Pranayama: A Workshop

March 14, 2013

Pranayama: The Expansion of Aliveness

Wanna learn how to breath? I’m not talking about the shallow breaths that we take all day, every day. I’m talking full, deep 3-part breaths, bandhas, kumbhakas… The list goes on.

Join me at Sacred Thread Yoga on Saturday, April 6 from 2 – 4 p.m. for a workshop on Pranayama (yogic breathing techniques). We will learn how to use our breath to raise, calm and balance our energies; how to use our breath to support us in deeper postures; and how to use our breath to support us in rush hour traffic! This workshop includes a yoga practice along with discussion of specific breathing techniques.

$15 advanced registration (at the studio or email register@merylarnett.com)
$20 at the door

This recipe comes from Whole Foods (one of my favorite resources for great, healthy recipes) and is one of my go-to staples for a quick lunch.  I’ll make this on Sunday and then have it ready to go for several weekday lunches.

Recipe & photo from wholefoods.com

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1/2 small serrano pepper (optional), finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets and lightly steamed
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cup mung bean sprouts

Method:

In a blender or food processor, purée almond butter, lemon juice, dates, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and water until smooth. Transfer dressing to a large bowl, add broccoli and cilantro and toss well. Cover and marinate for up to 1 hour, if you like. Arrange bean sprouts on a large platter, top with broccoli, garnish with cilantro and serve.

*I usually serve this over brown rice or I add some roasted baby potatoes to make it more substantial.  Easy and delicious!

Yoga Book Club!

March 11, 2013

I am so excited to share this news with you: This month I am starting a Yoga Book club at the newly opened Sacred Thread Ashram in the Old Fourth Ward (more details on the Ashram coming soon)!  You are cordially invited to join me the last Tuesday of every month, starting March 26, from 8 – 9 p.m. in the Telephone Factory Lofts.

IMG_4383

We’ll get started on March 26 by meeting other participants, sharing some chai and choosing our first book.  Then, each month we’ll meet up to share our thoughts on the book, discuss how yogic concepts play out in our everyday lives and have a little fun in the process.

This book club is FREE for Ashram members and only $5/meeting for non-members.  Hope to see you on Tuesday, March 26!

Be sure to sign-up for my newsletter to get more details about the Ashram and Book Club!

Broken Windows

March 11, 2013

One of my favorite blogs, The Happiness Project, recently posted about the theory of broken windows.  Loosely, this theory tells us that if a neighborhood allows petty crimes like broken windows, graffiti, etc. to go unpunished, then more serious crimes are likely to be committed.  These small signs of disinterest or lack of awareness show others that we aren’t being mindful.  That we don’t care.

In the original post, the author translates this theory to the idea of our own personal broken windows – those small things that make us feel disorganized and out-of-control.  Things like letting the mail pile up, not washing the dishes or staying in PJs all day…

If we look at this idea through the lens of yoga, can you see how the idea of conscious mindfulness comes into play?  When we are feeling out of control, instead of letting these little windows break, can we take a breath, a pause, and make the bed before tackling the next project?  One step at a time – even a step as small as throwing away the junk mail- shows our body, mind and spirit that we are home, that we care, and that we won’t check out when the going gets tough.  These small steps can help us to stay present in both calm times and chaotic times.

This weekend as my husband and I frantically shopped for a new car (our old one died last week) that we weren’t planning on purchasing, I could feel the stress of the situation pulling me away from mindfulness.  I left dirty clothes on the floor; I ate foods I normally try to avoid – all because we were “busy”.  We “HAD” to buy a new car THIS WEEKEND.  And, then I remembered the original blog post about Broken Windows.  I took a breath.  I meditated for 10 minutes.  I threw the dirty clothes in the hamper.  And, then we found a car to buy.

Yesterday, I took an Acro Yoga workshop at Sacred Thread Yoga.  This was only my second experience with Acro Yoga – the first time was a few months ago at a yoga event.  There was a teacher doing demonstrations and everyone was lining up to fly on this guy’s feet.  Everyone except me….

It wasn’t that I couldn’t see the fun in this; it was just that this was a direct hit to one of my weaknesses.  Letting go.  Yeah, I was supposed to just hang out and trust this person not to drop me, injure me or make me look like a fool.  Pretty challenging for some of us.  But, because my focus this year is LETTING GO I gave it a shot (ok, it took a bit of bullying from my friends and this teacher but I caved and I’m grateful!).  And, while it was totally fun, even more so it was an awesome eye-opener to the things I miss out on when I hold on too tightly.

 

That's me Letting Go...

That’s me Letting Go…

So, when STY announced a twice a month Acro Yoga workshop (the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month, in case you wanna join the fun) I decided I was gonna go!  No more holding back; hello Letting Go.  It was not surprising that I was way more comfortable being the base (the person on the ground, the person with all the control) than I was with flying (trust, trust, trust) but I gave them equal attention and I had a fabulous time.  In the end, I felt strong and surprisingly carefree afterwards – kind of like that feeling you get after finishing a big project or test…  It made me wonder what else I was missing by letting my weaknesses hold me back?  What are you missing?

We can see this in our yoga practices as well.  Some of us are super strong and find it easy to engage our muscles in poses.  Others are more fluid and flexible in poses.  In yoga, we need both – strength & softness, to be solid and spacious at the same time.  In sanskrit, this is called Sthira & Sukha.

Sthira can be defined as firm, solid, strong, unfluctuating.  Sukha implies have space at the center that allows function; easy, pleasant, gentle, mild…  In our practice and in our lives we must find a balance in these two opposing forces: going with the flow and standing up for what we believe is right.  Being the base and flying high.

This week in class we’ll play with finding this balance and opening our eyes and hearts to both sthira & sukha.  Do you know where your work lies?

Power + Pranayama

February 14, 2013

Tuesdays 4:30 – 5:45 p.m.

Location: Sacred Thread Yoga, 828 Ralph McGill Blvd, Atlanta, GA 30306 (www.sacredthreadyoga.com)

Nadi Shodana

Nadi Shodana

A powerful flow class, Power + Pranayama incorporates traditional Pranayamas (breathing techniques) into a strong practice to grow and shift our energies.  Practitioners can expect to learn breathing techniques such as Kapalabati, Agni Sara, Anuloma Viloma and Kumbhakas during class.  These techniques will be tied into our flow to increase energy, strength and concentration as well as tap into the underlying emotions of our practice.  Get ready to breath, sweat and soar!  Previous yoga experience recommended.

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