Imagine you enter a gorgeous park, the sky blue above your head, the birds singing from the trees. A sign in the park says Yoga Today Free, everyone welcome! Being new to yoga you haven’t yet purchased a mat but you wander over to check out the class as it begins to get started. The teacher welcomes you and hands you a spare mat. Coming onto the mat you realize you are surrounded by other community members, neighbors whom you know from the grocery store but not by name. They welcome you with warm smiles and then class begins. The teacher leads sun salutations and you flow through poses called Tree and Mountain. Though you are unfamiliar with these poses there is little struggle for perfection as the teacher guides you to observe your body and thoughts in a safe and encouraging way.
When the class is over you feel balanced and renewed. Your mind is free of worry and your body feels strong and flexible. A new day is just beginning and you step off your mat full of inspiration and grateful for the experience of yoga with your neighbors in a gorgeous park.
The difference you might find between free yoga and paying for yoga is not only in your wallet. Perhaps the best part of free yoga is the surprise feeling of receiving something without any expectation from the teacher and then the freedom that sets you free to pass on the joy that comes with giving. The teacher as you may have guessed IS actually receiving something when she provides free yoga and that energetic gift of giving is hugely rewarding.
Check out the free yoga offered through September at Brown Street Park! Free yoga For Everyone!
Yoga class taps into children’s flexible natures!
A dance, a spiritual dance.
Grab your body, come on, let’s go!
A struggle, a strain
set free to swim
to do back flips into a pool of love,
an oasis of joy.
The reservoir of deep passionate connection
to your soul grows
as life flows through your veins.
A wonder, mouth wide open
tasting the salt of the air off the shore,
mist on your face,
the sun poking through the clouds,
And you run so fast your muscles pumping
your heart working vigorously,
the sweat pouring off your slick, firm body.
You run into feeling,
pain and joy mix and their droplets fall to the earth.
Splash, you dive into the ocean
and move like a turbo-charged vessel
slicing though the water strong and sleek.
The cool water enveloping your body like a fish
you press forward going faster and faster
until reach the line that pulls you up to the ship.
You sail to the island and they’re expecting you.
A simple white fish, greens, and wine.
You shower under the palms
in the cool spring lake,
dress in soft cotton
and taste each bite
as the sun beats down
one beat at a time,
your heart slowing until it crosses
to the other side of the horizon.
Ever feel like your wheels are spinning and you’re going nowhere? Recently, I had this experience and I would describe it as restlessness both the mind and body i constant motion at a high rate of speed but with little direction in mind. The more I zoomed in one direction the more I felt that I needed to be somewhere else. Finally, I just stopped. I laid down almost again my will and listened to a part of me, a small quiet voice that said “be still”. So from 60 to 0 I plopped onto my bed, the cool sheets against my skin and started to stop. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. Resistance continued to creep into my mind but as I decelerated I could feel my body and mind relaxing and my direction becoming clearer. With each moment I released the should, would, could streaming through my mind and it gradually cleared away. Fully still and silent, resting at zero, I was no longer restless. After a 20 minute rest I decided to move again. Speeding up slowly I discovered I was moving with intention and with increased awareness and grace.
Breathe in Love- A Meditation
Breathe in love to your heart. The love flows from the heart into the vessels which bring love into the brain, to the tips of your fingers and down to the tips of the toes. The love swirls around the ankles, the knees and the hips. This same breath of love snakes up the spine and enters into the belly. The love returns to the heart and pours from the heart out freely into the world. The love multiplies with every person it touches and continues to spread person to person breath by breath until the whole world pulses with love. The world pulsing with love sends vibrations, waves of love out into the universe. The ripples of love reach the stars, the space between and the planets themselves. The sun receives the love and shines brighter glowing with love. Exhale and inhale another breath of love into the heart. The cycle continues and the love grows.
This piece of art was commissioned for Shannon Bogucki to represent the flowers in her wedding bouquet. The artist is Rebecca Vella. Visit her gallery for more artist samples.
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.
I challenge each of us to thrive in the present! Thriving should be take place every day and not saved up for weekends and vacations. How many times have we thought, “two more days until the weekend” or “just one more week until vacation”. If we live our lives with these thoughts we have essentially given up on the present choosing to endure life rather than truly experience. By striving to thrive rather than just survive we take hold of life for the now “grab the bull by the horns” if you will, and truly experience life!
STRIVE TO THRIVE
Green Falls Pond Yoga Hike
Saturday, June 19th
You are invited to a very special YogaTrails event Strive to Thrive featuring guest leader, Andrea Willets of Voice of My Life, Life Coaching. Strive to Thrive is designed to help you take a deeper look at meaning in your life. Are you ready to get CONSCIOUS with movement, stretching your body-mind-spirit!? Join us for June 19th to deepen your yoga practice and connection with self.
Get Inspired, Get Conscious and Get Moving!
Hit the trail with Kyle and Andrea and enjoy a day including:
* Sun Salutations
* Mindful Hiking
* Body-Mind-Spirit conscious exercise
* Vinyasa Yoga Class on the trail
* Delicious organic lunch
* Afternoon hike and Back to Basics Yoga: Aligning Yourself in Nature.
Stepping onto the trail we were greeted by wild purple iris, frogs, and ferns. Greens of all shades popped from the tree branches, ground covering, and moss that hugged onto rock ledges. The fresh air entered into our lungs as we set our day’s intentions to the sound of “Om”. The day continued with a mindful hike and deep observation of nature. A quick yoga stretch and our journey continued. Climbing, we felt the direct connection between the earth’s contours and our own bodies as our breath began to deepen and heat built up in our muscles.
The sun shined on our faces as we took warrior pose gazing up to the birds above. In mountain pose, strength and length were built in the spine and stable legs. We flowed through sun salutations welcoming the sun’s warmth and the surrounding tree’s gentle embrace. With Mother Nature as our guide, we celebrated each moment renewing our spirit and energy. The single track trail cut through rock face and over small streams where lady slipper and mountain laurel flanked the trail painting flecks of pink and yellow onto the glowing green canvas.
At the break, our teeth sank into sprouted whole grain bread as we soaked up tastes of avocado, crunchy cucumber, and smooth pine nut hummus layered beneath savory sprouts and organic cheddar cheese. Accompanying this we indulged in dark chocolate and roasted almonds as well as lightly salted organic stove top popcorn and organic apples.
Following this tasty delight, Rebecca Taliercio led us in an Introduction to Qigong where we recharged our energy and centered ourselves before pairing off to learn basic massage techniques. Thoroughly sated and relaxed we continued our journey, intentions still in our hearts.
At the end of the day we unwound with gentle yoga and reflected on the lessons of the trail. Thanks was given to all that nature and the pursuit of more conscious living can provide: openness, spaciousness, clarity, a non-judgmental well of love, a fountain of inspiration, and a forum for connection with ourselves and others. Om.
A special thanks to those that participated in the YogaTrails Pilot:
With love and gratitude,