Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Spring Session II - No Saturday Classes

Spring Session II - No Saturday Classes

Wednesday June 18th - Make up Class

Hello everyone,
Just wanted to update you on Spring Session II.
There is not enough people enrolled to run the Saturday morning classes.

As I know this was a way for a few people to make up some missed classes I am offering to teach two classes Wednesday June 18th.
This will be a way for those wanting to make up missed classes to do that.
Class times will be 5:30-6:30 and 6:45-7:45.

There will be no cost if you are making up a missed class, but please let me know if you plan on attending so I know how many to expect by June 11th.

If you just want to take in an extra class before summer comes I will have a low price drop in for that day of $8 but again please let me know if want to attend.

Thank you again for attending classes at PLN Yoga Studio.
My summer session poster will be out soon.

Kind regards,

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review - The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice

The Yamas & Niyamas cover image.

I take part in a Yoga Sutra Study with some of my yoga teacher friends and this book is one that was picked to read and discuss.
I am happy it was chosen because it really opens up discussion about the first two limbs of Pantanjali's Astanga yoga, which then leads into the other limbs. In the west we tend to focus the most on the Asana, or postures and a bit on Pranayama, the breathwork. More is needed on the other limbs to really weave the true meaning of yoga into one's life.

First the word Astanga means eight, so Pantanji's Astanga Yoga is the eight limbs of yoga with Yama and Niyama being the first two, then Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.

As Deborah Adele writes, "The Yamas and Niyamas are foundational to all yogic thought."
They are the ethical guidelines of how one should live  life personally and in a community.
Yama is often referred to personal code of conduct and Niyama as the universal code of conduct.
There is five Yamas and five Niyamas.

Yamas - ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (non-excess), aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

Niyamas - saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-study), Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender)

Deborah gives each yama and niyama a chapter and explores in a way that is meaningful in today's world. 
At the end of each chapter you are given a chance to explore yourself in more depth with a weekly goal to think about and work towards to bring this centuries old writings into your daily life.

I highly recommend this book to anyone just getting started on their yogic journey as it really explains what the yama and niyamas are and why they are so important even in today's world.

For those who have read many other books, this book is just as awesome to have and read as it puts things in a different perspective and complements many other readings out there.

Website for the book:  http://www.theyamasandniyamas.com/index.html
Website for Deborah Adele: http://deborahadele.com/

I hope you get a chance to read this book. Let me know your thoughts on it once you have.

Pamela Nelson

Monday, May 19, 2014

Aspire to Inspire - Inspire to Aspire


I was looking in one of my many notebooks and had the word ASPIRE written down in large letters.
I also had written from something I read. "Clarify your aspirations to know exactly what your spiritual life aspires to. Find out what you value most and know that spirituality does not require working hard for a future goal, but to remain present, sincere and committed now."

This got me thinking of what the words Aspire and Inspire mean.

Aspire - to strive toward an end; ultimate goal, desire strongly
Also, to rise to great heights
And to breathe on

Inspire - to affect, guide or fill with enlivening emotion
To motivate
Be the cause or source of
And to draw in air by inhaling. Breathe life into.

I find the reference in both words to the breath very meaningful as yoga and the discipline of yoga is about the breath. Yoga has given me inspirations and aspirations.

My yoga practice inspires me to aspire to deeper levels and as a teacher to try and learn and share as much as I can with others. So it also aspires in me to inspire.

I have written down in my notebook also that aspiration is a reflection of what you cherish, love and value most.
I know these are not my words, but can not remember the book it is from, but it helps me to remain honest in my practice.

I love also this next passage I found;
"Make what you love reflected in your actions - not in what you think, see or say"

What do you value most?

Pamela Nelson

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Are asanas contortions?

Mr. Iyengar when asked if asana were contortions, says that they are not contortions of the body.
Patanjali says that the effects of asana leads one to get perfection in body, graceful form, loveliness and beauty, physical, mental and intellectual vigour, firmness and hardness and the brilliance of a diamond, and it brings softness in his heart due to purity of intelligence that equals the purity of the soul.

Each asana has a beautiful shape, grace and elegance that bestows power.

While performing asana there should be no contortion, or refraction. It should not happen even in infinitesimal particle of the muscle tissue.

Asana are not contortions, but the art of positioning the body in different shapes without altering its anatomical structure.

Yogasana are not an entertainment (bhogasana), into twists and bends of strange and unnatural positions, but a part of an inward journey.

-B.K.S. Iyengar
From Astadala Yogamala vol.7
Pamela Nelson


Friday, May 9, 2014

You are therefore I am. Reposted

This blog post is from way back in October, 2010.
It is copied in a little quote book I carry with me and I still feel great emotions when I read it now.
Inter connectedness=oneness

Below is one of my favorite passages from the book "You are, therefore I am" by Satish Kumar.  Whenever I reread it I am again reminded how everyone and everything is interconnected.

Breathing connects you with the world. You are sharing the same breath of life, the same air, with all humanity.  You are connected with everyone through this invisible medium.  You share the same breath with animals, plants, birds, fish - the entire universe.  How wonderful that we are all connected through our breathing.  Air knows no barriers, no boundaries, no distinctions, no separations.  By paying attention to your breathing your sense of separateness dissolves.

Pamela Nelson


The Breath

The breath is for you; it is not yours.
The lungs are yours, the heart is your,
the legs are yours,
mind is yours, brain is yours
but the breath is not yours.
It comes and goes.
-Prashant Iyengar
Pamela Nelson

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Maricyasana III

I know it has been quite awhile since I have posted a new pose.
This is a lateral twisting pose called Marichyasana III. Dedicated to the sage Marichi.
A great pose to massage and tone the abdominal organs and bring life back into the spine.

Start first with Utthita Marichyasana III.  This version is done standing which helps to extend the spine.  It is good for those who suffer from low back pain or strain as it helps to release the lower back.
Props: chair, mat, foam blocks, wall

Place chair as shown in the picture above.  Half off mat, chair seat facing you near wall. Place one or two foam blocks on the seat of the chair.

Start in Tadasana (mountain pose) with right hip just touching the wall or just slightly away from the wall.

Place the right foot on the blocks. Keep the toes pointing forward and hip points facing the chair.
Press down into the left foot and firm the left knee and quadriceps. Press down into the right foot.
Start to twist from the base of the spine, bringing the right hand behind and the left hand to the outside of the right knee.

Use the pressure of the right hand to the wall and left hand to the outer knee and wall to twist. Keep the spine lengthening upwards, hips even and level as twist. As you can see from the picture the knee stays in line with the hip.
Shown from front. Keep the left thigh pressing back and press the right knee into the arm as the arm presses back. Look over the back shoulder last. Keep the chest open as turn.
Come back to the front and repeat on other side.
Marichyasana III - lateral seated pose
Sit in Dandasana. Use enough height to keep spine lifted and not sink into lower back.

Bend the right knee and bring the right thigh and calf close together. Keep the shin perpendicular to the floor. Both sitting bones press evenly down, left leg extends and press into right foot. Spine continues to lift as well as front body.

 Depending how much height needed to sit on, bring the right hand behind to floor or a brink.
Raise the left arm up getting maximum length from the hip to the hand, while keeping the left hip and thighbone pressing down.
Exhale and rotate the trunk to the right.

 Bring the left upper arm to the outside of the right thigh.
Forearm points up and open palm.
Press the arm to the knee and knee into the arm. Keep spine lifting up and chest open.
The left side of chest moves toward the right thigh
This is stage I, repeat to other side.
 To move into full pose, press the left armpit against outside of right knee. With exhalation encircle the right knee with left arm.
Exhale again and bring right arm around the back to catch the left hand.
Keep torso lifted and turn the head to look over left shoulder (forward). This is not shown. 
Work to minimize that space between the armpit and thigh.

Repeat on other side.

 Remember to turn head to look forward. Not shown.

 If having trouble catching hand behind you, use a strap as an extension of the arm to reach.
Also, watch your straight leg does not tilt. Mine is tilting a little in these last two photos.

Benefits: increases energy levels, tones and massages abdominal organs, improves function of the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and intestines and alleviates backache.

Cautions: Do not practice if pregnant or menstruating. Do not practice if have headache, insomnia, migraine or diarrhea.
If have back problems best to start with the standing version.

These are just general instructions for this pose.

Pamela Nelson