Sunday, December 04, 2016

BodhiYin, Ahh-mazing

BodhiYin! How do I love thee, let me count the ways...

If you caught my recent post about the BodhiFlow, this is another type of yoga we learned at the Bodhi Yoga Yoga Teacher Training. BodhiYin allows the body, mind, and spirit to recharge with supportive restorative postures using stillness, breath, and subtle intrinsic movements. This practices uses bolsters, blankets, and other props to help the body and mind let go and relax. The poses are held for longer periods of time allowing the body to fully relax into the poses.

I love BodhiYin because it helps me to slow down and decompress. This practice is great if you're dealing with anxiety, burnout, stress, chronic pain, and so much more.


I also love BodhiYin because it moves slowly enough to allow you to really feel your body and get comfortable with your range of motion and how things feel in YOUR body. Sometimes yoga can move so fast and you can feel the pressure to keep up with others in a class but with BodhiYin you can make the subtle changes and shifts you need to make to really relax into each posture. I feel it's a lovely beginners practice.

BodhiYin can also allow your yoga teacher to provide hands on adjustments (if they are trained in them) which can help you with alignment, activate acupressure points, or help you go deeper into each pose. This can make your experience almost like a full body massage except you can learn the poses and take them home with you.

Have you ever experienced a restorative yoga practice? If so, what was your favorite part about it? Do you enjoy the slow movement and long holds or does moving that slowly drive your mind crazy? I'd love to hear about what you like and don't like about classes you've taken.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Doshas

If you like taking personality quizzes to find out something about you, then read on! We're going to skim the surface of what Doshas are but I'd love to do a one-on-one or small group session to teach you more about your Dosha and what that can mean for you.

Ayurveda is a Sanskirt word which means "science of life". In Ayurveda, the universal elements of air, fire, and water/earth combine to create the three governing forces known as Doshas: Vata (air/space), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth/water). The intention of Ayurveda is to bring the Dosha compositions into balance.

Dosha means "that which darkens, spoils, or causes things to decay". Don't worry, it's not a bad thing. What that means is when the Doshas are not in equilibrium then disease manifests within the body. This also means if you know more about your Dosha and can recognize when it's going out of balance you can do things to bring your Dosha back into balance.

Everyone has elements of each Dosha but typically one emerges as your primary Dosha. For me I am primarily Pitta but I have seen bits of Vata and Kapha manifest in my life and in my physical body. You can manage your Dosha and help keep balance in your life through yoga, Pranayama (breath) practices, and through eating the right foods.

Below is a quick overview of each dosha but if you want to learn more you can subscribe to the online Bodhi Yoga classes where you can learn more about the Doshas, find great yoga practices, and even learn a few Ayurveda recipes. You can join me in person for a free Dosha workshop during December 2016 to help me complete my Yoga Teacher Training certification hours. The workshop would include completing the Dosha quiz to identify your primary Dosha, learning about your primary Dosha, and looking for areas where your Dosha may be imbalanced and how you can supporting bringing balance back into your life.


Vata Dosha is the first Dosha to go out of balance but it often can rebalance pretty easily. Vatas tend to be really tall or really short and are often very thin with a narrow frame and small bones. Vatas are often fast speaking/thinking/moving. Vatas tend towards being cold regardless of the weather so you tend to see them with things that help ground them such as a blanket, scarf, or hot foods/drinks. Vatas tend to have very active upper chakras often making for a creative personality. The time of year that is ruled by Vata is fall into the dry winter months.


Pitta Dosha tends to be rock steady and often "what you see is what you get". Pitta tends to be equally proportioned with reasonably steady weight and a medium frame. Pitta often has strong musculature and strong stamina. (The workaholics of the world are likely in a Pitta imbalance. Yep, been there, done that.) Pittas tend to be focused, energetic, and intense. Pitta tends to be hot and do best in cooler environments. Pittas tend to have very active solar and sacral chakras. The time of year ruled by Pitta is late spring into summer.


Kapha Dosha is the last to go out of balance but also takes the longest to get back into balance. Kapha tends to be stocky with the potential for excess weight. Kapha is often slow speaking and moving but is consistent, loyal, and dedicated. Kapha needs warmth and dryness to remain in balance. Kaphas tend to have very active lower chakras. The time of year ruled by Kapha is the wet winter into early spring.

We have just scratched the surface of Dosha's are and how they manifest in your life. What Dosha do you think you are? Would you be interested in attending a class to identify which Dosha is yours and how that applies to your life?

Friday, December 02, 2016

Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom

As I've made my Yoga Teacher Training a priority in the last weeks of 2016 I've been able to remember many of the reasons I chose to participate in a teacher training over just continuing to practice on my own. I can't say it any better than this piece I revisited in Session Two.
The more understanding that the yogi has of various modalities of practice the more useful yoga will be as a tool for integrated wholeness. Yoga practice is as varied as individual body types, ages, as well as mental and physical ability. The structures of your practice will change to meet the context of your life. Knowledge is power, if it can be transformed into understanding. If understanding can be given freedom to evolve it will become wisdom. Yoga helps to cultivate this wisdom in a way that can help you realize yourself in the most authentic way possible. In turn, this wisdom can offer you the gift to be present in your specific life situations, regardless of how they may vary.
I seriously love all of this. I completely relate to yoga changing to meet my needs at different points in my life. Learning is so important to me and the reason why I stick with anything in general. Once I master something I'm likely to get bored and want to do something else. I love being challenged and having to learn. I appreciate yoga for it's ability to help me better understand who I am so I can live an authentic life.

I actually went into my YTT assuming that I'd knock out the requirements up front and finish my certification requirements as soon as we finished the in person classes. Boy was I wrong. I did get slowed down when I found out I was pregnant with our second child and since then I've just got back to the point of feeling like I have enough of a handle on life that I can work on things that are outside of work and taking care of the kids.
YTT Certification Requirements - (c) Bodhi Yoga
As I have revisited the things I learned in person I realized that yoga therapy is something that fits the passion I have for understanding the human body and helping others. I have always loved medicine and growing up wanted to be a Physical Therapist. Obviously medical school didn't work out for me but I realized that yoga therapy could be similar enough to working in medicine without having to go back to school for years and incurring massive amounts of debt. I could definitely see a future for myself as a yoga therapist.

The anatomy study is where I know I'll be a lifelong student.
I've got more studying to do and my practice teaching to take on but overall I feel like YTT is the type of experience that I would have loved regardless of the outcomes. It's an amazing opportunity to learn more and to integrate that knowledge into my life and the lives of others.

What do you love most about yoga? Is there another hobby you have that fulfils you on a deeply personal level? What energizes you to stick with something and keep going? For me it's the pursuit of knowledge and new experiences that keeps me going.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Four Ways Yoga is Not Just About Flexibility

Sometimes you hear that yoga is only for the really flexible or for people who are already in great shape. Of course this isn't true but the media and advertisements do a great job of mostly showing people in really great shape bending themselves into poses that the average person may never achieve. That can lead you to feel that yoga is not for normal people and certainly not for you. I am here to tell you that yoga can be for anyone.

Most people probably hear yoga and think of a fast moving vinyasa or a sweaty hot yoga class filled with Sanskrit words and bendy bodies. The beautiful thing about yoga, that I love, is the fact you can modify a class and participate seated in a chair, lying down in bed, or even slow it down to a pace that is manageable for you. Here are some other types of practice that could be used in creating a balanced practice or practiced on their own.



Restorative Practice: If you're like me and work, have kids, and are stressed all the time you might hear the words restorative and think, sign me up! I love a restorative practice because it can help relieve the effects of chronic stress, fill your energy reservoirs, and it can be practiced by most people very easily. A restorative practice uses props to help make the poses easier and help align your body without being stressful. The practice is very slow allowing for 5-10 minutes per pose so that your body can truly relax into each pose and receive the full benefits.

Vinyasa/Asana Practice: Vinyasa means "putting together or connecting". I can be considered a moving meditation that connects the poses through the breath. Ideally your vinyasa practice wouldn't be striking individual poses but would be laced together through transitions that make sense and work with your body. A balanced asana practice could include seated breath postures, vinyasa to warm the body, an asana practice (including standing postures, forward folds, twists, and backbends), and Savasana. The practice can flow at a slower rate or move at a fast pace. If you're interested in a full practice that integrates these different pieces I recommend looking into different studios and teachers to find options that match your personality and needs.

Pranayama Practice: Prana means "life force" and Yama means "to control". Pranayama is one of the most ancient and authentic forms of yoga and works to control the breath. A regular Pranayama practice can help oxygenate the tissues of the body and balance hormonal levels and brain chemistry. A daily breath practice can help energize or calm the body and mind. It would be advised to try a breath practice in a safe space where you can experience its effects on your body and mind. If adverse reactions are experienced you would want to back off and re-approach at a later date. Adverse reactions could include things like headaches, increased stress or irritability, (sometimes triggered by the surfacing of suppressed emotions), or other physical discomfort. Most side effects will likely not last long but if they do you would want to consult with your physician and work with a yoga teacher that has a strong knowledge of Pranayama.

Meditation Practice: Meditation means "to focus one's thoughts on, reflect on, or ponder over as to deepen understanding. The aim of most meditation is to come to a clearer truth of self. Meditation can be done in a seated position, by using words/phrases that are repeated to focus the mind, or through chanting. Some people better relax through guided imagery or through a prayer practice. Even as a busy person I have made a minimum five minutes of practice a part of my evening routine and I would recommend anyone give that a try. There are great apps but my favorite is Calm because it's an app but also available online if you don't have a smartphone.

Have you participated in any of these types of practice? Do the classes you participate in include some of these elements? What is your favorite part of your yoga practice? Is it the movement, meditation, or Savasana?

Think Yoga Teacher Training might be for you? There are so many different trainings available but the one I chose is at Bodhi Yoga in Provo, UT. Check out the details and let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to discuss my experience and why I chose Bodhi over other trainings that were much closer to home.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Bodhi Flow

As I've been going through Yoga Teacher Training I have gone back and forth between wanting to practice either following along in a class or video or wanting to just free flow and do whatever felt right for my body at the time. As a parent and full time professional, I can say that some days if I didn't just free flow a few poses before dropping into my evening meditation, I would go days or weeks without practicing yoga. So, for me at this point in my life I do find some value in having the knowledge to tackle the things I need most at that time.

When I have the time and space to participate in a full practice I can tell you it's night and day different. A full practice can provide you with the structure you need to find balance. A well structured practice often has seated poses, standing poses, backbends, and maybe even some inversions. It will ensure you're working both the left and right sides of your body equally and will provide you the adequate time to process your practice in Savasana.


One of the practices we learned during our training is called the Bodhi Flow. It's a series of poses that flow together with the focus of opening and strengthening the entire body from the inside out. The movements are slow and steady and work with the breath unlike some practices force you to shorten your breath because they move so quickly. The Bodhi Flow is appropriate for most people who are in good health whether they are beginners to yoga or more advanced students. There are four tiers (or series of poses) to the Bodhi Flow which means as a beginner you could just go through tier one and end your practice or if you were an advanced student you could go through all four tiers. You can also modify the individual poses to support your specific needs and abilities.

Tier one is used to warm the body, tier two increases flexibility, tier three increases strength and vigor, and tier four allows you to release tension and relax the mind. When put together the Bodhi Flow creates a well balanced practice that can be a great foundation for any student.

Do you prefer to follow a structured practice or do you tend to do a few poses to address specific needs? Do you have any favorite videos or instructors you practice with regularly? Do you have a favorite yoga style?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Let's Get Physical

If you're the type who's considering yoga for the what it can do for your body here are ten things a regular yoga practice can do for you.
  1. Yoga gives skin a healthy glow by detoxing through sweating, balancing hormones, and boosting the flow of oxygen rich blood to the skin.
  2. Yoga strengthens the bones and keeps optimal range of motion through the joints.
  3. Yoga strengthens, tones, and lengthens the muscles through movement.
  4. Yoga acts as a cleanser of the circulatory system and tones the entire cardiovascular system.
  5. Yoga increases overall lung capacity.
  6. Yoga stimulates digestion and healthy eliminative function.
  7. Yoga can be used to cleanse the GI tract.
  8. Yoga is a balancing tonic for glandular flow and stimulates Thyroid function and the Pituitary.
  9. Yoga increases nerve energy pathways throughout the body, balances the cerebral-spinal fluids, and releases impingement pressure on nerves.
  10. Yoga balances the right and left-brain thinking capacity, increases conscious awareness, and concentration.
In addition to these amazing physical benefits, yoga can also increase the flow of energy through your body. In yoga we call this energy, Prana, but you might have also heard of this energy referred to as life force or Qi (Ch'i).

There are so many layers to what yoga can provide. It just depends on how deep you want to go.
For me, when I first discovered yoga I enjoyed practicing for the physical benefits. I loved gaining flexibility and strength and often could get a really great workout through a faster paced practice. As I've gotten older I have found a connection to the side of yoga that supports my mental health and energy. I love that no matter why I practice yoga I still receive both the mental and physical benefits when I commit to a regular practice. Yoga Teacher Training has allowed me to grow my practice and I know I'll continue to learn more about myself as I go.

Do you practice yoga for the physical benefits it provides? Do you feel there is a place for the spiritual side of yoga in your practice? What are your favorite poses that support you feeling strong or flexible?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Great Gunas!

If you just saw the title of this post you might have thought to yourself, what in the world does gunas mean? Lucky for you I'm going to share a little about the gunas today!

Always keep calm and do yoga!
In yoga terms the gunas are "the three ways that Prakriti (Shakti) manifests herself into the physical." In simple terms as it relates to yoga you can consider the gunas as a way to describe the energy of the poses or series of poses. I really liked this description in my yoga teacher training, YTT, manual "the gunas relate to lines of energy, edges of practice, as well as the struggle and intention in each particular pose."

First up is the guna rajas. Rajas is the forward/backward motion you would experience in a lunge or downward dog. Rajasic movement is dynamic, insistent, and passionate. In yoga it's typically the movement in and out of the poses. Rajasic emotions are anger, willfulness, and manipulation and can include participating in something excessively, often to the point of burnout.

From my YTT manual © Bodhi Yoga LLC
Next is the guna tamas. Tamas is the upward/downward motion experienced in mountain pose or many seated poses. Tamasic movement is an intrinsic lengthening; strong, deep, and internally focused. Tamasic emotions are slothfulness, inattentiveness, or lethargy.

From my YTT manual © Bodhi Yoga LLC
Finally we have the guna sattva. Sattvic movements are side to side experienced in warrior II or many balancing poses. Sattvic movements are light, delicate, and clear; the centering point of your practice. Sattvic emotions are balanced, pragmatic, and harmoznied.

From my YTT manual © Bodhi Yoga LLC
This is just a brief overview of the gunas that is, hopefully, described in a way that makes sense no matter where you are in your yoga journey. One of the things I have enjoyed most about YTT is the ability to deepen my knowledge of yoga. Over the years I have learned the Sanskrit names of many yoga poses and have experienced different things on my own but YTT has helped me learn the more subtle aspects of yoga that I wouldn't have otherwise known about. You can definitely practice yoga without knowing things like this but for me it was deepening my knowledge of yoga that has made this journey so rewarding.

Now that you know what the gunas are do you find you prefer poses in one particular guna? Do you feel knowing more about the energy of yoga poses is something that would help you in your practice? What doesn't make sense about the gunas? I will try to respond with additional information if it's helpful to anyone.