Thursday, August 31, 2017

Emphasizing the Exhalation

I recently led a yoga class with the theme of emphasizing the exhalation. Have you ever noticed how much a nice, long exhalation can trigger a feeling of relaxation in the body? Whether you are practicing pranayama (yogic breathing) techniques or relaxing at the end of a physical yoga practice, extending the exhalation of the breath brings more control to the parasympathetic nervous system. The more this system is in control, the more the body is able to recover from effort, and again becomes ready to begin to expend energy.
The effects of long, slow exhalations are not only physiologically beneficial. To extend the exhalation a beat or two longer than the inhalation forces us to take pause, slow our often-racing minds, and bring on a decrease in blood pressure. This is healthy to do off the mat, whether it be during conversation with others, between bites of the food that sustains us, and even during times of conflict. On the mat, taking that extra second or two to elongate the exhalation can help us to go deeper into a yoga posture and enjoy a more meaningful connection with our personal practice. The benefits of emphasizing the exhalation of the breath are endless.
Many yogis silently chant the mantra, 'Inhale peace, exhale tension,' but I wonder if this mantra could be altered to 'Inhale peace, exhale peace.' Sometimes there is nothing more deliciously peaceful than a long, soothing exhalation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Anahata - the Fourth Chakra

In a time when our shared world is experiencing dark times, I look to the power and energy of the Fourth Chakra, the Chakra of the Heart. It is called ANAHATA (AN-nuh-HAH-tuh), and the literal Sanskrit translation is 'unhurt, unstruck, unbeaten.' 
When balanced, this Chakra shows emotions of joy, gratitude, conscience, compassion, and trust. It is the ruler of the way we manifest love. When it is out of balance, it can show emotions such as over-loving to the point of unhealthiness, jealousy, abandonment, anger, bitterness, and fear of loneliness. This Chakra is extremely powerful as it is the 'Center of the Seven' - three above and three below. Matter and spirit are united in this location, which beholds profound potential. 
Practicing yoga helps to balance and open the energy of the Seven Chakras, the subtle anatomy system of our bodily energy. Heart-opening asanas like Ustrasana (camel pose) and Bhujangasana (cobra pose) are equally as important to nurturing the Heart Chakra as those that protect and harness the immense energy of the heart, like Garudasana (eagle pose) and Marjaryasana (cat pose). Just as yoga creates space and alignment in the physical body, it opens our hearts and minds to spiritual growth, and provides a feeling of peace, contentment, and harmony. The yogic work we do both on and off the mat spills over to our relationships with others. 
With the guidance of our strong, balanced, compassionate hearts, let us share our light as powerful leaders with the ability to give and receive love, and show compassion to ourselves and others. As a result, we will benefit all of humanity. 

Image result for heart chakra

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

RYST at the Asheville Yoga Festival

Dan and I just returned from the Asheville Yoga Festival, ten hours away in North Carolina. It was a fantastic experience. Traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway was unbelievable. Both sides of the road seemed to just drop off into what seemed like thousands of miles of mountains, just layers and layers of watercolor indigo. At the festival, we met so many great new friends and fellow vendors. We could just feel the positive vibe of the city of Asheville, with its progressive-minded people. They all seemed so full of light as they struck up conversation with us, eager to connect with total strangers. Now I know why Asheville is a yoga mecca. 
At the festival, we were elated to have received such a positive response to our business concept, a Tshirt-of-the-Month club that sends logo tees from actual yoga studios around the world to its members. Everyone loved hearing that we also promote our monthly featured studios with a showcase on our site, where viewers are invited to take a photo tour and read about what makes each studio unique. 
As of today, August 1st, our featured studio is Afterglow Yoga in Maui, HI. We feel so fortunate to work with the kind and enthusiastic owners of Afterglow Yoga, and they seem equally excited to be a part of this collaboration as well. Their logo looks terrific on our vintage navy tank, as it is reminiscent of the oceans surrounding beautiful Hawaii. We think you will agree when you visit our site, and see why their logo was one of our best-selling tanks at the festival. Till next week, Namaste.

Our July Featured Studio is in Mexico!

Our July Featured Studio, Tribal Yoga, is located in Tulum, Mexico - one of the most beautiful places on Earth! To see pictures of and read ...