Friday, November 29, 2019

W.A.I.T. - Why Am I Talking

A few days ago I was watching an interview with Tom Hanks on the Ellen show.  He was on to promote his new movie that is about Fred Rogers called "A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood".
As a kid I grew up watching Mr. Roger's Neighbourhood and really loved it.  I loved how he changed his shoes and sweaters when he came and went. Not sure what that says about me :)
Did you know he also authored almost 60 children's book.  One of my favorites for a time was this one:
Titled: Tell Me Mister Rogers about Learning to Read, Sleeping Away from Home, Going to the Dentist, Thunder and Lightning, When Pets Die, Nobody Feels Perfect
So simple in the message but for kids so meaningful to know that all these feelings can be quite normal.

In the interview Tom Hanks mentions how he had to learn to talk really quite slowly.  He was often being reminded to slow down in his speech.  As someone who sometimes tends to talk quite quickly I know I can practice this more. Not just in my teaching, but in my day to day life.  Slowing down the speed of our speech can  help to slow down thoughts and allow us to be more present.  Slower speech patterns can help us really think about what we are going to say, help us to enunciate our words more clearly and  improve breath patterns. The effects of this can really help to regulate our nervous systems to a slower and more relaxed state and therefore maybe feelings of anxiety and stress.

Mr. Hanks also talks about how Fred Roger's was really a great listener and this was something he took away with him from making this movie.  He said he came up with an acronym..

W.A.I.T.  - Why Am I Talking

All to often many of us are so intent on getting our voice heard that we fail to really listen to what others are saying.  Sometimes out of nervousness we may feel we need to fill in those quiet pauses and continue to talk, instead of pausing to listen. 

I do try to be a good listener and know this is another skill I can continue to improve upon.  One thing in my reading up on the Art of Listening is ...what are we saying to ourselves. 
As an exercise try to listen to what your self-talk is?  How often?  This can also clutter the mind and keep those vrittis very active.  In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the second sutra is - "Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness."

In Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by B.K.S. Iyengar on this sutra he writes, "Yoga shows ways of understanding the functioning of the mind, and helps to quieten their movements, leading one towards the undisturbed state of silence which dwells in the very seat of consciousness. Yoga is thus the art and science of mental discipline through which the mind becomes cultured and matured."
He also says, "The practice of yoga integrates a person through the journey of intelligence and consciousness from the external to the internal...Yoga, the restraint of fluctuating thought, leads to a sattvic state."

When we are quiet within, we feel a peaceful state. When we are more peaceful we can react and respond more to the present moment then to our past habitual way of responding. That pause can help give clarity.  Sometimes that clarity will be recognizing we don't need to say ourselves, or others at that moment.

Below is a website I found that gives some good tips on the Art of Listening.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts :). Please feel free to share with me any of your Mr. Roger's memories.
Wishing you a wonderful day in the neighbourhood!

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,


Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Upcoming classes and workshops

Been awhile since I posted here as I have a new website and post often to Instagram and Facebook.

Here are some upcoming classes and workshops.
I will be in Saskatoon on Saturday for a workshop.
Still room if you’d like to join?

Feel free to email me at to register or more information on classes.

Accessible and Adaptive Yoga

I have seen a lot recently about accessible yoga.  It is great that there is more of a conversation about this, but it does in some ways surprise me as practicing the Iyengar lineage the past 25 years, yoga has always been taught to be accessible to everyone. 

B.K.S. Iyengar always said yoga is for everyone. He developed and designed props to help make yoga accessible to everyone - from every walk of life and every ability.  If you have ever attended Iyengar classes the props are not meant to be used as a hindrance or "prop yoga", but for the purpose of bringing the final internal shape and alignment of the pose to each person - in body, breath and mind. 

In the Iyengar system of training some of the main things we are taught is how to adjust and use what we need to make yoga accessible to all.  From chairs, blankets, bolsters, blocks, belts, trestle, benches and rope walls.  There is no restriction on one way for everyone and being open to new possibilities for different bodies has always been what Iyengar yoga was about.

Even for my own body, I have had to adjust through a few injuries, though age, through different seasons, pregnancy and times of the month, emotional state and energy levels.  Daily we are taught to listen to our bodies, become more aware and adapt and adjust as needed. 

Yoga classes should be teaching this and the Iyengar system does teach this.  Yoga teachers are not doctors or physiotherapists so why it is so important to realize that yoga is about learning about yourself and letting the practice guide you.

There are more posts out there on how yoga is more then just the asanas, really the 3rd limb of Patanjali's yoga sutras, making yoga really for everyone as asana is just one aspect.  I have a friend who said his yoga practice is great, his asana is limited but his yoga practice is great. 

I hope to see you on the mat one day soon and see that yoga is for everyone!

Photos of how some props can be used to make yoga more accessible when needed.

Pamela Nelson
Certified IJ3 Iyengar Yoga Teacher