Your First yoga class

yoga

 

Here you are, you’ve found a studio that you would like to try, signed up for their special of the month or intro month and now you’re home getting ready to venture out for your very first yoga class.

You find yourself staring in the mirror in your brand new yoga pants and shirt that you’ve purchased especially for this day, you’re dissecting every part of your body and attempting to convince yourself not go to this class.

You tell yourself that you’re not flexible enough to do yoga or you start to imagine that all the other students in the class will be 6 Foot tall models, with 0% body fat, who live a gluten free, vegan lifestyle, who never get mad, never swear and can levitate without even trying. You tell yourself you’re too busy, or picture yourself falling over in class.

Say no. hand isolated on white background
NONE OF THIS IS TRUE….

If you’re not flexible, that’s OK, yoga will actually help improve your flexibility and strength in a safe and gentle way.

I’ve been practicing yoga for a very long time and I’m 5 feet tall, have body fat (and that’s ok), I do try to eat gluten free but I eat meat and I love salt and vinegar chips. I’m a human just like you. All Yogis are human just like you. I get mad sometimes, I cry sometimes and I certainly cannot levitate (although that would be pretty cool).

The busier you are the more you need yoga in your life and if you fall over no one will even notice and if they do, they don’t care. There is no ego in the yoga room. Everyone is there for different reasons and no one is there to judge or compare themselves to you or anyone else in the room.

easy pose

Let’s talk about what to actually expect and extra tips you may want to know to make you feel more prepared about your first class.

Items to bring:

  1. Yoga mat- although no big deal if you don’t have one, most studios have them for rent- usually around $2.
  2. Water bottle
  3. For hot yoga bring a yoga mat towel and if you’re thinking WTF is that, then just bring a beach towel or rent a yoga mat towel at the studio.
  4. Towel if you want to shower after, some people shower at the studio and some go home to shower.
  5. Change for parking ( so you can’t do two loops on the street and decide you can’t find parking but you tried so you’re going to reward yourself by going for ice cream instead).

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Here are some more realistic things to expect during your first yoga class: 

  1. When you arrive, go to the main desk and say your name if you’ve already purchased a class pass, an intro month or one of the monthly specials. If you haven’t ask the kind person behind the desk to help you pick which option is best for you and your schedule. Don’t be afraid, you’ll be surprised at how super friendly everyone is. Mention any injuries you might have.
  2. They will show you or tell you where the change rooms are.
    • Leave all your stuff in the change room (including socks in case you were wondering). Take your mat, water and towel if necessary, items like keys and phones only distract you and the others in the room. Your items will be safe.
  3. Fill your water and make your way to the yoga studio.
    • Most studios observe silence meaning once you walk through the doors no more talking.
    • Some people will be laying on there backs on the mat looking like their dead, don’t worry they are not. This is called Savassana or Corpse pose. A lot of people will just relax in this pose until the teacher comes in. You may see some people doing a workout quietly on their mat, or sitting with their eyes closed just chilling out. DO WHAT YOU WANT. Doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing, as long as you’re not being loud then do what you want.
    • One thing to avoid is whipping your mat open and letting it fall to the floor, this is super loud. Gently roll your mat out and place your towel on it. You’ll understand better when it happens.

      You’ve maybe decided to do the looking like your dead pose and lay down. Now you wait……………HOLD ON! ALL OF A SUDDEN YOU HEAR SOMETHING…… WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THAT NOISE…..

That noise is Ujjayi or yoga breathe. This breathe is found by inhaling in through the nose and exhaling out through the nose. There is a slight restriction at the back of your throat that allows your breathe to become audible.

Try this little exercise to find this breathing style.

Take the palm of your hand in front of your mouth. Picture the palm of your hand as being a mirror, Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Fog up the mirror. Do this a couple times and notice how it feels in your throat and how it sounds. Now, try it with your mouth closed and exhales coming out of your nose but keep that same feeling or sound in your throat. Keep practising and eventually it will become second nature when you start your yoga practice.

Why Ujjayi breathe?

meditation

Ujjayi breathe is the ancient yogic breathing and has been used for thousands of years to enhance yoga practices.

Ujjayi has a balancing influence on the entire cardiorespiratory system, releases feelings of irritation and frustration, and helps calm the mind and body. With Ujjayi, there are so many benefits, providing good value for a simple practice. Here are a few benefits you may enjoy as a result of practicing the Ujjayi breath:

  • Increases the amount of oxygen in the blood
  • Builds internal body heat
  • Relieves tension
  • Encourages free flow of prana
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Helps yoga practitioner to maintain a rhythm while they practice
  • Builds energy
  • Detoxifies mind and body
  • Increases feelings of presence, self-awareness, and meditative qualities

Ujjayi breathe is something to practice towards and not expect to master the breathing technique on your first try or first yoga class.

Once the teacher comes in, they will guide you through a series of poses and depending on which type of yoga you’ve chosen it may be very gentle (like a yin) or vigourous like a flow class. I suggest starting with a gentle version of yoga (yin or moksha) and working your way up to a flow class.

There it is. You know what to expect. You’re ready!!!

Yoga is my favorite thing to do. It’s my passion and I’d like to share it with anyone who would like to try. I wrote this article to encourage people to get out and try it. I promise and know forsure that you will get something out of it. However, if after reading this, you’re still not convinced then try a couple private one on one sessions to get some understanding and knowledge of the poses to expect. When booking quote “first yoga class” to receive $25 off your first private class.

Namaste

namaste

 

 

 

Blood type

blood

Do you think knowing your blood type is only important in the event of a transfusion?

Think again!

Research indicates that your blood type is a key genetic factor that influences many areas of health and well-being.

Throughout your life, you’ve probably observed that some people tend to lose weight more easily, while for others, their weight is an ongoing battle. Or wondered why some people are plagued by chronic illness while others stay healthy and vital well into their advanced years. Very simply, the answer is in your blood type.

Knowing your blood type is an important tool for understanding how your body reacts to food, your susceptibility to disease, your natural reaction to stress, and so much more. A single drop of blood contains a biochemical makeup as unique to you as your fingerprint.

Below are five facts about your blood type that could change your life:

1. Your blood type may predict your susceptibility for certain diseases.

Research has found that individuals of certain blood types may be at a higher risk for certain diseases; studies have found that people with blood type O have a lower risk for heart disease, but a higher risk for developing stomach ulcers. People who are blood type A have higher risks of microbial infections, but Type A women experience a higher rate of fertility. Other research has found that people with type AB and B blood have a much higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

2. People of different blood types react differently to stress.

Type A people naturally have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their bodies and produce more in response to stressful situations. On the other hand, people with type O blood, have a “fight or flight” reaction to stress which results in the overproduction of adrenaline. It takes type O’s longer to recover from stress because it is more difficult for them to clear the adrenaline from their bodies.

3. Your blood type antigens are not just in your blood!

They are everywhere in your body, particularly in the surfaces that interact with the environment. These include your digestive tract, from your mouth to your large intestine, as well as your nasal passages and lungs. Because these blood type antigens are everywhere, they influence how your body reacts to the food you eat through several factors. For example: the lectins in certain foods bind to your blood type antigen and cause your blood to agglutinate (stick together), resulting in feelings of fatigue, headaches, digestive issues, skin problems and a host of other health issues.

4. Gut bacteria is related to blood type.

People of different blood types have different gut bacteria, in fact, certain bacteria are 50,000 more likely to turn up in people with one blood type or the other. This originated from our ancestors whose digestive tracts developed to accommodate one type of diet over another. For example, the microbiome of certain people developed to break down carbohydrates much more efficiently (blood type A). People lacking this ability (blood type O) tend to store carbs as fat.

5. A one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition does not work.

Food fads come and go, but the facts are clear: everyone does not have the same basic nutritional needs. We all know someone who is a strict vegetarian and thrives on that diet, while others swear by Atkins or similar low-carb plans. I’ve found that your nutritional needs can be determined by your blood type. Take a look at the food lists in Eat Right 4 Your Type; they are a guide for choosing the foods that will allow you to lose weight, reduce inflammation, increase energy and lead a longer, healthier life.

As you’ve learned, your blood type affects more than just the type of blood you’d need in the event of a transfusion – your blood type is a genetic factor that plays many roles in the human body. Choosing low-lectin, non-agglutinating foods that create a hospitable environment for your “good” intestinal flora and selecting foods that combat your disease risks are two good first steps in creating an individualized nutritional program just for you.

Why do Yoga?

Yoga Woman 2

The short answer is that yoga makes you feel better. Practicing the postures, breathing exercises and meditation makes you healthier in body, mind and spirit. Yoga lets you tune in, chill out, shape up — all at the same time.

For many people, that’s enough of an answer. But there’s more if you’re interested.

For starters, yoga is good for what ails you. Specifically, research shows that yoga helps manage or control anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stress and other conditions and diseases.

Want more, yoga:
•Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
•Reduces stress and tension
•Boosts self esteem
•Improves concentration and creativity
•Lowers fat
•Improves circulation
•Stimulates the immune system
•Creates sense of well being and calm.

And that’s just the surface stuff. In fact, most of the benefits mentioned above are secondary to yoga’s original purpose.

Developed in India, yoga is a spiritual practice that has been evolving for the last 5,000 years or so. The original yogis were reacting, in part, to India’s ancient Vedic religion, which emphasized rituals. The yogis wanted a direct spiritual experience — one on one — not symbolic ritual. So they developed yoga.

Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, the classical language of India.

According to the yogis, true happiness, liberation and enlightenment comes from union with the divine consciousness known as Brahman, or with Atman, the transcendent Self. The various yoga practices are a methodology for reaching that goal.

In hatha yoga, for example, postures and breathing exercises help purify the mind, body and spirit so the yogi can attain union.

Pranayama breathing exercises help clear the nadis, or channels, that carry prana the universal life force, allowing prana to flow freely. When the channels are clear and the last block at the base of the spine has been opened, Kundalini rises through the spine, through the central channel called the sushumna-nadi, and joins the crown chakra. According to the tradition, the release of Kundalini leads to enlightenment and union.

If you do yoga will you become enlightened?

Well…you might (of course, it could take a few lifetimes of diligent practice). But then again you might not. But it doesn’t really matter because yoga is a process, and there’s a lot of good to be had along the way.

What if you don’t believe in talk about enlightenment, spirit and the rest of it?

That’s okay, too. Yoga doesn’t discriminate. Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual side of life, you can still do yoga. Whether enlightenment, nadis, prana and Kundalini is literal truth, metaphor or myth is irrelevant. If you do yoga, chances are that you will feel its psycho-physiological effects.

Moreover, the concept of union has a powerful down-to-Earth meaning. Yoga helps us get in touch with our true selves.

Between work, home and all of the demands and stresses in between, it’s easy to lose touch with who we are, that core essence with which we were born. Rushing around all day it sometimes feels like the “I” inside is simply the result of the things we do all day — or the effects those things have on our minds, bodies and spirits.

Ever say “I am hungry” or “I am stressed”? We identify with our conditions. It’s like “hungry” or “stressed” is a name (Hi. I’m Stressed. What’s your name?) As a result, our identities shift with our moods and conditions.

In truth, however, we are not the conditions we experience or things we do. We are not our jobs or the thousands of tasks that make up our jobs. We are not the sensations or emotions we feel. We are not the car we drive or the house we live in. We are not “S/he Who Must Pay Bills.” We are not Mr. and Ms. Stressed.

Strip away the emotions, sensations and conditions and somewhere deep down inside you are still there. Strip it all away and you find out who you really are.

The techniques developed by the yogis to transcend also help us strip away the things that try to mis-define us — the emotions, sensations, desires, achievements and failures of daily life. Through yoga we learn to develop a greater awareness of our physical and psychological states. As a result, we’re in a position to better manage our reactions to the thoughts, feelings and responses we have to the various situations we deal with every day.

With greater awareness comes the sensitivity and skill to find and remove the physical and psychological blocks that often keep us from our true selves. We no longer identify with our conditions. Instead of saying, “I am stressed,” we begin to say, “I feel stress,” or “stress is present.” It’s a subtle but powerful difference.

Or better yet, we say “I feel anxiety and fear, and that’s causing stress and in particular it’s causing tension in my neck and shoulder.” So we breathe deeply to soothe the anxiety. We review the events that led to the onset of those feelings, and in the process they lose their grip on our nervous system. We intentionally relax our shoulder and neck to prevent the stress and tension from building into a permanent condition.

Yoga gives us control of ourselves. It helps cut through the layers of mis-identities that arise in response to our actions, experiences and feelings. It calms the frenzy, clears the clutter and allows us to get back in touch with ourselves.

Yoga is union with self. Or, as Patanjali, one of the great yoga sages, said:

Yogashcittavrittinirodhah (Yoga stills the fluctuations of the mind).

Tada drashthuh svarupe’ vasthanam (Then the true self appears.)

However, yoga is not about self-absorption. Yoga is about being in the world. Although most books, videos and websites focus on yoga postures, breathing and meditation, the tradition also emphasizes love, compassion, knowledge and right action as paths toward union.

Whether you pursue yoga as a spiritual path or for its psycho-physiological benefits, yoga is a methodology for developing a deeper experience of yourself and the world.

And it makes you feel really good.

Yoga at Charlotte Street Arts Centre

yoga flyer

We will be starting our next series at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre October 22nd, 2013.

Beginner to Yoga/Pilates master, your level is taken into account with variations of poses being taught. So regardless of age, flexibility, physical fitness or experience our classes are available to everyone and will be tailored so you can improve or start your very own yoga practice.

One of my goals is to guide you into finding the positions that work for you. Classes will start with a gentle yin (stretching) slowly working into a nice flow.

For more information click here: https://completebodynutrition.wordpress.com/yogapilates/

All Natural Ways To Fight Arthritis

arthritis

I”m sure we all know someone who unfortunately has to deal with arthritis on a daily basis. Regardless if it’s our mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, friends or our neighbours. If you are like me, i’m always looking for ways to help people increase their lives so they can live longer,healthier and happier.

While I was doing some research to write this blog I came across a very well put together article and decided to link to it. Enjoy.

http://www.natural-homeremedies.com/homeremedies_arthritis.htm

Sore Muscles from Working Out?

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Getting jacked at the gym but dislike having to deal with the sore muscles?

Here are a few easy tips and tricks that can help prevent sore muscles without having to continuously take anti-inflammatory drugs:

1. Drink tart cherry juice – Sipping this antioxidant rich beverage can lessen muscle aches and amp up recovery.

2. Soak in epsom salts – A warm bath with 2 cups of these relaxing salts is the ideal at-home remey for soothing tight muscles.

3. Relax with massage – All that gentle kneading will reduce muscle inflammation.

I dedicate this post to Amy, Dana and Calli who have been doing the 30 day ab challenge. You girls rock!!!!