The Surprising Benefit of Practicing Yoga in a Studio

10292017 tim marshall unsplash

 

For many years I was a 'solo-yogi', practicing at home as there was no studio nearby. One cold winters day I decided that if I wanted to have a studio nearby to practice in, then it was up to me to make that happen. I did my research, attended a yoga teacher training program, and opened Paradigm Yoga in Jasper a few months later.

There are many things that a yoga teacher training program prepares you for; poses, anatomy, history, theory, how to breathe and different ways to meditate. We even discussed the business side of opening and operating a studio. However there is one thing that I wasn't expecting, that wasn't (and can't be) taught, and that you can't make happen.

The studio has now been open for two and a half years, and in the last year I've noticed more and more the amazing personal connections being cultivated in the studio. There are true friendships being formed and a support system that I could never imagine.

We share our victories and excitement about adventures and family successes, and we shed tears and share the burden of when life isn't quite going to plan.

Some days we hear about an experience where yogic breathing found a place in daily life and that a stressful situation was handled with grace and ease instead of anger and irritation. Yogis who have struggled with insomnia share their joy at practicing techniques learned in relaxation and drifting off effortlessly into a full night of restful sleep. At times there are high fives at the achievement of a yoga pose that has been long out of reach, showing the increase in physical strength, balance and flexibility that is a direct result of a yogi's hard work and dedicated practice, and we hear about wonderful experiences during meditation. These are some of the most rewarding parts of being a yoga teacher. But I'm so thankful that together we have created a supportive and loving environment where it's also ok to not be ok, in which there is always someone who cares, who will listen and is there to give you a hug and support whenever you need it.

It's been just over 4 years since I moved from England to Texas. Anyone who has moved any distance, either across the country or across continents, knows that being away from family and friends can be hard sometimes, especially when really good or bad things happen.

Recently I hit one of those little bumps in the road where my body hasn't stuck to the plan of overall health and wellness. Rather than try to hide the anxiety & stress of a serious health scare, I decided to speak my truth and share what was going on with my yogi family in the studio. The love and support I have felt from everyone is overwhelming and makes me feel at last like this is home. While my family and long time friends are there on the phone, my yogi family have come through with the in-person support, love, chats, hugs, sweet messages and cups of tea.

I can not express the gratitude I feel for being a part of this community. What we have in the studio is a magic I never anticipated or imagined, born from the simple practice of rolling out our yoga mats together day after day. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, my current cloud has led me to a wonderful realisation about the studio, our yogi community, and this place I now call home.

xoxo

How do you start your day?

1.29.17 how do you start your day

The way we wake up in the morning sets the tone for the rest of our day ⏰

If we wake up and immediately begin to rush around (maybe even check our phones/emails/Facebook before getting up?!) it’s difficult to feel peaceful and calm throughout the day.

When we wake up giving ourselves enough time to get ready for our day, and include a positive morning habit, we can set the foundation for a great day ✨

Positive morning practices don't have to take long! Here are some ideas

  • take 5 deep breaths (maybe even practice sama-vritti by taking a slow, steady 4 count inhale & 4 count exhale)
  • write in a gratitude journal
  • spend a few minutes in meditation
  • 5 half sun salutations
  • set an intention of how you'd like your day to unfold

How will you start your Monday? How will you start every day?! Pick just one or two of the above, (or any other positive habit that appeals to you) to implement this week - just a few minutes every morning can set the stage for an amazing day!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Yogis!!!

I’m excited to be welcoming in 2017, though I’m not a setter of New Year’s resolutions. If you want to make positive changes in your life, why wait for the beginning of a new week, month or year? I’m a big believer in starting on something right now whether it’s a habit, ritual, or goal, but as it happens, now/today is New Year’s Day which seems as good a day as any to (re)commit to something important!

In the whirlwind of juggling existing commitments and furnishing the new studio space (yey!), my meditation practice has been at the bottom of my to-do list each day. In the last few weeks I didn’t make the time at 6am when I got up, and before I knew it it’d be midnight and the last thing I’d feel like doing was meditating for any amount of time – I just wanted to crash!

I’ll be honest with you, this isn’t the first time that my meditation practice has lapsed but I always come back to it. I know I feel better when I’m practicing regularly – I feel less stressed, more able to prioritise my thoughts and actions, and I sleep better.

The thought of meditating every single day can seem like a daunting task even though we know it’s good for us so I'm here to help! I’m a big believer in community and accountability: having people around you who remind you to stay on track when you’re not feeling motivated, or to bring you back if you fall out of the flow and life gets in the way (it happens, it’s ok!).

Today I’ve signed up for a meditation timer app – Insight Timer. It’s a free app which takes the clock watching out of meditating and also connects you to other meditators locally and around the world. This app will allow me to log my practices (keep myself accountable!), record notes, and connect to friends. If you’d like to join me and commit to your meditation practice, download the app and connect with me!! You can search for me (Shona Noyola) by name or by email – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

I’d love to support you whether you’re a long time meditator or if this is your first day! Whether you see this as a resolution, or simply a commitment to yourself that happened to have taken place on New Year’s day, why not join me on the app?

If a daily commitment feels like too much, commit to 2-3 times a week, or try it for 21 or 30 days. Remember, you don't have to set lofty goals of sitting for an hour a day - as little as 5 minutes a day can make a difference and start the habit. I can't promise it’ll always be easy, but I know it’ll be worth it!

xoxo

 

You Are What You Think

 

You are what you think

 

In our classes this week our focus has been on noticing the nature of our thoughts, and the way we talk to ourselves. We've been relating these thoughts to watering the weeds or watering the flowers in a garden 

What are the weeds in your mind's garden? Weeds are thoughts of fear, anxiety, regret, envy, frustration, jealousy, sadness, guilt, or allowing yourself to dwell on thoughts of the past, wishing things had gone differently.

The more time you give these thoughts, the more you water the weeds, and the bigger they grow. Soon the path to the weed patch becomes worn and familiar making it easier to go there.

Take a moment to ask yourself why are we watering weeds when there are seeds of beautiful flowers close by?!

What do flowers look like as thoughts? Joy, kindness, compassion, love, and gratitude. Thoughts of 'I am enough', and 'this is a wonderful moment'. The more you water the flowers the more they bloom and blossom. When you do this repeatedly, the path to the weed patch starts to grow over, and a new path starts to form. Over time the weed patch starts to wither and wilt while your flower garden grows.

We have a choice about which path we take and which path we make familiar. 

I understand that sometimes we want to feel sorry for ourselves and make a beeline for the weed patch! but it doesn't serve ourselves or anyone around us to be in our small self. Notice when you want to do this and then take the shortest route to your flower garden. If it's one of those days where you just can't think of the positive, start with gratitude. Gratitude for your breath or gratitude for a friend, family member or pet.

So start listening to those little voices inside. Steer yourself away from negative thoughts and weeds and start watering the seeds of love, gratitude and confidence. Start to walk a new path and watch your flower garden grow.

 

Your mind is a garden, 
your thoughts are the seeds. 
You can grow flowers,
or you can grow weeds.