who do you practice for?

who do you practice yoga for?

“Since I started doing yoga a few months ago, I feel like a new person.  I want you to know that now I consciously try to be peaceful.  Even when I’m not doing yoga, I think about what you say in class and I try to make a conscious decision to be peaceful.  It’s not easy,” Erica told me one Monday after savasana “I think: what would I want my daughter to see?  Then I make a conscious effort to be peaceful.”  Erica’s daughter is 18 months old and adorable.  She wears twirly dresses and glitter shoes and her grin is obscured only by her big white pacifier.  Erica works in a high-stress environment with pre-schoolers who are in the foster care system.  ‘Peaceful’ would be the last word I would choose to describe her daily schedule.  But Erica is motivated by a deep wellspring of love, which only outlasts her wellspring of patience once in a while.

Erica does yoga for her daughter.  In a moment of silence at the end of every yoga class, Erica experiences a profound peace.  Her intention, or sankalpa, of peacefulness acts as a ‘call to awakening,’ in her daily experiences.  Without an intention, yoga poses are merely movements of the body.  But with an intention, it is the backdrop to an inner awakening: we often feel like a new person.

New people have new habits: new responses to frustrations (traffic?), new reactions to stressors (children? bosses?), new judgments on failures (ending a relationship?), new answers to questions (life’s meaning and vocation?), even new opinions on collective actions (communal conflict?).  Other people tend to notice these new responses and habits—transformation does not go unnoticed.  Penny says that she channels all her work frustration into a big, big, big, yoga breath: just when she’s about ready to yell at her (much younger and slightly annoying) co-workers, she instead, remembers her yoga.  And takes a big breath.  And calms down.  And responds like a leader and mentor should respond: with compassion.

Yoga simply makes you nicer.  And people notice.

Author and yoga teacher Max Strom writes:

“To choose to transform, heal, and grow is the dynamic and noble path that so few take but all of us admire.” – M. Strom, There is no App for Happiness

In other words, when you change your life by becoming happier, healthier and more whole, people notice.

So my question is: who are YOU practicing yoga for? 

Erica practices for her daughter: she wants her daughter to experience happiness, kindness and peacefulness in their household.  Penny practices for her team at work: she wants to mentor and inspire her co-workers and manage her team with integrity.

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Who do you practice yoga for?  Ask yourself this question every time you practice.  You breathe for yourself, yes.  You breathe to regain balance, kindness and truth in your life.  But you breathe for others too.  For your grandson, because you want to be able to sit on bleachers and watch his baseball game.  For your sister, because she annoys you so much you want to scream.  For your co-workers, because without yoga you might go insane. For your husband, because you cherish his love even when he leaves all the dirty dishes in the sink and forgets to take out the trash.  For your boss, because you wish her good health and good fortune, even if you find her work ethic absurd.  For your community, because you wish for safe neighborhoods.  For humanity, because you believe that peace is possible.  You are breathing for hundreds of generations before you and hundreds of generations after you.

Who do you practice for?

Think about it and let me know,

-lisa

 

weekend teaching schedule change.

Summer Weekends are approaching.  Woohoo!!  Just a quick note that my Teaching Schedule is changing soon.

Starting June 1, you can find Lisa teaching:

Saturdays 9:00 am Power Yoga at Mark Blanchard’s Power Yoga (no change) and 12:00 pm Vinyasa at Maya Yoga (new class!) 

Sundays 12:00 pm Vinyasa Level 2/3 at Westport Yoga  (new class: double yeah!) and 5:30 Beginning Yoga/Meditation at Liberty Community of Christ Church and 7:00 pm Power Yoga at Balance Yoga Studio @Crossfit Est. (no changes there!)

Come practice with me all weekend!

photo cred JanaMarie

photo cred JanaMarie

-lisa

learn to meditate. your way.

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Most often, students who are new to yoga and meditation are told to simply, “sit there and still your thoughts.”

When I first learned to meditate, my thoughts could only stay still for about 0.03 seconds. I’m a list-maker, a future-organizer, a ruminator, a worrier and a dreamer. Even if my body was still, my mind was anything but.

In my experience, my thoughts don’t completely cease, but they do slow down a little bit after a few moments of meditation. I visualize my neural pathways as cars speeding across interstate overpasses and then very gradually slowing down … consciously choosing a safer, more sustainable, less hurried pace. Still going somewhere, but taking a slower pace with time to enjoy the scenery.

I’ve learned that meditating is an integral part of a holistic yoga practice. The asanas (postures) are performed in order prepare the body for seated meditation. But here’s thing: you don’t just sit there.

Seated meditation is an active process of learning to become attuned to your thoughts with skillful attention. It is the skill of consciously slowing down your thought processes so that you can live a sustainable life and take time to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Learning to meditate doesn’t have to be daunting.

Start Here:


Focus on Your Breath.

Focusing on your breath reaffirms your mind-body connection. Typically, your mind and your body are in two different locations: your body is one place and your mind is elsewhere, trapped in rumination of the past or worries about the future. Your breath is the bridge between a focused, present, mind-body connection.

This 3-part breathing meditation works wonders for stress relief.

Complete Breath Exercise


Enjoy a Relaxing Visualization Practice.

Visualization works wonders. One of my favorite techniques is a Systematic Relaxation Exercise from Dr. Rolf Sovik of the Himalayan Institute called “61 Points of Light.” Most Guided Meditation experiences share the primary aim of total relaxation, so go ahead and lay down in a comfortable place, snuggle in and enjoy 10 stress-free minutes.

61 Points of Light


Listen to a Guided Meditation.

Don’t feel like you can make your thoughts “be still-er” on your own volition? Utilize a guided meditation audio file that you can take with you, wherever you are. Listen and remember that you are here, and this is now.

“I am here, this is now” Meditation

Head to this page on my website for more resources: Guided Meditation


Just Do it.

Don’t worry about doing it correctly or incorrectly.  Start by sitting still for 60 seconds. Appreciate your breath for one minute. Remember that meditation is YOUR practice.

You will find a way to meditate that works well for you and you will find a way that doesn’t work well for you.  If you are learning to sit in stillness, you are learning to trust your own wisdom. Listen to your own insight, and commit to a daily stillness practice.  It will change your life.

“Trust Your Inner Knowing” Meditation


Guided Meditation Teachings

Love these Resources? Consider partnering with Lisa to continue providing valuable teachings that promote hope, health and happiness here:

$4.00

tunes 2.0

After teaching at the Lululemon Plaza Store on Mother’s Day, I’ve received a slew of requests for my rockin’ Vinyasa Playlists… I won’t reveal all my secrets (you need to come practice with me to hear them all!) but here is a screen shot of my playlist called LuluParty.  Happy Listening.

lululemon party

 

See you soon,

-lisa

improve your tomorrow.

what you do tdoay can improve

Today is the day.  If you want to change your tomorrow, start by changing your outlook on your today.  If you want to change your body, start by changing your opinion of yourself.  If you want to change your life, start by changing the quality of each moment.  Don’t wait until your “once a week Tuesday night yoga class.”  Do it now.  Do it today.  Yoga is every day.

-lisa

inexpensive homemade hummus recipes

inexpensive homemade hummus.  (or: SnackTime!)

A few months ago my paleo-diet cousin “went vegan” for a week (I’m pretty sure it was a double-dog-dare).  By the second day, he texted me that he was hungry: he found it difficult to make on-the-go snacks that actually made him feel full.  I told him I eat about three pounds of hummus a week, and suggested he do the same.  (Ok, slight exaggeration…)

I was already relatively adept at making my own hummus as a way to actively reduce kitchen waste (even ‘recyclable’ plastic packaging is wasteful if you buy that much hummus! Read my Aparigraha April posts) and save money… but to help my cousin out, I committed to hunt for the easiest, least expensive homemade hummus recipes.  Many recipes call for roasting the garlic (time consuming) or tahini (expensive) and I’m a big fan of using whatcha already got in your kitchen.  After some refining (yum!): here are my top three Homemade Hummus recipes.

First: Go buy some chickpeas in bulk.  They are super cheap.  (Aluminum cans are not in fashion any more).  Chickpeas are packed with protein, fiber and iron.  And they cook relatively quickly: Just add chickpeas to your crock pot/slow cooker, add water (double up the same you would for beans: 1 C chickpeas to 2 C water) and set it on high for 3 hours, or low over-night.  Cook 2 cups, then divvy up ½ Cup servings in freezer-safe containers to use later.  Thaw one container in the morning and make your fresh hummus in the afternoon.

I like hummus to be creamy, so I do not drain the chickpeas before freezing them or spooning them out to put in the blender.

Lisa’s Summer Staple Homemade Hummus

Ingredients: 

  • ½ Cup cooked Chickpeas
  • ½ tsp Honey Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ tsp Minced Garlic
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Roasted/salted pumpkin seeds (For topping)

Add first 6 ingredients to food processor, blend on variable until desired creamy consistency.  Add water if needed.  Spoon into a bowl, top with pumpkin seeds.  Enjoy with sliced zucchini, carrots, celery, peppers and jicama.

hummus

Lisa’s Garden Homemade Hummus

Ingredients:

  • ½ C cooked chickpeas
  • 5 sundried tomatoes
  • ¼ C fresh basil (or a tbsp. dried basil)
  • Handful fresh oregano ( or 1 tbsp dried oregano)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
  • Garlic salt (for topping)

Add all ingredients to food processor, blend on variable until desired creamy consistency.  Add water if needed.  Spoon into a bowl, top with garlic salt or fresh garlic.  Enjoy with crackers or veggies.

 

Lisa’s ‘Light it Up’ Spicy Hummus

Ingredients:

  • ½ C cooked Chickpeas
  • ¼ jalapeno (no seeds: just a sliver of the side)
  • Sea Salt, Cumin or Chili powder and Turmeric to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ lemon (just the juice)
  • Optional: 2 tbsp. Boys Grow Salsa

Add all ingredients to a food processor, blend on variable until desired consistency.  Add water if needed.  Spoon into a bowl, top with salsa (optional) and enjoy with tortilla chips, sliced bell peppers, crunchy red chard, etc.

Enjoy… let me know which one you love the best, I’m interested!

-lisa