Sunday, April 9, 2017

How to Choose the Right Yoga Studio!

     So it is spring and you are finally ready to take the plunge and begin to really take a good inventory of your life and take charge of your health and wellbeing.  You are finally ready to begin a Yoga practice and you really don’t know where or how to begin. 
     Maybe you’ve already been practicing and you wish to go a bit further and you wish to join a class.   So your curiosity begins to build and you begin to look for a Yoga Studio, a Yoga Studio near you...Perhaps you begin by asking your friends where they are going. The truth is that no one Yoga Studio is right for everyone and what might feel really wonderful to your friends may not be the right fit for you.   Whatever the case may be, these days, there are yoga studios on every corner, so how is a yogi to pick a studio that is right for them?  Below are 5 suggestions to help you on your quest to find the right Yoga Studio and the right teacher.  I would also encourage you to visit as many studios as you are able. Many studios offer a complimentary trial class so you it may make it easier for you to decide.  I also encourage others to find a Yoga Studio that is affordable, offers Yoga for Beginners and to choose a Yoga Studio that is near you and convenient.   
1. Credibility
The teacher’s certification and experience is really a must have.   Before visiting any yoga studio, check out their website and read the teacher’s bio for their certification and where it came from. 
This is also a great way to determine if your specific needs and interests will align with the teacher and studio.
2. Class Schedule
A schedule that is easy to understand and consistent.  A well-developed yoga studio provides consistency for you, both through class times and teachers.

It’s important that those class times remain consistent and you have the ability to create a relationship with the same teacher that can understand your progress and help you excel in your practice.
3. Atmosphere and Experience
When you visit the studio for the first time, the teacher should introduce themselves to you and give you a tour of the studio. The studio should feel peaceful and be very clean. All the props (mats, blocks, blankets, etc.) should be easily accessible, clean and available to support all levels of students.
4. Once You’re in Class . .
Now that you’re ready to start your practice, first of all Congratulations! There are a few things to look out for. For example, Pranayama (which is the Sanskrit word for conscious breathing exercises). If your teacher leads you through them before the physical poses, that’s the sign of a good teacher.

Next, how does the teacher interact with the students? Does s/he ask your name and inquire about injuries, areas you’d like to focus on, etc.? These are things that teachers should do to make their students feel welcome and supported.
Finally, music. Music can make or break a yoga class.  Soft, calming background music, motivating, upbeat music to help power you through, or perhaps no music at all? Look for what resonates with you and gives you the most out of your practice (whether that’s the type of music, no music, etc.).
5. Teaching Style
Your practice time is not the teacher’s practice time. The studio you choose should have teachers that walk around and help students with their alignment.  A teacher that is willing to help you after class or takes the time with you before class.  The teacher’s main focus should be walking around and offering assistance.

Your teacher should skillfully be watching the placement of your hands and feet, or the way you might lean to one side in a given pose. Teachers are there to help you see what you cannot. They are there to help you create symmetry and alignment within your form.

More than anything and above all, you should feel like you are welcome, part of the community, and are being supported on your path.
  This is your body and your beautiful spirit.  Your practice should be something that you look forward to, and your yoga studio should play a major role in supporting you through your personal journey.  I wish you success in finding the Yoga Studio that is right for you and the teacher that will help you on an amazing Yoga Journey!   

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Life Off the Mat"

“Life Off the Mat”…Living a Life of Excellence and       Purpose in 5 Simple Steps.   
Ahhh…. the sweet aroma of incense fills my senses and my soul.  The worries of the day begin to fade. The warm candlelit room deeply calms me and the soft, peaceful, voice of the teacher draws me into a deep state of relaxation and bliss and finally…. I am home.  Home on my Yoga mat, away from the fast passed, plugged in world, where I normally or perhaps abnormally dwell.  
     My body is comfortable here, my mind at ease.  We move gently from one asana to the other and I am transformed.  Transformed to a place where all is well.  Class seems to magically fly by. I reluctantly roll up my mat and vow to return as much as I can!   Now begins, “Real” life, off my mat, a deliberate day by day, moment by moment, quest to live a life of excellence and purpose.   Here is a list of
 5 simple steps to living a life of excellence and purpose…. off the mat.
The first step is Mindfulness
1.   Discovering Mindfulness ~ Mindfulness is a deliberate on purpose practice to connect with yourself and others on a deep, physical, emotional, and spiritual way.  Mindfulness is centuries old, and has been adopted by many from the Buddhist practices of meditation.   The main goal or purpose of mindfulness is to be in the present moment at all times.  When you are deeply mindful there is no judgment. No judgment of others or yourself.  It is freedom!  Mindfulness is an important step to take and practice each day, moment by moment. Why is it so?  It is an on purpose way of redirecting your thoughts and not allowing precious moments of your life to slip away.  Mindfulness leads to a life of excellence and purpose. It is being aware of any given moment, good or bad, light or dark, happy or sad.  Just simply being aware and mindful of what we eat, think and say would change the health and well-being of all of us.  Aware of how we spend our time and with whom, would dramatically impact our body, mind and spirit.
     Mindlessness is where most of us invest our time.  Arriving at a certain destination and not knowing how we arrived, overeating and not even remembering what or if we ate at all and so on, is a direct result of mindlessness.  Living this way will ultimately lead to a less than par life.    Spend a few moments each day quietly sitting, focusing in on your breath, clearing your mind, and setting an intention to live in the moment, even if just for today!  This simple step, just 5 minutes a day, will help guide you toward a more mindful way of living.   
2.   Discipline ~   “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”  Zig Ziglar.    This simple phrase explains clearly why discipline is a crucial step.
      Creating a schedule or plan each day will help you to stay on course and begin to change the abnormal pattern of your life.    Discipline as defined in the dictionary is “to bring to a state of order”.  Antonyms to discipline would be defined as agitation, chaos, disorder and negligence.   Creating goals or priorities each day may help resume order in your life.  Sticking to your plan, is important if you want to experience great results.   Don’t be over zealous with your list, just make it simple.  How do you wish to live your life in chaos or order?  It is really up to you!

     The third step is Living without Fear.
1.   Live without Fear ~ Fear is often described as False Evidence Appearing Real.  Fear is a deeply paralyzing emotion.  We spend so much of our lives being afraid.  Afraid to step out of our comfortable box, afraid to say something wrong, afraid to offend, and afraid of what other people will think or say. We bombard our days and nights with endless news programs that are full of fear based stories.  Our day is on fear overload.  Fear will ultimately immobilize us and send us into withdrawal.  Perhaps by creating a “fearless” mantra, to ease some of the toxic effects of fear, may help.  Some mantra examples might be,” I am not afraid”, “No fear”, “I release all fear”.   Create your own fearless mantra.   Be a warrior and fight for your life!
      Repeat your mantra several times each day. Say it out loud, in the car, before bed, when you rise, or silently at your desk!   Writing the mantra on several notes and arranging them throughout your home, office, or on your computer screen will remind you daily to be fearless!   
     The fourth step is Acceptance.
2.  Acceptance ~ “Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. “ Albert Einstein
       This is the big one!  Learning to accept where you are and who you are is the glue that will bring all the other steps together.  Please do not interpret acceptance for giving up or giving in.   Acceptance is an action step.  A call to action to appreciate where you are in your life, to determine how and where you want to go, what it is you dream of and the steps to accomplish all your dreams and desires.   Before moving forward to there, you must first genuinely feel happy, here.
     Become your true authentic self.    
Perhaps repeating the “Serenity Prayer” each night before bed will allow pure acceptance to flow….

     The fifth step is Gratitude.
5. Gratefulness~ Being grateful is the kryptonite to all negative feelings and emotions.  We must learn to be grateful not only for the joyful times in our life but also the difficult times.  It is in those times of trial we learn, stretch and grow.  A perfect plan to invite gratefulness in your life is to help someone else.   Just a simple note in the mail (not an email or text) but an actual hand written note would make someone’s day.  Smile to at least 3 people each day!  Be creative, think of something fun.  Spreading kindness to others will fill your life with gratitude.

     Life off the mat is a deliberate journey. It is truly a lifelong journey.  A journey filled with part time turbulence and part time joy.  I hope by adapting just these 5 simple steps, you will be inspired and ultimately create a life of excellence and purpose, on or off your mat!    Namaste, all is well.    
Elizabeth Aleksinas, Owner of Bramasole Wellness Center, is a Certified Personal Fitness Coach, Yoga Teacher and Healer.  She teaches Mindfulness Meditation  and Reiki Certification.  Located in Morris Ct., she may be reached at 860-567-0219.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Restorative Yoga

Today I spent the afternoon teaching a Restorative Yoga program.  It was a perfect day.  A gentle rain fell as the students moved from one restorative posture to another.  I am so lucky and blessed to have the privilege to do in this life what I love.  Get Real Get Fit and do what you love!