PUBLISHED ARTICLES | YOGA SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY
NO FEAR YOGA 4-PART SERIES by Marianne Mohr
GANNET'S USA TODAY NETWORK
RUIDOSO NEWS, NEW MEXICO
Have you ever thought yoga just might not be for you? Actually, there are many reasons certain types of yoga can be wrong for anyone. Yet simple guidelines can reduce the downsides and open a door to this beneficial practice, which studies have shown can reduce effects of aging and stress; prevent and aid injuries; and improve physical and mental well-being.
So what happens when we try a yoga class and feel nothing, or worse, feel uncomfortable? Since there are many teaching styles and philosophies, you can practice “No Fear Yoga” by using a few precautions and your own intuition. Give yoga a chance by sampling a few different teachers and classes. Resist saying “it’s not for me,” because you don’t resonate with a teacher. With these guidelines, you can gain the benefits of overall peace and confidence, reported by many who practice yoga.
Two types of yoga classes to avoid are the “You Gotta Become a Mystic to Get This” class and the "Vinyasa-Your-Way-to-Back-Pain" class.
In the "mystic" class, “woo-woo” is ‘aflying. Hindu terms, names, rituals, chanting baffle you. There may be instructions, but you really don’t know why you are doing them, or you don’t feel the effects or benefits in your own body. You feel as though you’ve entered a secret society and everyone (but you) knows the secret handshake.
TIP: Ask the instructor why you are doing the activity and where you should be feeling it. Introduce yourself as unfamiliar with the class style and ask for guidance prior to start of the class. If the instructor does not respond, try a class where the benefits of the pose sequence are described and are clear to you.
In the Vinyasa class example, a style of yoga taught frequently, also called “Flow”, generally is fast-paced, because movements are cued to the in-and-out breath. While some instructors will remind students to go at their own pace, others may not notice that the wild swings of forward folds and back bends could cause a “whiplash” affect.The rule of thumb regarding low back pain (and yoga in general) is that a safe yoga sequence should balance forward folds equally with neutralizing, counter poses that are backbends. Many Vinyasa style classes follow the traditional sun salutation sequences and weighing more heavily on forward folds. This can cause low back pain, because the back body stretches too much and, like a rubber band, loses its stabilizing strength.
TIP: If you feel this scenario causes you back discomfort (as it does for me), substitute some of the forward folds with a standing back bend instead. At the end of practice while lying on your back in savasana, place a block under your sacrum (at your tailbone/hip area, not the curve of the lower back) for a final restorative and neutralizing backbend.
Yoga is uniquely different from other types of exercise, because it combines effort in mindfulness, breath, movement, flexibility and strength. Yoga and its benefits are often commended by medical professionals in a growing awareness by the medical community regarding the benefits of “Complementary and Alternative Medicine.”CAM is the term used by the medical profession recognizing that alternative practices, not part of standard medical treatment, can be useful to promote a healthier lifestyle. CAM includes practices such as massage, Tai Chi, acupuncture and yoga.So, since you are paying your instructor, never feel intimidated that your questions are somehow inappropriate. All genuine yoga teachers are interested in their students’ experience and will work with you to make the most of your practice. Always, before engaging in a program of yoga practice, check with your medical professional. Next week, I’ll continue suggestions for common (and funny) personal difficulties in yoga.
Questions? Email me: [email protected] Marianne Mohr E-RYT/Director of Buddha Yoga School of Yogic Arts. To learn about the 2018 Yoga Teacher Training May-Oct, check out Buddhayogaclass.com.Yoga: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Health
Ruidoso Free Press
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”— B.K.S. Iyengar
Many people ask, “How is Yoga different from other exercise programs?” Or, “Isn’t Yoga about twisting into exotic pretzel poses?” While we admire lithe yoginis who can touch their toes (with the back of their heads of all things), the fact is the original practice of Yoga was intended to calm the mind and enable meditation.
The Yoga Sutras, composed around 200 CE, describe the practice as “calming fluctuations of the mind, or to steady the mind.” Surprisingly, in this ancient text not a single physical pose is discussed. Instead of pretzel-poses, the first steps in the Yoga Sutras were ethical behaviors for everyday life such as non-hurting, truthfulness, not stealing (or getting something not earned), right use of sexual energy and freedom from greed and desire.
These ethical fundamentals sound more like good advice you’d get from a wise elder, than the basis of an exercise program. Over time, physical poses combined with breathing practices became more defined, and the Hatha style of Yoga recognized in this day and age, evolved. Fast forward to now, other common questions and (mis)conceptions include: “Do I need to be flexible to do Yoga?” “Am I too old?” “Isn’t the exercise class at the gym like Yoga?”
For answers, I defer to mainstream medical wisdom from www.webmd.com: “When some people think of yoga, they … worry that they’re too old, unfit, or “tight” to do yoga. The truth is you’re never too old to improve flexibility. The series of yoga poses called asanas work by safely stretching your muscles. This may release the lactic acid that builds up with muscle use, which may cause stiffness, tension, pain and fatigue. In addition, yoga increases the range of motion in joints. It may also increase lubrication in the joints. The outcome is a sense of ease and fluidity throughout your body. Yoga stretches not only your muscles but all of the soft tissues of your body. That includes ligaments, tendons and the fascia sheath that surrounds your muscles. And no matter your level of yoga, you most likely will see benefits in a very short period of time. In one study, participants had up to 35 percent improvement in flexibility after only eight weeks of yoga.”
While all physical exercise is good, Yoga’s therapeutic, relaxation and meditative benefits offer results not always found with other practices. Feeling good inside as well as outside, improving agility and infirmity may help a student to want to continue practicing.
Seek the advice of a medical professional to ensure you are healthy enough to practice Yoga. Inform your instructor of limitations or injuries you may have.
Yoga: Ancient wisdom, modern health
Ridoso Free Press
”Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what
happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into
place.” — Eckhart Tolle
When Simon came to his first
Yoga class, he was not the typical Yoga student: a healthy, lean
40-year-old man who seemed fit from years of working in construction. He
jumped head first into the practice with the gusto of a competitor and a
bullish spirit often found in a gym. He was shocked that he was less
flexible, less balanced than some of the 50-, 60-, 70-year-olds in
class, and finally he began to slow down. By allowing himself to become
immersed in the meditative aspects, he relaxed and began to practice the
subtle release offered by the postures. He started to listen to his
body and practice with effort and ease. The result was great improvement
in flexibility for Simon which led to improvements in balance, posture
and even freedom from old aches and pains. Simon’s favorite part of the
practice? “Clearing my mind to really be present”.
you contemplate an exercise program that you can stick with.. think
about your goals. If you seek relaxation and antidotes to fatigue,
stiffness, tension, improvement in joint pain or range of motion, or
just want a toned body, Yoga may offer a complete body and mind program
to meet your busy-life needs.
Try these simple Yoga stretches at home daily 3 times each:
Standing forward bend: Stand, bend forward hinging at the hip joints,
dangle and relax neck. Deepen by bending knees, tuck nose between knees
and try to hold there while pushing your hips up to the sky.
Seated bound angle: While seated upright on floor, pull soles of feet
together knees apart, draw feet close to your body, hold ankles, bend
forward, place elbows onto knees and push knees toward floor at same
• Floor twist: Lie on back, bend knees, keep together and
let both knees drop to one side all the way to floor, release opposite
shoulder back toward floor if lifted, repeat on other side.
to help you stick with it is to love your body and the results. Instead
of making exercise another “have-to” in your life, let your practice
become a personal rejuvenation and time dedicated to yourself – separate
from your spouse, kids, responsibilities and chores.
advice of a medical professional to ensure you are healthy enough to
practice Yoga. Inform your instructor of limitations or injuries you may
Yoga: Ancient wisdom, modern health
Ruidoso Free Press
A consistent exercise practice - and especially Yoga - can help you
relax, tone your body and achieve wonderful mental and emotional
benefits, but can it also help you shed extra pounds?
to the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic by Colette Bouchez: “Jennifer Aniston
does it, Liv Tyler, Halle Berry, Madonna, David Duchovny and supermodel
Christy Turlington do it too. Many professional athletes are said to be
doing it in an effort to improve their games. The “it” is yoga, a
sophisticated mind-body exercise many believe can do everything from
tighten your buns to change your outlook on life.”
In 2005, medical researcher Alan Kristal conducted a medical study on the weight-loss effects of yoga.Funded
by the National Cancer Institute, Kristal along with the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center researchers conducted a trial with
15,500 men and women. The survey asked about their physical activity
(including yoga) and weight at ages between 45 and 55. After the data
was analyzed, they found yoga helped shed pounds, and/or kept them from
“Those practicing yoga who were overweight to start with
lost about 5 pounds during the same time period those not practicing
yoga gained 14 pounds,” said Kristal, “The buzzword here is mindfulness –
the ability to observe what is happening internally in a non-reactive
fashion,” he says. “That is what helps change the relationship of mind
to body, and eventually to food and eating.”
While some might feel yoga is too tame for extreme weight loss, many devotees of the practice known as “power yoga” disagree.
yoga is an Americanized version of traditional Kundalini techniques.”
Instructors like Singh and Brett believe it can offer all the
fat-burning potential – and heart benefits – of an aerobic workout.
While traditional types of yoga are based on breathing techniques paired
with static poses, Singh says, “power yoga combines meditative
breathing with faster, more active movements.” The result, he says, “is a
workout that can be more aerobic than... aerobics!”
If you are
starting, begin with a stretching class and move toward more active,
deepening postures. It’s easy to get stuck in a zone of comfort, but
especially older students who wish to maintain flexibility and a
youthful posture – should choose an instructor and class that will
encourage you to push, safely.
If you are an athlete, both
stretch and active robust yoga classes can improve your endurance,
flexibility and protect from injury. Seek the advice of a
medical professional to ensure you are healthy enough to practice Yoga.
Inform your instructor of limitations or injuries you may have.
from fond memories comes a new legacy
Photo courtesy of Natasha of Tooskie Photography
The Adobe Plaza has been serving Ruidoso since the 1950s and is
experiencing a rebirth. Many remember Marie and Bernard Rooney’s
Deckhouse and the quintessential curio and candy shops. Ask any longtime
resident and they’ll likely speak of hand carved doors, the welcoming
fireplace and Marie’s Squaw Bread. Even adjacent roads were aptly named
“Marie” and “Deck” streets. While those days are fond memories, the
Plaza is undergoing revitalization with owners Marianne Mohr and Evan
Reed polishing this faded treasure. As superintendent, Evan says
“maintaining 8,000 square feet of historical space and grounds keeps me
busy and I love it!” Both describe their love for the Plaza “this is not
just a building; it is a place of history, of lives shared and a place
of community gathering which lives on.”
The Rooney legacy began
when Marie Hull (20) of Los Angeles, daughter to Jack and Minnie Hull,
and Bernard Rooney (24) of Fort Stockton, son to Jessie and William
Patrick Rooney, married in Ruidoso August 25, 1934. The couple operated
the Ruidoso Club House renting toboggans in 1940s and later the
Deckhouse restaurant at the Adobe Plaza. Marie’s Plaza garden was
renowned, but over the years it was pared back by the encroaching
roadway. The patio remains, and buds on old plantings and gnarled trees
emerge every spring. Soon the garden patio will transform into a Wi-Fi
lounge for the public to enjoy.
Longtime businesses thrive at
the Plaza: The Stove and Spa Store provide stoves, pellets and fireplace
cleaning 575-630-8030. Known for her care of pets and their people,
Kelley Rowland owner of All 4 Pets, provides pet grooming and supplies
Two new faces, Buddha Yoga and Lion’s Gate Martial
Arts, change up the tempo at the Adobe Plaza. Yoga classes are offered
six times a week. Mohr, who studied yoga for more than 35 years, said “I
wanted to provide a sacred place dedicated to yoga and meditation
without the distractions found at gyms or spas. Our students enjoy
soothing, mindful and therapeutic effects in an artisan environment
dedicated to yoga alone.” The yoga studio occupies “The Deck” where many
yoga students enjoyed Marie’s fare. www.buddhayogaclass.com.
new Lion’s Cage Martial Arts Studio will serve children and families by
offering achievement, discipline and positive outlet for youthful
energy. The Lion’s Cage will also provide workshops for women’s
self-defense among others. Opening is anticipated June 1.
Owner/instructor Nate Smith represented the USA in the 2004 Olympics and
took two gold medals in the youth division. He holds degrees in various
martial arts: third Taekwondo, second Karate, first Aikido. 575
To benefit the community Mohr donates the Adobe Plaza
for events and to organizations. In June, Democratic Party meetings and
workshops will be hosted: June 1 Kundalini Yoga, Dr. Sherry McVean; June
8 Aroma Yoga, Dr. Dawn Browning.
“As we tend our garden with
care and mindfulness, the best will blossom from us and for us. I hope
to honor Marie’s legacy with our stewardship of this Ruidoso treasure,” says Mohr.