“Anxiety is extremely contagious. But so is calm.”
I have spent my professional life working with children as both an elementary school teacher and now as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist. I am constantly amazed at how much my ability to be connected to my practice, to be present and grounded, impacts my time with kids. These days, when I teach parents and teachers about sharing yoga and mindfulness with children, the heart of my message is simple but profound: Connection is what makes all the difference.
My observation is that yoga and mindfulness go hand in hand with connection. When we become more mindful, we connect deeply with ourselves and develop a capacity to connect more genuinely with others. Likewise, when we consciously foster connection with ourselves and with others, we naturally slow down and become more present.
This idea of connection is worthy of deep exploration. It seems ironic that we are living in the most connected world in history, and yet symptoms of disconnection are all around us: loneliness, sadness, anxiety, anger, frustration. According to ancient teachings, disconnection is at the root of suffering. To move out of suffering we must develop present moment awareness and a capacity to attune to ourselves and to attune to others. Attunement has been defined in the following way:
The first year of university is an exciting time. Personally, I couldn’t wait to make new friends, attend new classes, and experience a brand new atmosphere. What I wasn’t prepared for was the new food. The first year of university is notorious for “the freshmen 15”, an expression describing the amount of weight that some students gain in their freshman year. Many believe that this expression is a generalization, and perhaps even a myth. I, on the other hand, know first hand that “the freshmen 15” is not a myth, but an unfortunate reality for many university students, including myself. What follows is the brief tale of how I gained, and then subsequently lost 10 pounds in my first year of university.
I was a slightly overwhelmed mama of four, running a summer camp with my husband and struggling to find any sense of balance and connection with myself. I was finding some peace, adventure and strength on my mat at Spynga. So when the dates for the spring intensive Yoga Teacher Training were released, I had to find a way. It was no small feat to manage a 225-hour commitment, but thankfully I was supported by my husband (who managed our family and business not to mention made my lunches complete with love notes of encouragement), my family, and the community at Spynga that had so quickly become a second home. The program itself was a hands-on experience, rich in content with brilliant teachers. But it was so much more than that…
Practicing yoga throughout your pregnancy can be one of the most empowering, enlightening and inspiring experiences imaginable. The practice vastly supports your own health and wellness, easing the wretched leg cramps, lower back pain and swollen feet associated with carrying a baby. Moreover it also deepens your connection to your baby, while teaching you breathing techniques and movement rituals to assist you throughout your labour. Whether you are attending a specific prenatal yoga class or a all-level yoga class with your growing belly, the overall experience can be dramatically transformed by applying some or all of these tried and true tips from pregnant yogi-mamas.
As a business owner and mom of three active boys—ages 8, 6 and 2—Casey Soer barely has time to focus on herself. Like so many busy parents, her life is filled with happy chaos: drops-offs and pick-ups, play dates, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, cooking and of course, managing Spynga—her original baby—which includes running a successful studio while simultaneously gutting out and building a shiny new space (to be revealed in just a few weeks!).
I am often asked by new students how many times a week should they practice to “nail” their chaturanga, arm balance or inversion. My answer is always the same. Be safe and start slow. Practice once or twice a week, see how the body feels and increase the days of practice from there. The benefits of a regular practice go far beyond perfecting a plank, crow or handstand.
I am not a gymnast, I have never been a gymnast, nor will I ever be a gymnast!!! However here I am at 41 obsessing with handstands and handstand walking. It wasn’t until I mastered the hollow body position that this dream became a reality. I am actually walking on my hands!!! @jillrs75 Achieving this goal of mine would not have been possible without the time and dedication spent perfecting a solid hollow body position. So what is it? It is basically one of the hardest elements I have incorporated into my training and my classes. I am not saying this to scare you but to prepare you for what will be a rewarding yet huge challenge. So picture the shape of a banana or a hammock, this is the image you want to match when performing your Hollow. If you follow the instructions below point by point you can and will Hollow!
When it’s the middle of the winter, lack of sunlight and warmth not only wreak havoc on our psyches but also our skin. Dry, long and dark days could be causing your skin to feel dry, pale and lack luster. Although we can’t control the season, aside from escaping it – we can control the foods we eat. There are some specific foods with incredible properties that can help give your skin the glow it’s been yearning for!
Our family couldn’t afford much, but when I was 12, I was lucky enough to be given my first bike.
Recovered from a local junk yard, it was all rusty with slightly crooked handle bars. I didn’t care about how it looked. I loved it and couldn’t believe I got my first bike!
I didn’t have anyone to hold me up, so I figured I would push off of a curb and hope for the best. After countless falls, I finally caught my balance and rode around the block. I did it and I was hooked!
After-school activities, lessons, sports, or summer camps were all too expensive for our family. My school friends weren’t allowed to come over to play because my neighbourhood was too rough. It didn’t leave much to do when I wasn’t in school. But I could always go for a spin.
On my bike, I could explore outside of my own environment. I discovered neighbourhoods with trees and grass…no graffiti, no police cruisers rolling through, or cars jacked up on cinder blocks…kids were actually playing in the front yard, parents were outside too….there were parks with no needles or used condoms.
Loaded Spaghetti Squash
Have you heard of a Loaded Potato? Well, let me introduce you to a distant cousin, the Loaded Spaghetti Squash. It’s so tasty and couldn’t be easier. It’s become a staple in my home and, I’m sure, will become one in your home too!