Make plans to attend the next Restorative session on March 14th

restorativeyoga

Restorative poses are usually deeply supported by blankets, blocks, or other props and are held for several minutes at a time

For the Friday, March 14th restorative session, I will be renting space at The Practice Yoga (map here). So many people have been seeking the benefits of a Restorative & Meditation session, I’ve decided to hold it in a larger facility – same amazing evening!

Restorative postures are soothing and well-supported poses that offer us the opportunity to linger quietly for a few moments and they have the particular ability to leave us nourished and well rested. This larger space will hold about 16 students so grab a buddy and make it an evening!

The event begins at 7:00PM and lasts until 9:00PM. Please plan to arrive ten minutes early for set up. Cost is $25.00 for a single, $40.00 for a couple. I hope to see you there!

Connect with me soon to claim your space. Pattyyogamail@gmail.com.

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Healthy Eating Habits

As the food industry relentlessly markets every fad diet and product, Americans are forgetting how to eat healthily and happily. Yoga can help you make better choices about what you eat—and skip the guilt.

By Ingrid Cummings (Originally posted here in Yoga Journal)

Healthy

Lorraine Vavul, 43, an Indianapolis wife and the mother of two young daughters, struggles to make the right choices about her family’s nutrition. Having overcome a weight problem, she’s especially interested in the subject and even maintains a file of dietary tips. Over the years, she’s compiled a welter of contradictory information about food. Even something as seemingly benign as an avocado disrupted her life when, 15 years ago, she learned that it was high in fat. Much to her disappointment, her beloved guacamole was suddenly taboo.

She recently welcomed avocados back into her home after discovering that they’re now considered wholesome, thanks to their heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can lower LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. But she still has trouble keeping track of what’s OK and what’s not. “I consider myself health conscious,” she says, “but I have no idea what’s worse: saturated or hydrogenated fats?”

Vavul’s bewilderment doesn’t end with fats. She’s still trying to distinguish good carbs from bad carbs and wheat from whole wheat. And now she’s hearing that carrots—carrots!—are coming in for criticism from diet programs because they score high on the glycemic index. An exhausted and baffled Vavul just wants some definitive answers. “Why can’t they resolve these issues once and for all?” she asks.

Like many other Americans, Vavul puts her faith in scientific experts for guidance. She’s willing to overhaul her kitchen in the name of health, certain that science will eventually show her a way out of the continual uncertainty over diet. She looks to the food industry, nutrition experts, and the government to dispel her confusion—yet these powerful forces only deepen it.

But there’s an often-overlooked force that could help Vavul out of her bewilderment: the teachings of yoga. The discipline’s philosophy teaches you to make your meals from plant-based foods that form the foundation of the food pyramid—foods over which there’s much less squabbling among nutrition experts. The physical practice deepens your awareness of your body, so you become more conscious of foods that bring a consistent sense of well-being—and those that make you feel bad after you eat them. Over time, practitioners often find themselves in a more comfortable and relaxed relationship with food. The practice could help Vavul resist mixed messages, learn to trust herself, and reclaim the pleasure of healthful eating.

Scientists are now turning up demonstrable evidence of yoga’s benefits in this area. A recent study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that middle-aged men and women who were overweight and practiced yoga at least once a week lost five pounds over a 10-year period. Their non-yogi counterparts gained eight pounds. Lead researcher Alan Kristal, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, believes the weight loss had more to do with an increase in mindfulness than in calories burned. “You learn to feel when you’re full, and you don’t like the feeling of overeating,” he says. “You recognize anxiety and stress for what they are instead of trying to mask them with food.”

Bianca Raffety can attest to this phenomenon. The 36-year-old Anusara Yoga teacher in Seattle says she had poor eating habits before she started practicing yoga 14 years ago. “I went for quick fixes for my energy needs, which meant lots of processed carbs and prepared foods,” she says. “I ate too quickly. Burgers were common: lots of cheese, lots of bread.”

Now she’s much more aware of what and how she eats. She still has her comfort foods, but they’re higher quality. “I love a grilled cheese sandwich, but these days I use good bread and cheese.” Not only does Raffety choose healthful ingredients—her “good bread” is organic and whole grain—but she’s also learned to deal with her emotions without turning to food, and she credits her meditation practice and yoga community with helping her do that. “A yoga community fosters healthy responses to difficult situations, whether it’s mis-eating or anything else,” she says.

While yoga and meditation can help you navigate the choppy waters of the American food industry, success won’t happen overnight. But as you practice, you can build the discipline, patience, and compassion to overcome the many forces arrayed against you—no matter how formidable they seem.

Continue reading here…

Find your edge—and then learn to go beyond it.

By Ezra Bayda, Yoga Journal

meditateedge

On the first day of a four-day meditation retreat, a student went in to see the Zen master with whom he’d been studying for many years. Sitting at the teacher’s feet, he asked, “Can you tell me how I’m doing in my practice?” The Zen master thought for a minute, then said, “Open your mouth.” The student opened his mouth, and the teacher peered in and said, “OK, now bend your head down.” The student bent his head down, and the Zen master looked into his hair, then said, “OK, now open your eyes really wide.” The student opened his eyes, and the Zen master glared into them and said, “You’re doing fine.” Then he rang his bell.

Because the teacher rang his bell, the student had to leave. The next day, he returned, quite perplexed by what had happened the day before. “I asked you how I was doing in my practice yesterday,” he said, “and you made me open my mouth, bend my head, and open my eyes. What did all that have to do with my practice?” The Zen master bowed his head in thought. Then he said, “You know, you’re not really doing very well in your practice, and the truth is, I am not sure you are ever going to make it.” Again he rang his bell.

The student walked out. You can imagine how confused and angry he felt. The next day he went back, still fuming, and said, “What do you mean, I’m not going to make it in practice? Do you know that I sit in meditation for an hour every day? Sometimes I sit twice a day. I come to every retreat. I have really deep experiences. What do you mean I’m not going to make it?” The master just sat there, apparently thinking. Then he said, “Well, maybe I made a mistake. Perhaps you’re doing pretty well after all.” And again he rang his bell.

On the last day of the retreat, the student went back to see his teacher, utterly exhausted. He felt distraught and confused, but he was no longer fighting it. He said to the master, “I just wanted to know how I was doing in my practice.” This time, the teacher looked at him and with no hesitation, in a very kind voice, said, “If you really want to know how you’re doing in your practice, just look at all of your reactions over the last few days. Just look at your life.”

Three Pillars of Practice

It’s important to have a daily meditation practice, to have a developing ability to see thoughts clearly, and to reside in our bodily experience. But having deep experiences during meditation is not enough. If we want to know how we’re doing in our practice, we have to examine our life. Unless we begin to connect it with the rest of our life, our practice—however strong, calm, or enjoyable—ultimately will not be satisfying.

The reason it won’t be satisfying is that we’re ignoring one of the three basic pillars of practice. The first pillar is a daily sitting practice, in which we slowly develop both the strength and the willingness to do what we’ve spent our whole lives avoiding: reside in the physical reality of the present moment. The second pillar is the more intensive training offered in retreats, which pushes us in a way that we rarely push ourselves at home. There is no substitute for the learning we can do at retreats—where our illusions are dismantled and the real value of perseverance becomes evident. The third pillar is practicing with the messy, unromantic, ordinary ups and downs of daily life. This pillar is essential to a genuine practice. Without it, we will never truly be satisfied.

However, understanding the connection between practice and the rest of our life means addressing many different concerns. For instance, how are you practicing in your relationships—with your spouse, your children, your parents, the people at work? How many resentments do you still hold on to? Do the same people as ever in your life trigger anger, contempt, or other believed judgments? To what extent can you say, “I’m sorry,” and really mean it? When a problem arises, can you say yes to practicing with it, even when you hate what’s happening? And when criticism comes at you, are you willing to work with your reactions when they arise, instead of justifying them?

Read the entire article on Yoga Journal here.