Yay! Two days until The Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon! I’ve picked up my bib and I’m sitting here sipping Turmeric Ginger Teabefore I teach Yin Yoga. What’s better than sipping a relaxing tea out of my Love Run mug just before teaching? I loveYin Yoga, and it’s the perfect time to practice two days to race day. Speaking of race day, I’ll be teachingYoga for Athletes after the race from 3:30-4:45pm at Priya over on 18th/Callowhill a block from Whole Foods. It’s a recovery based class so even if you’ve never done yoga before it’s the perfect compliment to running the half marathon. Yoga has always helped me work out those aches and drastically improved my recovery time. Looking forward to race day! Best wishes to all who are running.
New life entered the world last night on the first day of Spring. Baby girl arrived shortly before midnight. 5 pounds, 11 ounces. Beautiful. It occurred to me as I drove home at 2:30am that birth is the beginning and Spring is the season of rebirth…transformation…a sense of coming alive. What a beautiful day to arrive the world.
Mother Nature is slowly leading us towards Spring. As the warm sun begins to soon shine, the snow will be replaced by gentle rains, hints of green grass, fresh buds on the trees, and the smell of fresh spring air. The season of Spring inspires beauty and vibrant life in all of our senses. It is filled with tejas the sanskrit word for luster, light, illumination. Our yoga practice, too, is always a slow process of transformation, rebirth and coming alive. Some days we may feel as though we are sprouting and springing forward and on other days we feel as though Spring will never come. Allow the new season and environment around you to inspiration you. The season of new beginnings is upon us. With spring just around the corner, we shift from the hibernation of the winter months to an awakening of rebirth. Spring invites us to open back up, celebrate in warmer days and cultivate a spirit of aliveness. Embrace this upcoming season. What a beautiful day to see new life enter the world. Today is the day to welcome the NEW. #YOGAPEACHNOTES
Hitting ‘Publish’ on my very first blog post back in 2011 was exciting yet scary. I put myself out there. Blogging and Facebooking, instagraming… it feel more like a creative project than an exercise in self-disclosure, even though of course they are both. For the most part, the personal parts of my life do not get shared on my blog. I blog to share and teach my passions and track my progress. Some days I write with hopes that just one person will find my blog and be inspired to try something new that they’ve been wanting to pursue. I share blogging as only one example of putting yourself out there because so many incredible things have happened for me on this blog. There’s so many ways to put yourself out there and so many great things often result from taking the leap. Why do so many people hold back? Putting your ideas out there with the potential to be judged can be scary. When your thoughts, ideas and opinions are exposed, your stuff gets real. It’s this feeling of exposure and vulnerability that holds people back from putting themselves out there, and it’s a real shame. The fear is natural and understandable, but letting this go can open you up to incredible things.
You are allowed to have opinions. Find your authentic voice. Express yourself. Put yourself out there. This is perhaps a good spot to finish up. I’m headed to work from one of my favorite Philadelphia organic cafes. I often meet interesting people in the wellness field when I’m at Down Dog Healing Cafe and they have the best Kitchari.Who knows…maybe someone will strike up conversation with me today and we’ll both put ourselves out there.
Are you putting yourself out there? Put yourself out there. Anything can happen. Anything. Anytime. To anyone. Put yourself out there. Now, now, now…
Everyone messes up. You, me, everyone. People treat people unkindly, and hopefully it’s unintentional. It is important to acknowledge mistakes and learn from them so they don’t repeat. Paulo Coelho said “How people treat other people is a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.” For the most part I believe this to be true and this insight can save us a loads of pain. When someone is impatient, when someone is mean, when we cannot seem to please that person no matter how kind are actions are…We don’t have to take it personally and feel rejected.
Maybe you’ve been treated “unfairly” by a friend, family member, coworker, or significant other. Feels awful, right? Sure, many times it is your fault. However, often times it’s not. Treating people shitty and hurting people is a flaw of the human character but I believe that more often than not it is not intentionally. The way someone acts or treats you isn’t a reflection of you. It is usually a projection of themselves. People do this to protect themselves. From their past, their fears, and from the uncertainty of the future. That’s on them, not you. But we should not treat people poorly when they treat us poorly. When people behave awful it doesn’t mean they are an awful person. Again, the way they act towards others is about themselves. So we can feel compassion and be kind – and let it go. What do you think?
I won’t go into the spiritual part that’s taken years to develop between me and yoga (happy to discuss if you want to ask me in person), but yoga has helped me create the space, freedom and compassion to forgive people and forgive myself. I am not saying it’s easy or instant. It is a process. The old saying goes- treat others as you’d like them to treat you, even if you don’t think they deserve it. We never really know what any person is going through (or how they feel what they are going through) but when you treat others kindly, you’ll feel happier with yourself. I’m not saying go out of your way to do nice things for them, but be kind in the moment. Maybe that kindness is simply in the form of forgiveness. Forgive others to set yourself free and don’t be so hard on yourself either. Forgive yourself too.
Happy 36th birthday to my favorite rockstar yogi who inspires me, Adam Levine! Just before teaching yoga this evening it occurred to me that one of my favorite Adam quotes was fitting for tonight’s class. I read the following words as we began class in child’s pose and after we ended savasana. ”Maybe more than anything else, yoga teaches you to be still and calm under challenging circumstances.” Adam Levine It didn’t occur to me when I picked tonight’s playlist that I had an Adam song on it for abs but it was fitting. Then again, there’s alway a good chance you’ll find a Maroon 5 song on many of myplaylists. I couldn’t help but make a light joke as I heard some groans and sighs of relief after completing our abdominal series. So back to the topic…
It is when we find stillness that we become aware of many sensations throughout the body that we do not recognize throughout the rest of our day. Stillness teaches us how to really listen, slow down and pay attention to the body and mind and to remain calm under challenging situations.
Stillness of the body. Envision the body becoming as still as a mountain. A mountain is unaffected by the winds, rain, sun and everything that surrounds it. Clouds come and go and snows melt, but the mountain still remains a mountain. Stillness in the body means we allow most of our to become inactive. Stillness of the body leads to stillness (calmness) of the breath.
Stillness of the breath. As we slow the breath the breath becomes gentle and calm. A calm breath becomes even, slow and steady, naturally. When the breath becomes calm, we become more still.
Stillness of the mind. The sky is always above. Gloomy skies, rain, and snow may block our view, but we know the sky is there. When our thoughts become foggy, stillness of the mind helps provides a sense of clarity. We can’t force stillness. Like our yoga practice to become still is often a practice.
To still the mind, the breath must be calm. To calm the breath, the body must be still. When the body, breath and mind are able to be still, deep awareness is possible. It takes commitment and patience to be still. Commit to stillness for a few minutes every day and allow whatever arises to be just what it is. Allow stillness to teach you stay calm under all circumstances. Namaste.
Surrender. Pranidhana. Surrender is different from defeat. In the practice of yoga, surrender typically means to let go. Ishvarap Pranidhana is the last Niyama, from second limb of yoga. The Sanskrit word Isvara means “that which sustains you” and the sanskrit word Pranidaha means to surrender. Part of the journey is about letting go. Life is a constant letting go. Things dissolve and life takes on a different meaning. Our asana practice is a form of surrender. We don’t to think about it for the most part and we just do it. Breathe and just let it be. Surrendering is not an easy practice for most of us, but as we work through a pose we balance, focus, use our breath, and things just happen on the mat. We experience a deep letting go and a release. Just like in life itself. Surrender. Breathe. Observe what happens.
The one who embraces child’s pose finds strength through surrender. Stop and listen to your body in class. If you do one less chaduranga does it really matter? We have choices. We are not always able to control the outcome but we can surrender and let go of expectations. When we can incorporate this practice of surrendering and letting go into our lives we we open doorways and find freedom inside our mind, body and heart. Surrender. Let go and let life unfold. I surrender.
What an amazing day! I woke up early and had no idea that I was setting out for my best runso far of 2015. I had just a few hours to clean up, eat and shift gears before hopping on my bike to head to Priya Hot Yogato teachYoga for Athletes.My day was filled with two of my absolute favorite things. Training for triathlon and yoga. Today’s yoga was an extra special class. I am grateful to have spent the afternoon with a room full of awesome athletes.
Athletes of all kinds incorporate yoga into their training. One of the things that sets a Yoga for Athlete’s class or sports based yoga apart from a traditional Vinyasa class is that class is designed for the athlete and instructors have been trained to understand the athlete’s body. Athletes is a broad term, covering everyone from recreational golfers to triathletes, to volleyball players, to professional football players, to the every day gym goer. Each sport will have a different effect on the body. Runners tend to have tight hamstrings and hip flexors, cyclists may have tight quadriceps, achey necks, backs and so on. Those who play volleyball or swim have achey shoulders. Golfers and tennis players may have more freedom of rotation in one direction than the other. The list goes on. Proper sequencing and alignment are important in a class specifically designed for athletes. Priming the body, especially the hips and hamstrings, for the flexibility work are essential. And contrary to what many athletes think, yoga does not require you to be flexible.
We worked the entire body today with a focus on hips, knees, and the back along with flexibility, strength and even a little breathwork. Thank you so much to those who attended class. It is my goal to help students adapt their practices to suit their individual needs in order for each person to get the most out of this series. I will always show up 20 minutes before class and stay after class to discuss specific needs as well answer questions and practice poses from class. Please feel free to send me a messagewith feedback from today’s class. I would love to learn more about you, your sports and goals in order to prepare a class that will fit everyone’s goals next week. Yoga has made the biggest difference in my triathlon training and race days both physically and mentally. Athletes come to yoga for a variety of reasons and it makes me so happy to see more and more athletes receiving benefits from yoga. Integrating multiple aspects aspects of yoga (movement, strength, focus and breath work) helps athletes excel and achieve goals in both sports and every day life life. Yoga is one of the things I am most passionate about and it is a joy and privilege teaching yogato athletes. If you’re interested in joining us next week we have a few spots left. You are welcome to drop in. Next week we’ll work the entire body again and also touch on balance, core strength, breath, and overall body awareness. Here’s a little more about next week’s class.Thanks again to all who came out this afternoon. XOXO Keli
p.s. It only made sense to bike to Yoga for Athletes and yeah, yeah, yeah… that is indeed Kombucha in my water bottle cage
I am looking forward toteaching Yin Yoga this evening, Friday March 6 from 4:30-5:30pm at Priya Hot Yoga. I am subbing for the wonderful Caitlin and while I will miss taking her class this evening I am equally happy to have the opportunity to guide this class. Yin yoga is such a wonderful way to end a week and begin the weekend. Class will be warm rather than hot. Yin is slow, relaxing and we hold poses for three to five minutes targeting the deep connective tissues, ligaments, fascia, and tendons along with the energetic systems of the body, increasing the body’s natural range of motion. And of course in my Yin classes always include a little breath work too.
About Yin Yoga. If you have been practicing yoga for a while now, perhaps you may be experiencing just some of the benefits yoga offers you. Yin Yoga is the other half of yoga. In our Yang-like lifestyles where we are constantly active both physically and/or mental, we experience exhaustion. This can lead to breakdown or injury, but Yin encourages us to embrace, release and relax into the posture, soften the muscle and move closer to the bone. The time spent in these postures can go along with a meditation practice if you have one or simply bringing awareness to the breath. The practice of Yin Yoga trains us to establish the habit of slowing down, paying attention and listening. One of the most challenging things to do is to be still. Yin gives you an opportunity to be still and it is when we are still that we become aware of many sensations throughout the body that we often do not recognize throughout the rest of the day. Yin yoga teaches us how to really listen, slow down and pay attention to the body. Yin is such a great compliment to other styles of yoga because it brings longer periods of time in postures that can sometimes be uncomfortable (not painful) to hold which then requires you to learn to just be, to accept what is, in that given moment. I had to give Yin a few chances before connecting to it. There is something deep about Yin that will reach part of you in a way only unique to Yin. I aim to practice Yin once a week and for me a regular Yin practice has poured over into an even healthier Yang practice (Vinyasa and Hot Vinyasa) which to me means a healthier life as a whole. And I wish that for everyone. On a snowy, cold early Friday evening what’s better than some yoga? See you tonight?
Some like it hot. Some like it cold. But who am I kidding? I love it HOT, HOT HOT! The snow never stops me though. So cold out there tonight that I couldn’t wait to get into the hot yoga studiobefore busting a move. Getting my OM on sending out positive vibes for this to be our final snowstorm this year. Spring, warmer weather, and outdoor fun is just around the corner. Cheers to what I think is our final Philly snowstorm of 2015.
March 5th I received thismessage on facebook.“Hi, I took your hot yoga class today. Great class! Just started yoga a month ago. What was your quote about your body not being your total worth?? I appreciated it.” K.
I shared with you all today in class that last week marked my 7th year of my yoga practice. I came to yoga initially curious about the physical benefits of yoga but eventually learned yoga is so much more than just physical. As a yoga instructorI know better than to dwell on the physical aspects of yoga and my body and that I am so much more than my body. You are so much more than your physical appearance and body. What kinds of things define you that have nothing to do with your body? What are your passions, talents, and dreams? What makes you who you are? It’s great to value and take care of your body as long as you realize that the body is not who you are. And your true worth is is so much more than your body.
Yoga is more than just asana, the physical element of yoga. A couple students asked me to send them a copy of this after class so I figured I would share it with everyone. This came from something I wrote last week “You are more than your body.”I’ve modified the above text slightly from what I originally wrote in order to share it at the end of each yoga class I’ve taught this week. I am happy the message has reached others. The full post is password protected because it’s personal, but if you’d like to read it please feel free tocontact meand I’ll send the password. I give thanks every day for being able to practice, share and teach yoga, but I especially appreciate teaching and sharing today. Thank you all for your feedback, support and kindness. Keli