As we move from Fall towards Winter, we begin to move into a slow, quiet and feminine energy. Staying in tune with the seasons that happen around us is very important if we want to stay balanced and happy in our daily lives. The energy of Winter is closely related to the Kidneys in the body. In order to transition into Winter with effortless grace we must take the time in our yoga practice to detoxify and balance the kidneys.
The kidneys are closely associated with fear, depression, anxiety, loneliness, lack of enthusiasm, insecurity and low sex drive. The kidneys are also said to be our store house of vital energy that we rely on in times of stress & times of sickness, so if your kidneys are overloaded with toxins then you'll be more prone to stress and illnesses. Also the kidneys store the energy that helps our bodies to age with grace and beauty.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you may want to try the below Yin detox series.
Hold each posture for a min of 2mins and a max of 20mins. If you begin to experience pain come out of the posture right away.
See the photo's at the bottom if you are confused about what poses are being referred too, they are in the order listed below.
2) Hero (knee's bent or legs extended long.)
3)Sphinx and end with Seal (30 seconds to 60 seconds)
4) Child's Pose
5) 1/2 Dragonfly (right & left side)
7) Seated Forward Fold legs together
8) Draw knees to the chest and rock from side to side.
9) Shavasana with bolster under the knees.
As the kidneys begin to balance you'll begin to feel: lighter, more vibrant, calm, clear, wise, gentle and confident. Winter and the kidneys both have the same element... water so to help your well being this winter increase your water intake and take the time to go though the above yin series once a month or as needed.
Light and Love,
I came across this definition of yoga in my readings and have shared it in many of my classes. For those of you who have asked for a copy of it here it is. Let me be clear these are not my words they are the words of Anodea Judith.
"Yoga is a set of principles, beliefs and practices for uniting mater to spirit, body to mind, personal to universal and mortal to immortal. It is a path for aligning and opening more deeply to the divine, not only for liberation and transcendence but also for manifestation and immanence. Yoga has always been a path to higher states of consciousness, but it is simultaneously a path for bringing divine energy down into us, to shine out through us and radiate out into the world. Ultimately this path dissolves separation between self and divine until we realize there is no difference." - Anodea Judith
So beautifully written and the perfect way to explain the unexplainable feeling yoga brings to each and everyone of us.
Light and Love, Laura
Iron Lotus Book Exchange:
Sharing information and the love of books with one another is a great way to create a sense of community and further our knowledge on subjects we are passionate about. Here are the guidelines/ rules of our exchange.
Book Exchange "Rules":
Enjoy the book exchange and make sure you share what you learn & love about each book with one another.
Light & Love, Laura
Yoga & Om
We open and close our yoga practice quite often with the sound vibration of “OM”.
OM is the sound that the universe vibrates at when chanted we be begin to raise and connect our vibrations to 432Hz the frequency of the universe and all living beings, creating a sense of oneness and community. When we begin & end our class by chanting Om it begins to connect our body minds and spirits, in the same way that meditation can take us to the stillness within so to can Om.
How do we chant Om?
What should Om sound like?
How long do I chant for?
Do I have to Chant?
Is chanting religious?
So the next time you find yourself in a yoga class let your vibration ring loud and proud!
Light and Love, Laura
One of my favorite pass times is reading, many of my students ask me what are some of my favorite spiritual books. Here is a list of my favorite 3 books on Spirituality & a short description of what their about. You can purchase them at any of your local book stores or ask me and I would love to lead them too you!
1) The After Life of Billy Fingers by Annie Kagan
One of the most detailed after-death communications ever recorded, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers takes you on an unprecedented journey into the mysteries of life beyond death.
2) Many Lives, Many Masters by: Dr. Brian Weiss
As a traditional psychotherapist, Dr. Brian Weiss was astonished and skeptical when one of his patients began recalling past-life traumas that seemed to hold the key to her recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks.
His skepticism was eroded, however, when she began to channel messages from “the space between lives,” which contained remarkable revelations about Dr. Weiss’s family and his dead son.
Using past-life therapy, he was able to cure the patient and embark on a new, more meaningful phase of his own career.
3) Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by: Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra brings the Buddha back to life in this gripping novel of the young prince who abandoned his inheritance to discover his true calling. This iconic journey changed the world forever, and the truths revealed continue to influence every corner of the globe today.
I hope you enjoy these Spiritual Books, there all an easy, fun, read that is bound to change your perspective on, life, death and spirituality.... Enjoy!
Light & Love,
How do you make yoga mat cleaner?
As a yoga teacher this is a question that I get all the time, from my students and friends. I have tried many of the on-line yoga mat cleaner recipes, but have found that this is my favorite concoction to use:
Why I use this yoga mat cleaning concoction? The vinegar and orange peel is a wonderful natural cleaner, Mouth wash kills 99.9% of germs…. Foot fungus's can go through yoga studios and NO one wants that, Tea tree oil is known for its topical antiseptic and anti-fungal treatment, Eucalyptus oil smells GREAT and is a proven disinfectant and antiseptic. This yoga mat cleaner is safe, non toxic and actually kills fungus's and germs. Also it’s cheap and easy to make!
Fill a spray bottle full of water and add a couple drops of each of the above ingredients. I always make a mason jar full of the vinegar and orange peel so I can use it around the house also. I will leave it up to you how many drops of each you put in, there is no wrong amount. Just a heads up go easy on the vinegar or your mat is going to smell up your yoga class.
Light & Love
My relationship with exercise has always been complicated. The math of calories in and out consumed me in an unhealthy way. When I made the decision to practice yoga, it was with a view to the spiritual benefits even more than the physical ones. I needed more than churn and burn. I needed an ignition source. I needed depth. I needed connection. I needed peace. I needed warmth.
It was in search of these things that I stumbled across Iron Lotus Yoga in Mission, BC. I have happy memories of growing up in the sunny Okanagan Valley, so I selected a hot yoga class initially. I began my practice in a physically warm environment in hopes of igniting emotional warmth I was missing in my life. I had been going through the motions for so long, I was desperately seeking meaning.
The air temperature brought me back to my happy place and soothed me. I was feeling geographically isolated and I really needed to find “my” people. I had felt like a misfit and in approaching this community, I hoped I could find friends among people who loved yoga pants as much as I do.
The gentle, strong voice of the instructor focused me on the qualities I was hoping to cultivate in myself. I needed to be a graceful, bending willow, strong but yielding, to adapt to changes in my life. The mantras and meditation connected the dots in my life outside the studio, tying things off in a tidy bow so I could experience some rare moments of clarity amid the chaos.
My bare feet on the mat grounded me. I felt like my body had connected to something finally. Dysmorphia meant I could never quite see myself clearly, but I could feel where my body ended and connected with the cool floor. I could feel my breath. I could feel peace, lying motionless on the floor save the undulations of my chest and my belly as the air rolled in and out like soft waves.
There are few experiences more peaceful than stretching physically, spiritually and emotionally in unison. While the exercises strengthen the muscles, it is the fortification of the other pieces that I craved most. Yoga is the process of bending without breaking and seeing yourself clearly with your eyes closed. On a borrowed mat, clad in just shorts and a tank top, I felt fully clothed in strength. Emerging from the depths of depression, I was a true Iron Lotus.
Written by: Allison
Improve your"Agni"(digestion) this November!
By Antje Hope, Ayurveda & Yoga Instructor.
Agni means 'FIRE' and according to Ayurveda it is responsible for our digestive fire in our belly. It also denotes the digestive fire which regulates temperature, performs digestion, absorption, and assimilation of ingested food, and transforms food into energy or consciousness.
We all have different levels of 'AGNI'. Some of us have a high agni and digest our food very fast while others have low agni nd digest food very slowly. You can have a variable agni and in this case sometimes your agni is high and sometimes low.
Western medicine often assumes our digestion is powerful enough for everything. All we need to do is to chuck the right foods and drinks down our system and it will take care of it effectively. It doesn't take into account our individual levels of agni, that may be too high or too low.
When we have good agni, we have optimal digestive powers. We have a good appetite, and when we eat the right foods for our dosha, ojas is created from the food.
If agni is too high (as is the case of unbalanced Pittas), we have too much acid being produced which leads to over-acidity of the body and further complications from that, including stomach ulcers.
If agni fire is to low (as is the case Kaphas), food is only partially digested and ama ( toxins) is produced in the body, essentially gunking everything up. This can lead to some serious health concerns, such as cancer and diabetes. In a veritable agni ( in unbalanced Vata) you see it change from high to low and vice versa.
If we have weak digestion, it is important to increase agni so that we don't get sick. In general we can do this by adding digestive herbs and spices into our meals such as Ginger, cardamon, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Eating a thin slice of ginger with rock salt on it before every meal is meant to be very good for digestion.
Here are some tips to keep your agni balanced:
1. Eat only when you are hungry
2. Never over-eat, your stomach
should feel gently satisfied and never full (about 2/3 of capacity is ideal)
3. Sip drinks gradually, do not gulp down glasses
4. Drink room temperature or preferably warmer water
5. Cook with herbs and spices (they make your food easier to digest and absorb). Ginger is especially good for digestion, but others include black pepper, cumin, coriander, mint, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme
6. Eat warm or room temperature food, never straight from the fridge
Agni Tea is a simple beverage that helps to regulate and stimulate your digestive capacity, improving all the functions of digestive agni.
Agni Tea Recipe:
1 quart Water
1 pinch Cayenne
2 handfuls Minced ginger root
2 Tbs. Sucanat or other sweetener
1 to 2 tsp. Rock salt
Bring all of the above ingredients to a boil. Boil for 20 minutes.
Take the pot off the burner and cool for a few minutes
Add the juice of 1/2 lime. Do not boil the lime juice.
Pour into a thermos and enjoy throughout the day.
Learn more about Antje: www.akashaayurveda.com
Indian yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar dies at 95 Iyengar,
who helped popularize yoga around the world and authored 14 books on the subject, died Wednesday after a kidney ailment.
By: Associated Press Published on Wed Aug 20 2014
NEW DELHI— Indian yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar, who helped popularize yoga around the world and wrote 14 books on the subject, died Wednesday at age 95.
Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar’s death was reported on his website as well as by major Indian TV stations, which said he had been hospitalized with a kidney ailment over the past week in the western city of Pune.
Born in a poor family in Bellur village in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, Iyengar was a sickly child who suffered multiple illnesses including typhoid and tuberculosis.
When he was 15, a relative introduced him to yoga in an attempt to build his resistance to disease. By the time he was 18, he moved to Pune to practice yoga and to teach its techniques to others.
Iyengar created his own brand of yoga, called “Iyengar yoga,” and established studios in 72 countries where yoga practitioners are taught ways to improve breathing, concentration and meditation.
By the mid-1950’s word of Iyengar yoga spread in Europe, where he began teaching many new converts, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin and author Aldous Huxley.
The popularity of Iyengar yoga spurred him to write a book called “Light on Yoga,” explaining the 216 yoga postures that formed what he called the science and art of yoga. The book became a global bestseller with more than 3 million copies sold and has since been translated into 17 languages.
Iyengar, easily recognizable by his bushy eyebrows and silvery locks of shoulder-length hair, practiced yoga until two months ago and even did headstands in his 90s.
Iyengar yoga’s physically challenging poses and breathing techniques have been adopted by mainstream medical practitioners to help patients suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic back pain.
In 2004, Iyengar was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
In a condolence message, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Iyengar as “a fine guru, scholar and a stalwart who brought yoga into the lives of many across the world.”
President Pranab Mukherjee said, “The nation has lost a personality who devoted his entire life to the teaching and dissemination of India’s ancient knowledge and wisdom to millions all around the world.”