June 10, 2015

From The Heart At The Front Of The Room



From The Heart At The Front Of The Room

I often wonder what people think as they look at a yoga teacher. Do they assume he/she is always serene and happy? Full of never ending strength and wisdom? On many occasions that may be true. Yet you will not find a yoga teacher who is not also fully human with vulnerabilities and off days.
To own and share my “human-ness” is one of my intentions as a teacher and woman.

In approaching a yoga class I always find my breathing naturally changes and lengthens. Its a time of concentration, of sensing what a class may need and what I could possibly give. Sometimes I have a plan of what I will teach that has to change completely once I see the class in front of me. In these minutes my heart, my egoic mind, my knowledge and intuition all converse.

My heart is huge. It holds the love of everything and dreams big.  When my heart enters the practice on a good day everyone knows it. The room vibrates with a sense of the unconditional acceptance and understanding. The practice of each student may look very different, some moving through the poses with ease and grace, the breath steaming with the life force that it is. Others who are unable to continue take breaks, folding into childs pose or to simply sit, breathe and stay in the practice. Still others will smile or tear up, as some sort of emotional cloud lifts it way toward release. This is on a really good day.

Yet the reality is this doesn't  happen every day. In each practice my eyes take in the expressions in front of me which vary so widely it is comical. It is not difficult to see who is deep in their practice and who is thinking about dinner or making a list for their week. A yoga teacher practices to remember, all are welcome here. I am learning, always.

There comes a day (or days) for a yoga teacher when a student's judgement or disapproval enters the room. I imagine every yoga teacher has stories. It happens in all sorts of ways. Many times it is a student who has a favorite teacher, and you are not it and they find a way to let you know.  Another may not like your choice of music or lack of it.  A big lesson is the student who stops the practice and gives up with attitude. This student lets the whole room and you know they do not like what you are doing. I think for many teachers this brings up both ego and our maternal/paternal nature. If we are having a vulnerable day we may feel hurt that you don't like what we love. Yet mostly we worry for our class.

In these moments the awareness of my ego and knowledge begin to trumpet a call. I suddenly become aware of my lack of pleasing some one.  There is lesson number one, of course. We cannot please every one.

The trumpet call rings again as I realize this unhappy student is expressing his disapproval or upset with  some 'energetic' gusto. The air in the room seems to change and other students are very aware of it. What do you do when an unhappy student begins to sigh, roll eyes and send their disapproving or victim energy out for a call?  What do you do when you see the rest of the students become aware of the elephant ( and we are not talking about Ganesha) in the room?

Well, right here I can hear the ego of a thousand yoga teachers and students commenting.
“Ask him/her to leave” `'whisper for him/her to lie down” “you should not react to that” “ why does that bother you?”.  

Yet this was a lesson I chose to search through. Here is what I came up with once my intuition and heart had a lengthy conversation.  I need to let each student have their experience, and that includes meeting an elephant or two... or even be the elephant. 
I could even skillfully bring that hint into my words . Learning how to hold energy and not receive others energy (when it is unhealthy) is part of a practice on the mat and in life.

Life will always toss us a negative so we can find the most positive in ourselves.
Dear teachers and students, I bow to your grace of space.

Lucy Hamel


about Lucy


Lucy Hamel lives and teaches yoga in both Mykonos Greece and as a guest teacher at Montezuma Yoga. Writing is her 
newest tool to understand herself and the world.

www.lucyhamel.com

February 19, 2015

Reflections.....





Victim Mentality.

Yep, I've been there done that. At times I've been so addicted to my side of a story I retold to myself and anyone else who would listen that it caused me to ignore some painful truths I didn't want to face about myself. Repeating the same story only served to make myself feel like a powerless victim, hurting and blaming others because that fed my wounded ego and heart; even though I knew deep down there are other wounded egos and other broken hearts involved.

Eventually, after rivers of tears and honest time in self-reflection I learned how we always contribute to each others pain either from personal denial, actions, in-actions, selfishness, mistakes, whatever addictions or insensitivities we cause. Until we take responsibility for ourselves and how we affect others, we'll be stuck in a cycle of blaming with issues big and small.

If I'm only holding the mirror up against others I'll never take needed responsibility for my own life, my own health, relationships, addictions, growth and progress. That mirror must be reflected back upon ourselves before we can truly heal, be free, be healthy and happy.






Karen Ramsey McCabe completed her Vinyasa yoga teacher training at Montezuma Yoga in 2009. She's a mother, dancer, graphic artist, co-owner of Anamaya Resort and is now flexing her wings as a writer. She takes her personal life experiences as lessons to learn for inspiration and growth. She loves yoga, travel, spending time in nature, eating healthy and playing with her daughter. She is currently working on her first children's book.

January 24, 2014

Keep Calm & Savasana - by Karen Ramsey McCabe





Savasana. 

That final pose in yoga, otherwise known as corpse pose or Shiva's pose, is as important as all the other active poses of your yoga practice. Many say it's the most important as well as the most difficult because it requires you to simply be and to be still.  Most of our conscious lives are spent not in a state of being, but rather in a state of doing.  Our busy lives leave little room for that sweet surrender of stillness.

I have never understood why some teachers offer limited minutes of this sweet pose and when they do I always walked away feeling a little cheated like something was missing.  Yoga without a proper amount of time in Savasana is like sex without the climax; you get all worked up enough to sweat only to be left unsatisfied.  Yoga without enough time in Savasana is like milk chocolate.  Who wants all that guilt without the pleasure?  No, real Savasana is my equivalent to the euphoria of dark chocolate.

In every day life, we can be tense for so long that our bodies forget how it feels to be relaxed.  Savasana is often as relaxing and refreshing as a night of sleep.   We don't even have to take a yoga class to reap it's benefits.  If we're feeling tired, but don't have the time for a nap, a 10 minute Savasana is like a blessed reset button. 

After a yoga class it's our time to integrate all our hard work after stretching and opening. By fully allowing yourself to relax in Savasana, you are transported to a state of complete peace.  When our body relaxes so does our mind and this in fact re-energizes our whole nervous system.  Without true relaxation we can become chronically over-stimulated.

Savasana is sweet bliss, so whether you are a yoga teacher or a student. take your sweet time in this pose and allow yourself to fully release and enjoy. This is where the real union of yoga happens and you will always leave feeling more at peace and satisfied. 

Namaste...


About the Author

Karen Ramsey McCabe completed her Vinyasa yoga teacher training at Montezuma Yoga in 2009. She's a mother, dancer, graphic artist, co-owner of Anamaya Resort and is now flexing her wings as a writer. She takes her personal life experiences as lessons to learn for inspiration and growth. She loves yoga, travel, spending time in nature, eating healthy and playing with her daughter. She is currently working on her first children's book.





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December 20, 2013

3 Tips For A Peaceful Christmas With Your Loved Ones



3 Tips for a peaceful Christmas
with your loved ones
 
These are 3 essential tools to keep you connected to your Best Self:

1. Stay Grounded
When things get a bit crazy and hectic we tend to lose our sense of calm and just keep running and trying to make everybody happy. Remember to stay grounded! Everyday take time, even 5 minutes, whatever is possible, to move your body in a slow and grounding way. Forward Bends are wonderful and calming, as well as Standing Warriors (feel your feet rooting into the earth) or Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose, hands on your belly, feel your breath).  
Your yoga is a great tool; don’t think it only works when you do a full class :)


2. Create Space
Whenever we fall into a spiral of doubt, fear or any stress, our breath becomes really shallow and our body contracts. Watch yourself in those moments and remember the power of the breath. Even just a few really deep breaths into your chest/heart can shift your experience into one of space and expansion. And when you feel spacious you are more able and willing to give space to the people around you too…


3. Find Joy

Every day do at least one activity that creates joy for you and feels nourishing. Cook or eat a healthy delicious meal, book yourself a massage, have a great talk with your girlfriend or do whatever else creates joy in you. Only if you feel full you will have something to give back to others. It’s not being selfish in an egotistical way, but being conscious and self-loving enough to know that everything starts with yourself first.

Remember: If YOU feel inspired you will automatically inspire others to follow and treat you the same beautiful way you treat yourself. 


Happy Holidays & Best Wishes for 2014

Dagmar & Daniel


November 21, 2013

Packing Essential's for a Fun & Healthy Trip To Costa Rica - by Justine Thorner




As a health coach and yoga instructor who loves to travel, I am always attempting to nail down the healthiest way to pack to ensure I can stay healthy while I am away, without my juicer, blender, and all the healthy goodies I am used to consuming on a daily basis!

These are my top 10 healthy-travel essentials for trip or retreat to Costa Rica.

Shop all these products here! Enjoy J


1. Sun is Shinning (or any other green powder)

I take this stuff everyday! It is loaded with vitamins, minerals, sea vegetables and even has probiotics in it. This stuff will keep your digestive system on track when eating foreign foods with the probiotics, and keep your immune system strong with all the vitamins and minerals. Plus, you’ll ensure you eat your full servings of veggies with just 2 teaspoons! Add it to water, coconut water or a smoothie!

Buy here!


2. Justin’s single serve almond butter packs

First off, these are delicious! They are organic, non-gmo and have no additives. These are great to have in your bag or pocket for anytime hunger might come along through your travels! Eat the almond butter plain, right out of the package, or eat on toast, with a banana, or other fruit. Great way to have a simple, healthy meal when traveling!

Buy here!


3. Turkish Hamam towel

These are the best towels! They are super thin, so they are easy to pack and will not take up much space in your bag, plus you can even wear them as a cover-up!

Buy here!


4. Lavender Essential Oil

Great oil for to promote relaxation, and you can place a few drops in the corner of your hotel room to prevent bug bits! Bugs are naturally attracted to this scent, so will swarm the scent, not you. You can even mix with water and use as a bug spray, or spray the sheets for a nice relaxing scent!

Buy here!


5. Kiss my face sunscreen

This is a great natural sunscreen without all the harmful chemicals that are added into standard sunscreens. This is made without parabens, artificial color or gragrances, and oxybenzone. This is my go-to brand for healthy sun-protection!

Buy here.



6. Coconut oil

So many wonderful uses: This is best moisturizer, plus coconut oil is great mixed with some aloe for sunburn relief! It can also be used as your make-up removed, and face cream.

Buy here.


7. Badger Balm Sunscreen Lip Balm

Safe and effective sunscreen for your lips! Made with organic and natural ingredients, without the harmful chemicals. This stuff is a staple for me when I am in the sun. Sunburnt lips = the worst!

Buy here.


8. Journal

Fill this with notes on the places you visited, your thoughts, ideas, photos, things you’ve learned, people you’ve met, etc… Keep spots open, and pages empty so when you get home you can add photos, maps, cards, brochures, etc. from places you’ve gone and things you’ve done! This is an easy crafty way to make a fun memoir of your trip!


9. BKR water bottle

An all-clean water bottle, this is made of glass, is BPA free, and a clean way to drink your water without added chemicals. It is also the perfect size! It has a fun colored outer rubber sleeve to protect it from breaking when it drops.

Buy here.


10. Kind Bars

These are delicious, made with real, natural ingredients and contain no additives! Perfect to keep in your bag when you get stuck hiking around the rainforest, or hungry for a snack before meal!(Can also pack any another type of organic bar)



About the author:
Justine Thorner grew up as an athlete, playing collegiate lacrosse, and advancing her career further to playing and winning a national championship in England. As an athlete, she learned to treat and respect her body as an instrument, but at the same time pushed her body to its limits, and often faced injury and pain. Yoga helped her heal, and find clarity and harmony between her body and mind. Justine is able to integrate yoga with her knowledge of and passion for nutrition and holistic health.

Justine is a registered yoga teacher (RYT) and
a board certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Justine loves sharing her knowledge with students. Her passion is to help people live their happiest, healthiest, most fulfilling lives! Find out more about Justine on her website, www.JustineThorner.com, or connect with her on Facebook!


Justine looks forward to hosting a retreat a Montezuma Yoga in the near future, details to come soon :)


November 15, 2013

Yoga At Its Roots - by Silvia Eriksson









Yoga at its Roots


Hatha means the Moon and Sun, or opposing forces, Fire and Water (following a similar concept as yin-yan). It is a balance between strengthening asanas and soothing, opening seated postures, incorporating Pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation.


Essentially Hatha yoga incorporates all physical yoga as we know it in the west today, i.e Iyengar, Vinyasa, Ashtanga Yoga. However, in the present the term has been coined to become a branch of its own, usually referred to as a softer form of asana, Pranayama and meditation practice. Sometimes it may seem like the right choice for a beginner due to its slower pace and more basic classical postures, but also a relaxing, stress reducing yoga for all levels.


As opposed to the Vinyasa practice I normally teach, my Hatha class focuses on warming the body through Surya namaskar (Sun Salutation), and then moving into a series of classical standing postures where we remain a little longer than usual, holding the posture and finding the depth of our breath, thus exploring the intensity of each pose. The standing sequence is then typically followed by an arm balance and/or an inversion, and ends with an extended seated posture practice. Pranayama is incorporated during the class to promote balance and vitality, and ended with meditation or Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep).



In my personal practice I listen to my body to see what it needs from day to day. Sometimes I may wake up to feel a little lethargic and have no desire to get out of bed, and I choose to do a Vinyasa practice to energize and move energy through my body and mind. Other times I may have a need for grounding and slowing down. I might feel the need to spend more time and focus on each pose, concentrating on my breath and making every movement purposeful. Here is where I come to my faithful Hatha, using my energy to purposefully slow down, be present and brave enough to explore a deeper side of my yoga practice.



About the author:

Silvia Eriksson is a Montezuma resident, originally from Copenhagen,  Denmark. Traveler, yogini,  aspiring artist, former food enthusiast and graduate of culinary school, she now teaches at Montezuma Yoga full time......