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.”