Procrastinators Rejoice! Time is Relative

Procrastination. We have all been guilty of it. While we might be fully cognizant of a looming deadline, some of us will wait until the last minute to start something that is too soon due.

 

Ironically, the definition of procrastination is, “the action of postponing something,” as if procrastinating was an active pursuit. Quite the contrary. When we procrastinate, we don’t act.  We succumb to inaction while time keeps ticking away.

 

If you have a pending deadline or expectation on your horizon, and you’ve been putting it off, this meditation is for you. Procrastination doesn’t mean doom and failure; it just gives you less time to do what you need to do. When you are crunched for time, use this meditation to your advantage.

 

Find yourself in a comfortable position, free from thoughts of your agenda. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Scan your body to release tension, tightness, and stress. Spend five minutes in this preparatory practice, or until you feel completely at ease with your situation. Do not linger too long, as this is not another excuse to keep procrastinating!

 

Rather than feel stuck and powerless over not yet reaching your end result, concentrate on the steps necessary to complete your goal. Do you need to be sitting at your desk? Picking up the phone? Typing? Visualize the steps required to do the task you’ve been postponing. See these actions as merely a means to an end, rather than a daunting, anxiety-producing pile of work. Release all judgment, fear, or aversion toward these steps. Continue with this guided imagery practice until you can completely focus on what you need to do without contempt.

 

By waiting to begin your project, you have become short on time, but don’t worry. Consider Einstein’s theory of relativity and time dilation.  

 

Imagine the finished product as a light at the end of a black-hole-like tunnel. In your mind’s eye, step into the tunnel, and remain focused. While you are in the tunnel, you will experience a time warp. It will feel like you are able to stretch out the seconds that count down to your due date. You must remain focused and in motion for this to work.

 

Now, start your project as if you were in the tunnel. Understand there is no escaping it until your project has been completed. Once your work is done, the gravitational pull of procrastination will end and you will be free to float in the universe of achievement. Until then, keep that tunnel vision. Godspeed!

3 Tips for Mastering Balance Poses

Most yogis I know have a love-hate relationship with balance poses. Some days balancing comes easy, and other days standing on one leg feels like torture and humiliation. There is a reason for this, and it might have little to do with your physical ability.

Get out of your head

If yesterday you rocked half moon pose but today you fell on your rear, examine your state of mind. When life has us over-thinking, worrying, or fretting about everything, we won’t have the inner balance necessary for the outer balance.

Fixing your gaze on a still point in the room is a great way to help your balance because it keeps your mind focused. Be in the moment, find balance in your breath, and let the outside world dissolve around you.

Use your core

Next time you are in a balance pose, imagine someone’s hands are wrapped around your waist, holding you steady. Stand up tall, pull in on the sides of your waist, activate your lower belly, and bring your front lower ribs into your spine. This simple adjustment will enhance your stability.

Let yourself wobble

You don’t have to be completely still in balance poses, because when you move, your body’s proprioceptive system is turned on to retrain the muscles to reach a state of equilibrium. It is advantageous to wobble as it will give you better balance off the mat, as well as for sports and activities that you love to do.

 

Love > Hate: A Peaceful Meditation in Violent Times

Waking up to to violence in our communities is like being served burnt toast for breakfast. When malicious behavior mars our heavenly slice of life, we too become burned, crusty, and our hearts blackened by the devastating acts of those around us. While we try and scrape off the darkened edges of society, we still end up having to ingest the charred remnants of violent, criminal actions. And, that doesn’t settle well in the peaceful belly of humanity.

The adage ‘like creates like,’ holds true in every situation. What happens to you when you see someone yawn? You yawn, too. What happens to you when someone breaks out into uncontrollable laughter? You laugh, too. Now, what happens when your neighborhood has been ravished by anger and violence? You get angry, too.

Unfortunately, violence is a common occurrence in our human experience. It is much like fire. The more fuel we give it, the more it will burn.

While it is healthy and productive to process our emotions, going beyond what heals is not helpful. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed returning violence for violence multiplies violence, and that darkens cannot drive out darkness, because only love can drive out hate. Of course, choking on a piece of burnt toast isn’t our idea of love, but spitting it out at someone in anger is not the answer.

This meditation is designed to dampen the flames of violence, and promote peace in the world.

Practice this:

Begin in a comfortable position, free from distraction. If you have just witnessed images of violence on the news, or in person, become aware of how your body feels. Bring your attention to someone who you would like to hurt because of some filthy, violent act they’ve senselessly committed. Notice the stress and tension arise in your body as you think of this person. Imagine these feelings like a fire blackening your soul. Visualize the flames burning your heart, and charring your spirit. Sit with these uncomfortable feelings for several deep breaths.

Now, bring your attention to someone you love dearly. When you think of this person, notice the feeling of peace and contentment in your heart and soul. Feel that love and connection beginning to put out the angry inferno in your soul.

Now, notice the different sensations between hating someone and loving someone. What feels best in your body? Embrace love within every cell of your being.

Fully embody the notion that love is much softer, sweeter, and way more powerful than violence. Just as MLK Jr. also said, “By its very nature, hate destroys and tears down; by its very nature, love creates and builds up,” we must put our energy toward loving vs hating.

Let us all practice this meditation every day, and may we no longer choke on burnt toast, but instead be free to break bread with all, and celebrate peace in the bountiful banquet of life.

 

Business Opportunity: Yoga Studio for Sale

Heart and Core Yoga studio is a profitable business in a prime location, and is looking for a new owner who has a passion for yoga, Pilates, fitness, and maintaining a healthy oasis for residents and visitors of Montezuma County.

Interested in a satisfying career in a beautiful part of the country? Call Jill (970) 739-0547, or email info@heartandcoreyoga.com

The value of owning an established business that serves so many in the spirit of health, happiness, and community, is priceless.

The cost of the business reflects the studio’s reputation, as well as substantial earnings for a teacher/owner. Our specialized Heart and Core Yoga Teacher Training curriculum materials are part of the package.

It is a prime time for increased retail sales, special events, and serving a broader client base through programs such as chair yoga, meditation, Zumba, Barre, fitness, yoga and hiking/mountain biking/cross training outings and retreats.

According to the latest Yoga in America study, the number of U.S. yoga practitioners has increased to over 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012, and practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment and accessories, rose to $16 billion a year up from $10 billion over the past four years.

Many up and coming trends are surprisingly successful and are thriving in the yoga industry.  Goat yoga has been selling out classes across the country, as well as yoga with dogs, and cats, just to name a few. Point being, the yoga business is not slowing down any time soon.

The potential is huge, and the time is now.

Serious inquiries only, please.

Owner and teacher, Jill Lawson, and her husband Dean, are moving to Hawaii semi-longterm, and are graciously examining offers and possibilities for the future of Heart and Core Yoga studio.

 

A Walking Meditation to Release Negative Thinking

Walking is a wonderful form of exercise. While some rave about the physical benefits of walking, taking a stroll in nature is also very good for the mind and the spirit.

This walking meditation has a remarkable way of turning your habitual negative thought processes into constructive and creative thinking. Why not make your next ordinary walk in the park extraordinary?

Before you head out the door, set an intention to let go of negative or self-sabotaging thoughts. Then, put yourself in the mindset that your walk will be less about physical exercise, and more about shifting your thought processes to serve you better.

In the beginning of your walk, take a few moments to notice the subtle aspects of your surroundings. Savor the sights, sounds, and smells all around you. View the world at large without placing judgment on it. Keep an open mind.

As you continue your walk, practice using what you see, hear and smell to help draw your focus away from your thoughts. Imagine your thoughts are emitting only faint and muffled background noises, much like hearing the sound of traffic coming and going along a nearby street.

Be sure and let go of the need to bounce around from thought to thought. Trust that when you detach from your thoughts, your mind will do all it can to sift through and release old habitual thought patters. Negative thinking isn’t a natural function of the mind because positive thinking is what your mind is innately built to do.

During this time of disengaging from your thoughts, imagine your mind working like a sieve. Picture it filtering through its mental and emotional contents, separating and releasing all negative thoughts. Practice this imagery for the majority of your walk.

You will soon notice your mind beginning to stream positive and creative thoughts. Do not give up now. This is the time when negativity gets out of the way and great ideas come to the surface, brilliant inventions are realized, and problems are solved.

It is important that you do not try and force positive thinking. Trust that your mind is made to think good things on its own so let it do the work. If a negative thought comes back up, go back to letting your thoughts flow through your mental sieve.

Enjoy this walking meditation as a way to clear your head, uplift your spirit, and spark a new, creative, and positive outlook on life.

 

 

 

 

 

Yoga Nidra: Reflections on a Very Personal Vision

Yoga Nidra is a unique, guided imagery meditation designed to bring us into a deep state of relaxation. During Yoga Nidra, interesting visions and thoughts may arise. Our experiences through such an inward journey teach us so much about ourselves.

A recent Yoga Nidra practice gave me some insight into something I had unknowingly been struggling with, and spurred a desire to share the following imagery that spontaneously came to my mind.

I was instructed to think of something in my life that felt incomplete, or not yet actualized. I thought of something, or more accurately, a situation I’ve always wanted to be in, but I’m not, yet. Karen Mischke, our teacher, asked the class to scan our bodies and notice physical sensations associated with our current thoughts. I couldn’t deny the burning rage in my solar plexus. After a few moments of ‘breathing into the feeling’ I felt an ache in my heart and wanted to cry. My eyes were getting moist and my chest was heavy like a looming thunderhead waiting to release a torrential rainstorm. That’s when I had an epiphany and began to see this guided imagery unfold.

I imagined myself shedding tears. Overflowing tears from my heart rained down onto the fire of rage in my belly. I saw the flames dampen, and I felt my pent up anger subside. In my mind’s eye, I continued to cry, and eventually, the fire went out.

What happened next was one of the most vivid imageries I have ever seen. Beautiful steel gray streams of smoke began to rise from the ashes of my extinguished anger. In this smoke I saw the message of my intention. It rose up and swirled around my third eye, and went up and out through the crown of my head. I saw it as a smoke signal to the universe, asking for guidance in achieving my goals.

 (Photo of Bronwyn by Mike Znerold)

I realized I had not yet surrendered to a higher power for help attaining my desired situation, instead I was unknowingly held back by rage. Now, I trust the message is out there and my request for guidance will be honored.

In looking back after writing this article for my regular meditation column in Om Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine, I realize the recent changes in my life are indeed part of a grand master plan that I may not be entirely aware of just yet. I do know, from somewhere deep inside myself, my prayers are being answered.

Next time you are practicing Yoga Nidra, or in quiet meditation, ask yourself the same question. What haven’t you actualized in your life? Scan your body and take note of physical sensations. Breathe into those sensations, and discover your own insight and imagery. Unveil what will set you free, and bring your dream to fruition.

Yoga Nidra takes place on Friday’s at 10:45am. While the class structure may seem like a glorified nap, I assure you, remarkable things happen in that one special hour with Karen Mischke each week. 

A Meditation for Aging Gracefully

For some, the thought of getting older is terrifying and the experience, painful. Dying young is indeed a tragedy, but so is defying or denying the grace and beauty of the aging process, no matter how physically and emotionally challenging it is to get older. The wisdom we can gain from life is precious, provided we embrace it, rather than feel distraught and fearful about how quickly our youth vanishes.

The following meditation can be a tool to shift the perspective of aging from a dreadful and uncomfortable fact of life, to a liberating and inspiring ascension through time. Practice whenever any negativity or uncertainty arises about your own aging process.

Relax in a comfortable position. Savor a few long and slow deep breaths. Enjoy the quality of each inhale and exhale, and notice the refreshing energy each breath brings to your mind and your body.

Reminisce over the course of your life. Go back as far as you can remember, from the years of being a toddler to the age you are now. Recall detailed events of your youth and teenage years.

Now, imagine a timeline, much like the ones you see in history books. On the left side of that timeline you see the date you were born. See markers along the way highlighting your life’s special moments. On the far right side, your timeline will end, marking the day of your death. For many, the thought of this is chilling. Listen to how your body feels as you visualize your full timeline, from birth to death. If anxiety or tension arises, breathe into those uncomfortable sensations until they have waned, or completely passed. Use your breath to relax and prepare to embrace the reality of aging.

Next, imagine turning your horizontal timeline a one-quarter turn, so that your birthday is at the bottom, and the course of your life takes a vertical path. Visualize the inevitable end of your timeline not as a stopping point, but a point in time that merges with the infinite blue sky, beyond the confines of your age. Let this image settle into your mind.

As you rise along your life’s timeline, understand that there is no looking back, nor any way to look forward. You continue, poised and balanced in the ‘now.’ Year after year you keep ascending, your unbounded vision becoming clearer. Enjoy the view of aging, for some will never experience the same lofty height.

Active Meditation is the Healthier Choice for Sedentary People

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy, if not deadly. Heart disease, obesity, and depression are just a few consequences of inactivity, and in most cases, these conditions could be prevented if our bodies were more active.

 

That said, what kind of harmful effects might we endure from a practice seated meditation? If stiff knees and a tight lower back aren’t painful enough, the thought of damaging your health while trying to gain inner peace seems blatantly counterproductive, especially if your already life a sedentary lifestyle.

For those of you who don’t get enough exercise, practicing a form of active meditation instead of the classic seated meditation might be a better option.

The following suggestions will get your body moving while still enjoying the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a meditation practice.

Walking or running meditation

This is my personal favorite way to slip into a meditative state, while still being active. Choose a place to walk or run that is free from distractions. These places may include a trail in the woods, a path by a quiet lake, or along a deserted street. While walking, try not to direct your thoughts to any one thing, instead, allow for a stream of thoughts to come and go through your mind. Bringing a furry friend adds to the delight!

Eventually, with practice, you will reach a meditative state of clarity and understanding. This will help you find it easier to make decisions, or come up with your next great idea.

Cleaning or yard work meditation

Few people look forward to house cleaning, and some loathe working in the yard. But, with the right frame of mind, cleaning or doing yard work can be very Zen. Sweeping, raking, or mowing the lawn is very rhythmic. When you connect your mind with the rhythmic cadence these activities produce, your thoughts will dissipate and leave you feeling calm and serene. Plus, it might just change the way you feel about doing housework, as it may just become your biggest form of stress relief.

Dancing meditation

You don’t have to be a great dancer, nor do you have to have any coordination to enjoy this type of active meditation. All you need to do is turn up the volume, start moving your body, and notice the space between your ears clear right up.

Be sure to choose music that is uplifting and has a positive message, because when you are meditating your mind acts like a sponge and it will soak in every detail without you even knowing.

 

Other activities can bring us to a state of meditation. The list includes knitting, swimming, singing, skiing, and more. What is your favorite way to keep the peace in your head and make life less stressful, while being active all at the same time? Please share!

 

Serenity Now! A Mindful Practice for Anger Management

Anger is a natural human emotion, one that is important to express. But, we must let go of our anger constructively, and not destructively. When we suppress it, our body suffers. Tension takes over, blood pressure rises, and whoever or whatever is in our path better get out of the way because no one can bottle-up anger for very long before blowing their top in an inappropriate fit of rage.

Expressing anger doesn’t have to be dangerous, fear inducing, or cause harm. It is possible to find healthy means to move uncomfortable feelings out of our mind and body so we can be at peace again.

The following is a guided imagery meditation designed to help keep anger from obstructing the flow of serenity. Practice in a safe place whenever anger starts to bite, and let it go before it eats you up.

Lie on your back in a comfortable position away from any hard-surfaced objects such as a nightstand, chair, doors or walls. Take a moment to reflect on whatever caused your angry feelings. Imagine everything associated with your anger compressing into a dense rock, about the size of your fist.

Next, imagine you are holding a slingshot in your left hand. See a vivid image of this hand-catapult, with it’s rubber band and sturdy handle. Now, imagine using your right hand to pick up the dense rock that contains everything about your anger. Put the rock in the slingshot and imagine pulling back on the rubber band.

Begin to tense your body as you imagine holding the rock in the slingshot. Squeeze your arms, legs, core, and face muscles. Take a deep breath and hold it in. Now, with all your might, let go of the rock, let out a roaring exhale, spread your arms and legs out as far as you can, and see the rock that holds everything about your anger being flung into outer space, where it explodes into particles of dust.

Repeat this exercise three times.

  • On the first time, imagine the person or event that stirred up anger being launched far from your field of vision.
  • The second time, imagine physical sensations of anger being released from your body.
  • And lastly, on the third trial, let go of resentment.

Anger is a natural human emotion, one that you can manage properly. There is no need to deny anger. Just feel it, and then let go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Does the Color of Your Yoga Mat Say About You?

Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to certain colors? Be it steamy grey, or wild fuchsia, colors can reflect the way we feel about ourselves, as well as directly influence our mood. Remember the classic mood ring from the 1970’s? While the color of your yoga mat doesn’t change based on your mood, it can make your mood change while you are using it.

It is no surprise that yoga mats these days come in a rainbow of shades. Tiptoe across the floor of our yoga studio and you will see varied tones of greens, purples, and reds, in addition to multicolored, patterned, or printed mats of numerous colors.

Call it silly nonsense, but the color of your yoga mat can either inspire or dampen your enthusiasm with regard to your yoga practice.

The following are a few explanations of how the color of your yoga mat can affect your mood, energy level, and inner peace.

Red

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Those who chose a red yoga mat are usually solid and grounded, and most likely attracted to the vim and vigor certain yoga styles offer. Practicing on a red yoga mat will certainly spark a little liveliness under your feet, but be prepared to work extra hard at cooling down toward the end of class. Red instills a fiery quality to your practice, and will keep you feeling the heat long after class has ended.

Purple

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Purple mats are gorgeous. This rich and royal tone invokes a sense of elegance and jewel-like presence to your yoga practice. Want to feel like a king or a queen seated confidently on the palace throne? Take a seat on your purple yoga mat and be absorbed in an attitude of richness and luxury.

Blue

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Blue is very comforting, which is why it is a fabulous choice for a yoga mat. All shades of blue promote serenity and peace, as the color blue is very cooling and soothing for most people. Step foot on a blue yoga mat and you’ll feel as if you’re riding atop a gentle ocean wave, and as a result, your practice will feel very free and easy.

Orange

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Nothing seeks attention more than the color orange. From road construction cones to a deer hunter’s wardrobe, orange is a color that begs to be noticed. Those who practice on orange yoga mats are not afraid to stand proud and be who they are. Orange is also a playful color, and instills a child-like quality to your yoga practice. An orange yoga mat will bring fun to your practice as you play with adventurous poses such as inversions or arm balances.

Green

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Picture a salubrious garden, acres and acres of lush rainforest, or a field of rich, wild grasses, and you’ll soon understand how a green yoga mat might give you the sense that you are connected to nature in all of its magical splendor. Practice poses like tree pose and mountain pose on your green yoga mat and it will be hard for you to not feel uplifted and inspired by the natural beauty that is all around you.

Pink

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Pink mats are wonderful to help promote breast cancer awareness. The color pink also exemplifies rosy cheeks, bubblegum, and the blush of first love. Are you totally in love with yoga? Express it by practicing on a pink mat, and your yoga practice will love you back. Be flirtatious in balance poses, sweeten your standing poses, and feel energized by your devoted commitment to loving yourself, your yoga, and your care for finding a cure.

Black

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Look up at the night sky and you’ll witness the dazzle of a dark and expansive universe. Classic, ageless, and never boring, black will always stand the test of time. Practicing on a black yoga mat offers the same dose of inspiration as pondering the mysteries of the universe. Relaxing on a black yoga mat brings attention to the infinite possibilities available to you.

 

Manuka yoga mats are available in all colors at the Heart and Core Yoga studio boutique! 

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Think You’re Done Making Progress on the Yoga Mat? Think Again!

Reaching a plateau in yoga can be discouraging. When we first roll out the yoga mat, a rapid swell in our ability gives rise to our motivation to keep practicing. We embrace the cresting wave of progress, but inevitably, the acceleration that pushed us forward will wane and leave us reeling aimlessly on the proverbial yoga plateau. In between the thrill of being on top of the curve, and the dream of overcoming challenges on the mat, there is a pause. This very moment in time is what makes many give up on our aspirations of becoming better yogis. We owe it to ourselves to keep going.

Progress comes in waves.

First, we must understand that while time may seem to be at a standstill when our practice lags, nothing is ever stagnant. In fact, we are in a continual state of motion. Molecules in our bodies are moving, our hearts keep beating, our blood keeps flowing, and our minds keep thinking. Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, understood this to be true when he said, “The only thing that is constant is change.”

If you have reached a plateau in your yoga practice, the following meditation will keep you from feeling discouraged by your seemingly lack of progress. Practice this meditation when accelerated changes in your mind and body have slowed.

Begin in a comfortable position, free from distraction. Take several deep breaths to clear your mind and relax your body. Bring your awareness to the image of an ocean. Notice the dynamic movement of the sea, and let this image settle in your mind. Next, off in the distance, see a swell begin to develop. Watch this swell pick up speed as it reaches its maximum height. Within seconds, see the swell crash and flatten, as it stretches across the shore.

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While it may seem like nothing is happening as you anticipate the next swell, take a closer look. What do you see? Perhaps you notice a unique pattern of sea foam across the surface of the ocean. Maybe you can hear hundreds of tiny ocean bubbles breaking wind. Whatever you envision, bring all of your attention to the nuances during the plateau before the next swell. Now notice the same subtleties in your body. Become intrigued by the constant changes that are happening moment by moment, and in between the accelerated waves of your progress on the mat. Cherish this time, because the next wave is coming!

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Yoga Provides Relief of Allergy Symptoms

Unusually warm winter days are a treat, unless you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from spring allergies. This year, allergists are predicting a longer and more severe allergy season, and say sufferers will be seeking relief in droves, even if the high spring temperatures cool down.

It is common for allergy victims to run straight for the drug store to stock up on nasal sprays, eye drops and antihistamines, and some go to extremes for more hard-hitting treatments such as steroidal allergy shots. If you have either given up on unnatural remedies found in a box, carton or plastic tube, or don’t like needles, try yoga for the relief of your stubborn allergy symptoms.

You might think some yoga poses just contribute to the pain and agony of having allergies. Downward dog is not the most comfortable yoga pose to be in if you have clogged sinuses and a pounding head. For some, the just thought of putting their head below their waist with a stuffy nose is enough to bring on the sinus pressure. Plus, taking those long, slow, deep breaths in and out through your nose when it’s clogged up is like trying to vacuum the floor with no power to the vacuum.

To help clear your stuffy head, try the yogic breathing called alternate nostril breathing. Just like it sounds, you will breathe in through one nostril and breathe out through the other, alternating the lead nostril per breath. Use your thumb and fourth finger to block off the nostril that is not in use, and be sure to have a box of tissues nearby because once to get your breath flowing, the rest will flow as well.

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Inversions are a great way to help flush the lymph nodes and stimulate the immune system, two great actions to combat allergies. Again, dropping your head below your waist won’t feel very good, so instead, practice the following semi-inverted pose to gain the same benefits without the discomfort.

Lie on the floor on your back with your hips very close to a wall. You may prop up your head on a blanket or small pillow for comfort and ease. Place both legs straight up the wall and let them rest against it. Legs-up-the-wall pose is a very effective yet mild inversion to assist in flushing your system and restoring your immunity.

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AnneCorrine is teaching a Restorative Yoga class for the prevention and alleviation of allergy symptoms on Sunday, March 12, noon-1:30pm. $12 drop in, or one class pass per person.