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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Balance your body after indulging

"This yoga is not possible, for the one who eats too much, or who does not eat at all; who sleeps too much, or who keeps awake."  ~Bhagavad Gita~

If you're a typical person, you ate too much, exercised very little, and may have been a wee bit stressed with the hoopla involved in the holiday last week.  This is a wonderful time of year and spending quality time with family and friends is what life is all about.  It's just that sometimes, this fantastic time we're having can leave us feeling empty and worn down as the build up of excess stress, toxins, and absolute junk start to accumulate in our bodies. 

Instead of worrying or judging ourselves, let's shift our focus to making positive choices that will rid our bodies of this excess holiday baggage.  Setting an intention and making mindful choices will serve us better and allow us to start fresh and get our heads straight before we enter down the path of continuing these patterns through the first of the year.  

A balanced body is a key component in attaining a strong focused mind (which is the point of yoga).  With everything in life, there is a dynamic pulsation of opposites which brings the universe into balance.  There is the polarity of opposites between the sun and the moon, the light and the dark, as well as stillness and talking, just to name a few.  Our bodies correspond with this pulsation of opposites with each breath we take.  When we excessively eat, consume alcohol, sleep very little, or are in highly stressful situations, this throws us completely out of whack.

Our amazing bodies seek to be healthy and seek to reach their optimal blueprint when it comes to healing and returning to a place where they are grounded and strong.  You however, have the ability to ease this process along by giving your body a helping hand as you restore yourself back to your pre-holiday grandeur. 

Reclaim the balance in your life by eliminating the junk from your diet and make it your goal to eat as close to nature as possible.  Whole foods provide sustenance which will nourish your body, mind, and soul.  Stoke your metabolism with brisk daily walks or participate in any exercise which results in your heart rate remaining elevated for at least 30 minutes a day.  Practice Yoga daily and integrate pranayama (breathwork) which will both ground you and help balance your bodily systems.

Breathwork is always important and a vital component to Yoga, however during this time of year, it may be even more critical in helping you find peace amidst all the busyness that occurs this time of year. 

One of my favorite types of breathwork is Nadi Shadhona.  Nadi Shodhana means channel cleaning as it calms the mind, soothes anxiety, balances both hemispheres of the brain and helps to promote clear thinking.  Listed below is a brief description of how to do Nadi Shadhona:

Begin by finding yourself a comfortable seated position where the spine is straight .  Hold your right hand up and curl your index and middle fingers toward your palm. Place your thumb next to your right nostril and your ring finger and pinky by your left. Close the right nostril by pressing gently against it with your thumb and inhale through the left nostril. The breath should be slow, steady and full.
  • Now close the left nostril by pressing gently against it with your ring finger and pinky and open your right nostril by relaxing your thumb and exhale fully with a slow and steady breath.
  • Inhale through the right nostril, close it, and then exhale through the left nostril.
That's one complete round of Nadi Shodhana.
  • Inhale through the left
  • Exhale through the right
  • Inhale through the right nostril
  • Exhale through the left
Begin with 5-10 rounds and add more as you feel ready. Remember to keep your breathing slow, easy and full.

You can do this breathwork just about any time and anywhere. Try it as a warm-up before meditation in order to help calm the mind or do it as part of your centering before beginning an asana practice. Nadi Shodhana can also be practiced anytime throughout your day to help control stress and anxiety. If you start to feel disconnected or anxious, 10 or so rounds will ground you, balance you and will help calm you down.  Try it for yourself and see benefits! 
Upside Down and Inside Out.  Explore your life in any given moment Upside Down and from the Inside Out.  Namaste'.

Amy Fecher RYT
afecher@woh.rr.com
937-620-7541
http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/

Where I Teach:
Private Yoga Consultations conducted in my home Yoga studio in Beavercreek, Ohio.  Please contact me personally for more information or visit my Website - http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/.

Please drop-in to one of my weekly public classes:

Practice Yoga - Open Level Power Vinyasa - Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:15 PM

Five Seasons Sports Club - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 AM

CareSource - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Thursdays at 11:30 AM

Instant Tax Service - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 PM

Grass Roots Enrichment and Wellness Center - Kids Yoga -Tuesdays at 11:30 AM (ages 3-5) and Saturdays at 11 AM (ages 6-12)

Monday, November 21, 2011

May I be filled with loving kindness....

"Once you cast one person out of your heart, you lose your own prana; (life force/internal breath/awareness) so draw everyone you have cast out of your heart back in.”   ~ Richard Freeman via Sianna Sherman ~

Thanksgiving is approaching and my thoughts have turned to reflect on the abundance that we all experience in our lives.  With a sense of gratitude for my family, my health, as well as material possessions, I am so incredibly grateful.  Now more than any other time in my life, I see how living openly, honestly, and offering myself as an instrument to help serve others has shifted my life in a positive manner.  If we all could start by first practicing kindness and compassion to ourselves, we will open up from the inside out. Examining our habits and offering forgiveness to others who we feel have wronged us takes courage and strength.  But the positive repercussions of offering forgiveness by far outweigh the negative consequences that lie ahead if we hold onto past troubles with family members, friends, or even political figures, celebrities or people whom we have never met.

Especially during this time of Thanksgiving, we must recognize the fragility of life and take other beings we have cast out of our hearts back into our lives.  We need to tap into our inner-most strength to find compassion and kindness to draw our enemies back into our hearts.  For example, we must take people like the President, the news media's favorite criminal of the moment, or anyone who has wronged us in our past and draw them back into our heart.  It matters not whether we agree with the person's policy in office or if we think their behavior is such that they deserve to be treated with love and respect.  We and others around us will benefit if we chose to behave in way that lifts the vibration of all beings to a higher level.

I was raised at a young age to honor and protect all beings, no matter how small.  Trees were sacred living creatures whom my sisters and I were taught to respect.  Spiders were just as important as we were instructed to carefully shoo them out of our home without hurting them.  How would your mindset change if you handled all the issues/situations, and people in your life with this sense of ease?  I'm challenging you today to offer LOVE and understanding without judgment to all beings, regardless of how they treated you in the past.  The past is just exactly that, the past.  It's over, so get over it.  Use your knowledge and delight for the goodness of life to move forward and bless all things.

 Your behavior is a reflection of you.  Make your reflection rosy and sweet. Savor each moment in life by drawing your enemies closer as you draw each one of them back into your heart.  Believe me, you have plenty of room for all of them at the Thanksgiving table this year so let the invitations roll!  I have often realized that although I try to be kind to myself and others, often times I keep many people at an arm’s length distance, in order to protect myself from getting hurt.  If this sounds like you, invite those people whole-heartedly back to your Thanksgiving table as well.  Life is one great big holiday celebration at any given moment if we relish and find awareness in each moment. 

If you still need a little encouraging, practice this exercise below with your eyes closed and your heart open.  Repeat the phrase at least three times either out loud or to yourself:

May I be filled with loving kindness.
May I be well.
May I be peaceful.
May I be happy.

With gratitude for all the many blessings in my life, I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

Upside Down and Inside Out.  Explore your life in any given moment Upside Down and from the Inside Out.  Namaste'.

Amy Fecher RYT
afecher@woh.rr.com
937-620-7541
http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/

Where I Teach:
Private Yoga Consultations conducted in my home Yoga studio in Beavercreek, Ohio.  Please contact me personally for more information or visit my Website - http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/.

Please drop-in to one of my weekly public classes:

Practice Yoga - Open Level Power Vinyasa - Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:15 PM

Five Seasons Sports Club - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 AM

CareSource - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Thursdays at 11:30 AM

Instant Tax Serice - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 PM

Grass Roots Enrichment and Wellness Center - Kids Yoga -Tuesdays at 11:30 AM (ages 3-5) and Saturdays at 11 AM (ages 6-12)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Welcome Baby Rowan Elizabeth

"Only in the present moment can we touch life and be deeply alive."  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh~

On Monday, I witnessed multiple generations of my family coming together to celebrate the joy of a new beginning, as my sister and her husband introduced us to Rowan Elizabeth.  Born Monday, November 14th at 6:31 AM, everyone was excited to meet the new member of our family.

Rowan arrived healthy, beautiful and perfect in every way.  The mood in the hospital family suite was jubilant as we celebrated this sweet girl.  For me, the experience that followed that evening allowed me to examine how this new beginning touched the lives of all of us. 

My grandparents arrived with my parents to meet their new great-grandchild.  My parents happily gazed down at their new granddaughter as my mom rocked her in her arms.  We all listened to my sister and her husband tell the story of the baby's delivery, as they expressed their delight for their little girl.  My other sister and I were present soaking it all in as we took turns passing Rowan around the room.  Finally, what brought this excitement-filled room all together were the expressions on the faces of Rowan's two-year old brother and my two children.  Watching a toddler and my young kids interact with Rowan was truly magnificent.  They gathered around giggling and carefully prodding her with their (hopefully clean) little hands.   

The beauty of this entire event was the love that was woven into each moment across the generations.  Whether two-years old or eighty-eight years young, we gathered around to celebrate this precious gift.  Savoring each second, we were able to touch life in it's most innocent form.  Relishing in this new beginning, we all were entirely present and deeply alive in that moment.  This magical evening at the hospital was one of those experiences in life that took your breath away. 

Upon arriving home for the evening, I sat in meditation with gratitude for the wonderful family that I am a part of and for the threads of love that weave us together.  Cultivating my sense of presence and being deeply alive in each moment is what I aim to do.  This place of sweet, vibrant, blissful energy, enabled me to relish in the joy that each moment has to offer, if I simply allow myself to be present and let life unfold.     

Upside Down and Inside Out.  Explore your life in any given moment Upside Down and from the Inside Out.  Namaste'.

Amy Fecher RYT
afecher@woh.rr.com
937-620-7541
http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/

Where I Teach:
Private Yoga Consultations conducted in my home Yoga studio in Beavercreek, Ohio.  Please contact me personally for more information or visit my Website - http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/.

Please drop-in to one of my weekly public classes:

Practice Yoga - Open Level Power Vinyasa - Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:15 PM

Five Seasons Sports Club - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 AM

CareSource - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Thursdays at 11:30 AM

Instant Tax Serice - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 PM

Grass Roots Enrichment and Wellness Center - Kids Yoga -Tuesdays at 11:30 AM (ages 3-5) and Saturdays at 11 AM (ages 6-12)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let Your Light Shine

"The quieter you become, the more you can hear."  ~ Ram Dass~ 

In my previous post, I detailed a simple way for people of all ages and levels to invert.  Now, we are moving on to explore the meditative aspects of yoga and the many benefits that can be found if you allow your mind to clear.  I have experienced the benefits of meditation in my own life and cannot express enough how it has become a steady guiding force in my life.  When you learn to treat yourself with compassion and understanding, it opens you to feeling empathy and love for those around you.  Meditation allows you to create a blissful existence and prepares you to meet your day as it meets you; calm, grounded, focused, and centered.

I know firsthand that asking the average person to sit in lotus position for 30 minutes before sunrise seems off the wall crazy.  Heck, even asking most people to consider turning off the television, radio, or any electronic device for that matter can be a stretch.  Most of us have grown accustomed to the "noise" which surrounds us constantly.  We may even be guilty of using this "noise" as a shield to guard us from acknowledging our true nature.  So many of us go through life finding it incomprehensible to move through our day with brief periods of silence.
 
My challenge to you is to unplug the "noise" in your life.  If you always listen to the radio while driving, turn it off.  Feel how it feels to drive your car for once.  If you get up in the morning and turn on the television, let go of this habit for a week and see how you feel. 

We all are guilty at times of getting caught up in the fluctuations of the mind.  Let's break free from this cycle!  How different would your day be if upon rising, you calmly went about your daily routine in silence?  I'm not even asking you to sit in a meditative state with your legs crossed and eyes closed.  I'm simply asking you to move through your morning in stillness or drive your car to work in silence.  Suddenly, the mundane tasks that we participate in daily have the opportunity to become powerful experiences of transformation.

In a perfect world, I would get up every morning and sit in meditation for 30 minutes.  I know I feel more calm, relaxed, and happy if I start my day this way.  But life often gets busy and the needs of children, work, and sleep get in the way.  On days like these, I find and MAKE time to integrate a shorter meditation during the day or in the evening after the kids go to bed.  I most enjoy morning meditation because I feel I'm better able to reap the benefits of the practice throughout the day.  Even still, you will experience benefit if you eliminate some "noise" in your life.

Try this experiment and see how it changes your mindset for the day.  Upon rising, pause for several minutes to put quality thoughts of gratitude in your mind.  Set an intention for your day and offer blessings to friends, family members, co-workers, bosses, etc. and give any situation in your life at the given moment a little extra love.  Calmly, take several deep breaths and then continue on with your day.

By clearing your mind, you are connecting with your true Self, and acting from a place of wisdom.  The absolute beauty of this seemingly "selfish" practice is that when you do your own inner work, others around you to whom you are closest to will experience the positive effects of your practice firsthand.  If you offer kindness, compassion, and love, this is what you will receive from others.    

A little taste of quieting the "noise" in your life will encourage you to continue with this practice as you see the positive changes begin to accumulate.  As you allow yourself to grow and explore deeper, you will then become a beacon of light for others.

Upside Down and Inside Out.  Explore your life in any given moment Upside Down and from the Inside Out.  Namaste'.

Amy Fecher RYT
afecher@woh.rr.com
937-620-7541
http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/

Where I Teach:
Private Yoga Consultations conducted in my home Yoga studio in Beavercreek, Ohio.  Please contact me personally for more information or visit my Website - http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/.

Please drop-in to one of my weekly public classes:

Practice Yoga - Open Level Power Vinyasa - Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:15 PM

Five Seasons Sports Club - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 AM

CareSource - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Thursdays at 11:30 AM

Instant Tax Serice - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 PM

Grass Roots Enrichment and Wellness Center - Kids Yoga -Tuesdays at 11:30 AM (ages 3-5) and Saturdays at 11 AM (ages 6-12)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here I am world

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."  ~ Joseph Campbell~ 

Hello world.  It's me.  This blog has been in development in my mind for at least a year now.  Finally, I'm ready to take the plunge.  You see, I'm constantly afraid to put myself out there.  I wither with fear and turn into a shy, childlike state when it comes to expressing my true thoughts, ideas, and beliefs.  The older I get, I see time ticking by and realize that there is no time like the present.  What am I waiting for?  My yoga practice continually reveals to me how precious our time here is.  My kids growing up quickly is a constant reminder that I too am getting older.  Life is short and I don't want to waste a single second feeling overwhelmed and not connected to the glorious happenings of the present moment.

With heartfelt gratitude for all the many blessings in my life, I start each day.  I am passionate about yoga and enjoy an intense vigorous practice which includes lots of inversions.  Sometimes being upside down enables me to shift my perspective on life.  It matters not whether I find myself upside down in headstand, handstand, forearm balance, or simply legs up the wall, somehow, the complexities of life become more clear to me.

I cannot say enough how passionate I am about yoga or how the practice has cultivated positive changes in my life.  On the mat, yoga has given my body strength, flexibility, and improved my general health.   But the true benefits of yoga in my life can be found as I transcend into my daily routine off the mat.  Yoga has enabled me to see that the biggest privilege in my lifetime is being who I am!  I now am more confident in myself and have a deeper sense of self-worth.   Yoga has allowed me to develop patience with my children, improve communication with my husband, and it certainly has helped me to step back from situations and pause before I react.

  Anytime, that you are breathing, and fully present in each moment, this is yoga.  As I answer the same question for the fourth time to my five-year old daughter, I remind myself that I am in the exact perfect place at the exact perfect time.  In this moment, I am practicing yoga.  Cultivating patience, presence, as well as kindness and compassion for others are my intention.

I know that it is a privilege to be here right now.  With gratitude, love, and a new appreciation for self-worth, I am my best teacher.  Life is my laboratory and my aim is to experience the bliss that this life has to offer. 

However, for good measure, I still recommend turning your world upside down with a handstand, headstand, or any inversion of any kind, every day of your life.  It will shift your perspective and make your life a little brighter too. 

Now for instructions on how to enter a basic inversion so that you may try this on your own in the comfort of your own home.  It's really very simple.  Lie on your back near a wall space on either a yoga mat or soft floor.  Turning to your side, move your rear end up towards the wall until your side body is touching the wall.  Hug your knees into your chest and lie down placing your legs up the wall.  Relax deeply as your low back grounds into the floor and your legs extend upward.  Stay for 5 - 10 minutes, but up to 30 minutes if desired. 

Upside Down and Inside Out.  Explore your life in any given moment Upside Down and from the Inside Out.  Namaste'.

Amy Fecher RYT
afecher@woh.rr.com
937-620-7541
http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/

Where I Teach:
Private Yoga Consultations conducted in my home Yoga studio in Beavercreek, Ohio.  Please contact me personally for more information or visit my Website - http://www.yourpersonalpath.com/.

Please drop-in to one of my weekly public classes:

Practice Yoga - Open Level Power Vinyasa - Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:15 PM

Five Seasons Sports Club - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Wednesdays and Fridays at 9:30 AM

CareSource - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Thursdays at 11:30 AM

Instant Tax Serice - Power Vinyasa Yoga - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12:30 PM

Grass Roots Enrichment and Wellness Center - Kids Yoga -Tuesdays at 11:30 AM (ages 3-5) and Saturdays at 11 AM (ages 6-12)