exercise

May the Force Be With You

During my yoga training we were invited to do part one of a three-part training in the healing energy of Reiki.  Reiki is often used in yoga practice as it is the perfect accompaniment of Zen healing energy. A healing system that channels universal life-force energy: This system was originally developed by Mikao Usui in the early 1900s in Japan.

The word Reiki can be translated like this. Rei means spiritual wisdom, and ki means energy, so Reiki means spiritual energy.

What Reiki Is Not

It is spiritual but not religious, it has been and is used by Christians, Hindus, Buddhist, atheist and agnostics alike.

Reiki is not massage or reflexology.

What Reiki Is

Reiki is gentle, harmless and natural.  You do not need any special equipment or tools. 

Reiki is balancing relaxing and energizing.

Reiki is simple to do - anyone can do it, and anyone can receive it.  With use of channeling into this universal energy and following hand positions that can be light touch or non-touch many people have gained great benefits from this practice.

Part 1 taught me the basics, Part 2 taught me the deeper meaning and Part 3 taught me how to teach Reiki to other people.

I found the training so interesting and deeply meaningful and I know it will be a wonderful addition to my yoga practice, either with myself or with others.

So far, I have Reikied the dog! Result: very chill blissed out dog. I also tried it on the cat who just got annoyed with me and wandered off, apparently, this is not an unusual reaction.

What I do know is that the interest in Reiki is growing and I am very proud to be now known as a Reiki Master, sounds a bit like a character in Star Wars, doesn’t it?

Just another step in my yoga journey.  I cannot wait to see what is next...

Why Yoga?

  • Improves athletic performance
  • Improves quality of life
  • Improves short term memory
  • Increases muscle strength and tone
  • Helps boost immunity system
  • Increases mental concentration
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Gives you more energy
  • Better mental clarity
  • Improves skin tone
  • Improves self esteem
  • Improves posture (when I started yoga I was 5ft 6, now I like to think I am 5ft 6 ¼!)
  • Improves balance
  • Improves flexibility
  • Greater physical stamina (as noticed when hiking mountains in New Hampshire)
  • Helps to shred excess fat
  • Increases general productivity
  • Slows down the aging process
  • Improves ability to deal with stress
  • Reduces risk of memory loss, anxiety, obesity, cancer, stroke, heart disease, back pain, osteoporosis, drug dependency, depression, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, infections and thus excessive health care costs.
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And I can say yes to all of this.  I now measure my life before yoga and after yoga.

True Story: Hubby and I were in Philly and ended up in a diner for lunch.  I have a severe shell fish allergy and every time I have an exposure it gets worse, believe me it’s not pretty.  So, I am hyper-vigilant about asking lots of questions when we eat out.  But on this occasion, I forgot and within 10 minutes of eating my lunch I knew there had been cross contamination.  I immediately started feeling sick.  I sent hubby off to find a drug store to get Benadryl quicker than you can say anaphylactoid shock!  While I was waiting for him I started to meditate putting into practice all the meditation techniques I had learned in teacher training.  My symptoms slowly started to subside until I felt relatively normal.  When hubby came back I still took drugs (I like drugs!) but not sure I needed them.  Really you can’t make this stuff up and yoga and meditation has given me so many tools, well just to deal with life.

Until next time, 

Angie 

Etiquette in Yoga

I am not always known for having good behavior in all areas of my life, but I really love that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, "well behaved women rarely make history."

However, I am very persnickety about my and others etiquette in a yoga class.  Here are a few tips that I think are important:

  • Be On TimeThis is super important, especially if the teacher is starting with a quiet meditation (which they usually do). There's nothing worse than someone coming in late, tripping over everyone to find a spot, all the while muttering “Sorry, sorry, so sorry”.
  • Practice Good Personal HygieneDespite what everyone may think, yoga can be a pretty intense workout and sweating, or glowing as I like to call it, does happen. So, I always make sure I have on that clinical strength deodorant. Also, in busy classes peeps can be close to each other so strong smells of perfume or body odor are not a good idea.
  • Do Not Bring Your Phone Into ClassThis has happened to me in more than one class.  One woman answered her phone and had a conversation! The whole point of yoga is to go within and disconnect from the frenetic world for a while.  I always leave my phone in the car so I am not tempted to look at it and it's quite refreshing to be disconnected for a little while. 
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: I once (and it was the only time...sigh) took hubby to class with me.  He was opposite a very nice yoga lady who seemed very appropriately dressed until she did downward facing dog. Then her lovely airy v-necked top revealed a full frontal.  Hubby's ability to concentrate after that was seriously diminished. So, important to think about that, classes are usually co-ed and those men creatures are so visual, so be aware.
  • Stick Around For SavasanaI know people are super busy and often are pulled in a million directions. I myself have been known to make lists in my head during a yoga class.  But that savasana at the end (aka a nap) is SO important to relax, cool down, reassess your practice and prepare for the outside world.  If you run out early, you are not only cheating yourself but interrupting everyone else’s blissed-out experience. Wars have started for less!
  • Thank The TeacherWhatever you think of the class, this teacher showed up and gave you a class.  You may think it is the greatest thing you have experienced since wine was put into boxes, or you may think it was mediocre at best.  Whatever you think, suspend your judgement and thank the teacher.
  • Put Away All Your Stuff (better than you found it)This may speak to my OCD issues of needing everything in its place and put away in the same way it was found.  It's a small irritation when I need a mat and it has not been rolled up neatly by the previous person, or I have to fight my way through a mountain of blocks to find a matching pair (must be the same size and color…. see I told you I had issues!).  It really does not take 2 minutes at the end of class to put everything away better than you found it. And crazy ladies like me will not be swearing under their breath, which really is the antithesis of a yoga class!  Please save me!

These may be little things to many, but these few simple tips can make a much more euphoric experience for everyone. 

Have...Be a great day!

Angie