In a study published in 2015 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, researcher and scientist, Brittany Fair, as quoted in yogaresearchandbeyond.com, states, “. . . subjects with more hours of weekly yoga practice showed greater brain volumes than those subjects that practiced less. In addition, utilizing both yoga postures and meditation during practice contributed to the biggest size differences observed in the hippocampus among other regions.”
Ms. Fair combines her scientific background and her yoga teacher training expertise to lead NeuroFlow yoga workshops where the focus is on the neuroscience of yoga while moving your body and practicing yoga and helps participants understand how yoga and meditation affect the brain.
“The things we think and the things we do have a dynamic impact on our brain, our attitudes, and ultimately our reality,” notes yoga instructor, Zuzu Perkal in her Wanderlust article, How Yoga Changes Your Brain. “Yoga is all about taking what we learn on the mat (all the things we’ve discussed here today: deep breathing, softening muscles, clearing the mind, and enjoying the present moment) and bringing it into our daily lives. These are the techniques that break bad habits, eliminate negativity, and diminish stress.”
Jessica Migala, reporting for NBC news learned, “Additional observational research on mindfulness and meditation (both are large components of yoga) sheds light on how classes may actually influence your brain structure, says Jonathan Greenberg, a postdoctoral research fellow in the department of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. (Research on yoga alone is limited, but you can make some inferences by looking at meditation studies, he notes.) Studies looking at how the brain changes before and after meditation found that brain structures involved in awareness, attention and self-related thinking changed in structure and increased in volume, he says. Plus, there’s your memory. ‘After eight weeks of meditation training, research found that the hippocampus, which is involved in learning and memory, developed more gray matter density,’ he notes.”
Why does yoga and meditation change the way the brain works? “Yoga works not because the poses are relaxing, but because they are stressful. It is your attempts to remain calm during this stress that create yoga’s greatest neurobiological benefit,” says Alex Korb, PhD, in Psychology Today.
Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., has been fully engaged in basic and clinical research on the effectiveness of yoga and
meditation practices in improving physical and psychological health for over 10 years. He has also practiced a yoga lifestyle for over 40 years and is a certified Kundalini Yoga instructor. He is the Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute, Research Director of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. In his book, Your Brain on Yoga, he states, “There are many different systems in our body, and our brain and genes control all of them. Although we cannot change our DNA, certain behaviors will change which genes are turned off and which are turned on. If you smoke cigarettes, for example, you may turn on genes that elevate your cancer risk. By doing yoga and contemplative practices, you will positively impact specific gene activity, which can change your physiological state and help to regulate your stress response.” He goes on to say, ” Certain areas of our brain undergo positive structural changes when we meditate. Because the brain exhibits plasticity, which means it has the ability to change, whatever you experience will be reflected in and have impact on your brain structure.”
Harvard graduate and international yoga teacher, Gina M. Florio, summarizes Dr. Khalsa’s work as well as other studies in her article, 6 Ways Yoga Changes Your Brain:
Our mission at Sunrise Yoga is to promote yoga as a lifelong process by providing opportunities and facilities for experience and development in a culture of community. We believe this process can be entered by anyone at any time, regardless of age or fitness level, and, as our name implies, we encourage each person to daily engage in this process as the relationship with yoga is explored. We want to assist you in building the mind body connection of yoga and mediation.
Is your brain in need of a remodel/upgrade? With all the evidence pointing to the positive impacts of yoga and mediation on your brain, why not give it a try? Unsure where to start? We are here to help.
If you have been practicing yoga and meditation for some time, what changes have you noticed that would support the information noted here?
Do you have trouble letting go?
Want to shift from “go-go-go” to “letting go”? Allow Elaine to lead you through supported yoga postures that will encourage deep relaxation in the Quieting the Mind session, Friday, 12/7, 6:00 pm.
Is this a time of letting go for you? What techniques have you found that help you really, truly, “let go”?
Register for Quieting the Mind with Elaine through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
As we go through the holiday season, we often find ourselves stretched to the max . . . we try to stretch our time (and our wallets) to fit in all the holiday events and holiday shopping . . . and all that stretching can lead to holiday stress! Yikes!
But, are you aware that the right kind of stretching . . . yoga, for the body, meditation for the mind . . . can help reduce stress?
“Life can be filled with chaos and stress. Soon joints begin to hurt, backs hurt, and people find themselves moving stiffly as they feel tense. Stretching is one way to help remove stress from life and bodies,” according to https://stress.lovetoknow.com/
Yoga International (https://yogainternational.com/) says, “there are three types of stretching, and we may do them all, to varying degrees, in yoga:
1. static (holding a position)
2. dynamic active (bringing a joint repeatedly through its range of motion)
3. PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, one technique of which requires the contraction of the target muscle when it is stretched, followed by a more passive stretch with the muscle relaxed)”
And, https://allstressmanagement.com/ notes the following ten benefits of stretching:
1. Improve joint range of movement, without compromising joint stability.
2. Prevent Injury.
3. Decreases muscle soreness after exercise.
4. Promotes circulation, increases blood supply and nutrients to muscles and joints.
5. Develops mind, body awareness as the body is allowed to move more freely when stretching is applied with focussed attention.
6. Enhances co-ordination, by allowing freedom of movements.
7. Improves posture with the structures being more balanced and even.
8. Reduces stress and pain by getting rid of tension and the lactic acid in the body.
9. Loosens the minds control of the body.
10. Enhances performance and quality of life.
Keep your holiday stress at bay this year through stretching! Join Valerie this Wednesday, December 5th, during her Stretch Everything Select Your Study Session. In this class you will practice yoga poses that stretch each part of your body, which can make every day movement easier and more flexible. The class is open to all experience levels.
Register through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Questions about stretching? yoga? stress? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net.
Are instructional yoga videos on yoga poses something you would like us to post more frequently? Please watch the video on Tree Pose (Vrksasana) and give us your feedback! More pose instructions? Other video requests?
If you would like to register for a Sunrise Yoga class, use our Sunrise Yoga app, register online, or through the studio.
On this Thanksgiving Day, it can be challenging to step out from the busyness and the activities and truly remember to be thankful. This day is a reminder to us that we can be in a state of thanksgiving and gratitude every day and to try to be present wherever we are.
Here at Sunrise Yoga Studio, we often get calls asking us, “What is Yoga?” The interesting answer to that question is, “What do you need it to be?”
The reason we answer it this way is because of the individual experience involved. Your experience will be different than someone else’s because your goals are unique, what type of yoga you do varies, and how you approach the techniques and guidance can be different. One of the advantages you have of coming to see us is that we consider what your needs are, such as wellness, fitness, mental clarity, spiritual growth, peace of mind, stress relief, vitality, healing, balance, pain relief, posture, better sleep, and stamina.
We are thankful yoga can provide so many benefits in ways that are as unique as the individuals participating in yoga. And we hope that, through your yoga journey, a deeper sense of gratitude will develop.
Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.
In an article for Greater Good Magazine, he states, “We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:”
• Stronger immune systems
• Less bothered by aches and pains
• Lower blood pressure
• Exercise more and take better care of their health
• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
• Higher levels of positive emotions
• More alert, alive, and awake
• More joy and pleasure
• More optimism and happiness
• More helpful, generous, and compassionate
• More forgiving
• More outgoing
• Feel less lonely and isolated.
The benefits of gratitude and the benefits of yoga are not surprisingly similar! How can you incorporate gratitude development in your yoga practice?
“It can be hard to live in a constant state of gratitude, but you can learn to cultivate it by practicing yoga,” says Lena Schmidt of The Chopra Center. She suggests, “Next time you’re on your mat, try these eight yoga poses that inspire gratitude. For the best results, hold each pose for five to 10 breaths.”
Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Find gratitude for your breath—a sign that you are alive and everything is possible.
Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) – As you breathe calmly, consider one part of your body for which you are especially grateful.
Supported Reclining Heart Opener (Setu Bandhasana Variation) – Consider a friend or mentor who is dear to you and all you’ve learned from him or her. Allow the thought of this person to inspire feelings of love and gratitude in your heart.
Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) – Find gratitude for your feet and all the adventures they take you on.
Mountain Pose with Raised Hands (Tadasana + Urdva Hastasana) – Find gratitude for all of your hopes and dreams and the unknown adventure of the future.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) – Find gratitude for an aspect of your life or a talent you hold that you appreciate.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana) – As you open your heart, throat, and shoulders, find gratitude for all the courage you’ve summoned into your life, and how it’s helped you through challenges big and small.
Final Resting Pose (Savasana) – Find compassion and gratitude for your own journey, for all of your strengths and all of your struggles.
What are your thoughts on how yoga can help create a greater sense of gratitude? We’d love to know!
In the every day world things can get busy and stressful and it can become difficult to drown out the noise that’s part of being an adult. Every so often we need a way to disconnect but recharge, shut down but tune in, relax but restore.
If any of these situations resonated with you, come join Percussionist Bill Smith and Sunrise Yoga Instructor Cathy Howe for a wonderful session of restorative yoga with sound immersion!
Discover a deep sense of tranquility as you the let the vibrations of gongs and bells wash over you as you relax through a series of restorative yoga poses. After this type of yoga practice, participants can have reduced stress, a better quality of sleep, a profound sense of calm and focus and a refreshed feeling and outlook.
Come relax and restore, Sunday, November 11th, 5:00-6:30 pm. REGISTER BY NOVEMBER 4, 2018, AND SAVE $5 OFF THE WORKSHOP PRICE!
If you have participated in restorative yoga and sound immersion before, please tell us what you think!
Register for this workshop through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Visit Bill’s web site and listen to samples of his music! His music is also available on YouTube!
Learn more about the practice of yoga by attending one of our yoga workshops! Our yoga workshops, although they vary in terms of instruction and topic, focus on the core approach of yoga – helping everyone move toward greater wellness and wellbeing.
Enhance your knowledge of yoga, try different yoga practices, and strengthen your understanding of different yoga poses and movement techniques at one of Sunrise Yoga Studio’s yoga workshops. Outside of our regular class schedule, we bring in incredible guest yoga instructors to teach yoga workshops that focus on different aspects of yoga and the many benefits it provides to the mind, body, and spirit.
The next yoga workshop at Sunrise Yoga brings back a very popular yoga instructor, Cindy Dollar. Cindy has been helping people live more flexible and balanced lives since 1985. She teaches yoga classes and offers private yoga instruction in Asheville, and leads yoga workshops throughout the Southeast. Cindy’s been voted one of the Best Yoga Teachers in Western North Carolina for the last ten years. She is the former owner of Asheville’s One Center Yoga and, we are happy to have her back at Sunrise!
In a commentary on commitment to yoga, Cindy says, “Frequently, potential students will find reasons not to attend before they attend the first class. They feel like they are too stiff, too old, too tired, too short, too heavy, or too “fill-in-the-blank.” Perhaps they think these issues will magically disappear and then they can come to class. In actuality, all those issues might not go away by coming to class. Nevertheless, one’s relationship with “too stiff, too old, too tired, too short, or too heavy” will change as one develops a loving relationship with one’s body through focusing on the strength, flexibility, and stability that it already has.”
Cindy brings her incredible yoga experience and knowledge to Sunrise Yoga Friday through Sunday, November 2nd – 4th. Her sessions include:
Yoga for Emotional Wellbeing, Friday, November 2nd, 6:00-8:00 pm (Individual session cost is $45.) covering yoga to help release tension and stress, calm and focus the mind, and increase clarity of mind. In this session, you will shift into a sense of being grounded and resilient.
Yoga from a Different Angle, Saturday, November 3rd, 9:30 am -12:30 pm (Individual session cost is $65.) where you will experience the world through the yoga lens while practicing twists, inversions and a variety of poses that let you see the world from a different angle, both literally and figuratively.
Working Toward Stillness, Saturday, November 3rd, 2:00-4:00 pm (Individual session cost is $45.) in which you will travel the roadmap to a rewarding meditation practice. Explore asanas (postures) that help prepare you for sitting, along with meditation techniques to help you cultivate the serenity and quietude that meditation offers.
Yoga for Sciatica, Sunday, November 4th, 9:30 am-12:30 pm (Individual session cost is $65.) where you can explore underlying causes of back pain & discover how to find relief through your yoga practice.
If you would like to experience the full Cindy Dollar weekend workshop, you will save $10 over the individual session registration fees. The cost for the full weekend yoga workshop is $210.
Register for the full weekend or for individual sessions through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Future yoga workshops at Sunrise Yoga include:
Sound Immersion with Percussionist Bill Smith and Restorative Yoga with Cathy Howe, Sunday, November 11th, 5:00-6:30 pm (Workshop cost is $20 if you register by November 4th; $25 after. Sunrise Yoga members receive a 10% discount when registering at the front desk.) Discover a deep sense of tranquility as you the let the vibrations of gongs and bells wash over you as you relax through a series of restorative yoga poses. After this type of practice, participants can have reduced stress, a better quality of sleep, a profound sense of calm and focus and a refreshed feeling and outlook.
Saturday Morning Workshop with Valerie Kiser (owner/director of Sunrise Yoga Studio and co-owner of East Coast Yoga Therapy), Saturday, December 1st, 9:00 am-1:00 pm (Workshop cost is $40 if you register by November 24th; $50 after. Sunrise Yoga members receive a 20% discount when registering at the front desk.) Yoga class with an emphasis of working toward Handstand; anatomy of the lower arm. Deepen your yoga practice and knowledge. Only 6 months prior yoga experience required at Level 1 and above.
Sunday Morning Workshop with Valerie Kiser (owner/director of Sunrise Yoga Studio and co-owner of East Coast Yoga Therapy), Sunday, December 2nd, 9:00 am-1:00 pm (Workshop cost is $40 if you register by November 24th; $50 after. Sunrise Yoga members receive a 20% discount when registering at the front desk.) Discuss and practice digital pranayamas; discuss therapeutics related to the lower arm; and enjoy a yoga practice to put the discussions into practice. Deepen your yoga practice and knowledge. Only 6 months prior yoga experience required at Level 1 and above.
Healing Yoga for Cancer Weekend Intensive with Cheryl Fenner Brown (C-IAYT, ERYT 500), Friday through Sunday, February 15th-17th (Workshop cost is $240 if you register by February 3rd; $275 after. Participants will receive 12 hours towards their CEC’s for Yoga Alliance.) This weekend immersion for yoga teachers and health care practitioners teaches the theory and practice of yoga therapy for cancer patients and survivors, as well as how both active and contemplative practices can help ease treatment side-effects. Learn about the anatomy of cancer and how yoga helps strengthen the immune system. In addition, learn how to adapt common asanas for patients in active treatment, what is safe and what should be avoided. Finally, learn how to use contemplative practices that bolster emotional and spiritual well-being, including mudras (hand gestures), pranayama (breathing), mantras (chanting and sound), sankalpa (intention), and yoga nidra (guided relaxation). Cheryl’s Healing Yoga for Cancer Survivorship feasibility study was presented at IAYT’s Symposium on Yoga Research and the Society of Integrative Oncology’s annual conferences in 2015 and highlighted in Yoga Journal. From this work she developed a 50-hr Healing Yoga for Cancer teacher training that is offered nationwide.
Our goal at Sunrise Yoga is to provide a variety of yoga experiences and opportunities through ongoing classes as well as specialized yoga workshops to help you deepen your yoga practice and discover new yoga connections. We’ll see you on the mat!
Questions? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net or call the studio.
October is . . .
. . . a time of pumpkin spice everything and usually, lots of fall color! We typically think of fall color including oranges and yellows and reds but fall color also includes a lot of PINK!
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and all the awareness materials and branding are pink! During October, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and collaborating organizations work to raise awareness of the importance of early detection steps and treatments.
According to Wikipedia, “In 1993 Evelyn Lauder, Senior Corporate Vice President of the Estée Lauder Companies, founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and established the pink ribbon as its symbol.” This symbol is quite prevalent all year long but especially in October.
The breastcancer.org site notes that,
Our own Sunrise Yoga instructor, Kim Crawford, discovered yoga as part of her breast cancer journey. She tried yoga to improve her range of motion after breast cancer treatments but discovered much more!
Cancer is scary regardless of who it affects and where it attacks. Research is improving every day and we are, hopefully, coming closer and closer to cures for all the types of cancers that exist.
In February, Sunrise Yoga will host Cheryl Fenner Brown, C-IYAT, ERYT 500, and her Healing Yoga for Cancer Survivorship workshop to Sunrise Yoga. While this workshop is only for yoga teachers and health care practitioners, we want you to know about it as our Sunrise Yoga instructors will be participating! We want to do what we can to help raise awareness and beat the odds for our yoga students.
If you feel comfortable, share your yoga and cancer story with us. You might be the “pink push” someone else needs!
Questions for us about how yoga can help with cancer? Email us at info@SunriseYoga.net.
If the thought of hanging from straps attached to a wall intimidates you, you aren’t alone! “I had assumed wall yoga was just for yogi pros, but I was totally wrong,” says Chelsey Hamilton for Health.com. “I kept seeing impressive images of yogis suspended in acrobatic poses. Although they seemed so graceful floating in midair, I was having a hard time picturing myself attempting these gravity-defying feats. I worried I wasn’t quite experienced enough.”
“The principle behind the Yoga Wall has been around for decades, originally designed by BKS Iyengar in the form of ropes attached to wall hooks to assist students in various yoga asana (poses),” notes The Great Yoga Wall. Today’s updated version consists of spring loaded sockets mounted in the wall that can receive adjustable straps that accommodate every height and body type.
The Great Yoga Wall notes the following benefits of practicing on the yoga wall where gravity can be appreciated and utilized:
Just as a good yoga teacher can help you develop further in a yoga pose, so too can experiencing yoga in near weightless state by using the yoga wall! And an environment with a great yoga wall instructor (i.e., Sunrise Yoga Studio owner and director, Valerie Kiser) and an expanse of yoga wall together creates phenomenal opportunities for development in your yoga practice!
The Spirit of Yoga notes, “It is said in Yoga, that ‘you are only as old as your spine.’ Thus, as long as you have a healthy and flexible spine, your ability to participate in life is endless! To open the spine in every direction without compression = hang upside down and practice yoga!”
Come “hang” with us at Sunrise Yoga! We offer a Yoga Wall class on Tuesdays, 8:30-9:45 am. AND, we have a special Select Your Study session on Wednesday, October 3rd, 6:00-7:30 pm, that is a spinal sequence on the Yoga Wall!
Class size is limited. Level 1 and above. Register through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
The Life is Good® apparel and accessories company conducted a survey this summer on optimism and positivity and ran a campaign leading up to today, National Positive Thinking Day. The goal was to “put more positivity into the world, one post at a time.” For every positive thought shared, Life is Good® donated $1 to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to support the men and women who dedicate their careers to helping children heal from the devastating impact of early childhood trauma.
Overall, the survey found that 75% of us are optimistic and 25% are pessimistic, and even though 54% feel negative about world affairs, 86% are still optimistic for the future.
Krishna Kumar Mishra, Department of Psychology, Banaras Hindu University, in Optimism as Predictor of Good Life, cited a 1985 study (Scheier and Carver) which states, “individuals who hold positive expectations for the future are assumed to believe that good things will occur in their lives, and tend to see desired outcomes as attainable and to persist in their goal-directed efforts. In contrast, individuals who hold negative outcome expectations for their future are assumed to expect bad things to happen, and tend to withdraw effort more easily, become passive and finally to give up on achieving their goals.” Mishra’s own study of 426 participants “revealed that optimism was positively correlated with life satisfaction.”
“One study highlighted how optimism or pessimism may affect, or even predict, your recovery from a major life event. Those who had a more positive outlook bounced back faster than those who did not,” according to Georgetown Medical Clinic. Additionally, optimists tend to, “Be more likely to practice preventive health measures because they believe their actions make a difference.”
Further, “Optimists tend to see setbacks as specific, temporary, and changeable. Because of this, they are motivated to take action. Non-optimists tend to look at setbacks as general, permanent, and hopeless—symptoms of widespread failure that cannot be changed or managed.”
Two statistics from the Life is Good® survey showed:
People who meditate are 9% more likely to be optismistic than those who don’t.
People who exercise at least once a week are 41% more likely to be optimistic than those who don’t.
The Art of Living suggests the ability “to control our mind and keep it centered” is a “skill can be nurtured when we give our minds the time and space to decelerate and rest for a while.” The site suggests twenty minutes of meditation per day can facilitate this.
“The peace and happiness we access on our mats is no accident.
Although many write it off as just another exercise-induced dopamine high, yoga goes deeper than that. The mind-body connection created in yoga is thought to facilitate change at a cellular level.
When we weave positive intention into our movements, we are imprinting these thoughts, not only on our minds, but also on our bodies. We are effecting change on our mat that will allow for change off our mat,” states Caroline Layzell, in DoYouYoga.
Plus, “The more positive, blissful, and happy we are, the more sharp and alert we become,” according to Hengameh Fazeli, Gaia.com.
Arun Goel, Health and Yoga, that to develop positivism, we must embrace the concept of “Attitudinal” Yoga. According to this concept of yoga, the path to a positive attitude can be found through a 3-step approach, namely,
At Sunrise Yoga, you will find the opportunity to reduce stress, to breathe freely, and to gain strength, flexibility, and peace of mind and as the Sunrise Yoga Studio logo suggests, we are about growth, balance, and peace. We want our studio, and ultimately your yoga practice, to find the mind, body, spirit connection that comes from the practice of yoga and meditation.
Life is Good® listed 10 reasons yoga is for optimists:
1. Celebrate – yoga celebrates little wins …maybe even just showing up to class or touching your toes!
2. Change your perspective – being upside down can flip a negative outlook right on its head.
3. Taking time to relax and unplug – “me time” is so important to your well-being, and yoga can be that perfect time to shift your focus inward and do something good for yourself.
4. Improve your mood – Even optimists can find themselves in a bad mood – yoga is proven to improve and elevate your mood, especially through back bending poses like Bow or Wheel.
5. Breathing – Deep breathing that is done during yoga is one of the best and easiest stress relievers. It also helps to oxygenate the blood and awaken the brain. Doing some deep breathing exercises for just a few minutes can help reset your whole day.
6. Trying something new – shutting down the negative voice in your head that says you will fall if you try a new arm balance or try to tackle the crow pose. Shut off the “I don’t think I can do this” part of your brain and get to it.
7. Meditation – letting go of all thoughts, releasing negativity and tension, and creating new space for new opportunities.
8. Overcoming the impossible and conquering fears – sitting silently in stillness or diving into an impossible looking/challenging pose can be very scary! With consistent yoga practice things become possible, and can make you more resilient and prone to looking for the silver lining.
9. Healthy body – yoga helps to achieve fitness goals and improve health conditions in the body which leads to an overall better life.
10. Gratitude – yoga teaches you to live in the present and be grateful for what you have and what you can do now.
We have classes for all levels of experience in both yoga and meditation at Sunrise Yoga Studio. Celebrate National Positive Thinking Day by participating in a class and let’s spread a little more optimism and positivity into the world!
Register for classes through the Sunrise Yoga app, online, or through the studio.
Use the hashtag #OnePositiveThoughtWithSYSYoga and share your thoughts with us!
In celebration of National Yoga Month, Sunrise Yoga is offering a FREE YOGA class for students NEW to Sunrise Yoga Studio on Saturday, September 22nd, 10:30-11:30 am! Attendees may also take advantage of a ONE DAY ONLY special offer! 30 Days of Yoga for $25! (Available only to those new to Sunrise Yoga. Must attend this class and must purchase in studio.)