Fall Equinox – Ponder, Wader, Wonder – Fall Medicine for the Soul

Mary-Jo & Jolie on a mountain

Autumn Equinox 2014

It won’t be long now before the leaves start to turn and the autumn air brings a fresh chill to our cheeks. The change of the seasons, is for me a bittersweet turning point, symbolic of many other similar moments in life. My most recent major example has been the passage from motherhood to nomad coinciding with daughters blossoming into women, menopause, marriage (as in for me mother-in law) bones shrinking and retirement thinking. Ready or not I have hit the autumn of my life.

Nostalgic as it is and perhaps unsettling, there is something about the impending change that on some level I feel and know is necessary – it is part of our nature. Change is life. We are all of what Nature is, it can teach us all of what we are. Curiously as nature is a metaphor for life with regards to the seasons, so too can nature be an example of how to best meet the potential turmoil and disruption of change.

In time, Summer surrender’s her fiery display and subdues into the long shadows of fall, and we too must adjust and follow natures example, by coming back down to earth, balancing our external output and collecting in our resource’s and energy. Yoga and Ayurveda offer many tools and techniques to help ameliorate and manage our own life-force. The Dragon & Tiger Practice, it is useful at this time of year and helps to calm or focus ones energy.

Like a beautifully scripted symphony-both spring and fall equinox bring us to a balance point, while the two solstices winter and summer take us to the extremes of darkness and light. In the end the more we understand and know about ourselves, our true nature and how to work with it, the more empowered and liberated we become. We cannot alter the flow of life, but can learn to surrender and ride the waves – and move with and through the turbulence.

Bountiful & Balanced Fall Blessings,

Mary-Jo


 

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.  You do not have to walk on your knees for 100 miles to the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,  the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver


Upcoming for Fall

Fall Yoga Schedule
Fall classes begin in October, click here for the complete schedule. Our next 40 Hour Adaptive/ Restorative/Therapeutic-ART, 3 day training is this Oct 2014- in beautiful Whistler, BC. Find out more and apply today HERE!

Wander-Events…

Yoga Teacher Training Level 2 takes place this November in beautiful Whistler, BC.


Do you wonder…
What is your body type and what are its needs? The sister science to yoga – Ayurveda, is a perfect way to support yourself and understand your nature. Here are two great resources: Anna Colin – Natural Life Ayurveda & Madhuri Phillips – Madhuri Ayurveda Yoga.
Reach out to them to find out how Ayurveda can support you.


fbfeaeb3-ed96-4b1e-b4bc-102dc29668f2Ponder some closing thoughts by the late great, BKS Iyengar……

As you come back, (from savasana) don’t move from habit. Instead be still and observe the world itself waking up inside your awareness. Witness the senses waking up, then the mind and finally observe how the body and the world reconstitute themselves.

This is a critical moment. Don’t go into the old mental habit that wants to paint the days landscape from memory. Instead, remain absolutely still. Understand the world through fresh innocent seeing, feeling, smelling and tasting. Be open to the unknown.

– BKS Iyengar

 


colorful-autumn-leaves

Yoga Transforms Your Brain and Body – for the better! | Trinity Yoga

yoga for healthcare

Yoga Transforms Your Brain & Body……For the Better!

yoga transforms

Yoga Transforms After Class.

Improved Brain Function. 
Just 20 minutes of Hatha yoga — an ancient form of the practice that emphasizes physical postures rather than flow or sequences — can improve cognitive function, boosting focus and working memory. In a University of Illinois study, participants performed significantly better on tests of brain functioning after yoga, as compared to their performance after 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise.

Lower Stress Levels. 
Yoga’s stress-busting powers may come from its ability to lessen the activity of proteins that are known to play a role in inflammation, according to a study published last year from University of California, Los Angeles researchers.

Alter Gene Expression. 
A small Norwegian study suggested that yoga’s many healthy benefits might come from its ability to alter gene expression in immune cells.

Increased Flexibility. 
A recent Colorado State University study found that Bikram yoga — a form of yoga in which a series of 26 postures are performed for 90 minutes in a heated room — is linked with increased shoulder, lower back and hamstring flexibility, as well as greater deadlift strength and decreased body fat, compared with a control group.

Yoga Transforms After A Few Months.

Lower Blood Pressure. 
People with mild to moderate hypertension might benefit from a yoga practice, as a study from University of Pennsylvania researchers found that it could help to lower their blood pressure levels. Researchers found that people who practiced yoga had greater drops in blood pressure compared with those who participated in a walking/nutrition/weight counseling program.

Improved Lung Capacity. 
A small 2000 Ball State University study found that practicing Hatha yoga for 15 weeks could significantly increase vital lung capacity, which is the maximum amount of air exhaled after taking a deep breath. Vital lung capacity is one of the components of lung capacity.

Improved Sexual Function. 
2009 Harvard study published in the The Journal of Sexual Medicine showed that yoga could boost arousal, desire, orgasm and general sexual satisfaction for women. Yoga can also improve women’s sex lives by helping them to become more familiar with their own bodies, according to a review of studies published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, as reported by CNN.

Reduced Chronic Neck Pain.
German study published in The Journal of Pain showed that four weeks of practicing Iyengar yoga (a type of Hatha yoga that stresses proper alignment and the use of props) is effective in reducing pain intensity in adults suffering from chronic neck pain.

Anxiety Relief. 
2010 Boston University study showed that 12 weeks of yoga could help to reduce anxiety and increase gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) levels in the brain (low levels of GABA have been linked with depression and anxiety disorders).

Relief from Chronic Back Pain. 
Researchers at West Virginia University found Iyengar Yoga to be more effective in reducing pain and improving mood than standard medical treatment among those with chronic lower back problems.

Steady Blood Sugar Levels in People with Diabetes.
Adding yoga to a typical diabetes care regimen could result in steady blood sugar levels, according to a 2011 Diabetes Care study. Reuters reported that just three months of yoga in addition to diabetes care resulted in a decrease in body mass index, as well as no increases in blood sugar levels.

Improved Sense of Balance. 
Practicing an Iyengar yoga program designed for older adults was found to improve balance and help prevent falls in women over 65, according to a 2008 Temple University study.

After Years.

Stronger Bones.
2009 pilot study by Dr. Loren Fishman showed that practicing yoga could improve bone density among older adults.

“We did a bone mineral density (DEXA) scan, then we taught half of them the yoga, waited two years, and did another scan,”Fishman previously told The Huffington Post. “And not only did these people not lose bone, they gained bone. The ones who didn’t do the yoga lost a little bone, as you would expect.”

Healthy Weight.
Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found an association between a regular yoga practice and decreased weight — or at least a maintained weight — among more than 15,000 healthy, middle-aged adults.

“Those practicing yoga who were overweight to start with lost about five pounds during the same time period those not practicing yoga gained 14 pounds,” study researcher Alan Kristal, DPH, MPH, told WebMD.

Lower Risk Of Heart Disease. 
As part of a healthy lifestyle, yoga may lower cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar,according to Harvard Health Publications.

Deepening your Yoga on and off the Mat – An Introduction to the Yamas and Niyamas

“Our challenge is to remain upright and graceful despite the forces of entropy, faithlessness, and greed – not in an attempt to change the world, rather to create an internal environment that has a peaceful and beneficial affect on our state of mind. When there is equanimity of mind, the affect on the world around us is profound.”

3000 years ago, a being named Patanjali codified the Yoga Sutras, 196 aphorisms which outline the way in which we can live a yogic lifestyle to exist in pure consciousness, Samadhi, or bliss. Within these sutras, an ashtanga (eight-limbed) path is defined and offers guidelines to create a more harmonious existence with one’s truest self.In the west, we are quite familiar with the third limb, asana, however an understanding of the other seven limbs is vital to establishing a deep and nourishing yoga practice. The limbs are as follows:

The Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga Path:

  1. Yama: External observances or restraints
    • Ahimsa
    • Satya
    • Asteya
    • Brahmacharya
    • Aparigraha
  2. Niyama: Internal observances
    • Saucha
    • Santosha
    • Tapas
    • Svadhyaya
    • Ishvara Pranidhana
  3. Asana: Physical practice of postures
  4. Pranayama: Controlled breathing practice (ex. Ujjayi)
  5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses
  6. Dharana: Drawing one’s attention to a single-pointed focus
  7. Dhyana: Absorbed concentration, meditation
  8. Samadhi: Bliss, complete oneness with all life

Our work in yoga begins with yama (ethics toward others), five guidelines that help us create and live in a sane and peaceful society. Then comes niyama (prescribed observances), personal disciplines that help us to become more aware of our own true selves.

YAMA

Ahimsa: Non-violence/Non-harming
Ahimsa is not something we strive towards, but something we inherently are – compassionate. When one is self-confident the need to hurt, humiliate or kill another being (or ourselves) is absent.

  • The more we practice Ahimsa, the closer we come to the realization of our true nature: that which is peaceful and free of debilitating internal conflicts.
  • True Ahimsa is a deep realization that we are all one; equanimous with all other human beings, animals, and the environment with which we live.

REFLECT: How can we be kinder to others, to ourselves, to our planet (in thought, speech, action)?

Satya: Truthfulness in thought, action, and deed
Can we look beyond the obvious examples of Satya and evaluate a deeper meaning of what it means to be truthful?

REFLECT:

  • Do I live a life where I am living out my truest, deepest desires?
  • Does the life I live reflect the values I hold to be true?
  • Do I have truthful relationships with all people in my life?
  • Do I find myself exaggerating my accomplishments or experiences?

Asteya: Non-stealing
Not taking what is not ours – true generosity of thought, action and deed. Includes not stealing ideas, credit, another’s affection, etc…

Brahmacharya: Self-restraint
This yama is often interpreted as celibacy, however one can relate to it more if it is thought of as restraining ourselves from not using others for our own personal pleasure/gain. Honouring the life force within ourselves and all others is a way to practice true Brahmacharya.

Aparigraha: Non-accumulation, greedlessness
In essence this yama is about moderation. Freeing us from coveting material objects, people, status, and position. This ultimately frees us from identifying ourselves with things, reducing overall possessiveness.