Monday, November 30, 2009

Slow Down The Season

- Rebecca Merritt

Goodbye, November 30th - hello, December 1st! Another month comes to a close as I sit here printing New York Yoga schedules full of exciting classes and workshops for December. I am not sure how November flew by so quickly, but it does make me wonder how to make sure December does not do the same.

The Holidays can make us feel like we are ever in a hurry. This year, I am going to try to make time for rest during all my rushing around. I should note that by rest I do not mean getting to bed early. To rest or to relax is to give up all effort, silence the mind, and allow the body time to recuperate from our hectic daily lives.

If you have never taken Restorative Yoga this is the perfect time to add a class to your practice. Even if your practice is fast-paced, you are already familiar with a few restorative asanas – legs up the wall, child’s pose and savasana all fall into the restorative category. How often do we rejoice at the opportunity to be in these poses? Make some time for rest this season by giving yourself the gift of Restorative Yoga. Come check out a class full of gentle twists, breath and props to support you when you need it most this holiday season. I will see you there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Yogi Thanksgiving

- Rebecca Merritt

Every Thanksgiving I find I have more to be thankful for than the year before. There are the basics of course – family, a good home, the food on my table – but I am getting better at being grateful for the little things. I notice that I am thankful for the autumn air or the perfect cup of tea. I am thankful for my mother’s laughter or the opportunity to go barefoot at work. Some might say that I am growing wiser or more sentimental with age, but I like to think that practice makes perfect in such matters. I practice being thankful by doing yoga.

Yoga, in and of itself, is full of thanks giving. In her book, Yoga from the Inside, Christina Sell says: “Prasad, a Sanskrit word meaning ‘grace,’ is literally the food that has been offered to a deity, which is then shared among devotees as God’s gift and blessing.” Every time you dedicate your practice you are giving thanks for these blessings by opening your heart and putting your gratefulness out into the world. We repeat this throughout our Vinyasa with heart-opening asanas – poses that allow us to give a little more of ourselves every time we lift our hearts. Shavasana, final resting pose, allows us time not only to reflect on our practice but also on what we are thankful for. Class draws to a close with an exchange of gratitude between teacher and student. Juliana Mitchell, a New York Yoga teacher, closes her class by asking you to “take a moment to thank yourself for doing yoga.”

This Thanksgiving, if you are looking for an opportunity to give thanks, come stop by New York Yoga – dedicate your practice, open your heart, and thank yourself for doing yoga.

Can’t make it to class? Open your heart at home with Peaceful Warrior.