Thursday, December 23, 2010

Live With Compassion

I found the following on the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition website.


Happy Holidays.
Peace to all sentient beings.

Pam Nelson

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice - The Longest Day of the Year!

Early this a.m....about 1:00 or so we awoke our family to catch the rare lunar eclipse.  This year the lunar eclipse coincided with winter solstice..the longest night of the year and when the moon sits the highest in the sky.  This has not happened for almost 400 years! The last was December 21, 1638.

So today being the shortest day.. a day many celebrate as midwinter marks the turning point where slowly day length will start to get longer. 

So a few Sun Salutations this morning is a wonderful way to bring in the rising sun and celebrate that it will be getting stronger everyday.

Happy Solstice everyone!


Pam Nelson

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Mr. Iyengar - December 14th, 1918

December 14th, 2010 marks B.K.S. Iyengar's 92nd birthday! 

Daily I am inspired and blessed from his wonderful teachings and translations. 
I have set an intention for myself this week to do 108 sun salutations to honor his life's work. 
Although I am not teaching classes during the December break please join me during your own practice if you also feel inspired to do so.

"Yoga aims for complete awareness in everything you do."
 "This practice of Yoga is to remove weeds from the body so that the garden can grow."

"Spiritual sadana begins when you go beyond what you consider to be your maximum effort."

"It is impossible to pinpoint where the body ends and the mind begins, and where the mind ends and the Self begins."

Aphorisms taken from Illumination: Aphorisms of B.K.S. Iyengar, Published by the Victoria Yoga Centre in honour of the 85th birthday of Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar.

Pam Nelson

BKS Iyengar in Conversation with the Dalai Lama - November 2010

On November 20th, 2010 B.K.S. Iyengar met with His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet to converse on mind training and compassion.  Check out this article by clicking the link below.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December - Pose of the Month - Supta Baddha Konasana

Supta Baddha Konasana - Reclining Bound Angle Pose

If you are feeling a little stressed this holiday season or coming down with a cold or flu this is a great pose as it is very restful when energy is low.  This pose gently massages the heart, improves circulation in the abdomen, massaging and toning them.

Props for this pose: yoga mat, 1-2 bolsters, a blanket, a strap, 2 blocks, possibly more blocks if quite tight in the groin.  The bolster supports the back and lifts the chest, the blanket supports the back of the head and neck, the strap helps to hold the feet together and maintain the angle of the legs and the blocks support the thighs, reducing stain in the groins.
Place the bolster lengthwise along the yoga mat with a folded blanket at the top. (My blanket should be folded once more - as I have done further down). Sit with sacrum/tailbone near the bolster.  Join the soles of the feet together and draw the heels toward the groin.  Buckle the belt and loop in over your shoulders.
Bring the belt down to below your waist and pass it under both feet over the ankles and the insides of the thighs.
Make sure the loose buckle strap is coming towards you so you can easily adjust the strap so it is not to tight or to loose. Place a block under the outside of each thigh.
Place the hands on the floor on either side of the bolster, then lower your back and head down to the bolster.  Make sure the bolster is supporting the length of the back and the back of the head.  Move the flesh of the buttocks towards the back of the thighs to reduce any bunching around the lower back.  Draw the arms up over the head and clasp the elbows.  The eyes should be passive, the chest open and the throat and abdomen soft.  Stretch the thighs out to the sides.  After a minute change the cross of the elbows.

Then release the hands to the sides, palms facing up.  Stay for 1 minute, building up to 5-10 minutes.

Benefits: Regulates blood pressure, prevents hernia as the hips and groin become more supple, relieves lower backache, relieves varicose veins and sciatica, reduces pain caused by hemorrhoids, relieves indigestion and flatulence, tones the kidneys and improves bladder control, improves blood circulation in the ovarian region, and is particularly beneficial during puberty and menopause, alleviates menstrual pain, corrects prolapsed uterus

Cautions: If any strain is felt getting into the pose, use two bolsters.  If there is strain in the groin region use more height to support the outer knees.

Pam Nelson


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Intention of Week 8 - Divine Yoga: Do the Asana with Your Soul

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", p.61-64

In this section Mr. Iyengar blends how the external body is working to attain a pose, but at the same time the internal core is reaching out to help.  He says, "The material body has a practical reality that is accessible.  It is here and now, and we can do something with it.  However, we must not forget that the innermost part of our being is also trying to help us.  It wants to come to the surface and express itself."

He says, "Asanas, when done with the right intention, will help to transform an individual by taking the person away from an awareness of just the body toward the consciousness of the soul.  The body is the bow, asana the arrow, and the soul is the target."

From here we can hope to turn each of our asanas into a "virtuous asana".  To do this Mr. Iyengar says that we must do the poses with the right intention, not for ego or to impress.  He says it must not be just your mind or even your body that is doing the pose, you must do the the asana with your soul.

Pam Nelson

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

4th Annual Women's Wellness Weekend

ReTREAT Yourself!

4th Annual Women’s Wellness Weekend

Roses and Chocolate
-a time for self care           

January 28- 30, 2011
Hawood Inn
In beautiful Prince Albert National Park


  • Fabulous Vegetarian meals (Saturday breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch)   
  • Fresh organic juices and beverages   
  • Yoga sessions for rejuvenation, detoxification and relaxation 
  • Nutrition presentation and cooking demonstration
  • Luxurious, directed, do-your-own certified organic facial   
  • Unscheduled time for relaxation and reflection   
  • Access to roof top hot tub   
  • Roses and Chocolate .....and little surprises to soothe your soul! 

Marian Pidwerbeski - ROHP, CPCC, Registered Nutritional Consulting Practitioner
Director, Well-derness Consulting

Pamela Nelson – Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor

Registration deadline: December 17th, 2010  -  $325

Limited space — early registration is encouraged.  Gift Certificates are available.

For more information please:
call Marian Pidwerbeski @ 306-663-5881 or email 
Pamela Nelson @ 306-982-2737 or email

2011 Winter Yoga Classes

2011 Winter Class Schedule

To register or for more information call me at 982-2737 or email 

Missed classes can be made up during other class times in the session registered for provided there is room.  If wishing to register for more then one class/week call me for discount price.

----10 WEEK SESSION----
Mondays (Christopher Lake) begins January 10th - March 22nd, 2011.
Tuesdays (Prince Albert) begins January 11th - March 23rd, 2011.

NO Classes week of February 21st, 2011.

----6 WEEK SESSION----
Saturdays (Prince Albert) begins January 8th - February 19th, 2011.

NO Class January 29th, 2011.

Wednesdays (Prince Albert).  See below for dates.

10:30-11:15 a.m. - Pre-School Yoga - Will run every second Monday.  Jan 10th and 24th, February 28th, March 14th & 28th.
For ages 3-5.   $40/child for session.  If more than one child cost is $5/class/child.
Drop in fee is $10/class/child.

5:15-6:30 p.m. - Beginner/All Levels-$120
Open to all students.  Completion of a Beginner class is preferable.

6:45-8:00 p.m. - Intermediate Yoga - $120
Completion of Beginner Class preferable.

LOCATION: Pam's Yoga Studio, Christopher Lake, Sk.


Pre-registration with payment required by January 3rd to hold your spot. 
Early registration recommended as space is limited.

5:30-6:45p.m. - Intermediate Yoga-$120
Completion of Beginner Class preferable.

7:00-8:00 p.m. - Beginner Yoga- $110
Open to all Students. 
Focus is on breathing and proper alignment of postures to improve strength and flexibility.


Pre-registration with payment required by January 3rd to hold your spot.  Early registration is recommended as space is limited.

Wednesday Workshops:
Each class will have a different focus, ending with pranayama (breathwork) and savasana.


$72 for all classes or $24/class.
January 19 – Standing poses
February 9 – Seated poses and twists
March 2 – Inversions
March 23 – Backbends

 - 6 week session - 
January 8th - February 19th, 2011

Beginner/All Levels

10:30 - 11:45a.m. - $72
Open to all Students. 
Focus is on breathing and proper alignment of postures to improve strength and flexibility.


LOCATION:Prince Albert Red Cross Building - 54 11th Street East

Pre-registration with payment required by January 3rd to hold your spot. 
Early registration is recommended as space is limited.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Intention of Week 7 - Perfecting: Always Be Happy with the Smallest Improvements

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", p.54-61

We often hear no one is perfect, which I know in my case is true, but we all seem to strive for perfection, then are greatly disappointed in ourselves when we fall short of our expectations.
Mr. Iyengar says "Let the goal be to reach Perfection, but be content with a little progress toward perfection every day."  This is a better way to reach a goal, as he says that over ambition can be destructive of sustainable progress.  Sometimes our body is willing, but our mind is weak or sometimes the mind is willing but the body is weak.  We must learn to listen to the body and mind and as B.K.S. says, let the intelligence and the soul make the true decision, for this is where real willpower and dedication is found.

"Long uninterrupted practice of asanas and pranayama, done with awareness, makes the foundation firm and brings success."  This is really the only way to embark on the path of yoga and the path of life. 

The thing I think I took the most from this section is when Mr. Iyengar writes about how practitioners of the asanas alone often forget that yoga is for cultivating the head and heart.  When practicing yoga we need to bring friendliness, compassion, gladness and joy into our hearts.  So, if you fall in headstand, laugh it off, don't be so serious with yourself.  Be dedicated to your practice, but light in your heart.

Pam Nelson

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Morning Yoga Routine 1

Good Morning! 

Below are a few pictures with brief explanations of only some of the great morning yoga poses you can do.  This has been designed to only take 10-15 minutes, so you don't feel rushed in the morning.

Seated Meditation - Sit cross-legged on a block or bolster for a few minutes to begin your yoga practice...even if it is a short practice.  Release the shoulders down the back, away from the ears.  Let the knees release from the hips and keep the chest lifting up towards the ceiling.  You can use the strap crossed at the back and then coming around the front to help keep the shoulders releasing back and down.  Focus on the breath.
 Seated Twist - place a block behind you and rolling the left shoulder back bring the hand onto the block with fingers cupped.  Keep the tailbone descending and spine ascending up towards the ceiling.  On the exhalation begin turning from the lower back towards the left, sweeping the right hand to the outside of the left knee.  On each exhalation keep moving up the back twisting a bit further until you reach the shoulders and head.  Return back to centre and repeat on the other side.
 Back Release - Come to lying on your back.  Lengthen the spine on the mat and hug the knees into the chest.  Keep the abdomen, throat and eyes soft and the shoulders releasing.
 Lying Twist - Spread the arms out in line with the shoulders and cross the right leg over the left.  Exhale and release the knees to the left side.  Keep the abdomen soft and moving to the right as the knees release to the left.  Inhale to bring the legs back up.  Uncross the legs and repeat on the other side.
 Modified Bridge - Lying on your back bring your arms to your sides, palms facing the floor, knees bent and feet close to the body and hip width apart.  Keep shoulders releasing from the ears.  Inhale and bring the arms over head to the floor.  If your shoulders are really tight and the arms don't press into the floor keep your arms at your sides.  Then see picture below.
 Inhale and press into your feet and arms and lift the hips up towards the ceiling, drawing the tailbone up and compact the outer hips in.  Exhale, release back down.  Do two or three more times using your breath to help warm up and gently massage the spine.
 Cat - From the previous pose, roll over and up onto your hands and knees.  Bring your hands under your shoulders, spreading your fingers to distribute the weight.  Keep your knees under your hips with your shins hip width apart and parallel.  Press firmly into the floor with your hands and shins, lengthen your spine and inhale arch your abdomen towards the floor, tailbone up towards the ceiling, chest open and looking up.  If you have lower back issues keep your back flat.
 Cow - Exhale, tucking your tailbone under and your chin to your chest.  Draw the abdomen up towards the spine.  Release the head between the shoulders and keep the shoulders moving down the back.
Puppy - Keep pressing into your hands and shins and on the exhalation turn the head to look towards your hips (or your tail!).  Repeat on the other side.
 Urdhva Hasta Tadasana - Stand with the feet together or slightly apart and parallel.  Press firmly into the big toe mound, little toe mound and heel.  Distribute your weight evenly front to back and side to side.  Press the thigh bones back and lift the kneecaps towards the hips to engage the quadriceps muscles.  Inhale, raise the arms up overhead, keep arms parallel, palms facing each other.  Make sure the shoulders release down the back and the collarbones broaden towards the shoulders.

 Ardha Uttanasana - Exhale, bending at the hips placing hands on blocks.  Keep the legs active, the spine concave, thighs pressing back, shoulders releasing back and down.
Uttanasana - on your next exhalation soften the abdomen and release down to a full forward bend.  Keep the knees bent if you have lower back issues or if you bend more from the waist then the hips.  The forward bend should be from the hips.
Lunge - Inhale looking up and step the left leg back.  Keep the front knee over the front ankle.  Press out through the back heel and lift the back thigh up towards the ceiling (back leg should be straight).  The hands are on the blocks to help keep the chest open and the shoulders moving back and down.
Step the back leg forward and repeat ardha uttanasana, uttanasana and then lunge on the opposite leg.  Come up to Tadasana (standing mountain pose).  You can repeat this sequence many times to warm the body up even more.
Adho Mukha Svanasana with chair - Downward Facing Dog with chair - Press your palms into the seat of the chair, keeping hands shoulder width apart.  Step feet back so you can lengthen spine completely.  Bend the knees at first to get the length to the spine.  Keep the shoulders moving away from the ears and lift the hips up towards the ceiling.  Straighten the legs if you can and press into the feet.  The tailbone should be in line with the back of the heels.  The feet are hip width apart and parallel.  Press the thighs back, lift the kneecaps up.  The abdomen should be soft.

Inhale back up to Tadasana - Mountain Pose with arms at your sides. 
Stay for a few breaths and enjoy the new vitality you have brought to you day.


Pam Nelson

It is easy to see the faults of others, harder to see our own faults.


Quotes like this always remind me of the Yamas in yoga - the first being ahimsa - non-harming in thought, speech and deed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Intention of Week 6 - Pain: Find Comfort Even in Discomfort

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", p.47-54

The idea of any type of pain is a difficult thing for most of us to think about.  People try very hard, in various ways to block pain out.  There are so many distractions out there that it is hard to stay in the present moment, but B.K.S. Iyengar writes that we can use pain as our guru, or teacher, to learn from so that later pains can be avoided.

"As we experience pleasures happily, we must also learn not to lose our happiness when pain comes." writes BKS Iyengar.  By learning to find comfort even during trying and uncomfortable times we will learn to move beyond our pain.  This is true not only on the yoga mat but off the mat as well.  Our yoga practice helps us become aware of how much pain the body can bear and how much affliction the mind can tolerate.

Mr. Iyengar teaches though that this should not be the "grin and bear it" kind of pain, which he espouses is just calisthenics and is the wrong attitude.  The goal is not to hold a posture at any cost or try to achieve a pose prematurely, but to do the asanas (postures) with as much possible intensity of intelligence and love.  To do this a student must learn awareness in their own body to know the difference between "right" pain and "wrong" pain.

Pamela Nelson

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Benefits of Headstand - Salamba Sirsasana

Recently a student asked why I liked doing headstand.  I am never good at spur of the moment answers to think of all the benefits, but what came to mind immediately was confidence.  I always feel more confident in myself after coming down from headstand.  There are of course many other benefits.  Mr. Iyengar says that Salamba Sirsasana (supported headstand) gives one balance and poise, both physically and mentally.

This pose is called the king of all asanas.  In Light on Yoga, Mr. Iyengar describes how the skull encases the brain, which controls the nervous system and the organs of sense.  The brain is the seat of intelligence, knowledge, discrimination, wisdom and power.  Inversions help to support the body and clear the mind.

Turning ourselves upside down allows for more blood to flow to the brain cells, rejuvenating them, increasing our thinking power and clarifying our thoughts.  Proper blood supply to the brain helps to balance the pituitary and pineal glands in the brain.

The circulatory system also benefits from this pose helping people to resist getting colds, coughs, tonsillitis, cures halitosis, decreases palpitations and increases warmth to the body.

The digestive system improves with this posture and can help those who suffer from constipation when done along with Salamba Sarvangasana ( supported shoulderstand).

So although inversions like headstand can be a bit intimidating they are important poses that can have a great effect on our well being when done with proper alignment and care.

Cautions:  Do not practice this pose if you have high blood pressure, cervical spondylosis, backache, headache, during menstruation or pregnancy.  Do not start with this pose if you have low blood pressure.

Pam Nelson

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Intention of Week Five - Balance: Eveness is Harmony

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", 42-47

Equipoise in body, mind and breath.  This balance needs to be found at every level of our body and our being.

Mr. Iyengar says that all of us begin with imbalances, one side that is more active then the other.  He says this more dominant side must be the guru for the inactive side to make it equally active.

"Precision in action comes when the challenge by one side of the body is met by an equal counter-challenge on the other.  This ignites the light of knowledge."

This knowledge or intelligence of the body must help us to find that lightness and relaxation in every pose.  If balance is kept by strength alone we are only using physical action.

To help gain this balance Mr. Iyengar says that one needs a firm foundation. Always watch your base and correct a pose first from the root.  This balance on the mat will help to balance your life off the mat too.  B.K.S. tells us that balance in the body is the foundation for balance in life.  No matter what position one is in, or in whatever condition in life one is placed, one must find balance. 

This balance keeps you in the present!


Pamela Nelson

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What is Yoga? The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Last month I mentioned the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that B.K.S. Iyengar has based much of his yoga teachings on.  Although not a lot is known about the life of Patanjali, it is believed that he lived somewhere between 500 and 200 BC.  He is most widely known for writing the Yoga Sutras, which is a systematic treatise defining the most important aspects of Yoga theory and practice.  He has also been acknowledged for being a grammarian and doctor of Ayurvedic medicine.  On top of this he is known as the patron saint of dance in India.

The legend surrounding Patanjali is that he may be the grandson of Brahma.  He was sent to earth to write a commentary on grammar and devote himself to the perfection of dance.  He came to earth as a tiny snake and grew into human form before his mother’s eyes.  She named him Patanjali.  Pata meaning fallen and anjali meaning “hands folded in prayer”. He is depicted as being half human and half serpent.  Patanjali is thought to have 4 hands.  Two are in the namaste position, one holding a sankha or conch that embodies energy and one a cakra, a disc that embodies the turning wheel of time or the law of cause and effect.

Mr. Iyengar says in Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that Patanjali’s works are followed by yogis to this day in their effort to develop a refined language, a cultured body and a civilized mind.  This is referring to all the great works of Pantanjali on grammar, dance and yoga.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is also called Astanga yoga.  Asta means eight. So, Astanga yoga refers to the eight limbs of yoga that sage Patanjali based the yoga sutras on.  The eight limbs are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dyana and samadhi.

In the West we tend to focus first on the asanas or postures, but the yamas and niyamas actually come before asana in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  I will briefly list the yamas and niyamas below and next month we can begin to look at each one separately.

Yamas – are the external disciplines of yoga, universal codes of conduct or the basic rules of living, teachings that help to lessen the suffering that is to come.

The yamas include:
Ahimsa: not harming, non violence, letting go of hostility in our words, thoughts and actions
Satya: honesty or truthfulness in every thought, word and action
Asteya: not stealing or not having any desire to have something that is not yours by untruthful ways of obtaining it
Brahmacharya: celibacy or self restraint over things that are not needed or take away from ones vital energy
Aparigraha: not hoarding or not holding onto things not needed by you so that someone else can’t have it, not wanting more, also letting go of negative thoughts and not holding onto them.  It means to be happy with what you have.

Niyamas – are the internal disciplines or individual rules of conduct.

The niyamas include:
Saucha: cleanliness – purity in mind, body, thoughts, words, deeds and actions
Santosa: true contentment with oneself, not trying to be like someone else or relying on external forces to make one happy
Tapas: desire to achieve a goal and having intense discipline or consistency to bring out the true self, free from attachments
Svadhyaya: self study, not just reading and studying the scriptures but putting them to practice in your own life, keeping yourself aware
Isvara Prandihana: study of the Scriptures: by stilling the body and mind one can reach pure awareness. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Intention of Week Four - Lightness: Think Light and Feel Light

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", 40-42

The intention this week was to think about the important quality of lightness.  Finding that "effortless effort" even in our most difficult poses.

Mr. Iyengar says that when a asana (posture) is done correctly, the body movements are smooth, giving lightness to the body and freedom to the mind.  When done with heaviness though they are incorrect.

He says that when we lose this lightness, our bodies shrink.  At that moment the brain becomes heavy and dull, and you see nothing.

According to B.K.S. Iyengar we must immediately lift the intelligence of the chest and open the mind.  The corners of the chest are pillars: They should always be firm.  It is the spine's job to keep the mind alert.

So as we weave the past intentions in with this weeks intention of lightness really feel yourself extending from the core in each asana to find and maintain this lightness.

To end, a quote from p.41 of Light on Life, "Performance from the intellect of the heart, with lightness, firmness, and at the same time softness means it is a total stretch, total extension, and total expansion.  Asana done from the brain makes one heavy and done from the heart makes one light."

"Work from the heart."

Pam Nelson

Friday, October 8, 2010

Intention of Week Three - Relaxation: In Every Pose There Should be Repose

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", p.36-40

As we move into week three of classes our intention incorporates the awareness and expansion of the past few weeks to find the state of relaxation in each pose. 

Mr. Iyengar says that "There is always relaxation in the right position, even though you are fully stretching."
"When one extends and relaxes, there is no oscillation of mind or body."  He also says that, "When there is only exertion, one keeps a constant load on the muscles, which tire due to overstretching, and injury occurs. The mind does not balance when you force."

That is why it is important to begin with the foundational poses like Tadasana (Mountain Pose), to release the mind and quiet the cells, and to re-establish these poses during your practice.

Mr.Iyengar writes that inhalation is tension, exhalation is freedom.  All movements should be done on the exhalation, which purges the stress and tension from the body.

He says to find that "effortless effort" that Patanjali discusses in the Yoga Sutras in each pose.  Then you will find body, mind and breath.

Pamela Nelson

Intention of week two - Dynamic Extension: From the Core of Your Being

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", p.33-36

The intention for this week of classes is to learn not just to stretch from the tips of the body but right from the core.
Mr. Iyengar says,"The goal of all asana practice is doing them from the core of your being and extending out dynamically through to the periphery of your body.  As you stretch, in turn the periphery relates massages back to the core.  From head to heels, you must find your center, and  from this centre you must extend and expand longitudinally and latitudinally.  If extension is from the intelligence of the brain, expansion is from the intelligence of the heart.  While doing asana, both the intellectual intelligence and the emotional intelligence have to meet and work together.  Extension is attention, and expansion is awareness."

When we begin to stretch from the core we can not only see where we are stretching to, but where we are stretching from.

Pamela Nelson

Intention of week one - Awareness: Every pore of the skin has to become an eye

Sankalpa - intention

Set an intention, and see what happens.

All ideas have been taken from B.K.S. Iyengar's book, "Light on Life", p.28-32

Mr. Iyengar says that we think of intelligence and perception as taking place exclusively in our brains, but yoga teaches us that awareness and intelligence must permeate the body.  We often mistake motion for action, but most of the time our movements are done without awareness in the body or mind.  When we start to reconnect with our authentic self then the intelligence is felt in every pore.

He asks, "How does one develop this intelligence in the body?  How do we learn to turn our movement into action?"  The answer: "asana (postures) can begin to teach us.  We develop such an intense sensitivity that each pore of the skin acts as an inner eye."

When this happens the heart begins to feel what the brain is instructing.  They begin to work together....from the heart.

Another important idea Mr. Iyengar says is that students need to be self-aware, not self-conscious.  "You are aware of what you are doing without ego or pride."

This awareness brings life!

Monday, October 4, 2010

October - Pose of the Month - Utthita Trikonasana

Below is the basic instructions for Utthita Trikonasana - Extended Three Angle Pose.
This is meant to help your home practice.
Please make sure you consult your doctor if you have any health issues.

Tadasana - mountain pose
Begin in Tadasana.  Feet together or slightly apart and parallel.
Press weight evenly into both feet.  Engage the quadricep/thigh mucles by lifting knees up towards hips.
Press the thighs back.  Keep the spine lengthening and the shoulders rolling back and down.  The crown of the head stays parallel to the ceiling and the eyes softly look straight out.


Bend knees and bring fingertips together and then step or jump the feet about 4 feet apart.

Turn the left foot in slightly and the right leg out 90 degrees.  Keep the front heel in line with the back instep and the front knee in line with the hip and second toe.  Keep the thighs of both legs engaged.
Exhale and extend trunk to the right, placing hand on floor or block.
Keep the side body lengthening evenly, back of the head and spine inline and lift the top arm up. Look up.
Keep shoulders stacked.
Press into both feet to come up.  Repeat on other side.

If difficult to reach floor or block and keep side body lengthening evenly press toes into wall and bring elbow to wall in line with shoulder.


Or use a chair.  With a chair make sure the shinbone is in line with the leg of the chair.

According to BKS Iyengar this pose helps to tone the legs and strengthen the knees, ankles and back. 
Can help improve digestion and relieve backache.

Be careful doing this pose if you have high blood pressure, low blood pressure and headaches.

If you have neck issues do not look up but straight ahead or down.

Pamela Nelson


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Autobiography - in five short chapters

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk,
I pretend I don't see it,
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
It isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there,
1 still fall's a habit.
My eyes are open,
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

By: Portia Nelson  (not a relative of mine!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Starting Your Own Home Yoga Practice

The thing I love about Iyengar Yoga is how Mr. Iyengar has made it accessible to all and focuses on the aspect of how it is even for householders.  As a householder myself, raising three children I find great comfort in that I don't have to be sitting high in a cave by myself for decades to gain some of the benefits of yoga.  That does not make it any less of a discipline though.  

Today I will just write a few things about beginning your own home practice.  Yoga classes are a wonderful way to learn how to correctly bring awareness and alignment into the asanas (postures), but taking the next step of starting a home practice helps you to integrate this knowledge into every cell of your body.

Important first steps:

Place: Finding the space to set up is important but all that is really needed is a quiet, well ventilated area with a clean, level floor and taken from Mr. Iyengar's "Light on Yoga" free of insects. 

Time: The best time to practice is in the morning or late in the evening.  If that is not possible really any time of day can work.  Mr. Iyengar writes about how in the morning even though the poses maybe don't come as easily the mind is more fresh and alert.  In the evening the body moves more freely and can help remove the fatigue of the day.  If you find you won't have time one day you can try to even fit in a few stretches throughout the day.

Food: The yoga asanas should be done on an empty stomach.  Wait four hours after a large meal or about one hour after a light meal.

Clothing: One should not wear anything that is too tight which might restrict breathing or too loose as then the clothes may get in the way during certain poses.  Basically, clothes that allow you to move freely in all directions..even upside down!  It is also important to have bare feet.  This helps to prevent slipping and also helps one to really feel with the feet, spreading the toes and pressing evenly into the feet.

Breathing:  The inhalation and exhalation of all postures should be done through the nose.  This helps to warm and filter the air.

Sun:  It is important not to practice asanas after being out in the sun for many hours.

What else you might need:  A mat.  It is helpful to have a good yoga mat to not only help prevent slipping but also it helps the mind designate an area just for you to do your practice.  And since it is fairly portable you can create this space almost anywhere.

As you continue your home practice I highly recommend a yoga bolster for some of the supported poses that really help to open the body and are great when you are needing a more restorative session.
Also, a strap, blocks and a few blankets are great to have.  Some of these items can just be found around your house. 

Savasana: Allow yourself enough time at the end of your yoga practice to lie down in Savasana for at least 10 minutes. This will help remove any fatigue.

I'm sure I have forgotten a few key points that if anyone notices can let me know.  As a householder though I am now running off to gather children and teach some yoga myself.  Hope to see you there!

Pam Nelson

Monday, September 20, 2010

Yoga Etiquette and Frequently Asked Questions

Although yoga is all about opening up, letting go and having some fun, there is a few things to consider when coming to class.

-turn off your cell phones..or at least have the ringer off.
-arrive a few minutes early to set up, change, etc.
-if you do happen to come late please wait outside the studio until the beginning meditation is done.
-if you need to leave early please leave before the savasana, final relaxation pose
-please don't chew gum during class
-please don't wear strong scents to class


Also good to know:

Eating – yoga asana should be done on an empty stomach.  One should wait four hours to practice if have eaten a large meal.
Clothing – One should wear fairly loose clothing so that there is no restriction to movement, blood flow or the breath.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Classes starting week of September 20th, 2010

It seems like too long since the spring session ended.  I am sure all the returning students have been practicing yoga all summer!  I look forward to starting classes again next week. 
Please check out my website for upcoming workshops and to view any of the fall dharma products.

Remember this is no classes the week of October 11th!

The fall session starts on Monday:
10:30-11:45am Beginner class in Christopher Lake
5:30-6:45pm Beginner class in Christopher Lake
7-8:15pm Intermediate class in Christopher Lake

5:30-6:45pm Beginner/All levels class in Prince Albert
7-8pm Restorative class in Prince Albert

5:30-6:45pm Intermediate class in Prince Albert
7-8 pm Beginner class in Prince Albert

See you soon!

Pam Nelson

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What is yoga?

My name is Pamela Nelson. I am a Yoga Instructor teaching classes in Prince Albert and Christopher Lake, Saskatchewan. The am a certified Iyengar yoga instructor, based on the teachings of yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar. Born during the 1929 flu epidemic he grew up weak and sick most of his life until he was introduced to yoga. Now at almost 92 he still practices three hours a day and keeps office hours for another three. He bases his teachings on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and through his years of practice and dedication he has developed the use of many props to make yoga accessible to all.
He says himself though that he has no right to brand his method of practice and teaching as “Iyengar Yoga”. It was his pupils who coined the term to distinguish it from the teachings of others and although the label caught on he is only teaching purely authentic traditional yoga.

So, many of you may wonder what exactly yoga is.

The Sanskrit word for yoga is yuj, which means to “yoke” or “join”. It is the union of the body, mind and breath for optimum health and fulfillment. On a physical level what this means is that through the actions of yoga the body’s structure can improve, the joints become lubricated, the internal organs are toned, the nervous system is strengthened, circulation is increased bringing more oxygen into the body, hormones become balanced, cardiovascular health is improved and the immune system is strengthened. Many of us may start doing yoga for a certain outward appearance but as you can see it is the changes that take place internally that will change your life.
How does this then relate to the mind and breath?

When all the systems of the body are balanced the mind becomes quiet, the breath becomes quiet. It is hard to have relaxed, even breathing when the mind is all over the place.
Over the next few months let’s delve into the Eight limbs of the yoga sutras together and see how we can relate it to our yoga practice. From there it will become easier to bring yoga into your daily life…not just on the mat.

I would like to end with a quote from Geeta Iyengar;
“How useful Yoga is can only be understood by practicing it.”