Thinking of Trying Yoga or Maybe Ditching Yoga?

After speaking to a few people this weekend about yoga and "changing it up", the feedback was "XYZ" place tore my hamstring, I was sore for days, My shoulder popped out from lifting". I can't do that again. Yoga feels better. No equipment necessary. 

Or "I don't have time to practice". You can practice in yoga in your kitchen!! #justdoit

On the flip side, many emails coming through asking "I am dying to try yoga but I am scared, I don't have an outfit, and I have not stretched in 50 years"! And the famous line "I can't touch my toes".

Well, I thought I would post a great article I found this morning to share with those who want to start, and those who are thinking about "ditching yoga".

Here you go. Happy Sunday my friends! xoxo

Thinking of Ditching Yoga? You May Want to Reconsider

By Emily Waters 

Yoga has so many mental and physical health benefits, it is hard to actually count and keep track of. Since any form of exercise is beneficial for one’s mental and physical health, the majority of individuals today rely exclusively on cardiovascular/aerobic activities, while throwing to the wayside yoga/meditation or other forms of diaphragmatic breathing designed to have a powerful effect on your body and mind. In case you need a gentle reminder and a little motivation, let us review the myriad health benefits of yoga that are designed to keep you feeling well both physically and mentally as you age well into your golden years.

  • Supercharges your brain. As little as 25-30 minutes of yoga increases your memory, attention span, focus and helps you process information more accurately and quickly.
  • Soothes stress. Practicing yoga can have immediate psychological effects. Among these are cultivating a sense of calm, and decreasing anxiety and stress. Over time, these positive mental benefits occur even when you are in your kitchen cooking a meal, and off your mat!
  • Improving flexibility. In a few studies to date, yoga increased people’s flexibility by up to 35 percent after only 7-8 weeks of practice.
  • Increases balance. Certain poses enhance balance, and in older individuals specifically can actually reduce the number of falls they have, and reduce their fear of falling.
  • Fends off weight gain. Those who practice yoga regularly gain less weight as they age than do those who don’t practice.
  • Boosts body confidence and image. Women who practiced yoga on a regular basis rated their body satisfaction higher, regardless of current weight, than those who pursued other forms of exercise.
  • Relieves headaches. Yoga reduces the frequency and intensity of various headaches, including migraines, and tension headaches.
  • Reduces depression. Studies show that yoga can lesson symptoms of depression, like feeling lethargic and overall fatigue. One reason may be yoga’s boost to GABA, a neurotransmitter that is often low in people who are depressed.
  • Protects your heart. Yoga, when practiced consistently reduces blood pressure, lowers level of harmful LDL cholesterol by almost 12 points, and lost an average of 5 pounds.
  • Promotes more zzz’s. This is really great news for insomniacs. After 2 months of practicing yoga for 45 minutes before bed, students fell asleep 15-18 minutes faster, and had more quality REM sounding sleep leading to more than a half hour longer each night in deep sleep than controls.
  • Lessons inflammation. I have written about chronic inflammation in the past that is linked with a whole host of health issues from diabetes, depression, obesity, and high blood pressure to name a few. In regular yoga practice, yoga tends to lower levels of cytokines-as immune system protein associated with this.
  • Slows aging. With yoga therapy and yoga based stretching, scientists have discovered it may lengthen telomeres-the end caps of chromosomes that affect aging, and that consequently shorten every year we age.
  • Controls diabetes. Men and women with type 2 diabetes who practiced yoga for 5-6 months saw a substantial decrease in their blood glucose levels, a recent new study found.
  • Encourages Exercise. Inactive people enrolled in some form of yoga for a minimum of 8 weeks found that this markedly increased the chances they would partake in other physical activities. This is largely due to the release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins all flooding your body.
  • Improves your day, and your mood. Various studies over the last 10 years have shown that yoga lowers stress including workplace stress, and promotes general well being. This zen disposition is not only visible on the outside, but the transformation is taking place from within, which contributes to a longer lasting positive effect on your health.

The list goes on and on, and this is far from an exhaustive list. It might be tempting to skip yoga as part of your exercise routine, and to shave off some time for yourself, but given all the health benefits, it might be wise to continue using it in your exercise regimen if you already incorporate it, or reconsider doing yoga alongside your aerobic activities to improve your overall mental and physical health and well being. It is important to remember that yoga is not about how much you weigh or how flexible you are, and that there are various forms of yoga suitable for different interests. As trite as the old adage sounds, when it comes to yoga, it really is never too late to start no matter your age. So get rollin!

 

Yoga, Aging and Knee Pain

We all know that yoga is a great form of exercise, both physically and mentally. It is a life changing experience.

Yoga makes us look good and feel good. 

Yoga has us glowing from the inside out.

The majority of the SUKHA family is in the 40's-50"s. But if you come to SUKHA for the first time, you would think you were in a room of 30 year old's!! You are all doing a great job!! Kudos my friends. Keep it up! 

In yoga, age is not measured in chronological years, but with the saying " You're only as young as your spine". And the amazing part of that is, you are never too old to start.

Let's face it, we are not getting any younger. We practice yoga, go the gym and eat well, but we still get aches and pains. 

The knees are most common that us old folks complain about. Including myself. Years of spin class at the gym, and running took a toll on my knees. Yoga has helped with the aches and pains. From time to time, I may have a few that I bitch to myself about, but that comes with being a 46 year old. 

Below is a great article on strengthening knees and avoiding knee pain,

Avoid Knee Pain and Injury with Yoga

BY CATHERINE GUTHRIE

There’s no doubt that yoga asks much of the knees. Done properly, asana practice can shore them up to prevent injuries and slow the progression of some musculoskeletal diseases, but practiced without mindfulness, it spells disaster for these joints. Clearly, there are just as many people who credit yoga with rehabilitating weak knees as there are determined yogis like Ray, who will themselves into complex poses and pay a big price for overdoing it. But in poses like hero pose , in which the knees can feel pushed to the edge, it’s sometimes hard to know if you’re helping or hurting them. So what’s a yoga practitioner who’s concerned about protecting the knees to do? Nothing can replace the guidance of an experienced teacher, but certain principles can guide you into a safe, beneficial practice.

Weak in the Knees

The knee marks the meeting place of three bones: the shinbone (tibia), the thighbone (femur), and the kneecap (patella). Two crescent-shaped pads of cartilage, each called a meniscus, sit between the shinbone and the thighbone and act as cushions between the bones and shock absorbers during movement. Two sets of ligaments—the cruciates and the collaterals—strap all three bones in place. The cruciates crisscross below the kneecap; the collaterals run alongside the outside of the kneecap. The leg’s substantial muscles help these ligaments keep the bones properly aligned.

Unfortunately, the knee’s mechanics are better suited to chasing animals for dinner than to sliding into second base, says Stephen Messier, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “We weren’t designed to do the things we do with our bodies nowadays,” he explains. “The knee’s engineering isn’t the greatest.”

And it shows: Every year, nearly 11 million Americans complain to doctors about knee pain. Orthopedic surgeons operate more often on the knees than on any other body part; they performed more than 1.2 million such surgeries in 1996 alone (the latest year for which figures were kept).

Roughly 21 million Americans have osteoarthritis of the knee—a degenerative disease in which the cartilage gradually decays and fails to provide the shock-absorbent padding that cushions the bones. Many older people suffer from this painful arthritic condition; age is considered a risk factor, as are obesity and knee injuries.

For years, experts have touted leg strength as one of the best ways to ward off knee problems, including osteoarthritis. This is because the knee’s key muscular supports are the hamstrings—which run from the base of the pelvis down the back of the leg to just below the knee—and the quadriceps, the four muscles on the front of the thigh that (among other things) extend a bent leg. At the first sign of the disease, doctors often instruct their patients to build muscle tone and develop flexibility in the legs so as to delay cartilage deterioration and subdue pain.

But the findings of a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in April 2003 indicate that in some cases, building leg strength doesn’t slow the disease’s progression—in fact, it hastens it. Researchers tested 230 volunteers with osteoarthritis of the knee for quadriceps strength and knee alignment, and then retested them 18 months later. The results surprised the medical community: Many volunteers with strong quads also showed rapid cartilage deterioration. But there was a catch—many of those who had strong quads and experienced a rapid progression of the disease also had misaligned kneecaps, a small but significant impairment that intensifies pressure on the cartilage.

You don’t even have to suffer from osteoarthritis for misalignment to cause problems in your knees. In fact, Messier says, “misalignment can cause injury and osteoarthritis over long periods of time, especially if you have stronger muscles that are directing the forces improperly.” If the muscular contraction between the two sides of the knee isn’t balanced, the knee rotates as it bends, which makes the joint pull toward the stronger muscle. Over time, this wears down one meniscus faster than the other and eventually damages the bone the cartilage protects.

While the study points to the problems created by building uneven leg strength, Messier is concerned that its findings will be misinterpreted. “The last thing we want to do is discourage people from getting stronger,” he says. What the study actually highlights is the importance of evenly building the leg muscles to keep the joint properly aligned—a task for which yoga is perfect.

One of the Best Antidotes

Whether you’re out to guard against injury and disease or regain strength and flexibility after an injury, yoga can be a superb antidote to knee trouble. “Yoga is fantastic for the knees, especially for people recovering from damaged ligaments,” says Michael Salveson, who has worked on dozens of yoga students during his 33-year tenure as a Rolfer in Berkeley, California. “Yoga increases the stabilizing action of the leg’s big muscles.” When the inner and outer quadriceps are equally strong, he adds, they exert an equal pull on the ligaments, which keeps the kneecap in alignment.

Sandy Blaine is a good example. As a teenager, she enjoyed dance and gymnastics. By her early 20s, she’d dislocated both knees on several occasions. Searching for a low-impact way to stabilize her joints, Blaine tried Iyengar Yoga when she was 26. She was initially surprised by the discipline’s difficulty, yet what impressed her more was how remarkably good she felt afterward. Within six months of attending two to three Iyengar classes a week, Blaine found that her knee pain had vanished. Today, at 42, she still sounds as if she can’t believe her knees are pain-free, calling the result “an absolute miracle.”

“I was looking at a lifetime of being very constrained,” says Blaine, who is now an instructor at the Yoga Room in Berkeley and regularly conducts workshops on yoga and knee health. Regaining healthy knees “was an incredible relief,” she adds.

To evenly engage the leg muscles, Blaine does chair pose with her back against a wall. She focuses on lifting her toes and pressing down evenly through all four corners of her feet. Otherwise, the outer quadriceps do all the work and old patterns are reinforced, she explains. Another way Blaine works on equalizing muscle use is by balancing on one foot with her eyes closed. “Without the orientation of the eyes, your feet and ankles have to find a true alignment to come into balance,” she says.

Robust ligaments are also essential for healthy knees. Less elastic than muscles and tendons, ligaments can give a little and bounce back to their original shape. But trouble brews when they stretch too far: Like a rubber band that’s lost its snap, they lose their shape, leaving the joint loose. Salveson, who is also an instructor at the Rolf Institute in Boulder, Colorado, compares the microtears a ligament sustains in an injury to frays in a rope; when a few strands snap, the rope lengthens. After a torn ligament heals, one side may always be a little longer and, therefore, more susceptible to reinjury. “You can make it stronger,” he says, “but you can’t make it shorter.”

Knee experts are actually divided about whether ligaments can be strengthened. “We know that you can increase muscle and bone strength,” says Angela Smith, M.D., a clinical associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “Intuitively, we think that the other structures of the knee—ligaments and tendons—get stronger as well.”

Blane, for one, is convinced that years of Iyengar Yoga have toned her knee ligaments. “At first, my feet, ankles, and knees were so weak that the standing poses were sheer torture,” she says. “My ligaments and muscles were strong on the outer leg and weak on the inner leg, which pulled the knee joint to the side. Yoga helped me strengthen those weak areas. It taught me how not to go with the path of least resistance.” Her ligaments used to be so weak that she once dislocated her kneecap tripping on a curb. But since committing herself to a regular yoga practice, she hasn’t suffered a knee injury in years.

You also can’t overlook the role of the joint’s supple cartilage in supporting the knee. Without regular use, the cartilage protecting the knee joint becomes dry and brittle, making it vulnerable to decay. “Cartilage is like a sponge,” says William Roberts, M.D., president-elect of the American College of Sports Medicine and associate professor of family medicine at the University of Minnesota. “When you exercise, you squeeze the sponge, which allows it to soak up nutrients.”

If you’ve ever struggled to sit between your heels in Virasana or cross your legs into Padmasana, you’ve probably felt a twinge in your knee joint. While most yoga instructors agree that sharp pain is a one-way ticket out of any pose, the answer to the bigger question of how much (if any) sensation is OK is less obvious. Roberts recommends stretching muscles, not ligaments. “Tension in the muscle is fine. Sensation directly above the kneecap is not a problem,” he says. “But if the tension is on the sides of the knees, I’d back off.”

Some yoga teachers, however, consider Robert’s warning too conservative. “It’s a controversial issue,” Blaine admits. “At some point, you’re going to have some sensation.” She advises her students to breathe through the mild sensation of stretching but to immediately come out of any posture that becomes painful.

Joni Yecalsik, a yoga practitioner since 1970, discovered Iyengar Yoga in 1988 while recovering from a torn meniscus. She now teaches Iyengar classes in Hoboken, New Jersey, and encourages her students to tune in to the subtle differences between a sensation in the joint itself and one in the muscle and to avoid anything that irritates the knee joint. “You should feel an opening sensation in the belly of the muscle,” she says, “but you don’t want to strain the tendons or ligaments.”

A focus on body awareness and allowing slow, deep openings make certain forms of yoga ideal for students recovering from knee injuries. These include Iyengar and Anusara (which focus on attention to detail) and Kripalu and Viniyoga (which focus on gentle compassion and healing). If you’re recovering from a knee injury or surgery, you might want to steer clear of practices that involve a lot of athleticism and quick transitions between asanas until your recovery is complete.

Regardless of the style you choose, make sure the teacher is knowledgeable about knees and willing to see you through the recovery process. Try to move toward a tough pose with patience and compassion for yourself and with the attitude that getting into the final pose is only the icing on the cake. Then, when you get there, your knees will be as happy as you are.

7 Ways to Protect Your Knees in Yoga

1. Avoid Hyperextending: When joints are overly mobile and flex too far back, they’re hyperextended. In the knees, hyperextension often occurs in poses in which the legs are straightened, such as Triangle Pose and seated foward bend, putting an unhealthy tension on the ligaments. If you’re prone to hyperextension, keep a slight bend in the knees during standing poses and keep your weight evenly distributed among the four corners of your feet. In seated forward bends, place a rolled-up sticky mat or towel under the knee of the extended leg or legs.

2. Start With Your Feet: Proper alignment through the feet is the key to building strength evenly in the ligaments on both sides of the knee; when all the ligaments are equally strong, the kneecap glides effortlessly up and down and the cartilage doesn’t get worn down. Separate your toes and press actively through the four corners of your feet in every pose, even inversions. If your feet are out of alignment, your knees are going to suffer.

3. Keep Your Knees in Line: When moving into deep knee bends, such as Warrior 2 and side angle pose, first align your bent knee over your ankle, then draw your kneecap in line with your second toe. Maintain awareness in your back foot, pressing down evenly, while lifting up from the arch of your front foot. “If you let the arch drop, the knee falls inside the big toe, and you’re set up to suffer a number of different kinds of overuse and acute knee injuries,” says Angela Smith, a professor of orthopedic surgery.

4. Tune in to Subtle Signals: “Oftentimes, the knees don’t give immediate feedback,” explains Iyengar teacher Joni Yecalsik. “Only later do you realize you’ve gone too far. When it comes to the knees, the sensation that would normally proceed the red flag is the red flag.” If you feel achiness when you come out of a bent-knee pose, you may have worked too hard.

5. Build Strength by Balancing: Balancing poses, especially those that require moving through a bent standing leg, such as Eagle Pose, are especially beneficial. “Very dynamic balancing protects the knee against future injury by training the functional alignment, not just working the muscle,” Smith says.

6. Be Prop-Friendly: When it comes to seated asanas, nothing makes a tight knee happier than a bounty of props. In Virasana (Hero Pose), try raising your seat with blankets or a block. Anytime the knees are deeply bent, such as in Childs Pose, pressure can be relieved by placing a rolled-up washcloth as far into the knee pit as possible before bending the joint.

7. Warm Up With Hip Openers: “If your big joints aren’t open, your small joints will always take the stress,” yoga instructor Sandy Blaine says. “Many people hurt their knees doing Lotus when their hips aren’t ready.” She recommends warming up with hip stretches like Bound Angle Pose.

Keep those knees safe!!

xoxo

MB

 

Everything Is Going To Be Fine

"Everything Will Be Fine"!

Something I find myself saying;  "Everything Will Be Fine" to my kids, my SUKHA family and to myself during hard times. At times, it may feel like they are just words when you don't know what else to say. I truly mean it. With hope, faith, a positive mind set and a shit load of love; everything is going to be fine.

At the present time it does not sound so helpful when your friends and family may be feeling like everything is falling apart. Health issues, divorce, death, tragedies, and finance problems. 

Whatever it may be, it may not be okay now, but that's okay. It's okay not be fine.

We all go through tough times. Some suck more than others.

But you will get through it. We are strong and powerful. Have faith and trust. You are not alone. There is so much love around you to support you during the bad times. Stay strong and positive my friends. You got this!!

I found this AMAZING blog written by Heidi Priebe. It was perfect to read during class. After reading to myself last night and then out loud over the phone, it struck me. But not as hard as it did reading to all of you today. I found myself choking up and then the tear. (or maybe more than one). ha

Please read carefully out loud, to yourself and to someone else. 

Everything Is Going to Be Fine

You’re one year and seven weeks old and you cannot take two steps without falling over, even though everyone else around you can. You can’t speak without your words coming out in starts and stops. You can’t make sense of where you are or who’s around you, even though you sense that in some way, that it’s supposed to make sense. You often fall asleep in one place and wake up somewhere different altogether. But you’re okay. You’re going to grow up. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re eight years old and you are starting to discover there’s a hierarchy, even on the playground. You are not at the top. You read a lot of books, you hand in your homework on time, you do everything your parents say to do but it doesn’t always translate ideally. You’re starting to scrutinize yourself. The way your body looks, the way your voice sounds, the way you cannot run as fast or make others laugh as loudly as the other kids around you. You don’t know how to grow up right. But you’re eight years old. There’s a world outside the playground, you just can’t see it yet. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re seventeen. You’ve been accepted to the college you wanted, but your boyfriend got in on the other coast. You don’t want to be a high school cliche. You don’t want to have to move on alone. You’re starting to realize, for the first time in your life, that you’ll have to make choices that are not win-win. You’re going to have your heart in two places at once. Life isn’t simple or linear or easy to predict the way it used to be. Your heart is breaking and everyone is buzzing excitedly about your future. You’re not ready for your future. But it’s going to come, and it’s going to be better than you could have imagined. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re twenty-two, and at your college graduation. You have a job prospect lined up and a sky-high list of ambitions and more privilege than a lot of your classmates. But you’re not sure you can live up to your big, huge plans and dreams. You’re not sure you can make it outside of this city that made you into the person you are, with the friends who have taken up the biggest, hugest place inside your heart for so many years. You’re not sure you even want to make it. You’re not sure that there’s anything better out there. You don’t know yet that there is, it’s just a very different ‘better.’ Just a ‘better’ that is sweet in all the ways your current ‘better’ is sour. Just a ‘better’ that might not be better at all, it’s just happiness in a different form. A form you can’t imagine yet, because you are twenty-two and scared. But you won’t be forever. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re twenty-six and falling behind in every way. You’re more alone than you knew you could be, you’re more lost than you ever thought possible. Your heart has invested in too many people who left. Your plans have been built around too many empires that fell. You’re twenty-six and sitting at your dining room table with a steaming cup of coffee and the silence you’ve forgotten how to fill. You don’t know if things get to come together for you. You don’t know if you’re going to become one of those people who can ever say they got their lives in order. You’re worried that you’re going to fade away into insignificance, but you won’t. Because you’re twenty-six and you’ve forgotten that being found first means getting lost. Which means you’re exactly where you ought to be. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re thirty-four and you’re supposed to know more by now. You’re supposed to understand how to make a relationship last, how to structure and provide for other people, how to keep yourself in check when all of the shit hits the fan, but you don’t know. You’re thirty-four years old and there are days where you still want to curl into your mother’s lap and hear her tell you it’ll all be alright. Except soon you’re going to be someone else’s mother, soon you’re going to be the one someone comes to for hope and for comfort, and you’re not sure that you’re up to the task. You’re not sure you will ever know enough. Except you will. Because you already know everything you need to. You just can’t see that yet. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re fifty and you’re not sure how the years have gone so fast. You’re worried that you’re stuck now – on the singular path that you’ve chosen, on the life that you built with young hands. You’re fifty and you’ve watched too many of the people you love already leave you, clutched too tightly to what you have left. You’re not sure if the future belongs to you at all anymore, or if it’s only left for others. For the children taking their first steps, for the eight-year-olds sizing themselves up on the playground. You’ve forgotten that you were once each of those people. That so many times felt like the end, just like now. But it wasn’t the end. It never is. Everything is going to be fine.

You’re eight-five and you cannot take two steps without falling over, even though everyone else around you can. You can’t speak without your words coming out in starts and stops. You can’t make sense of where you are or who’s around you, even though you sense that in some way, it’s supposed to make sense. You’re eight-five and on some days you are twenty-two years old, with your college diploma in your fingers and your hopes and dreams aligned. You’re eight-five and some days you are thirty-six years old watching your child take his first unsuspecting steps. You are eighty-five years old and you’re not entirely sure, most days, if your life is ending or beginning, but a part of you suspects that it’s both. A part of you knows that there has never been a true ending before this, and maybe there are no true endings after. You finally know that you are every version of yourself you’ve ever been. That there will still be versions you can’t see yet. Everything is going to be fine

By: Heidi Priebe

 

 

Three Steps to being a "Successful" Yogi.

Happy Monday!!

Wanted to share this great article by Ashley Colloton Loescher that was posted on Elephant Journal.

I hope you all have a great day!! Stay dry and safe!!

Our yoga practice started long before we think.

It began on the day of our birth, with our first breath. When our body was exposed to the temperature of the room, the lights, the sound of mother’s voice. With time, we continuously became more aware of when something hurt and when something felt good.

We developed an understanding of how our thoughts, words and actions affected ourselves, and others. With experience, we became more mindful of all the pieces that make up daily life.

As we all continue to learn and grow with our yoga, there will be good days and bad. So life goes, no matter what hobbies or careers we choose to pursue. As natural ebbs and flows continuously present themselves, I have learned three key principles to staying grounded and focused while remaining a successful yogi.

1. Humility.

Initially, I experienced feelings of jealousy and envy as my peers began performing more advanced postures and receiving opportunities to teach yoga. It forced me to confront my feelings of insecurity, asking myself questions such as, “Does my own self-worth lessen because of the success of another?”

I found that my discomfort came from feeling a sense of ownership and seeking attention and approval through the practice. Once I was able to identity these selfish desires and refocus on yoga in a truer sense, I was able to give credit to others and feel genuine happiness as they succeeded. I found that humility allowed me to remain unattached to the outcome.

As we gain more and more techniques and knowledge, the key is to stay humble. Avoid fueling ego, wanting or needing something from practicing or teaching. Remember that yoga is a universal language shared by all beings. Gaining knowledge of yoga does not make one superior; rather, it makes us all equal. Stay unattached to identifying with yoga and seeking ownership of something that belongs to no one.

Ways to create more humility in your life:

>> Avoid seeking recognition.
>> Give credit and praise to others.
>> Share what you know and congratulate others as they move forward and succeed.

2. Seek additional interests.

I experienced a sense of self-inflicted pressure when I first began practicing yoga. A pressure to practice and teach a lot, a self-imposed and misguided belief that more was better and made me more of a yogi.

As I began my practice of letting go of feeling attached to yoga and a sense of dependency, I began to slowly explore other hobbies with friends and family, finding peace and comfort in hiking, painting, singing and serving the local community.

When something is new and exciting, it might be tempting to identify with that new interest. Or perhaps we replace old feelings of heartache and pain with a new label. The key is to remain open. Being a “yogi” is only one percent of who we are. We are also love, light, plasma, muscles, stars and galaxies. Avoid limiting yourself to a role. You are more; you are expansive. Let that expansiveness fuel your life.

A yoga practice is our introduction to mindfulness. It is a defined time and space to pay attention to our body and breath. However, the ultimate goal is to pull this awareness into other activities. I have learned that one is not a yogi because of constantly performing postures; one becomes a yogi when they practice yoga while not performing postures.

Ways to experience yoga off the mat:

>> Volunteer in our local community.
>> Spend time in nature.
>> Sing while cleaning the house.

3. It’s not temporary.

Although I was practicing yoga in the physical sense, I would occasionally find myself speaking poorly of my peers to make myself feel better temporarily. I realized I was harming myself by trying to advance too quickly in my physical practice. I noticed a sense of addiction to exercise and postures.

This behavior created discomfort and discontent, as it was out of line with the universe’s natural rhythm of unconditional love and compassion.

Yoga in the classroom helped to create mindfulness, and I began to become more aware of the truth that there is no ultimate perfection. There is no one way it is supposed to play out. This gave me permission to let go of control. Surrendering allowed me to settle into the present moment.

There, in the present moment, we begin to learn what needs to change in our lives to align us with a sense of greater good. With this awareness, my practice no longer has a beginning or an end; it is continuous.

Yoga does not begin at the start of the drop-in class and end with the closing om. A class or book or workshop or training or recording—these simply demarcate a period of study in addition to living mindfully. They key is to implement yoga in such a way that it becomes a manageable, effortless part of our being.

Ways to integrate our yoga:

>> Do the best we can with pure intentions.
>> Surrender to the natural rhythm of the universe.
>> Smile with love and compassion.

~

Author: Ashley Colloton Loescher

Real Men Do Yoga

I have many men that take yoga at SUKHA. But not enough. Yoga is not just for women in leggings. Yoga is for everyone. Especially men.

So many men that I have spoken to keep saying "I am dying to try", or "I can't touch my toes", or "I will be to your class soon, I just have to loose more weight first". 

Here's the deal my friends, yoga is a full body workout. It's not all about chanting, meditating, talking about feelings or other stereo types that most of you think. Yoga builds strength, increases flexibility, improves balance, stability, sleep and relaxation. I am not sure that lifting weights, and running as it tightens up all of your muscles in the process can do all of the above. 

If you still can't get over that you think it's too girly, take a look at all of the professional athletes that are practicing yoga. Torrey Smith, Evan Longoria, Vernon Davis, Kevin Love, Steven Jackson, Sean Burke, Blake Griffin, Victor Cruz, Dirk Nowitzki, Russell Wilson, Kevin Garnett, Tom Brady, Shaquille O'Neal, Ray Lewis, and Lebron James just to name a few. 

Feeling intimidated?? Don't. Come try at SUKHA. The "Non-Intimidating" Yoga studio. Both men and women practice here. We laugh, dance, sing, flow, learn and grow together. No competition goes on in this studio. EVER!!!

Here is a testimonial from one of my male students:

"My adult fitness life has evolved around lifting weights, biking and boxing.  All great workouts, however shortens the muscle and if you don't stretch properly flexibility is non existent.  18 months ago I tried yoga with MB, thinking it would be easy except for touching my toes.  It was just the opposite. It was hard, intense and the sweat poured out of me like a spin class.  What an incredible workout. 

Today, 18 mos later I am stronger with leaner muscle and can almost touch my toes. 

Practicing yoga is a great compliment to your other workout routines, it strengthens your core, promotes better breathing, and helps with flexibility. 

I highly recommend yoga as a great life-long workout."-S.H.

 Try it. It will change your life by improving your other workouts, prevent injury, increases libido and sexual performance, relieves chronic lower back pain, and reduces stress and helps you sleep better.

So, leave your ego at the door along with your leggings and incense. Wear your oldest basketball shorts and your Bud Light t-shirt from 1992. Because no one inside SUKHA cares what you wear. If you want to wear leggings, of course feel free. As long as you let me take your pic!!!

Be happy

Be healthy

Be strong

Maribeth