Karma Dama - Natarajasana

Natarajasana (King Dancer)

Karma is known for its nomadic tribe take on yoga, but without a studio, we are limited when it comes to teaching our students about the use of props to help get deeper into a posture or make a challenging pose more obtainable. The Karma Dama blog will show you ways to guide your body into postures you can practice at home.

Props are expensive and before I invested the money in them myself, I got creative and found household items that I could utilize as props, plus it fuels this fun idea of a home practice. Here are some of the things I use:

Block- thick hardcover book, I usually put a rubber band around the book so it doesn’t come open mid-use.

Strap- If you aren’t a tie wearer, a belt also works. I personally prefer a tie because if I need a long strap, I can tie multiple of them together.

Blanket- you don’t need a fancy yoga blanket to utilize a blanket in your practice, your favorite one around your home would do just fine.

Bolster- Bolsters come in many different sizes, luckily so do household pillows, find a pillow (or 5) that you like and can use for a bolster.

Chair- many people may not be familiar with yoga chairs but you can utilize them for inversions and arm balances. Find a sturdy chair in your home and ONLY PRACTICE WITH IT ON CARPET or all chair legs on the mat. No yogis sliding around on tile or wood floors.

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Hello, yogis! This month we go over one of my favorite balancing poses, King Dancer. With amazing benefits with balance, a deep heart opener and nice stretch on the front of the hip. Building flexibility and also strength. Some great prep postures to get the body warmed up would include melted heart, bridge, tiger, tiger crunches, bow, cow face, forearm plank, dolphin, reclined hero, pigeon and wheel. Get the shoulder and the hips nice and warm and bendy and build some core stability to get you ready.

Now, to start, lets talk about misconceptions, many times when we go into dancer, we hinge at the hip and come into standing bow pose instead to allow us to get the leg up higher. There is nothing wrong with this and you still get loads of benefit but you arent getting the backbend you need to achieve king dancer. So to prevent this, we will use the wall as our main prop. You will also need a strap (or tie). Walk your hands up the wall and move your feet back and forth till you find a nice spot, this will depend on your shoulder mobility. You want your chest and your elbows to make contact with the wall and feel a bit of a stretch.

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Once you find this spot, make a loop in your strap and place it around the foot of the side you’d like to start on. Bring the strap over your shoulder and replace your feet where that sweet spot was.

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Now keeping your elbows and heart on the wall, begin to pull up the strap and shift the foot back, redistributing the weight.

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Pull the foot up, bending the knee until you feel a nice backbend stretch. Don’t forget to breathe!

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Cool yourself off with a child’s pose and some simple twist to get your heart rate back down and close your heart off so it isn’t too open.

Go forth and play yogis!

-Namaste, Michi P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER (They/Them)

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This passionate knowledge seeking teacher, started their yoga journey with karma a few years ago and after falling in love with the community of yoga completed their 200hr Teacher Training at Yoga from the Heart. They have been a Dentonite since 2014, graduated from TWU and runs community groups. With their trauma-informed certification, they emphasize trauma healing by sharing healing techniques to take yoga off the mat. Aside from yoga, they enjoy outdoor activities, reading and mix media art.


Monday Mantra - September 16th

“I will feel my feelings but not wallow in it.”

Happy Monday yogis! This week we focus on the feelings and change, with the Harvest Full Moon behind us, new beginnings are here. We tend to push down and try to not feel, the feeling that comes up most we tend to repress like this is grief. Grief manifest itself in many ways, not just the loss of person from death. It can be the death of a part of yourself, a bad habit, or grief anticipated something to happen. It manifest in many different ways, Allowing ourselves to feel without repressing to process but not sitting in it. Allowing ourselves to find movement help us process in change and enjoy where life is moving towards.

On your mat, I invite you to take it slow and feel the movement of each pose, hip openers and finding strength in our hips will give us the openness to feel our emotions but the power to grow forward. Find stillness and allow the energy to flow through your body.

Off your mat, I invite you to take time to sit with your thoughts. This doesn’t have to mean you meditate but allow your some time within thought, maybe while you journal or listen to music, to reflect on what changes have happened and where life is headed next with this energy shift occurring.

-Namaste, Michi P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER (They/Them)

This passionate knowledge seeking teacher, started their yoga journey with karma a few years ago and after falling in love with the community of yoga completed their 200hr Teacher Training at Yoga from the Heart. They have been a Dentonite since 2014, graduated from TWU and runs community groups. With their trauma-informed certification, they emphasize trauma healing by sharing healing techniques to take yoga off the mat. Aside from yoga, they enjoy outdoor activities, reading and mix media art.

Shake Your Asana

Happy Saturday Yogis! This month’s Shake Your Asana is dedicated to good mornings. For many of us, we’re back in the swing of school and work and preparing for the end of the year. That means mornings are an important part of your day. This playlist was curated to compliment your morning flow.

Start soft and slow with some easy instrumentals to center yourself and drop into your practice. As you begin to flow - with sun salutations, strong standing asana, balancing poses, or whatever else you do in your mornings - stay energized with steady rhythms and calming vocals.

This playlist ends with more instrumentals so you can finish with a meditation to set your intention for the day and start off strong.

-Namaste, Alex

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ALEX HELM (SHE/HER)

Teacher, plant mom, and friend to all, Alex makes everyone feel welcome on the mat. She has been practicing since 2014, and completed her 200hr Teacher Training at Blue Anjou. She believes in the power of mind/body/breath awareness, and strives to teach students how to capture this awareness both on and off the mat.

Monday Mantra - September 9th

“I use my voice intentionally.”

Happy Monday yogis! This weeks intention may prompt for a little personal research if you aren’t someone that dives deeper into language, yoga asana or anything related to this topic. This week we focus on the intention of being active versus passive. I find myself often getting into conflicts with the people in my life because of not using my active or passive voice in the right context. Similarly, we do this on our mats all the time. We want to get as far as possible in our postures so we force ourselves by using our hands, elbows, props, gravity or whatever we can to push ourselves further for flexibility instead of finding the strength in the pose.

Off your mat, this week I invite you to be intentional with how we use our voices to communicate with those in our lives. Are we being too passive and not asserting our wants, needs, desires? Or are we being too assertive and need to find a humbling way to approach our words? Find that connection between our solar plexus and throat chakra. Start the week by journaling, see how you word your sentences and take note of what you need in your communication. Then as the week goes on, pay attention to how you speak about your internal world to the external existence of your voice and how others take your words into action. If you are unclear of an active or passive way of speaking, a quick google search may aid this intention.

On your mat, we practice passive posses in general classes constantly. So this week, I invite you to find the active form of some postures, you may find this makes them more challenging. Finding our range of motion without using an external force to push us into posture is not only a humbling act, but our muscles need the strengthening to support those ligaments we aim to stretch out. Prevent injury and find the heat in your body. Again, if we aren’t super familiar with this, a google search, or showing up to a karma class will further this practice of active and passive.

-Namaste, Michi P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER (They/Them)

This passionate knowledge seeking teacher, started their yoga journey with karma a few years ago and after falling in love with the community of yoga completed their 200hr Teacher Training at Yoga from the Heart. They have been a Dentonite since 2014, graduated from TWU and runs community groups. With their trauma-informed certification, they emphasize trauma healing by sharing healing techniques to take yoga off the mat. Aside from yoga, they enjoy outdoor activities, reading and mix media art.

Monday Mantra - September 2nd

“I enjoy a well balanced lifestyle.”

Happy Monday yogis and a happy labor day! In inspiration of this long weekend we had to enjoy our leisure and take the personal time for ourselves. Finding balance in our work and play lives make a difference in our quality of life. Some of us tend to be all play, no work and some all work, no play. In our fast pace culture of always needing to work, I would confidently say we do more all work and no play.

On your mat, challenge your balance and find your center, do the balance postures you don’t like, usually the ones you dislike are the postures you need the most. Get playful and see where you might find some strength. We find ourselves frustrated when we cannot balance, so challenging our frustration with them and find our calm will help us move into this week dividing our work and personal lives so we don’t bring work home with us.

Off your mat, I invite you to make a physical schedule. Use 2 colors and make the list of personal things one color and the list of professional things another color. Compare which you have more of, and see if there is room for you to add more to create a balance. Also ensure when you are living the schedule, not bringing one into the other. Helping us find our mental balance.

-Namaste, Michi P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER (They/Them)

This passionate knowledge seeking teacher, started their yoga journey with karma a few years ago and after falling in love with the community of yoga completed their 200hr Teacher Training at Yoga from the Heart. They have been a Dentonite since 2014, graduated from TWU and runs community groups. With their trauma-informed certification, they emphasize trauma healing by sharing healing techniques to take yoga off the mat. Aside from yoga, they enjoy outdoor activities, reading and mix media art.

Food for the Heart - Recipes from the Soul: 4 Day Lunch Meal Prep

Weekday Lunch Bogging You Down?

As school starts back, schedules become hectic. I know if I don’t prep lunch it leaves me grabbing for undesired snacks and eating out (which can add up in money and calories).

If you are someone who cooks dinner nightly, you can also cook extra and pack leftovers for lunch the next day. If you’re more of a food prep person it’s easier to cook a few of the same ingredients, just splitting up the ingredients and seasoning them differently to eliminate getting tired of the same thing day after day.

Buddha Bowl & Taco Salad

Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Nut-free

Makes 4 Meals (2 of Each)

What you need:

1 bell pepper, cut julienne

1/2 purple onion, cut julienne

1 small sweet potato, small dice

1/2 16oz can chickpeas

1/2 16 oz can black beans

1 cup quinoa

3 cups water

1 Tbsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin

1 Tbsp curry powder

1 Tbsp soy sauce (or Tamari for gluten free or 1 tsp salt for soy free)

2 Tbsp vegan sour cream

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup hummus

4 Tbsp milk alternative

green onions, sliced (garnish)

cilantro, chopped (garnish)

1 lemon, juiced

4 cups dark leafy green, shredded (I used Romaine)

1 avocado sliced

Tortilla chips (optional)

What to do:

Cut all vegetables per ingredient list.

Split bell pepper and onion on each side of a sheet tray. Put chickpeas and sweet potatoes in the middle of the two.

Season entire tray with black pepper. Season one side of bell pepper and onion with cumin and salt. Season remaining vegetables with curry powder and soy sauce (or Tamari). As demonstrated in video.

Bake vegetables in the oven at 425° for 20 minutes

Add quinoa to a medium size pot, add water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Let simmer until quinoa is fluffy and water is absorbed. Try to avoid over stirring.

Split quinoa into two bowls 1 cup in one bowl, 2 cups in the other bowl.

1 cup quinoa bowl add half a can of black beans, stir

2 cups quinoa bowl add juiced lemon, stir

Assemble in four sealable containers. Add 2 cups of lettuce each into two containers. Add 1 cup of lemon juice quinoa each into 2 containers.

Add fajita seasoned onion and bell pepper on top of lettuce bowls. Add curried onion, bell pepper, chickpeas, and sweet potato on top of quinoa bowls.

Add 1/2 of black bean quinoa mixture on top of salad bowls

Add 1/4 of avocado to each bowl (can add lemon/lime juice on top to prevent from browning; best to add night before or day of).

Add 1 Tbsp of vegan sour cream to each lettuce bowl

Garnish taco salad with cilantro to taste; garnish Buddha bowl with green onion to taste.

Pour 1/4 cup salsa each into two containers to add to taco salad right before consumption. Serve with tortillas chips (optional).

Mix hummus and milk together to make a dressing for buddha bowl. Split into two small containers to add to buddha bowl right before consumption.

Store in the fridge up to a week.

Enjoy! 

-Namaste, Melissa P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MELISSA POINDEXTER (SHE/HER)

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Melissa Poindexter, RDN, LD

A vegan registered dietitian nutritionist who doubles as a local Denton yogi. Melissa started her yoga journey with Karma Yoga in 2015. Melissa has a passion for working with individuals with special diets by giving education through evidence-based research. When off her mat and out of the kitchen, Melissa also enjoys outdoor activities, scuba diving, and gardening.

Yogis of Karma - Gabriel Baria

Yogis of Karma - Gabriel Baria

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This month for our yogis of Karma we highlight Gabriel Baria. He has been with Karma for about a year now and you'll most likely see him roll out his mat at our Sunday classes at DCBC. Always ready and with a smile on his face, this guy embodies power, balance and kindness. 

We asked him to tell us about his yoga journey and what brought him to Karma and this is what he told us. 

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"My yoga journey began in 2011 at North Central Texas College in Corinth. This was back when PE credits were still require core curriculum. I signed up for a yoga class to fulfill this credit. The class was very fun, but I always viewed it as school work and never making it a practice at home. When the semester ended so did my yoga practice. Flash forward to 2018. I was in a motorcycle accident that left me with some road rash and some major aches and pains all throughout my body. After a late night out, I was talking to close friend Joseph Frank about how my wreck combined with work and active lifestyle were all taking a toll on my body. He suggested I go to yoga with him. Desperate for some respite from my self inflicted ailments I agreed to go to a class taught by Jessica. I immediately understood after one class of Karma Yoga that this was exactly what I needed. It provided strength and stability in areas I didn't even know were weak, spinal alignment that I lacked, and allowed me to set intentions for the new life I wanted to live. Yoga is such an amazing activity, and I have grown to love it. I am always trying to convince friends and family to come to classes and partake in this life giving form of art. Every day is a blessing and it is never to late to start incorporating yoga into any lifestyle!"

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Watching him practice and heal himself has been an honor. I asked him what his favorite pose was and I was expecting something strong. I was so surprised when he told me that it was forward fold. A pose that is more healing and aligning than power. Forward fold has been his go to on his mat because it helps alleviate the pain from his wreck. 

-Namaste, Jessica

Monday Mantra - August 26th

“My ego is healthy and natural.”

Happy Monday Yogis! This week we expand on our previous weeks intention. We worked on finding our balance between yin and yang, our growth and our self love. This week we discuss this balance in our ego. For each of us this may building our self love, our confidence and help build our ego and light up. And there may be some of us who need to connect with growth, what we need to face, find that humility and find a balance in our ego.

Off your mat, I invite you to have 2 types of conversations. The first one being speaking your mind to it’s true ability with those in your life, Being clear and focusing on communicating your thoughts and feelings as clear as possible. The second one, listen to someone else and instead of interjecting or making it about you and only speaking to reword and reflect the other persons words. Notice which conversation is harder and reflect (maybe journal) accordingly.

On your mat, I invite you to find expression and creativity. Do the weird transitions from one pose to the next, add weird organic movements that don’t make sense. Make your practice a dance to fill your light and balance your ego. Knowing your practice is unique to you and your expression is as unique as each breath we take.

-Namaste, Michi P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER

This passionate knowledge seeking teacher, started their yoga journey with karma a few years ago and after falling in love with the community of yoga completed their 200hr Teacher Training at Yoga from the Heart. They have been a Dentonite since 2014, graduated from TWU and runs community groups. With their trauma-informed certification, they emphasize trauma healing by sharing healing techniques to take yoga off the mat. Aside from yoga, they enjoy outdoor activities, reading and mix media art.