is yoga and how would you like to age?

Earlier this month we celebrated Hukam's (Mark) 60th birthday.  Later on this year in November I will also celebrate this landmark. Hard to believe, I know.  When I began yoga in 1995  I was still in my prime working as a scrub nurse in Open Heart surgery.  Who knew yoga would take me this far.  As my interest in yoga grew our western health care began to wane.  Discovering for myself what health care is and how I want to age became a quest.  Combining my experience of knowing the body from the inside through surgery and the outside with yoga is what led me to opening a yoga studio.  Sharing the education that "yoga is not about the stretch" and so much more.  All the aspects that main stream health news would tell us i.e., get you heart rate up, weight baring exercise, core strength, relax, meditate and diet just to name a few..these all come together in one yoga class! When we age some of our activities become a little harder.  So my question is ...How do you choose to age?  The longer we sustain a yoga practice that is based on curiosity about the body the mind will take on an inner journey that leads us to a quieter place within. The breath (prana) has a place to dwell.  The combination is health and vitality.  The following is a quote I picked up along the way...

"I first began yoga for flexibility in my body and toning my muscles, I got hooked on yoga because something else was happening inside and I felt incredible.  I quickly learned the physical aspect of yoga is merely a fraction of this vast practice.  Yoga is a verb, an action word, about stilling the fluctuations of the mind.  From the inner stillness I uncover mental clarity and peace of mind, how to be compassionate with myself, how to be authentically compassionate with others. 

This practice on the mat mirrors living life with a powerful inward focus and a graceful outward expression"
What is your yoga? and How would you like to age?

 
Prana's faculty of yoga instructors have years of wisdom and experience in caring for the body through yoga.  I am grateful for Gilian, Mary, Julie, Tamara, Susan, Dev Atma, Randall, Hukam, Dixie (assistant) and all of you who sustain the life and growing older of Prana Yoga and Healing Center.
 
See you on the Mat!
 
 
Read more…

What is a Yoga Body?

What is a Yoga Body?

Yoga culture is not beyond this. Despite declarations that, “we are not our bodies,” what our bodies look like seems to be of paramount importance in yoga culture. Selfies of fancy poses, performed to perfection by mostly young, svelte, mostly scantily and fashionably clad, white women dominate social media. While these photos may be pleasing and even impressive to look at, their demographic does not represent the population at large or even the majority of people practicing yoga. They may draw some people to practice who aspire to look like these models. They may also scare people away, when they misinterpret yoga as being available only to those who are young, thin, fashionable and impossibly bendy.

The good news is that conversation around body positivity is growing. It’s been bubbling under the surface for a long time, but influential bloggers such as YogaDork and it’s all yoga, baby have taken up the cause, along with Curvy Yoga founder Anna Guest-Jelley, who’s been advocating for body positivity for years. Even Yoga Journal, long criticized for their young, thin, white female cover models and plethora of diet ads has dipped a toe into the conversation.

I’m very encouraged by this development. I think it’s a huge step in the right direction.

What Happened to the Boomers?

But this is one area where the voices of the Boomer generation have been largely silent—or perhaps silenced. With the exception of Cora Wen and Linda Sama-Karl, few over-50 yoga teachers speak to the blogosphere about the relationship between Yoga and aging. When did the system of Yoga begin to espouse the philosophy of youth over experience? When did Yoga adopt the idea that once your body begins to age that your mind, heart and accumulated experience become irrelevant? And why are we made to feel ashamed of the inevitable, even beautiful, process of growing deeper, wiser and more equanimous just because our bodies no longer fit into a shallow, limited and completely arbitrary cultural idea of beauty?

My theory is this: We are a body-oriented culture. We are our bodies. Our bodies are our Selves. We judge ourselves by our appearance and our body’s ability to perform. When our bodies change—as they inevitably do—our self-worth goes with them, for better or for worse.

When the prince, Siddhartha, ventured out of his palace for the first time, he was shaken by his first glimpses of a person bent with age, a person wracked with illness and the body of a person who had died. Seeing the inevitable path of all our bodies to our final demise caused him to inquire into how he might transcend the suffering he had witnessed. This led him to realize that in order to transcend suffering, he had to transcend his attachment to and identification with the body. He had to look deeper, beyond the pleasures and suffering of the body for lasting happiness.

This is what our yoga practice is about. The squabbling about what is or is not the perfect yoga body has absolutely nothing to do with Yoga. Any person in a body who is practicing Yoga is living in a yoga body, regardless of age, build, gender or flexibility. And the deeper practices at the heart of Yoga—meditation—require a body simply as an anchor for awareness.

This is not to say that our bodies are not worth appreciating. They are infinitely worthy of our appreciation. My takeaway from three semesters of anatomy training is pure amazement at the elegant design of these vehicles in which we travel. That design is not a mistake. Nor is our genetically determined build, height, skin color, hair color and joint flexibility. And aging is not a mistake. We can take good care of our bodies so that we live more comfortably in them, but we can’t stop the aging process. It happens to all of us if we are lucky enough to live into old age.

Practicing asana is an intelligent and inspiring way to keep our bodies balanced and happy. Tending to our bodies mindfully, and with love and appreciation, cultivates a sense of grace that permeates not only our meditation, but the whole of our lives.

So please, give this body, the one you’re living in right now, a little appreciation for having gotten you this far into your life. Know that it will change, and that you can grow with those changes. Know that aging brings riches you can’t fathom when you are young. Yes, there are tradeoffs. While I might wish I had the hip joints of my 30s, I’m very happy to living in the mind and heart of my 50s.

Love your body. Love your mind. Love your heart. Ride their evolution with curiosity and delight.

~

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 Yoga on the Terrace of the Ringling Ca' d'Zan

What a blessed opportunity for me to teach yoga from 

Sarasota's finest historical landmark.

Join me for early morning yoga beginning at 8:30 am

with live music provided by Hukam

to enliven the practice. 

Enjoy the view, Sarasota's finest weather, and yourselves.

This is a community event that the Museum offers once a month 

with a yoga teacher from a different studio and yoga style.

What a fun time we will have!

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Back Care workshop

1:00 - 3:30 pm

Back Pain afflicts at least 60% of Americans and costs billions of dollars in treatments each year. Many feel that they must learn to live with this chronic pain. Many turn to yoga to seek relief with little relief or worsening of symptoms. In this workshop students will learn about some basic problems with the spine and how to address them in their personal practice. With correct attention to alignment, yoga asana practice can increase the health and longevity of the spine. A systematic approach using props can create stability, fluidity, and mobility in the spine thus breaking down the bodies habitual patterns of movement. 

 

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There’s more to yoga than just getting to class, doing a few flow sequences, and being done with it. Unlike some forms of exercise, a yoga practice requires much more than just going though the motions. “It’s what sets yoga apart from other disciplines,” says Colleen Saidman Yee, internationally acclaimed yoga instructor and creator of the new DVDCalorie Killer Yoga. “Yoga tones from head to toe, but focuses on training the mind.” And Colleen’s yogi husband, Rodney Yee, agrees, saying that in the beginning, the practice honed in on the mind. “We’ve turned it into physical fitness,” he says. “It’s fine if that’s the doorway for most people to find yoga, but it’s much more than that.”

Learn how to get more from your practice — inside and out — with these tips from Colleen and Rodney.

A Mindful Yoga Practice

While you may have heard the term, you’re not alone if you aren’t sure what “mindfulness” means. About 2,500 years ago, when the practice was just beginning, the sole focus was on the mind. Recently, it has become more about getting physical fitness and getting a workout in. And while that’s OK for students to do, being present, mentally present, can make all the difference when it comes to a yoga session. “A good teacher will keep your mind there,” says Colleen. She and many other instructors use breathing to bring students’ minds back so they can reap the many benefits that come with focus. “What they come in and get on their mat for, isn’t what they leave with,” says Rodney. “They could come in for spirit and leave a vegetarian or come in just to get in shape but leave feeling more in tune with their thoughts.”

Finding Focus

It can take time to start seeing breakthroughs in your practice. But these fundamentals can help get your journey underway.

Drop the distractions.
It’s easy to get so caught up trying to focus that you begin to get frustrated with yourself when you can’t turn your mind off. “A main tool is to try not to push anything away,” says Colleen. “Accept where you are and in that acceptance something softens.” Keep in mind that you’re not trying to get rid of any thoughts but rather make space for everything so that you feel a sense of relaxation. “Science is proving now that there is no such thing as multitasking, but that you might just be jumping from one thing to another,” says Rodney. “Try bringing yourself back to the activity at hand and dedicate time to your practice. “

Just breathe.
Why is breathing such an essential part of yoga? The process is both voluntary and involuntary, but by focusing on it, you can give it power. “Your mind wants something and by giving it breath, it’s not chatter or a to do list,” says Rodney. “[The breath] satisfies the mind by giving it something that isn’t verbal.” Plus, by listening to the breath, you allow it to calm you down. “It becomes a source of meditation to calm the mind and the physiology of the whole body … and be present in your practice,” says Colleen.

Tune out the crowd.
What, you don’t enjoy when someone accidently kicks you in the face during a vinyasa or a sweaty armpit ends up right next to your face? A crowded room can be the pits (literally) for some students. So why not just leave? “I actually think this is when you get your deepest practice,” says Colleen. “Not only do you have the support of everyone being there with you, but with a small space and lots of breathing and sweating around you, you’re forced to go into your own space on your own mat and bring your senses inward.” According to Rodney, you really can benefit by stepping out of your comfort zone and sticking it out. “You get this influence of energy, like someone playing solo music versus a huge symphony — it’s a completely different beast.”

Maintain consistency.
Like anything in life, the more often you do yoga, the quicker and better it all soaks in. “It’s sort of this everydayness of something, so it’s not special but ordinary,” says Rodney. “Being ordinary, it seeps deeper into the fiber of your being and you don’t have to try so hard.” The more frequently you practice, you won’t have to think about it as much as it will become routine. And this type of practice will help you advance in yoga.  

Acknowledge your progress.
“Some people can have this dynamic ‘aha’ moment in their first class and then search the rest of their life to get that back,” says Colleen. But the bigger picture benefits can be just as meaningful. “Out in the world if you’re having an argument or someone cuts you off on the highway, you can stop and notice your breath or your feet and you can hone in on those sensations. It’s incredibly powerful.” And the more you practice, it sets the groundwork for you being able to reach those moments of zen (especially when they are much needed) more often.

“We have a strange philosophy that more is always better, says Rodney. “Even though we know that’s not true, we’re stuck on it.” So what happens when you finally unplug and experience that sensory withdrawal to help recharge your batteries? “Everything is more accessible and clear,” says Colleen. “It’s the most beneficial thing you can do for productivity, relationships, basically everything.”

Remember that yoga is about regaining quality, not just adding quantity to your practice. “Be attentive to that,” reminds Rodney. “Otherwise, you’ll get to the end of life and think ‘Why did I always have my glass at full tilt?’”

To better your yoga practice, head to DailyBurn.com to personalize your routine at home, in the gym, or on-the-go. And to take class with Colleen or Rodney check out Yoga Shanti in New York City or Sag Harbor, New York.

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