Hatha Yoga (the yoga of physical movement).

Hatha is the branch of yoga in which we use the physical practices – including postures, breathwork, dietary selection, and other “external” means – to build better control of our thoughts in order to move ultimately toward one-mindedness.

As part of this, we strive to balance the body and mind, with the understanding that they are always in fluctuation.

Goal: To gain freedom through physical discipline.

How to get there: Through practicing the 8 limbs of yoga.

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Yamas and Niyamas,

The five yamas are moral directives intended to guide the practitioner’s behavior towards others.

  • Ahimsa: Nonviolence towards others.
  • Satya: Truthfulness.
  • Asteya: Not stealing from others. Though this probably had a literal meaning originally, it has been extended to mean not putting others down to build yourself up.
  • Brahmacharya: Chastity. Whether this means celibacy or simply controlling one’s sexual impulses is open to interpretation.

While the yamas direct one’s behavior towards others, the niyamas describe how to act ethically towards oneself.  The 5 niyamas are:

  • Saucha: Cleanliness. Again, probably a practical meaning originally but has a modern interpretation keeping your intentions pure.
  • Santosa: Contentment with oneself.
  • Tapas: Self discipline. Having the commitment to sustain a practice.
  • Svadhyaya: Self study. Having the courage to look within yourself for answers.
  • Isvara pranidhana: Surrender to a higher power. Whether that is a deity or the acceptance that the world is governed by forces outside of our control is up to you.

Together, these two sets of rules were meant to guide one to a righteous lifestyle.

Asana

The practice of yoga postures, although it should be noted that the word asana means seat.

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Pranayama

The practice of breathing exercises. Choosing to control the breath for specific effects.

Pratyahara

The withdrawal of the senses, meaning that the exterior world is not a distraction from the interior world within oneself.

Dharana

Concentration, or the ability to focus on something uninterrupted by external or internal distractions. Dharana builds upon pratyahara.

Once you can ignore external stimuli, you can begin to direct your concentration elsewhere.

Dhyana

Meditation. Building upon dharana, your are able to expand your concentration beyond a single thing so that it becomes all encompassing

Samadhi

Bliss. After you have achieved dhyana, the transcendence of the self through meditation can begin. The self merges with the universe, which is sometimes translated as enlightenment.

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Bhakti Yoga. (the yoga of devotion)

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While Hatha Yoga requires a strong and flexible body, Raja Yoga requires a disciplined and concentrated mind, and Jnana Yoga requires a keen intellect, the only requirement for Bhakti Yoga is an open, loving heart. 

GOAL: To develop a personal relationship with the ‘divine’, which could include a higher power, nature, or the self.

HOW TO GET THERE: Prayer, chanting or your own preferred way of expressing devotion.

MORE INFO:

Bhakti means “devotion” or “love” and this path contains various practices to unite the practitioner with the Divine.

Bhakti Yoga is considered the most direct method to experience the unity of mind, body and spirit.

This deeply spiritual practice draws heavily on the Hindu deities. Each of these deities is seen as representing a human aspect of the single Godhead or Brahman (similar to the way Christian saints represent specific attributes and qualities of God). The use of Hindu deities in Bhakti Yoga can be a large obstacle for Western practitioners, especially for those with a deeply religious background. But the use of the Hindu deities is not required for this practice.

 

The most popular limb of Bhakti Yoga in the West is  Kirtan,  with national and local Kirtan walas performing weekly in small to large cities. Bhakti Yoga can be practiced by itself or be integrated into other types of yoga or spiritual practices.

Branches of Yoga.

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What opens your heart to being receptive to new ideas, creativity and compassion?

There are many branches of yoga that reflect the diversity in our temperament, personalities and goals.

There is a style of yoga for everyone! Maybe your goal is to exercise, or open your heart and quiet your mind, maybe it’s music or service to others?

Here are a few of the modern forms of yoga and I will be writing a short blurb about each individually.

 

BHAKTI YOGA (Devotion)

HATHA YOGA (Physical Exercise)

JNANA YOGA (Wisdom)

KARMA YOGA (Service)

MANTRA YOGA (Sound)

RAJA YOGA (Meditation)

TANTRA YOGA (study of the universal from the point of view of the individual)

One Love San Francisco

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I’d like to invite you to join me and my friends, Danni Pomplun, Martin Scott and Susannah Freedman to take your yoga off the mat and help us give back to underserved and homeless youth.

Please join us for One Love’s San Francisco 2016 Charity Yoga Event! Help us give back to the SF community and make a positive impact in the lives of local and global underprivileged youth. Your ticket purchase will be a direct donation locally to Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco, aiding to get homeless and at-risk kids off the street, and globally to the One Love shelter in India, which is home to 20 kids rescued from the streets.

Date: Saturday, June 18th 2016
Time: 1:30 – 3:30pm (doors open 12:45pm – arrive early to save your mat space)
Location: Yoga Tree, Castro (97 Collingwood St, San Francisco, CA 94114)
Tickets start at $30. available here: https://www.movewith.com/at/onelovemovementsf

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Yoga Teachers

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Thank you to LYFT for making it easy for our yogis to get around
NEW LYFT USERS get $50 in credit towards their first 10 rides. Promo code: lyfttoonelove
https://www.lyft.com/invited/lyfttoonelove

EXISTING LYFT USERS get a 25% discount on their Lyft ride to or from Yoga Tree Castro on the day of the event (June 18th). As long as your ride begins or ends at the event, the code will be applicable. Promo code: Ridetoonelove
https://www.lyft.com/invited/Ridetoonelove

Easy Cheesecake

This past weekend we celebrated my big brother’s birthday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY Justin!

I made a no-bake cheesecake that I thought was super tasty and thought I would share the recipe with you here.

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I decided to make the crust myself by combining 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter (I also added a little cinnamon, but that is optional).

Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 350°F oven. Cool completely.

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces prepared whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust (6 ounces)
  • 1 pound fresh berries for decoration

Put life into action.

While listening to a podcast today, a Professor of Psychology was interviewed on her unique perspective that positive thinking is in some ways hindering or stunting us from achieving our goals.

Gabriele Oettingen believes that indulging in our positive fantasies is actually hurting us. In a fantasy you are already imagining yourself completing the task and achieving your goal. She has come up with a system called WOOP that shifts gears from indulging in fantasy to how to realistically achieve you goal.

 

WOOP

 

WOOP:

WISH – Ask yourself what it is that you want from today, for the next week or for your life .

OUTCOME – Spend time thinking about what the BEST outcome could be if you achieved your wish. Vividly experience all aspects of this outcome.
OBSTACLES – Then ask yourself, what is it in myself that is holding me back? Is it an old or irrational belief, is something from your past? If these obstacles are once that you feel you could conquer, then you really commit to achieving this goal. But if you decide that these obstacles are too big or you are not able to get over them, you can then postpone or let go of that idea and make space and availability for achievable goals.
PLAN – Ask yourself this : If (imagine obstacle) then I will (imagine how you will handle that obstacle). This instills non conscience processes.
Example: You have a test on Monday an you have been invited to a party on Saturday. Ask yourself “If I go to the party on Saturday then my test on Monday will suffer” Going to the party becomes the obstacle.
Find obstacle within yourself because those are the ones you can change. You can not change your husband or your boss.
It is the imagery part that of this exercise that propels you into action. Really sitting with your imagination and seeing yourself in the best outcome. But also really seeing your obstacles and if they are obstacles that you are able to over-come.
Analysis is not what propels you into action. Analysis will give you hypothesis about your parents, old relationships, teachers, etc… but it doesn’t put you into action.
For more information check out:

Transitions are hard!

Something I have been speaking about at length in class lately is Transitions, or the time between poses.

Each shape we take in class is different from the previous one, which is different to the next one and once we arrive in a pose and settle into the correct alignment, we can usually find some sort of ease or peace, however fleeting that may feel.

We live in a world of goals and moving forward and rushing to the next great thing that we forget or hurry through the transition time of getting to where we want to be. So I have purposely slowed the sequencing down to really feel into how we arrive in a pose, aiming for grace and making it as effortless as possible.

This is a relatively easy thing to accomplish when in a yoga class and you are only focusing on the physical body slowing a movement down to completely experience the journey, but how does that translate to real life?

How do you take what you learn on your mat and apply it to your life when you leave the studio?

I think people have thought I am trying to be funny and make a joke when I mention what I am working on…but it is something I am truly struggling with and worth mentioning. I have a terrible temper when I am driving and before I can even take a step back from my anger and evaluate my reaction, I have honked my horn, opened my window and called someone a F*cking  Wanker or Idiot or Asshole.

My transition time from getting into my car and arriving at my destination is a little lot clunky and ungraceful. After one particularly rude remark on my part, I closed my window and asked myself “Jacqui Rowley, when did you loose your God Damn mind?”

So I have been paying extra special attention to my reactions in class lately. I get irrationally triggered in standing balance work and have found myself silently cussing my beloved teachers for putting me in stupid poses and making me do stupid things that challenge me. I have even wished I had stayed at home because I wasn’t angry when I was at home in my warm bed. I hadn’t failed at anything before stepping on my mat.

Transitions are hard! Whether you are in transition from waking up to having your first cup of coffee, or transitioning from one job or house to another, maybe you are transitioning from being engaged to being married….Whatever your ‘space between’ might be, it can be a challenging time filled with opportunities to learn and fail grow.

Creating a little space in your mind, and by that, I mean a little space between your thoughts, you learn to take a step back and become a better responder as opposed to being a reactor. When you are triggered by a something, try to notice your natural reaction and then give yourself the space to decide how you wish to respond to your reaction. There is certainly a time and a space for getting angry and frustrated, but do you need to respond with anger and frustration every single time you are triggered? And where are you directing that energy? Is it helpful or serving you in a healthy way?

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Give yourself permission to fail, repeatedly, and then come back to trying again, and again, and again…until eventually you have that fleeting feeling of accomplishment. Your success rate will increase if you pay attention to where you are failing.

Keep me posted, I would love to hear what you are working on.

DIY ice pack.

Some of you already know that I only recently learned how to ride a bicycle. Although it was always a little embarrassing admitting to people that I did not know how to ride a bike, I was never motivated or interested enough to learn.

At the beginning of this year, I was gifted my very first bicycle from my friends over at Lululemon and Public Bikes. It was love at first sight!  I think my bike is beautiful and it has the words “Do one thing a day that scares you” printed on the frame.

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Okiedokie, NOW I was motivated to learn to ride this beauty. I rallied up a dear friend who has infinite patience and off we went to learn how to ride a bike in Golden Gate Park. SUCCESS!!!

Safety First.
Safety First.

My ride in the park was fun and I only freaked out for most of it.

Lets cut forward to my holiday in Mammoth Lakes where I crashed into another rider and split my ear open and bruised my shin bone so bad that my leg swelled to the size of a football.  Here is where my DIY ice pack comes in. I needed to ice my leg constantly and found this little recipe online that works really well. It has been good having an ice pack or two or four at home for achy shoulders after climbing or random injuries here and there.

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  • Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 3 parts water in a ziploc bag and put in the freezer. (The alcohol will prevent the water from freezing completely.)
  • When it’s frozen, wrap with a towel or cloth of some sort and apply.

Healthy coconut popcorn.

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I stumbled on this healthy coconut popcorn snack recipe and feel it is a MUST share.
If you have been to the movies in the past, I don’t know…EVER, you have most likely been suckered into buying a big, salty, buttery bag of bright yellow popcorn. Why? because popcorn is delicious, simple!
I also heard, and don’t quote me on this, but I heard that a medium bag of popcorn and a medium soda have the same number of calories as three Big Macs. WHAT? I can’t wrap my mind around how that is possible, but I have chosen to make my own.
Ingredients
  • For the Popcorn:
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup popcorn kernels
  • For the Sauce:
  • 6 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground/grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon Himalaya pink salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried cherries or cranberries
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
Instructions
  1. Pop the popcorn kernels in the melted coconut oil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining coconut oil and raw honey over medium-low heat in a small saucepan, until the honey has melted and is fully incorporated into the oil.
  3. Stir the spices into the oil and honey mixture.
  4. Working in handfuls, put the popcorn in a large mixing bowl and pour the spice mixture over the top a little at a time (You can pour the spice mixture directly over all of the popcorn, but doing it in small batches will ensure that it’s fully incorporated.). Mix to combine. Continue until you have used all of the popcorn and spice mixture.
  5. Stir in the pumpkin seeds and cherries.
Notes
This popcorn is best served immediately, but will last stored in an airtight container, in a cool, dry, place for up to 2 days.
Himalayan Pink Salt is purer and higher in mineral content than table salt, so the flavor is stronger. If you use a different variety of salt, you may want to add more.