Thursday, July 27, 2017


According to the yoga sutras, when contentment and gratitude are present, unexcelled happiness pervades our being.  This feeling of contentment is not the same as what we feel when we have everything we ever wanted in life in terms of possessions, a partner, and an ideal job.  Those things can all change.  True contentment comes from the understanding that who we really are at our core is that light of awareness that all being share. 

Gratefulness is a feeling of great joy with who we are and what we have. Ponder all that you have to be grateful for such as health, friends, community, and life. Think of the millions of people around the world who have so much less in comparison, yet are happy nevertheless.  {Nicolai Bachman}

We have learned a lot from our Sassy Seniors.  Even though they are dealing with severe memory issues, they still radiate contentment.  They are grateful for each meal served and savor the mealtime experience.  They appreciate the simple act of holding hands.   They are ever so grateful to receive a smile or a hug.  Those that can still walk do so with exuberance.  One man who no longer communicates plays beautiful music on the piano.  Another sings along with every song on our Yoga for Memory Care playlist.

Our Story; I am content. This month we found contentment as we sang along with Que sera, sera

"Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be"

Virginia and Ena find contentment.

We can all learn a few tips from these elders whose minds no longer serve them in the traditional sense but instead seem to have overcome the part of the mind most of us battle with; the ego mind of judgment, and discontentment. 

In South India there is a heartfelt way of expressing one's appreciation. Instead of saying "thank you," they say "Santosha (I am content.)"


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Eclipse Your Fears

Crescent Moon Side Stretch on a sunny day!

The U.S. is in for a rare astronomical treat on August 21st. It is the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire U.S. in 99 years. Everywhere the moon's full shadow hits the earth, bright daylight will turn to twilight. The sky, if it is clear, will shine faintly with stars. Winds will surge. The temperature will drop as much as 10 degrees. Birds, it has been reported, become frantic in advance of the encroaching darkness and then, eerily, turn quiet. For a brief few minutes, the sun's light, needed for life on earth, disappears.

This is a powerful time for yoga. A few moments of complete darkness during the day reminds us of our place in the cosmos - that we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves - one of the primary lessons in the Yoga Sutras.

 "An eclipse strips away all your worries. You feel connected to other people - regardless of where they are from or their political views. It transforms you." {Kate Russo} 

Our story this month is "I am Courageous." To celebrate the sun, moon and earth being in perfect alignment we are practicing a Sun, Moon and Earth Salutation Tuesdays in August at Gold's Gym in Breaux Bridge, 9:30 a.m. with the exception of August 22nd. With gratefulness I will be experiencing first contact on the Oregon coast. 


Moon Salutation

Begin in Mountain Pose, inhale rounding the arms overhead and bring your palms to touch.  Exhale and side stretch for Crescent Moon to the right; inhale back to center. Exhale to Goddess Pose, taking a wide stance and lowering into a squat while keeping your knees in line with your ankles. Inhale and straighten your legs, adjusting your feet, exhale as you transition to Extended Triangle Pose on the right. On your next inhale turn both feet to face right then exhale as you move your hands to the floor on either side of your front leg for Intense Stretch. From here, bend your front knee and find a High Lunge. Inhale, turn your back toes out, and shift your hips down and over your front ankle, coming into Side Lunge on the right. Walk your hands and feet to center and come into Low Squat. Transition to Side Lunge to the left and repeat the same poses on the left side, but in reverse order. End in Mountain Pose bringing your hands to your heart. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Cultivating Patience

"Adopt the pace of nature...her secret is patience."
                                     - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Flowers blossom beautifully when they are ready. 
Patience is being open to each moment and allowing things to unfold in their own time. Practicing patience allows us to let go of expectations and be here now. The physical focus of our practice this month is hip-openers. Cultivating patience is necessary to allow tight, stiff hips to open, soften and relax. Our story; I practice patience.
We live in a world of immediate gratification. We want everything right now! Yet, there is no way we can force flexibility. It takes patience. Impatience increases the possibility of poor decisions and in our yoga practice this can cause injury, and as most of us know impatience in our life causes stress. The physical practice of yoga gives us the opportunity to focus on patience and transfer the wisdom we receive into all aspects of our life. 
Here are a few things we might consider as we practice patience. 
  • Take a moment to check in; connect to the space, the body and the breath. What sensations do you notice? What thoughts do you notice?
  • When transitioning from one pose to another, remember that transitions are as important as the poses themselves; stay connected with your body and breath during transitions. 
  • Become aware of your gaze and try to keep it steady.
  • When in the pose find a place of balance between effort and ease. 
Yoga helps us cultivate patience in our practice and our lives. When we practice with patient persistence, transformation occurs. It is not about the pose but what we learn about our self while reaching for the pose. Yoga teaches us to be kind to ourselves, to let go of judgement and competition with ourselves and others. Be patient and your life as well as your yoga practice will unfold beautifully, each in their own time. 

Here are a couple of hip-opening postures to patiently practice with persistence, enjoy and allow them to unfold in time!

Om shanti

Wide Leg Child's Pose; begin sitting on your heels toes touching, bring the knees wide, inhale and sit tall, exhale and fold forward from the hips extending the arms out in front of you. Stay here for several breaths. To release the pose slowly return to sitting tall. 

Pigeon Pose; come on to all 4's. Slide your right knee between your hands. Extend your left left straight back, with the front of the thigh, the knee, the shin, and the top of the foot resting on the floor. If your right hip does not rest on the floor use a pillow or rolled blanket for support. Press down on your hands as you roll the shoulders back and down, lifting the chest and the chin ever so slightly. Stay here for several breaths. Push back into all 4's and repeat on the other side.