Yoga can empower women

Written by Bridget Bardill on . Posted in Epiphanies

Beauty standards are indoctrinated into women at a young age. Diet, cosmetics, plastic surgery and weight-loss ads bombard us from the media, and they all emphasize the importance of being skinny.

Women are conditioned to believe that if we lose ten pounds, shrink our waistline or go under the knife, only then will we finally have the life we wish for.

These unrealistic standards set by the Western culture have led us to sacrifice our health and well-being. Sources say more than half of women in the United States are on a diet at any given time, and at least 90 percent of women are dissatisfied with their bodies, according to the article “Beauty and Body Image In The Media,” on the Media Awareness Network website.

Fishing for meditation

Written by Sarah Hutcherson on . Posted in Epiphanies

fishingStanding at the water's edge, I search the water for any sign of movement beneath the surface. As the sun glares down, I can barely see two feet in front of me. The rays mix with the white foam dancing on the surface as the water barrels across rocks and boulders. The tumultuous flow carves out transient lines that dart from my shore to the other. The sun's movement on the water's surface distracts my eyes from the treasures that lie beneath.

It is so easy to become distracted with these outside elements, full of never-ending movement. Their chaotic movement is mesmerizing but I do not wish to only admire nature. That is not why I stand at the water's edge.

I wish to interact with the calm community that subsists below.

I stand, barefoot, with a wooden stick in hand so I can play a game with one of the inhabitants living beneath the water. The game is less about catching that inhabitant and reeling it in, but more about the mental challenge I must overcome to entice the fish to take my bait.

How I learned to stop worrying and love yoga teacher training

Written by Austin Richman on . Posted in Epiphanies

epiphanyThe way I became a yoga teacher was not the stuff yoga superstars are made of.

I wasn’t the reluctant son to parents who owned a studio. I never inadvertently found a guru on a vacation in India. And I’ve never met any of the famous yoga masters whose influence can be so profound their students also become renowned masters.

I was however, looking for a change, which is something that seems to be common in all denominations of teachers. I knew something needed to change, but that was the only thing I did know for certain.

A first time yoga teacher reports back from the front lines

Written by Arturo Sanchez on . Posted in Epiphanies

As part of the 200 hour teacher training at Manitou Yoga School we had to intern with an established teacher and help guide part of the class. It sounded reasonable. Little did I know I was in for quite an experience. Having been in different teaching roles earlier in life, I knew that we really begin to learn when we start to teach. We can’t continue to hide in mediocrity when we expose ourselves to teaching others. The responsibility is too great.  

yogateachingSo I prepared myself. I wrote a syllabus detailing the postures and flows. I constantly reviewed exactly what I was going to say and do. If anything, I felt over prepared. As time grew closer to my first class the anxiety grew tremendously, so much so that it alarmed me. The night before my first class I could not sleep. There was so much energy coursing through my body, not to mention my overactive mind. It was as if something was purging itself from my system. I knew from meditation practice not to resist these types of body mind reactions. They are a kind of healing when allowed to be.

The time came to teach. I got up in front of the large class with written notes at hand and mental notes at the ready. I sat down and something peculiar happened. All those notes flew right out the window. I forgot all about them and just taught, relying on my training and how to assess the energy of the class and adjust the teaching accordingly.

The alchemy and grace of yoga

Written by Julie Hoyle on . Posted in Epiphanies

yogaandalchemyThe mysteries of yoga and meditation entered my life unexpectedly and intriguingly one cold, damp November evening. I remember the exact moment. I was eight years old and sitting with my father watching a National Geographic documentary that highlighted the extraordinary feats advanced Indian yogis could perform.

Staring in awe, we saw old men with matted hair and long grey beards contorting their unbelievably supple bodies. Mesmerized, we witnessed an ancient looking yogi sitting in lotus posture, sealed in an airless glass box and submerged underwater. An hour later he surfaced, stood up nimbly and walked away gracefully, as though oxygen deprivation was nothing out of the ordinary.

On viewing one amazing scene after another, my father whispered, “Do you believe it? Do you think it’s really true?” Without hesitation I answered, “Yes. Yes, it’s true.”

Inspired to teach by cancer

Written by Maureen Sagan Cortés on . Posted in Epiphanies

yoga inspired by cancerIn 1984, my new yoga practice helped me with pain from a racquetball injury.

More than fifteen years later, in 2000, yoga helped me survive and thrive after a breast cancer diagnosis.

I lived in Santa Fe at the time, designing jewelry. It was near the end of the year, and I was packed and ready to move to Mexico for the holidays. I went in for my second annual mammogram, and then received a phone call asking me to return for a biopsy.

An initial review had not detected any problems, but when they compared the new films with the previous year’s films, there it was - a small tumor. Hearing the word “cancer” over the phone, while I sat in a quiet, colorful art gallery, was surreal.

car wrecked, yoga healed

Written by Deb Bartos on . Posted in Epiphanies

During the summer of 2009, I practiced yoga at Yoga Journeys, a wonderful studio owned by teacher Teryl Lundquist. I was in the midst of the “Yoga Challenge,” a special program she had created in her studio. For a set fee, you could take an unlimited number of classes. The more classes one took, the better the price, and for me, the better I felt.

I never felt stronger or more flexible, and was looking forward to more of the same.

And then the unexpected happened. I was in a head-on car collision, going 65 mph. The air bag failed. I managed to exit the car, instinctively using the belly breaths from my yoga practice as my chest muscles spasmed. My left leg, hip, hands, and back were greatly damaged, and are still slowly improving to this day.