The 10 Best Places to Practice Yoga

Pick a park – any park! I love park yoga because, similar to beach yoga, there is lots of room to act the fool (in a good way).  The grass feels great on your bare feet, and the sun is almost always unobstructed by rooftops and skyscrapers (if you’re city folk) on a sunny day… perfect for your Sun Salutations!  Plus, you get to practice in and around nature and I’m sure you know by now, I’m more than down for that!  Try it!

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 8: Samadhi

If this is the point where you start raising an eyebrow and thinking maybe I should unwrap my arms from the tree I’m hugging long enough to actually notice how crazy what I’m writing sounds, I hear you.  Really.  This is some out-of-there stuff.  But if you’ve ever met a long-time (or newbie) yogi and thought ‘they seem so happy – I’d love to have what they’re having’ then I urge you to give the 8 Limbs a chance.  You may surprise yourself once you get to know the world of yoga better.

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 7: Dhyana

This Limb of yoga, number seven out of eight, is all about dhyana (pronounced dee – YAH – nah).  Now, dhyana follows closely with dharana (from yesterday’s post).  We learned yesterday that dharana means repeated concentrating on one place, object, or concept.  I say repeated because this Limb of yoga is meant to be a very touch-and-go one.  We are just learning how to train the mind to overcome our frequent attention shifts to, say, our grocery list. Dhyana, however, takes it one step further.

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 6: Dharana

You are training your mind to fade out the distractions of the world around you.  If you were to imagine your mind as an attic – filled with tons of items in storage, some cobwebs, and maybe even a spider or two who love to slide down on their butt-threads and scare you (i.e. command all of your attention after which you don’t remember why you ventured into the attic in the first place).  What practicing dharana does, in this analogy, is allow you to donate all that extra junk that you haven’t seen or used in decades, sweep out the cobwebs, and re-home the spiders, leaving only the antique clock that your grandmother loved so dearly and means so much to you.

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 5: Pratyahara

What pratyahara translates to, from Sanskrit to English, is sensory re-direction.  I’ve also heard it translated as sensory deprivation or withdrawal, but I learned during my yoga teacher training (which you can read more about here, if you are interested!) that the term re-direction is 1) a less harsh-sounding translation, and 2) really captures the idea that we are still holding onto our awareness while we practice pratyahara.  I may be getting a bit ahead of myself here, though!  Let’s dive into what pratyahara is, in essence.

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 4: Pranayama

If you’ve ever found yourself on your mat at a yoga class and noticed the teacher speaking specifically about manipulating your natural breath – you’ve practiced pranayama.  Two of the most common beginner techniques of breath control in classes tend to be 1) ujjayi breath (pronounced ooh – jeye – ee), where you constrict the throat muscles slightly to increase friction with the air in your throat; and 2) breathing to a certain time count.

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 3: Asana

What Patanjali states about this Limb in his Sutras text, is that practicing asanas is most beneficial to the mind and body when practiced with comfort and steadiness.  For me, this is a toughie – because there’s nothing comfy or steadfast about how short my breathing is, and the tiny beads of sweat that suddenly make a grand appearance on my brow, when I’m holding revolved half moon for more than ten seconds!

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 2: Niyamas

I think we’ve all experienced how clear our minds can be when we are working in a clean environment.  Whether you realized this after finally cleaning off your desk at work or after your first big move and realizing you’re better off without all the clutter from the last house – my guess is that we’ve all experienced this feeling before.  This niyama simply states that having a clean environment, and also doing our best to consume a clean diet, allows us to use the time we used to spend cleaning and taking care of our diet-related illnesses to better use.

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga | Day 1: Yamas

Ok!  Get pumped!  Today is day 1, so I’m going to be focusing on the first ‘Limb’ of yoga.  But, before I go on, it only makes sense to give a proper introduction on this topic.  What are the ‘Limbs of Yoga’ you ask?  The 8 Limbs of Yoga are core principles and practices that serve as a compass for living a meaningful and purposeful life and cultivating a connection with all that is.  Sounds heavy, right?  It’s not meant to be heavy.  They are guidelines and no, there are no Limbs Police to enforce the law of the land – so don’t worry.  If some of the practices I introduce to you the next few days resonate with you, maybe try them out and see how you feel incorporating them more into your daily life.

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3 Ways to Inch Outside Your Comfort Zone

Howdy everyone, and happy Friday!  Today I decided I wanted to talk about the comfort zone and offer three accessible steps to take toward the world beyond it.  The comfort zone, as defined by Lifehacker, is a “behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk”.  Sure, this definition implies that it’s a safe place to hang out, where you can drink green juice, lounge on the largest and comfiest bean bag chair you’ve ever seen, and get your feet massaged by one of those as-seen-on-tv contraptions.  Sounds great, right?  Maybe not. For me, especially more recently, the term comfort zone has a negative… Read More

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