Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Life without TV

About 6 months ago, Scott & I finally decided to remove the television from our home.  We had been tossing around the idea for quite some time, but kept coming up with excuses.  "But what about FOOTBALL?" was probably the most compelling one.  But July 4th, we declared our independence from "the tube".  We'd had enough.  We actually took the set to the studio, and rearranged furniture to cover the gaping hole it seemed to leave.
At first, it was SO QUIET all the time, and even seemed a little lonely.  But now, I see that silence as such a blessing.  My life is so calm and peaceful.
Some of the other amazing blessings from our tv-free life:
-We communicate so much better.  There are few distractions, so we talk more often.  We're also more present when we communicate.  We're actually THERE for the conversation, not wandering off to whatever's on.
-We spend more time with family.  This is a solution to the football question earlier.  All of our parents live in town, and they are happy to see us when football is on.  We also watch with friends.  Someone always has the game on.
-We read all the time.  Scott has read more books than I think I've ever seen him read.  And I seem to be devouring books.  I always have one fiction and one non-fiction book going.  I'm getting around to all those yoga teacher training books I wanted to read, but never seemed to have time.
-Only good things come to our home.  As someone once said, tv is inviting people into your home, who you would never invite if they were actually standing there.  We have no foul language, no obnoxiousness, and no commercialism.
I could go on and on about how wonderful my life is.  And getting rid of TV has only helped.  I'm not saying this is for everyone, but see what happens if you get rid of it for a week.  Open up your time and your life, and see what else is waiting for you.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bags of Blessings for the Homeless

Many of you know that Dave Ramsey is one of my heroes.  Here, he shares the story of an awesome family that is teaching their children to GIVE.  Check it out.  I'm making some for my car TODAY!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cleaning Your Mat

About once a week, someone asks me how to wash their yoga mat, so here's a quick run-down.

Before we begin, please note that this is just for a regular yoga mat.  Specialty mats, such as Manduka, Lululemon, etc have specific instructions from the manufacturer that should be followed.
But if you have a regular mat, you can pretty much follow this procedure:

1-Washing the mat
If your washing machine is large enough to accomodate your mat without folding & squishing, this is the easiest way.  Just use a gentle cycle with a VERY little bit of soap.  Otherwise, it will be hard to get all the soap out.
If your washing machine, like mine, is too small, you'll need to wash your mat in the bathtub.  Just run 3-4 inches of warm water.  Place your mat in and add a small amount of your favorite cleanser.  I use Young Living's Thieves Household Cleaner, which you can order online, or buy here at the studio.  Then scrub your mat gently with a brush.  Finally, rinse your mat well.  I usually take mine outside & spray it well with the garden hose.

2-Drying the mat
On a warm, dry, sunny day, the best thing to do is hang your mat up outside somewhere.  If that won't work, you can actually dry your mat on the air-only cycle a couple of times.  Then, hang it over a shower curtain rod overnight.

This should help restore some of the stickiness to your mat, and get rid of all those foot germs!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New daily meditation practice

So, lately, I've really made an effort to focus & meditate more.  And all this work, while sometimes annoying has only led me to a deeper appreciation of yoga.  I'm here to tell you:  It really DOES work.  So, each day, I've done two solid practices:  1-I meditate for 10 minutes (I know, for some of you, this is child's play, but I'm a secret type-A personality and for me, this is a big deal!), 2-I chant mantra.  Yes.  108, with mala beads & everything.  It's been amazing!  The mantra is my favorite.  At the beginning, I look at all of those beads & think, "oh, boy, 108 is a lot!".  But by about halfway through, I don't want it to end.  Sure, I get some strange looks from my husband & animals, when I happen to be chanting around them.  But it's worth it.  And the meditation is getting easier.  I'm actually thinking of moving up to 15 minutes....big time!
So, what's your practice?  Do you meditate?  Use mala?  Do a walking meditation?  What brings you to calm?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Forage & Feast

Over the Memorial day weekend, Scott & I attended a great program, just outside of Asheville, called Forage & Feast.  It was put on by Appalachia School of Holistic Herbalism, and occurred at SoulFlower Botanical Sanctuary.  For most of our time together, we walked through the gardens and the woods, learning about plant species, and which are safe to eat, and which are poisonous.  BTW, don't eat buttercups!  As we walked, we collected bags of herbs.  When we collected enough, the group went inside and made dinner, using what we had collected.  These wild things became a delicious salad, a bright pesto, a dip, and even a dessert.
For more info about herbs, check out http://www.herbsheal.com/
Have you eaten anything wild lately?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joe Taft at Mountain Yoga

This past Sunday, we hosted a workshop starring Joe Taft.  Joe is an instructor at Asheville Yoga Center and helps with the teacher training program there.  We had 20 students, and everyone worked up a great sweat.  His theme for the class was "Let Love Rule", and he challenged us with some great heart-opening techniques.  To see more about Joe, check out his website at http://www.joetaftyoga.com/.  Awesome workshop, Joe!  We hope to have him back again soon.  And keep an eye out for other workshops, coming soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One Year already??

Mountcastle Center
Wow.  May 1st is sneaking up on me.  That's the one-year anniversary of Mountain Yoga's move to the Mountcastle Center.  What a ride!  It seems like yesterday.
In case you don't know, Mountain Yoga was founded in November, 2008.  For several months, we had just a few classes a week and met at Mullins Shaolin-Kung Fu.  That was a different atmosphere for yoga classes, as it is a HUGE space, with weapons on the wall.  :-)  But we were so thankful to Garry Mullins for allowing us to get our start there.  In April of 2009, we found the studio at the King Center in downtown Johnson City, and Mountain Yoga Studio was born.  This small, beautiful space was a leap of faith for us.  Could we make rent each month?  But we did.  And quickly, we outgrew the space and were looking for a new place.  Which brings us to May, 2010.  With butterflies in my stomach, I signed a lease for the old Cat's music space, behind Target.  Rent was much higher, but so was the visibility.  Could this new studio survive?  What was I getting into?
But, here we are, one year later.  And Mountain Yoga is more than I dreamed.  Our students are amazing, happy, dedicated & loving.  I wake up each morning, grateful for what God has given me.  And we're looking forward to more years of sharing yoga & loving each other.
So, Monday, May 2nd, we're celebrating!  Join us for a class, and get snacks & coffee from The Coffee & Tea Haven.
Most of all, THANK YOU to all our wonderful students and dear friends.  You're the greatest!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Beauty of Backbending!

This past weekend, my adorable friend, Sami Te, joined us from Asheville to lead a backbending workshop.  Sami Te is a yoga instructor, a fire dancer, an aerialist, and a physical therapy student.  She's great at what she does, and you can check out more at http://www.samiterocks.com/.    But on Saturday, she led an awesome workshop, here at Mountain Yoga.  She began with a brief introduction of the musculature involved in backbending, and a discussion of agonist & antagonist muscles (actor & reactor), to make our practice safer & more effective.  Then we had a beautiful practice, with almost all the backbending poses I know, plus some Q & A time at the end.  We had a nice crowd here, and the atmosphere was light & fun.  Sami Te's energy made it such an enjoyable experience.  After class, many of the students enjoyed asking about & seeing several of her tattoos.  Overall, it was a great workshop, and we're hoping to have her teach here again sometime.  Personally, I got an excellent workout, and achieved some of my best backbends ever.   Thanks so much, Sami Te!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cranio-Sacral Therapy

Last week, I had the greatest therapy experience!  I went to Barbara Dray at East Tennessee Medical Massage, just up the hill from the yoga studio.  Despite (or maybe because of) the many classes I teach, my hips have been rotated for months, which causes some pain to my low back.  Barb, who also does a great massage, tried CranioSacral therapy on me. 
I was not very familiar with CST, so she sent me some info from the Upledger Institute.  In the late seventies, Dr. John E. Upledger, an osteopathic physician, developed a system where the practitioner uses a gentle hand pressure to help release restrictions in the craniosacral system, and thereby improving the function of the central nervous system.  CST is used in many applications, and to treat many diseases.
As for my experience:  Barbara used a very gentle touch, primarily on my left hip.  My job was to relax and breathe.  The first time she did CST on me, I felt, very clearly, one of my hip adductor muscles release.  Amazing.  The second time, I believe the treatment allowed my hips to come out of their rotation.  They aren't perfect, but much, much better than before.
If you are interested in CranioSacral therapy, you can contact Barbara Dray at http://www.dreamweaverha.com/
Have a great week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Daytime Mountain Yoga

Me, on TV!
Last Friday, Mountain Yoga was blessed to be featured on Daytime Tricities, a local talk show.  I was able to take just a few minutes and show the hostess, Amy Lynn, how to do Vir 1 & 2 (warriors).  It was awesome.  Spread the yoga...spread the love!

Check it out here:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yoga for patience

I need patience.  Daily.  The weather here has been SO nice, and despite the fact that it's just February, I have spring fever.  And many people around me do, too.  I just want to plant my garden and take my dog to the lake.  Is that too much to ask?  Apparently, it is, because the temps are dropping again.
So, how does one go about getting more patience?
First, breathe.  Take long, slow, deep breaths, really feeling the air all the way in your lungs.  Notice the expansion of your lungs.  See if you can feel all those little sacks of air.
Second, be grateful.  Look around you and find reasons to be grateful for what is.  What can you enjoy this moment that might be fleeting?  (So, I'm enjoying the few minutes of sunshine & the fact that my life is not rushing by too quickly)
Third, do yoga, of course!  Yin Yoga is a great reminder for patience.  In Yin, we hold the pose as much as 5 minutes.  This is a great teacher of patience.  We breathe, we bring the monkey mind back to the present, and we wait.  With practice, it becomes less "waiting", and more "being".  Count your breaths, if the mind really wanders, but keep trying to be right here, in the moment.
If you would like to practice patience at home, simply try a supported child's pose, or breathe through a long pigeon pose.  At the studio, we incorporate Yin poses into all of our Restorative classes (check out http://www.mountainyogatn.com/ for the schedule).  For more online info, look up Paul Grilley.  He's the Yin guru.
So, take a breath.  Be patient.  All you need is already here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lavender Essential Oil

At Mountain Yoga, we employ many forms of aromatherapy, from candles & incense, to pure essential oils.  According to Web MD, Aromatherapy is defined as "the use of essential oils from plants as therapy to improve physical, emotional & spiritual well-being".
Lavender essential oil is a favorite at our studio. We mix a few drops in some water & use as a calming spray that helps deepen sivasana.  Lavender has some hormone-like effects, but with few bad side effects.  It may improve the quality of life for cancer patients by relieving their stress & anxiety.  Lavender has been proven to enhance relaxation, relieve anxiety and help with depression.  The scent of it has even been proven to enhance sleep.
I like lavender essential oil, especially during these cold winter months.  It helps my mood, and calms my monkey-mind.
For more information, check out WebMD, aromatherapy.
My favorite lavender oil is here:  www.youngliving.com/essential-oils/Lavender, but you can find it at any health food store.  If you go to young living, you can use my distributer number:  1064064.
Happy sleeping!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Product Highlight-LifeFactory glass waterbottle

Today, we highlight the LifeFactory glass water bottles.  These little guys are glass, with a protective silicone sleeve, and a screw-on lid.  They are BPA- and other chemical-free.  They are dishwasher safe, and tougher than you'd think.  I've dropped mine, and it was just fine!  If you're looking to avoid all the yuck that can get into your system through your regular, plastic water bottle, try one of these!  Check out http://www.lifefactory.com/ for more information.  We carry the 22-oz at the studio for only $20, and the 16-oz for only $16. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Handmade rice heating bags

If you can sew, you can make a really nice rice-filled handmade heating pad.  These are microwaveable, and all-natural, and pretty quick to put together.

You'll need:
-a 12 x 12 inch square of the outside fabric (I used leftover quilt squares)
-a 12 x 12 inch square of lining fabric
-a washcloth
-a funnel
-thread & sewing supplies
-a sewing machine
-cutting supplies (I used a rotary cutter, a self-healing cutting mat & a quilting ruler, but you could use scissors and a regular ruler)

leftover quilt square

 Begin by cutting your fabrics.  Make sure the outside & lining are the same size.

Create a pocket, by folding the outside fabric in half, right-sides together.  Stitch one short side & the long side closed.  Create another pocket from the lining fabric, but leave a 3" opening in the middle of the long side.

Be sure to clip your corners.

Turn the outside pocket right-sides out, and insert it into the lining pocket, placing the raw edges together.  Stitch around the top.

 Reach through the hole in the lining pocket and pull out the outside fabric.  Turn the lining pocket right side out & use a butter knife to push out the corners.

Stitch together the hole in the lining, using either a hand stitch or a topstitch.
Push the lining down into the outside pocket.
Topstitch around the opening, to create a more finished look.

Next, fold your washcloth in half.  Stitch up the short sides, then sew parallel lines, to create small pockets in the washcloth.

Use a funnel to pour rice into the small pockets, filling about 1/2 full.  Stitch across the top to close.
Insert washcloth into cover & you're done!
Heating pads can be microwaved 1-2 minutes, but please be careful as you remove them.  They will be hot.

If you aren't interested in making your own, these are available at the studio, or by phone.
Mountain Yoga Studio
151-A East Mountcastle
Johnson City, TN  37601

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fresh Starts

Let me begin today by saying "I LOVE A NEW YEAR!"
It's such a fresh start.  Yogis believe that we can be fresh & new each moment of each day.  That by being present in each moment, we wipe away the past & the future, and all we have is right now.  So, to me, the New Year is very yogic.
Take a breath, right now, and think about inhaling purity, then exhaling anything from 2010 (or before) that you no longer need.  What repetitive thoughts do you have that no longer serve you?  What habits do you have that are destructive to your health and the well-being of others?  What would you like to change about the way you interact with the world?  Anything is possible.  At this moment, you are not your past, or even your future.  All of these exist only in the mind.  Clear them out to make room for the 'you' that you want to be.  Inhale cleanliness, exhale your mental baggage. 
Begin to notice your 'self-talk'.  What kind of things do you say in your own mind when confronted with a challenge?  Are you plagued by "I'm not good enough", held back by "That will never happen", or weighed down by how you think others view you?  Exhale & see if you can let go of some of this chatter.  You don't need that in your life.  Start today with affirmations.  Remind yourself that you have an eternal Soul, or a Witness, that is more than this life.  And you're not only good enough, but you are to be cherished.   Make a resolution to start positive self-talk today.
And finally, release previous failures, to make room for future successes.  Yoga can make great changes in your life.  If you've tried before to get consistent with your yoga practice, but have fallen off the wagon, dust yourself off and try again.  The past is gone.  All you have is right now.  So, clear some room, light a candle, and get out your mat!
Happy New Year & Namaste

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