“In daily life we see people around who are happier than we are, people who are less happy. Some may be doing praiseworthy things and others causing problems. Whatever may be our usual attitude toward such people and their actions, if we can be pleased with others who are happier than ourselves, compassionate toward those who are unhappy, joyful with those doing praiseworthy things, and remain undisturbed by the errors of others, our mind will be very tranquil.” (Yoga Sutra I.33, Translation by T.K.V. Desikachar)
There are two Yoga Sutras that address “maitri”, which is Sanskrit for “friendliness”. One is Yoga Sutra I.33 (see translation above) – and one translator (I cannot remember where I read this) suggests that even if we never practice yoga again, that we at least practice this as a way of life. In a post in The Yoga Sanctuary, Bonnie Yonker suggests the analogy of locks and keys as a way to interpret this sutra.
Bonnie says, “In this sutra, Patanjali says that there are only four kinds of locks in the world. The four locks are: sukha (happy people), dukha (unhappy people), punya (the virtuous), and apunya (the wicked). At any given moment, you can fit any person into one of these four categories.
Patanjali gives 4 keys to open these locks. He says that if we always keep these 4 keys with us, when we come across any of these four locks, we will have the proper key to open it. The four keys are: maitri (friendliness), karuna (compassion), mudita (delight), and upekshanam (disregard). Patanjali reminds us that there is a Yogic way of approaching all people, no matter what behaviors and attitudes they may be exhibiting at the moment.”
As we approach the holiday season and its frequent companion “hyper-busyness”, let’s agree to always have our keys close at hand.
Sunrise Yoga is proud to offer two Chair Yoga classes each week.
Chair yoga is a general term for practices that modify yoga poses so that they can be done while seated in a chair. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who cannot stand for a long period of time (or at all) or who lack the mobility to move easily from standing to seated to reclined positions.
Many of the basic body mechanics of the individual postures are retained, no matter the stance of the practitioner. While seated on chairs, students can do versions of twists, hip stretches, forward bends, and backbends. In addition to a good stretch, chair yoga participants can also enjoy other health benefits of yoga, including improved muscle tone, better breathing habits, reduction of stress, better sleep, and a sense of well-being.
In addition to its benefits for physical well-being, Chair Yoga also provides a great social outlet and place to make new friends. These classes are appropriate for those with MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, cancer survivors and other conditions or those who want a slower paced class.
One regular participant, Vicki Jones, has this to say about the Chair Yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga:
“Seven years ago, the MS Society and Sunrise Yoga Studio offered class sessions for MS patients to let us see how we would benefit from yoga. I am still attending these classes and they are truly beneficial for me!
Many times, I come into class using a cane to assist me with walking. I feel so good after class, however, that I have no need to use it as I leave. The many different stretches and moves we do in class help me move, walk and feel more limber. I ALWAYS feel good after class and I would recommend yoga for anyone!
And as an added bonus, I have made many wonderful friends with the other students and the instructors.”
The class is open to students who use walkers, canes, and wheelchairs. Learn more about Chair Yoga and other yoga classes available at Sunrise Yoga HERE.
Today is not really a phenomenon but isn’t there something both calming and fascinating when there is order of this sort? Most humans have an aversion to change and yet are often easily bored. Routines can develop into ruts without new elements of change.
But change can sometimes feel awkward, clumsy and at times even disruptive and frustrating. And yes, this positive change leaves us occasionally longing for that which is old and familiar, even though admittedly not as good!
These feelings are neither new nor unique. Doing something we wouldn’t ordinarily do, or performing a familiar task in a different way, often results in discomfort. When we experience those feelings on the yoga mat, we call it tapas.
For example, imagine the instructor saying “your next pose is Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) without a block”. Within a nano-second, you might find yourself thinking “but I always use a block, I can’t do it without a block, I need that block for balance, I don’t want to do the pose this way, this doesn’t feel right….” Sound familiar?
Where are you on this interesting day of numerical order? Are you in a “calm” place in your yoga practice but open to new and different or does your routine need a nudge out of the rut? Extend your limits in at least one way today!
Did you know that the challenges yoga instructors face in their own yoga practice are no different from the challenges that yoga students encounter regardless of their level of experience? Finding the “sweet spot” in some of the poses, exploring various ways to approach the asanas – both physically and mentally – and being challenged to tackle the ones that are a bit out of reach require work and effort.
Working with an instructor helps you “see” through someone else’s eyes, what you cannot see for yourself. Whether you are just beginning a yoga practice, or have studied for years, that may sound familiar! If you are not in a yoga class at the moment, come give our instructors a try! And if you are participating in a yoga class, maybe a yoga workshop would serve as the “eyes” for seeing yoga in a fresh way.
Cindy Dollar, owner of One Center Yoga in Asheville, NC, author of the book, Yoga Your Way, and Certified Junior Intermediate I Iyengar Yoga Instructor, will lead her annual workshop here at Sunrise Yoga Studio on November 15th-17th. Instructors from our studio will be attending as will instructors and students from all over the Triad. And, just so you’ll know, Cindy has a teacher, and also works to refine her physical practice and strengthen the mental discipline that is associated with yoga. And her teacher has a teacher, and so on and so on.
So beginners, take heart. Whether you have taken one class, or one thousand, the process is the same. And, we all look to mentors and instructors to help us along our way as we discover the many rewards that yoga has to offer.
Learn more about and register for all or sections of Cindy’s Weekend Workshop HERE.
There are numerous ways to connect with us at Sunrise Yoga. Of course, our preferred method is in person at the studio but you can keep track of us through this blog, through Facebook, through e-mail (especially when our Newsletter comes out!), through Twitter (@SunriseYogaNC), as well as through Pinterest.
Our Pinterest site is a mixture of things we like as well as a bit of “news”. The image above is one of our recent pins. As October comes to a close, we wondered what you are pinning on Pinterest these days that relates to yoga. Do you have favorite images or quotes that resonate with you? We would love to see what you have to share! Visit our Pinterest site and follow us.
At Sunrise Yoga, we, of course, believe yoga is good for everyone! But, we are often asked if those age 50 and above should even consider yoga. Most of the questions asked by those new to yoga are fairly similar regardless of the age of the person asking . . . What if I’m not flexible? How will I know what to do and when to do it? What if I have limitations or conditions that have kept me from exercising?
This last question may strike a chord with those in the 50+ age range. As we age, we may face more “limitations” from a physical standpoint. As noted in a recent article on the New York Times “Booming” site (a site that offers news and commentary about baby boomers), practicing yoga may address some of the more common aging issues in a very positive way. In this article, Dr. Loren Fishman, a back-pain and rehabilitative medicine specialist who has long incorporated yoga into patient care, answers many of the more common questions related to physical issues and yoga. He responds to questions about arthritis, osteoporosis, injuries, back pain and sciatica, joint pain and metabolism.
Dr. Fishman recommends, and we concur, that for those age 50 and above, the approach to yoga as a new or resuming student is to ” find out what your liabilities are, and this is an individual matter, requiring a medical visit or summary. The next step is an appointment with an experienced and smart yoga teacher, one on one.” At Sunrise Yoga, we offer private yoga sessions that will definitely start a new or resuming student off on the right yoga journey. From that point, the instructor can better recommend classes we offer that are appropriate for the student. And it is important to note that our instructors are all well versed in modifying poses taught in classes to accommodate each student’s limitations.
Additionally, at Sunrise Yoga, we utilize the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar who developed the use of yoga props to assist students in practicing poses that they might not have been able to do otherwise. Yoga props provide support, confidence, and relaxation. Dr. Fishman states, “I believe the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar are the most anatomically sophisticated and therapeutically oriented, but there are many other good types of yoga. You’ll need a resourceful and sensitive person to get you started, and to introduce you to an appropriate yoga practice that you can do every day. Then, after a month or two or three, you should go back to that person for a reassessment and suggestions about how to progress to the next step. Yoga, practiced consistently, does good things to your temperament and perceptions.”
If you are not currently in a yoga class, get started today! Our Beginner Yoga Classes are appropriate for all ages of yoga students. We also offer Restorative Yoga classes, Back Care Classes and iRest:Yoga Nidra workshops. We do have classes, however, that are geared to those age 50 and above . . . Aging Gracefully with Cathy . . . and Gentle Yoga with Kim.
If you are under 50, how do you think yoga is helping you slow down the aging process? If you are over 50, is yoga allowing you to work around your limitations, if you have some, or is it helping you stay healthy? Let us know. And read more of the HERE.
If you are male and reading this, you’ve either asked yourself the same question or you at least have an opinion on why more men don’t do yoga. According to the 2012 Yoga in America study, 82.2% of yoga practitioners in the United States are women and that number is up from the same study of 2008. And, though the top five reasons for starting yoga were: flexibility (78.3 percent), general conditioning (62.2 percent), stress relief (59.6 percent), improve overall health (58.5 percent) and physical fitness (55.1 percent), benefits appropriate for both genders, men are less likely to think of starting yoga for these benefits.
A recent article in the Washington Post by Eric Niiler cited several misconceptions men hold when it comes to yoga. The lack of flexibility is commonly mentioned but Adrian Hummel, a male Bikram yoga instructor in Bethesda, MD, responds, “It’s almost a joke when guys say, ‘I don’t think I should do yoga because I’m not flexible. It’s like saying, ‘I’m too weak, so I can’t lift weights.’ ” Other myths, according to the article include “yoga isn’t a decent workout; it’s too touchy-feely; you have to be flexible to do it; men’s bodies just aren’t built for pretzellike poses.”
Loren Fishman, MD, a frequent prescriber of yoga for a variety of ills and a practitioner of yoga since the 1970’s, notes, “When it came to the United States, yoga became a sort of gentle gym, a noncompetitive, non-confrontational thing that’s good for you. Yoga has this distinctive passive air to it. You get into the pose and stay there.” But many athletes have learned that practicing yoga regularly helps them avoid injuries and frequently cite its benefits.
So, what’s your take? Read the full Washington Post article HERE and let us know what you think.
In September of this year, the Huffington Post reported Six Myths About Meditation from Dr. Deepak Chopra, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and an adjunct professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. An avid author on many health related topics, Dr. Chopra has long been a proponent of meditation.
In the article (read it for yourself here), the Mayo Clinic is cited stating, “Meditation is a way to reduce stress by focusing your attention and eliminating the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind.” But, as Dr. Chopra points out, many have misguided ideas about what meditation is and how it works.
The Six Myths listed (and countered) by Dr. Chopra are:
1. Meditation is hard. (“Though it’s best to learn from an experienced, knowledgeable teacher, the techniques can be as simple as focusing on your breathing or silently repeating a mantra.”)
2. You need to quiet your mind completely to meditate successfully. (“Through meditation we can find the quiet that already exists in the space between our thoughts.”)
3. It takes years of practice to receive any benefits from meditation. (“The benefits of meditation are both immediate and long-term. Other common benefits of meditation include improved concentration, decreased blood pressure, reduced stress and anxiety, and enhanced immune function.”)
4. I don’t have enough time to meditate. (“In life’s paradoxical way, when we spend time meditating on a regular basis, we actually have more time.”)
5. Meditation requires spiritual or religious beliefs. (“Meditation doesn’t require a specific spiritual belief, and many people of many different religions practice meditation without any conflict with their current religious beliefs.”)
6. I’m supposed to have transcendent experiences in meditation. (“Although we can have a variety of wonderful experiences when we meditate, including feelings of bliss and oneness, these aren’t the purpose of the practice. When we emerge from our meditation session, we carry some of the stillness and silence of our practice with us, allowing us to be more creative, compassionate, centered, and loving to ourselves and everyone we encounter.”)
Would you like to learn more about meditation? Join us for our Mindfulness Meditation & Movement with Anna Leisa Schuh, a 4-Week Series beginning Sunday, October 13th! Practice structured meditation and movement, explore through readings and discussion, and learn home-based practice ideas.
Register online or at the studio.
(At least 5 students need to register before 10/9 for the classes to be held.)
See you at the studio!
Do you remember what it felt like when you first started yoga? Did you have any qualms about taking a class? Did you hesitate at all because you were new to yoga? Or maybe you are that person who would like to begin but you feel a bit intimidated because “you don’t know what you don’t know”?
We often tell new students at Sunrise Yoga Studio that they will not feel like newbies for very long. Our active students are welcoming and our instructors make every effort to create a relaxed and “safe” environment for all levels of students.
But, if some questions are running through your mind about starting a yoga journey, know that others have had questions too! Erica Rodefer Winters recently addressed some of these questions in an article entitled, “10 Things Every Beginner Yoga Student Should Know”. She is the former online editor for Yoga Journal magazine and has had interaction with many yoga studios, yoga conferences and workshops. See how many of the “10 Things” to which you relate!
September is typically a month of transition as we move from summer to fall and from less routine back to more structure with the start of the school year. With yoga, every month should be a month of transition as we continue to learn and grow, but September, specifically, is National Yoga Month (as designated by the Department of Health and Human Services)! National Yoga Month recognizes the health benefits of yoga and is designed to encourage us all to live a healthy lifestyle. Of course, at Sunrise Yoga, EVERY month is Yoga Month and we want to always provide opportunities for you and your yoga practice to thrive.
We also believe that yoga teaches us the importance of helping others and we encourage metta (loving kindness) practices. We support and participate in your community through activities and donations to the Clemmons Food Pantry, For Katie’s Sake/Winston-Salem Foundation, National MS Society, American Heart Association, Second Harvest Food Bank, Make A Wish, SECU Family House and Meals-on-Wheels, and other charitable causes. Since 2004, we have raised over $26,000 to support these local charities. We know that many of our students donate money and time to our community as well.
Winston-Salem Mayor, Allen Joines, and the Winston-Salem City Council recently unanimously endorsed the Charter for Compassion and the city was recognized by Compassion Action Network International as the world’s 19th city of compassion and the first in the Southeast. September in Winston-Salem was designated as Compassion Action Month and many volunteers performed and promoted acts of compassion throughout the month.
We celebrate our sister city’s efforts and encourage each of you, wherever you live and work, to be a representation of compassion. We encourage you also to keep striving for a healthy lifestyle, especially with yoga, and we hope you find that the two efforts go hand in hand.