Staying healthy during the holidays!

The holidays can be stressful, and stress can take a toll on your immune system.   One simple change you can make is to keep your digestive system working optimally.   Start your day with warm lemon water to get the digestive juices flowing and make sure that the food that follows is healthy and whole (green smoothy anyone?)     Take daily probiotics to combat the bad bacteria that builds in your gut when you indulge too much!    And remember that moderation is key to health and happiness this season.

Have a happy and healthy holiday!!!!  

Men and Yoga

Did you know that over the thousands of years that yoga has existed, it was mostly only practiced by men?   it was not until the 1920's when yoga was introduced into the United States that it was viewed as more of an activity for women.   As Zen Yoga tries to bring yoga to all types of people, we are beginning our efforts to help men benefit from this amazing practice by introducing this through our Zen Men Workshop.  If there is a man in your life that  could benefit from more energy, better health, and improved mental clarity, send them our way.  details are on our website, under workshops.   Namaste.

Lessons from India - The Power of a Smile!

While in India, there was so much to smile about, so many beautiful people and experiences.  But one of the things I noticed the most is that the Indian people are always smiling!  Even when when they have little or are working very hard, they have a smile on their face.  Are you smiling during your yoga practice?  If so, why not?   Do smile during your meals?   How about when you are with your family? 

Just smiling can be very powerful!   Smiling for a little as 20 seconds can start to trigger a positive change in you and in others around you.  The smile tells the body to produce those "feel good hormones" that we need to improve our mood!  (serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, etc).  It can also begin to reduce pain by triggering the body's natural pain killers. 

Smiling is contagious  and will also uplift those around you!  So,  when your day is not the best, and you are struggling to find some joy,  SMILE!   You can fake it until your mood catches up with your face!   

What inspires you?

A recent quote that I found from the late BKS Iyengar was so inspiring to me.

 “It must not be just your mind or even your body that is doing the asana. You must be in it. You must do the asana with your soul."

Then the same day, I was talking to another yoga teacher about her planning for class, sharing that you should let the theme for your class come from your heart. I realized that inspirations come to us in so MANY different ways.  When you are living your yoga, then you know that any moment can bring something amazing, but often times we are not paying attention.

As a teacher, I have been inspired by a class theme on my way to the studio, or sometimes inspired during class to do something very different based on the excitement, energy or a person in the room.

My students, my family, and my son inspire me to be the best person I can be every day.  And we should be so thankful that yoga allows us to live in the present moment during which we can actually recognize these moments and feel them in our soul.    
Find what inspires you and celebrate it!  Namaste

5 Ways to Use Yoga in Your Daily Life

When practicing yoga in class it is easy to be in the moment and really take in your practice, but how great would life be if we could feel that 'yoga high' all the time! I try to instill these five things into my daily life so I can continue my yoga practice even when I'm not formally practicing. 


1. Stressful situations

One thing we all experience in life, whether we like it or not is stress. Maybe you deal with stress at work, school, home, or most likely a combo of trying to balance it all. One thing that always helps me is to try and remind myself to slow down! I find that if I have to give a big presentation at work the best way to calm myself down and prepare myself mentally for the presentation is to focus on my breath. Focus on the breathing techniques you learn in class. Slow down your breath, 'in through the nose out through the mouth'.

2. Decompressing after sitting all day at work

I hear this often, sitting is terrible for you! If you are like one of the many of us that work in office jobs where you are forced to sit most of the day it can be extremely helpful to fit in some decompression poses to balance yourself out. You might not always have time to get to a yoga class but a simple downward dog, child's pose or cat/cow pose can help to ring out some of that tension from sitting all day.

3. Be present

This is important to focus on with your friends, family, loved ones and those at work. If you are at home with your family, focus on that time and relish in the moments you have with them. Try very hard to step away from the phone, computer or TV when you're with your family or friends so you can really take in the time you get to spend with them. We are constantly reminded of how short life is, so take every opportunity to enjoy that time and listen to your friends and family when they talk. 

4. Practice sensible eating

When you sit down for dinner or dig through the pantry for a snack remember the mindfulness your practice gives you. I am never one to preach a diet or deprivation from food, I love food and love to eat, but it can be helpful to ensure you're eating enough to satisfy yourself and not gorge. Mindful eating is always super great to help you really appreciate the taste, smell and text of the food you eat, which in turn will allow you to feel more satisfied. 

5. Appreciate the small things

We move so fast through life and one takeaway you should get from every yoga class you take is to be thankful. Life moves fast and we sometimes forget to appreciate the small things, whether it's your husband getting your coffee in the morning or someone letting your over as you're driving down the highway. Appreciate the small things and life will start to feel that much more full and happy!

What do you do in your daily life that you've learned from class? Comment below for your suggestions!