kylewillets

Yoga Hiking in Boulder CO

This summer we kicked off Yoga Trails hikes in Boulder, Colorado and I’m asking myself could it get any better than this?!

We’ve enjoyed hikes with yoga peppered throughout the hike, meditation on the trail, destination yoga on mountain peaks, and other fresh-air variants of nature-inspire yoga.

My favorite part, however, has been meeting the incredible people who have been joining these hikes. We all join together for the common goal of experiencing nature-drenched yoga and through this shared interest find natural connections and comradery amongst our group.

Here are some photo highlights from the summer’s Yoga Trails adventures so far.

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Explore upcoming Yoga Hikes and Yoga Trails Events

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Yoga Hike Massachusetts

We set out crunching over newly fallen acorns, sounds of birds and wind in tree tops above. We were on the brink of fall, leaves just starting to show hues of gold and red.

Peering into tree trunks and rock crevices whole micro-ecosystems were revealed. And as these new worlds opened up we experienced a new sense of serenity and magic.

Our hike was dotted with yoga poses such as mountain pose, tree pose, and forward fold that reflected the images of nature.

Rebecca Vella Taliercio led us in Qi-Gong to get our creative energies flowing. She shared some insights from her own life as an artist and helped us open up to our own unique creativity.

It was a beautiful day of hiking, yoga, and exploration of the senses. We left feeling renewed and grateful for the beauty of the natural world and its incredible ability to let creative souls soar.

Simple-Organic-Fun

Next YT hike October 30th Arcadia Management Area in Exeter, RI 9AM-12AM.

Yoga Hike Strive to Thrive

People say that if they received the diagnosis of cancer they wouldn’t go down without a fight. This begs the question that if you’ll fight to survive, why not fight to thrive? Why are we so given to complacency and contentment? Why do we give up on our true dreams so easily and fall softly into the status quo? When does the fight begin? Should we wait until given a death sentence to feel the desire to really live?

If you were lucky the adults in your life told you to dream big as a child. They supported your imagination and your ability to see how a piece of string on the couch is really a serpent perched in its castle. We call this “inner child” in adulthood and some of us are lucky enough to hang on. But for the vast majority moving from childhood meant “growing up” and out of dreaming.

I had an experience recently that freed me to get in touch with that happy-go-lucky little girl that built fortresses in dirt and belted out songs from the top of the slide. While traveling in South America, life became play again inspired by nature and the magic of life. For instance, I woke up one morning so full of energy after a long hike that while skipping to meet up with a horse I leapt a few times and kicked my heels together. This spontaneity is joy and dreaming is joy. Our whole lives can be joyful if we decide to celebrate each moment and look at life as one endless opportunity for turning our dreams into reality.

Live the dream!




Yoga Eases Cancer Side Effects

Yoga Eases Side Effects and Discomfort for those Undergoing Cancer Treatment

By Jillian S. McKee

Yoga as a complementary therapy is gaining ground in modern medicine, especially when used to aid individuals suffering from cancer and the associated side effects of its treatment.

This non aerobic, very low impact form of exercise offers a well balanced combination of physical activity and meditation that leads to a greater sense of well-being. By utilizing breathing techniques, meditation, and self awareness through precise postures people experience a level of relaxation and maintain physical fitness without causing trauma. Participants are also given an excellent coping tool for the emotion turmoil that accompanies the disease and therapy.

Cancer by itself can be debilitating in nature, but those who must undergo treatment state that the cure is worse than the illness. Cancer treatments have been linked to fatigue, nausea, headaches, body aches, depression, insomnia, pain, muscle and nerve complications, and the list continues on. In some cases the side effects of the treatment are so severe that a person may need to address them as well. A commonly shared feeling is that the person undergoing treatment does not want to add any more medications to what is already being taken, this gives rise to complementary therapies.

One of the oldest forms of therapy to involve mind and body is the practice of yoga. It began over 5,000 years ago in India and has been used for a number of different ailments through the centuries.

Exercise has long been touted for its ability to aid people who suffer from depression, fatigue, stress, and anxiety; this is an important feature since the growth of cancer has been shown to increase with these conditions. It can also boost the immune response, a great benefit when fighting any ailment.

Cancer and the treatment thereof frequently cause fatigue, pain, and stiffness. The gentle motions involved in the practice of yoga can increase energy levels, improve flexibility and muscle tone, and decrease pain levels.

The breathing and meditation techniques have proven invaluable to those that suffer with rare aggressive diseases such as mesothelioma that is triggered from asbestos exposure or during mesothelioma treatment.

Many cancer treatment centers are implementing the use of yoga for their patients, especially those going through mesothelioma prognosis. In some locations an instructor is provided for individuals during their chemotherapy treatment session.

While this form of therapy is considered safe, it is essential to discuss its use with your attending doctors before implementing it in your medical care regime.

Guest Post written by Jillian S. McKee, a yoga enthusiast and cancer activist.

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Do you know those moments when you feel completely balanced, your mind is quiet, no thoughts collide into one another? They may be fleeting, or last for days or periods of time in which everything feels simplified, joyful, and unexplainably peaceful. I found the piece below written by an unknown author and thought I would pass it along. It captures what is difficult to put into words.

May your life be experienced with many of these moments :)

Symptoms of Inner Peace
1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than from fears based on past experiences.
2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
3. A loss of interest in judging self.
4. A loss of interest in judging others.
5. A loss of interest in conflict.
6. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
7. A loss of ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
8. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
9. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
10. Frequent attacks of smiling through the eyes of the heart.
11. Increasing susceptibility to love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.
12. An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than to make them happen.
Warning: If you have all or even most of the above symptoms, please be advised that your condition of peace may be so far advanced as to not be treatable.
-Author Unknown

Restorative Yoga For Rehab

Restorative Yoga for Rehab

In this time of constant change and complexity, restorative yoga provides gentle techniques that treat the varied needs of individuals. The strategies employed in this deeply restoring yoga can ameliorate the aches and pains countless individuals. For example, restorative yoga can be effectively used to address the needs of someone suffering from low back pain and at the same time treat their related depression.

There is vast amount of evidence pointing to the benefits of yoga for ailments such as heart disease, asthma, arthritis, epilepsy, burns, multiple sclerosis, and chronic pain stemming from low back pain and repetitive strain injuries. Restorative yoga poses provide a deep stretch that restructures the connective tissue and slowly lengthens the muscle without triggering a stretch reflex. Subsequently, a deeper stretch occurs and amplifies the rehabilitation process.

When restorative yoga is used for rehabilitation the therapist can work more deeply into the muscles. Manual therapies and deep tissue techniques are more effective and can be performed in ways otherwise not possible. For instance, the low-load mechanism is supports techniques such as myofascial release. When combined with traditional methods of manual therapies, restorative yoga facilitates a beneficial way to address restrictions of the tight fascial structures and other bound connective tissues. This is why more and more physical therapists and manual therapists are including restorative yoga in their approach to improve flexibility and achieve a healthy range of motion.

Restorative yoga helps to break out of long-standing patterns and muscle imbalances that have been created in the body after years of tension and strain. This style of yoga allows us to improve our body awareness and allows us to free up hardened and locked places in the body. Often the tension in the body (ie. shoulders and neck) are a result of stress. We have conditioned ourselves to hold stress in these areas and have created patterns of holding based on anxiousness, discomfort, or pain. The supportive environment that restorative yoga allows is the ideal place to start unwinding the tension held in our bodies. In order to do this we must first feel grounded and safe and restorative yoga provides this stage for healing.

Though restorative yoga is done at a slower pace than most forms of yoga practice, the results can be profound and even more sustainable. In just a few months of practice, years of tissue imbalances and tightness can start to melt away revealing a better-balanced body. The seemingly set patterns of tight muscles will transform into relaxed, vital muscles. This change is further amplified by the quieting of the mind that takes place in this meditative practice of yoga. In the silence and stillness unlearning of hold habits takes place while muscle re-education allows for improved structure of the body.

Restorative yoga creates a healing environment that is perfect for achieving wellness no matter what the symptoms and root causes may be. Many people begin yoga wanting to make improvements to their health and wellness. As they seek to balance the body they will discover benefits to the mind as well. For example, a patient may require rehab for an ankle sprain, but underlying this issue is poor posture and body mechanics as well as soft tissue imbalances and restrictions. These physical difficulties are further exacerbated by inefficient breathing patterns as well as uncontrolled anxiety. Therefore, the supportive environment of restorative yoga is ideal for rehab especially when a few issues exist.

Yoga On The Beach

Warrior Two

Triangle Pose

Half Moon

Tree Pose

Swan Pose

Warrior One

Crescent Toed Warrior

Chair Pose

Chair Pose Twist

Standing Forward Fold

Plank

Half Way Lift

Downward Facing Dog

Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Goddess Pose

Eagle Pose

Extended Hand To Toe

Extended Hand To Toe with Mudra

Warrior 3

Upward Facing Dog

Bow Pose

Child's Pose

Yoga on the beach brings the sounds of the ocean, the smells of the sea and the sun shining prana directly onto your practice.

Bringing your practice to the beach is easy! Just grab a towel and some fresh water and you’re ready to go. A yoga mat is optional though I recommend trying your asanas directly on the sand. It’s more fun and you get the full effect of the experience. And if it does get a little too sandy that’s just a great excuse for a “water break”.

Your yoga on the beach experience is sure to offer new perspectives from looking at a wave upside down in Wide-Legged Forward Bend to feeling like a beginner all over again with Tree Pose in the soft sand. The meditative sounds of the ocean waves crashing on the seashore are bound to deepen your experience. Try balance poses on the soft sand gazing off to the horizon and watch as a simple pose has a new level of challenge. Or, experiment with Shavassana by positioning yourself so that your toes are at the water’s edge.

The best part about yoga on the beach is the elements of unknown. Unlike the studio setting, the forces of nature are present to challenge your poses on the physical and mental level. For me, the best part of practicing yoga on the beach is the immense feeling of being alive that comes with being surrounded by inspirational natural beauty.

As always, enjoy your journey off the mat!
Kyle Anne

Yoga Sailing

The sun set over the Australian mainland as we set sail for the Whitsunday Islands. With sails full and spirits soaring, the storm clouds gathered to deliver a fantastic lightening show that flashed and danced 180 degrees around the boat. I marveled at our surroundings, the fresh environment inviting novel perspectives.

Being at sea offers the oftentimes rare opportunity to let go. There is something in the wind sweeping wildly over the waters that shakes our firm beliefs creating space for reexamination and change. The unsteady ground beneath your feet can send you hurtling across the deck like Bambi on Ice trying to find its bearings. The interesting thing here is what forms in the mind when the unknown blows your way.

The very fact that uncertainty arises in high waters and strong winds allows for deeper reflection. What does it mean for us to relinquish the reins of certainty? What fears emerge from the depths and how do we understand these fears? These questions were thrown to me from the sea itself. Mother Nature has a way of reminding us of our fragility and false sense of security that shields us from reality.

What surfaced for me was a peaceful state amid the chaos. Unlike some of my fellow passengers, this turbulent motion did not result in distress. Rather, with ease I was able to surrender to the experience (ready to act as necessary) but first to be with the moment and to soak in the wild unknown with great pleasure.

It is not often that we face a storm bearing potential disaster of the physical sort. However, in our day-to-day lives storms blow in from all around in ways that we sometimes can’t control. These storms may be in the form of relationship stress, financial troubles, or health concerns that we had not planned for or expected. Once the storm has hit, however, we do have control of how we react. When we let go of what is out of our control, it becomes easier to deal with that which we can affect. Recognizing the difference enables us to act deliberately to calm the storm and find our way within it.

So as the whitecaps formed and fell, our sails were adjusted to harness this natural force and we sailed to smoother waters with a sense of an alert alive spirit buoyed by a strong inner calm sense of self.

“We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust our sails”
~Bertha Calloway

Yoga ‘Round the World

Greetings from Australia!

This year is all about travel with the love of my life, Tal Gur. We met while traveling a year ago in Bolivia and 6 months later we were engaged in Montreal, QC. Since then, I’ve left my job, moved out of Providence, RI, and said farewell to friends and family as I’ve taken off for a ‘round the world adventure with my fiancé.

We’ve decided to explore Australia, Thailand, India, and a bit of Europe. Along the way we have plans for 2 weddings (one in Israel and one in the US). Wow, what a year it will be!

Our trip kicked off with a 4-Wheel drive Aussie road trip through lush green mountains, coastal beach towns and lively colorful cities full of gorgeous super-friendly people. Whenever I’ve had the chance (which is pretty often these days), I’ve been rolling out my Gaiam Travel Yoga Mat or practicing yoga on sandy beaches, flat rocks, or soft green grasses.

The Gaiam Travel yoga mat is something I purchased before my South American trip a year ago. It can easily fit rolled up or folded into a backpack and offers versatility as either a sticky mat or towel. It is super thin and light and easy to clean- just throw it in the washing machine or scrub it down quickly in the shower. It’s been durable and dependable and provides me with the grounding space that sometimes only a yoga mat can provide.

We have another month in Australia including a trip through the Outback and Central Australian Desert before flying to Thailand. Tal will study Thai Kickboxing there and I’ll fly to India for a 6-week course on Ayurvedic Medicine. There will be daily meditation and yoga practice, a chance to discover ancient remedies and study with masters in the field!!

Stay tuned and enjoy the journey!

Kyle Anne

You can read tidbits of my journey at www.kylewillets.com

Returning to The Mat

December rushes in after Thanksgiving boasting holiday cheer, brisk winds, and a lengthy list of To Dos. My mind flits down avenues of errands creating checklists and pouncing on projects. Just as I realize my shoulders are pinned up to my ears my heart is already racing and my fingers clenching into a ball. With great conscious effort I exhale my posture into an effortful-relaxed state. Immediately I start in on myself; the Great Interrogator is up to bat. How could I have gotten off track so far? Aren’t I more practiced and grounded than this? What is wrong with me!?

As I lick my wounds, my mind continues to cast lines of thoughts into all directions pulling me into action despite exhaustion. Depleted, I find myself at a warm vinyasa class and onto my mat I go saying a quick apology to myself for the time lapse in practice. During the class I grind through layers of resistance and beat down as much self-deprecating thinking as I can replacing it with love and gratitude. At the end, I fall asleep in Shavaasana. It could have been a three-hour nap for all I was aware. I wake up somewhere in the middle of time disoriented yet fully conscious. This simple state provides a window to one empowering thought: I am creating everything in the reality or the dream within which I awake. It is with this one thought that I start to direct my mind and body towards a more satvic, balanced state.