Yoga to Go!

Hello from Peoria, Illlinois! I am here with my daughter for a softball tournament. Along with watching games and taking some time to relax, I found a little space (really little) in our hotel room to roll out the mat and get in my daily yoga practice. I even got a lovely view of all the snow we are getting here today (over 7 inches so far!).

This is one of the things I love about yoga: It can be done nearly anywhere. and without structure. As long as there is space big enough to roll out a mat, that’s all that’s needed. Find your way through a flow based on poses you’ve practiced in class and just go with it. You can also find a practice to follow online…..the next best thing to practicing in class (at Sankulpa Yoga, of course). The point is to not worry about the quality of the sequences of poses or how long you practice. Just move and have fun with it.

Take a few minutes to be good to yourself. Your body and mind will thank you. Looking forward to seeing you on the mat!

This Week at Sankulpa Yoga:

Space is still available (if you are quick) for Yogi Sprouts (ages 5-12) and for our Intro to Yoga workshop . Register today.

Donation-Based Yoga is this Monday to benefit The Sharing Center. Please let us know if you will be attending so that I can save you a space, because space is limited. Just text, email, or RSVP on our Facebook page. All cash proceeds will go to benefit this wonderful organization.

We have added another Reiki Recharge weekly opportunity beginning this week! It is now offered Mondays 9-10am and Wednesdays 7-8pm Register online or just drop in anytime during the hour.

As always, we offer Sound Meditation (formerly called Participation Meditation) on Sunday evenings and a variety of yoga classes throughout the week. Please speak up if there is a time slot you’d like to see, if you’d like to plan a class for a private group at the studio, or if you are interested in a private yoga lesson. We look forward to serving you!

Wishing you peace and wellness,

Lori

Yoga for Runners and The Best Essential Oils for Sore Muscles

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Yoga for Runners…..It’s part training and part relief.

Welcome to training season for spring marathons, half-marathons, and other races or physical endurance events! That means extra miles and increased strength training, which can take a toll on the body. Some of the main complaints of distance runners are sore hips, discomfort in the low back, and knee pain. Although I’m definitely not a sports medicine specialist, I am a distance runner who’s had my share of the pain complaints that I just listed….and a trained yoga teacher. Of course I see my PT and a doctor in the cases of injuries and rehabbing, but what keeps me going and provides comfort to my body is yoga.

Almost any yoga class can benefit runners, including those at Sankulpa Yoga, and we work to focus on the psoas muscle group (associated with the hip flexors to some extent), the IT bands, and using breath to best benefit our movements, including running. If our class schedule doesn’t work for you this month, then let’s talk about a private lesson….or you and some friends, colleagues, or running buddies can set up a small group class with us. We try to be flexible (pun intended) , because we really want everyone to be able to experience all that yoga can do for us in body and mind.

The Best Essential Oils for Sore Muscles

This topic isn’t exclusive to runners! It’s for everyone. Achey joints are a part of life, but that’s no reason to just live with it that way. Yoga is great for finding ease in your body, and so are essential oils. That’s why we often combine the two. There are so many choices here to try. Right now, I’m loving putting a drop of Frankincense and a drop of Wintergreen Young Living Essential Oils into my hand with lotion after the shower post-run or post-work out or yoga class. I actually did this about an hour ago, and I can feel the difference in my leg muscles as I write up this post. Other options include Lavender (with the bonus of also helping to ease the mind), both Roman and German Chamomiles (which also help eliminate swelling), and Rosemary (grounding too and one of my favorites).

From now until January 25, if you’d care to place a Young Living order with me, I’ll give you free shipping and 15% off the whole order. Just sent me an email or a Facebook message. (Happy to help if you have questions or would like suggestions….I love oils!)


We hope to see you at the studio this month. Please feel comfortable reaching out with any questions about class, yoga, or the studio. We really want to make serving you a success.

Also Coming Up:

Donation-Based Class to Benefit The Sharing Center - Monday, January 14 6:15-7:15pm. All Levels! Any donation amount will be accepted and 100% of class proceeds will be given to The Sharing Center to help those in need in our communities. This is a drop-in / cash only class.

Introduction to Yoga: Join Heidi for three Wednesdays this month (beginning next week!) to get the low down on yoga as a beginner. This is also a great refresher for non-beginners. After completing the workshop, students will get one free class of their choice at Sankulpa Yoga. The deadline to register is fast approaching.

Kids’ Yoga Options for January: We’ve got Yogi Sprouts and Pre-School Yoga for the kiddos to give them a foundation in mindfulness, play connected to yoga, body awareness, and balance. Registration deadlines are fast approaching!


Wishing you a Peaceful Week,

Lori

What are your Intentions for 2019?

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Such a daunting question, isn’t it? I’m often tempted to scrap the whole idea of setting an intention, because….quite frankly, life usually throws a curve that makes that intention out of context with where I was when I set it. For example, my intention word for 2018 was Ease. Well, 2018 decided to LOL all over my intention word and throw many obstacles in the path of trying to embrace Ease. However, in retrospect, had I not chosen that particular intention word, 2018 would have been really tough. Instead, I really worked toward putting some ease into my craziness. And, you know what? 2018 ended up being pretty great. I think it’s because I allowed myself to “let that shit go,” (in the words of a wise, wise friend) as often as I needed. So, I keep making the annual New Year’s Intention to guide me through the year. It hasn’t failed me yet.

And here we are again. The Winter Solstice has passed. That was a time to let go of what hasn’t served you over the last year. The New Year is a time to set a new intention. As for the time in between where we happen to be now? It’s a time to listen, to rest, to become centered……and a time to wait for that new intention word for 2019 to come to you. Mine came to me like a thunderbolt while the class I was teaching earlier this week was in Savasana. I look forward to making that word my official intention on New Year’s Day during our Intention Setting Yoga Class. Maybe you’d like to join us?

Our January schedule is up on the website! We have some new offerings next month and some old favorites are returning. There are also class packages available for you or as a gift. Not feeling confident about attending a yoga class? Let Heidi’s Intro to Yoga get you there. Three sessions and then a free yoga class of your choice upon completion is what you get.

There is still time to book your Chakra Balance Reiki session TODAY with Tiffany (December 29) between 3-6pm. This is a wonderful opportunity to enter the New Year with balance.

We are loving the space we are creating at Sankulpa Yoga, and I believe we are offering something wonderful to our community: the opportunity to live a more centered, peaceful, and healthful life. If you haven’t joined us yet, please do! And if you love what you find there, please help spread the word.

Wishing you a New Year of Peace, Good Health, and Mindfulness,

Lori

Winter Solstice, a Holiday Schedule, and a Sneak Peak

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Sending you warm thoughts as we near the winter solstice this coming Friday. On that day each year, we celebrate the return to light as the days begin to get longer. We will celebrate at Sankulpa Yoga with a Sun Salutations-inspired practice 5:30-6:30pm on December 21. This is a good opportunity to invite lightness in for yourself. You may register HERE.


Also, more immediately, Tiffany will be leading Participation Meditation today 6-7pm! It is such a great experience for all ages. In addition, there are still a few spots left in Monday’s (December 17) Chakra Yoga and Essential Oils Workshop! Register Here.


The holidays will bring some changes to our schedule…..

Revised Holiday Schedule:

No Classes Dec. 24 and 25

Wednesday, December 26 - Restorative Yoga 11am-12pm - Give yourself a little holiday self-care and join us for an hour of yoga with restorative props that’s good for your body and mind.

Thursday, December 27 - Hatha Yoga 6:30-7:45pm

Saturday, December 29 - Power Yoga 8:00-9:15am (No Warm and Gentle on this date or this week!) and one-on-one 30-Minute Reiki Chakra Balance Event Sessions with appointments available from 3:00pm until 6:00pm.

Monday, December 31 - Feel Good Flow 7:45-8:45am, Hot Yoga 9:00-10:15am (Note time change)

Tuesday, January 1 - New Year’s Day Yoga with Intention Setting 8:30-9:45am (Pre-Registration) All-Levels appropriate yoga class offering the opportunity to make a personal intention (or a sankulpa) for the new year to guide your actions and thoughts.



A Sneak Peak into January Workshops and Events….

Intro to Yoga (New Workshop!!) - Wednesdays 5:30-6:45pm on January 16, 23, and 30. Yogis who complete the whole session will get their next class free at Sankulpa Yoga.

Yogi Sprouts for 5-12 year-old kiddos will be on Mondays, January 14, 21, 28, and February 4. Due to feedback about your schedules, Heidi has moved the time to 4:30-5:30pm. Registration is $50 for the session of four classes.

Pre-School Yoga for 3-4 year-olds will be on Tuesdays 4:30-5pm on January 15, 22, 29, and February 5.

And, who knows? Maybe a few more things will pop up for January, so stay tuned.

Details for all of the above classes, workshops, and events HERE.

Registration for January workshops is OPEN, but sign up for the newsletter/blog to find out about pop up events.





New Classes and Workshops for December

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Welcome to December and to a busy holiday season. During this time of the year, it is even more important to take care of yourself and to honor the 4th Yama - Brahmacharya - by practicing moderation (not an easy feat this time of year!). To help you out, we are offering new classes and workshops this month. Read on to learn about them:

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This month we welcome Tiffany to Sankulpa Yoga. She is a Reiki practitioner, and we are so excited to have her join us. Reiki is an ancient therapeutic healing practice that involves light touch. Last week, Tiffany and I led Yoga with Reiki, offering a gentle practice with restorative poses and individual Reiki throughout the class. It was wonderful, and I hope you will join us next month when we offer it again (read the blog posts or check in on the website to find out when it will be).

Beginning this Week: Most Wednesday evenings (beginning 12/5), Tiffany will offer a Reiki Recharge. She will also lead Participation Meditation most Sunday evenings (beginning 12/2). I hope you give these offerings a try. I am looking forward to both of these offerings myself.


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Also this month, we will offering Chakra Yoga with Essential Oils on Monday, December 17. This hour and a half wellness workshop will include all levels yoga to help balance each chakra along with information about each of your seven chakras and essential oil applications. After the practice, participants will create their own essential oils blend roller bottle to keep.

Mention this blog post, and also receive 15% off your Young Living Essential Oils order that day, along with free shipping.

Kids can get caught up in the holiday stress too. Heidi is offering Yogi Sprouts again this month. There are three classes left this session on Mondays at 4pm. Find out more HERE.

Self care is even more important when you are busy, and this is definitely a season full of things to do and places to go. I invite you to take a look at our December Schedule, and then sign up for something this month.

Namaste,

Lori



The Blog is Back - with Gratitude

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The last official blog post was back in the beginning of April. I’ve sent out several newsletters to subscribers since then, but I’ve missed our blog. Life has been, well…. busy! and interesting in a good way since then. I enjoyed it all, but it’s good to be back to some basics for now.

Speaking of basics, we have been exploring the Yamas of yoga in classes starting last week. The Yamas are an ancient set of societal “don’ts” that can help us gain the self-awareness to transform negative energy into a sense of peace. Last week, we worked the principle of Ahimsa (non-harming) into our practices, and this week, we’ve addressed Satya (truthfulness) in some of our classes.

In Sanskrit, “sat” means “that which exists, that which is.” Satya, in turn, means “truthfulness”—seeing and reporting things as they are rather than the way we would like them to be. In practicing the principle of Satya, the goal is to recognize the cascade of fears and other negative emotions that prompt us to twist reality. Once we have understood and processed these fears, our thoughts, speech, and actions can be realigned with the truth. The goal is to dismiss non-truths, which may attempt to flood our consciousness as well as to speak truthfully ourselves with kindness, compassion, and clarity.

This season of gratitude and thankfulness seems like a good time to look inward and to be honest with ourselves by bringing objectivity and deeper examination more openly into our lives.

Practicing balance poses is a great nod to Satya. For each pose, plant your weight through your entire standing foot and grow long in your spine as you extend your crown upward and your tailbone downward. Keep your pelvis untipped. For W3, begin to lean forward, continue to reach through your crown and from the heel of the foot you’ve raised. For Tree Pose, open one knee to the side and slip that foot up the inside of your leg. Keep your hips even with each other. Find that balance. Breathe. Accept the truth of the pose, show yourself gratitude for trying it, and move on. Satya keeps it real.

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Join us for a special one-hour Black Friday Hot Yoga class this week at 8:30 am for a discounted price: $10 drop in / $11 online. More info and reg HERE. Bring your water and a towel.

Our December class and events schedule can be found HERE. Please take a look and join us for a practice or to try something new before the end of the calendar year. We have Reiki and Meditation options beginning in December. Please welcome Tiffany, our Reiki and Meditation leader! (What a great time of year for this, right?!)

Sankulpa Yoga BLACK FRIDAY SALES ARE here! Sign up button links below will be live midnight Thanksgiving night THROUGH Cyber Monday.

*Both Black Friday Sale offerings are good only through the end of 2018.*

These will also be announced on Facebook (Newsletter Subscribers are alerted first). Sign up for our Weekly(ish) Newsletter HERE.




Quite A-Peeling

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Whew!  March was a freakin' whirlwind, as have been the first few days of April.  I'm hoping that you were able to find peace and growth during the first quarter of 2018 (which is already over...how?!).

I'll tell you, so far, this year has been nothing short of mind boggling for me.  I sort of fell into an opportunity to own a real, live yoga center (Those of you who have practiced in my home studio on the carpet are going to find that your balance is stellar in the new space on a real yoga floor!  You will also find that the smell of dinner wafting from another part of the house and the occasional interruption by Aidan-Namaste-Where's-My-Noodles will not be missed as much as you think it will.)  In just under two short years, I feel like a little community has grown around Sankulpa Yoga.  It's been inspiring and wonderful to nurture along.  And honestly, you guys, I feel like you all have given me at least as much as I've offered you.  

I can't wait to see how our little tribe grows in our practice and in our numbers when the Sankulpa Yoga Center opens June 1.  Please, please, please offer your ideas for classes that you'd like to see along with any days or times that you desire.  I'm working my little heart out on planning and getting things in order for the new center.  There are a talented and lovely band of yogis who will be teaching classes at Sankulpa Yoga Center too....and I'm looking to bring on a few more of them over the coming weeks.  

I look forward to sharing my practice with you and continuing to grow that practice along side of you.  It is going to be great.

In the mean time, we practice on most Fridays 6:15-7:15pm at A Place to Grow in Salem Lakes.  See the Sankulpa Yoga Facebook page for more info.

Also......we have spots available for our Door County Springtime retreat.  I think it's going to be fun and wonderful.  Please check out the deets here.  

Wishing you a beautiful rest of your week and coming weekend!

Namaste,

Lori

 

Spring Tweaks

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Spring is here.  Spring is here?  The calendar says yes, but the Wisconsin weather says not yet.  We are in between seasons, and that always makes me feel out of sorts.  When the weather and the season don't mesh, I'm moody and scattered.  Honestly, physically, I'm challenged too.  I feel wobbly and unsure with my footing these days.  

I feel like this is a personal ungraceful transition from hibernation through winter and emerging into spring.  Really.  I feel like that cranky, lumbering bear who is crawling out of a warm hiding place and a deep sleep into the light.  (Even though the last few months have been nothing like a warm peaceful rest like that bear got to take)

Ayurveda is a sister science to yoga.  It is one of the oldest known systems for healthy living.  It involves living life in tune to nature.  Ayurveda involves rituals for healthy living.  

Moving from winter to spring is what, in Ayurvedic tradition, is called the Kapha Season.  Depending upon your unique make up, the rituals for this season vary.  However, there are a few rituals that serve us all during this early spring season of Kapha.

1.  Shift your Diet - Try to eat more dry, pungent, and light foods to cleanse the heaviness of winter.  Berries and early greens are good to incorporate.

2.  Move - Start your day with exercise (a walk, a few sun salutations, yoga, whatever).  Keep it regular and somewhat light.  This helps us lighten our mood and to feel good in our skin.

3.  Find and Stick to a Routine for Personal Health - A few Ayurvedic practices involve tongue scraping, using a neti pot, and nostril oiling each morning.  The whole routine takes about five minutes.  If these are new practices for you, they may seem odd, but they all help to eliminate lots of toxins from the body (and help a lot with seasonal allergies).  

So, if you are up for some new rituals to try, I invite you to take in a little Ayurveda.  Who knows, it might help usher you into a fresh and energizing springtime this year.


Spring Yoga Retreat in Door County:  We still have spots available!  Check it out:  HERE.

Sankulpa Yoga Center News:  It looks like the new studio space will open June 1!  If building stays on schedule, then you can look forward to reading all about the classes we will offer and the schedule about a month before the opening.  Right now, I'm assembling a group of lovely yoga instructors who are going to offer a wonderful variety of classes to all ages, levels of yoga experience, and lots of different types of practices.  I can't wait to start teaching in the new space too!  I will keep you updated.  Thank you for your continued support and enthusiasm.  

Namaste,

Lori

 

 

Shape Shifting

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Ever think you had it all figured out......and then the universe threw you a curveball?  That curve can send you end over end whether it's a positive or negative......or just unexpected.... change.  It's only February, and I've gotten a few curves so far already. 

The first curve was a scary one with lots of negative potential.  In the end, after a couple weeks of uncertainty, it turned out to be fine.  For that, I am grateful.  I'm sure you have had something like that happen (probably more than once) in your life.  The good that came of it was that I was given the opportunity to  appreciate all the positive things in my life.  The other was that I had the opportunity to take stock in what is important and what is discardable.  And then, I discarded with abandon.  Life is sweet, and life is full, and there's only so much space within each person to have room for what is important.  The rest must either go into the recycling or go into storage for later retrieval.

The second curve was realizing how much I loved hosting a yoga retreat.  I knew I'd enjoy it, but it felt even better than I'd anticipated.  Our Sankulpa Yoga Retreat for Renewal at The Abbey was such a wonderful weekend.  I can't wait to do more of retreats here, there, and everywhere.  (Here's all about the spring retreat.)

I feel like being open to accepting a shift in our view of ourselves and accepting a deviation from our plans when the universe offers something unexpected can be refreshing and exciting.  I have thought I'd figured out who I was a few times in my adult life, and it seems that every time I do, the winds of change start blowing.  That can feel unsettling.  But, I've found that if I just feel the breeze without flinching or trying to figure out what it all means, sometimes a beautiful shift is the result.  I wish the same for you.

The third curve?  Well. that's a surprise that is coming this spring.  I am having a hard time keeping this one under wraps, but some things deserve a big reveal.  Stay tuned.

 

Wishing you a beautiful week ahead.

 

Namaste, 

Lori

 

image, courtesy pixabay.com

 

 

Empowered

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Wow, there's a lot of bad shit going on everywhere.  Am I right?  That is NOT a very ZEN statement, and I apologize.  But don't worry; I'm getting there.  

For all of you who feel beaten down, tired of the headlines, weary of avoiding people who have vehemently opposing views, and just plain tired of the discord, I feel you.

But....(here's the ZEN part!).....if it weren't for all the bad shit, we wouldn't:

1.  Look harder for the GOOD SHIT,

2.  Dig down deep inside ourselves to think long and hard about who we are and what we believe,

3.  Take the time to sift through what really matters and let some of the other stuff drift on off into the universe.

WHAT???!!!!  You haven't tried #3?  That's the key to everything.  To Everything!  And here is where I invite you to try it.  I'm not suggesting that you let go of things that are necessary.  What I'm suggesting is to say NO when you have reached your limit (or even better, slightly before you reach your limit).  Yes, there is great need for everyone to jump in and do his/her/their part to help in the community, but YOU are not responsible for all of it.  AND....YOU are not to feel guilty for not doing more, if you are doing something of value.  Let that guilt drift on off into the universe too.

Be kind to yourself.  Do your part, and feel how it makes the world around you slightly kinder, slightly less needy, slightly more healed.  If everyone does a little bit, that goes a long way.  And.... finding a way to put a little yoga into your life can only help.

Namaste,
Lori

 

image courtesy pixabay.com

Peaceful Feelings

This past week, the theme of my yoga classes was "Santosha."  It refers to the Niyama that encourages us to find contentment in our current state.  Through santosha, we are taught to find peace in acceptance and to swim with the current.  Santosha has been a topic on this blog before, and I find myself returning to it at certain times throughout the year, such as at its end, its beginning, nearing a sad anniversary or - as it so happens -  all three of those times converging at once.

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I don't think santosha extends to not changing the things we can and should change in our lives (ex:  being content with an unhealthy relationship instead of freeing oneself or something similarly life diminishing).  However, it does make me take a closer look at what I have in my life that is cause for happiness.  It also helps me to find some comfort amidst the discomfort (my legs are achey, but I had a good run yesterday, for example).

While teaching preschool yoga at A Place to Grow in Salem during the week, our class theme was a preschooler-friendly take on Santosha:  Peaceful Feelings.  During the centering portion at the start of class, I asked the 3- and 4-year olds what made them feel peaceful.  When I didn't get a response, I asked instead what they could touch that made them feel peaceful or safe.  One little girl immediately answered, "Petting my puppy."  Yes!  So soft and warm and comforting, that feeling of petting a puppy or a grown dog (or cat) as it rests in your lap.  In that moment, I realized that they could totally grasp the meaning of Santosha and that I - thanks to a child - had another option for finding my own peace and contentment.

How will you come to your Santosha at the start of this brand new year?

Peace to you, my friends.

Lori

Winter Solstice

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This Thursday morning at around 10:30, the Winter Solstice arrives.  I'm pretty stoked, too.  What's the big deal, you might ask?

The Winter Solstice is symbolic of a "return to light."  This is the day that is the shortest and darkest of the year.  It is a day to go inward.  Reflect on the past year and take a good look at ourselves.  I'm not talking about being critical.  What I mean is to be present and ask yourself if you are being good to yourself.  Are you hanging on to things that make you feel stress or sadness?  Are you able to let go of these things and enter into a lightness of heart and spirit?  

After our shortest day of light, the days get progressively longer, little by little as we move toward a season of renewal:  Springtime.  Not to say we want to chase away the winter with all its ability to bring us together for warmth and rest due to the weather, but we look at this season as one of cocooning, of drawing in for heart, hearth, and home.  The darkness isn't negative, either, but just offers a quieter space for growth.  Restore and renew for the lightness to come as the earth begins to wake up and also renew.   

Honestly, there is so much opportunity for metaphor here, that it really is almost too much for my former English teacher self to bear!  

But, please make this Winter Solstice YOURS.  There are so many ways to welcome that day of quiet dark before the light in your own life.  Journal, wear your coziest sweater, burn a yule log, take a meditative walk, cook come comfort food.  Whatever.  All I suggest is that you honor the day and show yourself some love.

Namaste,

Lori

Noteworthy: 

Winter Solstice Week Sale for our Sankulpa Yoga Retreat for Renewal at The Abbey Resort.  Learn more HERE.

Sankulpa Yoga gear is on SALE.

 

Image courtesy pixabay.com

 

 

Rituals

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If you celebrate any of the upcoming holidays during this time of year, then you are familiar with rituals.  Some of my family's rituals include decorating the Christmas tree, watching certain classic holiday movies, taking in a candlelit church service, and planning a stay-at-home Christmas Eve homemade pizza making night.  These are just some of the things we do.  Other rituals are more personal and introspective.  As the end of the year draws nearer, most of us take a look back over the calendar year.  We might tally our high points and not-so-great times, decide what we've learned over the past year.  Maybe we even make plans on how to translate this year's lessons into next year's living.  

Some rituals that we keep don't serve us well.  Everyone has them.  Mine is to worry about.....well, everything. It's not a constant ritual, but it is a frequent visitor.  It's the ritual that helped me to commit to a consistent yoga practice, a mindfulness reminder, and using essential oils.  All of that has really helped me.  This time of year is when lots of those unhealthy rituals of stress creep in.  All the more reason then to replace them with habits that provide a balm for our nerves.

We can't stop and hide from the busyness and bustle of the year holidays, nor would we probably want to if we can instead find a way to enjoy these times more.

I invite you to find a yoga class - in person class at an area studio** or to even practice at home with a yoga video***.  Use those calming breath techniques we've discussed at this blog.  Dab some lavender over your heart space or diffuse it or another calming oil in your home or office.  Have a cup of tea without rushing out the door with it cooling on the counter.  Whatever it takes to help you find that peaceful space that resides within you....you deserve to feel better.

Namaste,   Lori


I've got some fun offers going on with the Sankulpa Yoga Retreat for Renewal.  One of them involves my favorite yoga supplies company, Clever Yoga.  Check them out on the website and on the Sankulpa Yoga Facebook page.  I'd love for you to join us!  Please reach out if you have questions.  Spaces are filling up, so sooner is better than later.


**Yoga Studios that I Love:  The Yoga Effect in Grayslake, IL  -  Trillium Yoga in Antioch, IL  -  Wildroots in Salem, WI  -  and of course....  Sankulpa Yoga

***Online Yoga Teachers with whom I practice:  Yoga with Adriene, Yoga by Candace, JBrown

Image courtesy pixabay.com

Balance

This week marked my very first speaking engagement at a conference as a yoga professional.  I had the pleasure of engaging a group of over 100 parents, caregivers, teachers, and health professionals at the Children Come First Conference put on by Wisconsin Family Ties in Wisconsin Dells.  The topic of my presentation was Mindfulness and Yoga geared toward helping kids (and those who love them) cultivate mindfulness as a tool for confidence, lessening stress, minimizing anxiety, finding patience, and nurturing peace.  Let me tell you this:  what a wonderful group (and a bunch of you signed up to follow this blog, so Hey Everyone!).  

During the drive home after my workshop session, I thought a lot about balance.  The people who attended my session are juggling a lot.  So are all of you.  We are told to put on our own air masks before we help the person next to us, but let's be honest.  You don't do that, and either do I.  The craziest part about that is we know that in order to care for our family members or to be on the top of our games at work, we need to make sure we take care of ourselves.  We.  Know.  That.  But.......we don't do it consistently.  Let's start.  I'm in if you're in.

Balance

I love to do balance work in my yoga practice.  It doesn't let me lie.  If I fall out of tree pose, I know it's because my equilibrium is OFF.  Yoga makes me take a hard look in the mirror of self care.  I love/hate that about yoga.  

So, as the season of doing-everything-for-everyone-else-and-wearing-yourself-down arrives, join me in taking balance checks for your mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.  My family was inspired on a trip to the UW-Madison campus to photograph the poses for this post.  

Tree Pose

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Grounding and Liberating (Grow your roots by making your foundation strong with your standing foot.  Liberate yourself by extending through your crown and growing your branches.)

 

Plank

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Your core is strong.  Bring your shoulders back and shoulder blades toward each other to keep your shoulders safe.  Look forward and breath.  If you choose, challenge yourself to send your elbows straight back and close to your body as you lower to within an inch or two of the ground.  

Headstand/Standing Split/ Handstand

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The power is in your hands.  Place your weight there.  On all three, reach through your legs and feet.  More weight is in your hands than your head.  In the tripod pictured above, pull elbows toward each other.

Arm Balance

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Be a little crazy and try a crow or a baby grasshopper.  The worst that can happen is that you won't be able to do it this time.  The best thing is that you will surprise yourself.

Warrior 3

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Lift through that core and press through the foundation foot.  Play with your arm placement and feel the strength.  You are a warrior!  (One of my all time favorite poses)

 

Speaking of balance, please consider joining me for Sankulpa Yoga's very first weekend retreat.  The theme is Renewal....and that's all about finding balance.  It is going to be a wonderful weekend with lots of yoga, an iconic setting, awesome spa opportunities, delicious food and refreshments, some hygge, relaxation by the fire, excursions, whatever you want to do.  Read more HERE. 

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Peace and Light,

Lori

The Big Chill

It happened again.  The warm weather has ended, and cold is creeping in for the season.  If you are a winter person, then this is outstanding news for you!  If you are more of a summer person, then....well.

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There is something we can all do to combat the effects of the cold on our bodies.  Whether young or more mature, cold weather tends to stiffen our joints.  If you take a few Yoga Breaks throughout your day, I promise that you will feel a difference and more comfort in your body.  

5 minutes total, and you are set:

Begin with a thought of gratitude toward something in your life.

Cat/Cow - Standing, table top pose, or seated works just fine.  Inhale shoulder blades toward each other, tailbone lifted, head back.  Exhale drop head and tailbone with shoulders forward and back rounded.  Repeat slowly with full breaths 5-7 times.

Forward Fold/Monkey Pose -  Exhale into a forward fold (you can stand or sit....maybe try both).  Knees can be slightly bent.  Let upper body hang heavy.  (Great way to let gravity unkink your neck).  Inhale halfway up, straightening legs, looking forward, sending shoulders back.  Repeat sequence with your breath 3-5 times.

Side Stretches - Stand tall and inhale arms straight overhead.  Exhale as you lean your upper body to one side.  Inhale back upright.  Exhale to other side.  Repeat slowly with your breath 3-5 times on each side.

Knee Hugs / Wrist Rolls / Ankle Rolls - Standing or seated, inhale to hug one knee straight in toward your chest.  If you are standing, lengthen through the opposite leg to also sneak in a hip flexor (psoas) stretch.  Take 5-7 slow breaths.  Release on an exhale and switch sides.  With your breath, take some slow wrist and ankles rolls in each direction.

Finish with a reconnecting to the thought of gratitude with which you began.


Awesomeness Coming Up With Sankulpa Yoga:

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Spaces are filling up for Sankulpa Yoga's first weekend retreat. 

This year's theme is:  Relax, Refresh, and Renew

Learn More and Register Here

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Mindfulness and Perspective

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Coming to you from St. Louis, MO!  I'm here for a softball tournament for my daughter with the whole family (minus Riley, the golden retriever love of our lives).  The weather has been cold for softball, but it's a new city for us to explore, and we are having fun.

Mindfulness and Perspective.  These two words have had a larger than average presence in my life recently.  I've been challenged with deciding what my purpose is supposed to be and with how to deal with a kick-to-the-gut realization.  But really, all of you have dealt with things like this.....and more.  I have a friend who is finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer this month.  She's a warrior.  Talk about mindfulness and perspective, right?  Send her some love and positive vibes, please.

Mindfulness allows us to "live in the moment" and to be present.  Perspective encourages us to take a look at where we are and to be honest about what we need to do with our circumstances in that moment.  Not easy.  And truly, everything is relative.  We can't discount our own sadness, fear, anxiety, worry because someone else might be suffering in a different way that we consider to be "more".  We need to be ok with acknowledging the shit we are wading through.  No wallowing.   Just accepting so that we can wade through to the other side and move on to better things.  

So, be kind to yourself as the days get shorter.  Be calm when the tides get rough.  Be sympathetic to yourself and to others around you,  We are all wading through something, and we can find unity through that at the very least.

I have a couple of lovely opportunities coming up to help you to be mindful, find perspective and be good to yourself.  Sign up if one (or both) sound right for you:

I'm teaching an Aromatherapy and Yoga workshop at Trillium Yoga in Antioch on November 11.  Read more about it and sign up here .  I think you might love it.

Also, I'm leading my very first yoga retreat.  It's Sankulpa's Yoga for Renewal Retreat, and I'm holding it at The Abbey on Lake Geneva during the first weekend of February.  Please join me.  I promise to make it the yoga retreat that you need in order to Relax, Refresh, and Renew.  Register here.  Contact me if you have any questions.  I would love to have you attend.  

Please find the small moments for gratitude, pleasure, and peace this week.  You deserve it, and this earth benefits from you being kind to yourself.

Namaste,  Lori

Promises

"She was an American girl, raised on promises........."

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And so the song goes.  (RIP, Tom Petty)

Do you feel like you were raised on promises?  Ideas of what your life should be, could be, would be....if only?  If you were, what are the promises you were raised upon during your formative years?  And, most importantly, where did these promises come from?

If anyone other than you made promises about how your life would ultimately turn out, then your disappointment in the lack of fruition can only be blamed on one person.  Sorry, but yes, that person is you.

Make promises to yourself.  Keep them.  If you seek a healthier version of yourself, then make a plan and stick to it.  If you desire a way out of your job, then train or apply or think outside the box.  If there is a relationship in your life that is unhealthy, then sit down with that person to fix it or get the hell out of there.  Am I oversimplifying?  Sure.  But, your life is your one shot to do what you need to or want to do on this earth.  Do not squander it.  If this last couple of years has taught me anything, it's to value your people, take the leap, speak your mind, and dance when you are presented with the opportunity.  

Just promise me one one thing.....that you will keep a promise to yourself that counts.


 

Please join me for our first Yoga for Renewal Retreat.  It'll be great!  I honestly cannot wait to share this weekend retreat with you.  And if you are an educator, you can sign on for the one credit companion course too.  Contact me with any questions.  :)  And have a beautiful week.

 

 

October is Here - Do you have 5 Minutes to Spare?

I love October in Wisconsin.  The weather, the landscape, the flavors, the sweaters to wear....sigh.  I.  Love.  It. 

October is the beginning of the cozy seasons - autumn and winter.  While I love sunny and warm, crisp and chilly is pretty wonderful too.

And here's something to think about this month........

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If you are reading this blog, you must be at least a little bit interested in yoga.  Lots of people tell me that they want to begin a yoga practice, but they are busy, not flexible, old, tired, uncoordinated, self conscious, overweight, and the list goes on.  The thing is, bringing yoga into your life is possible in spite of any of those excuses and more.  And when I say the word "excuses," I say it with no judgment.  

You can start your practice this week (today!) with five minutes of yoga. 

Begin by sitting in comfortable stillness while you breathe through your nose with even and slow inhales and exhales.  Focus on just paying attention to your breath.  When other thoughts find there way in, gently dismiss them.  (1-3 minutes)

Move on to the next part of this 5-minute practice.  While seated, inhale and reach up.  Exhale and float your hands down to your sides.  Repeat slowly 5-10 times.

Now stand in Mountain Pose and begin the following flow:  Inhale to upward facing salute (arms extended overhead and looking up). Exhale to forward fold. Inhale to unfolding halfway. Exhale to forward fold.  Inhale to upward facing salute, just as at the beginning of this flow and repeat the whole thing 3-5 times.  Move slowly and with your breath.  After your last upward facing salute, exhale hands in anjali mudra (prayer pose with hands near heart) in front of you.  

And here are some photos to guide you from the Sankulpa Yoga archives.

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

Forward Fold (Modification:  Knees bent with hands on shins)

Forward Fold (Modification:  Knees bent with hands on shins)

Unfolding halfway (hands may be on shins)

Unfolding halfway (hands may be on shins)

Let's build upon this next week.  If you want more, great!  Go for it!  However, 5 minutes every day will have a positive effect on your life.  I promise.  <3  


If you haven't yet, please, please read about Sankulpa Yoga's very first retreat.  I hope you can join me, and if not, will you please share it on social media?  I'm working to make this a first in a line of many yoga retreats designed for everyone.  Everyone:  meaning everyone.  Thank you.

Planned Spontaneity

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Well.....hello.  We are settling into fall and getting comfortable with the change in schedule that a new season brings.  It always feels like summer will be laid back with lots of free time, doesn't it?  But that's never how it goes, and I should know better by now.  I'm grateful for the busyness that is summer for us, because it's a lot of fun stuff.  When autumn does roll around, however, I am usually ready for a schedule that is more defined.

Yoga is similar for me.  There's something to be said for coming to my mat and just letting the practice develop by "going with the flow" rather than planning sequences.  That is difficult for me.  I struggle with just letting things happen on the mat.  If I begin with a goal, it goes better for me.  For example, if I know that I'm going to focus on hips, then I can flow better.  I've got to have a plan in my spontaneity, and I'm literally rolling my eyes at myself as I write this, but it's true.  And, honestly, it's just fine that that's what I need for my practice to flow and to keep growing it.

When I do judge the way I approach my practice, that makes it harder to get to my mat and to stay there.  The I should be's and the Why don't I's can undermine our best efforts.  So, with my first post after a month and a half of getting lost in the rhythm of life (and liking it), I invite you to try with me to find your own flow, accept it for whatever it is, and.............just see where it takes you........you might find yourself on a wonderful new path.

And now, announced here first for my wonderful Sankulpa Yoga blog subscribers and readers.......

Yoga for Renewal Retreat

The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa

February 2-4, 2018

You guys!  It's my first retreat, and you are invited.  I will officially announce it later this week, but it's announced here first and open to anyone 21 or older, no matter your yoga experience (and definitely keep reading if you are an educator):

Included in Registration:  6 ALL Levels classes of different platforms (essential oils, restorative, vinyasa, vin, etc), 2 nights' lodging at the Abbey Resort, Friday dinner, Saturday/Sunday breakfasts, 15% off spa appointments on 2/2 or 2/4, and a special welcome bag of gifts.

If you are an educator looking to renew your license, you can also sign up for the Companion Course for this retreat through which you can earn a professional development graduate credit from Carthage College

Also Available for You to Do: take the free shuttle to Lake Geneva to shop or to attend their Winterfest events, sit by the bonfire at the Abbey (and maybe enjoy a s'more), book a spa service, hang out at the Avani Spa Atrium and Pool (adults only), hike, gather for evening social time, attend a dinner off-site with the group, and whatever else you'd like to do.  Too busy sounding?  Snuggle up by the fire with your book, sip a coffee on your own or wth a friend, take a quiet winter walk, heck..take a nap if you want to do that!  The point is, this weekend is for you to Relax, Restore, and Renew.

Registration Fee Information:

Double Occupancy $425 / Single Occupancy $550 - Add on the Companion Course for $100 (plus $10 admissions fee if you have never before taken a course from Carthage College)

Renewing opportunities for all.  :)  

Registration will open Monday, September 18.  Space is limited. 

If you register with payment in full and share knowledge of this retreat with a friend who also ends up registering and paying in full, you will receive a referral gift......and it's a good one! 

Please contact me directly or comment below with any questions you have.  (I hope you can join me!)

Road Trip!

We will be in Tennessee when this blog post reaches you.  Taking a road trip is always fun, and this one should be no different.  Everyone piles into the mini van (dog too), and we head out with snacks, knitting (me), and a sense of adventure for the whole family.  Solo road trips are fun too, especially if you are heading toward a fun event or fun people.

The only problem with this is..........figuring out how to maintain your yoga practice while on the road.  It is a challenge.  If flying instead of driving, taking a travel mat that folds into a suitcase is helpful.  Otherwise, lots of hotels have mats that guests can borrow or rent.

Then it's doing the yoga practice itself.  It would be fun to take a yoga class in a city you are visiting at a studio (and I'll let you know if I try that...would love to).  Otherwise, just free flow it.  Stretch and flow.  It might feel silly at first, but I'll bet it works out just fine.  The other option is to find a YouTube class that you like.  There are literally zillions.  It isn't the same as attending a class in person with a real live yoga instructor (like moi), but it has its advantages.  Two of my favorites on YouTube are Yoga with Adriene and Yoga by Candace.  If you try one of them, I'd love to know what you think.

I'll be thinking about you while I'm getting my yoga on in Tennessee and hoping that you are finding your practice too while I'm gone.

Peace,

Lori