Yoga

Weathering the Storm

For most of us, it's not always storming. Our lives aren't always filled with chaos and turmoil, threat of danger, illness or injury. Our minds may feel that way sometimes- our inner "roommate" may constantly be warning us of impending threats, contemplating reasons to worries or possible worst outcomes.

In reality- only 50% of our lives are spent in storms.  

But when you're in one, it may seem like there is no place to turn.  

The Role of Self Care

That's why a regular self care practice can prepare us in the body and mind- and change our reaction to storms when they really do arise. No one is immune to trauma.  We all will experience our own trauma from time to time. We are human, and that is a part. 

However we can work to live in a way that we are better able to move through trauma in all its "glory". Creating a life of accepting that even storms bring sunshine. Our yoga practice is just that, a practice.  On our mats we tap in to more stillness, peace, and breathe trying to find as safe place to land. When things are going quite well,and when the reality is just the opposite.


As a community of yogis, we know we are all on a journey. That's why our studio is one of the happiest places to be.  A place of acceptance, honor for one another, and space- physical space and the mental/emotional space we can find in the communal solitude we find on our mats. And that's why when we can't make it to the studio- because of storms or impending weather,we find solace on our mat in our home practice when we can.  With the helpful guidance of an online yoga practice or simply using what we've learned at the studio to move and breathe through some postures.

Gratitude- for self care.  Self care- knowing where to land when you're not sure where to go, is a life preserver. Namaste.



A Break to Come Back and Find Myself

My little over 5 months of a cross country season has finally come to an end. First, I want to thank everyone in the studio who always checked in to see how my season was going and congratulated me on accomplishments during the season. We have the best yogis and community!

So what does this mean?

It means I have a lot more time to do the things that I sacrificed during my cross country season. I really did enjoy cross country but it came with a lot of sacrifices. I can finally stay up late again and skateboard and practice guitar and not stress so much about not having enough time to finish homework. It has been nice to reconnect with some of my passions again. I could talk about the importance of staying connected to your true self and indulging in your passions but I will leave that to my mom. She is way more knowledgeable on that topic with her B3 method and is a lot more well spoken in the topic. In fact she has a whole program to help you reconnect with your passions in her B3 Method Institute.

All I can say is I feel more like myself now that I can do some of the other things I haven’t done in awhile.

Start Yoga

One of those things I have not done in awhile is yoga.

I decided I needed some yoga in my life again. I have become afraid the longer I go without yoga the less mobile I will be. That did not go well with my overall fitness goals. So going into the Saturday Hot Vinyasa at 10am I did not have very high expectations. I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty but I was just happy I was finally taking a yoga class after such a long time.

To my surprise I hadn't lost as much flexibility as I thought I would. Don’t get me wrong, it was still tough and I definitely can’t do those splits or lotus poses, but I was able to still touch my toes and really extend my downward dog. I just felt accomplished in a sense I was working on my flexibility again. During the class I also felt nostalgic. It had been such a long time since I have done yoga that it was bringing me back to the past. I remembered how easy it was to just fly up into a crow or do wheel pose or move fluidly to the next pose. This is what I wanted to work back towards. Now that I had the opportunity to go to yoga again, I want to be able to work on this.

My body felt renewed from the stretching.I felt the post yoga class buzz through my body that I haven’t felt in awhile (I also felt very drenched from my sweat which wasn’t one of the more pleasant feelings). Most Importantly, I came out of that class with a goal come to yoga more often and fight the tightness of aging with yoga.

So don’t be surprised if you start seeing me in your yoga class here at Drishtiq.



Yoga Goals

Yoga Goals

Whatever your goal is DRISHTIQ Yoga wants to help you reach it.  Our classes are designed with you in mind. Often our instructors ask at the beginning of class- what are your intentions, what do you need from your practice today?  These are questions you should also be asking yourself- Why am I here?  What can I commit to each week so I can reach my goal?

Stop in and chat with our front desk. Share your goals with us. Let's get started reaching them.

We're ready....are you?

Confessions of a High School Senior & Yogi

Confessions of a High School Senior & Yogi

Sitting behind the front desk one wednesday evening shift, I thought it would be cool to enlighten the readers of the Drishtiq Yoga blog perhaps with a new perspective on the presence of yoga in my life. This reflection begins even before this very space we call Drishtiq Yoga was even a thought. It begins even before my family and I moved to Ohio. It begins when this new word was just being introduced to my 5 year old vocabulary. It sounded kinda funny to me. YO - Guh. In fact every time I heard the word Yoga, I thought of the well known Star Wars character, Yoda (my Dad was just beginning to show me this awesome trilogy). Well it turns out it wasn’t a character in Star Wars but still a pretty foreign concept to me.


At this time my mother had just had my little brother and had been left pretty sick after the pregnancy. So bad that her doctor told her she couldn’t do any physical activity. Now if you know my mother she maintains a pretty active lifestyle and the thought of no physical activity seems like the end of the world. So this prompted her to ask the question: So there’s nothing I can do? That’s where this new foreign word pops in. YO-Guh. The doctor said she could do yoga. It would actually prove to be pretty beneficial.

Back to School Not Back to Stress

Back to School Not Back to Stress

For teachers and students alike, gearing up to go back to school is not the most exciting thing in the world. Besides seeing your friends and meeting new teachers, the school year brings stress and anxiety for everyone.

Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever gone to sleep before midnight on the first-day-of-school-eve as I lie in bed, anxiously contemplating what will happen the next day and where my summer had gone.

It's common for you or your children to feel stressed on the first day; who am I going to sit with at lunch? What if my teachers don’t like me? What if I fall down the stairs and make a complete fool of myself? With this, the cycle of stressful classes, homework and tests also begins. And to make a healthy learning environment, we need to eliminate some of that stress. Here are a few tips to help you or your child transition into a stress free school year:

What I Learned From My TEDx Talk Experience - Amy Vetter

What I Learned From My TEDx Talk Experience - Amy Vetter

My @tedxcinnati video of my talk: Disconnect to Connect (below) was just released this past weekend on YouTube. This experience was truly life changing for me personally and as a speaker. I thought it may be helpful to share some of what I learned during this year while going through this process of creating a TED Talk, auditioning to make it to the main stage and then performing it.

Getting Back to Our Roots

I had an interesting experience in my yoga class. The instructor was playing random music from Pandora, and chose a classical station to end our practice with. What she didn’t realize when she turned on this station was how it affected me. I immediately went back to being a teenager as soon as I heard the first piece play. Life takes us in so many directions; we sometimes forget where our beginnings were. The pieces that were played were ones I played as a High School student on my viola in a local symphony orchestra. For that moment in time, I wasn’t in that yoga room anymore. I transcended back to my childhood bedroom where I practiced every note of those pieces over and over again. I heard the notes I used to struggle with and was amazed I still remembered the whole piece. I then found myself remembering working on those same pieces with my viola teacher, the things he said, the goals we set, the measures upon measures we worked on over and over again so it would come out sounding right.

As the piece continued…I remembered the feeling I would have on stage. As the music grew louder during the concert, the stage floor vibrating and pounding with the instruments, the conductor waiving his arms furiously with the music and remembering the exhilaration I used to feel that sometimes brought tears of happiness to my eyes when it all came together on stage. All the work that led up to that final concert and how amazing it felt to be a part of an Orchestra at that moment in time.

We all have forks in the road – when it was time to make a decision on college majors – the choice was between music and business for me. I chose business, and packed my viola away. However, just because I no longer spend hours practicing my viola and playing concerts, the experience of playing came into my business life without realizing it. These roots that we have inside us, create the education for us on how to conduct our careers later. I learned through playing viola, the concert was the fun part, practicing was not; but it was necessary to be able to achieve a successful concert. The discipline and redundancy of playing the same notes over and over until you got it right – is the same discipline you need in business. We all are performers, in one way or another. Whether we are presenting in a meeting, pitching a sale to a prospect or speaking at a conference, we have to practice and know our subject matter better than anyone else does.

The way you win in business is to have discipline and to set goals. Making decisions too fast is really hard not to do. Making sure that each decision is in alignment with the goals you have with your business is even harder. Taking your yoga practice in your business can help you with slowing down and making sure the steps are in place. Learn to breathe. Take a deep breath before making a decision and think through the impact. Just like in our yoga practice or playing an instrument, it’s the details that count. No one may actually know what happens behind the scenes before it all comes together, but the time has to be taken to go through the steps and “practice” to achieve the outcome you want. No one may know when you couldn’t touch your toes or you played out of tune, because the end result creates an amazing business that the outside world appreciates.

Take some time to go back to your roots. Let yourself go back to something in your life that had real impact to how you do things today. Was it the right way to do it? Are you following a path because you have always done it that way? Or is it time to step back and assess how to do it differently and set goals that take you into a different direction. Make sure you are achieving the successful outcome that you want. Practicing the wrong note over and over will not translate into a good experience for the audience of a concert. Going into a pose incorrectly over and over will create injuries and frustration that you are not getting it right. Instead aim for the appearance of a seamless orchestral concert where the audience doesn’t understand the mechanics to get there, nor needs to. You did the work and took the necessary steps behind the scenes so they get what they paid for.

Enjoying Being a Beginner

When new students walk into class to practice yoga for the first time or a business opens its doors for the first time, a very similar experience happens. They both look around at what others are doing and want what they have today even though they are just beginning. I see in both cases they can be quickly disappointed if it doesn’t come fast enough. A yoga student may see the flexibility of the person next to them or see another person fly into an arm balance and ask how fast they will be able to do the same thing. An entrepreneur looks around at the success of other businesses that have been working in the same field for years and expect the same revenue and success as them in their first year.

Setting Expectations

How do we set the right expectations so we don’t disappoint ourselves and are able to enjoy the process of starting something new? Over the years I have seen people take steps through the journey and have intention as they go through the process and achieve success. I have also observed firms and clients alike try to rush through implementations without taking the steps to train, create unrealistic goals and a tremendous amount of stress for themselves and those around them. In yoga, I see students try to muscle through poses rather than understanding their breath and proper alignment first. They miss that if they slow down and learn the poses it will help them into each posture naturally with very little muscle involved.

I did the same thing when I started yoga. I started and stopped yoga a few times thinking I could never do what I saw others doing – whether that be their flexibility or ability of being still in a pose. Then I finally decided to go to a Beginners class and that changed everything for me. I finally understood where to put my feet, hands, gaze and utilize my breath. I also began to understand that I needed to stop focusing on the people next to me, that I may never do what they can do. I learned to be okay with that. I stopped being competitive and starting enjoying the practice. There is no reason that starting a new business line or service shouldn’t be the same. You should enjoy the excitement of starting something new and all the learning ahead of you. The climb is exciting and opportunities open up that you never realized were available.

If We’re Honest…

It’s easy to feel like we need to have everything together, all the time, including at a yoga studio. Sometimes we all feel like we need to put on a show when we come to a yoga class.  We all want to feel like the person who has it all together wherever we go, including on our mats.  In short, sometimes, you feel like you need to meet all the “requirements” to do yoga.

This is not what yoga is.

Try not to view yoga as a checklist item.  Yoga is something that invests in all parts of your day.  It affects your mood, your mindset, and it gives you energy and relief.  It’s a detox, a challenge, a healing, an exploration, an acceptance, and an appreciation.

If yoga were about expectations, there would be no point in practicing.  Yoga IS a relief because it allows you to express how you feel.  Every feeling demands to be felt.  Yoga allows you to feel it in a healthy process.

Yoga is a constant journey; a constant change.  Wherever you are emotionally, physically, and spiritually, it’s about thanking yourself in where you are today.  You can’t help your body or mind by judging, or scolding yourself.  And you certainly can’t improve anything without accepting how you feel.  With love and kindness comes acceptance, with acceptance comes change, and with change comes improvement.

I invite you to bring everything you have onto your mat and be honest with yourself.  Take a moment to fully take in what you are feeling through yoga.  Listen to yourself like you would want someone to listen to you; compassionately and without judgment.  Listen to what your body has to say, and choose to let it go.  You are human, and you did the best you could.  So breathe it in, and breathe it out.

If we’re honest, we all know what it’s like to feel ten inches tall compared to everyone else.  Sometimes, we all feel like everyone else is staring.  But just take a deep breath, because it’s more than likely that someone else in the yoga studio feels the exact same way.

It doesn’t matter who you are – we all have brokenness to bring to our mats.  It takes strength and courage to be honest.  Whether you’re feeling content, or frustrated, just thank yourself for being strong enough to step on to your mat.

When you step on your mat ask yourself, “how are you doing?”

Then, let your practice be a reflection of how you are doing.

Balance

We strive for it on our mats, we sometimes get frustrated when we wobble or fall- much like the frustration that comes from feeling off balance when we step off our mats and into the world. Unfortunately imbalance in our lives most often shows up as frustration, shame or sadness because We don’t always have the same intense focus and due diligence with balance off our mats as we do when we are taking a balance Asana like Warrior III.

We are as ill feeling when we experience an imbalance in our lives as we do when we stand in witness of our balance during a yoga class- we just aren’t always aware it’s truly imbalance we are feeling.

In fact, your balance in yoga class can be a peep hole into what is happening in your life. In this way life shows up on your mat and we become more aware of underlying imbalance in our daily lives.

And just as we take time to establish balance on our mats, take a moment or two in life’s moments to become aware of when you feel a balance or when you don’t.

Awareness is the first step to working toward establishing balance between work and home, between indulgence and moderation. Taking steps towards a more balanced life can require drawing some tough lines in the sand- with your boss at work, your friends and family, workmates or peers- all who also may struggle balancing work with pleasure or distracting themselves by busying their lives leading to exhaustion. Like dominoes we’re in danger of knocking each other down. Meeting a leader with a good sense of balance feels the opposite, their grounded ways and stability makes them better able to support and lift you up. Thus, greater success abounds.

So next time your yoga facilitator invites you into eagle pose. Without judgement, notice your thoughts, your focus, and how the pose arrives in your body. Notice as you breathe and let go of thought and make time for balance, the sensations in the body-as you ground down to reach up for possibility.

Imagine all that is possible when we make time to balance time for friends and loved ones with work. Balance movement with stillness. Alone time and time surrounded in friendship. What happens when we become more aware of in balance in our lives is that we get a chance to ground down and open up to possibility.

Begin with Gratitude…

Close your eyes for a moment (after reading this of course). Take a big breath in and out. Call to mind three entities in your life you are grateful for. Perhaps a person in your family comes to mind? Maybe it’s your job or the fact you can pay your bills? Possibly it’s another aspect of your life you’re really proud of, or even better, maybe you’re thankful for your breath?

Now hold this list in your mind. Be mindful at this moment of these things (people, events), that when you think of it, makes you feel the emotion of gratitude.

And, now notice how gratitude arrives in the body. Is it a feeling of lightness in your chest? Do you feel “butterflies in your belly?” Does a tingling sensation arrive in the tips of the fingertips or toes? Do your shoulder muscles relax a bit? Or do you feel the soft pulse of your heart beating?

Gratitude

Gratitude is a muscle. One we often reserve to strengthen when we gather around the dinner table at Thanksgiving. But, what would happen if we treated EVERYDAY like Thanksgiving? What would happen if we began EVERYDAY with an expression of Gratitude- a moment to tap into what we are grateful for and then give time to FEEL the emotion that accompanies it?

You can try this on your yoga mat. Make your intention to come from a place of gratitude for your body and your individual ability on your mat to practice postures or stillness. Witness how this changes your practice.

Then, try this in your relationships- start conversations with gratitude. Start emails with gratitude. Send texts just to reveal your gratitude. And witness the shift in your relationships and how people respond to you.

Then, sit back and notice, as the muscle of gratitude gets stronger, life seems just a little bit sunnier. You tend to notice more the glass half full. Enjoy.

Beauty Surrounds

November in Southwest Ohio is much like a fireworks display. Seems like out of now where a vibrant burst of color surrounds us as nature prepares for the imminent arrival of colder temperatures and less permeating sunshine.

Beauty exists in peoples’ preparation for cooler weather also.

We huddle around fires, grasp our hot chocolate (or pumpkin spiced lattes) and curl up under the covers together. We may grasp for that moment longer under our blankets in the morning or layer ourselves with cozy sweat shirts and sweaters.

We may linger a bit longer in the sunshine, or welcome the crisp cool breeze that wisps away the leaves of the trees while we take a big breathe in cherishing the refreshing way fall feels in our bodies.

In the same way, fall yoga may feel a bit different in the body as we embrace the change in moods or needs of the body. That warm/hot class may be inviting or a calm restorative or yin and meditation to reflect upon the change in seasons and the transition of time.

Enjoy the beauty of fall.

Take a moment to pause this November.

On your mat, take in the needs of the body through the senses.  In child’s pose try moving the forehead back and forth to massage the sinuses.  Take longer in that Down Dog affording the hamstrings just a bit longer to open up.  Build natural heat in the body with your Ujaii breath.  Allow yoga to help you during your seasonal transition.   Allow your mat to be a place of support and ease as your body and mind deals with the passage of time and change in the weather.

Find the beauty in your practice.

Don’t take yourself too seriously…

Consider for a moment the activities you most enjoy: Playing an instrument, listening to music, reading a really great book, eating a decadent dessert or going to a movie?

Now ask yourself this question- Why do I like this activity?

Nine times out of ten, we answer- because its fun, or I’m good at it, and when my focus is on this activity I feel good, light and free.

Why then does exercise or physical activity have to be ANY different?

We know that physical exercise is good for our health. We know that we should incorporate approximately thirty minutes of physical exercise a day, or so our doctors tell us.

Why not make that thirty minutes fun?

Yoga Asana, like any physical calisthenics, should be fun. If you want yoga to be a “habit” or an activity you make a regular part of your life, try finding the fun.

Start by asking your Ego, to leave the room. Sometimes Ego is the sarcastic coach on the sideline picking apart every bad move you make, the “you’re not enough” voice convincing you, you mine as well give up. The Ego reminds you of your fears, or the chance you may look “bad” in front of all your acquaintances.

No one needs Ego along for the ride in a yoga practice.

Ego can be blamed for many injuries. Ego can talk so loud it can drown out the breath, the attention inward to the body. Ego has no place, and

Ego is NO FUN in a yoga practice.

Instead…take steps to find the FUN.

Try this, start with mindfulness, bringing awareness to your inner voice during meditation. Start by meditating 5 minutes (or more). While you are meditating, pay attention to your thoughts, give them a name (like, that’s my EGO, that’s my TO DO list…). Then, journal about the experience.

Secondly, decide to be kinder to yourself. Invite your thoughts to be more positive. Let the words you are thinking be the same as if you were speaking to a person in your life you love the most. Decide that if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, you won’t say it to yourself. And then hold yourself accountable for taking back negativity and judgment toward yourself.

Lastly, practice, practice, practice. When you notice EGO coming between you and your mindfulness on the mat – decide that the fear of failure, the fear of looking bad, won’t stop you from the FUN that can be had when moving and “playing” on your mat.

Then step back, and let the world open up. What will you do sans EGO, sans FEAR, sans CRITISCISM?

HAVE FUN!

Your Most Troubling Yoga Questions, answered…Part II

Question 1: What advice do you have for older practioners trying to get further into their splits? If I really believe I could go further- what sorts of things should I try?

The first advice we’d give is to go further into your breath. Breath is yoga! In order to further your practice in any pose, try first checking out your breath during your practice. Use your ujaii breath to further concentrate and move the oxygen and heat through the body.

Secondly a variety of muscles and ligaments opening are required for splits- hamstrings, hip opening, quadriceps, groin all will have to lengthen and open in order to get further in splits. Try to use your breath in certain postures like Warrior II, frog, runners stretch, and runners lunge. These are great Asanas to further the range of motion and lengthen the muscles and support the fascia when working for the splits.

Respect your journey. Honor your body. Let your teacher know this is a pose you are working on and they may try to work it into the practice while you are warm. Remember some postures truly take time to develop in the body. Don’t be frustrated if they don’t arrive immediately and never push yourself further than your body wants you to go.

Question 2: What goes on in a yoga teacher’s head as they are practicing yoga? Are they able to quiet their mind during a yoga class?

A yoga teacher’s journey is much like yours.

All of us are using the postures in yoga to move oxygen and blood through the body and become more mindful of the way it feels to be in the body.

Just because yoga teachers have studied and done yoga for awhile, does not make them immune to the challenge of calming the mind and staying present in the journey.

Many yoga teachers claim sometimes it is even more difficult to be centered in a class, because- once a yoga teacher always a yoga teacher. A teacher’s mind may be interested in accumulating ideas from the teacher they are training with to use in their own teaching. For many yoga teachers, the tools they have developed through teacher training and in simply practicing asana and mindfulness is enough to help quiet their minds a bit more.

The “monkey” mind is something we are all often plagued with. It is a challenge for all humans to still the mind even for a moment. Your yoga teacher included☺

Question 3: Why sometimes when I try to meditate does my mind start thinking of the things that bother me or I am most scared of? And how do I get back to my mediation if these thoughts are persistent?

First of all, no worries! This is a very common practice of the mind. It’s just doing what it is supposed to do/what its always done. We are just pausing to notice now.

A requirement of many yoga teacher training courses is to practice meditation. Sometimes it involves scheduling meditation every day. At first, this can be very intimidating, especially if our minds are especially busy thinking or we have “monkey” brains as we often do. The practice though, if you are able to stick with it, is a great way to begin listening to what the voices in your mind are truly saying to you.

First, after you meditate try journaling about the experience. Keep track of what thoughts are coming to your mind as you are meditating. What does the voice say? How does it sound? Are these things you would say to a friend, a spouse or a loved one?

Then, allow the thoughts to be what they are- WITHOUT judgment. Maybe label the thoughts- “my to do list”, “my fears or worries”, “my frustrations”, etc.

Instead of trying to change the thoughts, just aknolwedge they are there and CELEBRATE the awareness of those thoughts. For what we are not aware of, we can not address. What we can see – we can work alongside. Instead of storing those thoughts on a pedestal for “later” – hence giving them more importance by not working them- take time to journal, process, or if needed talk with someone that has earned your trust about them.

Lastly, here is a great read from yoga journal that may also help-

http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/never-ending-conversation/

4 Reasons Teens Should Practice Yoga

4 Reasons Teens Should Practice Yoga

1) Stress management: The transition from elementary school to middle school and high school can be difficult for teenagers. The pressure to fit in while their bodies are changing can be extremely overwhelming. Practicing yoga can help draw their attention away from peer pressures and schoolwork and towards the present moment. Their minds focus more on their breath and advancement into their poses rather than the outside world. Leaving class, they feel as if they’ve hit the refresh button with the stress lifted off their shoulders.

2) Eases tension in the growing body: A teen’s body is changing rapidly during this period in their life. Practicing yoga helps their organs to remain healthy despite the changes and everyday stresses. Yoga also helps to release the tension in their tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments while strengthening their bones. Certain poses can help to soothe cramps, headaches, and digestive issues. It’s important that we try to send teens into adulthood with as healthy of a body as possible. When healthy habits are developed earlier in life, it’s easier to maintain them as we grow older.

3) Mind-body connection: Yoga promotes a connection between the mind and body that helps teens to form a positive image of themselves. Self-esteem is a never ending roller coaster to most teenagers; one day they’re feeling the best they’ve every felt about themselves, and the next they’d rather stay in bed than be seen in public. By having a steady yoga practice, teens develop a healthy mindset that translates into a positive body image.

4) Increased flexibility and better posture: Through various growth spurts, the body’s muscles become tighter. Because of this tightness, it’s hard to maintain flexibility. Through practicing yoga, teens can increase their flexibility and get rid of the tightness in their muscles. Many of the poses in yoga promote proper posture. Teens are often hunched over from heavy backpacks, slouching in chairs, and spending large amounts of time on computers. With regular practice, teens can lift their shoulders and engage in proper posture.