Jaime Flowers & celebrate12!

Jaime Flowers is one of 12 students who are sharing their yoga stories with you as part of our birthday celebration. We hope the stories will energize you to keep growing in your yoga practice, to try new things, and see what happens. Without further ado, here’s Jaime:

Jaime Flowers

Jaime.SiddhasanaHow long have you been doing yoga? 
Since 2003

How long have you been coming to Evergreen?
Since 2009 or 2010

Why did you start yoga?
For self care in a non-aggressive fashion

What is your favorite pose?
Viparita Kirani variations right now. Favorite poses change from year to year.

What else would you like to share about yourself?
I’m 42. I’m a pharmacist. I enjoy attending ballet performances, international travel and attending music concerts with my husband, Tim.

I’m married to Tim Flowers and we have pug and a pug mix, Nicolas and Zoe.

Jaime and I had a great afternoon taking pictures and talking about yoga.

Jaime.RopesSirsasanaShe regularly attends the Saturday morning Level 2 class, where we work on inversions. One example of an inversion that released the back involves the rope wall. Here, Jaime practices Baddha Konasana in Ropes Sirsasana.

Jaime.ArdhaChandrasana

Ardha Chandrasana is a beginning standing poses that involves focus and concentration in order to balance. Jaime demonstrates this pose at the wall. Using the wall enables you to work harder on the actions in the pose that create stability — building strength in the standing leg and turning the pelvis in order to bring flexibility to the hip. The top arm acts like a polestar to bring direction, buoyancy and lightness in this standing pose.

Jaime.SuptaVirasana.resting

The pose above shows a restorative version of Supta Virasana where props enable you to let go and relax into the pose. Using supports like bolsters, etc. helps bring a sense of quiet and stillness in many poses. Supta Virasana can also be done in a more active way with fewer props.

Jaime.UstrasanaIt stretches the front thighs and pelvis to prepare for backbends (including Ustrasana which Jaime demonstrates above). This pose also brings flexibility to the feet and the ankles, so poses like Lotus Pose and Bhekasana (Frog Pose) come more easily. This pose can be invaluable to people who sit all day at work. You can see it stretches the front body. It is also useful to athletes who run and cycle.

Supta Virasana stretches the front thighs and pelvis to prepare for backbends (including Ustrasana which Jaime demonstrates here at right).

Both poses bring flexibility to the feet and the ankles. Practicing the poses in a sequence, you can warm up with each poses so the next one in the sequence becomes better and you can lead toward a “final” pose. Both Supta Virasana and Ustrasana bring more flexibility in the feet and ankles, which make poses like Lotus Pose and Bhekasana (Frog Pose) come more easily. Both Supta Virasana and Ustrasana stretch the front side of the body. They can be invaluable to people who sit all day at work. It is also useful to athletes who run and cycle. Jaime has been working on opening the quads, front of hips and chest…which is one reason why her backbends are improving — and as you can see her Ustrasana is beautiful!

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Angie Wallick and celebrate12!

Welcome to our online birthday party called celebrate12!

Angie.BharadvajasanaAngie Wallick is one of 12 students who are sharing their yoga stories with you as part of our celebration. We hope the stories will energize you to keep growing in your yoga practice, to try new things, and see what happens. Without further ado, here’s Angie:

I have to admit, I was quite the yoga skeptic at first.

I just couldn’t grasp how this could be an effective “workout” and honestly, I thought it was rather pointless to sit on a mat and breathe. How boring! I did a few random yoga classes with friends from a groupon and a “free first class” here and there, but never liked it enough to go back.

Angie.UPHPA trusted friend recommended Evergreen Yoga Center during a time when it was critical for me to learn awareness of my mind and body.  Some people are naturally intuitive about what they need emotionally and physically, while others need guidance on how to grow into an intuitive being.  So, with a gentle nudge I compromised in trying yoga one more time.  I suppose the hope was to either grow my awareness or to simply listen to the wise people around me and see what happens.  In February 2014, I opened up my mat at Evergreen Yoga.

At first glance of the studio, I wondered why there were no mirrors and why do we use blankets? Are we going to take a nap?  I really don’t have time for that!  I was particularly interested in what could come of the ropes…..what kind of yoga is this?

There have been many twists and turns throughout my yoga journey, but I do distinctly remember a strange discomfort in Savasansa.  During my first year, I often had had Leah place different weighted sandbags and bolsters over me when I was in Savasana which helped with my discomfort of being still. I felt more grounded, and was able to relax.

Leah showed me this picture of Mr. Iyengar which led me to more questions than answers.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 6.34.52 PMThis picture makes my sandbags look like more like pillows!

I worked to accept myself where I was and to understand what I needed at that time.

I was grateful for being more grounded than ever before although still feeling pretty uncomfortable in my own body. This type of relaxation and grounding enabled me to slow me down and increase my awareness of the effects of my practice.  This was the point in which I knew that yoga was an important part of my self-care.

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 6.47.11 PMOver time, I have come to understand that our “props” (what we use to support our poses at the yoga studio or the supports I choose to have in life) are there to help me meet myself where I am — without judgment. My props give me the confidence to get quiet enough to know when to move forward or when to simply just be.

Having no mirrors in the studio (which by the way, am a big fan of) helped minimize my distraction. I became less focused on the external, and learned to trust my inner being.

Angie.UrdhvaDhanurasanaI want to share part of Sutra 1.2 from The Essence of Yoga by Bernard Bouanchaud. This Sutra resonates with me as to why I continue to practice:

–Yoga is the ability to direct and focus mental activity.–

Yoga consists of keeping the mind quiet and wakeful so that one is totally present to what one is doing.  Thoughts no longer rush forth of themselves in all directions, but are fully controlled and directed.

I’m thankful for my upcoming 5th year of yoga practice and all the ups and downs that have come with my learning.  I continue to learn more about each pose that we practice. I discover new ways to use props and understand what things in life throw me off balance.  I have a lot of energy in my yoga practice, but I now know that stillness tastes equally as satisfying.

Angie.AMVrkI am currently on faculty at The University of Memphis and co-owner of Memphis Nutrition Group where I practice as a Certified Eating Disorder Dietitian.  I have the privilege of helping people heal their relationship with food just as yoga has healed my relationship with bringing awareness to both my mind and body.

I regularly attend the Barefoot Bootcamp and the Saturday Level 2 class so I hope to see you around the studio. You might find me bringing friends to class, as I love to share yoga with others who are curious or craving for stillness just like I was.

So if you find yourself reading this blog post, or more importantly, attending classes, consider yourself in good hands at Evergreen Yoga Center.

Once I opened up my mat, I’ve never looked back.

Namaste

Angie

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Restorative Yoga

I’ve gotten some questions about restorative yoga, and I thought you might have some too, so here goes….

What is Restorative Yoga?
Technically, by it’s very nature, all yoga should be restoring. As in, practicing yoga restores your connection to yourself and the divinity within. However, not all yoga has this effect on people. It all depends on how you practice.

Yoga is experiential. It’s a verb and a noun. Yoga is a practice (you do something), and it is also a state of being (you experience something). So you just have to try it.

 

Is it relaxing?
This question is hard to answer. There are some poses where bolsters/blankets and other props are placed to support you while you completely let go and relax.

Some “restorative” yoga practices have a carefully constructed sequence of poses that start with a certain amount of physical activity and intensity, requiring clear focus and concentration. Then, with each pose comes a little more mental quiet until the end where your mind is drawn completely inward as you rest in Savasana.

It’s important to know that restorative yoga is not “sleepy” or “massage-like” — at least the way I teach it.

 

Is restorative yoga appropriate for any level student?
As with any kind of specific type of practice, it depends. The sequence can be designed specifically for people with absolutely no experience, people who are dealing with a specific concern (like healing from illness or balancing hormones, etc.). Or it can be designed for those with more experience with poses like Headstand, Full Arm Balance, longer holdings of certain standing poses. A long Shoulderstand is probably not going to create a peaceful and quiet mind if you are a beginner. And a 5-minute holding of Headstand is definitely not appropriate if you haven’t already been practicing. If you are new to yoga or new to Iyengar Yoga, you should check with a teacher before you come to a restorative class. You want to set yourself up to have a good experience.

 

What if I come to a restorative class and there are poses I haven’t learned yet?
Don’t worry. Iyengar Yoga teachers are skilled at working with people of all levels of experience. We know how to meet you where you are, and guide you. We can give you alternatives for those poses. You need to let the teacher know if there is something new for you.

Still, if you are a newer student and unsure, ask the teacher. Especially if you are brand-new to yoga or brand-new to Iyengar Yoga.

 

Why does everyone talk about loving restorative yoga so much?
Of course, when we love something we want to let other people know about it!

There is a lot to love about practicing the poses in a way that leads from a scattered mind to a very quiet state. However, not everyone will like restorative yoga. (Not everyone loves almond milk, but some people want only cow’s milk). Yoga practice is experiential, so the only way is to try it).
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about restorative yoga!

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Sticks and stones…

“I don’t embrace the stigma of that title,” he said.

Twenty years my junior, he’s clearly pondered the word “millennial.”

I felt the heat of embarrassment the moment I handed him my business card. I asked him, “How do millennial exchange contact info these days?” I asked.

He did not take kindly to being labeled this way.What with all the technology these days, offering a piece of paper to slip into someone’s pocket seemed passe.

At 48, I am an antique? Well, I do need guidance.

His take on the millennial moniker interests me. I hope he calls, emails, texts, or PM’s me to set up a lunch meeting so I can ask him about it.

An anecdote from my life.

Write. Write. Write.

Maybe it will be called a blog. Then again, maybe not. I do not know what I hope for with it.

He says write, write and write some more. Write badly. Just write. So….writing.

I hope it helps me get free from thinking about an “audience” reading my words. Thinking about what would sound good, might persuade, what could make me look good. I’m tired of trying too hard. Wanting to be real, even thought “being real” is too-often used these days. It is a cliche.

That reminds me of the words that lately I hate hearing:
“These days….”

“What they ought to do is….”

“The problem with our culture is….”

“Nowadays….(this one hearkens back to an even older era than “these days”)

“They used to blah blah blah, and that was much better than how they are doing it now….”

“Ugh, millenials (insert eye roll here)”

The irony of my cringing at hearing these things is that I often hear the words coming from my own mouth! Yes, I’m aware that I’m a hypocrite on this one.

I do have an excuse. It’s hard to live with concern/worry for the future, and stay hopeful/positive at the same time. It’s not easy to try and embrace new ideas and new ways of doing things….and the people (i.e. millenials and others) who are doing them. Sticks and stones may break the bones, but labels?

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Susannah & Kevin Barton celebrate12!

 

What do you get when you add up the following?

5:45am boot camp The Barton’s = FUN!

Susannah & Kevin are among the early-morning adventurers who attend the Barefoot Boot Camp classes on Mondays & Thursdays.

Kevin also comes to the Monday night Men’s Class, often demonstrating the poses he has practiced in boot camp.

The boot campers are a devoted group, with a strong focus and commitment to their yoga. We also have fun. Kevin turned 40 on the day of one of our classes. We asked him what pose he’d like to pick to celebrate — he picked Savasana. So in honor of Kevin and Susannah and all of us who have celebrated the big 4-0, here is an illustration of this very useful pose!

(As you can see, we had a lot of fun taking the pictures!)

Barton.SavasanaHow long have you been doing yoga? 
Susannah: Almost 4 years

Kevin: About 3.5 years

How long have you been coming to Evergreen? 
Susannah: Almost 4 years (started my practice @ EYC, April 2015)
Kevin: I started my Yoga practice at Evergreen.

Why did you start yoga?
Susannah: In late 2014 I injured my back doing group fitness classes and ended up in 12 weeks of physical therapy.  I had taken a few yoga classes in the past, but never  consistently practiced. I decided to give EYC’s Boot Camp a try once I finished physical therapy in order to see if it helped my back and improve flexibility.  It did just that and much more.  I’m now training for the St. Jude Half Marathon and am exercising more than ever, and I’m confident that I would not have been able to accomplish all that I have in the last year and a half without yoga.
Kevin: Susannah, my wife, was very excited about starting Yoga Boot Camp at Evergreen and kept encouraging me to come.  I was hesitant.  I made her promise me that there would be other men in the class, and while that my or may not have been the truth, I couldn’t be happier that I started my practice.  I love it.

Barton.AMVrk

What is your favorite pose? 
Susannah: I really like doing full arm balance because it make me feel strong!
Kevin: Hard question to answer.  I love inverted poses.  I’ve been working at a free standing Sirsasana, but I also really enjoy Vrksasana.

Barton.Trikonasana

What else would you like to share about yourself? 
Susannah: My education is in urban planning and I work in the non profit, community development sector focusing on improving public spaces for all users. I am married to Kevin and we have two horribly behaved mutts, Milo & O.D.  We enjoy walking down our block to Boot Camp at Evergreen twice a week!
KevinAge 40 Job Human Resources Director

Barton.Sirsa.progrssion

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