Yoga Philosophy

Restorative Yoga Uxbridge

Find Your Bliss in Restorative Yoga Uxbridge

by: Brandy McIlmoyle-Sang, Yoga InstructorRestorative Yoga Uxbridge

Yes I am a Yoga Teacher; I say Om and regularly remind myself and others to connect with their breath, both in and out of the yoga studio. Does this mean I, myself, am in a constant state of yogic bliss, never getting agitated by external forces? Sadly no, I am still human, existing in a world with many internal and external influences.

I can safely say that on a regular basis I feel the challenge of channelling my inner “yoginess”.  At times I have even chastised myself for not “knowing better”; after all, I do practice and teach yoga for a living! I am sure everyone in the world has made similar judgements about themselves. The fact is we are all divine beings having a human experience on this earth which can often times be challenging and the very reason we are called upon to examine ourselves and our reactions.  When I recognize that I have these feelings of “un-yoginess” I become aware that my focus has usually shifted to the external forces surrounding me and that I am having a reaction to things I simply cannot control.

Fine, great, so how do I get re-connected? Understanding that my focus has shifted outwards, I know it is time to give my body and mind a little T.L.C.  What is my go-to? My Restorative Yoga Practice is my remedy and inevitably brings me back to “me”.  Restorative postures focus on supporting the body with props such as blankets bolsters, blocks and pillows. These props support the body allowing the body to relax and release with minimal effort. As you experience the physical release of tension, you will also feel a quieting of the mind.

I find the world we live in absolutely amazing, everything is almost instant; we rarely need to wait for anything. It is without doubt a fast paced world. So, when we are called upon “to wait”, to “slow down”, many of us simply do not know how to do so in a healthy and constructive way.  I love my restorative practice, as it provides me a means to let go and the opportunity to nurture both my mind and body. It is also a wonderful complement to my more vigorous yoga classes. The best part is…I get back to the “me” I know and love.

If you have yet to try a restorative yoga class, do not deny yourself any longer-give yourself the gift, you deserve to experience the pure bliss yourself!  Please join me at Vitality Yoga, Tuesday nights from 8:15-9:15 for Restorative Yoga. I would love to see you relaxing in class-Namaste.

A Yoga Transformation & Spring Fever!

Yoga Transformation & Spring Fever!

March marks the arrival of March Break, Spring and Easter-WAHOO! Not sure about you, but I can see the light at the end of tunnel…feel the days getting longer, the temperature on the rise, and the smell of Spring floating in the air.  It is all around us, sparking that flutter of energy deep within our bellies; the rejuvenation of our spirits, the anticipation of new growth and the promise of transformation. Speaking of transformation, I wish to share a bit of a personal story with all of you.

Last March, signified the beginning of one of the more challenging, pivotal points in my life, and a year later I cannot help but reflect upon the difference a single year can make.

Those of you who know me well, know that in February of last year, after 6 years in business, I (along with my sister), closed a business that was a dream come true and into which I had put my heart and soul.  A few months prior to making the decision to close the store, I had registered for a 2 week Intensive Yoga Teacher Training (a life goal) at White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, California, with my dear friend Annie.  Little did I know at that time of registering, the magnitude of the decision I would be making a couple of weeks prior to my yoga training. Upon closing the doors of the store, I was completely exhausted, heartbroken and grieving deeply.  I truly felt I had nothing left to give.  I definitely did not feel worthy of the training opportunity ahead of me, or for that matter, moving on at all.  A big part of me wanted to wallow in my losses, beat myself up a little or a lot-ha!, and hunker down in the security net of family/friends/community and the confines of home.  I was so done!

Sheer discipline, a little bit of crazy, and literally Annie holding me upright, got me on that blasted airplane! Together, we arrived at White Lotus Foundation, in the beautiful mountains of Santa Barbara, with 29 other yoga students from around the world. We settled into our yurts, home for the next two weeks, and the yoga transformation began.  Incredibly, all 31 of us connected immediately and I can honestly say I now count each one of them as dear friends.  It was fascinating to hear their stories and to understand what brought each one to teacher training, to appreciate their uniqueness and to see each one of them evolve over the course of the two weeks.  Together, we experienced nothing short of a physical and emotional rollercoaster ride; practicing yoga intensively both physically and mentally each and every day, challenging ourselves to rise to the occasion as aspiring yoga instructors (under the remarkable tutelage of Tracey Rich, Ganga White and Sven Holcomb),  experiencing a day of silence (wow-what a concept!), sharing meals and eating the most incredibly pure and amazing food (thank you Beatrix Rohlsen, you were a gift in and of itself!), sharing laughter and tears, day in and day out. It was LIFE-CHANGING. And I often ask myself, what if I had not had the courage to get my @#* on that airplane?  WHAT IF?….

Well, the proof is in the pudding, as it so often times is!  A year later, I look around and life has indeed moved on, and second chances have been granted, and big lessons have been learned.  It was/is not always easy…quite frankly, it can be downright excruciating. But that’s life isn’t it?  It continually challenges us to take that next step, to rise to the next occasion, even when doing so feels impossible.  What I do know now, is that I am grateful each and every day that I got on that airplane bound for California!  Today, I simply delight in the roots of a new dream taking hold, in the opportunity to be of service, yet again, to a community I love, and in evolving a better, more balanced version of me.   And so, if this story resonates in some way, I invite you to transform yourself this Spring; to find the will within, to dig deeper than you ever thought possible, and to discover the silver lining that awaits you. Take that “next step”, so you need not ask What if?…

Yours in yoga & best health,

Julie

Studio Director

Opening the Heart

By Susan Ward

The heart is the centre of love. Not just any kind of love but rather specifically of UNCONDITIONAL love. What does this mean? It means: I love you because you are you, no matter whether or not you argue with me, say mean things, cut me off in traffic, or beat me. It is spiritual love, not human love, for human love always comes with conditions.

To fully and completely open your heart to someone means you have accepted them as they are, in their fullness, complete with the great aspects of their being and the horrible rotten mistakes they will make regularly that negatively impact you. This is spiritual love.

Are we capable of this type of intense, full love? Only if you can fully open your heart. It is often not an easy thing to do as we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. We can be extreme in our giving to others selflessly, caring for others without expecting or even wanting anything in return, not even gratitude. Yet look at what the motive is. Is it obligation, responsibility, what we are “supposed” to do?

All of the great Masters have taught us through the ages that to give selflessly is virtuous yet they also said “love others as you love yourself”. So while you care for and give to others so selflessly, do you also give and care for yourself just as equally?

Opening the heart means loving the self – unconditionally. Can you forgive yourself when you make a mistake, say something that ends up hurting someone, even though you didn’t mean to? Or do you berate yourself; beat yourself up, feeling unworthy or undeserving?

Here are some ways to help open your heart:

  1. Sitting quietly, imagine you are encased in a cloud of green light. As you breathe deeply allow yourself to inhale this beautiful green light into the lungs. Let it spread throughout the whole chest, into the heart, the shoulders, arms and hands. Let it be absorbed into the organs, muscles, bones, connective tissues, all parts. Then see a spinning disc at the centre of the heart and as it is fed by this green light see it pick up speed in its spinning. Let the green colour become vibrant. Be aware of how you feel.
  2. Any posture (asana) that opens the chest wide will help open the heart chakra, help release any blocked energies and nurture the heart.

Examples: cobra, fish, camel, crescent, even simply rolling the shoulders back and interlacing the fingers behind the back with the elbows straight. Try a supported fish: sitting on the floor with legs out straight, place 2 pillows from your bed behind your back and drape yourself backwards over the pillows, arms slightly away from the body, palms facing up so the shoulders are rolled back and down. Let the neck be open as well. Relax. If the low back is uncomfortable, do a pelvic tilt forward or bend the knees. Important: when you come out of it roll gently to the side. Do not simply sit straight up.

Welcome to Susan Ward, Yoga Instructor!

Very excited to announce yet another wonderful addition to our Vitality Team. Susan Ward will be joining Vitality as of October 24th and we cannot wait! As you will read in her bio below, Susan will bring a diversity of expertise to the studio and to the lives of our clients. Stay tuned for updates on Susan’s classes, TBA shortly!

Susan Santosha Ward, BSW, BA, Certified Yoga Teacher, Certified Reflexologist, Reiki Master, Master Crystal Healer

Susan began her career in Social Work providing group work and counseling services to parents, teachers and students in the school setting. Her work touched on a multitude of issues including death, divorce, parenting issues and behavioral issues, abuse, etc.  She also volunteered her time to head up the Rainbows Program, a support group program for children who have experienced death or divorce in the family.  Her BA is in Sociology and she has forever been interested in social issues and how our experiences impact our thinking, perceptions and our health.

While taking time off to have her family Susan trained in Reflexology and Reiki and began to offer treatments from her home on a part time basis. She found her counseling skills were awakened as most Reflexology treatments involved a discussion of the client’s inner issues.  She could see that true healing happens when there is a shift inside to clear the inner beliefs and issues that cause suffering.

Susan discovered Yoga before her children were even a thought and practiced regularly for several years before being ready to train to be a Teacher. The Yoga Teacher Training had a great impact on her life and her perspectives of the world and healing.  She has learned how to integrate the practices of yoga into her very core and it has become a way of life, a way of being.

The energies of crystals entered into Susan’s experience a few years ago and she completed the Crystalogy Certification and now incorporates the pure vibrations of the crystals into energy healing sessions.

More recently she has begun to share her knowledge and experiences with crystals, energy healing and yogic philosophy as workshops and seminars.  Her specialty is in understanding the powerful impact the mind has on our physical, emotional and spiritual health and well-being.

Susan approaches daily life from a holistic point of view and believes that it is important to address the needs of the body, mind and spirit when looking at one’s health, enjoyment of life and sense of well-being. There is a need to understand the interplay of all aspects of our being and to let go of all we hold onto that no longer serves us so we can enter into a deeper place of inner wisdom and peace.

Welcome Susan, we are so happy to have you on board:)!