Looking to Unwind?

Hey Hey it's Memorial Day weekend! Summer is just around the corner! This weekend will be filled wit fun, food, family, friends, and flexibility! Yes I have yoga classes to add to your weekend fun. Sunday

12 Noon Slow Flow at Namaste

4pm Yin Yoga at Sweet Peace

Monday

6am Morning Flow at Sweet Peace

6:15pm Yoga Basics at Sweet Peace

Grab your mat and come get out of the wet weather!

New Studio Classes

Spring is such a great time to start something new! Why not try yoga this year? Natasha has a new studio class schedule with something for everyone-even the little ones! Natasha teaches classes at  Sweet Peace Yoga, 151 W. Argonne Dr. Kirkwood MO 63122 and Namaste, 200 S. Kirkwood Rd. #140 Kirkwood MO 63122.

Monday

6:00am Morning Flow, at Sweet Peace Yoga 6:15pm Yoga Basics, at Sweet Peace Yoga

Tuesday 6:00am Hatha Yoga, at Namaste

Thursday 6:00am Hatha Yoga,at Namaste

Saturday 9:30am Kids Yoga (45min), at Namaste

Sunday 12:00Noon Vinyasa Flow, at Namaste

***Pre-registration for class is not required, but highly recommended!***

$15/class drop-in.

Introducing Corporate Yoga

Yogapath St. Louis has a new exciting program! Beginning in the new year (January 2015) Yogapath St. Louis will be offering a corporate yoga program. Your company or organization must have a group of at least five (5) individuals wanting to practice yoga on a regular basis OR want to offer a yoga workshop at a company retreat, picnic, or other one time event. Yogapath's lead instructor will meet with your group organizer to find out your group goals for a regular yoga practice, explain the benefits of a regular yoga practice as a group, and crate a custom tailored corporate yoga program especially for your group or organization. Classes and workshops will be held on site at your place of business at a time that is convenient for your employees. The ideal corporate program offers class once or even twice a week, but less frequent options may be available.

To find out how you can bring yoga to your organization or business, contact Yogapath St. Louis today at info@yogapathstl.com!

This Holiday, Choose

It it just me, or did the hype over "black friday" and "cyber monday" deals start really early this year? I can't log on to the internet much less look at my Facebook feed without being slammed with people wanting this deal or that deal or this discount code or that coupon. Really?! Let's face it, the holidays are stressful, but they don't have to be. Honest! I should talk, right? My husband and I have the world's smallest gifting budget this year having just bought a house. Really, the holidays can be filled with family, food, and fun. It just takes one thing - mindfulness.

I promise the world will not end if you don't give the "perfect" gift. There is not a single part of the holiday season that requires us to be stressed. Being stressed is actually a choice.

So, before you get up at 2am on Friday to go stand in line for whatever it is you "have to have," stop and breathe. Make a choice. Make a pledge to yourself, to your family, to your friends, and to your community. Pledge not to stress; to think before you act.

Your world will not end if you don't get that whatever at sixty percent off. As a matter of fact, the world will not end if you choose not to gift. I promise.

Whatever you do, choose. Choose mindfuly.

Namaste

My husband and I live in a suburb of St. Louis, a city that has been making national headlines ever since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. If you aren't familiar with the media's spin on the case, or the decision yesterday evening reached by the grand jury, you're either purposely avoiding the subject or have been living in isolation for months. The entire St. Louis Metropolitan area has been on pins and needles awaiting yesterday's verdict. Today, the day after the verdict, just about every school is closed, businesses that serve people in need are shut down for the remainder of the eek, and those of us who have warm safe homes have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week.

As I sit in my arm sunny office, my mind travels to the innocent lives who have been impacted by senseless acts of violence, distraction and mayhem. Part of me wants to sit down with the rioters, arsonists, and looters and fid out just what influenced their decision to take the destructive and sometimes inhumane actions they chose. How is distorting homes and businesses helping anything? How is it bringing justice? How is it changing anything for the better? I can't fathom any action of another human being that would justify intentionally setting fire to businesses and private homes anywhere, much less in areas far outside Ferguson.

Leading up to the verdict, I told my husband that no matter what the decision of the grand jury, things aren't going to be pretty. We developed a safety plan for me as I utilize public transportation as my primary means of travel. The fact that we needed to do such a ting at all is sad. Am I thankful we were both home and safe when the verdict came down, absolutely.

All of the violence, the hate, the distraction of property and lives makes me sad. As a yogi, a woman, a wife, a daughter, a resident of St. Louis, and above all as a human being, I am filled with two emotions today - sadness and shame. I am sad for the innocent victims; for the families whose lives have been changed through no fault of their own. Above all, I am ashamed. Ashamed of the way people have chosen to behave. Ashamed that people have chosen to turn to violence. Ashamed that our city harbors such a deep rooted socioeconomic divide, and ashamed that few are willing to accept the things they can not change and work productively and peacefully to change the things they can.

No one deserves this kind of action.

Does the grand jury's decision effect my daily life? Not at first glance. Yet what right do I have to go on "business as usual"? Doing that would be true injustice. So I choose. I choose to promote peace, tolerance, cooperation, acceptance and above all interpersonal respect. Because, as a wise man once said, if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

Namaste

Props to Yoga Props

As an instructor I see studies express hesitation around props in every class - no matter the level. Yet props are the tools through which a student can experience the full expression of a pose while reducing the risk of injury. Most yoga injuries happen because someone was pushing to far or too hard. When we try to force our bodies to do things they aren't used to doing, we create space for injuries to happen. I have seen more than one student tweak their lower back in triangle pose because they didn't use a block under the mat hand. There is no shame in bringing the floor up to you to achieve proper alignment. Sometimes props just help us compensate for physical attributes which we can not control. For instance, I regularly use blocks under my hands in pigeon. I have grater flexibility in my back and spine than my short arms will allow for. By raising the floor up three or four inches, I am able to experience a fuller expression of pigeon in its upright form.

The same is true for a folded blanket under the hips in seated postures. This is a prop aid I rarely see students using, yet Iit can make a huge difference in the tilt of the pelvis and thus the degree of depth in a forward fold.

So, the question becomes, why don't students use props? The first answer that comes to mind is vanity or self-consciousness. They don't see other students or even the instructor using props. So the student feels awkward about using props. To solve this problem in my group classes, I prompt students to use props regardless of whether I feel every student in the room needs that prop on that pose. Take a strap for example. Most students will not pick up a strap spontaneously to deepen a seated forward fold. Yet when first prompted to pick up their strap, take one end in each hand and place the middle of the strap over the balls of the feet, every student will use the strap to deepen his or her forward fold. Some will benefit more than others by the use of the strap, but those who need it will no longer feel self-conscious about using it.

As I see it, props are one thing in yoga that everyone - even instructors - should be using. The essentials, a strap and a blanket. Blankets are to me, the most versatile of all yoga props. Based on how a blanket is folded or rolled, it can mimic a wedge, block, bolster, mat, and provide extra cushioning under knees, feet, neck, shoulders, and back. In my classes, a blanket is as important as - and sometimes more important than - a mat.

The strap is particularly useful for two classes of yogis, the inflexible, and the inexperienced. In other words, if you aren't a rubber band and haven't been doing yoga since you could breathe, you probably can benefit from a strap. Straps help you maintain poses, give you those extra few inches you need to reach your toes or open your shoulders, and relieve part of your brain to concentrate on balance rather than grip in standing postures.

Blocks, the least portable of yoga props. Yet they are the one I encourage students to grab for every detox and yin class I teach. When you're reaching, twisting, lowering, or folding, a block can help bring the floor up to you when you can't both keep the true expression of the pose and touch the floor at the same time. Foam blocks in particular can simply make a pose more steady as when placed under the hip in pigeon or under the hands in downward facing dog for someone with very tight hamstrings.

So, the next time you walk into the yoga studio, stop and grab some props. Try them out in new ways. Find out for yourself how you can individualize the use of props to enhance your personal practice.

Creating Warmth

On a cold dreary or rainy fall day all most of us want to do is curl up on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea, and maybe a companion. We have a tendency to draw inward to sluggishness when what we should be doing is moving more, not less. We have the ability to create warmth from the inside out through movement. Have you ever rubbed your hands together creating friction and thus warmth? This same concept can be transferred to the body as a whole to take your whole person from chilled to warm in less than twenty minutes.

It's no coincidence that many yoga classes contain a "warm up" of the sequence known as the sun salutation. The Sun Salutation was created to begin to generate heat in the body as preparation for more complex postures or meditation. After just a few flows through the sun salutation, deepening your folds and stretches with each repetition, yogis find themselves pealing off layers of clothing and beginning to feel warm. The Vinyasa - or flow with the breath - helps to generate an internal heat that warms the body from the inside out.

So, next time you find yourself wanting to curl up under a heavy blanket, pull out your yoga mat and create your own heat through movement.

Morning Meditation

I began a morning meditation practice in college. I chose the morning as it was the only time i could guarantee the dorm would be quiet enough to meditate. For me, meditation was a way to train away the chatter in my head that negatively impacted my concentration. When I first began meditating, I had no clue what people meant by "clear your mind." How do you not think? It's impossible. My answer to that question hasn't changed. Today, when I teach people to meditate I don't tell my students to "clear their mind." Instead, I instruct them that as thoughts come into their mind, acknowledge them and set them aside to deal with later.

It helps to think of your brain as a filing cabinet. You have a drawer for each part of your life. Sometimes things will try and misfile and cross over from the "Kids and Family" drawer to the "Yoga" drawer. Mentally pick the misfiled thought up and place it back in the "Kids and Family" drawer to deal with at Kids and Family time. Refiling thoughts gets easier with practice and with even more practice, fewer thoughts will be misfiled.

Have you tried to Meditate? What was the result? Would you try again with the filing cabinet method?