Breath Body

March 29, 2011

As we continue into our week, our contemplation rests in the rebirth of our breath. If anyone has ever watched a baby sleep, you can watch the steady rise and fall of their entire being. The belly reaches up to the sky with the inhale and falls back with the exhale perfectly. As we grow, we develop habits which hinder the breath and don’t allow that full bodied breath to carry us through our day. Breath plays such an important role in more than just allowing the oxygen to enter and exit the body.

Yoga invites us to contemplate the flow of prana affecting the subtle body energies. Nadis are conduits which carry prana into the spaces of the body known as chakras. As energy centers open, we begin to access repressed emotions, stored trauma and accumulated life patterns. If the flow of breath is hindered we contract. This physical/energetic shift which results from learned patterns of holding can lead to a profound sense of isolation and separateness. As we nurture the breath body, we become sensitive to ourselves and can make empowered, conscious decisions in life and finally we see the results of that mind/body connection.

Take time in your day to center and feel the WHOLE body breath. Through this breath, step into empowerment!

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Lemonade Anyone?

March 27, 2011

Lama Surya Das once said, “Gratitude is my favorite prayer.” Finding gratitude in life can sometimes be a challenge when we are handed lemons instead of a refreshing glass of lemonade. Even as a yoga teacher, I find it hard to be grateful and find grace in all that comes my way. However, if it weren’t for those sour moments we encounter, would grace be as sweet? Probably not.

I’ve had my fair share of letdowns, meltdowns and run-arounds. I’ve made mistakes and have a past checkered with less than stellar decisions. But I’ve also worked hard, been persistent and decided that no matter what, I would keep getting up, no matter how many times I was knocked down.

A few years ago my life fell apart. I was laid off from my dream job, my marriage fell apart and I was severely injured when I was hit by a car on my bike. These events made it so I was no longer able to afford my home and I had to move. This upheaval sent me into a long and intense custody battle over my daughter. There were times in which getting out of bed was an accomplishment. I felt as if I had hit rock bottom and was devastated. But you know what? When you are at rock bottom, the only way to go is up, right?

Finding gratitude in my life for the accomplishments I achieved while I was down, the love and support I had from friends and family, and the tiny light I could see at the end of the tunnel brought me through it all. Some days are rockier than others, but I can always look back at what I endured and feel pride in finding my way.

When life throws lemons your way, I have every faith you can squeeze some lemonade out, no matter what. Your contemplation today is simply this: What are you grateful for in your life RIGHT NOW? Make this today’s prayer.

Practice Patience

March 26, 2011

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  ~John Quincy Adams

We live in a world of digital pictures, drive-up windows and instant mashed potatoes. We have high-speed trains, high-speed internet and stoves with the ability to bring water to a boil in under one minute. With these advances to make things quicker you’d think we would have more time and patience but it has created just the opposite affect. Now, standing in line at the bank or post office and even waiting for a green light can be excruciating at times. Have we forgotten the virtue of patience?

When it comes to our bodies and minds, we usually want to see results right away. We even expect it. However, as reality sets in, we realize we have to put in the time and earn the results. Set a month long goal for yourself to practice daily. Take the time you deserve whether it is at the studio, at home with a DVD or in the park with spontaneous excitement.

Today I offer you a pose of the week: Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward Facing Dog. It is the pose we get to experience results in each time we work into it in our practice on the mat. At the beginning of our practice it is a heating pose, one that challenges us and asks our legs to lengthen and hearts to open. As we come back to it each time through each wave of sequencing, it evolves as our flow unfolds. It becomes a pose we maintain to bring us into a calm state of mind and acts as a buffer to our next round of engagement in new postures. Finally toward the end of class it becomes a restorative and restful pose. One in which we feel we can hang out in all day as the body and mind are open and responsive.

So let your practice evolve this month just as your Downward Facing Dog evolves on the mat. When we set a month long goal, we are still very much in the challenging phase at the beginning of our practice. We are still heating up and asking ourselves to respond. Patience wields this pose to take shape and change to something new each and every time. Practice this pose several times throughout your weekend and the coming week. Try it in the morning, noon and at night and experience it in different states of being. I guarantee you will see the differences each and every time.

 

Music is what feelings sound like.

March 18, 2011

Music is what feelings sound like.  ~Author Unknown

On a blind date I was once asked, “Do you like music?” I remember thinking that was a ridiculous question because music moves us all. No matter what, we all have a connection to it in some way. It reminds us of special moments, inspires us to move and allows us to let go. Music can set the tone and alter our mood, breaking down barriers we erect without conscious thought. These very reasons are why I never teach a class without it.

Many students ask me where I get my music and how they can start their own yoga music library. In this current day in age when we can create ringtones out of songs we hear in crowded restaurants, it seems like no sweat getting new music. There are websites I couldn’t live without like Pandora, iTunes and a plethora of other downloadable music websites, but they don’t help at all if you have no idea how to search for them. But let’s start with something easy…

My favorite way to build a playlist is to begin with songs everyone knows. From there, it becomes less of a challenge to weave in sacred chants, healing vibrations and devotional music. Two of my favorite well-known and mainstream artists to compile a yoga playlist around are Moby and Devotchka. They bring lyrics most people know or can at least hum along with. The next step is to begin to throw in some more unconventional music like Israel Kamakawiwo’ole or “IZ” who puts a sweet hawaiian flair on oldies but goodies everyone knows like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Once we have these songs peppered into a playlist, it is time to search for “yoga” music. This is where most students get stuck. How do you search for a song when  you don’t even know how to say the Sanskrit title, let alone search for it? My favorite place to start in this category is Sounds True. This multimedia publishing company is the mecca of spiritual wisdom, whether you seek books on meditation, stories of inspiration, DVDs of your favorite yoga teachers (well, I’m not in there yet!) and of course, MUSIC! The beauty of this site is that you can find compilations already completed, like Immersion or Om Deeksha to help you out in your first few mixes and as you get the hang of it, start to mix your own playlists. Below you can find a list of my top five favorite artists to flow to. If you like one of the below artists, then go ahead and create a Pandora station so you can find other music with the same sound.

1. Deva Premal

2. Krishna Das

3. Jai Uttal

4. Stevin McNamara

5. Shaman’s Dream

And before you know it, you have your very first yoga playlist.

Talk of the Town

March 18, 2011

YAY! Your favorite neighborhood studio was just awarded TALK OF THE TOWN for the SECOND YEAR IN A ROW, in our SECOND YEAR OF BUSINESS!!!! We couldn’t have done it without you so thank you to all of our students for helping us create this amazing community in East Colfax.

Check out Talk of the Town.

Break Free of Comfort

March 16, 2011

“Don’t get too comfortable with who you are at any given time – you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be.”
– Jon Bon Jovi

I know, you must be thinking, “Did she just quote Bon Jovi?” Yes, yes, I did. And this wisdom is a common theme in living your yoga. Anyone who has attended my class has heard me ask you to leave your comfort zone.

When was the last time you did something that terrified you? When was the last time you took a chance?

Many of us live our day to day in fear that we will fail, so why bother trying. Had anyone told me that I would be the owner of a yoga and cycling studio even three years ago I would have told them they were nuts. I loved my high paying, corporate job in television. I thrived there. I did, however, wish that I had more time to ride my bike and practice yoga. And the lesson, of “Be careful what you wish for” rang true when I was laid off along with a wave of other media producers, with no jobs in sight. This lack of choice to stay in my comfort bubble, pushed me to rediscover my passion and what made me tick. It made me take that chance on myself. And now, I’m doing what I love and loving what I do each and every day.

Today I ask you to step out of that comfortable space. I’m not asking you to quit your job on impulse or run red lights on your commute home from the office, but I am asking you to take a breath and look at your life with objectivity. What habits have you formed that you don’t even think about? When is the last time you walked into your favorite restaurant and ordered something new? Took a new route to the grocery store? Sat and were still at your desk for an entire minute with your eyes closed?

This is your opportunity to become who you want to be. So go for it!

Oh Yes You Can

March 2, 2011

"(Wo)Man is the model of the world." - Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci dedicated a portion of his life and career attempting to convey the intricacies of the human form and thus, proliferated the miraculous parallels between humanity and nature. Bodily functions commence without cues…blood pumps and breath flows, independent of conscious decision much like the wiles of nature. What we are able to provide cues to are the thoughts within our minds. We can make conscious decisions to improve the soundness of our body, and consequently our minds. To do this we can employ similar artistic strategy as Da Vinci, and begin by appreciating the numerous factors that make up our wellness.

Today’s contemplation rests upon DiVinci’s words. How do you wish for this conscious commitment to affect your life physically, mentally and emotionally? In simpler terms, what do you want to get out of the next 30 days?

Want more nuggets? Join our 30 Day Challenge to Commit! Sign up now from our schedule link on Breathe’s Website and grab the pass while its still available.

Itsy bitsy bikini season…

February 22, 2011

Denver weather  is temperamental, especially for this So. Cal. gal. I grew up convinced that heating/air conditioning units were mythical appliances and “layering clothes” is what they do in Siberia. Having rarely seen the thermometer drop below 65F and never really rise above 100F in my thirty plus years you could say I’ve been spoiled, meteorologically speaking. I have even shaken my fist at the sky and felt personally betrayed when the Denver weathermen have promised fair weather that never materialized…but I’m slowly coming to terms with the saying “if you don’t like the weather in Denver, wait five minutes.” This past week, the sunshine I have so yearned for finally came and with it, a reminder that swimsuit season is right around the corner.

It seems that even the powers-that-be at Target have noticed and placed, what seems like, hundreds of swimsuits in the front of the women’s section. Up until the drastic turn in the weather last week, I sped walk past the section with a disapproving frown, grittily determined to buy more long underwear (yet again) and industrial size containers of hot chocolate mix. However, NOW, the glorious sun and Target’s remarkable marketing scheme does give me cause me to think about how I anticipate putting on a swimsuit or slowly peeling away those layers of clothing after weeks of hiding indoors from the snowy roads and eating my weight in comfort food.

Luckily, we here at Breathe are always trying to come up with fun new ways to work out and shape up when the weather cooperates and when it doesn’t. Come join us on Sunday for a FREE class with Drew Overholser, creator of Mind-Body-Fit, a new movement that “combines yoga, core-building, martial arts movements and mindfulness practices into a one of a kind circuit style workout.” Start working on your bikini body , and men, we haven’t forgotten about you! Come work on your beach bods, because at this rate we may all be poolside in March, if we’re not shoveling ourselves out of a blizzard that is.

-Marianne Mullis

THE DETAILS: Mind-Body-Fit FREE CLASS, No registration necessary, just show up! 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Sunday, February 27th. Great for both men & women!

Breathe Yoga & Cycling Studio

2033 E. Colfax Ave.

Denver

303.297.3005

breathe@breathdenver.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Make Yoga Mat Wash

February 19, 2011

A wonderful volunteer at our studio brought in our very first home-made mat wash and we have been making it ever since, playing with the recipe here and there. Everyone loves the scent it leaves behind on their mat without chemicals and so many have asked us where they can get it. Our answer: You can make it!

So, we decided to give away our favorite mat wash recipe so you can make it yourself when you practice at home, customize it to the scents you like the best, and even make gifts for your yogi friends and family. You can also use your mat wash as a household cleaner for hard surfaces or spray it around the house as an air freshener.

While making your own mat wash is eco-friendly and brings piece of mind to know your ingredients, there are a few things you should be aware of. One ingredient in the below recipe is essential oil. Essential oils are very concentrated and should be used with the utmost care. Toxicity and side effects often occur from incorrect usage or overdose. It is also important to switch up the essential oils you use regularly. When making your mat wash, go ahead and mix two solutions. All ingredients can be made together and then separated at the end to create two different essential oil cleaners.

Yoga Mat Cleaner Recipe

1 cup distilled water

1 cup witch hazel

30 drops tea tree oil

15-20 drops essential oil (depending on oil)

Place all the ingredients in a spray bottle, shake and start cleaning.

Essential oils we like are peppermint, lemongrass, geranium, clove, orange, eucalyptus and lavender or a combination of your favorite scents.

Note: You can learn more about essential oil safety at http://www.aromaweb.com/articles/safety.asp. If you are pregnant, have high blood pressure or other health concerns, please check out the above link to be sure you use safe essential oils in the proper dosage. Essential oils should NEVER be applied to the skin undiluted or ingested.

YOGA + WINE + CHOCOLATE = celebrating Valentine’s with breathe!

February 8, 2011

Having trouble finding a unique gift for that special someone or, better yet, figuring out what you’re going to do for yourself? Come celebrate Valentine’s this Saturday with a “Heart Opening Workshop” with Emily Moore  at  breathe!  Click on the flyer below for more details and call or email us today to secure your spot in what promises to be a truly unique celebration!

Celebrate Valentine's by treating yourself to an afternoon of yoga, wine and chocolate!