Shake Your Asana

Hey, Karma Yogis!! Nash here—those of you that have taken my class know that I have a created collection of playlists to flow to. Every playlist will be about an hour, complete with a savasana song. I try to keep them clean so watch out what you play around the kids! I made glow yoga 21 for our glow in the dark, blacklight class on Saturday Jan 19. It features some of my favorite artists: Billie Eilish, Anderson .Paak, Little Simz, Willow Smith, Masego, Majid Jordan, ABRA, Goldlink, and alt-J. Enjoy this little piece of my soul <3

P.S. peep the bottom of the page for ANOTHER AWESOME PLAYLIST and a little blurb about me!

This second playlist is more chill than the first. It features more of my favorites: Tash Sultana, Allan Rayman, SZA, This Will Destroy You, and LP.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: NASH BAYOUD

I have been practicing with Karma Yoga for about 5 years, and completed my 200hr Teacher Training at Inspire Yoga Denton! My classes are mostly slow flow and always beginner friendly. My days are never complete without pigeon pose, so expect to get into that pose every time you come to my class. I love music— I make all of these playlists myself and carefully select and organize songs for a relaxed flow.  

Monday Mantra

“I am doing the best that I can and that is enough.”

Post holidays bring this feeling of broken habits, we may have slowed or stopped practicing on our mats, gained a few pounds, or overall got out of the routine of life. We may be experiencing some judgement toward ourselves and where our bodies may be in this present moment, where our mental or our emotional state stands with seasonal depression getting stronger this time of year.

This week, instead of focusing on where we want to be tomorrow, do a full body scan and identify the things we enjoy about ourselves today. Enjoy this present moment and recognize we are doing the best that we can in this moment and tomorrow will come when it comes.

Live in the moment, change how you view yourself and how your brain processes your worth by repeating this affirmation when you are being your own worst critic, on and off your mat. See how you may change your views by the end of the week.


-Namaste, Michi P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER

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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.


Karma Dama

Shoulderstands.

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 new 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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Today, Michi will demo for you how to utilize a chair, blanket and bolster to get into a shoulder stand without neck strain. Doing a shoulder stand supported can help you get the feeling of being on your shoulders before putting the weight on your neck. Supported shoulder stand can be a restorative approach to this inversion and add some playfulness in your practice.

Start by placing the blanket on the chair so it covers the edge of the seat and the bolster on the ground in front of the chair.

Next sit backwards on the chair and one leg at a time raise your legs onto the back of the chair, like so…

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From here, you want to use your core to slowly lay back till your shoulders touch the bolster.

Next, put your hands through the inside of the front legs and grip onto the back legs. Getting this grip correctly is important so you won’t fall and also rounds your shoulders onto the meaty part that it needed to do a free standing shoulder stand.

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Slowly with intention, shift your weight into your shoulders and use your core to slowly lift your legs off the chair, leaving your bottom rooted down on the edge of the seatw.

Make sure you keep length in your neck here.

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If you feel comfortable here, you can play with releasing your bottom off the chair, coming into full shoulder stand.

Or my personal favorite, bend your knees coming into dead mans pose or even plow, feel free to get expressive with what you can do in this placement.

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Once you have finished playing and are ready to come out of this posture, return your bottom and legs onto the seat and slowly with intention, tuck your chin into your chest and slide your bottom off the chair and onto the bolster.

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Go forth and play yogis!

-Namaste, Michi P.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MICHI POINDEXTER

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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.


Product Review - Bellabeat Leaf

Alana (@growbythesun)

 

               I am not a bracelet wearing person typically. This has basically always been the case for me. Really jewelry in general has not always been my thing, though recently that has changed. I saw the Bellabeat Leaf first in a Facebook advertisement. It plagued me, as most ads do. I saw it everywhere. Eventually I decided to Google research and watch some videos of reviews of the item. I oogled over the Instagram pictures of people styling this piece in many ways. I researched for a while until I decided I needed to obtain one.

               The Bellabeat Leaf is an activity tracker that doubles as a fashion accessory. It is marketed towards the elegant, feminine, but active woman who does not find function in typical activity trackers that tend to resemble ankle monitoring devices a la Lindsey Lohan. A real life story: I once asked a woman what was on her ankle. It was her Fit-Bit. She did not like wearing it as a bracelet, and decided to attach it to her leg. She had no idea it looked like she was on a house arrest sentence that allowed her 10 square miles wiggle room. I wish I could go back and suggest something like the Leaf that does not portray her as a van-driving soccer mom who also is being monitored by the authorities.

What really got me for this item is the features. It tracks sleep, steps, time spent actively moving, and monthly cycles. You can enter different activities if the Leaf does not pick it up, such as swimming (this is not waterproof!). You can also adjust your sleep times and add naps if needed! It is capable of gentle reminders in the form of vibrations you can set like alarms through the app. All of these features are controlled by the app on your phone, as there is no screen! *gasp* I know guys, something without a screen! I personally like this. It is less distracting to wear and we do not need everything to be a screen, sometimes it is okay to not.

               I have tested this item on its miles setting. I have been on a few hikes or walks that have milemarkers-the Leaf kept up within .05 of an error margin. I have to say, the sleep function is not always accurate. Though this may be my fault, as I have a habit of sitting in bed for a little (or a lot) and my Leaf usually assumes I am asleep. The monthly cycle setting is accurate to a tee because you enter the information. You tell it the day you start and end your period, and it will log it, predict it next month, and tell you your ovulation prediction.

               The Leaf attracted me initially because of how versatile it is as far as wearing. You may clip it to your shirt or pants, wear it as a necklace, or wear it as a bracelet. When I originally dreamed about this item, I saw myself clipping it most often. Necklace was also a good option. After obtaining the Leaf, I most often wear it as a necklace. I also use it as a bracelet often. I do not typically clip it because I think it is so simplistic and beautiful that I want to display it. I can wear it dressy, I can wear it casually. I found a store on Etsy that makes items specifically for the Leaf, her bracelet options are gorgeous and give you so many more options to wear it as a jewelry piece. Bellabeat came out recently for mala options where you can clip in your Leaf to the mala. They are gorgeous, but the first batch sold out immediately and were also above a price I would personally want to spend on one necklace option right now.

               What I don’t do: wear it to yoga often. It usually does not pick up yoga as an “activity”. You can manually enter it, which is does not annoy me. Wearing necklaces or bracelets in yoga distract me usually. I want to focus on my movements more often than my Leaf hitting me in the face in down dog or sliding around when I am flowing.

Do you use activity trackers? Do you like the screens and technology? Do you have a Leaf or have questions about the Leaf? Contact me on Instagram @growbythesun and let’s chat. 

Allow Time

 

Alana (@growbythesun)

 

Over the last month my internal mantra has been “allow time.” Some of you who follow my social media have probably seen some of these posts I have made about allowing time and space in your practice. To me this means many things, but this month it has been glaringly obvious to me how integral it is to allow time.

Allow yourself time to breathe. Now, as a yogi, this could mean a meditative breath practice. Focusing your whole self for a set amount of time daily or weekly to practice the breath. I do this in a few ways. Hint: Try these in bound angle pose for a more grounded feel.

1.      Start by inhaling 5 counts, exhaling 5 counts, holding the breath for 2 counts in between inhales and exhales. I will sometimes start here and see how many counts I can hold or extend the breath. This usually helps me center and ground myself, sometimes great before a big test or bedtime.

2.      Sitting in an easy seat pose, place your left thumb over your right nostril. Breathe in for 5 counts, hold that breath for 3 counts, and then exhale for 5 counts. Once you go through 5 rounds of this, place your hand back on your knee and take a few clearing breaths. Then repeat with your right thumb over your left nostril.

3.      Focusing on the exaggerated rise and fall of your chest and belly. Whatever breath you choose, fast or slow, focus on how it feels to expand and contract your physical body. Putting hands on these areas, or visually watching these movements allow us to see that breath. Watching the breath, realizing the exaggeration and capabilities will allow you to believe in the strength.

Allow yourself time to be quiet. Do you ever feel like you come home and your cheeks hurt from talking or interacting all day? This is your physical body asking for quiet time. You have had enough human time, it is time to internalize and absorb the benefits of social time and use this growth for your quiet time. To me, as an introvert, this comes easy to me. I will sit at home and listen to Youtube videos that engage my mind without me having to directly participate.

Allow yourself time to grieve. You do not need to have experienced great loss for this. To me, I consider this the loss of something meaningful for me. Grief takes shape in many ways and often experiencing the grief a few times over time can be cathartic. I will occasionally allow an amount of grief that I visualize as a size. I will visualize this as the size of an orange, sometimes larger depending on how much space I need to grieve. Visualizing these emotions as items allow control over how much that feeling takes up inside. I will grieve the loss of an idea, a time in life, or any negative energy that enters my space. I will sometimes allow time to grieve something then determine that grief to be filled, that space no longer there. Sometimes I will revisit the grief and allow myself to feel it, then cast it away until it is appropriate to visit this again. Last month, this grief manifested itself and I allowed it. I still allow it. Sometimes every day I allow myself a small, lemon-sized amount of grief. And I feel okay with it, I have welcomed it for those times. I will continue to grieve, and I allow myself whatever amount necessary to cleanse it. And be careful yogis, only after you decide what is worth grieving should you allow it a weight such as a lemon or a melon. If it is worth it, feel it- then use it as fuel just as our bodies do.

Sometimes these allowances are going to interfere with other experiences. Occasionally it is okay to take 15 minutes out of your study time to breathe, or be quiet or grieve. It may make you a more productive or clear minded person for the rest of your day. It may prepare you to face tomorrow stronger than you feel in the present. It may allow you to flow more free in your vinyasa, or tackle your next adventure. Please, allow yourself whatever you need. Take what you need today, and leave what you do not.

Be strong, be brave. Namaste, yogis. So much love.

 

Food for the Heart - Recipes from the Soul

Bloodshot Eyeballs

            Having a Halloween party and need some yummy finger foods to get in the Halloween spirit? These eyeballs will be perfect to get the creepy party started.

 

What you need:

1 tbsp of olive oil

2 cups spinach

2 cloves of garlic

16oz white button mushrooms (We used baby portebellas since the store was out)

1 14oz block of tofu

2 tbsp of balsamic

1tsp Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper to taste

Sliced black olives

1 8oz jar Julienne sliced sundried tomatoes

Smoked paprika to garnish

 

What you do:

1. Place oil, garlic and spinach in pan and sauté until spinach is wilted

 

2. Destem and wash mushrooms and place on baking sheet

 

3. Drain and press tofu to release excess water

 

4. in food processor put tofu, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into processor and blend until smooth

 

 

5. Place balsamic evenly inside mushrooms

 

6. Stuff mushrooms with spinach mixture then top with tofu ricotta on top. Then add sliced black olives and sundried tomatoes to appear like bloodshot eyes, then sprinkle smoked paprika on top on mushrooms.

 

7. Bake on 350 for approximately 20 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked

 

8. Enjoy the spooky treat!

 

 

 

-Namaste, Michi and Melissa 

Yogis of Karma - Kyri'ay Vanderpoel

This weeks Yogis of Karma features Kyri, photo in front of the new Eric Mancini Mural, and she shares his reflections on his own practice and some words of encouragement for those who are just now rolling out their mat. 

Prior to yoga all of my physical activity focused on strength first. Technique and flexibility were always afterthoughts when it came to climbing, calisthenics, and hand balancing. Between sitting eight or more hours a day for work as a software engineer and my strength training, I found myself with chronic pain. My progress was hindered by my reluctance to be honest with what my mind and body needed. Until a friend invited me to my first yoga class.

My journey with Karma Yoga began over the summer on a scorching Sunday morning. I was so anxious about being a beginner that I nearly didn&#39;t show up. But, like my fellow yogis, I laid out my mat, pushed through the heat, and was embraced by positive energy. Now I can't imagine my life without yoga.

The Karma community is unlike anything I've been involved in before. The wonderful people and the exciting experiences we create together makes this community feel like family. It's an immense undertaking to organize these events, and I am grateful for all the work Karma does to build a real community. From outdoor meditations to drum circles to acroyoga jams to blacklight yoga, there is always a chance to try something new.

While yoga has certainly improved my flexibility and nearly eliminated my pain, it's more than just physical. The world we live in is ripe with hate, chaos, and isolation. Yoga is journey where we move against the grain to find love, peace, and community. We foster real human connections. We challenge ourselves to live mindfully so we can create lasting memories together.

Some advice for potential and active yogis: don't let being a beginner frighten you. Don't compare your practice to anyone else's it's your journey. Be patient with your mind and body, don't get discouraged, and always remember to breath. Take the discipline and the love you develop on the mat and share it with everyone.