Chakra Meditation: Vishuddi, The Throat

by Monique Minahan

vishuddi
The birds are chirping even though it’s still dark. This kind of silence – the kind that isn’t devoid of noise but rather full of presence – is the backdrop for my practice today.

Physically located at the level of the throat, vishuddi chakra represents a gateway between body and mind, through which the energy of this chakra can be suppressed or expressed. As an energetic center for communication, creativity, and expression, this chakra is not just about speaking. It’s also about feeling heard.

Instead of beginning with the beeja mantra ham, I explore the concept of toning, where body and breath invite a sound vibration to form, whatever that sound may be. The tones I create symbolize speaking my truth, as opposed to regurgitating truths I’ve been taught by others.

I begin on my exhale breath with a guttural groan. As I refrain from judging or perfecting it, I watch it transition through numerous auditory forms, eventually settling on a cathedral-like ahhhhh.

From the seat of an observer I acknowledge the things I have heard in my lifetime: from my inner dialogue, my conversations with others and what I’ve been taught to be true by people in authority.

And I sense the times I’ve refrained from speaking my truth over the years, whether out of fear of being punished, disapproved of or not understood.

With the intention of freeing my voice both physically and energetically, I begin ujjayi pranayam. I place a finger at the front of my throat, the glottis, and visualize the breath entering there, at the front-body location of vishuddi chakra, known as the chakra kshetram. I place another finger on my cervical spine at the back of my neck, visualizing the breath exiting through the spine, the back-body location of vishuddi chakra. Then I reverse the cycle so it begins at the back of the neck and travels forward. This practice focuses my awareness, breath and entire being on the physical and energetic center of vishuddi.

Vishuddi is often translated as “purification,” but I think of it more as refinement. As a pause between body and mind where I begin to distinguish the chatter of my unconscious mind from a higher level of knowledge. An energetic space where I can observe the way things have been and choose to create a new song for my life.

I sit a little longer listening to the sound of my breath. Before opening my eyes I speak out loud my vision of how my voice contributes to the chorus of life. I hear that truth with my ears and I seal it by bowing my head to my heart.

Part 6 of a 7 part series. You can find part 5 here: Anahata, The Heart.

Mo Minahan

Monique Minahan
Contributing Writer

Mo is a writer and yoga teacher who believes in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. You’ll find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. Contact: moniqueminahan.com

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What Makes a Great Yoga Teacher

We love this piece from Rainbow Yoga on What Makes a Great Yoga Teacher!

Rainbow Yoga regularly leads weekend-long kids yoga teacher training courses at Yoga One (and around the world!) They will be back at Yoga One, August 4th – 6th, 2017 leading their 3 Day Kids Yoga Teacher Training. Join us for this great adventure in learning!

This article originally published on RainbowYogaTraining.com

by Gopala Amir Yaffa

Rainbow Yoga TraineesWhat makes a great teacher? Well, that’s like asking what makes a great day!

There are so many ways to make things rock as an awesome yoga teacher, but here are some quick pointers you can try.

Be Awesome

First, what makes an awesome teacher is simply being an awesome person. But in addition to being awesome, you need to let it shine so that the world can know how amazing you are! So whatever your coolness is, let it shine!

Who are you? What do you want to be?

The best way to learn is to teach; and teaching is sure to help you become a better you. When you teach, you need to be your ideal self; an expression of love, knowledge and kindness.

This is not to say that you should be fake. Just give it the best of you every time.

Be Real

At the same time, you have to be authentic to where you come from, who you are now and your challenges and struggles at the moment. We teach best from our own genuine failures and experiences.

If your life has been and is always perfect, you will have nothing to teach. It is often the most broken people that make the best teachers. They have overcome enough challenges to understand and relate compassionately to other people, they have real experiences and wisdom from the inside to share.

You don’t get the lotus without the mud and the more mud, the better the flower. Teach from the inside, from those life experiences that have transformed you.

  • Don’t be afraid to show your own limitations, it will help your students feel more comfortable with theirs.

  • Don’t pretend that you know something you don’t or you will miss an opportunity to learn something new.

If you are not Indian, don’t try to be one by wearing Indian clothes and speaking Sanskrit. If you are not all Om Shanti and relaxed, don’t act as if you are… people will know if you are faking it, and really not all of us need Om Shanti yoga – some of us need to be shaken to awaken.

“Be the best version of yourself rather than the second best version of someone else.”

Trust that you have meaningful gifts to give to the world that someone will need. Nothing is good for everyone, and everything is good for someone.

Offer your authentic gifts from your heart, they are sure to be a great service to someone.

Be New

There are a million yoga teachers out there, so don’t be like everyone else. Make it your own. Make it new!

What are your passions? What are you really good at? What have you been working on already for your whole life that has made you who you are today?

You don’t need to forget about all of those when you shift into teaching yoga. Life is an evolution rather than a revolution, and everything you will build from here on has, in one way or another, a foundation on what you have achieved and experienced in your past.

Combining your passions is a great way to come up with something new.  The possibilities are endless and this is how people came up with ideas like:

Kids Yoga, Partner Yoga, Senior Yoga, Aqua Yoga (yoga in the water), yoga and weight lifting, Doga (yoga with your dog), yoga on exercise balls, Yoga Fight Club (yoga and martial arts), Yoga Canvas and Cabernet (yoga, painting and wine drinking), Yoga for Surfers, Yoga for Golfers, Equestrian Yoga (yoga on a horseback), Naked Yoga, Acro Yoga, Aerial Yoga (yoga suspended from the ceiling by straps)… and there are many many more!

Yoga is not set in stone; it has been evolving since ever. Even the most “traditional” yoga teacher trainings have very little in it that was called yoga a hundred years ago.

Don’t be like everyone else! Have some style! Dare and live a little! Experiment!

Be Now

Start teaching right away! Don’t wait until you know everything before you start teaching, because no one knows everything.

Don’t wait until you are perfect before you start to teach, because no one is perfect. You learn as you go. You evolve with your students.

Waiting will just make you stagnant and dull your energy. Get out there and share yourself with the world now!

Be The Change

Whatever your new yoga is going to be, what is your job description as a yoga teacher?

In my opinion it is making people happy! You are AMAZING – we all are in our own special way! And you are going to change the world, one person at a time… and not by talking, but simply by being the awesome you that you have now freed.

Are you ready?

The real question is, is the world ready for you? Well… it better be, because you are going out there today to rock it!

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Bedroom Yoga (It’s Not What You Think)

by Laura McCorry

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You know that whole-body blissed-out feeling you have sometimes at the end of a really good yoga class?

You feel completely relaxed, like you just woke up from a deep and restful sleep. Your eyes are only half-open. And your hair might be a little messed up but you don’t even care, you’re just *that* relaxed.

You bring your hands together at heart center and repeat “namaste” along with a chorus of other yogis. The room reverberates for a moment, waves of peace and calm floating through the air.

What if you could capture that feeling at home? First thing in the morning perhaps. Or right before bed. A simple yoga routine can prepare you physically and help settle your thoughts into the present moment.

You don’t need a teacher. You don’t need any props. You just need a baseline knowledge of a few, simple poses (or access to youtube) and about 10-15 minutes. Although, let’s be honest, 30-45 minutes with this sequence would feel heavenly. Enjoy!

Go to Yoga Digest for a sequence of 6 yoga poses you can do IN BED to ease strain in the body and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. 

What poses are part of your everyday home practice? Do you have your own pre-bedtime wind-down routine? Let us know in the comments and happy dreams to all.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura@yogaonesandiego.com

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Mantra Monday: Spiritual Survival

by Olivia Cecchettini

379213_10151303671267939_1991999047_nI turn on the news and all I hear is violence and it stuns my heart
because I have cultivated a life of peace.

It’s astounding to me that we are still killing each other
over race, sexuality, religion, and so on…

The human race has advanced so far
in technology, in space exploration, in medicine,
but what have we learned about our treatment of other humans?

What have we learned about connecting to one’s own spirit?
What is it worth, your spiritual survival?

We are so far removed from our neighbors
from our rainforest
from our compassion
from our hearts
that we are numb to the world around us
and we have lost touch with the world within us.

Every day I see people who suffer physical and emotional pain,
these two are intertwined with little separation.

The body speaks. Listen.

This is yoga – more than physical postures –
yoga connects the physical, mental, emotional selves
into one spiritual Self.

We look outside ourselves,
never thinking that everything lies within.

But the world is changing day by day,
I believe there is a wave of passionate, intelligent people creating change,

The kind of change that starts within –
within our reactions,
within our suffering,
within our humanity,
within our hope for the next generation.

Olivia headshotOlivia Cecchettini
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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Yogi Reads: Man’s Search for Meaning

by Olivia Cecchettini

Man’s Search for Meaning

by: Viktor Frankl

Viktor FranklSummary: “Man’s Search for Meaning” may not seem like a “yogi read” at first glance, but its message about the universal search for meaning in suffering gets at the heart of why many people practice yoga. After reading it, I’m not surprised the Library of Congress listed it as one of the ten most influential books in America.

From 1942-1945, Viktor Frankl lived in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. His entire family – parents, brother, wife – were separated from him upon arrival and ultimately perished in the camps. Frankl writes vividly about his struggle for physical and spiritual survival, “…you can take away everything from a man, but you cannot take away the freedom to choose one’s own attitude.” 

Frankl developed Logo-therapy, a concept that our primary drive in life is the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful. Logo-therapy states that when one finds meaning in their experience, they can endure any circumstances.

Why I Love It: I love books that make me question why we do things, not just how. I studied Psychology at SDSU and Spiritual Psychology at USM, so this book had been on my list for a long time. I was very emotional reading Frankl’s account of the Holocaust – the stories of people living in the camps, how everyone reacted differently, how they coped, who survived, and who didn’t. It can be hard to process this as someone’s reality.

I understand the desire to only put your time and energy into those things that nourish and support you – I do this myself! But it’s important to be aware of violence and suffering in the world. It’s healthy to feel uncomfortable and empathetic. The experience of shared suffering, of empathy, drives us to take better care of one another, not just our immediate family but our universal family. I love this book because it reminded me to think and feel on this global level.

Recommended For: Individuals interested in finding fuller meaning in life, but especially those who are suffering. Frankl states that suffering is part of the human experience, it is unavoidable. The amount of suffering doesn’t matter; a trivial experience for one person could be crushing for another. We cannot avoid suffering, but we CAN choose our response, we can choose to find meaning in it and to move forward with renewed purpose. When we have purpose, we do more than just exist, we are present, feeling, connected and vibrantly alive.

Ciao,
Olivia

Olivia headshotOlivia Cecchettini
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

 

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Month of Fitness Feature on Virago Blog

Thanks to Virago Blog for the awesome praise and feature. You can read their full feature here

Virago FitnessHave you ever experienced yoga without music? Listening to music has become common place in the modern western practice of yoga, but Yoga One has gone against the norm. This yoga studio allows silence during practice because they feel it lets each student’s mind wander and encourages reflection and self-realization.* You are so lost in your own head that you don’t even realize there’s no music playing.

Yoga One is a family owned yoga studio that prides itself on diversity, innovation and the phenomenal hugs they give each yogi at the end of class as they leave the quiet sunbathed space and venture back onto the bustling streets below.

If you are looking for the most relaxing Shivasana of your life, this is your yoga studio.

*Editor’s Note: Not all classes are without music. We also like practicing yoga with music.🙂

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Yoga + Music: DTO Interview with Amy Caldwell

Yoga One and DTO Music recently collaborated to host Yoga on the USS Midway, where an amazing 800+ yogis gathered to practice together on the flight deck! 

Amy Caldwell on USS MidwayCo-Founder and Lead Instructor Amy Caldwell discussed yoga and music with DTO, you can read the full interview on their site

Here are some of our favorite highlights:

Yoga, as we offer it at Yoga One, is non-competitive. One of the beautiful things about yoga practiced in this way is that it always meets you where you are and supports you at your level. 

Although in our modern Western culture yoga has become so much about appearances, the depth of the practice lies within.

In the Yoga Sutras, Kriya yoga breaks down into three key elements: Tapas (to heat, burning enthusiasm or conscious effort), Svadyaya (self-study or reflection) and Ishvara Pranidhana (allowing or letting go, connecting to the Big energy within and around us).

If we remove the elements of self-reflection and letting go, in my opinion, it really isn’t yoga. Yoga is not only what we do, but how we do it.

How does music benefit your guidance in a yoga class?

Michael and both share a great love of music. In fact, we met at a CD release party for the Jazz musician and film composer Stanley Clarke. I was working for Budd Carr a music supervisor who does all of the music for Oliver Stone. I helped on Twister, Natural Born Killers, Heat, Nixon, etc. Michael was working for BMI which is a performance rights society. We both got to experience first-hand how integral music is to film. A soundtrack really adds emotion and energy. Try watching some of your favorite movies without the sound sometimes.

While yoga is fantastic without music, adding music certainly can help set the mood, the pacing and an overall vibe. Music often adds to any activity and yoga is no exception. We enjoy music with our yoga so much we created the Yoga One CD which was released by Quango Music Group.

Here is a link where you can purchase a copy of the Yoga One CD for your own home practice!

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Dream Yoga Retreat

by Laura McCorry

Why go on a regular vacation when you could go on a yoga retreat in paradise? Here’s my idea of the perfect yoga retreat:

  • Amy Caldwell Yoga OneTropical Location is an absolute must. Trying to pack enough layers for variable weather without overpacking is annoying. I want to be able to step outside my villa directly onto a beach and feel 100% comfortable in just my skin – clothing for decoration only. Okay, maybe a pair of yoga pants for evening when I want to get “dressed up.”🙂
  • Which leads us to: Accommodations. I don’t need a king sized bed with ironed sheets – this is a retreat, after all (but if it comes with the package, I won’t complain.) I can “rough it,” in the romantic, island-casual sense of the term. A fluffy pillow top, fresh towel and jaw-droopingly gorgeous view will suffice, please and thank you!
  • Healthy, Delicious Food and Beverages must be available at multiple times during the day. If I’m doing more yoga than usual, you better believe I need those green smoothies that taste like fruit at 10am. Bonus points if they are delivered by an adorable, rescued sea tortoise who cannot return to the wild but has found a new home and employment as resident mascot and keeper of midnight kombucha-inspired secret telling. Maybe his name is Sandy. Maybe I’ve put too much thought into this. #Sandyisreal
  • Yoga. Wait, did I just put yoga last on this list? But seriously, the yoga matters. It’s what makes the difference between just another vacation and an honest-to-goodness life-changing, revelatory retreat full of camaraderie and memories you will treasure for a lifetime. The yoga needs to be daily (so I don’t skip out.) It needs to be accessible, no matter my ability. Most of all, the yoga needs to be real, I want to get to know the instructor and the other students and enjoy those moments of human connection through breath and movement. It doesn’t get any better than that.

You don’t have to dream about a life-changing yoga retreat, Yoga One has teamed up with Kairos Fitness to offer just such an experience*! 

Costa Rica Retreat to Las Catalinas 
with Yoga One Co-Founder and Head Instructor Amy Caldwell
April 29 – May 4, 2017

For more information and to register go here.


The inspiration for this post came from Eventbrite, an online resource to promote, manage and track online RSVP’s for successful events.

*Sandy is a fictional character. We hope any tortoises you see on retreat are enjoying happy, prosperous lives in the wild.

Laura McCorry

Laura McCorry
Contributing Writer

Yoga and Laura had an on-again-off-again relationship from 2004 until 2009 when they decided to move in together and there’s been no looking back since. Passionate about both yoga and writing, Laura loves to introduce others to the joys and benefits of yoga and healthy living.

Contact: laura@yogaonesandiego.com

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Chakra Meditation: Anahata, The Heart

by Monique Minahan

heart chakraI place my left hand on my heart and on top of that layer my right.

I don’t move until I feel that familiar thump-thump beating under my hands, as subtle or as strong as it may be. I don’t move until I connect with the aliveness within me.

Anahata, the heart chakra, reminds me of my need for love and my true capacity to love. It asks me to stretch my heart open not just for my friends or family but for every human being on this planet – a major paradigm shift from the more prominent fear-thy-neighbor mentality that threatens to tear our world apart.

This is why I must connect with myself first. I cannot find compassion for anyone else until I find compassion for myself. I cannot welcome another’s pain until I have welcomed my own.

Onto the physical connection of hands to heart, I layer sound. A soft reverberation of anahata’s seed sound yam starts at the middle point of my sternum, this chakra’s kshetram, or front-body location. It travels through my body, piercing the spine, emerging on my back at the actual chakra point, a deep blue flowering like a tattoo over my upper back.

I repeat that cycle until it feels complete, letting the sound shape-shift, becoming a groan or a song or a wail until it naturally tapers into the quietest, softest syllable, matching the beat of my heart.

what the world needs loveAlone with my heart I ask her what she has to say. Then I step back to allow her to answer:

Love bigger, she says. You know you can.

She is right but I stay silent. I listen as she questions why I don’t. I give her all my reasons and tell her that the world makes it hard to love sometimes. She reminds me that when I block love from exiting, I also block love from entering. Like breathing out and breathing in.

I begin bhramari pranayama, the humming bee breath. The gentle buzzing sound allows me to listen to my heart without my head thinking of a reply, a response, a defense.

This practice draws me out into the deep waters of vulnerability, the only state of being where I can receive and offer love fully.

As my humming drifts into silence I become aware of akasha, the heart space, and how it shrinks and expands proportionate to my level of fear or love.

I choose love. Not the small love I only offer to those who love me back. The Big Love that does not require reciprocity. The love that is enlarged by our differences instead of threatened by them. The love which the world needs so desperately.

Part 5 of a 7 part series. You can find part 4 here: Manipura, The Navel.

Mo Minahan

Monique Minahan
Contributing Writer

Mo is a writer and yoga teacher who believes in peace over happiness and love over fear. She likes to set her sights high and then take small steps to get there. You’ll find her walking the dirt path behind her house with her little fluffy dog, practicing walking her talk by keeping her head high and her heart open. Contact: moniqueminahan.com

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Yogi Reads: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

by Olivia Cecchettini

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Translation and Commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda

56305Summary: Sutra in Sanskrit means “thread.” Each verse of the sutras is a thread in the tapestry of Raja Yoga, a yogic path of meditation and concentration. The Sutras of Pantanjali are at least 1,700 years old and contain ancient wisdom in yoga ethics, meditation, and physical postures. This compilation by Sri Swami Satchidananda not only includes the original Sanskrit alongside the translation, but also personal stories and advice shared from his own spiritual journey.

Why I Love It: Timing is everything. I picked up this book in the past and felt overwhelmed. My intuition knew that it wasn’t the right time yet, so I put it back on the shelf until some months later I began to read it one sutra at a time. I gave each one time to marinate in my thoughts. I really believe the quote, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali uses metaphors and examples that are easy to understand and applicable to a modern lifestyle. I love that the full depth of knowledge contained in each sutra is so accessible because knowledge is power. When we become as curious about our internal landscape as we are about the external world, we are limitless. This book offered me the tools to live a life of introspection, fulfillment, happiness, and peace. It raised and continues to raise my vibration.

Recommended For: Those seeking emotional intelligence, who want to find balance between mind, body and spirit. Understanding The Sutras may come easily, but applying the book’s teaching in your everyday life might be a much harder task. The spiritual methods may be simple, but there could be a lot of work that goes into embodying each step forward.

I’ve found that it’s not by reading that I actually grasp new teachings or new ways of being in the world; it is through experimenting. Practicing, failing, having devotion and patience, and fully participating in my own life is where the learning happens. Being alive and feeling alive can be two very different experiences. My hope is for all to experience the fullness of life.

Ciao,
Olivia

Olivia headshotOlivia Cecchettini
Contributing Writer

Olivia’s yoga journey began in 2003. She is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, and Aerial Yoga and holds a Masters degree in Spiritual Psychology. She believes the mind, body, soul connection is sacred and encourages her students explore and expand within their own bodies and consciousnesses.

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