Sunday, October 28, 2012


The more I research for opening my studio, the more I am becoming curious about something. Not sure why the two are correlating since they don't really have much to do with each other, but so far the two are going hand in hand.

I want to learn as much as I can about yoga and even Hinduism and Sanskrit as a language. I'm just not sure how well that would go over with the crowd that would potentially be my "market" here for the studio.

I don't want to learn about Hinduism to become a Hindu, but more for the historical aspect of it. I enjoy the art and sculptures of the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, but would placing certain objects around the studio be overstepping my bounds as a teacher? Or would small or limited objects be ok?

Mainly, I'm enamored with Ganesh :) and want a little statue of him.. that or maybe a statue and a wall tapestry. If nothing else, I guess I could hide him on my desk haha.

Anyways, where would be a good place to learn Sanskrit?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Life of an Untouched Mat . . .

       My life is tragic. It really is. I sit here all alone, in a bag, leaning slightly, but never touched. The dust that flies around settles on my side and at my base. Is this what my purpose is supposed to be? I want to be unrolled and used, to feel like I'm needed. Yet, here I sit. All by myself, minus the knick knacks that surround me. But wait! Is today the day? Will I finally be picked up and rolled out?. . . Sigh. I knew it was too good to be true. What is the purpose of being bought if I'm not going to be used? Bad thing is, this didn't use to be my existence. I was once unrolled and well loved. Now I sit alone.

My poor mat.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time Drawing Nigh? AND New Products? Uh yes!

I think it's getting pretty darn close! Tomorrow makes week 39!! Yikes.

Anyway, I was walking on the treadmill this morning (doc said step it out and it should help to "induce" labor, so I've been stepping it out) and man, oh, man. I had some severe cramps after that. I thought I was going into labor.......

Wrong. That was not the case. The cramps subsided and I just became lethargic after that. I think it may have been due to me eating lunch though, the lethargic part I mean, and not anything drastic. Course I'm not sure either.

But anyways.. I got some goodies in the other day.. see below!!

These are products by Hunki Dori! They are this rad company that offers eco-friendly, organic, up cycled, handmade in the USA or FairTrade!! Not to mention they're pretty awesome.

They partner, or help, a cause called Freeset (see above) that helps women who are in the throws of prostitution because of where they live.

Mood Body Oils smell DIVINE!!

This mat cleanser is awesome... and it smells so good. It's infused with Sunflower oil. Isn't that cool?

These are their scent infused eye pillows and what's called a HairOM :) I have that one and one that is a bit wider (called a Love Wrap) and I'm way stoked to have them. They're the coolest thing since sliced bread.

This is just another shot of the funky cool eye pillows. If I remember correctly they're Patchouli scented.

And this is just a shot of me with my first HairOM on.

Once I open my studio, I will be the ONLY studio in Mississippi to carry these products! :) I'm pretty excited. I stumbled onto them by accident and now I'm in love. I'm sure it shows, since I'm frothing at the mouth and all. Nevertheless, I can't contain my excitement!

Friday, October 19, 2012


I'm no longer finding the comfort in my practice I used to, and I think it's because of the nearness of my due date. Next Tuesday will make 39 weeks pregnant... yeah, I know. Doctor says "any time now. It's all up to him." Little does the fella know, I already handed him his eviction notice. Too bad it didn't work.

The last few times I tried to practice were a flop. All it did was make me angry because of my lack of ease and enjoyment. So, I've made a decision for the collective good of my little group (me and the baby). I'm not going to continue my practice until AFTER he is born. That way I'm not angry all the time over something I can't control. I'm going to RELAX in these last few days, or weeks, of the pregnancy and try to be content and know that I will be back on my mat as soon as possible. Heck, I can always sit on my mat and meditate if I get that lonely.

I have my "hospital bag" all packed minus some books I'm going to bring up there. Top of the list? You got it!! Maehle's book on Pranayama. Lately, I haven't had the time to read the book. I should be reading now since my husband is still in bed but I decided to type a blog up instead. I'll have time for Maehle later. I will MAKE time for him later.

Right now, it's me and baby time! I'm trying to figure out what outfit I want him to come home in :).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dry Brushing...... Anyone?

So, I was reading over some things recently and came across a website that was dedicated to dry brushing and I was curious. I have read about it before but still am not too sure on the subject.

I have a brush FOR dry brushing but have only used it a few times. Mainly because I'm not sure how I feel about brushing my body as I would brush my hair.

Here is the link: Dry Brushing

Does anyone have any experience with this? If so, please give me your thoughts. Maybe I'll feel less awkward about brushing myself before I hop in the shower haha.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Hectic, Hectic, Hectic!!

The past few days have been so hectic. I have barely had the chance to read at all. I'm quite saddened by this fact. I think I have read about 3 pages from Pranayama in the past four days.

I haven't practiced in two days... or maybe three? Being at drill for the Army National Guard sort of sucks the life out of your... well, life. My time is their time and so, my practice time is taken up in the morning with stupid formations and my afternoons are filled with work and then eating and sleep.

Today, we get a break though, but I doubt I'll end up practicing. I'm sleepy and groggy and just plain grumpy. Oh, not to mention uncomfortable. At 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant... I think I'm a little due for discomfort at the moment. I have issued my son an eviction notice but he isn't listening OR paying attention. I guess he likes his little cocoon.

I guess I'm getting anxious about the delivery and the fact that my practice will soon be obsolete—at least for about 3 weeks. I'm scared that once I get back on the mat things will be different and have drastically changed. I mean, I know it will happen, but its embracing the changes that I feeling scared of. But, I am hopeful that it will give me something to learn from that I can help others with if and should the time for help arise and present itself.

Oh, and my little following for a possible yoga studio down here in the small town of Grenada, Ms is coming along quite nicely. I've amassed at least 50 people that seem genuinely interested (I know its such a tiny number), but I'm hoping to raise awareness in the community over the next few months.

Anyone have any comments or insights on how to best get the word out? Maybe some useful information to present to newcomers who are interested in learning about yoga?? I do have quite a few of those.

I'll hopefully be posting regularly again beginning Monday. Happy weekend! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Catching Up On Reading and Restorative Yoga

Today will involve me catching up on some long over due reading in Maehle's Pranayama book. I can't believe I've slacked off this much. Then again I've put pretty much all my time into creating two separate business plans (which aren't close to being finished) and am considering creating another.

Ultimate Goal: Start a retreat center for studios to bring their students for either retreats or teacher trainings.

Minor Goals (but more feasible at the moment goals): Starting either a yoga studio in Grenada, Ms OR just simply being a travel instructor. We shall see.

Nevertheless, last post consisted of me being discouraged due to my every growing belly and lack of practice. I report this morning that I practiced the below sequence in restorative yoga... lots of laying on my back but not for too long of a period so it worked. Definitely needed the twisting at the end!

                                            Restorative Yoga with Sebastian and Gillian B

Therefore, I wanted to thank La Gitane for suggesting it (I'd put your actual name but I'm sorry, I don't know it...yet!). She suggested that I try a restorative sequence since they are more gentle on the body than traditional Ashtanga is. Yes I know I can tone down Ashtanga but the forward bending was getting too me. I think my son has decided that he doesn't want me bending over.. which I guess is ok. I mean he is the one being smushed in there, not me.

Goals for today are as follows:
—Finish chapter on General Guidelines in Maehle's book
—Study for Nutrition
—Find more restorative sequences
—Work on business plans

Of course, I'm going to eat and relax in there too. The weather is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous here, but will be warming to the 80's again soon. I can't wait for it to be winter down here in the south. Wish it snowed on a regular basis!

Onward mates! Have a fantastic day :D

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Skimping On Reading For Business Planning

Yep, you read that right. I've been skimping on my reading in exchange for business planning. I knew it would be difficult to plan the start-up of a business, but I didn't know it would be THIS hard of a job. I guess it's a good thing my timeframe for opening my business is set for July-August 2013. Gives me some wiggle room.

So far I've been working with the Mississippi Small Business Development Center out of University of Mississippi in Oxford to get an understanding and working knowledge of what I need to do. Since the town I live in isn't exactly the biggest town, and not to mention we have NO studios within an hours driving distance, I am trying to figure out which would be better– having a studio or just being a travel instructor.

The fella I'm working with from UM told me to build two separate business plans. One for having a studio and one for simply working as a traveling instructor. Let's just say that I'm not exactly business savvy in the sense of building business plans and I'm struggling. Granted, it is all fascinating. Writing the particular things that need to be written is proving more difficult than I imagined. The Executive Summary and Business Description aspects of the plan have me a bit jumbled at the moment. You're supposed to say this and not that, this goes in this section not that section, yada yada. I'll be meeting with Mr. C probably every two weeks (if I can) in order to get everything straightened out and on track.

My next hurdle will be acquiring funds for the start up (if I open a studio). This will be the biggest hurdle I think, mostly because I'm a veteran and therefore I can access funds a bit more easily if I have the SBA's "Veteran" backing to acquire funds. Here comes the kicker, the application process for obtaining a Certificate of Completion (or whatever it is that says I'm a veteran and the SBA has verified all my information) is tedious AND confusing. You have to have so many things for them to certify you as a veteran in need of funds. The process.... well I've seen two separate ways to obtain this piece of paper. Both are equal in length and both are just as confusing. Therefore, I will be making a phone call to the only person in this state that can probably help me. It is also crapy that he is in Jackson, Ms, which is approximately 1.5 hours south of my house. Maybe my next VA appointment can be scheduled on the same day I go visit him? Doubtful but I'm hopeful.

Now, all of this business planning is pending on my completion of my YTT that starts in February 2013. Not that I wouldn't make it through the training, but it is still hinging on becoming certified. I think I could help bring the wonderful aspects of yoga to this town and that people would enjoy it a lot, if they gave it a chance. I'm definitely going to have some marketing to do because word-of-mouth in this town isn't that helpful. I'm going to try to have the word-of-mouth become helpful though by offering group sessions to doctors offices, teachers of the school district, the college campus, and maybe some of the business around here.

Too bad I can't find a way to target the farmers around here.. That would be awesome. Hm, I might have to think about some way to get them interested: "Tired, achy muscles need a break? Come stretch them out at (insert studio name here) during one of our restoration classes.." Eh, so I need some work on my advertising, but I'll think of something haha. After all, I have until next June to start marketing hardcore :).

Friday, October 5, 2012

Discouragement, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi

This post was supposed to happen yesterday, but I wanted to reread Iyengar's description of the last three limbs again. I didn't feel like they quite settled in my brain or I wasn't paying much attention when I was reading them. Nevertheless, I reread all three this morning and there is still some muddled confusion. So I'll give my viewpoints a go and if you feel like chiming in to help me figure these out I would appreciate the help.

Dharana: Oh me, oh my... this one is basically the yogi's ability to concentrate on a single object. In a sense, to me it seems as if dharana and meditation are almost the same things. Yet Iyengar talks about five mental states: ksipta (mental forces are scattered and the mind hankers after objects; rago-guna being dominant), viksipta (agitated or distracted mind, the capacity to enjoy the fruits of one's efforts, but the desires are not marshaled and controlled), mudha ( mind is foolish, dull and stupid; confounded and at a loss to know what it wants; tamo-guna dominant), ekagrata (closely attentive mind and the mental faculties are concentrated on a single object with sattva-guna present; easily turns to being supremely egotistical which is not good), and lastly niruddha (where the mind, intellect, and ego are all restrained and everything is offered to the Lord for His use in His service).

Hmm.. Yep. So we are attempting to attain the state of niruddha, but I'm not quite sure how it's done. Iyengar also goes over AUM, which has multiple meanings that he discusses. I have always heard the description of it representing the one God. Since I'm not a believer of the trimurti, I transformed this into the trinity (same thing I know but different name and different aspects of God). While the Trimurti contains Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, I worship the Trinity (God the father, Jesus the son, and the Holy Spirit). Their combination creates Him, the one true God. That which is all powerful and ever present in our daily lives. When all ego and thoughts of "I" and "mine" subside, the student can then concentrate on Him and to do his will— which is the ultimate goal.

Dhyana: I've really only heard or read about this limb in reference to staring at a lit candle. The mind is suspended as the student concentrates on the flame and releases all outside disturbances or interruptions.   Through my readings of dhyana by Iyengar, there was much more to it. An attempt to achieve a state of supreme bliss as the student has gained a state of no other thoughts but the contemplation on the Universal Spirit. Signs of progress on the path of yoga are "health, a sense of physical lightness, steadiness, clearness of countenance and a beautiful voice, sweetness of odor of the body and freedom from craving." The student must dedicate all his actions to the Lord, taking refuge in him.

Still, not quite sure I understand this one so much.

Samadhi: The ultimate goal of yoga. The last limb, that once attained frees one from all. The student, in a state of samadhi, is fully conscious and alert. There isn't much really explaining samadhi. It must be experienced, not written or read about. Again, here goes my confusion/ misunderstanding. I mean I understand the concept, I guess just not exactly how to attain it. Iyengar also wrote down the Song of the Soul, which also didn't quite make sense. If attaining samadhi is supposed to be the ultimate goal, then why does the song that is written not sound more tantalizing or interesting. Maybe I'm clinging to worldly things but I'm rather fond of family and friends. The second to last stanza goes like this:

I have no misgiving of death, no chasms of race divide me,
No parent ever called me child, no bond of birth ever tied me:
I am neither disciple nor master, I have no kin, no friend–
Consciousness and joy am I, and merging in Bliss is my end.

That just doesn't put butterflies in my stomach for some reason. Maybe I don't understand it completely.   I'll keep searching though.

In regards to my discouragement . . . well that's a different matter. I know that my body is limited right now in what it can do physically, but it still makes me upset some. My mind wants to go further than simply five surya namaskara's but my body (or uterus rather) makes it impossible to go further. The discomfort at times is great and I end up in Child's Pose on the floor as I let the pain/discomfort subside. I listen to my body and try not to force anything. I also try not to be discouraged by my lack of a physical practice but it creeps in my mind and it's usually while I'm laying in savasana.

Savasana has been another battle for me. I want to lay on my back so bad and just melt into the ground, but I can't lay on my back for longer than three minutes because the weight of the baby will press on major blood vessels and cut of blood to him and me. So, I've been laying on my side..... only I can't get comfortable enough in that position to "relax" like the pose is supposed to do. I've tried experimenting by laying on my back first and then flipping to my side but once I am on my side I get antsy and want to sit up. I can't clear my head and just feel.

Anyone have any ideas about enjoying savasana on my side more? Maybe for increasing patience as well? haha

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Asana, Pranayama, and Pratyahara (CONDENSED)

[I'm going apologize ahead of time for any negative vibes you all may get from this particular blog. I'm a bit on the aggravated side and no amount of deep breathing has helped, but if I don't write down my thoughts on these three things I've read, it won't get done tonight and will probably suffer tomorrow.]

My happy place!

As I began reading this morning, (yes I am way behind on posting) I had intentionally only considered reading on asana and pranayama. However, this changed as my eyes clearly decided they wanted to read about pratyahara as well. Nevertheless, it was some good information.

The first one I went over was, obviously, asana. This is the third limb of yoga and it is also the most widely used limb to represent yoga in its totality. And truth be told, when I first came to yoga I had no clue there were any other parts that made up this fascinating and illuminating practice. To me, yoga was a way to rehab my knees and to create a limber, yet healthy, body. Oh, how far I have come in my realization that yoga is much more than the postures that one assumes each time they get on a mat to practice.

Asana, however, is the postures of yoga, but it is not about who can do which posture better than another person. Nor is it about how quick someone can master a pose or even how limber a person becomes. Yoga is much more profound than all of those "ideals". It's not about obtaining a fabulous body through the postures, nor is it about simply maintaining flexibility. The postures are a way to help us conquer our bodies, purify them so that they are a worthy temple of our soul, our spirit. The body we have is a vessel, a temporary home that we inhabit before we can move on to live with the Lord, our God. By purifying and perfecting this body we were given, we are not only honoring God, but also better preparing ourselves to do his will. With a strong mind and body we can complete the tasks that He has set forth for us.

Through asana, we are freeing ourselves "from physical disabilities and mental distractions." Some people may balk at the idea of overcoming physical disabilities, (and true there are some that my or may not be cured by yoga but then again I can't get into that deeply because I'm not knowledgeable on that level) but I've seen some older women who've needed the assistance of a cane, or a walker, put up those objects permanently because of their perseverance with yoga practice.

It is not through asana alone that one can conquer the body though. The fourth limb of yoga, pranayama, is said to have such a powerful affect on the body that one could purge themselves of disease. Of course, that doesn't mean to go out and grab the first DVD on pranayama you find and try to get busy learning the techniques. While it is powerful enough to cure a person, it also has the adverse reactions if practiced improperly. Prana "means breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy or strength. It also connotes the soul as opposed to the body." This limb is quite hard to condense into a paragraph or two because of how extensive it is. (I'm actually reading a BOOK on pranayama along with Light on Yoga. The book, Pranayama: The Breath of Yoga is written by Gregor Maehle and can tell you SO much more than I can about pranayama.)

Pranayama, in itself, is complicated (at least to me). A student must have a teacher that is knowledgeable in this area to instruct him or her. Through improper practice, a student can harm his/herself. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika warns, "as lions, elephants and tigers are tamed very slowly and cautiously, so should prana be brought under control very slowly in gradation measured according to one's capacity and physical limitations. Otherwise it will kill the practitioner." Yowza! Kill the practitioner. See, not something to take lightly or to even mess around with, at least without proper instruction. A teacher or guide can help a student better understand their limitations since they are masters (or at least extremely knowledgable in the application of this limb) of the techniques being taught. It's a rather tedious thing for me to swallow, having a teacher that is, because I live no where near someone that is extremely adept at pranayama, but I do intend to start taking workshops or something in regards to pranayama so that I can prepare myself or at least dip my feet into this intricate pool of knowledge.

Alas, pratyahara! This is the limb where a yogi learns to control his senses. Through sense control, one can control the mind. If one gives into the senses, there is a loss of control and it leads down a path of destruction. "The path of Yoga is like the sharp edge of a razor, narrow and difficult to tread, and there are few who find it. The yogi knows that the paths of ruin or salvation lie within himself."And this pretty much applies to anyone, because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out if an action is deemed inappropriate or not. Most just choose to overlook the inappropriate or outlandish behaviors.

This limb is still much in the area of the unknown to me. I know that it is "sense withdrawal" but the extent of what is pertained in its glory is yet oblivious to me. Iyengar speaks of the three gunas (qualities or attributes) that are predominant in every person: Sattva (illuminating, pure or good quality) that leads to clarity and mental serenity, Rajas (quality of mobility or activity) that makes a person active and energetic, tense and willful, and then Tamas (the dark and restraining quality) obstructs and counteracts the tendency of rajas to work and sattva to reveal. Yogis, who are affected by these three gunas,  is able to gain control through "constant and disciplined study (abhyasa) of himself and of the objects which his senses tend to pursue, he learns which thoughts, words and actions are prompted by tamas and which by rajas."

The last section I just went over on pratyahara, is probably the biggest jumbled mess of all. Mostly, it is because I don't have a full grasp or working knowledge of this limb yet. There needs to be a book, or at least extensive sections of books, dedicated to each of the limbs. I like things broken down barney style so that I can make sure I don't miss something. While I understood what I read, that Iyengar wrote, I still feel a void in the information.

This is the link for the book on Pranayama, for those that are interested. You can still catch up and read along with Claudia and me. She's documenting her "Aha!" moments as she re-reads the book here. So come on over and join us :).

Monday, October 1, 2012

Light on Yoga Exploration: Niyama

Today was another practice-less morning due to a night of uncomfortable occurrences. Let’s say I am ready for this baby to get here and to stop pressing on my sciatic nerve. Nevertheless, I woke to coffee, a smoothie and reading. I’m beginning to enjoy mornings so much more now that I have a ritual or routine that I complete everyday, whether it is early in the morning or after 7 that I rise.

Yesterday I covered Yama, and therefore, today I commence with my discussion and outlook on Niyama. Like yama, niyama contains five sub-limbs: saucha (purity), santosa (contentment), tapas (adoration or austerity), svadhyaya (study of the Self) and Isvara pranidhana (dedication to the Lord).

After reading over this section of Light on Yoga, I have the intense urge to take a season and simply read all the sacred texts of other religions and brush up on the Bible as well. I will get to my reasoning for this particular feeling in regards to my need to read up on religions of others.

First, we come to saucha or purity and the description of what it means to be pure. In this section, Iyengar explains that one must not only be pure of body, thought and word, but also one must eat food that is pure. Most people shy away or brush off this section and ahisma because they don't want to become vegetarians or vegans for that matter. Adopting a plant based diet, however, is inevitable if one continues to practice yoga in order to attain a one-pointed attention and spiritual evolution. By creating a pure body, mind and soul, a yogi will be able to create a place for spiritual practice. At least, this is how I interpret the explanation. If anyone would like to comment on this, I would be willing to read what you have to say to further my understanding.

Santosa, or contentment, came next. A yogi who is content, knows the "love of the Lord and has done his duty." By being content in life the yogi will have peace in life and never waver in the spirit of the Lord. 

Tapas dissected, means "a burning effort under all circumstances to achieve a definite goal in life" and is the "conscious effort to achieve ultimate union with the Divine and to burn up all desires which stand in the way of this goal." A yogi should use words and actions to bring oneself closer to God by doing His will. 

Svadhyaya, or education of the self, but it is not merely sitting in a lecture hall and receiving education, rather one should educate him or herself in their own life and always revise and rewrite what is written. Study of the sacred texts is also essential. A yogi should immerse him or herself in other religious texts for study, not because they are searching for another religion to adhere to, but in an attempt to enable themselves the chance to better appreciate their own faith. By understanding what others believe, it gives one the chance to understand their daily lives and actions. By subjecting oneself to the study of their own sacred texts they are immersing themselves into the literature for understanding and devotion to their faith. 

(Side note: "The sacred books of the world are for all to read. They are not meant for the members of one particular faith alone. aS bees savour the nectar in various flowers, so the sadhaka absorbs things in other faiths which will enable him to appreciate his own faith better . . . yoga is not a religion by itself. It is the science of religions, the study of which will enable a sadhaka the better to appreciate his own faith." This, particularly, caught my eye.)

Last but not least, Isvara pranidhana means dedication to the Lord by one's actions. If one is dedicated to the Lord there can be no failure, no despair, and no fear. A yogi should be without pride, unselfish and bow his/her head only in worship of the Lord. "The name of the Lord is like the Sun, dispelling all darkness . . . actions mirror a man's personality better than his words. The yogi has learnt the art of dedicating all his actions to the Lord and so they reflect the divinity within him." 

This post is much less in-depth than the previous post, I think, but then again I'm typing this about two hours after I've read it. The thoughts I had earlier are quite diminished. Note to self: Write blog immediately after reading.

Nevertheless, it is the 1st of October, and granted we don't have snow here... I am hopeful that I can see some of this fluffy white stuff this year.