YOGA SHELTER BLOG
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Don’t Slouch!

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My mom always tells me to bring my shoulders back and stand with a straighter back.  Being the confident go-getter that she is, she wants me to walk like a winner as well.  But there’s more at stake than a confident look.The muscles you use are the muscles you train, whether you know it or not.  When I slump my shoulders forward I am training my body to keep them there.  Over time, the collarbone tightens and the back muscles loosen.  This restricts circulatory movement and shortens diaphragm movement which leads to less energy and faster aging.  Other bad habits are leaning the head forward or sticking the tailbone out, putting stress on the lower lumbar.

To reestablish my alignment, I simply reach my hands to the sky, and then let them drop to my sides.  Just like that, my spine and shoulders are set where they’re supposed to be.  But it never stays that way because my mind wants my shoulders scrunched forward any moment I feel sadness or discomfort.

 

Pretty much all yoga poses, if done correctly, strengthen the muscles needed for good posture.  Usually instructors say things like, “tuck the tail bone in” or, “put your weight on the balls of your feet”.  Meanwhile we dig into the tight spots and find where tension is being held.  The practice becomes an exploration as we learn more about ourselves through the body.

It’s incredibly interesting how much of a living metaphor the body is to the mind.  Those who do yoga to burn calories will release negativity.  Those who do it for detoxification will receive an emotional release.  Those who want for flexibility will find emotional resilience.   And those who look for balance will find tranquility.

This is why having proper posture is a good look.  People are naturally drawn to a confident, upright disposition, and associate slouching with being tired or lazy.  Standing up straight shows vigor and vitality, while slouching can indicate defeat or apathy.

My mom is not always there to remind me, so the key is to find a way to remind myself.  I want my posture to bring me good health, longevity, and to be a sign of how willing I am to open my heart to the world.   Most importantly, I want to send a message to myself that I am watching, and I care.

La La Land

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There are times in my life when I spontaneously take a low, deep breath and sigh it out.  If I do this, it means I have emerged from a lengthy escapade in La La Land.La La Land can be loads of fun because I can go deep inside my own head.  I have an easier time being alone.  I use breaks in my day to think about basketball, politics, math, relationships, and other entertaining, miscellaneous things.

I am a frequent visitor of La La Land.  My mind drifts away out of habit, and it’s a habit I’d like to break.  I can get so deep inside my head snapping back feels like waking up.  I need a second to remember where I am.  In this subconscious state, the diaphragm shortens its movement, constricting the flow of precious oxygen and removal of CO2 from my body.  I am literally suffocating.  This is why I gasp for air when I emerge.

 

It’s not Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); if I need to focus on something I can do it.  And although I find intellectual value in sorting out my thoughts, that is not why I zone out either.  It stems from my urge to always try to feel comfortable.

Maybe it’s all about perspective.  If you really stop and think right now about where you are and what you’re doing, would you be able to handle the reality?  Does reality sometimes seem bleak, boring, and lonely?  If so, why would you ever leave La La Land?  Is it enough to be alive and in the moment?  I suppose it should be enough, but it takes time and practice to fully appreciate every mundane moment, so I slip into the realm of my thoughts.

When I practice yoga, I try to keep my focus somewhere between my upper lip and the tip of my nose where air moves in and out.  My mind will persistently try to wander off.  The goal is not to wipe my mind of any thoughts whatsoever; that’s impossible.   The challenge is to simply acknowledge each useless thought and say to it, “Thank you, but you need to leave”, then carry on with my practice, quieting my mind, and making room for thoughtful intention.

It’s a constant pull between fading out and being aware.  It will always be this way.  The biggest step I took was to find preference towards being in the moment and noticing what there is to notice.  La La Land is cool, but a purposeful, conscious life can be very fulfilling.  Yoga is the power behind my mindfulness and awareness.

Time – Lesson From Yoga Practice

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When I first started doing yoga, one thing I couldn’t figure out was how the instructors, with no apparent timepiece on their person or any visible clock in the studio, could know when it is the appropriate time to wrap up the class.  Do they just have a really good feel for how long one hour is?I figured out their secret during one class when I set my mat to the far left corner of the studio where I was able to notice a clock deliberately angled away from the rest of the class.

That day I learned to never set my matt where I can see a clock.  Seriously, don’t.

 

One hour can feel like a long time for a beginner yogi.  What I discovered after three years of regular yoga was that the hour didn’t feel shorter as I improved in my practice; I just stopped caring about time.  This is different from my regular life where I constantly calculate minutes and hours trying to manage the arithmetic problem I call my schedule.  Time is money, good grades, a fit body, and Netflix marathons.  In order to have good times we need to suffer through bad times (for me it’s studying).

I lose this mentality when I practice yoga.  There are no good or bad times; each moment just is what it is.  But when I saw the clock, my mind couldn’t shut up.

“So class started at 8:30 and it is now 8:57.  That leaves 60 – 27 = 33 minutes of class left.  This flow will last approximately 5 more minutes leaving 33 – 5 = 27 minutes left.  In those five minutes we will probably do airplane pose.  That pose usually lasts 5 breathes. One breathe is about 6 seconds.  5*6 = 30 painful seconds. If I can bear those 30 seconds I can make it to the next and final flow which will be an ab workout because we haven’t done abs yet.  I’ll suffer through that and then I’ll enjoy the part when we lay on our backs for 3 minutes.”

Yoga—and life in general—is very difficult with this mentality.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how uncomfortable each second was.  The saddest part is that when I finally reached Savasana, I used it to plan the rest of my day.

There is a lesson in every practice.  I learned to never look at the clock.

2013 Holiday Schedule

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The Lower Back and Unnoticed Muscles in My Body

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Babies have no inhibitions in expressing how they feel.  If they’re happy, they’ll laugh.  If they’re sad, they’ll cry.  These highs and lows can come within seconds of each other without any restraint.  They are free of society’s distaste for emotional outbursts.

Then they mature.

As I matured I learned to take on the highs and lows with level-headedness and self-control, which is not all bad.  But somewhere along the way I acquired the attitude that emotions are childish and weak.

I denied life to be the roller coaster that it is, thereby denying reality itself.  Every heartbreak, trauma, and disappointment was not allowed to manifest, lest my emotions make those around me feel uncomfortable.  I thought not being happy all the time meant not being able to take care of myself.

There was no pain, nor much of anything else.  What once brought joy as a child was now stale.  I could walk tall, give firm handshakes, and even force a polite smile, but on the inside I looked like Quasimodo, crippled by unresolved issues from my past I’ve thrown under the carpet.

Then one day a friend invites me to go to a yoga class.  I’m hesitant at first.  I tried yoga before and didn’t really like it.  But I go this time.  What else am I going to do tonight?

I started to become aware of once unnoticed muscles in my body, as they burned and stretched.  My shoulders loosened, my hips opened, and at the end of class I rolled on my back hugging my knees.  A breath filled my stomach, climbed up to my armpits, and then reversed on the exhale.  Energy vibrated from my lower back, up my spine, all the way to my face where tears were mixed with sweat as I cried softly.

Yoga Plank Pose

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I spend most of my day sitting in front of a computer screen, so sometimes I go to yoga just as a break to my sedentary lifestyle.  There’s something gratifying in the motion and flow that coincides with the inhales and exhales.  The lifting and lowering, the bends, the reaches, the sweeping of the arms all put me in a sort of indescribable euphoria.Then the instructor says, “Now lower your elbows to a forearm plank.”

And I think, “Ok, then what?”

…more plank pose.  The voice in my head starts to sound like Andy Rooney.

“No, I don’t want to hear your anecdote. I want to know the next pose!”

The teacher says, “Now lift your right leg.”

My inner curmudgeon is raging.

“Forget it, I quit.  I’ll join back in when we do something else.  I hate this.”

I wanted to move like a rushing wind, but when I was brought into plank the wind died and an intense fire started burning in my core.  How could this position be so simple yet so difficult?

Once I developed as a yogi the purpose of plank pose became clear.  It’s really a practice of mindfulness; the ability to live in the present and accept it for what it is.  It allows for mental/emotional resiliency.  People who practice mindfulness are able to make it through all of life’s uncomfortable moments.  They weeble and wobble but they don’t fall down.

It wasn’t until I told my inner curmudgeon to shut up that I started to discover my true potential.  I could relax my face, remember to breathe, and pay attention to how I was feeling.  Plank pose was no longer an excruciating wait; it was an embrace with the fire that burns inside me.

Thank you for voting Yoga Shelter the Best place to do Yoga in Metro Detroit 2013! See you in class!

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Dear Eric,It’s a matter of fact. You’re the best. You work longer, harder and smarter than your competitors and for that you’re known as the best in the business. But what’s better than patting yourself on the back is knowing that our readers have voted you,

Yoga Shelter as the Best Place to Practice Yoga in Metro Detroit in our annual Real Best of Detroit balloting! And for that we’d like to say congratulations.

The word “best” gets tossed around pretty loosely these days but not here at Real Detroit Weekly. Our Real Best of Detroit awards are fiercely contested and tenaciously sought after as they are a true affirmation that you are the best at what you do. The survey behind the awards was voted on by our discerning readers and features the best of what Detroit has to offer. Restaurants, Bars, Cultural Attractions, Media, Nightclubs, Shopping, Arts, Salons, Casinos, Food, Drink, Music; it’s all in our Real Best of Detroit issue that hits the streets on Wednesday February 27, 2013.

Not surprisingly, that issue is easily our most popular and highly anticipated issue of the year and it quickly becomes an essential go to guide, coffee table catalog and source material for this market when people want to find out what’s hot, what’s cool, what to do, what to buy and where to buy it, where to go and what to eat and drink and wear when they get there. And Real Detroit Weekly would like to recognize your Real Best of Detroit honor by offering you very special advertising rates. We encourage you to highlight what makes your business the best there is in this outstanding issue and thank our readers (your devoted customers and best prospects) for voting for you at the same time.

Sincerely,
John Badanjek, Publisher (Real Detroit)

Do some yoga, you won’t regret it.

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We all know that consistently practicing yoga can significantly improve your mind-set and well-being. Bringing these ideologies into everyday life can do great things for one’s psyche and outlook. Here we’ll tell you about several other benefits of doing yoga every day, and how it can improve your lives.

Yoga also helps you keep calm and stay collected throughout your day, and that can have an immediate impact on heart health. Studies have shown that yoga practices such as meditation, certain diet modifications and posture exercises have had a direct correlation with lowering the students’ cholesterol and blood sugar levels over a weeks’ time. Imagine the impact yoga would have over a months’ time? How about six months’ time?

 

A pregnancy in the family can be a daunting, at times even stressful period. Yoga practice during pregnancy  can help the mother-to-be keep her stress levels down, and in turn keeping her future child’s stress levels down as well, allowing for a nice, stress-free pregnancy and birth. Yoga can also help prepare the mother’s body for the birth itself.

We all know that confidence is key in the bedroom, and keeping yourself in good shape is a big part of that. Yoga helps with this particular problem both directly and indirectly in more ways than you think. First off, just being aware of your body is a crucial component to stress throughout both yoga and your love life. Knowing exactly what you and your body are capable of allows you to be confident and self-assured. Many of the poses that you do in yoga direct your blood flow to the pelvis region of your body – a rather important body part when it comes to your sex drive.

With such a wide spectrum of benefits, why wouldn’t you be doing yoga? Just an hour a day can completely transform your life.  Call today and we can get your journey started!

It’s never too late for yoga

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Doing yoga at a later age can be a bigger challenge than when you were younger and more pliable. Keeping up with any physical activity for that matter can be quite the hurdle if you don’t take the recommended precautions. As the body ages, it gets less and less flexible, so in order for someone older to get everything out of their yoga workout, they should have a little warm-up session just before. This will allow for them to do all poses that require extended periods of flexion and extension with more ease than if they didn’t warm up.

Not only does yoga give you the benefit of exercise, it also has a wide array of health benefits ranging from helping with one’s posture to preventing cramps for women during their menstrual cycle. As long as you don’t overwork your body or do anything in excess, you can indeed do yoga later in life and enjoy it! Want to get right into it? Get to a class today!

The perks of doing your yoga in the morning

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We all know how much of a pain it can be to get up and get going in the early hours of the day. When it becomes a half-asleep routine similar to that of autopilot,  it’s time for a change. It can be difficult to adjust at first, but adding yoga can really be the perfect start to your mornings. Doing yoga during the morning can prepare you for work and your day, giving you some personal time before anything else comes into play.Collecting your thoughts through morning yoga allows you to gain perspective on daily obstacles, giving you an upper hand on any matter. Instead of caffeine or an energy drink, yoga can have you feeling alive and alert naturally. Not only that, but once you’re done with your morning yoga, your done with your daily workout, and we all know the feeling of accomplishment that comes with that. Yoga Shelter has classes that start as early as 6:00am, but be sure to check what locations offer what times. We hope this has been motivational to you, and who knows, maybe morning yoga is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

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