Global Mala 2015…

September is fast approaching! To me, this means another school year with a new class of precious kindergartners, national yoga month, and Global Mala!

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Global Mala is held on the United Nations International Day of Peace & Fall Equinox every year and people all across the world gather to celebrate peace. As yogi’s, we will gather to practice 108 sun salutations and offer our practice for world peace. Don’t let the number 108 scare you! Come as you are and offer your practice as it is now. Every year we have yogis that come and rock all 108, some set a goal for doing 20, and others come and sit in meditation (or better yet, savasana!) and feel the energy of all the like-minded peaceful humans around them.

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CALLING ALL BIRMINGHAM YOGI’S AND YOGINI’S… 

Join us for a pre-party at Trim Tab Brewery on Thursday, September 17, 7:00-9:00pm. Come out an get to know your yoga community! Fellow yogis from all over Birmingham will be gathering together at Trim Tab to mingle and have some of the best brew in town! Get your photo taken at our photo booth, have your tarot cards read, meet your favorite teachers and fellow yogis, enjoy some eats from Cantina Food Truck and enjoy a beer on a fall evening. (See the Facebook event here: Global Mala pre-party at Trim Tab)

FOR THE MAIN EVENT, we will gather at Vulcan Park on Saturday, September 19 at 8:00am. Bring your mat, some water, and your beautiful self! We will join together to practice sun salutation looking over the city at Vulcan Park. The group will complete 108 rounds, but don’t be intimidated by the number! Simply drink in the energy of the practice or practice for as long as is right for YOU and then relax, enjoy the music, view, and community!! Escape day spa will make an appearance and offer free Thai massage, manicures, and free products! You can also treat yourself to a little henna tattoo! Children are always welcome, so bring the whole family! (See the Facebook event here: Global Mala 2015)

After party! Join us for a post Global Mala meal at Asian Rim in the Colonnade, 11:00am – 3:00pm. Who doesn’t love brunch?! They will be donating 20% of the proceeds from all sales between 11:00am and 3:00pm to Sweet Om Alabama. Come and enjoy some post sun-salutation fuel with your best new yogi friends! (See the Facebook event here: Brunch at Asian Rim Benefiting Sweet Om Alabama)

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Annie, from Villager Yoga sporting her beautiful henna tattoo!

Every year our National Yoga Month events support Sweet Om Alabama. A charity organization that supports other charities in the Birmingham area! Sweet Om Alabama shirts are available for a $35 donation and have an awesome design with the Birmingham skyline! I also bought a super soft sweatshirt for a $45 donation! The sweatshirts are gray with a black Sweet Om logo.

Sweet Om shirt and a selfie!

Sweet Om shirt and a selfie!

I can’t wait to see your smiling face at Global Mala!

Peace,

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The end…

{My favorite shady spot on the playground}

The end to a wonderful summer. Who would have thought that driving 2 hours a day, no money, no fun summer vacations, not enough yoga, and a lack of sleep would be classified as “wonderful”? But it was. These little kids were my sunshine and made me laugh every day. They made me realize that this is definitely where I fit in. Finally. I have a calling. (Sneak peak at my summer: Lindsey’s intern portfolio)

The beginning… I was talking with a friend just the other day about our lives and how they have radically changed since we’ve known each other and I said to her, “I think yoga is what changed my life.” And she quickly responded, “Think?? It absolutely was. There is no doubt.” It was good to hear from someone that witnessed my change and her absolute belief that it was yoga. It’s always good to be reassured. I smiled all the way home.

The funny thing about my yoga training was that it was completely on a whim. I went to a yoga class where someone was talking about the training and I quickly wrote it off. Where would I get that kind of money?? The next day I woke up, looked up the training on the computer, and sent an email saying I wanted to sign up. Where would I get the money? No clue. But I did it (thank you tax returns and student loans) and it will go down in the books as the best money I’ve ever spent.

{After 5 days of juice fasting!}

Life advice from a 28 year old… Choices aren’t easy. The right path for you isn’t highlighted with arrows pointing you towards your best self. I have learned something from every choice I have made and every person I have met. It’s not always easy to see the silver lining when you’re going through a rough time but just have faith that you will learn from the experience in the end. Life lesson #1… Be open to new experiences. The choice to do new things leads to new adventures, meeting new people, and could change your life. Just before I went back to school I didn’t know what to do with my life or how to be happy. Then there was that fateful yoga class that changed everything. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and if you’re aware, you will learn from every choice you make (good or bad). When I look back over my life I can see how every experience taught me a valuable lesson. Life lesson #2… Don’t regret anything. That bad relationship, all the bad choices, the fight with your loved one… they will all teach you a lesson if you listen.

I always had this nagging feeling that I was meant to work with kids. But not just any kids, special needs kids. Why didn’t I just listen to those voices inside my head (haha)?? Nevertheless, I’m glad my choice wasnt easy. The journey is what brought me here and I know I’m a better person because of it. Life lesson #3… Listen to your inner self. He/she has important things to say.

The end.

{Which is really just the beginning}

, B.S. (yeeeah, baby.)

p.s. “What would you do tomorrow if you knew you would not fail?” ~Unknown

40 day Global Sadhana…

What is Sadhana?

“What is sadhana? It’s a committed prayer. It is something which you want to do, have to do, and which is being done by you. … Sadhana is self enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.” ~Yogi Bhajan

Sadhana or daily spiritual practice is the foundation of all spiritual endeavor. Sadhana is your personal, individual spiritual effort. It is the main tool you use to work on yourself to achieve the purpose of life. It can be done alone or in a group. Sadhana is whatever you do consistently to clear your own consciousness so you can relate to the infinity within you. Before you face the world each day, do yourself a favor and tune up your nervous system and attune yourself to your highest inner self. To cover all your bases, it will include exercise, meditation, and prayer.

Develop a regular sadhana and you take control of your life. Develop a deep sadhana and you open the doors of experience. Commit to meet your higher Self each morning and your decisions and your life become original; your life will bear the signature of your soul; your radiance will express the meaningful intimacy of the Infinite in each moment. Immerse yourself in the joy of victory that comes from starting each day with a powerful sadhana and every challenge becomes opportunity. (taken from the 3HO – Spirit Voyage website)

Why so early in the morning?

During what are called the “ambrosial hours” (the two and a half hours just before sunrise), when the sun is at a sixty-degree angle to the earth, the energy you put into your sadhana gets maximum results. Your world is quieter. It’s easier to meditate and concentrate before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
Where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”  ~ Rumi

If you absolutely cannot get up early in the morning to do sadhana, then do it some other time! Doing sadhana at any time of the day or night will benefit you.

What do I do?

You can do a simple yoga asana exercise followed by sitting in meditation. If you’re not comfortable with kundalini or meditation, anything can be your sadhana. If you read scripture, this can be your daily sadhana. You could take time to write down what you are grateful for every day or write down qualities you would like to see yourself become. You could make a list of goals, short term and long term and write down a way, each day, to make those goals come to light. Add a morning yoga-asana practice to leave you feeling energized and mentally focused for the day ahead. Pray for blessings to rain upon you and for your daily experiences to make you a better person. Remember, “Sadhana is whatever you do consistently to clear your own consciousness so you can relate to the infinity within you.” Take a personal vow to do whatever it is best for you for 40 days.

If you would like to follow the traditional Kundalini, meditations, and prayer as taught by Yoga Bhajan you can find all the information on the Spirit Voyage website:  Spirit Voyages 40 Day Global Sadhana. Be in flow with your highest wisdom with Snatam and Gurmukh.

Why 40 days?

Have you heard the saying, “It takes 21 days to make a habit?” Well, in yoga, they believe it takes 40.

Starting 11.11.11…

On this date, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, we turn the page and move from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age.  The Piscean Age is all about seeking knowledge and existing in individual consciousness.  In the Aquarian Age, we are connected to our intuition and therefore know all that we need to, and we have collective consciousness to complete our shared vision.

If you choose to do the kundalini and meditations on the Spirit Voyage website… These meditations will assist in lifting you up out of life’s dramas and deliver you to the Aquarian energy flow that will be readily available in this special window of time for all who open themselves to it.

This is simply a challenge for yourself. To spend time every day to enrich your own life and bring yourself to your full potential.

Serve your soul purpose.

“Happy Journey” ~Pattahbi Jois

Magic City Asana…

“Sweat once a day… to rejuvenate your skin” ~Lululemon manifesto

THIS SUNDAY Lululemon is offering a complimentary in-store yoga class!

Details:

  • Date: Sunday, October 16
  • Time: 6:00-7:00pm
  • Location: Lululemon Athletica (at the Summit)
  • Teacher: Yours Truly! Lindsey Morrissette

Where you see the Vulcan-man is where I'll be! While you're there climb on up and strike a pose for the Vulcan Pose-Off!

Here’s my interview with Lululemon!…

Namaste y’all! This week’s MCA instructor is Lindsey Morrissette from Birmingham Yoga (the intimate yoga studio in the back of first avenue rocks climbing gym).  With a background in ballet Lindsey fell in love with yoga after experiencing its healing benefits with some past ballet injuries. Eventually this love inspired her to enroll in Birmingham Yoga’s 200 hour teacher training where she trained with the Kundalini/Ashtanga master Akasha Ellis. She teaches an Ashtanga community class on Sunday evenings (for more info check out Birminghamyoga.com). This Sunday we’ll get her all to ourselves at lululemon from 6-7pm. Be ready to sweat and feel awesome!

  1. What is your favorite way to sweat? I love a challenging Ashtanga Yoga class!
  2. What inspires you? My preschool class. Children remind us that life is simple, we just have to choose to let it be.
  3. What is your favorite piece of lululemon and why?  Wunder Under Crop pants. I’ve never had a pair of pants fit so well and be flattering at the same time!
  4. What’s your life look like without fear? I believe it is a natural, healthy fear that drives us to do what is necessary to fill our lives with meaningful experiences. Yoga teaches us to confront fear, study it, get used to it, learn to love it, and once you fully embrace the fear it will step aside and let you proceed with your chosen path. And a miraculous thing happens along the way… we become a better person.
  5. What is a class in town that you are just dying to tell people about?  Mysore at Birmingham Yoga. If you have an Ashtanga practice, Mysore will take your practice to a whole new level!

See you Sunday!

Healing Journey…

Yoga proves to be an ideal approach to self-care cancer survivors…

Breast cancer affects many of us: One in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. The good news is that more women today are beating the illness. There are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. 

Yoga can be a valuable part of the process of healing and recovery from the disease, and classes for cancer patients and survivors are readily available. “Yoga can help women who have cancer find solace and learn to deeply care for themselves,” says Linda Sparrowe, a yoga teacher who co-leads yoga and meditation retreats for women touched by cancer.

New academic research backs this up. Several studies published this year show that yoga offers effective relief from the physical and mental affects of the disease and the side effects of treatment. These effects include symptoms such as fatigue, pain, swelling, stiffness, stress, and depression.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that after practicing Iyengar Yoga twice weekly for 12 weeks, breast cancer survivors were less depressed and exhausted and felt greater vitality. In another study of Iyengar Yoga, conducted at Washington State University, Spokane, participants felt better physically and emotionally, and they had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This does more than reduce anxious feelings: Elevated levels of cortisol may contribute to cancer recurrence and earlier mortality among breast cancer survivors. 

Yoga can also help survivors regain trust in their bodies. In a study at Indiana University, Bloomington, women who participated in and eight-week hatha yoga program were stronger and more flexible, felt less self-conscious about scars from surgeries, and were more accepting of their changed bodies. “Yoga helps us feel more comfortable with our bodies and ourselves,” says the study’s lead researcher, Van Marieke Puymbroeck, a professor of recreation therapy at Indiana University. “It helps us build inner resources to respond to life’s challenges.”

Specialized Restorative Yoga Retreats for women living with cancer…

Red Feather Lakes, Colorado – www.shambhalamountain.org 

Bolinas, California – www.commonweal.org

New York City – www.thelibbyrossfoundation.com

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month! The Komen for the Cure fundraiser travels all across the U.S. raising money for breast cancer research. Click on the Komen for the Cure link to find the Race for the Cure event in your town!

In Birmingham the event is Saturday, October 15, 2011 at Linn Park. Click here to see the information for Birmingham’s event. I will be running the 5K in honor of a few amazing women I know! 

Race for the Cure! Or… you can even “sleep in” for the cure!

Shanti Om,

***I’m Pink for breast cancer awareness! If you have trouble reading the pink writing please let me know and I will post in standard black.*** 

Reference: Article by Kelly McGonigal, Yoga Journal 2011

I heart my yoga community…

Birmingham has the most wonderful yoga community, and it’s only getting larger every year!

Beautiful people cultivating peace

Kids yoga circle with Annie!

All the friendly butts 🙂

Much deserved savasana!

Beautiful savasana music by Shannon & Jasper

Reunion with ’09 teacher training class! Not quite complete without the whole group…

See you again next year!

For the love of Surya Namaskara…

In light of Global Mala this weekend and the impending 108 Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara A) I wanted to share a visualization for each pose that I found both funny and enlightening. These are from the book Downward Dog, Upward Fog by Meryl Davis Landau. In this book, the storyteller, Lorna, does not like Sun Salutations. I personally have a love-hate relationship with them (all 108, that is). Love the way they make me feel, but start to hate them around #25. But then an amazing thing happens, at about #75… I start to link with the energy of all the people around me and just flow. It becomes effortless and I love them once again.

  • Position one: Palms together at my chest. I connect with the loving energy inside my heart
  • Position two: Stretching my arms out, up, and back. I envision the warmth of the sun and indeed the entire universe dancing on my face.
  • Position three: Folding forward toward the ground. I expand my appreciation to all of Mother Earth.
  • Position four: Left leg back, left knee on the floor, back arched, arms stretching up. I remember that even when I feel low, I’m always connected to my higher self.
  • Position five: Both legs back, arms straight in a plank. I get in touch with the inner strength that never leaves me.
  • Position six: Lowering knees, chest, and chin to the ground. I remember to be humble around other people, since they, too, are extensions of the universal energy.
  • Position seven: Pelvis to the floor, chest rises up in a cobra pose. I extend my sense of oneness to all the animals in the world.
  • Position eight: I make the upside-down V that is Downward Dog. I can’t remember what Miss Gumby said about this one, so I just give the universe a quick, friendly wave of my butt.
  • Position nine: Left leg forward, right knee on the floor, back arched, arms stretching up. I start to rise to my full potential.
  • Position ten: Folding forward as in position three. I remember to pause to gather my inner resources before taking action.
  • Position eleven: Stretching up and back. I open to the full universal energy once more.
  • Position twelve: Palms together at my chest. I realize this higher power always resides inside me.

This Saturday we will only be doing a 10-step Surya Namaskara (skipping position 4 & 9 above). But I thought this visualization was too good not to share!

Global Mala 2011

Location: Vulcan Park

Time: 8:00-10:00am

108 Sun Salutations with a view!

There will be a kids circle, pre-natal sun salutations, and a drum circle! Come one, come all!

Free event! For a small donation you will receive a water bottle and/or a Sweet Om Alabama t-shirt.

See you Saturday!