What is Yin Yoga?

Yin Bridge Pose

Yin – Bridge Pose to ease the low back

Yin yoga helps balance our yang lifestyles – I believe this is why it’s so popular, particularly on the North Shore where we love to be outdoors and active! As I mentioned in the 8 Limbs of Yoga , the physical Asana practice has traditionally been a minor portion of Yoga. The primary purpose being to learn to sit still in order to meditate, to ultimately seek the bliss state of enlightenment.

 

How Yin Works

Yin is the feminine, intuitive, gentle aspect. Yang is active and powerful, requiring that we be conscious of alignment and engaging our core for support and to protect our bodies. Yin allows us to let go completely – we melt into the earth. In a Yin class, you will typically hold poses for 3 to 5 minutes – don’t worry, they are generally comfortable, easy poses. The reason for holding is to allow the muscles and surrounding fascial tissues to melt, which allows us to reset our posture, and release deep tension which is often subconsciously holds our emotions. It’s ok to be emotional in yin, as I believe it is in any class. It’s quite beautiful to know that moving your body with breath can provide a release deeper than the physical. Through Yin and Pranayama (breath-work), you can help heal yourself. This practice encourages you to dive into meditation, focusing on the breath during challenging poses to escape the chatter of the mind. This is a powerful tool in any aspect of our life.

 

My Experience with Yin

I can appreciate that when we need yin the most, it can be a struggle. I was a hyper child, which is why my Mam taught me meditation in the first place. During university I became so disconnected from myself, constantly working, volunteering, working-out, I struggled with a 5 minute savasna – I simply didn’t have the time to sit around…or so I thought. That was until I broke my ankle running early before work. In that instant I fell, it was as if a light-bulb went off – SLOW DOWN Katie!! I began to laugh at myself – how ridiculous I had been constantly pushing myself – but this was one of the moments that helped me change my life for the better. This was a wake-up call for me to reconnect to myself, my spiritual side, and heal. That being said, I appreciate it can be challenging to meditate and stay put at times. I think most of us experience this at one point in our life, at least. If Yin doesn’t immediately sound like you’re cup of tea, I would recommend a combination class of yang and yin, like Kundalini or Yoga for Ski + Bike. The deep stretches in Yin are important to prevent injury.

 

Some Yin Poses to Ease Common Areas of Tension:

Below are Yin poses to ease common areas of tension. As with anything you do, please listen to your body first and foremost. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to email me: Katie@yoganorthvancouver.com.

  • Yin for Your Neck + Shoulders

One of my favorite poses is to take a bolster and place it along the spine, from just above the hips to the head. You can rest your legs in front of you, or bring the soles of your feet together into butterfly. This pose encourages deep breathing by opening the chest. Take an inhale to your chest, and allow your neck & shoulders to melt. Take an inhale into your belly, and allow your body to melt. Continue with a deep slow breath.

You can do a variation of this at work to alleviate tension by coming into prayer behind your back, or simply clasping your hands. Exhale letting your right ear lean towards your right shoulder – hold for a minute. Inhale to centre, and exhale to the left for another minute.

  • Yin for Your Hips

Pigeon releases the glutes and sciatic, moving into the hips. Begin in Table, sweep your right foot out behind you, and bring your knee into your chest. Place you right foot towards the left side of the mat, bringing your leg and body towards the ground. Breath into the Heart Chakra and release. Breathe into the Root Chakra and release. Continue with a deep steady breath. This pose is challenging for many and can trigger emotions. Continue focusing on the breath – one requiring you to count helps, or inhale white light into the area of tension and release it with your exhale. Repeat on the other side.

Try this breath: Inhale 4 counts, retain 4 counts, exhale 6, hold out 2. Repeat.

  • Yin for Your Legs

Hamstrings: Taking a tall seat, bring one leg out to the side and exhale folding over this leg into Maha mudra – hold for 3 minutes. Inhaling using your core (to protect your low back) to a tall seat and switch sides. Inhaling back to a tall seat, bring your legs together and exhale fold forward into Paschimottanasa – hold for 5 minutes.

Quads: Supta Virasana or Hero pose is a great one, but can be challenging. Come to kneeling, slowly lean back onto your forearms – you can place blocks under your forearms if this is enough for your quads, or if you feel comfortable, coming completely onto your back with your arms stretched out overhead. Hold for 5 -10 minutes. Be gentle coming out of this pose – swing your legs out in front of you and slowly come back to seated. See below for full Hero pose.

Yin Hero Pose

Yin Hero Pose to stretch the front fascia and quads

Tesla Metamorphosis: Energy for Healing Purposes

 

Tuesday, Nov 28th we will be hosting a free Tesla Metamorphisis workshop at the studio, open to all. This excerpt has been taken from TeslaMetamorphosis.com to give you a little more context around Tesla’s understanding of energy for healing purposes. I hope you can join us!

Tesla’s Understanding of Energy in the Human Body

Tesla was aware that energy is not just a mechanical movement of particles, that he was working with consciousness. He interacted with the lights in his laboratory, he was talking to them, giving them orders. He was addressing energies as conscious beings, he was, actually, communicating with the Consciousness, with the Universal Consciousness. The meaning of Active Ether was that which is now explained as the “consciousness energy that is holographically coherent and interconnected”. Through the process of Tesla Metamorphosis, we work with this conscious energy, light and information. It affects our DNA and elevates the frequency of human consciousness.

Clients report healings on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – from maladies such as: lupus, cancer, AIDS, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, addiction, and even the reconstructions of birth deformities and physically damaged spines — usually after only three sessions (Testimonials).  Many of those diseases are, according to orthodox medicine, ‘incurable’.

 However, apart from these healings, Tesla Waves enhance the frequency of human consciousness, and this might be even more important than the fascinating healing results. Images of the Polycontrast Interference Photography (PIP) camera show that there is a significant change in the energy field of people after attending Tesla Metamorphosis® seminars: there is a predominant purple colour in their auras. Tesla Waves, unique for this healing modality, enable all students to create the communication with clients on the level of the conscious, subconscious and integrative mind. That is why Anya presented at the International Tesla Science Conference in Philadelphia, the International Tesla Congress in Belgrade and at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

The difference among healing modalities is not in how we lay or move our hands. The difference is in which frequencies and densities of energy, information and light that can be accessed, to get in communication and interact with. According to the images made with the PIP camera during sessions, what is new in Tesla Metamorphosis is that we can access Tesla Waves, or Tesla’s bio-field in addition to other frequencies and densities of energy used in other modalities. Unlike in the spectrum of the Hertzian domain, the density and the frequency of these Tesla waves are inversely proportional to the square of the distance.

Tesla Metamorphosis – Heal and Evolve
On the quest to understand miracles, the book reveals new knowledge. The answers are found in pioneering scientific research, and also in ancient wisdom. There are some unique phenomena connected to Tesla Metamorphosis®. The subject of this book is expanded to understanding the healing phenomena in general, merging science and spirituality.

Personal experiences are presented with childlike honesty and a genuine sense of humour. Anya Petrovic explains: “This story is real. I live this story. It awakened a curious child in me again. It all started like a fairy tale, the fairy tale which was later scientifically confirmed.” The spirit of Nikola Tesla is imbued throughout this book, giving it a new dimension. Tesla’s ingenuity is in his spirituality.

Free Workshop 

Join us Tuesday, Nov 28th from 6-8pm for a free workshop to learn more about Tesla’s understanding of energy and healing applications by selecting this link: Tesla Metamorphosis Free Workshop

 

November New Moon Meditation  

This new moon in Scorpio represents the wounded healer – definitely a Scorpio trait. The aspects of Agena and Centaurus in this new moon also represent the ability to bring to light that which our body is not yet conscious of for healing. There is a strong need to address our shadow aspects, allowing them to surface so they may be recognized and healed if needed.

Healing our Shadow through Reflection & Meditation

As Carl Jung identified, we are our persona and our shadow. Jung believed we are blank slates when we come into this world and are coloured by our experiences. Positive experiences become part of our persona, and those in which we receive negative reactions become our shadow-self.

I believe we are blank slates to a large degree, but through my own experiences, I have also come to realize that we are affected by many past-life experiences, adding another layer of complexity. These experiences result in inexplicable reactions to events in our lives. Do you have a completely irrational phobia? Have you ever met someone where you both immediately knew each other on an intimate level, although you had never met? For this reason, I believe we need to look even more deeply at our whole self and our instincts.

Depending on the culture we grow up in, our persona and shadow may wildly differ from another person. For example, looking someone in the eyes is considered polite in some cultures, while it is quite offensive in others. Different families also have different ideas of ‘acceptable’ behaviour, sometimes creating a very strong shadow that requires a great deal of healing. Perhaps you have a very strong reaction to something someone does – examine this if you haven’t – it’s quite interesting when we dig a little. I feel it is important to note that we all have shadow aspects and challenges we wish to overcome, and it is through this healing that we become stronger, wiser, and better able to support and connect with others in a truly authentic way. It is this authenticity and love for our whole self we seek, but we must start with loving OUR whole self.

Throughout life, we will continue to experience clashes in our persona due to changing environments, relationships, and expectations. This can be quite confusing, often triggering, yet it can also be incredibly healing. By taking a moment during these times of discomfort to really reflect on why certain emotions are occurring, we are able to look at the root cause and assess the situation and our reactions objectively. This can take time, so it is important to be patient with ourselves and not rush any healing. Taking time allows more to be unearthed to better understand ourselves. This is part of the beauty of meditation, as we are able to become objective and gain a more whole understanding of the situation from our perception and others’. Some of these instincts are very important, and our intuitions way of telling us a situation is healthy or not healthy. Others have been programmed into us, and may not be necessary.

“But these instincts have not disappeared. They have merely lost their contact with our consciousness and are thus forced to assert themselves in an indirect fashion.”  ~ Carl Jung

New Moon Meditation

Get comfortable in a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. You are welcome to make this space your own with candles, healing stones, and healing music. Closing your eyes, inhaling drawing your shoulders to your ears, and exhale through your mouth to relax them down your back. Repeat this a few times, then coming into a steady Ujjayi breath – slow, long inhales and exhales through the nose. Grounding your energy by imagining roots or a golden cord reaching from your Root chakra into the earth. Taking a moment to feel this connection deepen. Begin bringing white light in through the Crown chakra and allowing it to flow down through your spine and into the earth.

  • Describe your persona?
  • What is it you want others to see in you? Why? Where did this come from?
  • Describe your shadow?
  • Why is it part of your shadow?
  • What happens when you let these aspects of your shadow become a part of you? Send yourself love as you allow your whole-self to shine through, and see others also sending love to these aspects.

Know allowing your shadow to become a part of you will allow you to be your whole, true-self. Those who love you will still love you. But most importantly, do you love yourself? Think of one thing you can do for yourself for the next 30 days to show whole-self more love. Perhaps painting,  journal, a walk, quiet time for you, yoga, or meditating?

Enjoy nourishing your soul and all of you.

~ Katie

Brainwaves & Meditation: The power of energy

The quote above is from Albert Einstein. I have always been fascinated by the brain and how we can alter our overall health using simple tools, like meditation, yoga, and sound. It’s truly incredible how much power we have, yet don’t seem to harness! Below are some tones you can use to help you relax into your meditation. As always, please ensure you have grounded your energy, create a protective layer (this can be achieved with white light radiating out of your body to surround you,  from your core), and have someone who can gently bring you back into your body, if you will not be going for a full-night sleep.

5 Brainwaves:

1) Delta – Deep Sleep

During the Delta state, we experience this in our deepest state of sleep, when our body becomes immobile. It’s also known as ‘slow wave sleep’, with a frequency of 0.5-3 Hz. During this phase our body repairs itself, integrates what we have learned, and our nervous system can be changed.

Here is an example of this tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yb5mIZm5bcQ Definitely a great way to dive into your meditation, but I would recommend working from Alpha & Theta into this frequency.

2) Theta – Subconscious

The Theta state occurs as we initially fall asleep and during light sleep. In this 3-8Hz frequency, we are able to allow our subconscious to come to the forefront, and are able to create change in our thoughts. This is the state we relax into during hypnosis, which can have many beneficial effects in re-patterning the brain. This is a sample of this tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66tq9xji0xA&list=RDQMYBab6gar5TY

3) Alpha – Relaxation

Alpha waves have a freqquency of 8-12 Hz and are experienced during relaxation. This is a great sample to begin with for your meditation, as you ground and create protection around yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cHjaJRl1Qo

4) Beta – Active

During Beta we are active and awake. This is our every-day range of activity at 12-38Hz.

5) Gamma – Associated with deeply meditative states

Gamma is the most intriguing frequency which we actually don’t know that much about. It has been said to be associated with bliss states – the ultimate state we desire to experience. In yoga terms, this is known as Samadhi. During this frequency of 38-42 Hz, our brains are very active and processing different areas of our brain and our conscience – our brains are awake and we are able to fully integrate what we are perceiving for a more full image. This is the state we experience when during periods of intense intuition, which is what psychics, lightworkers, and monks are able to access with ease. We can all achieve this, but like anything, it takes practice and discipline. The benefits of being able to access this state are quite profound, as we are fully aware during our waking lives, yet fully connected for truly intelligent decision making. It was also found that those achieving these states experience greater joy, peace, and love.

 

Maintaining a Healthy Body

1000 Hz is equivalent to 0.001 MHz. To give a little context, a healthy human brain functions at 71-90 MHz. When we have a cold, this drops to 58 MHz. When we begin to leave our bodies, this drops further to 25 MHz. Everything vibrates with a frequency; animals, stones, plants. This is why we want to surround ourselves with other beings that also vibrate at a high frequency, but ultimately we are responsible for ourselves.

It is important to be aware of what we are absorbing into our bodies and minds as both food, thought, and sound have frequencies. Fresh produce is between 10-15 MHz, and fresh herbs from 20-27 MHz. Therepeutic-grade essential oils are between 52-320 MHz, with Rose, Helichrysum, Frankincense, and Lavender being amongst the highest. This excerpt below demonstrates this quite clearly*:

“Initially, the frequency of each of two different individuals – the first a 26 year old male and the second a 24 year old male was measured at 66 MHz for both. The first individual held a cup of coffee (without drinking any) and his frequency dropped to 58 MHz in 3 seconds. He then removed the coffee and inhaled an aroma of essential oils. Within 21 seconds, his frequency had returned to 66MHz. The second individual took a sip of coffee and his frequency dropped to 52MHz in the same 3 seconds. However, no essential oils were used during the recovery time and it took 3 days for his frequency to return to the initial 66MHz.

Another very interesting result of this study was the influence that thoughts have on our frequency as well. Negative thoughts lowered the measured frequency by 12 MHz and positive thoughts raised the measured frequency by 10MHz. It was also found that prayer and meditation increased the measured frequency levels by 15 MHz.”

Meditation, and meditative forms of yoga are wonderful ways to train your body to quieten the mind, aiding you in being able to access these Gamma states.

Here is a sample of Gamma sound for your meditation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axTImghP9Ts

You can also listen to some of  these sounds and Solfeggio frequencies at work to keep energy up and heal your body through frequency!

 

 

*Excerpt from: http://isira.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/YL-Essential-Oils-Frequency-LA.pdf

 

 

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Yoga actually extends far beyond the physical practice. The physical aspect of yoga is actually only an eighth of it! Through exploring this path, you will notice your meditation  – and life experience – become richer and more meaningful. These concepts are designed to be explored.  Yoga consists of 8 aspects, with the idea being achieving enlightenment. Enlightenment is connecting to your true self, your spirit, and through that, oneness with all, in which we find freedom. A side benefit of this journey – living a healthy and happy life!

 

These are the 8 Limbs of Yoga:

  • Yamas: these are disciplines to observe to guide our interactions with the world
    • Ahimsa: non-voilence
    • Satya: truthfulness
    • Asteya:  taking only what is rightfully yours
    • Brahmacharya: using energy in healthy ways (often seen as celibacy)
    • Aparigraha: only taking what you need
  • Niyamas: personal practices for a healthy internal world
    • Saucha: purity and cleanliness
    • Santosha: contentment  
    • Tapas: self-discipline
    • Svadhyaha: self awareness
    • Ishvara Pranidhana: surrendering
  • Asana:

The physical practice of yoga. It’s important to keep your body alert, healthy, and strong to enjoy your life and share this experience with others! Moving mindfully is very important to all of our teachers – we even have a class called Mindful Movement! When we move mindfully, we do so with breath, grace & strength. We can heal our bodies, and help prevent injury!

  • Pranayama:

Breathwork. You can see some type of pranayama we have practiced on Instagram. As breath-work has been important to me since I was a child, this is something all our classes focus on.

  • Pratyahara:

Sense withdrawal. This is part of the reason I am often quiet in our Yin classes – a rare opportunity for you to be awake and completely alone with your thoughts – this is powerfully cleansing & healing!

  • Dharana:

Focused concentration. Part of our #meditationchallenge focused on this form of meditation. Picking a theme, thought, vision, feeling to focus on can be very powerful to help you feel and achieve goals. I personally like to focus on a thought, then let it go to allow inspiration to flow as I feel myself stepping away and becoming more objective…which goes into the next limb of yoga!

  • Dhyana:

Meditative absorption. This form of yoga is my favorite and what I have practiced for years, as it’s where inspiration comes from. The mind is freed a this point to allow intuition to guide. Again, much healing can be achieved through this approach, and this is fabulous for considering changes or growth. The trick is to not get attached to the process and details. Trust it will work out – surrender and know it will – we just may not be aware of all the details …but do you need to be? It can be a challenge, but amazing things can happen when you let go!

  • Samadhi

A state of continual bliss, also known as enlightenment. Enlightenment is wholeness, oneness – which we already are. But being able to recognize and feel it at all times, brings us to a state of bliss as we recognize there is only pure love and energetic connection amongst us all. As James Cisneros put it; “Enlightenment is not a change into something better or more, but a simple recognition of who we truly already are.”

 

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook as we explore these aspects in greater depth!

 

Learning to Live with Stress is More Important than Learning Algebra

Oh, the things we didnt learn in school.

Are you devoting enough time to exploring how to respond to stress? The benefits can be (literally) life-saving.

Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life. In fact, this energy is what motivates us to get out of bed each day, go find food, and build relationships with others. But exposure to high levels of stress over the long-term has major consequences for our health.

 

Stress & Our Immune System

When our bodies are responding to stressful events, our immune system becomes suppressed. This happens so that all of our physical resources can be given to our fight-or-flight systems to increase our chances of survival in a life or death situation. The problem is, our brain cannot tell the difference between receiving a stressful email from our boss VS being chased by a bearboth situations are simply considered to be threateningand the fight-or-flight response kicks in.

 

Learning to Cope with Stress

Living in todays fast-paced, connected society means that we are constantly exposed to stress. This long-term exposure to stress and immune system suppression can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, heart attacks, and cancer.

Fortunately, we can train ourselves to respond to everyday stress in a way that does not engage our fight-or-flight systems. Part of this process involves activating our relaxingparasympathetic nervous system. This can be done in a variety of ways, including: breathing, movement, physical pressure/deep tissue activation, and warmth. When we are already stressed out, it can be irritating to hear someone tell us to just breathe. But this message isnt entirely uselessthe key is knowing how to breathe and exhale in a way that tells our bodies its time to relax.

 

Mastering Your Nervous System

Now, we dont want you to read this article and stress out!!! Learning to switch onour parasympathetic nervous system doesnt have to be a demanding task. There are plenty of resources dedicated to supporting physical relaxation, so allocate 5 minutes each day to learning a new technique. As you learn which techniques are most effective, continue practicing them so they become second-nature when you encounter stress in your life. For those who want to explore further, join us for the upcoming workshop Interrupting the Stress Response on Wednesday, November 29th at Studio 202 in North Vancouver. There, we will be discussing the physiology of stress, and sampling different techniques that promote relaxation.

 

Explore Your Response to Stress

A final word of encouragementWe are all unique in our ability to tolerate and respond to stress. Adopting an attitude of curiosity and humour can be helpful in exploring which techniques are most effective for you as an individual. With some time, practice, and patience, learning to respond to stress will be a valuable long-term investment in your health and overall wellness.

What is Pranayama?

Pranayama is the art of breath-work. ‘Prana’ is life force – our breath, and ‘yama’ is discipline. This is why the 8 limbs of yoga are called the yamas and niyamas – the disciplines of yoga to live a healthy and happy life. See our post on 8 Limbs of Yoga blog for more information on Yamas & Niyamas.

 

How Pranayama Helps Your Meditation

You’ve likely heard you can only think about one thing at a time, so choose positive thoughts. This is part of the beauty of meditation and pranayama. By focusing on a single positive thought, a breath pattern, or a sensation – you become immersed. By focusing on the breath, we are able to let our minds neutralize and reach a more balanced and happier state! It is not possible to control the mind with the mind. This is why pranayama is an essential aspect of meditation.

 

Notice Your Breath

First please take notice of your breath. Is it rapid? Short? Long? Slow? Deep? Is your chest expanding? Is your belly expanding? Place a hand on your lower abdomen, close your eyes and begin to connect with your breath for a minute. Has it changed?

 

Forms of Pranayama to Try

There are many forms of breathwork, that can be practiced, each serving different purposes:

  • Calming – simple inhale with your belly expanding and exhale through the nose, flowing into each other is incredibly soothing. This is also called Ocean Breath or Ujjayi when you try to ‘fog up the mirror’ on your exhale – it creates a slight constriction in the throat making the sound of the ocean.
  • Deep calming – inhale for 4 seconds letting your stomach expand, retain the breath for 4 counts, exhale for 6 seconds, and hold out for 2. Continue with this breath.
  • Cooling – rolling the sides of your tongue upward and sticking your tongue slightly out, inhale and exhale. You will notice a cooling sensation. This is great for fevers! If you have a one with a fever, lay them on your bare chest skin-to-skin as you do this breath.
  • Energizing – with Breath of Fire it’s important to ground yourself first. Close your eyes and imagine a golden cord or roots extending from the base of your spine into the earth. Feel that sense of connection. When you are ready, begin by taking a long belly-breath. Exhale in quick contractions, drawing your navel towards your spine. For each long inhale, you should be able to do 10 exhales. Rest between and continue.
  • With kids – to help children calm and sleep, have them lay down and place a hand on their belly. As they inhale imagining their bellies are like balloons expanding, and exhaling to let the air out of the balloon through their nose or mouth.

There are many more pranayama techniques you can try too, but more advanced ones are best in a class with a practitioner who can help you ground appropriately. Check out our Yin and Kundalini classes for more pranayama!