As humans living in the US, we often focus on hard work. And there is nothing wrong with this- I love our cultural belief that with hard work we can achieve anything. However, I also believe that without balancing our hard work with two other very important elements- play and rest- we will suffer.
The practice of yoga is a cultivation of awareness, starting with an awareness of our body, mind and soul. We bring dedication and willingness to work hard to our mats. But do we also bring our willingness to rest when our bodies, minds or souls are asking for it? If you are a regular attendee of my yoga classes you will often hear me say that resting is just as important as hard work. The amount that we work, rest and play-on and off of our mats-are directly related to one another. Without enough rest, we cannot be at our best when we are working and playing.
As we become more aware of what we may need at any given moment- work, rest, play or a combination of all three- the next step is a willingness to honor that request. It may not always be easy to find balance but through awareness of ourselves we will know exactly what we need.
What do you need- work, rest or play? All three are available this and every Friday from 2-3pm at Towson Yoga Works.
During this week’s yoga classes I will be revealing the ancient secret to happiness. Here’s a hint:Don’t miss out! Join me this Friday from 2-3pm at Towson Yoga Works to find your bliss!
If you had never heard of cupping before last summer, the 2016 Summer Olympics changed that! Baltimore’s very own Michael Phelps sported the tell tale hickey-like marks while competing. In this post I discussed fire cupping and it’s many uses. But do you know that cupping can also be used on the face? And before you ask, the flames and bruises associated with cupping on the rest of the body play no part in facial cupping. I promise.
Applying customized cups designed especially for the face feels like a facial massage. In addition to being incredibly relaxing, facial cupping moves fluids along lymphatic pathways to remove toxins, decrease facial puffiness, cleans the pores and plumps the skin. The end result? Skin that emits a radiant glow!
Is a radiant complexion not enough to convince you to try facial cupping? Here are some additional health issues that this type of cupping can address:
- Sinus pressure
- Headaches and Migraines
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders
For best results 1-2 sessions per week are recommended. Still have some questions about this type of cupping? Email or call me at 410-493-9129. Or find me on Facebook here.
As you can probably tell by a quick glance at my website I love using acupuncture and yoga as healing modalities for body, mind and spirit. I resonate with the holistic approach to happy, healthy living they offer. Sometimes, in the face of an injury that is just not responding to my usual approach, I add my other favorite tool to form the perfect trifecta- physical therapy. But I don’t just go to any ol’ physical therapist, I go to Brett Clark at Life Strength Physical Therapy and here’s why:
Just like yoga and acupuncture, physical therapy can follow a holistic model. Brett addresses not only my physical injury, but also how I feel about it and the ways it may be affecting my sleep, eating habits, energy level and mood. He believes diaphragmatic breathing is important (read more here), and talks about re training our brains here. Here he tells us why child’s pose is essential for a healthy spine. Is this guy a yogi dressed in a PT’s clothing, or what?
Add to all of that an exquisite knowledge of human anatomy and physiology and the fact that Brett believes in using minimalist physical therapy (click here for more about this model of PT) and you’ve got the best of all worlds.
Legend tells us that the Sage Astavakra angered his father while he was still in his mother’s womb. In retaliation, his father cursed him and the result was being born into a body crooked in eight places.
The yoga pose dedicated to this sage, Astavakrasana or Eight-Angle Pose, does indeed seem to be an impossibly crooked position for the body at first glance. However, as Sage Astavakra tells us, “If you think you are free, You are free. If you think you are bound, You are bound.”
Let’s follow Astavakra’s sage advice and let go of whatever limitations we perceive in ourselves and find the freedom to soar into Eight-Angle pose! I’ll see you Friday at Towson Yoga Works from 2-3pm!
January 28, 2017 marks the first day of the Chinese New Year. The bird that lends it’s name to this year will also give 2017 some of it’s characteristics.In Chinese culture, the Rooster is considered ambitious, courageous, punctual and passionate. In this new year we will experience the Rooster’s enthusiasm and perseverance , especially regarding work. We will be braver than usual, not allowing difficulties and obstacles to stand in our way. On the other hand, the Rooster is considered very conservative and while, in moderation, this could be a virtue, if left unchecked this could lead to inflexibility. In 2017 it is up to us to temper the unbending ways the Year of the Rooster might bring our way with our own flexibility of body, mind and spirit to bring luck, health and happiness to this new year.
This Friday, on the eve of the Year of the Rooster, we will celebrate this year’s enthusiasm, perseverance and bravery with Kukkutasana. Rooster pose (as well as it’s variations) and it’s emphasis on strength and flexibility are a perfect way to ring in the new year. (Not quite ready for lift-off? No worries, beginner and intermediate variations will be offered!) I’ll see you at Towson Yoga Works from 2-3pm. Happy Chinese New Year!
Persistence and patience, two important virtues on and off of the mat. In my case, I was lucky enough to be born with enough persistence to last me several lifetimes. And patience? Well, with others I have tons. With myself? Let’s just say I’m (still!!!) working on it. And in case I lose sight of practicing patience toward myself, the Universe in all of it’s wisdom (and usually with a sense of humor!!) is right there to remind me.
Last week I mentioned that the yoga asanas or poses are teachers, showing us how we react in different circumstances. Like life, the practice of yoga requires both persistence and patience in equal amounts. Are we willing and able to try, fail, shake it off, and try again? Are we willing and able to be kind to ourselves as we brush ourselves off and prepare for our next attempt? Let’s practice our persistence and fine tune our patience with ourselves on the mat so when we are faced with challenges outside of the yoga studio we are ready to meet them. I’ll see you this Friday at Towson Yoga Works from 2-3pm!
For the past couple of weeks we’ve been working on Visvamitrasana in the classes that I have taught. I have also been working on this posture in my own practice. Many (myself included!) find this asana to be a very challenging pose. Even the beginner variations can be difficult. But that is okay and here’s why: Yoga asanas (poses) aren’t to be ‘achieved’. Doing them perfectly isn’t the grand prize that will send us on our way to enlightenment and peace. In fact, some of the most enlightened, peaceful people I know have never set foot on a yoga mat.
Instead, asanas are teachers that help us get to know ourselves a little bit better. Those that frustrate us illustrate our reaction to frustrating circumstances off of our mats. The same goes for the poses that we find simple, easy or boring- how do we react when these feelings arise? What is our reaction when we finally are able to do a pose that we have been working on for a long time? Practicing yoga postures on our mats bring to light our automatic reactions to circumstances we are confronted with in our lives off of our mat. This is one of the gifts the asanas give us. So forget picture perfect Yoga Journal cover/ Instagram/snapchat/facebook ready poses and join me this Friday from 2-3pm. During this community hot vinyasa yoga class at Towson Yoga Works we will revel in all of our perfect imperfection!
This poem written by Tara Sophia Mohr sums it up so eloquently and beautifully. Continue reading below and then meet me on the mat this Friday at Towson Yoga Works from 2-3pm where we will practice paying attention and being 100% in the moment.
In the End
By: Tara Sophia Mohr
In the end
you won’t be known
for the things you did,
or what you built,
or what you said.
You won’t even be known
for the love given
or the hearts saved,
because in the end you won’t be known.
You won’t be asked, by a vast creator full of light:
What did you do to be known?
You will be asked: Did you know it,
this place, this journey?
What there is to know can’t be written.
Something between the crispness of air
and the glint in her eye
and the texture of the orange peel.
What you’ll want a thousand years from now is this:
a memory that beats like a heart–
a travel memory, of what it was to walk here,
alive and warm and textured within.
Sweet brightness, aliveness, take-me-now-ness that is life.
You are here to pay attention. That is enough.
It’s that time of year again when everyone is talking about their resolutions for the new year. In my experience, like life and our best laid plans, our journey toward goals we have set often takes many twists, turns, dead ends and short cuts. This makes the journey toward achieving, or not achieving, our goals just as important as the goal itself.
This year I propose setting an intention, a sankalpa, rather than making a resolution. To me, a resolution brings to mind a fixed, hard-and-fast goal somewhere in the future. An intention feels more fluid, able to morph or be molded to fit the present moment. And then again in the next present moment. I feel that an intention allows us to be softer with ourselves, allowing us to pursue our goals and dreams with relaxed effort rather than racing toward our goals as if a drill sergeant is on our heels barking insults and demands. Don’t get me wrong- the drill sergeant approach can be effective. But, given the choice, which journey toward your goals would you chose? A stressful experience that tends toward self criticism or a journey of relaxed effort that allows you to enjoy each moment, set backs and achievements alike?
Let’s continue to explore our sankalpa this Friday from 2-3pm at Towson Yoga Works. Peacefully ring in 2017 with a community hot vinyasa yoga class!