THANKSGIVING YOGA

THANKSGIVING DAY from 9:30-11.

Put that turkey in the oven, then take a break and join Lauren for this Thanksgiving morning flow gratitude practice. Class will be 65 minutes of yoga asana, with a gratitude meditation and luxuriously-long savasana. Please come join us. Items for the Alternatives to Violence pantry will gladly be accepted.

Zumba and Zumba Strong Monday-Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

Need a fitness plan as the days get cooler? Leah has you covered! Join her for Zumba (Monday and Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.) and for Zumba STRONG (Tuesday and Thursday at 7:00 p.m.).

Are you new  to STRONG? Here’s a description:

“ STRONG by Zumba® combines body weight, muscle conditioning, cardioand plyometric training moves synced to original music that has been specifically designed to match every single move. Every squat, every lunge, every burpee is driven by the music, helping you make it to that last rep, and maybe even five more. In each class you’ll burn calories while toning arms, legs, abs and glutes. Plyometric or explosive moves like high knees, burpees,and jumping jacks are interchanged with isometric moves like lunges, squats, and kickboxing. STRONG by Zumba® instructors change up the music and moves frequently to make sure you’re always challenged to the max.”

Come try Bharatanatyam Indian dance, Sunday Sept 15, 2:00, at Aloft

Welcome to a FREE introductory class in a form of Indian dance called the Adavu, the basic “building blocks” of Bharanatyam, or Indian classical dance. This is a class designed for adult beginners. Taught by Raji Soundararajan, you will get a feel for the rhythm and joy of this dance style. Kristine is pleased to be hosting this introductory class at the studio. Please join us!

Continuing Ed. and Yoga Teacher Training

Are you a yoga teacher in need of your continuing education hours?  Are you interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor? Aloft School of Yoga offers a supportive environment in which you can meet your educational goals.  Our Yoga Alliance certified 200 hour yoga teacher training  is modular-based, allowing you some freedom and choice  in the pace of your training.  We train in a supportive community environment of teachers in training and current teachers, learning together as we go.

Our next training dates are Sept. 21-22 and Oct. 12-13, from 9:00-2:00, with 1/2 hour off for lunch.  They will also include some reading and homework. The Sept. training will focus on yoga as a tool to address stress and trauma, including the anatomy of stress.  The October training will focus on taking a more in depth look at ayurveda.  These trainings are required for the 200 hour teacher training, and available for continuing education credit. For further information, please contact Kristine via the website “contact” button.

 

EveryBODY Yoga with Erin Wittman (begins 9/20)

Friday Mornings (beg. 9/20), 9:45 All Levels with a special welcome to Beginners!

So…have you’ve been told or have you read that you should be doing yoga? However, the idea of walking into a studio seems like the last place you want to go. What if you could enter a room and be welcomed regardless of age, gender, your size or even fitness level? What if you didn’t even have to be flexible or wear fancy yoga pants? What if there was a studio and a class that welcomed you just as you are? You’ve probably heard that yoga is good for you and indeed it is! The benefits physically and mentally are numerous. So, why not take that leap and join the Aloft Community on Friday mornings with Erin where EveryBODY is welcome to breathe, stretch, move, increase strength, calm down and maybe even laugh! If you are already a part of the Aloft crew, come check out this new class regardless of where you are on your yoga journey. Hope to see you there!

 

Opening Up and Letting Go

Cill

By Cil Richards

Cil Richards is a professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University.  She has a committed meditation practice and teaches and leads a weekly meditation group at Aloft Studios.    Here, she shares thoughts about meditation and shares why she meditates.

In this politically charged election year I have been thinking a lot about views and how much trouble they can cause.

View plays such a big role in what we believe, what we think about, and what we experience. It’s easy to say that we should drop our deeply held views and assumptions but that won’t make it happen. Fortunately meditation practice is a means to help us see those deeply held views and their effect.

When we meditate do we really open up to what is there or do we make assumptions about what we are experiencing? “I’m tense, I’m sad, I’m not good at concentrating. I’d be able to meditate if I wasn’t so hot.” Persistent investigation reveals the holes in these assumptions about experience. Anyone who has sat and watched their mind knows that it’s a madhouse in there. Thoughts and moods come and go like crazy. Things are constantly changing. And although sometimes that can be a little disconcerting, it’s a good thing. The fact of change means there is opportunity, possibility. I’m not sad, or angry, or hot. Those states come and go. Further investigation can reveal under what conditions these states arise and the patterns of behavior that play out over and over. For example, when I am stressed I often find that there is also some craving or aversion present. By looking closely we begin to see that we often fabricate our own reality based on views. Accompanying views are associations and memories that the mind uses to solidify and manufacture a way of viewing experience.

A helpful analogy from the physical world is a rainbow. We have all seen rainbows. No one would argue that they don’t exist, but we have all discovered that you can’t catch a rainbow, can’t touch it, and there is, alas, no pot of gold to be had. But what is a rainbow really? Is it a thing? Isn’t it really a process? One that happens when certain conditions are present? The recipe for a rainbow includes sun, rain, and an observer (you or me). Take away any one of these three and you don’t have a rainbow. The rainbow observed depends on where the observer is. That is, no two people ever see the ‘same’ rainbow. There is no ‘true’ rainbow. The rainbow ‘exists’ in relation to the sun, the rain, and the observer. Viewpoint matters.

We all hold some mental model of how the world works. Most often, when confronted with information that violates that worldview we ignore it or deny it. By doing so we miss an opportunity to learn. Through meditation if we really look at what’s really happening we see many things that challenge our worldview. If we can loosen our grip on our views and allow a new way of seeing then the possibility of transformative learning or insight arises. Letting go of views and allowing for different ways of seeing and views is an important part of meditation practice.

In my own practice through the years I have let go of and loosened many of my views. This has not been easy since as a professor I have certainly suffered from the ‘know it all’ disease. However, letting go of knowing how it is and seeing how it really is has really opened up my mind and practice.

Curiosity of Movement

 

By Chris Dopke
(Join Chris for  “Asleep/Awake-Aware” on Thursdays at 11:00, a healing movement class in the style of movement of Moshe Feldenkrais)
Ever since l learned to do backbends and headstands when my mom enrolled me in acrobatics at age 7, I’ve been curious about movement. However, looking back, I see that for many years through my experiences in gymnastics, cheerleading, diving- it was always about my ability to see and mimic movement and not at all about what does it actually feel like to move myself.
In 1995 I started taking yoga from a teacher in Eugene and marveled that every class was an opportunity to discover something new about my body and how I moved. I did notice that when I took from different instructors I did not get the same level of new information. Ten years into my studies with Deborah I finally said to myself, maybe I’m learning so much in her classes because she’s also a Feldenkrais teacher. Aha moment, you might say!
In 2006 I began the four year Feldenkrais teacher training in Bend OR and learned to think about movement and flexibility and effort and the body’s intelligence in a whole new way. I found I am a creature of habit and the lessons were giving me options I had never considered before. I am endlessly curious about  all the patterns and habits in my use of self, and now I enjoy teaching these lessons of discovery to others.

The Joy of Less Expectation: Musings on meditation by Carolea Webb

I consider myself to be a reasonably serious meditator.  I’ve taken the time to look deeply at my mind, with varying degrees of intensity, for going on twenty years now.  I’m still no kind of expert, but I have noticed a few significant changes for the better. One big difference is that I find meditating to be less effort and more fun.

I was thinking about that as I drove home today after meditating with Kristine Zakarison and two other friends this afternoon, and I thought it might be a good subject for her blog.

One reason I have more fun meditating now is that I’m no longer imposing so many expectations on what I should experience.  In the early days, I expected that by watching my breath and being aware of my thoughts I should be able to make the thoughts go away, or at least reduce them enough to produce a calm state of mind. If I didn’t manage that I gave myself a mental scolding. “Bad meditator!” I said. “Bad!”

I also thought I should never fall asleep, squirm on my cushion or fantasize about food.  (Honestly, I remember a week-long retreat when I couldn’t seem to quit visualizing bell peppers. Go figure.) I had a long list of things I could do wrong.

Over the years, I have let that go (at least to a large degree).  Each morning I approach my meditation with curiosity.  “What will my meditation be like today?” I ask myself. “Will I relax into the joy of pure consciousness or will I feel like I’m half crazy?”  It’s fun to see what turns up!  I simply try to perceive what is present without identifying with it.  All kinds of mental phenomena (or the lack of it) comes and goes.

I didn’t tell myself to quit having expectations and judgments.  It just happened naturally over time.  And, here’s what was surprising to me: the less I tried to force a sense of well-being into my meditations, the more it arose naturally on its own.  I had made friends with the experience!  Now, whether I struggle to stay awake, fight an urge to plan my grocery list, come up with a brilliant insight, acknowledge some worry, or sit in blessed awareness of the present moment, I consider it a privilege to live the adventure.

On Slowing Down, Being Mindful, and Truly Seeing — By Marji Neill

I love to share words from others about why you value your practice, and how you manifest your practice in your daily life.  I share some words Marji Neill shared with me, along with an image of where Marji meets herself/her spirit:

“Hi Kristine,

It was great being with you in class today!   I’ve missed seeing everyone.   I had to chuckle when you were talking about being mindful, slowing down, and making eye contact.  Lots of thoughts came to my mind.   I do not have many natural talents [editorial note from KZ:  this is not true!], but for whatever reason, complete strangers have always opened up to me.  My girls noticed this when they were young and it is something that drives my husband nuts.   When we are out, and I speak with total strangers, he will often ask, “Do you KNOW that person?”   Growing up with an “always be busy, busy, busy” mentality, I tend to walk briskly, but I like to smile and greet anyone I see.  This has led to a ton of “little while friends” and fun conversations.  Also, it seems like my guardian angel or spirit guide (or whatever energy is helping me through life on earth), likes to draw my attention to wildlife at just the right moment, and it’s been a fun part of my life.    Lately I’ve noticed I’m not walking as fast.  It made me wonder if I was holding back to not irritate my cranky knee (chronic), or if I am just getting older.   But, you gave me hope that maybe I am finally understanding that if I zoom through life with my head down, I will miss a lot.   After all, I want to know how that wild turkey family with seeming limited good sense, is doing!”

Sept 29, 2015

Why Do I Dance Nia?

Nia has an active, international, online community.  I was struck by this recent post by Irit Orr.  Those of us choose Nia do so for many different reasons.  We love the community aspect of dancing together, we use it as our form of fitness, we dance beause it’s fun, in dancing, we experience joy and express ourselves. Here, Irit shares her reasons.

“Thanks for moving to heal – NIA.  This method helps me move forward during hard and sad days. It embraces me gently and helps me move on with harmony and respect to the situation. On easy flowing days this movement helps me reach heights, reach depths, and reach new dimensions. I fell in love with moving to heal. I exercise couple of times a week, and can’t wait to the next teacher training course with Debbie Rosas.”