TONING YOGA (Pilates): This is a one hour class of great music and lots of movement. You'll combine the two great traditions of yoga & Pilates with a shift in focus from relaxing and releasing to strengthening and engaging our muscles while moving our body with conscious determination. You'll lengthen your muscles and improve range of motion by creating space and strength in your joints. You will transform your body while keeping your shoulders, hips, and knees healthy and strong. This is a fun class!
RELAXING YOGA: "To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax, and float." Alan Watts
This is the essence of this class. You learn to trust and let go. You trust that things will be just as they should be and you let go of thinking that you can control everything and everyone in your life. You learn how your thoughts shape your emotions and how your emotions impact your body. You witness this connection by paying attention to the sensations you experience during your class. The sensations you feel are your body's way of communicating and guiding you to the place of healing and letting go. This class teaches you how to embrace your body's wisdom by simply paying attention. If you are stiff, sore, suffering from depression, anxiety or simply want to calm your mind and open your body, this is the class for you. This is the type of class that helped me heal and become the person I am today!
ENERGIZING YOGA: “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” Nikola Tesla
This is the essence of this class – to create a personal frequency and vibration that improves the quality of your life. You change your energy when you change the way you breathe, think and act. In this class, you will practice pranayama, mindfulness and flowing yoga sequences. Each in its own way brings change to your energy. Ultimately it is you who decides the energy that you bring into your world and this class gives you the tools you need to own your choice.
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During my studies, in India, we discussed the subtle powers of asanas. In my textbook, I made a note and highlighted the words, "Asanas affect our subconscious mind. They force us to face negative issues of the past." I know this to be true from my personal experience with yoga. The more I practiced, the more insights I had, and with them, came changes to the way I was thinking. Most importantly, I came to know my spirit. I became a kinder person. Asanas are what most people think of when they think of yoga. An asana is a posture that we hold. The more advanced - the longer the hold - the more powerful the posture. It is always important to be in a posture that feels right for your body. This knowing of what feels right for your body is probably what makes yoga so powerful. My personal experience with my body had been one of complete disconnect. I knew I was in pain, but often it was hard to describe where my pain was. I found it often moved around and I was mentally aggravated by it. I often ignored it until it became so intense that ignoring was impossible. I felt like a victim.
It was this attitude that got me to the point of almost having back surgery. During this time of my life, I suffered from many ailments; neck, shoulder and back pain were the just the beginning, hives, teeth grinding and clenching (that lead to 3 root canals and the removal of one tooth that I managed to crush), reoccurring bladder and yeast infections, numb and tingly fingers and hemorrhoids. This was happening while I was in my twenties and thirties. Fitness had always been part of my life. I was a certified fitness instructor. I was an avid mountain biker, hiker, and swimmer. I loved to be active! However, what I needed was to be still. This is one of the greatest differences between the exercise that we know it in the west and Yoga.
Yoga postures require you to be focused on your inner body; the sounds and feelings that are happening inside you. You have to give your body your full attention. The more closely you listen, the more you hear. This is when you tap into the power of yoga. This is when you begin to understand the language of your spirit. Our bodies communicate to us constantly through pain and pleasure. Before yoga, my body, and my spirit were screaming at me to get my attention. Now my body and my spirit need only whisper for me to listen and hear. Now in my fifties, I am enjoying the most pain-free time and creative of my life! It feels so good!
When we are having difficulty in life; when negative emotions start to rule our brains, we suffer physically. This was the case with me. By practicing yoga I began to tap into a deeper understanding of life and began to realize the importance of right action and right thought. Things that had happened in my life began to surface, and as they did, I began to choose the right choice. I began to choose forgiveness over anger, love over hate and trust over doubt and uncertainty. I began to release control over things I really never had any control over, and at the same time, I took back my power over things I did have control over. The tension and the pain in my body began to slowly melt away. It took time but it was evident that I was moving in the right direction. When I asked my students how yoga had changed their life, one person said, "I feel like I am a kinder person." I too feel like I am a kinder person.
I have shared a small portion of my life with you. I hope it helps you on your yoga journey. I hope you are able to find a teacher who inspires you to look within, to find your true perfect self. Shanti (peace), Gail
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