IMG-9658 (2)Last Friday night I scouted out Lavender Lori’s Rosalie Ranch. She has cultivated this spot to grow lavender. She has followed this dream into a life that inspires.   

Take a deep breath on the peaceful and expansive prairie with the mountains backing us up and the burgeoning growth of this year’s lavender crop to entice you to return for more summer yoga.

Friday, May 22 IMG_9637

Arrive: 5-5:30 p.m.

Practice in the open air: 5:30-7 p.m.

Visit & tour (lavender limeade will be served)

Lavender shop will be open.

Register: marina@yogamz.com
Fee: $25

45 minutes from Missoula – 25 minutes from Polson – 15 minutes from Arlee. Directions will be sent to attendees.

  • Dress for a spring evening in Montana and wear appropriate shoes – it’s a short walk from the parking area to the yoga site.
  • Durable yoga mat (We’ll be practicing on small gravel. It is a little dusty)

  • Yoga props (anything you usually use, one or two blankets suggested)
  • Water bottle

Phases of growth….

 

a story is not THE story

Here we are, September 7 – nearly three quarters of the way through the year – 6 months of our dance with COVID 19 and I find myself rather quiet. I am often shy to write because I tend to want to place things in context – to have the back story already known. I prefer a conversation and when I can those that can last for hours. Leisurely with a friend or two, punctuated with quiet, the wag of a dog’s tail, coffee and a snack. Or on a roadtrip where topics appear and reappear on the breeze.

How do I briefly set the context of today? I am made up of the fibers of my dna, my family, my friends, 50 years of life exposed to the here and now and everything that has trickled both through and into my consciousness. Exhale, I take a breath and experience the moment vs. my thoughts. Experience the moment and not a story. Yet story does allow us to share, to connect, to learn, to feel, to relate.

What stories do I tell myself? about myself? others? how we relate? are they true? maybe they once were. And then the rabbit hole of what is true and who is it true for or to.

Practice, meditation – sometimes gives me a rest, brings me to the now and the freedom of no story. It also shows me the stories I perpetuate with and without examination, the stories I turn away from and too easily turn to.

There are many techniques used in yoga to make friends with self-reflection that becomes self study. Svadhyaya is one of the five niyamas. The niyamas are one of the eight limbs of yoga. And the niyamas are observances – inner observances to support us in our practice and thus life. Svadhyaya may include but our not limited to readings , meditation techniques, and asana (postural/movement) practices that support and prompt reflection . Noticing is a step and then noticing what is prompted physically, mentally, emotionally during the noticing. Do I relax, do I tense up, do I avoid, do I smile?





online sessions

For a few years I have wanted to include online sessions as an option for you to access to the benefits of yoga. 2020 helped shorten the learning curve for all of us and normalize it as an option.

I have learned that it is a viable option that has its own benefits separate from meeting in person.

The number one benefit is that you are practicing at home. This is where your practice truly takes root. There can be a greater shared focus on experiencing and learning technique(s) vs. simply performing a movement or series of movements. Ease of scheduling – no need to budget time to travel to and from my office or to cancel due to personal or professional travel. And one of my favorites is reducing the use of fossil fuel– reducing your’s and my carbon footprint.

Here we are, March 23, 2020. To varying degrees we are all in this together in a way that is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes. I keep trying to find a more accurate word than interesting for how news traveled – around the world headlines, posts by friends traveling in Asia, bigger headlines, eventually conversation among friends, colleagues, and more and more public info from city and state.

For me I kept taking space to practice and time to think and talk with trusted friends and colleagues. Like many of you in varied professions, I had a domino effect of feelings/thoughts on how this would impact my growing business. Personally I knew I needed to stop seeing clients in person and shift to more fully offering online connection, guidance, and support in their home practice.

The work I am trained to do is really yoga for times like these. Everyone enters into the practice and/or study of yoga in their own way. One’s interest, current state, time of life, location all play into it. Yoga was passed down within families and communities, teacher to student, and so on and so on. Both an oral and living tradition it has evolved to represent many different things individually, within schools or lineages, in pop culture from Elvis movies, The Beatles, to Madonna and Sting in the 90’s, to varied Instagram selfies and Goat Yoga and the beat goes on. And all the while people practiced, most quietly.

For me, I was merely curious and eventually with a friend we started practicing from books in Auburn, AL. Mostly on our own and would report back in to one another. I recall reading in a book that it was recommended to learn from a teacher. Little a-ha moments occured. And we were in luck as a class started to form from a teacher who would travel over from Tuskegee.

What started as curiosity became a part of my everyday. My working hours made attending class not so practical- so I kept practicing from the notes my teacher gave me and looked into books a little bit more. Eventually I fell into community to what became my yoga home for 24 years. My practice supported me through the passing of friends, through injuries, and personal challenges. I watched as my community also rode the waves of life with yoga as a bit of a raft. My interests supported me in learning more and more about the subtleties and multitude of adaptations,on and off the mat,in ways that best serve the student, the practitioner at any given time. Sometimes we don’t always click with a teacher, yet we always learn something about ourselves in the process. As teachers our practice is fundamental and a requirement to do our best work. Do we, do I, fall short of the mark? yes, yes I do. Sometimes I see it happening and can intervene through inquiry and practice and sometimes I’ve found my self inert and sought input from one of my teachers. Sometimes the time between the present moment and hindsight is immeasurable.

Times like these…some days can feel like a lot to manage. I don’t need to detail what we’ve experienced from far away, to the collective us, and individually and then back out again. While I’ve been absorbed in and supported by yoga for decades and five years ago I took a deeper dive again. The teachings and practices that I have learning under the guidance of Gary Kraftsow and the entire team and community of The American Viniyoga Institute are elegant, efficient and most importantly effective.

Together, with your input, we can create a practice to support and sustain you. For some it is 10 minutes in the morning. For other little yoga snacks throughout their day. An evening wind down practice. Sometimes it is all three.

 

8 Limbs of Yoga

Yoga is a system of practices, a lifestyle, that allow for a state of union or integration. This system of practices contains 8 limbs:
Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.

The eight limbs of yoga, one of the uses of the term Ashtanga, may also be called the eightfold path.

Please note that I use Sanskrit (the original language of yoga) because translations can be lacking in the full meaning and essence of a word. I interweave both the Sanskrit term and English to try to both convey a more accurate meaning and maintain the thread of this long standing and respected tradition.

YAMA – Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows… how we relate with ourselves and others
NIYAMA – Positive internal duties or observances
ASANA – stationary and moving postures, positions, forms
PRANAYAMA – Breathing techniques, energetic practices accessed through breath
PRATYAHARA – Sense withdrawal
DHARANA – Focused concentration
DHYANA – Meditative absorption
SAMADHI – Bliss or enlightenment…union…integration

The eight limbs are not something to be checked of a list or to be climbed like a later. They may be practiced or learned about independently but it is in their interweaving are they possible fully experienced and understood. As your experience and understanding develop in one area it exponentially adds to another.

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Yoga for Chronic Pain

Yoga can help ease and decrease the occurrence of chronic pain. Through accessible practices you learn how to decrease tension, stress, breathe and move with greater ease leading you to improvements in all aspects of your daily life.

Due to the highly individual experience of chronic pain, the management of chronic pain is equally individual. Your life circumstances, experiences, how you learn will influence your experience reducing your symptoms.

Some people are able to learn a few basic principles during our intake and apply them to practices in a gentle, restorative or specific class for people with chronic pain or their home practice.

The breathing practices, as a singular activity or one in conjunction with movement based practices simply said, is calming to the nervous system resulting in the ‘relaxation response’ which is known to offer a break the pain cycle. Through practice you being to approach many of your daily activities with more mindful movements leading to less triggers and a ‘quieter’ response rate when you do.

According to the American Chronic Pain Association, “Chronic pain can be described as ongoing or recurrent pain, lasting beyond the usual course of acute illness or injury or more than 3 to 6 months, and which adversely affects the individual’s well-being. A simpler definition for chronic or persistent pain is pain that continues when it should not. (IASP 2004)”.

practices that include many things you may already be familiar with from your research on chronic pain: breathing, meditation, mindfulness, mindful movement,

 

My recommendation for the greatest improvements to your day would be to do a series of privates (3-6) to get acquainted with the practices of Yoga and how they may be adapted to you and then to become more and more familiar with them developing a home practice. From there you will have a practice for yourself and experience with principles that will support you in a gentle group Yoga class and/or many of your daily activities.

Please contact me to arrange a phone consult where we can discuss your options, 406-327-0775 or marina@yogamz.com.

 

Articles about Yoga and Chronic Pain

When researching Yoga on your own, please note that the accompanying pictures are often stock photos of Yoga vs. pictures of how Yoga would be practiced by people with chronic pain. Just as your personal experience with chronic pain differs from others, so will the best Yoga practices for you.

Below are a few articles you may find helpful as you navigate your way with chronic pain.

“Restorative Yoga for Chronic Pain”, Yoga International, Kelly McGonigal

“How Does Yoga Relieve Chronic Pain?Yoga has the opposite effect on the brain as chronic pain”,Psychology Today, Christopher Bergland

“Yoga For Pain Relief”, Harvard Health Publishing

Perspectives on Yoga Inputs in the Management of Chronic Pain”, Indian Journal of Palliative Care, Nandini Vallath