fall 2018 special events and workshops.

It is always my honor to share the teachings of yoga. Sometimes, I look at out the class of students gathered together at Westport Yoga KC and am stunned; I think, “This is so cool! These people are so eager to learn! They CHOSE to put their self-care at the top of their already-full ‘priority list’ and show up on the yoga mat to practice and learn these incredible teachings!”

And I know– life’s ‘priority list’ does fill up quickly. Mine does, too. But here’s the thing: the teachings of yoga show us how to navigate our lives with grace and commit to a gentler way of being that is grounded in self-care, care of others and care of our communities. As Donna Farhi says:

“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in hopes of something better.” 

I offer you this array of Special Events and Workshops in hope that you will firmly and resolutely choose self-care to heal your everyday experience. Please join me. Registration for Fall 2018 Events and Workshops opens July 18, 2018 here: Westport Yoga KC Pricing

September 2018

  • Stay-Cation Yoga Retreat with Lisa Ash Drackert. Saturday September 8, 2018. from 8 am- 2 pm. Details Here.
  • Meditation for Stress Relief, a 3 week course meeting on Thursday mornings June 13, 20 and 27 from 9-11 am. Details Here.
  • Writing-to-Wholeness Workshop with Julie Edge and Lisa Ash Drackert. a 6 week course on mindfulness and writing. Begins Sunday 23, 2018 4:00 pm.  Details Here.

October 2018

  • Stay-Cation Yoga Retreat with Lisa Ash Drackert. Saturday October 10, 2018 from 8 am- 2 pm.  Details Here.
  • Fasica Release Friday with Lisa Ash Drackert. Friday October 12, 2018 at 6 pm.  Details Here.
  • Myofascial Release Workshop with Lisa Ash Drackert, Saturday October 20 at 2 pm.  Details Here.

November 2018

  • Restore and Meditate Advanced Teacher Training Weekend. 25 Continuing Education Units for Yoga Teachers: November 9-11, 2018.  Details Here.
  • Gratitude Thanksgiving Candlelight Flow, Donation Class befitting Rose Brooks Center: Wednesday November 21, 6 pm.  Details Here.

December 2018

  • Meditation for Stress Relief, a 3 week course meeting on Sunday afternoons December 2, 9 and 16 from 2-4 pm.  Details Here.

Registration opens July 18, 2018! These events WILL sell out! Invest in yourself today: Westport Yoga KC

are you sometimes stressed? (me. to.)

Ok, so I understand that stress can make us stronger (hello Stress Wood and Biosphere 2) but I don’t actually know anyone who wakes up and says: “Bring on the stress! I want to endure and persevere today!” with a great big smile on their face.

I sure don’t. I sometimes feel overwhelmed and stressed just by the IDEA of being overwhelmed and stressed. The best way I have found to acknowledge, transmute and transform stress is meditation. Meditation has about a million psychological and physiological benefits: enhanced immune system, increased brain nueroplasticity and decreased sense of alienation and anxiety to name a few.

But my absolute favorite benefit is how it decreases our stress response. Something we all need. And it’s something we can all learn.

I love introducing Meditation as a technique to lower stress and increase hope, health and happiness. I shared a technique I call “60 second quick-fix” for stress on my blog last spring and have an extensive offering of free Guided Meditations here.

But my absolute favorite way is by teaching my 3 Week Course: Introduction to Meditation for Stress Relief. I teach it twice a year and it always sells out. This updated curriculum includes new research based on the MBSR technique, clinical trials and every day application of mindfulness. Please join me:

Introduction to Meditation for Stress Relief

Sundays December 3, 10 and 17, 2017  2 pm-4 pm

Investment:

This 3-part series is a perfect introduction to Meditation. We will explore the modern-day benefits of meditation and how you can integrate the practice into your life to relieve stress.

In each session, I’ll teach Breathing Techniques, Concentration Techniques and Meditation Techniques which cultivate attention, deepen focus and embrace stillness. You’ll have the opportunity to practice meditation in an encouraging group setting and engage in conversation with classmates. You will also learn ‘quick-fixes’ to trigger the relaxation response in your brain and body. The course includes a take-home manual for future reference and suggestions on how to successfully plan your at-home meditation practice.

(Limit 18 students; please note: there are no partial or full refunds for this event.)

 

learning to polish the mind.

When I was little I collected every shiny little gemstone I could get my hands on. I LOVED those big bins of polished rocks at old-timey stores; I loved the treasure hunt of sifting through all the precious polished “gems” (probably just rocks put through a tumbler and not that precious at all) and finding the perfect one to add to my collection. I still secretly scavenge a beach pebble or river rock to bring back home with me when I travel.

Our thoughts, our emotions, our vrtti-s are exactly like these polished rocks.

In English, we loosely translate “vrtti-s” as “thoughts”; this is somewhat accurate. A better English translation is “turnings or cyclings.” All our thoughts and all our emotions are little gems of energy cycling through our field of awareness. In Yoga, the aware mind isn’t just the physical brain. Our awareness is both heart and mind—the citta. Everything we see, hear, feel and experience throughout the day is absorbed in our minds and is turned, over and over again, like rocks in a tumbler.

So, when the Yoga Sutra’s define for us in chapter 1 vs. 2 the primary aim of yoga as:

“Yogah citta vrtti nirodhah”

What it means is NOT that we should completely cease, stop and abolish the turnings and thoughts of the mind, but that we should use the techniques of yoga to polish the vrtti-s until they gleam and point us toward the True Light of Inner Awareness.

Vrtti-s aren’t necessarily a bad thing; we need to be thinking and feeling and perceiving to enjoy living this life as a human. But vrtti-s, when left unchecked, can cycle out of control. If the rock tumbler is left on high all night long, it’s going to start smoking and burn an engine belt. If the vrtti-s are left to their own devices, they can easily spin out of control.

I’m sure you can remember a time when your thoughts were spinning pinballs and your emotions were all over the place and smoke was coming out your ears and your mind was completely trapped in a cycle of unhelpful thoughts. I’m usually an incredible sleeper (thanks to a few hours of yoga classes and Russell Clive walking each day) but every once in a while, my brain just WON’T shut off when I lay down at night.

I have so many ideas! And so many worries! And so many things to do! And probably I won’t get them done! And even if I do, they will probably fail! And I’m not really sure I’m qualified to do all these things anyway! And probably I should just give up and instead sit on the couch all day.

It’s at these times when the vrtti-s are less than helpful, when the constant turning of the mind does not enhance my ability to be happy, healthy, and whole.

We use the techniques of yoga—the breath, the concentration, the meditation, the poses—to help us refine and polish our thoughts and emotions (vrtti-s) so that they do not distort our perception of the world, but instead enhance our perception of the world as being a place of unity, trust and abundance.


The techniques teach us to take in all the things that we see, hear, think and feel throughout the day and polish them up so that our mind is not preoccupied with raw, ragged and rough misconceptions about the world, but instead our mind sees what is true: that there is enough, that we ARE enough, that the inner light of awareness inside our heart is connected with that same light in others. That the Universe wants us to be in yoga, in union, with it at all times. That is a pretty little gem of wisdom worth collecting. 

What is your favorite yoga technique for ‘polishing the vrtti-s’? What helps you enhance your perception of the world as a place of unity and abundance?

I’d love to hear from you! (Also don’t forget to check out my page key yoga learnings for a brush up on terms like citta and purusha.)

-lisa

2016 round up.

What an incredible year 2016 was. Looking back, I’m proud to say that I fulfilled my Big Dreams set last January: to teach, to travel and to love.

In the teaching realm, I offered six very successful and special workshops on yoga philosophy, meditation, pranayama and yoga alignment. Continued thirst for this knowledge means I’ve got Spring 2017 Workshops already on the books. Check out my 2017 Workshop Schedule here. I’d be honored to be your guide as you deepen your understanding of how yoga can offer healing for you and your community.

I also expanded my offerings on my website to include Guided Meditations. Feedback has been profound. Listeners say they’ve used these free audio tracks to find a moment of peace during their lunch break, focus before a big meeting, and relaxation at the end of the day. One listener even shared that she and her daughter listen to them together!  Adorable. If you haven’t made a habit of listening to a 5 minute meditation as part of your daily routine, consider adding it to your New Year’s Goals. A little relaxation does a heart good. Find free Guided Meditations here. (Also, did I mention: they are FREE?)

My blog has expanded its reach exponentially, bringing more hope, heath, and happiness to your inbox. I’d love to reach others with these teachings; please consider sharing with friends and family. In addition, I’m now freelance writing for Maya Yoga KC and EA Bridal Magazine. I’m humbled by these opportunities to share my voice and teach outside of the studio walls.

In the traveling realm, I spent a week in Sedona, Arizona studying with Yoga Medicine Founder Tiffany Cruikshank and came home with a vast storehouse of yoga therapeutics for healing hips and spine which I am eager to share with you in my upcoming 2017 workshop Yoga for Pain Relief.  I spent July exploring the Great Northwest with my Ironman during my sabbatical and nabbed spectacular yoga photos to add to my yoga-asana gallery.  I even visited three brand-new states on my honeymoon (yes, in yoga pants) to revel in the remarkable transformation of colors in the White Mountains.     file_0001

In the loving realm, I spent incalculable hours laughing over lunches with girlfriends and had a blast with my bridal party at all my pre-wedding festivities that littered the calendar. I moved into a new house (remember this post?) and created a nurturing environment for my little family. I married the person I love most in the world, officially acquiring a new family and even a new last name. You’ll want to look at our gorgeous wedding photos on Jana Marie Photography’s blog. Her photos truly captured what a truly magical day it was. So yea, 2016 has been incredible.

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Now, on to 2017: For two years I offered #MeditationThoughtMondays on this blog, hoping to spur a moment of reflection to start the week off right and conquer any residual Cases of the Mondays.  I hope you’ve found inspiration and solace in these teachings. I truly believe that meditation is life-changing. I truly believe that peace is inevitable when we learn to heal our inner lives through meditation and prayer. However, in 2017 I’m moving my blog in a new direction: teaching the philosophy of yoga and how it informs our self-care.

Through working with countless private clients and students, I’ve learned that an integral part of yoga teaching is missing from most classes we attend. It’s the real stuff: the teachings from the Yoga Sutras about how to relieve suffering in body and in mind.  So, not more #MeditationThoughtMondays. Together, we are moving on and moving deeper. I’ll still be totally authentic and share with you details about my yoga journey; I’ll still share adorable photos of Russell Clive Drackert; I’ll still ask you to meditate daily. But basically, I want to focus on bringing all the pieces of yoga together for you: why we do the poses, what’s the philosophy wisdom in this tradition, and how uniting body+ mind+ spirit helps you live your life more fully.

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(Russell Clive will still make periodic appearances on the blog, because he’s the cutest Yoga Dog in the world and he REALLY wants you to meditate and live a full +healthy life.)

So, readers, I’ll catch you in 2017 with all new teaching and inspiration; but for now, here’s my 5 favorite posts from 2016:

Lisaashyoga.com 2016 Round Up:

Happy Holidays (please do your yoga so you can actually enjoy your family) and see you in January.

Love, Love, Love!

-lisa (with a new last name)

stress less. #MeditationThoughtMondays

stress less

That’s great advice… but, um, how can you possibly “stress less” when life is hectic? My meditation students never fail to ask, “When am I supposed to give time to sitting around and meditating during the day?”

You might not have twenty extra minutes in a day to experience the stress relieving benefits of meditation.  But, when time is precious, do you have extra minutes in a day to GIVE To Stress? Stress steals moments.  Stress steals your ability to be effective, efficient, and compassionate.  Because your body is most concerned with survival, it doesn’t have time to be concerned with anything else, even staying healthy.  You can read more about stress and your immune response here.

Stress is a normal physiological response to, well, just about everything in your current environment.  Your body does not discriminate between physical stress and emotional stress: it reacts to both by releasing the same hormones and vamping up your sympathetic nervous system to all stimuli– real, imagined, positive, or negative.

During April, National Stress Awareness Month (yes, one more thing for you to stress over forgetting!), my Introduction to Meditation Workshops at Westport Yoga have been packed.  The best part?  In between our afternoon Sunday sessions my students have shared with me inspiring stories about how a one-minute morning meditation has reduced their daily stress levels.  Kara told me how she didn’t even get upset when her car was rear ended at a red stop light because she was practicing Mindful Breathing.  (I assigned the homework called “Red Light Breathing” to encourage students to stay mindful even during a stressful commute!) That’s extreme; I’d still get upset if my unsuspecting Subaru was hit by some knucklehead who was driving too fast.  But Kara’s Red Light Breathing must be super powerful.

Even one minute of mindful breathing can reduce stress and create relaxation in the body.   Whether you have one minute, or sixteen years, here are 9 tips you can utilize to reduce your stress level and lead a happier life.  (Number 9 is my favorite!)

The following was featured in Outside Magazine’s October 2014 Issue.  You can read the full article here.  It was written by Eric Beresini

clock

 

If you have: “10 Seconds: Laugh

Even just anticipating a chuckle is enough to relieve stress and elevate hormones that combat depression and boost immunity.

If you have: 5 Minutes: 
Chew Gum

Chewing two sticks a day for two weeks can fight off anxiety and fatigue and improve mood.

If you have: 15 Minutes: 
Meditate

Research has shown that a quarter of an hour of guided meditation performed in the office can kick psychological and physiological markers of stress. You don’t need someone in the flesh to help lead your thoughts; UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free weekly meditation podcasts to download or stream.

If you have: 30 Minutes: 
Go for a Run

Five days a week at a moderate pace of around ten minutes per mile can boost your mood, concentration, and sleep quality—not to mention your cardiovascular health and muscle tone.

If you have: 45 Minutes: 
Take a Nap

A 45-to-60-minute daytime snooze boosts your cardiovascular system, bringing spiked blood pressure back down to normal.

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yoga and movement help reduce stress.  check out Lisa’s yoga teaching schedule here.

 

If you have: 90 Minutes: Stretch It Out

Studies have shown that yoga relieves tension in everyone from medical students to flood survivors. Ninety minutes twice a week erases anxiety and replaces it with calm, though sessions half that long can also work. (Check out Lisa’s full yoga teaching schedule here.)

If you have: 1 Day: Walk in the Woods

Shinrin-yoku is a Japanese term meaning “walking or staying in forests to promote health.” Just a day in the wild, researchers have found, is enough to reduce stress, even in chronic sufferers.

 If you have: 1 Year: Move to Switzerland

The country topped the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Better Life Index for life satisfaction. A strong sense of community, high life expectancy, and low unemployment make the Swiss life sweet. That and your in-laws probably don’t live there.

If you have:16 Years: 
Get a Dog

A pup will lower your blood pressure and generally improve your psychological well-being. And bringing it to the office can increase job satisfaction.”  – Eric Beresini  You can read the full article here

Russell Ash being coy

Every time you come home, your dog will welcome you with open arms, no matter how stressed you are.  You should get one.  

Which of these tips can you utilize tomorrow?  Which one is your favorite?

(I’m sure you have time to stress less.  I can’t imagine you have time to stress more.)

Happy Living,

-lisa

stress less

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

Westport Yoga featured at Lululemon Stores

Great News! Westport Yoga KC is the featured Yoga Studio for the month of May at the Lululemon Athletica Country Club Plaza location.  Come take a free Sunday morning Brunchasana with our inspiring teachers.  All classes begin at 11:00 am on Sundays; bring a mat, a friend, and a Sunday smile.

I’ll be teaching on Mother’s Day morning: May 11, 11:00 am.

View More: http://janamariephotos.pass.us/lisa-ash-yoga

Come share in a nourishing practice (bring your mother) and then head to a nourishing brunch with your family.

For more information visit Westport Yoga KC or the Lululemon KC Plaza site.

See you there!  Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

small momma

-lisa

spring specials on Private Instruction.

SprView More: http://janamariephotos.pass.us/lisa-ash-yogaing Specials on Private Yoga Sessions are here!   Work one-on-one with Lisa to fine-tune your current asana alignment or to learn yoga for the first time.

Classes sold in packages of 3 sessions.

3 Lessons ONLY $205  (over $20 in savings)

Classes can be scheduled as Private (1 person) or Semi-Private Lessons (2 to 3 people). 

(Prices valid April 10- April 30, 2014. Must be redeemed in full within 4 months of purchase date. Cash or check only.)

Email ash.lisamarie at gmail.com or use the form at the bottom of this page.

Locations and times are negotiable; private sessions are generally scheduled for Saturday or Sunday afternoons.  Early mornings are also available.