Art&Om - Sun Salutations

Oaktopia is upon us and there is no better way to shake off the cobwebs and get the body ready for a day fo rockin' out then a few Sun Salutations. We are taking you through A & B, these flows are better than a cup of coffee, and a great way to begin the day.

Begin in Mountain Pose, Tadasana, with hands at heart center and begin to connect with your breath. Becoming present in your body, in your thoughts, in this moment. On an inhale, raise the hands overhead and with the exhale fold over the legs with a flat back. Feel free to put a generous bend in the knees as we begin to wake up the hamstrings.

Inhale, lift up half way to a flat back, fingertips to the mat or the shines. Exhale folding back down into the legs. 

In one inhale plant the hands and step back into plank pose, allowing the exhale to lower the heart down to the mat or halfway into Chaturanga. 

Untuck the toes, and inhale sweep the heart through for cobra or upward facing dog. Yogis choice!

As you exhale, shift the hips up and back to the sky for downward facing dog. You can pause here for a few breaths, walking out the legs, shifting the hips. 

Inhale, rise halfway, exhale fold back down and in. When you're ready inhale up on to the toes and step to the front of the mat, exhaling into a forward fold. 

On our next breath in, rising all the way back up to Tadasana, reaching through the fingertips to the sky and exhale hands into heart center.

BOOM! Sun Salutation A complete. I like to do 3-5 to warm up my body in the morning, and get the sleep out of my eyes. 

 

For Sun Salutation B, we use the same basic flow and add in a couple more postures. 

Instead of transitioning into a forward fold from Tadasana, we lower into chair pose. Feet can be hips distance apart and the knees, or big toes touch, heels apart, and knees gently press into each other. 

An exhale takes us out of chair pose and into our forward fold. 

Inhale lift half way, exhale fold inwards. Placing the hands on the mat and making our way through plank, cobra or updog, and into downward facing. 

Sweep the right heel to the sky on an inhale, and draw the knee in towards the as the hips and shoulders roll forward. Place the foot in between the hands at the top of the mat, and inhale sweep the hands to the sky into Warrior 1. 

Hold for a few breaths, and on an exhale, cartwheel the hands down to the mat. Stepping back into plank, you can move through your vinyasa (plank, corbra/updog/back to downdog) or lift the hips up in back into downward dog. 

Repeat this on the opposite side. Once you arrive back into downdog, inhale high up on the toes and step or hop to the top of the mat bringing the feet to meet the hands. 

Inhale halfway lift and with the exhale draw the chest to the thighs. Inhale, tailbone drops and the chest lifts for chair pose. Exhale rise up into Mountain, hands find heart center. 

Repeat as you like, adding any new postures or different variations of your favorites. Salutations offer a great opportunity get creative, and explore your own personal practice.

We put it all together for you in the video below that is available on our Instagram and Facebook! 

Yogis of Karma - Nicole Barnes

It can be really difficult to move to a new place. Not just a new city, but a new state – and when you’re coming from New Jersey to Texas, there can be a lot of cultural and climate differences as well ☺ What I was really searching for when I moved was the right yoga studio. The year prior, yoga had become an important part of my life and I loved the studio I went to at home. The first weekend I arrived, I was out of shape and set myself up for an hour and a half heated yoga class. Where I subsequently spent a decent amount of time trying not to throw up in the bathroom. Although I finished out the class and still felt a small after-yoga glow, I was bummed about my body’s reaction and worried about trying again.

 

I waited a few days, and continued searching online for a yoga studio that would be a good fit. I stumbled upon the Karma Yoga site, and found Tiffany’s class at the Gemini peach and rose orchard. Although it was 4:30 in the afternoon in August in Texas, I gathered the courage to drive over for class. Shaded by a huge tree and cooled by a pleasant breeze, I could not believe how much I enjoyed the gentle flow and relaxing atmosphere. Tiffany’s humor and sunny personality were the icing on the cake – I was sold on making Karma my yoga home.

 

I have now been in Denton for close to a year, and go through cycles of being an avid yoga class attendee and a couch potato. What doesn’t change, however, is the community I have been introduced to and accepted into by being a part of Karma Yoga. Karma’s eclectic array of classes has gotten me to visit many small businesses in Denton that I may have missed otherwise (including my and my friends’ obsession with Flatlanders… RIP). The opportunities they provide are not just limited to giving back through class donations, but by hosting other community outreach events and fundraisers. As President of a student organization at UNT, Karma has even been generous enough to host a class and fundraiser to donate funds for our cause.

 

I have never felt such a camaraderie from a “fitness” type of group, which can so often be full of catty and judgmental personalities. But perhaps it is because Karma is so much more than that, truly living up to the name “karma”. I have even been lucky enough to have  never worried about attending events solo, as I often see familiar faces in Karma instructors and yogis. I recall during one of my first classes, an instructor stating that because yoga is supposed to be about letting go of stress and tension, that they strive to make yoga classes as attainable, affordable, and stress-free as possible. That was striking, because it seems so self-explanatory based on the values of yoga, but is so often not the case with your normal studio.

 

Karma has absolutely become a strong part of my identity as a “Dentonite” and I am always promoting the organization to friends and peers. Karma has made me realize that becoming a yoga instructor is an attainable goal (when I finally get time to do so!) and motivated me to pay these ideals forward as I move to other cities and states. My dream would be to have Karma Yoga available wherever I end up in life, because it has left that much of a positive impact in such a short time. I am forever grateful to the yogis of Karma for welcoming me to their generous community.

Getting it Together & Putting it in a Planner

Law of Attraction Success Planner (A5) by Freedom Mastery

Reviewed by Alana (@growbythesun)

planner 2.jpg

Back in June I felt overwhelmed with scheduling two jobs, life, yoga, and tracking my goals each month. I am a listing fiend, interested in my own patterns and thoughts each month. I also need something physical to do so. After some research, Wal-Mart trips and Google searches, I decided on the Law of Attraction Success Planner. This planner is around $20 and is sleek, bound cover that does not weight much and is a decent enough size you can throw it in a bag and carry it around with you.

This planner offers the best of both worlds-it organized daily, weekly, and monthly, has margins for notes, to do lists, and daily checklists. It comes with a “positive habit maker” which are daily goals like mediate, gratitude/love, and exercise but it also has blanks where I write in every week whether I took my vitamins and read that day. I also will make notes on my personal health in the blank space, I like to go back and see how being regular with my vitamins positively effects how I feel. In the daily space, you can organize in half hour increments. This is where I note my work and school schedule, and add in possible yoga classes or time slots I have available to study or do chores. In the top left corner is a box for that week’s goal, and you choose a reward if you complete this task. I usually choose a sweet, a Lush item, or a new clothing item. But sometimes I choose an item on my Amazon wish list. Once, I got myself a waterproof bag to put my phone. It’s basically an excuse to treat yourself and it is wonderful.

                On each weekly page there are inspirational or thought provoking quotes. I sometimes read them, but usually it ends up with me questioning whether or not Albert Einstein really said that. There are too many people using quotes and choosing from a basket of random names.

So the great part of this planner, is that you do not have to have set a New Year’s Resolution to get one. The dates are blank, which means you can start this whenever (I chose mid-June which is too late for the planner game). Apparently, if you use fancy pens and own a microwave you can reset what you have written. Because microwaves can erase pens, which is why I don’t own one. Now I have not tested this (because I try not to be lazy and use microwaves), but I want a permanent record. And special pens sound like a lot of responsibility. But, if you want to revisit the 90’s with invisible ink type feels, you do you boo.

 

The part of this planner that I am still trying to totally navigate and use, is the reflection pages after each month is over. You can log your top achievements, things you learned, things you struggled with, things you did not achieve, and writing about your emotional and progress internally. There are also two pages for ideas, and notes. Now, I use the ideas/notes pages for random thoughts throughout the month or things that do not fit into the prewritten sections. I also like to log the emotional and wellbeing markers. I think that progress wise it will be good to look back and see where my headspace was at and look at my meditation, exercise and vitamin consistency and see if there are correlations. As far as achievements, I usually consider myself successful on certain ideas of what I should do and what I want to do. If I take my vitamins at least 6 days a week, attend at least 5 yoga classes, and spend time with my people, I consider that week a success. This section of the planner also takes a decent amount of time if you actually fill it out and consider what your truth is. But I enjoy the idea of taking time at the end of the month to reflect and jot down your state. 

Finding Flight - AcroYoga Workshop w/ Nosie Yogi

Nosie Yogi Denton Road 2 Devine Acroyoga Workshop

Review by: Alana (@growbythesun)

This workshop was my first acroyoga experience. I guess I chose to dive in head first (quite literally) into a three hour commitment. You sort of have to be open minded when you have committed to three hours of something you have never done before. 

Everyone was smiling, happy, like they have been friends for years. People sat their mats down and talked. I could tell everyone was as excited as I was because of the warm energy in the room. We all sat down and introduced ourselves. We shared what our favorite snacks were, laughed. It seemed natural. People ranged in experience with acroyoga, me-who had never tried before to people who had years of practice. We warmed up and then watched Nosa and Susie show us a few things. The basics on technique, trust, and tips on how not to land on your face. The added bonus of the Point Bank tiles under us gave higher incentive to “spot” each other with diligence. We got into various groups, swapped between base, flyer, and spotter. Everyone took turns and encouraged each other wherever they were. When others could see that someone was going up, they would jump in and give tips and kind words-high fives were always there afterwards. We would go back in forth, from playing to watching Nosa and Susie practice.

Nosa and Susie share a special bond. You can see the energy between them, their connection is beautiful to watch. It was inspiring to see that amount of love and trust between two people, it facilitated the same love and care between complete strangers in the room. You could hear gentlewords, “I got you” and “you got this” were so kindly said. At the end of the acro play time, we settled down and “balanced” our practice for the night, as Nosa referred to it as. It was confirmation that even the most talented yogis believe in slowing it down and nourishing their bodies with gentle touch.

I think one of the more important things I learned was trust. I recognized, knew a few people there. But overall I did not know most of the people and I had never done acroyoga before. Not only did I feel fully comfortable inverting and relying on others to spot and base my body-I felt safe. I felt welcomed, invited, special and relaxed. I felt encouraged. My advice is to not turn down something cool just because you are afraid of the what ifs. Be strong, be brave, and just go for it.

Learn more about Susie and Nosa at www.nosieyogi.com

Learn more about Susie and Nosa at www.nosieyogi.com

Recipes from the Heart - Food for the Soul

Pasta-less Pasta!

If you ever need a light late night dinner or want pasta without a carb overload, this recipe is perfect. Made completely from vegetables, nuts, yeast and a little oil, it’s a great way to get a vegetable intense dinner. This recipe is a great source of dietary fiber, which your gut will love you, and is a low glycemic index recipe, which is great for those out there with diabetes. Plus it’s yummy! 

Recipe serves: 4

 Pesto:
¼ cup of pine nuts
½ cup of olive oil
1 bunch of basil
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until a consistency you desire is reached, add more oil if desired to thin, then set aside.

Dairy-less Parmesan:

(Vegan option; you can always buy your favorite brand of Parmesan if you prefer)
¾ cup of cashews
3 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. of turmeric
Salt to taste

Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend till the desired consistency, and then set aside. 

Pasta:

 2 large zucchini
2 large yellow squash
1-16oz container of button mushrooms
1-10oz container of grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic minced

Use a mandoline with a julienne attachment to give long, thin strands of zucchini.

 Cut the length-wise of the zucchini in half.

Being careful and aware of your fingers, grate the zucchini.

If you do not have a mandoline, it is not required. Just use your knife skills to cut the zucchini into julienne, example below. 

Sauté mushrooms and garlic in a large sauté pan that is lightly coated in olive oil. Cook until mushrooms are half cooked; add in zucchini and squash noodles. Sauté until zucchini and squash are cooked al dente (cooked firm to the bite). Add in pesto to coat veggies. Stir in cherry tomatoes. Plate the “pasta” and top with dairy-less Parmesan. Enjoy!

Art&Om

This week’s installation of Art & Om takes us through Tree Pose. This pose offers some many different variations, that you can really root down and rise up into something authentic and personal. Crystal takes us into Tree Pose in front of the murals behind Bullseye Bike Shop. 

 

Like with all poses we start from the ground up. Root down through all four corners of the left foot to start off. Engage the quad, feel the knee caps lift, and then engage the bhandas my pulling the belly button in and up. This will also encourage the shoulders to roll down and back as the chest lifts. Turn the right knee out, and bring the sole of the foot to the ankle of the standing leg. Keep the hips levels, by drawing the right hip down slightly, and reach up through the crown of the head for a nice long spine and to keep the shoulders over the hips. 

To take this pose a step further, lift the sole of the foot to the calf or the inner thigh, above or below the knee cap. Gently press the foot into the calf/ thigh and the calf/thigh into the sole of the foot. Tail bones is tucked down to shift the hips slightly forward, and you can try bringing the hands into heart center. 

Come into the full expression of tree by extending the hands to the sky, palms facing up. You can add a challenge here by closing the eyes, or letting the hands and arms sway in the breeze. Don’t forget about the standing leg and the core, you want to continue to stay rooted while creating lightness from your center. 

Twisted Tree is a fun variation to challenge your balance. Bring your hands down to shoulder height, extending out through the finger tips. Turn your chest so that your gaze is over the bent knee, and you get a detoxifying twist for the upper body. Use your breath to go a little deeper, get taller on the inhale and on the exhale draw the right shoulder back to help propel open the chest. 

Monday Mantra - August 22nd

The past has no power over the present moment. - Eckhart Toelle

 

I AM PRESENT.

 


In everything you do, allow yourself to be present and in the moment. Instead of letting time slip past you, hold on to it. You are in absolute control of what you do in this moment, in the now. This is the place where we make our choices and react to our emotions. What will you make of it? How will you let this single moment, this second, impact the one that follows it? Be present, in your mind, in your heart, in your body, and see what you were made to accomplish.