[Photo of Namaste Teacher Elika Aird]
We’ve entered the final quarter of the year. The air has a new chill as our hearts and minds begin to turn inwards. As yogis and wellness warriors, we have a responsibility to acknowledge the tragedy occurring in our world. The political climate is devastating our country’s ability to make progress on key issues. Natural disasters have wreaked havoc from coast to coast. Last weekend, we experienced the collective trauma of another mass shooting in Las Vegas. It is easy to use our practice as an escape mechanism, and sometimes we may need to, but this month we encourage you to stay present.
What defines Courage & Confidence?
Our Year of Empowerment has been a journey focused on self-love, integrity, and action. Each month we’ve encouraged you to look inside and reflect on different facets of self-care. This month is no different. Living with courage and confidence means that we do not shy away from the tough questions, the difficult events, and the challenging conversations. We choose to practice bravery. We choose to believe that we have the power to change, to help, and to heal. A healthy yoga and wellness practice can empower us to recognize both inner strength and softness. Like a deep breath, we inhale power to exhale love.
We have chosen the focusing question: how does my practice empower me to live with more courage and confidence?
Share Your Story
Sharing your story can be the inspiration someone else needs to live with more courage and confidence.
How you can participate:
This month we will be creating community “empowerment” posters around the studio. We encourage you to share your story of empowerment. There will be materials for you to write and paste your statements of empowerment. Share how your practice lets you live with more courage and confidence. Keep an eye out for stories shared by your teachers and our Namaste family.
Additionally, we are working on creating opportunities for our community to give back to the tragedies occurring around the world. We’ll keep you updated on ways to take your practice beyond your mat.
Stress. Ah. That word alone makes me want to let out a big sigh. It’s hard to avoid, nearly impossible these days. And in some ways it’s become our cultural norm; the standard as to how we measure our busyness. If we’re not stressed, we perceive it as a sign that we’re not doing enough, aka not valuable or important enough.
Practice: Next time you ask someone how they’re doing pay close attention to their response; do they reply with something along the lines of, “I’m just so busy!” or “There’s so much to do and so little time!”?
Notice for yourself, are you inclined to respond in a similar way? And maybe taking it one step further, how does it feel in your body when you express these emotions? Notice how the constant pushing feels in the body.
I’ve spent many years letting stress run my life. And I’ve also dedicated many years to studying, teaching, and working with clients on how to channel stress for the better. There will always be some form of stress in our lives, and a certain amount is healthy. The right kind of stress can spur us to go for our dreams, to ace that presentation, to not settle for less than our best. The wrong amount of stress can create dis-ease in the body, harm relationships, and negatively impact our work.
It’s a delicate balance, and like anything it takes practice and a whole lot of patience.
But I promise the more you do it the easier it will get. It’s like any other muscle, you have to use it if you want to get stronger. But remember, once you get in shape you don’t get to stop working out, you have to stay on it if you want to stay mighty.
Below are the top 5 ways I choose to de-stress. In no way is this list exhaustive or all inclusive. Find what works for you, then do more of it.
This is a big one. The more time I spend hunched over a screen the worse my body feels (wrist, shoulder, neck tension anyone?!), my eyes ache, and I actually feel more disconnected. I’m committed to turning my phone off at least an hour before bed and choosing to read or spend time with my partner instead. Use your phone as your alarm clock? Put your phone on airplane mode so you’re not tempted to check your email or IG page for the 73rd time that day (the average American checks their phone 80 times in a day!).
Water is medicine. Baths can be both soothing and energizing. Try adding different ingredients into your tub for different results. Two of my favorites: epsom salts for tired muscles and an overworked mind; or for a moisturizing soak combine 1 T. coconut oil, 1 T. apple cider vinegar, and 1 t. honey (just make sure to clean the tub afterwards otherwise that coconut oil could surprise the next shower guest, and not in a good way!).
Mother nature heals. Have a picnic in the park; breathe in the ocean air; take a hike or go for a bike ride outdoors. Pressed for time?— even 5 minutes of soaking up the sun can improve your mood and stimulate a foggy brain.
Find activities you love and do them often. Aim to sweat a little every day. Sweating is therapeutic for the body; gives your mood a boost, and helps you sleep sweeter.
Laugh more. Those deep belly laughs. Call a friend, read the comics, watch a movie; get really creative here and let your playful side run free.
Here’s to strengthening your stress-less muscle!
Water meditation can enhance the powerful benefits of mindfulness practices. Reverberating a mantra’s sound current inside a human body of water can calm the overactive mind and encourage a feeling of non-attachment and weightlessness. Allowing ourselves to be fully present creates space for every day stress to fade away into the background.
This guided meditation is led by Anne Koller, Namaste’s newest Kundalini yoga instructor, and was created by Hari Kaur Khalsa, author of A Woman’s Book of Yoga: Embracing Our Natural Life Cycles, with Machelle M. Seibel, M.D.
This water meditation is meant to be performed in warm, shallow water that sits at or below bellybutton level. Fill a bath, light a few candles, and sink into your own meditative bliss.
To begin, cross your legs and find a comfortable seated position. Sit up tall with a lengthened spine, hit play, close your eyes, and allow your mind and body to fully connect with the water.
Anne has been a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher as taught by Yogi Bhajan for four years. Anne was trained by Hari Kaur Khalsa, named 10 Influential Yoga Teachers Who Have Shaped Yoga in America, in New York City.
Her passion for sharing the power of breath awareness, emotional-balance, self-empowerment and mind-body alignment permeates all of her yoga and meditation classes. She has been featured in Huffington Post, Today Show, Tennis Channel, ReachMD and YogaCity NYC for her work in wellness training, specifically in water healing and corporate mindfulness. She believes that if we can feel at home in our mind and body, we can thrive in any environment.
Fall is on the horizon and the energetic nature of summer is winding down. Take this month to focus on cultivating calm in your life. Join us for a fun stamp card challenge as we practice ways to stress less.
OUR COMMUNITY PRACTICE: STRESS LESS STAMP CARD
All it takes is a simple reminder to breathe more and stress less. Carry this beautiful card with you throughout the month to support your mission of cultivating calm in daily life. Play along with our four Stress Less Challenges for a chance to win one of three amazing wellness prizes including luxury retail items, wellness services, and more! Simply accomplish each experience on your own time and let the front desk know when you are finished.
When you have achieved all four stamps, turn your card in at the front desk and wait for our winning announcement!
Share with us on social media using the hashtag #YearofEmpowerment.
Want to check out past months?
Catch up on all of our Year of Empowerment and join us as we continue the journey.
Sit for just 10 breaths. Just 10 breaths in and 10 breaths out.
Then get up and start the day. It’s amazing how this very simple, very short practice levels me before I launch. And it’s amazing to me how much easier it is to remember to close my eyes and take a slow deep breath later in the day when I really need it.
So while sometimes we go to class and are guided through 90 minutes of asana and pranayama, and sometimes we enjoy and extended practice of 2 or 3 hours, and sometimes we immerse ourselves in a workshop or training…
Simply standing in samastitihi, the pose of attention, for 10 breaths (or 5 breaths, or 20 breaths) IS a practice too.
But most importantly, just stand and breathe and be quiet and strong and simple and still for a few moments. Then go off and live the day.
Stay Curious! Summer is a great time to catch up on your active desire to read more and be inspired. Here, we’ve collected some top yoga-relative reading from your fave teachers. So, before it’s too late, pick a book up from our boutiques or load up your kindle with some of these brilliant recs.
[bottom left] Carpenter: Richard Rosen’s newest book, Yoga FAQs. Local Yoga Legend, Richard asked his students what they wanted to know, and he answered! Its a fun, accessible and yet remarkably thorough — and profound — collection and everything we always wanted to know about Yoga, its past, present and future.
[bottom right] Domonick Wegesin: One recommendation: Stumbling on Happiness, by Daniel Gilbert. It’s more of a mindfulness book, but shares psychological insights into what makes us happy. Insightful read.
[top left] Baxter Bell: I love the books by Stephen Cope, The Wisdom of Yoga, and Yoga and the Quest for the True Self, as well as Richard Rosen’s Original Yoga and his newest book, Yoga FAQ.
[top right] Julia Alexander: I would recommend poetry – invoking our imagination, reviving the inspiration, speaking the language of the heart…Hafiz, Rumi (of course), Rilke…Mary Oliver, David Whyte…
[bottom left] Nubia Teixeira: Gita Wisdom by Joshua Greene, Yogini by Janice Gates
[bottom right] Siri Peterson: Awakening Shakti by Sally Kempton, Disease Delusion by Jeffrey Bland
[top left] Vickie Russell Bell: The Mirror of Yoga by Richard Freeman, Yogabody by Mark Singleton (a controversial read!), Yoga FAQs by Richard Rosen
[top right] Claudia Florian McCaffrey: – Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful, by Gurmukh, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Baby Massage, The Calming Power of Touch
Heads down people!
(Including Jaimi Patterson, featured in pics in this post.)
Shop local and visit our boutiques where many of these books are available for sale!