Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Aparigraha and Gratitude

Aparigraha is an ancient Sanskrit word that means non-possessiveness. A word that seems so vital for thanksgiving and so important for our current times.

The yoga practice begins with 5 rules, dictating things not to do.
Ahimsa: do no harm
Satya: do not lie
Asteya: do not steal
Bramacharya: do not be excessive
Aparigraha: do not be possessive

The last one is literally translated as do not grasp tightly. In other words don't be greedy.  I find this to be the gateway to the understanding and practice of gratitude.  We must be grateful for what we have, knowing that it could be taken away at anytime. We must share what we have been given.

When we hoard our resources, our land, our talents, or energies, we drop into a feeling of not having enough and not trusting that life must flow.  In yogic philosophy it is believed that all illness and unease comes from stagnation.  So practice letting go, sharing fully, trusting and knowing that there is and will be enough. There is plenty to go around. So give thanks for what you have and hold it loosely so that it maybe shared with humanity. It is only in giving that we really receive.

And now a message from our sponsor:
You are enough!
You don't need anything else.
There is enough to share.
You are enough!

Those of you that are in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving. I will be teaching a thanksgiving class at 9:00 am at Ganesha Haus Yoga Lounge, followed by a Gratitude Council at 10:15.  Would love to see you there!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rise and Shine Yoga

I recently started teaching a Rise and Shine Yoga Class at 7am at Ganesha Haus Yoga Lounge in Brentwood.   So for those that need a little help to get out of bed and get on the mat.

Here are 10 reasons to practice yoga in the morning

1.  It feels wonderful to greet the morning with a Sun Salute! It is said that the best time of day is morning simply because your stomach is empty from sleeping and your body is needing to move and stretch.

2. You will be more focused and energized when you leave your mat. You will notice you are more alert for work or school.   Your mind will be more organized from the mindfulness practice of yoga. You will have great moment to moment awareness of what needs to be done next.

3. Your metabolism will get a quick boost. Working out in the morning helps to elevate your metabolic rate all day, especially if you are doing Pranayama (breath control) that strengthens the lungs. The cardiovascular system will experience  EPOC excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which increases the amount of calories burned for the rest of the day.

4. You will be less likely to skip your practice. Studies show that those who are most consistent maintaining exercise routines are those that work out in the morning.

5. It makes time for other priorities in the evening.  One of my favorite yoga quotes is 'Yoga doesn't take time it gives time.' This is true in regards to how efficient you will be when you get to work.  Also when you get home you will more likely feel 100% present for your family or whatever events you plan in the evening.

6. You won't have as many distractions. In the morning your mind is usually free from distracting thoughts and thus you can focus more exclusively on your body's sensations and needs.  You can listen more closely to what your heart is yearning for through out the practice.  The day will begin on your terms, not your bosses' agenda or your email alerts, or anything else that is constantly stealing your attention.

7. Your mood will improve.  The ultimate goal of yoga is bliss.  Starting your day off with yoga is sure to lift your spirits.

8.  You can accomplish nothing else the rest of the day and still feel accomplished.  Nothing more enjoyable than working hard and following it with completely guilt -free relaxation. If you can let the rest of the day be influenced by the sweet surrender of savasana, lucky you!

9. Your skin will naturally glow.  Sweating is so good for the skin.   Going upside down in poses like down dog, handstand, forward folds, and various other postures is great for combating gravities effects on the skin.

10. You will be hungry for breakfast and even better, feel more inclined to eat healthier.  When you take time to get  the mind and body on the same page you will notice that you will crave healthier foods that nourish you fully.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Yoga Collective Give Away

Exciting things are happening for April Grace Yoga!   Today begins a contest to give away 2 one year long subscriptions to The Yoga Collective’s Online Classes. I have found online classes in my own practice are a great way to keep disciplined and dedicated.  They are especially great on those days when you are unmotivated, uninspired, or just feeling lazy.   You know yoga is exactly what you need but the idea of leading yourself through a practice is overwhelming.  I also think they are a great way to get you back to going to class when you have had a break from regular practice.   Sometimes you just don’t want to be seen but you want the structure of a class. The Yoga Collective online community allows you to take a class right in the privacy of your own home. They have classes with a variety of lengths from 5 minutes to 60 minutes with a variety of styles and teachers.   So there is something for everyone.  It is so easy to use and convenient.

I have been lucky enough to practice in their beautiful studio in Venice. So if you are in the area you should definitely check them out.  But for those that are not in Venice,  The Yoga Collective offers a 15 day free trial of their online classes or you could win the yoga subscription give away!  

So here is how the contest will work. Post in the comments below your favorite yoga pose.  Then  friend my Facebook profile April Grace Yoga and post your favorite pose there as well.  The winner will be selected randomly and announced on the new moon April 18, 2015.    So you could be work out for free all year long with The Yoga Collective!  You can follow them on Twitter or Instagram for inspiring photos and yoga advice. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March Women's Month insight from Taryn Hughes

Taryn Hughes sent this inspirational peice to me from her workshops in Berlin. She is an incredible writer, teacher, and yogi. When I opened my inbox to find this I realized it was just the perfect post for March

When we gather, truths come out. It's a shame to let those discoveries stay hidden from the community at large. When I hear themes or when a group nods in unison and says "that's so true" I am going to tap out the message to you. Maybe it will help you and your girlfriends, Aunties, Moms, Grandmas and other women in your life.   Insights from the last Soulful Tea in Berlin:
We spent a lot of time connecting over different questions, such as "Where do you feel truth in your body?" and "What feeds your soul?" Then I posed the question "What is the greatest gift you have to share with the world?" It could be anything. ***(((((think of your answer now))))))******

Nearly all 10 women said some version of empathy, intuitiveness, seeing and understanding the other person or accepting others. Out of all the possibilities in the world (and these women have some serious other talents as well) nearly all of us thought that was our greatest strength.

Curious - was it the same for you?

Then women began to speak about how often they hide this gift. It's their greatest gift and also their hidden gift? "Why hide?" I asked. Because it can be "dangerous." Oooooo, now it's getting juicy. "Why does it feel that way?" Because of history, because of patriarchy, because if we can see the truth, then we may speak the truth and that would cause a lot of problems for a lot of people who are not living with honor. Ah. Exhale. Let that sink in.

After hearing many of these women bowing out or planning to bow out of corporate life to craft their own creative, integral, meaningful life I mentioned that this is the modern day women's rebellion. We are all revolting, quietly in our little corners of the universe. There is a movement of what I will name "rebelesses," humming beneath the surface of society. We all choose love over money. People over profit. Caring over hurting. Many women are opting out of the game. Which bring us to the opportunity to create a new paradigm.

2 years ago I wrote an article for Levo League on women in leadership. I truly believe that women and members of any minority group bring a lot of gifts to the table can shift the way business is run in the world - whether it's your own business or not. "Your position on the outside may well have offered you the gift of clarity and the ability to see..."

Whether you choose to lean in or opt out, know that you are all part of a silent and loving wave of transformative revolution that is spanning the globe.

Taryn HughesTaryn Hughes is dedicated to the development and advancement of women. Merging gender specific yoga with women’s rights in a historical, legal and societal context, she offers women a contemporary approach to healing. Find out more about Taryn at her website. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.