I've recently been learning more about meditation and how to bring it into my daily routine. As humans, we get consumed by the stressors of life. Whether it be our jobs, relationships or social media, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to those around us. Our insecurities run rampant as we try to figure out if we're enough. Have we reached the place in life we think we should be at this point? Are we trying too hard to live up to the standards of society? Regardless of where you are in life or how successful you are, everyone has these concerns. Meditating allows me to work through my thoughts and fears.
"Most people assume that meditation is all about stopping thoughts, getting rid of emotions, somehow controlling the mind, but actually it's much different than that. It's more about stepping back, seeing the thought clearly - witnessing it coming and going - without judgment, but with a relaxed, focused mind."
This quote speaks to me on so many levels. If you were to set aside even 10 minutes a day to reflect and meditate it would amaze you how much better your day would be. If you allow time for stillness and quiet to work through your own thoughts and feelings, then you're able to see yourself in a more positive light. You can address those insecurities for what they are and move past them. Once the insecurities and comparisons fade away and the positive energy comes forward you're able to better help those around you. By shedding these layers of ourselves we can see people more equally. Status doesn't matter. Everyone has different things they're going through. To me, meditating allows me the chance to truly work through my flaws so I can then be a light to those around me. If you're not working on bettering yourself, then others will feed off of that. Bettering yourself helps to better others, and as a friend once said, "there's no life to live being selfish." Help yourself so you can help others.
Meditate. Search your thoughts. Clear out the negative. Better yourself.
I have been so honored to be a part of the Summer Power Teacher Training with Crystal & Alexandria.
I have learned much more than I expected. I thought that this would be a “learn by the book” experience. It is so much more than that. It is a practice in inquiry and self-exploration. It is a practice of compassion for others and yourself. It is a practice of meditation in everything we do.
The first part of Training has pushed me beyond my comfort zone. It has made me think about Teaching in a completely different way.
Teaching is a special kind of practice. Teaching is a practice of engagement and connection. Teaching is a practice of honoring each person while helping them to learn new things about themselves through asana. Teaching is a practice of communication through feeling and movement.
I really didn’t know how much connection with the other practitioners was a part of learning how to teach yoga. I understood it on a fundamental level. I knew the teachers I had connected with, and I now understand why I connected with them. I also understand why some classes didn’t make me feel the same way others did as a student.
Of course, there is a certain amount of memorization that is involved. Learning the Baptiste Power sequence has been very empowering. Understanding the sequence through practice is something you cannot learn from a book. Anyone can repeat a set of postures, but until you have felt that hip opener, heart opener, backbend, or fold, you really cannot connect to the person practicing it in your class.
What I am working on is “being essential” by dropping unnecessary words to communicate effectively. What does this accomplish? A fast, effective flow for the student. Being essential also means finding the right words for the right times. Rather than forcing through practice , staying engaged with what the students need is being essential! It is all about helping you, the student, to create your energy in class.
I thought that teaching a great yoga class meant putting together all the right poses. Postures are for sure a major part of the practice (well, 99% of the practice….) and what is the purpose of Asana? To unlock our stressors and release expectation. If you allow your mind to focus on your flow, getting that perfect posture doesn’t even factor into the practice anymore. What matters is getting on your mat and getting your thoughts out of the way of your flow state of mind!
I cannot wait to help facilitate that for you! As one never becomes a “yoga master”, I never expect to be a “perfect teacher”. I do endeavor to provide fun, fulfilling, and authentic yoga practice for you!
See you on the mat!
Welcome to Thursday!
I am starting training with Alexandria and Crystal this weekend and I cannot tell you how happy I am to continue my yoga journey via Power Yoga training with these awesome ladies! What I am looking forward to most is sharing my journey with you and other students along the way.
As I work full time and I will be in Power Yoga Training for 8 weekends (as well as working Thursday nights here at the studio), I will not have a whole lot of extra time for cooking. I plan on dedicating one night a week to major meal planning for the week ahead.
I have been doing this on Sunday morning and I will change to Sunday evening to accommodate morning training.
This will include breakfast, lunch, and dinner for most nights. I am going to be eating lighter for the summer, for my concentration, and for my growth.
I will share my journey (and recipes!) with you in the coming weeks!
~ Rachel M
I eat a gluten free diet and the one thing that I truly miss is cake! I also have eliminated added sugars from my diet. This includes honey and maple syrup.
In my search for a Flourless No Added Sugar cake, I came across a recipe for a Flourless Chocolate Cake made with Bananas for sugar! Here is my version using baking cocoa to eliminate the need for a double boiler to melt chocolate.It is both dense and intensely chocolatey! (Both of which I was craving.....)
Flourless Dark Chocolate Banana Cake
Makes one 8”-9” cake (8” will be thicker)
Prepare cake pan by coating with coconut oil and tapping about 1-2TB of baking cocoa in the pan. This will help the cake to come out smoothly from the pan.
1.5 cups unsweetened baking cocoa
.5 cup coconut oil
3 ripe (very ripe) bananas
1 TB cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350.
Blend bananas with the coconut oil either in a blender or food processor until smooth.
Blend Eggs in with the oil and bananas, one at a time.
Once eggs are blended, blend in the Baking Cocoa and the cinnamon.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
Bake cake 25-35 minutes until the cake is fully set! (To test, use a knife or a toothpick to stick into the center of the cake. The cake will be fully baked when the knife or toothpick comes out clean!)
I hope you enjoy this awesome naturally sweet cake! It was just what I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth! (It's Gluten-Free, Added Sugar Free, and Paleo!!)
~ Rachel M.
Here at Yoga Deza we strive to live "above the line". When thinking of this I am immediately reminded of The Four Agreements, a book written by Don Miguel Ruiz. To me, these four agreements have become my guidelines for living life.
I encourage anyone interested to read this book. It's an easy, quick read and I know you'll gain insight.
It’s two in the morning and you’re supposed to be up at five o’clock to make your way to Sunrise Yoga at an undisclosed location. That was the last thing I wanted to do.
Pushing the sleepiness aside, I got out of bed, grabbed a couple bananas and headed out.
The Yoga Deza girls and I met up with the Fayettechill gang and fellow yogis at the Smokehouse.
It was a crisp 35 degrees by the time we got to Chotkowski Gardens around 6:20AM.
That’ll wake you up.
Luckily, the sweetest lady had a spread of orange juice, coffee and tea to warm us up.
The wonderful Matthew Gibbons led us. He knew exactly how to bring light, love and fun to our chilly morning. So did the corgi pup that ran around licking everyone.
As my fingers and toes were nearing numbness I focused all my energy on that moment. Just being in the present. The birds were chirping and the sun was rising.
Beautiful people and nature surrounded me and it was amazing.
I am continually thankful for the amazing friendships I’ve been forging. All I see ahead is adventure and limitless possibilities. People who are driven to do more and make the most out of everything surround me on a daily basis. I can’t help but feed off of that energy.
I’m looking forward to this summer and amazing things in the works between Yoga Deza and Fayettechill.
If you’re not with us, then you’re missing out.
All photos courtesy of Fayettechill photographer Trent Sugg
The Fayetteville Farmer’s Market is amazing right now! My last post was about asparagus and oh my, how much asparagus there was! If you have not tried the simple yet delicious asparagus recipe, I highly suggest it!
Another great farmer’s market find is fresh Kale. There are different varieties available, and any of them are fantastic. I acquired some lush green kale last Saturday and sautéed it up with some fresh lemon juice and a touch of sea salt.
Kale is high in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and provides Vitamin C, Manganese, Copper, Calcium, Potassium, and Iron. Kale (like other leafy greens) also provides fiber.
Adding Lemon Juice provides more Vitamin C, but also increases the body’s ability to absorb iron.
This spring, I am all about simple recipes that bring out the optimal flavor of the vegetable. I look forward to bringing you tasty farmer’s market finds! If you see me there, come over and say hi!
My name is Jocelyn and I'm part of the Ananda Apprenticeship program here at Yoga Deza! You can find me at the studio on Tuesday nights from 4:15 to 9:15. During those hours we have some amazing classes that any level of yogi can enjoy!
I began my yoga journey Fall 2011 while living in Utah. I have slowly built my practice and have been eager to learn more. After moving back to Arkansas in December I got involved with Yoga Deza and started the apprenticeship in April. I have loved being part of a yoga family and having so many positive people around me.
What I love most about yoga is that your practice is personal to YOU. Every person starts at a different level and your own journey is what makes it special. So many people think they can’t do yoga because they are intimidated by poses or lack of flexibility. The great thing is you don’t have to be. The majority of people who are rocking those poses have been doing them over and over again to get to that point. Some people are naturally more flexible than others, but don’t let that stop you. Yoga is about the journey, not having the perfect pose. It allows you to challenge yourself and get to know your body. Once you start listening to your body and getting a feel for what it can do you will be so amazed.
Yoga allows me the time to clear my mind and be aware of the present. It forces me to let go of problems and worries. There’s no way I can hold a pose while focusing on anything but that moment. My mat has become my safe place. I hope yours can be as well.
Hello Everyone! My name is Rachel McDonald and I am very excited to be spending my Thursday nights with you at Yoga Deza! I’ll be the shiny face you see at the desk when you join us for class.
I have practiced yoga for about 10 years now, but just recently (3 years ago) started to practice in classes. Simply, I had a preconceived notion of what I needed to be before I could go to classes.
My first class was AMAZING. I couldn’t believe that I had waited so long to take classes. Now, I wouldn’t trade my group experience for anything.
I will be bringing you a food blog each week. Featuring Vegan/Vegetarian, Paleo, Gluten Free, and Seasonal Dishes. I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for the Farmer’s Market that just opened last weekend!
Come see me on Thursdays! Namaste, y’all!