The Yoga of Sound by Amber Field

Sound is vibration. Matter is vibration. Everything is sound. Everything vibrates.

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Singing and the voice are related to expressing yourself and speaking your truth. The throat is the link between the heart and the head. Therefore, you want a clear channel to allow the head and heart to come into conversation and balance with each other. The throat is connected to divine will, being in right relationship to your life’s purpose.

When you can speak, sing and sound your truth, you can move confidently in the direction of your dreams.

Singing is one of the best activities you can do for your health. By taking long exhalations, you calm down your nervous system. You also release endorphins and dopamine (happy chemicals!) and when you sing in group, you release oxytocin, which is the bonding/attachment hormone. In short, singing makes you happy! 

Chanting/toning through the chakras allow you to open up your whole body through sound. This helps bring chakras into balance and alignment. You can literally feel sound opening up your body, releasing tension and knots, helping breath and energy flow through blocked areas, and giving your body an internal massage.sing-b

Group singing is such a powerful way to come together to bring healing energy to the world. Singing spirit songs–songs of love, devotion, hope, and freedom–is such a powerful vibration to put out into the world together. I have watched how free your voice classes have transformed people’s lives, and witnessed my own transformation into a more free, confident, expressive, spontaneous, playful being. It’s infectious to be in a community of people who are freeing their voices, creativity, and spirits together.

Come free your voice and discover the yoga of sound with Amber Field in her 2-hour playful Free Your Voice workshop at Namaste Grand Lake on Saturday May 2nd from 1:30 to 3:30pm. Sing, sound, and speak your truth with more confidence and freedom! More info here.

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Learn Forearm Stand with Hannah Franco

I remember the elation and shock I felt when I lifted up into my first handstand! I could not believe that I was seriously on my hands with my feet off the floor. I immediately crashed back down, but the feeling was still there… the knowledge that I could. The power of advanced asana is that they are a physical reminder that we are capable of so much more, and that our power and our spirit are vast. This physical experience helps us connect with our fears, breathe deep, and move through them. It’s a moment of truth. We can take this experience any way we choose or need in that moment; we can embrace the fear and choose to feel alive.

Regardless if you make it up or not, it’s how you approach these poses that brings about a shift in perspective. Heart above the head – literally. With that in mind, let’s embrace one of my favorite inversions.

STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE. There is no question – you have to do core work to go upside down. If your belly is sleeping, you will fall right over. So how do we tackle this problem of core work? My favorite new technique is laughing – seriously, it makes it easier! What can you do to make it fun? Put your favorite song on and go for it! The other key piece is that it doesn’t need to fit in any kind of format. You can do core work while watching a movie or while waiting for the water to boil for your tea. WHATEVER.

ALIGN YOUR SHOULDERS.  A big part of this mastering forearm stand is getting your shoulders into their sockets and onto your back. As I sit here typing, I’m rolling mine back into my sockets – it’s a process. We want to cultivate strong, open, and aligned shoulders.

 SLOW DOWN. Balance never comes from rushing. The key is to feel all the subtle movements, to find that place of ease, sweetness and stillness. In all arm balances, the true flight comes when you use very little effort. Try not to muscle into it; instead, feel into it. It’s the same for your life. How many times have you tried to force something to work? When you allow it to happen, there is a much greater chance to make it stick.

 BREATHE. A good test of whether or not you should move forward is even breath. Can you keep your breath flowing? In my experience a calm breath is a calm mind, which always helps when you face a challenge.

 WARM-UP FOR PINCHA MAYURASANA: SHOULDERS

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ANAHATASANA (extended puppy pose): Come onto your hands and knees in tabletop, making sure your hips stay stacked over the knees. Walk the hands out in front of you until your arms are in one straight line from the hips. You can drop your head down to the floor for support (or use a block, your chin or, if you’re very open, your chest). Hold for 5-10 breaths.

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SHOULDER OPENER (on mat or against wall): Lying on the floor stomach down, extend your right arm out parallel to the top of the mat, with your palm flat against the floor. Slowly rotate your body open towards the left, coming onto your side with your knees bent for stability. Take one full inhale and exhale, then go deeper. The next step is to open up the left knee towards the ceiling, placing the left foot on the floor. Then, bring both knees together towards the ceiling, and roll onto your sacrum. Do not rush. Go to the point that feels juicy and hold for 5-10 breaths then repeat on the other side.

For the standing variation, face the wall and extend your right arm out parallel to the floor, with your palm flat against the wall. Slowly rotate your body open towards the left. Take one full inhale and exhale, and then go deeper. Do not rush. Go to the point that feels juicy and hold for 5-10 breaths then switch sides.

 WARM-UP FOR PINCHA MAYURASANA: CORE

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TABLE TOP HUNDREDS: (Thank You Mr. Pilates!) Lying on your back, bring your knees up, stacked over your hips with your shins parallel to the floor. Raise your head (chin down) and shoulders up off the floor, and lift your arms so they are parallel to the floor with your fingers reaching towards your feet. Pump your arms up and down and do ten cycles of breath. Each cycle is five short in-breaths, and five short out-breaths. To make this more challenging, straighten your legs at a 45 degree angle. To make it less challenging, keep your feet on the floor and only lift your head and shoulders.

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FOREARM PLANK: Come to hands and knees, and lower down onto your forearms. If you want fire, bring a block in between your elbows and squeeze. Walk your knees back so you are in one long line from your knees to your crown. For more fire, lift up into plank, but keep squeezing the elbows together!!

PREP FOR PINCHA MAYURASANA

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DOLPHIN DOG: With forearms and palms on the mat, drop your forehead to the floor with your knees bent. Slowly tuck the toes under and lift your hips up into this modified down dog. The same alignment as down dog applies – keep lengthening your spine and lifting up into the hips. It’s OK to have your knees bent a little so that the spine stays straight.

To take it deeper, straighten your legs and start walking the feet in towards your arms, maybe even coming up onto your tiptoes to bring your weight over your shoulders as much as possible. Then lift your right leg towards the ceiling. Hold for 5-10 breaths then switch.

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PINCHA MAYURASANA (Forearm Stand) FACING THE WALL: Sit down, facing the wall with your feet touching the wall. Place your hands by your hips. This is where your hands will be for forearm stand facing the wall. Your elbows will be closer to the wall, about midway through your thighs. Now turn around to face away from the wall. Move your hands into place where you measured them, and bring your forearms down onto the floor, coming into dolphin dog with feet on the ground against the wall. If you find the need to bring your arms in closer, please do. If you feel comfortable, you can start to walk one leg up the wall, then the other. Eventually, you will bring both legs parallel to the earth, supporting your body with the wall and your forearms.

To take it deeper, start to open your right leg up towards the ceiling or maybe even splitting your legs. The next step is to start to bring your other leg away from the wall, maybe just onto your tiptoes.  Play with the balance here. Hold for 5-10 breaths then switch legs.

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PINCHA MAYURASANA (Forearm Stand) FACING AWAY FROM THE WALL:  Come into dolphin dog, fingertips about five inches away from the wall. Walk your feet in towards your arms, maybe even coming up onto your tiptoes, bringing your weight over your shoulders as much as possible. Lift your right leg towards the wall, then your left. You can try kicking up towards the wall, but I would recommend steady controlled movement whenever possible. Once you are up, start to lift one leg then the other away from the wall. Hold for 5-10 breaths. The next step is to bring the other leg away from the wall, maybe just onto your tiptoes.  Play with the balance here. Hold for 5-10 breaths then switch legs.

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PINCHA MAYURASANA (Forearm Stand) AWAY FROM THE WALL:

Key points to focus on:

•               Spiral Inward – Imagine squeezing a ball between your legs — the more they are engaged the easier it is to stay up.

•               Engage – Don’t let your ribs or belly fly out; keep them in.

•               Align – Bring your shoulder blades down onto your back.

•               Focus – Gaze can be down at the floor or out straight.

Balance – Your weight will move from fingertips to forearms. Be OK with a little bit of movement!

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ARM VARIATIONS: they can be parallel, triangular with palms together and elbows angled out, or palms together with elbows angled out.

XOXO have fun playing!

Hannah

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Naushon and I are SOSOOSOS excited to teach our advancing your practice workshop May 3RD 1:30 to 4 PM Namaste Grand Lake. I wanted to give you a little teaser!!!  One of my favorite advanced asana is forearm stand! Let me know how it goes! See you MAY 3!

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You can sign up here!

You can follow Hannah Franco on instagram @hannahfrancoyoga

Or check out her Website and blogs for more articles and insight

You can follow Naushon on instagram  @naushonyoga

Or check out her Website and blogs for more articles

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Pranayama with Nubia Teixeira plus a Practice Recording

As we each develop and go deeper into our yoga practice we also begin to deepen our understanding of the connection between the breath and the body as well. This connection is absolutely fundamental to our ability to fully practice the yoga poses or Asana to their full potential and experience the most profound benefits. Pranayama may feel like a very advanced concept but fortunately Nubia Teixeira, one of our core teachers and the head of our Teacher Training at Namaste, is able to dissect and break down the meaning and uses for pranayama in our lives in a clear and useful way. Read on for Nubia’s insights on Pranayama and a practice exercise to begin your exploration:

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*Excerpts adapted from the Namaste Yoga Teacher Training Manual

UNDERSTANDING PRANAYAMA 

The word Pranayama is derived from two Sanskrit terms: prana which means vital energy, the very seed of life within and without; and Ayama, which means to control, to expand, to lead beyond death. The intention of the practice of pranayama is to breathe in a conscious way, to honor the life force in our physical bodies, the grace that breathes us into existence.

Prana is mostly present in the air we breathe (Air – Vayu), the wind and the electrical currents, the light of the Sun (Fire- Agni), the water we drink (Water- Apas), the bodily fluids, the food we eat (Earth-prithvi) and the forces of gravity and magnetism. It is also in the sounds we vocalize (Ether-akasha) and in the sounds we hear.

Developing a relationship with the breath facilitates the withdrawing of the senses (pratyahara) and our communication with the inner world. A pranayama practice supports the awakening of the dormant sensations and memories within ourselves and also teaches us how to heal ourselves by allowing the vital energy to move to the places of joy and sorrow within us. The practice of Pranayama is one of the most effective ways of balancing the energy in the body, mind and emotions.


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FINDING OUR TRUE PURPOSE with PRANAYAMA PRACTICE

Humans often are blinded by the ego and uncertain of their true purpose, which can lead to the separation of the self from others, from life and from Source. As a result, confusion rises, despair creeps in and inner wisdom, intuition and sense of Self is forgotten. In this place of loss and confusion, it becomes only natural to grasp on to the material world.

Human evolution is intrinsically connected to spiritual growth, and it is only through our bodies and actions in this world of things that we evolve. Our approach to living our lives, moment-by-moment, fully present, rests on our ability to surrender to the Divine.

This, in turn, ignites our innate Wisdom. Developing the capacity to follow the in and out breath without interfering in the flow, awakening faith and confidence.

This “Thread of Life” that we call breath, is a thread that connects us, each individual soul to the universal soul’s trajectory, beyond time and space, beyond body, beyond the beyond. It is a continuum, without beginning, middle or ending. Life after life. One Love through infinity.

Join Nubia for her upcoming Pranayama Series, a 4-week exploration focused on learning and implementing simple pranayama practices into your life. Learn More About Nubia Here.

Listen below to an introduction to Bhakti based meditation with an intro “Twameva” – sung by Jai Uttal

 

 

 

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Celebrate Earth Day: Eco-Friendly Fashion

What does ‘taking yoga off your mat’ mean to you?

For me it means bringing presence and awareness outside the realm of ‘poses’ and also giving back in any way possible. Off the mat, I channel some of my energy into buying with awareness and consciousness wherever possible as the retail buyer at Namaste Yoga and Wellness.

Our choice in fashion can describe us, inspire us and make us feel confident, both inside and out. But more than that, our fashion choices also express our values. Sustainable, earth-friendly fashion and socially responsible production methods show a commitment to the planet and to the future.

Hemp and Organic Cotton "Thrive Hoodie" by Nomads Hempwear
Hemp and Organic Cotton “Thrive Hoodie” by Nomads Hempwear Model: Fiana Anderson

Here are some of the qualities that inspire and guide my buying choices for the Namaste studios, and some of the questions I ask when looking  at a line’s overall eco footprint and sustainability practices:

Quality of production and design

Is this item disposable and/or will I want to wear it for many years? Will it last through many washes and wears? I look for quality sewing and seams, and lines that have a history of good wash and wear.

Fabric selection

Is this made of eco-friendly fabric? Are the dyes eco-friendly? Are the fibers of the fabric renewable or fast-growing? What kind of waste is produced in the growing and processing of these fibers?  There’s always more than meets the eye when it comes to fabric. I look for organic cottons, bamboo, hemp, or soy blends. Learn more about Nomads Hemp Wear fabric selections.

Local vs. global production

How often will this product need to be shipped around the planet, using precious resources, before it reaches its final destination? Are the fibers grown in the U.S. or imported from abroad? Is the garment designed, manufactured, and dyed all in one city or state? Read more about Groceries apparel vertical production here.

Manufacturing processes and connection to community

Is care and love a priority with the production of the garment? Are the workers cared for? Does the company give back to the community or environment in any way? Read about Harvest’ dedication to planting a tree for every garment sold.

Take your fashion to the next level, go green this Earth Day! Thru Sunday save 20% on all Nomads Hemp Wear, Groceries and Harvest apparel at all three studios!

"Love Tee" and "Flower Leggings" by Harvest, who plants a tree for every garment sold.
“Love Tee” and “Flower Leggings” by Harvest, who plants a tree for every garment sold. Model: Whitney Walsh

By Helene Cotton- Graphic Designer and Retail Manager

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Waiting for Baby: Birth Preparation and Practicing Patience

In the Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu poses this question…
“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”

In the land of on-demand everything; meals, rides, movies and even dating apps, you may ask, how can we slow down and turn on the patience switch for an easeful birth experience? For many couples the need for patience started pre-conception with fertility challenges and then is required again in the first trimester with often all-day sickness. Through these periods of patience and suffering we experience gratitude, but often again around 35-38 weeks that little monster called impatience rears its head again, creating anxiety, stress and often doubts that make us question whether or not something is wrong.

In prenatal yoga, as well as birth prep classes we learn tools to work with discomfort, whether they be contractions or just indigestion. We also learn to step back and let go of judgments, thoughts of limitation and just notice what is happening right now in the present. Through mindfulness meditation, and by intentionally bringing awareness to postures, we start to see where we are holding back, holding on, or preventing the opening that might be needed to welcome this new life into our arms.

We are all aware that our birth experience may not go as we had planned–and I’m grateful for the resources available in the hospital when an emergency arises or medical intervention becomes the best option to reduce suffering. We always hope that our babies are able to come to this planet in their own time, without prodding and provoking, unless there is a real medical concern. Sometimes interventions like Pitocin, the epidural and C-sections seem like the best option to numb the discomfort of labor and the waiting because our mind says “run from pain, cling to pleasure. A common theme in my classes is Impermanence, knowing that everything changes, including the pain of labor and once you allow yourself to be in a place you might want to bolt from, you learn that its possible to stay a little longer without defeat…maybe even feel encouraged!

 Next time you want to push away that thought or sensation, see what happens if you stay still and wait–until the mud settles–and trust that you will be guided so that the right action arises by itself.

To learn more join Elika for her upcoming ‘Prep for Birth‘ workshop on Saturday, April 18th. Register HERE.

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