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!

 

Last day of August, sunset yoga

Yoga Asana: Diving Deeper

July 22 – 24  Have you ever wondered about deepening your yoga practice? Join Kristine for a mini-retreat that will take your practice deeper as you learn more about yoga, asana, meditation, and the rich philosophy of yoga. We will take the time to explore the practices of asana, yogic breathing, and yogic meditation, as well as being introduced to yogic philosophy.  COST: 238.00.

 

 

SCHEDULE FOR THE RETREAT

July 22 (Friday)

5:30 –  6:00 PM: Welcome/Introduction 

6:00 – 7:00 PM: Yoga Class

7:00 — 8:00 PM:  Meditation and Yoga (citta, purusa, prakriti, vrittis)

8:00 – 8:30 PM: Closing Yoga

July 23 (Saturday)

8:00 – 10:00 AM: Yoga Class 

10:00 – 11:00 AM: Meditation and Yoga 

11:00 AM –12:00 PM: Pranayama (yogic breathing)

1:00 – 2:30 PM: Yogic Philosophy 

2:30 – 3:00 PM: Meditation 

3:00 – 5:00 PM: Asana 

July 24 (Sunday)

9:00 – 10:00 AM: Meditation 

10:15 – 11:15 AM: Yoga Class 

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM: Break

12:15 – 4:15 PM:  Yogic Philosophy:  Overview of Patanjali’s yoga sutras 

 

Who Practices Yoga and Nia . . . People Like You!

We are college students, retired types, professors, moms, dads, men, women, professionals, able-bodied and living with disabilities, pre-teens and teens . . . We are young(ish) and old(er) . . . We are a whole lot of different types of people, and we get together to engage our bodies, minds, and spirits through exercise, stretch, yoga, and dance.  Mostly, we are an open community that welcomes you to come and try a class and find a fit.  We laugh together, and we also enjoy the practice and discipline that yoga and Nia bring into our lives.  We support one another and we take things at our level.  Our teachers make it a priority to help you find you body’s way in yoga and Nia.  We have a variety of classes . . . Why not give it a try?

Finding Your Quiet Place

IMG_1162Let’s face it . . . We all need a break sometimes.  We need moment to step back, gain some perspective, recognize that we are more than the thoughts and emotions we are having in the immediate moment.  We need a moment to realize that we are more than the physical pain, the grief, the fear, or the illness we are experiencing.  It’s no wonder that, within the traditional path of yoga, four of it’s eight limbs are dedicated to learning to quiet and focus our minds.  In yoga, it’s sometimes called “cultivating the witness.”  We use our breath, our ability to focus and concentrate, our posture, and our intention to become familiar with that part of ourselves that can “witness” our thoughts, feelings, even our discomfort.  We initially learn to recognize, and then gradually to be at home with, this witnessing part of ourselves.  Once found, the witnessing place within us can be a powerful reminder that we are more than the sum of our immediate strong feelings, thoughts, story-lines, physical pain, even illness.  Cultivation of the witness within ourselves empowers us to make choices where before we felt victim to circumstances and situations beyond our control.  We meet the witness as a loving, non-judgmental place within ourselves.  Spending time in this witnessing place creates a sense of sanctuary and peace.

We begin learning this process early on in yoga practice, and then we integrate it into our asana practice.  Once we are able to consistently find it in yoga, it has the benefit of expanding outward into the rest of our lives.

Threshold Moments

 

Lions and Roaring Rabbits! Oh My!

iyengarlionposebunnyLet’s take another look at a fun posture, good for opening us up for spring.  “The Roaring Lion Posture (whose original Indian name is Simhasana) in Yoga is suitable for people of all ages and types (including old and weak) because it is relatively easy to perform. The posture is sometimes referred to as Bhairavasana . . .  reallionpose copybunnyThe posture gets its name because the face of the person performing it resembles the face of a Roaring Lion (Simha Mudra or Lion Face Gesture) because of the open mouth and extended tongue.”  Kind of fun to combine lion pose with some spring bunnies . . . Everyone is doing it!

Yoga in the season of Harvest

Last day of August, sunset yogaI live in a place that is filled with Sri, the sanskrit word for beauty.  This area is known as the “Palouse.”  My family has now lived here for four generations, and I’m a part of a group of women who lovingly know ourselves as the “Daughters of the Palouse” (our self-proclaimed acronym is “D.O.P.e S.”).  My love of this small corner of the world pulled me out of a forward-advancing career in Cambridge, MA, and back to the hills and fields where I have grown up and that I love.  For me, my yoga practice is not only good physical exercise, but it is also a spiritual practice that allows this sense of connection to deepen.  Because of yoga, I am regularly pulled off of my mat and into community.  I find that my yoga practice feels “complete,” not when I get into a perfect asana, but when I find that I am able to fully integrate the lessons that I learn on the mat into the actions that I take in my community and world to make it a better place.  So working toward preservation of our local eco-system, understanding food security, participating in developing more sustainable solutions to growing issues of homelessness in our community . . . These are all a part of my practice.  The mat is my “launching pad,” as well as one part of my home base.

As you can see in the photo, we are now in the season of harvest around the Palouse.  The native people of our area recognized this time as a separate season — the time of gathering in and taking stock, a time in which abundance was celebrated and shared, rather than horded.  I feel this same need in my yoga practice.  Harvest yoga is a season to take stock of the wisdom of our bodies and celebrate that abundance — however it looks — rather than focus on how we may perceive ourselves to be lacking.  And then, out of that sense of abundance and spaciousness, we take it beyond ourselves and into our lives and communities.  Where does your yoga lead you in the world?  More about being a Palouse yoga gal, though all the seasons, to come . . .

Hands that hurt (a bit), thoughts that heal

So, I’ve been working on the new space (now officially called “Kiva Space,” because it feels like a kiva to me — a Native American dwelling used for spiritual purposes, that one usually climbs into via a ladder!).  Rather than painting the walls, I’ve been using 3 colors of a beautiful product called American Clay.  It’s fabulous to work with, in a labor-intensive kind of way — you put it on with a roller and a trowel, and then you lovingly go over it, many times, with trowel and hands, to compress it and shape it to the wall.  If you were going for quick, it would be an aggravation.  However, I decided awhile ago that touching every part of every wall in Kiva Space would be a loving practice of intention, meditation, and prayer.  So, as I’ve worked, I’ve thought and dreamed to the lively and healing community space I want to bring to life in this funny, L-shaped space.  I’ve thought/held/prayed for many I know who have been in need of . . . well, the things we all need, trusting the beautiful place where we all connect to one another and far beyond our individual selves.  I’ve simply allowed myself to be intentionally open to yes, as I work in this little southeastern corner of Gladish.  As you can see, my hands are a bit weary, but my heart is full of the beauty of many of you.  The rainbow walls hold lots of love, and are waiting to hold the community we will become!  With a heart full of love and gratitude today — Kristine

What is your intention?

Now imagine being asked this four times a week by a rather intense East Indian gentleman/ yogi, who expected an answer. I was telling one of my yoga classes that my first yoga teacher liked to start us off in this manner.  Being a graduate student at the time, it was easy to fall into a passive sense of “I’m here because I’m supposed to be . . .” which did not fly at all with my teacher (this just got intense breathing and a fierce stare).   “But why are you HERE?  I mean really HERE?”  He would ask.  I was never sure if he meant in class, in divinity school, or on the planet.  I don’t think he was really quite sure, either . . . Or that the answer was any different, in Ravi’s mind.

The Sanskrit word is “samkalpa” a resolution or intention formed through an informed conversation between the body, mind, and heart, and we were expected to have one for most things in life, including yoga class.The yogic value of samkalpa begins with awareness, and as much acceptance as we are able to embrace, of where we are.  It is not unmindful of our current condition, in fact, it dwells in the “is-ness” of our body, mind, and spirit, and suggests that this is the beautiful path that we will have the joy of journeying on our way to our intention.  And it is, all, indeed, considered beautiful.  We step onto the mat, we set our intention, and we trust that we’ve got exactly what we need for that moment to go where we need to go.  That’s the journey of samkalpa.  So happy to share it with you!

Well-worn Grooves

What “roads” do you walk, everyday, without even thinking about it?  Are they beautiful and centering, or paths  that no longer serve you?

We’ve probably all seen it, even walked it – the dirt road with the well-worn grooves.  The road traveled the same way by the same set of tires or pair of feet so many times that another path no longer seems possible.  When the dirt road is our life and the grooves are our habits, so well-worn into our daily living that they seem inseparable from our being, they are called “samskaras” in Sanskrit.  Samskara refers to all of the ways in which our mind has become habituated – positive and negative – to think in particular patterns and follow regular courses of thought, causing us to act and react in certain ways, often without thinking.  Yoga practice seeks to do two things.  The first is to recognize old samskara that might be limiting our lives or our growth, and to create and replace it with healthy samskara.   The second is to use our asana practice to “shake it up” a bit –  to carry out a practice that is not always determined by our habit, but one that helps us to clear out our mind and become less bound by “the same old, same old.”  The idea is that when we are able to recognize habits within our movement and our bodies and become less bound by them, this practice, eventually, helps us to let go of the habits, ways of thinking, judgments, old stories, that keep us bound in unproductive ways in our lives.

Consider taking a new path today.   See anything new?