Many of us manage to live with minor discomforts in the body by taking analgesics until the discomfort becomes pain and can no longer be ignored. What we don’t realize is that pain is simply a message that our bodies sends that something needs attention.
Fascia is the continuous system of connective tissue which wraps around and provides support for bones, joints, muscles and organs of the body. This system is now considered your 6th sense. Fascia is 10x more sensitive than muscle and it uses enteroception (the ability to recognize internal messages and responds to stress in the body). Fascia becomes tighter with repetitive use, injury, inflammation, dehydration and through the normal aging process.
We can also develop trigger points as a reaction to pain or injury. Our body reacts to pain by creating a protection response, that initially is a good thing to protect us, but over time can lead to reduced blood flow and oxygen to the area. Signals are sent to the spinal cord which then trigger the muscles around the injury to contract in order to provide support and protection for the surrounding tissues.
This response, left unchecked, creates a vicious cycle of pain as more blood flow is restricted to the contracted area. More signals are sent, and more muscles tighten to protect the growing epicenter of pain.
Sometimes we get so busy in our lives that we do not take the opportunity to connect with nature. Practicing yoga outside and being able to breathe fresh air, feel a cool breeze and/or the warmth of the sun on your skin, and see the natural beauty that surrounds us adds a new dimension to the practice.
Many people never get the opportunity to practice yoga; maybe they have some preconceived ideas about what it is; so having a yoga practice outside takes the mystery out of the practice. Many of the “regulars” that I have in my park classes started out as people who were passing by and had previously thought they could never do yoga.
Here are a few more benefits:
*Standing on different surfaces helps to develop your balance
*There isn’t a space issue
*It’s a good way to develop your focus and “Zen”
*You get to be part of the larger community
*Connecting with nature helps to rekindle that sense of gratefulness
So the next time you have the opportunity, grab your mat, bring a friend and plan on having fun practicing yoga outdoors!
“Nicole, did you go hiking this weekend?”
Actually, I had done a 5 mile trail run, but close enough. My yoga teacher could see the difference in my practice because of my tight hamstrings.
Runners, can I get an AMEN!? Our hamstrings are always tight. Leg pain is par for the (race) course. But what if there was a way to convince those pesky hamstrings, quads, calves, etc. to loosen up?
Enter, yoga for runners!
My experience over the past 10 years as a long-distance runner and 5 years as a dedicated yogi has produced this list of the top 5 reasons why runners need yoga.
It was love at first pose. From my very first class, I found Yin to be a deeply satisfying practice.
If you are unfamiliar with the practice of Yin, allow me to share a bit about this bountiful and beautiful style of yoga. Yin Yoga has a myriad of benefits. It restores our natural ability to move with fluidity. It builds strength and resiliency, helping us achieve optimal health. Yin helps regulate the flow of energy, and is calming and balancing to the mind and body. It lowers stress levels, increases stamina, and leads to a greater ability to sit quietly in meditation.
Often students new to Yin yoga expect it to be an easy, perhaps even boring practice, far removed from the more familiar and dynamic Yang practice. But Yin is so much more than simple floor stretches.
The idea of achieving Work-Life balance is at the heart of both our yoga practice on our mats, and of taking our yoga into our lives as a whole. Instead of searching for 'work-life balance' yoga teaches us to explore the balance between being present and getting through the day quickly so we can rest and start over the next day. Slow down, concentrate on your work and be mindful so it gets done right the first time. By doing this, you’ll soon realize how much extra time you have for your body to move off the mat.
If practiced often, using yoga and meditation as an outlet to the stress of daily life will become robotic. Meaning, if you do it often enough, you will begin to notice that a day without it just doesn’t seem right. This is my reality, and I crave the daily practice so much that I notice I am productive at work so that maybe…just maybe…I give myself an extra 30 minutes to hit the mat. My dedication to work is prevalent because of my dedication to my yoga practice. I succeed at work because I make it a point to slow down, breathe, let go of expectations, consciously listen, receive, and be engaged. These are all things we learn and cultivate in yoga. Our teachers talk about all of these attributes every time we walk into the studio. This is how I take my yoga practice into my work-life and I use these attributes as a guide every step of the way.
While there is no one-size-fits-all for achieving a work-life balance, there are things we can do throughout our day to keep things real.
I am so excited to announce the Ignite Yoga Foundation. This is a non-profit organization that provides yoga scholarships and programs to demographics in need. We believe yoga should be accessible to all individuals.
Our I.AM.YOU campaign kicking off in April 2018 is in support of all those who believe in a healthier lifestyle and seek to gain it. Our organization fights to ensure those in need can gain resources to teach, take classes, and give back to ensure our community continually has the opportunity to promote total body wellness!
Ignite Foundation will be able to provide these much needed services by facilitating various community fundraising events throughout the year. Our goal is to impact our community in West Valley and the Western region of Phoenix.
This year we will drive to provide programs in title one schools.
The first time I heard a gong in Savasana I was wowed out. It was an immediate connection and I knew I had to get my hands on one myself. I realize the idea of a gong bath may be a little "out there" for some but if you haven't been or if you're just a little curious I highly recommend joining me to celebrate on Saturday March 17th from 6pm -730pm for a special Spring Equinox Gong Bath.
Recognizing the Equinox, we use nature's example to emerge from the darkness of winter. Winter, a season of endings and time for retrospection and Spring the season of growth and renewal, now with the energy of the Gong Bath it's a great time to get yourself centered and develop seeds of intention for what you want next.
April is fast approaching, and so is our Tubac Retreat.
Located in Southern Arizona, Tubac isn’t a place that most people have visited. Since it was founded from nothing almost three decades ago, this is a small corner of the world which the locals like to keep as original and authentic as possible. Tubac is known for its artist community, history, and breathtaking high desert.
We will be staying at the peaceful Kenyon Ranch, originally operated as a dude ranch, it has been restored and upgraded to include casitas with modern amenities. We will be surrounded by beautiful views in a semi-wilderness area.
The paths around the ranch lead to places to rest, meditate, read a book or just enjoy the clean desert air and the dramatic views. Since the Ranch is located between two mountain ranges when the sun rises and sets beams of sunlight spread over the horizon and dance on the valleys and peaks.
"Life Is Good"
If we live in the moment, and are truly aware of our surroundings, then we get the messages that the universe sends us each day. I have friends that believe that if you just look at other people's license plates while you are driving, that you will find the messages for your day. I have done this, and remarkably always seem to find something useful. I remember Sevak recalling seeing a license plate that read “KARMA” surrounded by a license plate cover of skulls. Kind of ironic.
I have also used the method of starting my day by putting my Ipod on “Shuffle Songs”, and see what the first 5-10 songs that come up are. There is always a message in this as well, although I am not always certain what it is.
Today while I was at Marshalls clothes shopping, The message was clear. As I was rummaging through the clearance rack, there was the shirt that I am now wearing. Below is what it says.
Did you know, that Plant Based Medicine goes way back before modern medicine?
ESSENTIAL OILS have been God’s natural way of healing and wellness for thousands of years. It is well documented that their roots go back to Biblical Times, Chinese Medicine, Greek Botany, India’s Ayurvedic Medicine, and Egypt whose own King Tut’s whose tomb was discovered with 50 Essential Oils! These awesome Essential Oils enhance your everyday lives in all aspects of wellness and health, including your yoga practice!
Essential Oils offer alternatives to today’s conventional methods to support healing. Conventional drugs often cause damage and adverse effects. A brief list includes the following:
At Ignite Yoga, we believe that yoga is for everyone–For people of all ages and all walks of life.