This week while teaching a class, I noticed one of my regular yoga students move from downward dog position to her knees. I immediately went over and asked if she was alright. Without missing a beat, she said something along the lines of “Yes, I’m fine… My arm was just hurting. I was doing what you told me to do!”
While moving through the Ashtanga yoga series, it is difficult not to think about advancement. At some point, you will want to move forward. You’ve worked hard and are deserving. Your current postures are no longer meeting your needs. You want a challenge. You need the excitement of something new and different. You are ready. You’ve been ready.
Physical, mental, and spiritual health is crucial to wellbeing. When any of those components are lacking, life can feel overwhelming. Dis-ease can set in. If health is so important for a life well lived, why does it take sickness and discomfort to motivate healthy choices? What if we all made physical, mental, and spiritual health our first priority? Would that change our lives for the better, even if other life priorities were forced to take a backseat?
Have you ever revamped the way you look at your yoga practice? For the past twelve months, I have been doing just that—adjusting habitual thought patterns, evaluating my ego, and releasing the notion that my happiness is dependent on outside sources. Tough questions, right?
Do you exercise in addition to your Ashtanga practice? For a long time, I didn't. Because my yoga practice was so physically demanding, I never felt like additional exercise was necessary. However, after a few years of yoga and nothing else, I started to notice things about my body that didn't feel right—weight gain, sluggishness, fatigue, and diminished lung capacity. A visit with an Ayurvedic doctor confirmed my suspicions; for optimal health, in addition to my yoga practice, I needed at least 45 minutes of cardio three days a week.
Do you attach yourself to your injuries? Have you ever let an injury define the way you walk through life? How about using an injury as an excuse for not making it to your yoga mat? This is a common occurrence in the yoga world.
We are all human and we all have a story to tell. The good and the bad, interspersed with laughter, tears, joy and heartbreak. We cannot know one without the other. Without sadness, happiness does not exist. Without anger, kindness cannot be practiced.
Competitiveness within the world of yoga is a real thing. Seems a little counterintuitive to find competition on the spiritual path to enlightenment, right? Aren't yogis above that sort of thing?
Sometimes life coasts along easily, gracefully. Daily routines feel effortless. Relationships are content and supported. Quietude is comfortable. A sense of calm has permeated existence. We are alive and all is well in the world.
What happens when you come up against difficulty in the yoga practice? What happens when you experience physical limitations in postures? What happens when you’re feeling discouraged, disheartened, and annoyed at your abilities as a yogi?
Yoga shorty shorts. I love them. And I love the yoga students brave enough to wear them. Butt cheeks a’blazing. Thighs showing in all of their glory. They leave little to the imagination and help to provide an uninhibited yoga practice. They’re easy. They’re comfortable. They keep your body cool during a rigorous workout. Some would even say that they’re more practical than yoga pants when it comes to postures like supta kurmasana and garbha pindasana.
Within the world of yoga, words of self-hatred are prevalent. Seems contradictory, right? Isn't yoga about self-love and acceptance, spirituality, and honoring our connection to something greater than ourselves? Yes, it is! But with the light comes the dark, and sometimes the darkness can become pervasive.
Want to know a little more about me? Here’s a throwback to my first ever magazine feature! The amazing Keri Cole wrote a beautiful article about YogaMari Vermont for Woodstock Magazine that was published last Spring. Enjoy!
Biking is fun. Hanging out with my husband and puppies is fun. Spending time with my girlfriends and drinking a few cocktails is fun. My daily yoga practice—not so fun.
As the yoga industry gains momentum, I receive frequent inquiries from new students interested in taking a class. In addition to logistics and scheduling, they often ask what they should be prepared for. My stripped down answer for them is something like, “Wear comfortable clothes, bring your yoga mat, some water, a small towel, and be ready to move your body and sweat!” In most cases, that’s all a student really needs to know.
What is a yogi? Is it someone with extreme amounts of contortionist-like flexibility, that can easily wrap their body into difficult positions with calm and grace? Is it the person who wakes up religiously at 4am to get on their yoga mat and do their daily practice while their family quietly sleeps? Is it that spiritual dude you follow on Instagram who can sit cross-legged for hours at a time, seemingly deep in meditation, whose feet never go numb… yet your feet (and butt cheeks for that matter) go numb just watching him? Is it your yoga teacher? Who is it? How did they get that title? And who gave it to them anyway?
Have you ever been to a donation based yoga studio? Has the term "donation" left you wondering what you should pay for a class? Well, you're not alone! Many yoga studios use the traditional method of charging students a specific amount per class. This model works! However, if the cost of class is not within a students budget, the class is unaccessible.
It's National Recovery Month -- This Sunday, September 25th, YogaMari Vermont will be hosting a Half Primary class to benefit the Trini Foundation. The Trini Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides the practice of Ashtanga yoga to those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Created by Level II Authorized Ashtanga yoga teacher Taylor Hunt, this organization helps to provide studio tuition scholarships, mentorship programs, yoga in prisons, and other services that help to save and better lives.