The Benefits of Savasana

Savasana, or corpse pose, is the final relaxation portion of a yoga class. It is designed to allow the body to absorb the benefits of the yoga practice that was just completed. Literally it is meant to allow time for the ego to die (hence corpse pose) and for a clean slate to emerge. Savasana requires you to choose to remain still and breathe, focusing on just the present moment. It is because of this that it is considered by many to be one of the most advanced poses in yoga. Despite being a challenging pose to master, savasana offers so many incredible benefits, making it the one pose to make sure you participate fully in during your yoga classes. Specifically, savasana can help lower your blood pressure, decrease your heart rate, relax muscle tension, decrease your metabolic rate, reduce the number of headaches you experience, improve digestion and sleep, ...
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Meditation for Inner Peace

As we continue to explore these ideas of inner peace and wellness this month, it is certainly appropriate to add in a little meditation, don’t you think? Meditation is an opportunity to calm and quiet the mind. It is unrealistic to expect a silent mind when we meditation, but rather the goal is to try and clam it, quiet it, having fewer thoughts than normal running through it. Meditation is a practice and as with all practices, some days are “better” than others. As such, it is important to remember as we meditation to suspend judgment on what is/is not supposed to be…just be in the moment and notice whatever is, because whatever is today in your meditation practice may well not be the case tomorrow. Be open to the possibilities and embrace the practice, meeting yourself wherever you are today. So, with that said, our stage is set for ...
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Modifying Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Savasana is probably the one pose known more by its Sanskrit name, than by its English equivalent. And I would argue understandably so. Savasana sounds relaxing when you say it – its English name, Corpse pose, just sounds a little too morbid for most of us to be able to relax into. But regardless of the name you use, Savasana is often the most popular part of any yoga class – a fact that shouldn’t surprise you. Savasana is that final relaxation period when the body and mind can completely relax, something we don’t do much of in our society despite the fact that our bodies and minds desperately need that kind of quiet, relaxation time. But let’s talk today specifically about how to modify Savasana so it can be as relaxing as possible. Let’s face it, lying on the floor doesn’t always feel so relaxing. So how can we ...
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Self Care as Part of Your Wellness Journey

As we mentioned in the monthly focus blog, a major part of our overall wellness is how we take care of ourselves. Self-care is quite the buzz word these days, but there is much more to it than just getting a massage or soaking in a hot bath. While those things certainly are nice, complete self-care includes resting, good nutrition, quality sleep, proper hydration, and much more. Complete self-care is a major part of one’s overall wellness journey. The first question you need to reflect on is, do you give yourself permission to take care of yourself in the ways in which you should? If you said no, thank you for being honest…and know that you are not alone. Most of us do not. We are so caught up in the hamster-wheel crazy life we lead that we don’t take the time necessary to care for ourselves. We don’t think ...
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Benefits of Reclining Bound Angle Pose

Earlier this month we talked about ways to modify Reclining Bound Angle, a wonderful restorative pose that can help you chill out and relieve stress. But this pose does so much more than just offer us relief from stress. Here are twelve other ways this pose benefits us: Stretches the groin, knees and thighsOpens the hips and increases flexibility in the hip flexorsImproves the function of the digestive and reproductive systemsSoothes internal organsGreat pose for meditation or general relaxationRelieves many PMS symptomsGenerally a relaxing pose for pregnant womenHelps with sleep/insomnia (when practiced prior to your bedtime)Stimulates the chest/heart regionHelps improve blood pressure and circulationRelieves varicose veins and sciaticaHelps improve posture With so many benefits, and the fact that it feels so good to be in, why wouldn’t you use this as your go to pose when things are feeling a bit hectic and harried? Give it a try tonight…settle into ...
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Meditation for Stress Relief

According to the Chopra Center, a pioneer in meditation and wellness, meditation is best described as the progressive quieting of the mind. In our normal, everyday consciousness, our mind is filled with an unending flow of thoughts. The thoughts can become so noisy and even overwhelming and stressful. We might be replaying events and conversations in your mind (dwelling on the past). We might be thinking about what’s going to happen at our next meeting or activity. We might create fantasies about what life will be like when our dreams are fulfilled (future tripping). Or we may conjure up scary scenarios about our worst fears coming true (worrying). Seldom are we just in the present moment in our minds. Between each thought there is a space known to meditators as the “gap”, or the pause between thoughts. In meditation, the goal is for your awareness to move from all that ...
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Modifying Reclining Bound Angle Pose

One of the most relaxing things we can do is lay down, feel the connection to ground beneath us, and breathe. This is amplified if we can do it outside, connecting to the earth itself. Reclining Bound Angle pose (Supta Baddha Konasana) is a wonderful to do just that. To get into Reclining Bound Angle, lie down on your back, with the bottoms of your feet touching and pulled in close to the body, and knees dropped out to the sides, allowing the legs to open into a diamond shape. Allow gravity to help your body settle into this pose. Feel the connection to the ground beneath. Feel how the ground supports you, allowing your muscles to completely let go. Let go of the tightness, the tension, and the stress. This is a pose you could likely remain in for quite some time…and the longer the better if you are ...
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Poses to Relieve Stress from the Body

Poses to Release Stress From the Body Did you know yoga helps the body to reduce stress? Chances are, if you have ever taken a yoga class, you have experienced one or more of these stress reducing benefits that yoga provides: Calms the mindRelaxes the bodyStretches your muscles (releasing tension in them)Builds self-awarenessEnables you to be presentFocuses attention on the breathReleases emotional energyTakes you mentally away from the stressful situation But what are some simple yoga poses you can do at home to help relieve stress at the end of a long day or following a particularly stressful event? Try these… Easy Seated pose with breathwork, like Alternate Nostril Breathing (Sukhasana)Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)Child’s pose (Balasana)Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)Plow pose (Halasana)Corpse pose (Savasana) Do all of these poses as a mini flow or just pick one or two for some quick relief.  Either ...
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Benefits of Slowing Down & Reflecting

Everyone feels the hectic pace of life these days. At work, at home, and all around us, we are constantly bombarded with information, decisions, and general “noise”. We are expected to continually go and keep up with the crazy pace of life, which of course adds tremendously to our stress and anxiety levels, makes us feel hurried/rushed, and impatient. It also can cause us to force things and/or just go through the motions. I like to refer to it as the hamster wheel effect – we hop on the wheel every morning and just go until we reach the end of the day exhausted and not fully comprehending what all has transpired…then we get up the next day and do it again. And before long we find ourselves years into a career, marriage, etc. with little to show for it and/or with a sense of dissatisfaction. What’s missing for most ...
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Meditation for Slowing Down & Reflecting

Another way to help your body and mind slow down and reflect is to meditate. There are so many wonderful benefits to meditation, but perhaps the biggest one is the fact that by its very nature it causes you to sit still and breathe which by default helps the body to slow down and relax. So, I invite you to take a few minutes to enjoy the meditation practice below, giving your body the opportunity to slow down, let go, and reflect. So, let’s get started… Settle into a comfortable seat. Relax your shoulders down and away from your ears. Take a deep breath in and sigh it out. Come into your breath and into your body. Allow your muscles to relax a little bit more with each exhale. Relax the crown of your head. Smooth out your forehead and soften the temples. Softly close your eyes if that is ...
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Poses for Slowing Down & Relaxation

This month on the blog we are focusing on ways in which we can slow down and reflect through yoga and meditation. Today we will focus on yoga poses specifically. Generally speaking, Restorative yoga and Yin yoga are both excellent to help you slow down, relax, and reflect. Beyond taking one of those classes, here are a selection of poses you can practice independent of group class. Consider them part of your personal tool box. And whether you make this list of poses into an independent practice or pick and choose only a few poses to help you in a pinch, these poses are a gold mine when it comes to helping your body and mind slow down, let go, relax, and allow time for some reflection. Enjoy. Namaste. Mountain pose (Tadasana) Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) Child’s pose (Balasana) Cat/Cow (Bitilasana/Marjaryasana) Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana) Reclining Baddha Konasana (Supta Baddha ...
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Using the Breath to Help Us Slow Down & Relax

The Natural Breath happens organically and without effort. It flows in and out with no need to direct or control it. The natural breath is truly a blessing. You see, breathing isn’t just essential to living, it is also essential to our overall health and wellbeing. But before we get into the breath and how it can help us slow down and relax, let’s take a moment to revisit the familiar concept of fight, flight, or freeze. When we feel threatened or stressed in any way, our bodies will enter into one of these three responses. What we mean by this is our body, including our breath, changes in a way to support our selected response to the stressor we are facing in an attempt to successfully overcome the stressor. The problem though, is that our body doesn’t know the difference between an actual physical stressor versus a perceived stressor ...
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Benefits of Hip Opening Poses

Did you know there are over 20 muscles that cross the hip area? That’s a lot of muscles that get tight, and need stretched out, due to our very sedentary lifestyle/habits. But beyond just needing to stretch out all those muscles, why are hip openers so good for us? What are the benefits of the hip opening poses we do in a yoga class? Truthfully, there are many but here we will focus on five (5) major ones: Improve your range of motion/open up tight joints (when we loosen the muscles our body can move more freely and areas that were previously tight can move in new ways) Improves circulation in that area of the body (tight muscles can restrict blood flow in that area of the body, so it goes without saying that if we loosen the muscles, then our circulation will improve as well) Reduce the use/load on ...
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Meditation for Transformation

For this month’s meditation on the blog, we will focus on transformation and being open to opportunities. So, find a comfortable seat and let’s begin… Sitting comfortably with your shoulders rolled down away from your ears, softly close your eyes and begin to relax into your breath. Feel each inhale and exhale right at the tip of your nostrils. With each exhale begin to relax every muscle in your body just a little bit more. Relax the crown of your head. Smooth out your forehead and temples. Relax your cheeks and jaw. Soften your throat. Relax your shoulders down you back. Allow your arms to be heavy, hands resting on your lap. Relax your low back and hips. Feel your sitz bones sink into the ground beneath you as your body relaxes. Take a deep breath in and sigh it out, releasing any remaining tightness or tension from your body ...
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Hip Opening Poses

Our yoga focus for this month is hip openers. As a society we are extremely sedentary and all that sitting leads to, among other issues, some significantly tight hips. So, practicing hip openers is a great way to counteract all the sitting we do. Below is a simple hip opening practice you can use at home either as a part of a larger yoga practice or independently. Trikonasana (Triangle)Anjaneyasana (Low lunge)Malasana (Low squat)Baddha Konasana (Butterfly pose)Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Pigeon pose) or Supta Kapotasana (Reclining pigeon pose)Wide-legged Balasana (Wide-legged Child’s pose)Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard pose)Mandukasana (Frog pose)Gomukhasana (Cow Face pose)Anada Balasana (Happy Baby) Keep in mind that if you are really tight in your hips, you may want to ease into this practice and/or not hold the poses quite as long until you get your hips loosened up a bit. Over time and practice your hips will become more and more open, ...
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Transformation & Being Open to Possibilities

One of the concepts that comes to mind when I think of the month of May is transformation. Transformation in the sense of change that leads to new, beautiful things. For example, you are probably familiar with the saying April showers bring May flowers. In other words, with May comes a transformation of our environment – the green grass grows more quickly, the flowers and trees are in full bloom, and everything tends to feel a little brighter, newer, and fuller. Transformation at its finest. But nature isn’t the only thing ready for transformation in May. We often are ready as well. After being cooped up all winter, waiting for the sunshine and warmer weather, when May arrives, we have the opportunity to begin our own transformation. It is an opportunity to “shed” our winter self and open ourselves to the possibilities of the new season, to this transformational time ...
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Benefits of Living an Eco-friendly Life

Depending on what types of things you are doing to support the environment, you will find a variety of benefits to those practices.  Benefits for you and the Earth.  Aside from feeling good about doing those good things, you might find that you: Save money through eco-friendly upgrades to your homeWaste less by reducing waste, reusing, and recyclingFind more efficient ways to do thingsReduce environmental pollutionSupport local, sustainable farmingImprove your healthReduce energy costsConserve natural resources and forestsLook and feel healthierReduce your individual carbon footprint No matter how you look at it, making even a few small changes is good for you and for the planet. As April draws to a close, and another Earth Day is behind us, consider one additional thing you can do to make a difference. Maybe it is using reusable shopping bags every week at the grocery store or turning off lights every time you leave ...
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Meditation for Mother Earth

For this month’s meditation on the blog, we will feature a meditation for Mother Earth – a meditation to reflect and connect with our beautiful planet. If you can, consider practicing this meditation outside. Now, let’s find a comfortable seat and begin. Relax your body into your comfortable seated position. Roll your shoulders away from your ears. Settle into your breath, letting go of anything that is not serving you. Let go of stresses and worries. Let go of tightness and tension. Just stay here with the breath. (Feel free to stay here for up to 2-3 minutes if it helps you release and relax for the meditation practice.) Now imagine in your mind’s eye the planet Earth. Visualize the planet as if looking at it from space. Notice the blues of the oceans and other bodies of water. Notice the greens and browns of the land and trees. Notice ...
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Grounding Poses

Life has a way of throwing us curve balls. So, it is important to find ways to stay grounded in the midst of our daily chaos. Maintaining a sense of being grounded helps with stress and anxiety reduction. It can also help us keep our emotions in check, so we don’t fly off the handle or overreact to situations in our day. Staying grounded goes a long way toward helping us maintain our overall healthy physical and mental wellbeing. Here we share some yoga poses that are great for helping you get and stay grounded. Do this sequence at home every day, like a mini at home class, to maintain that feeling of being grounded on a regular basis. Or choose one or two poses to reground after a particularly rough day, as needed. Either way, these poses can help you find that grounded feeling no matter how disconnected you ...
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The Importance of Caring for Earth

What you can do… When it comes to doing our part to protect the planet, the big three we always hear about are: Reduce – use less and don’t waste thingsReuse – get creative and find ways to use things multiple time in a variety of waysRecycle – when you do throw something out, do so in a way that allows the item to find new life, new purpose But there’s more ways to save our planet than just reduce, reuse and recycle (though those are great places to start). Here are some additional ones to consider adding to your overall lifestyle habits: Shop responsibly (consider the sustainability of products, shop small and local, and look into the sourcing of the goods we buy)Plant a tree (it improves our air quality and the overall ecosystem)Go paperless (in order to help save the trees that have been planted)Switch from plastics (these ...
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Understanding Food & Your Body

Let’s finish this month on the blog with a few thoughts about understanding food and your body a little better. Every body is different. If you aren’t clear about that yet, then let’s start there. Every single one of us has a unique body that responds differently to food. And I am not even talking about food allergies or insensitivities when I say that. How our bodies interact with and process food is different for every single one of us. This is why diets don’t work. There’s a multi-million dollar industry that will tell you diets work, but the truth is they do not. Until we learn how to embrace our own unique body, understand what food works well for us and which foods do not, we will struggle with weight and having a healthy metabolism. Plain and simple - Eat what makes sense for your body. Or put another ...
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Meal Planning Made Easy

One of the most effective ways to ensure you eat healthier on a daily basis is to plan and prep your meals in advance. Doing so helps to eliminate some of the most common causes of unhealthy food choices, such as: “I don’t have time to cook something healthy.”“I don’t have any healthy food in the house.” “I just want something quick and easy.” When meals are planned, ingredients are in the house, and, in a best case scenario, meals and snacks are already prepped, it is so much easier to make those good choices. So how can you set yourself up for success when it comes to meal planning? Let’s look at a few key tips: Start small and build from there. One way to start integrating meal planning into your life is to do so on a small scale. Maybe at first you only do it for those ...
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Common Myths in the Field of Nutrition

There is so much misinformation out there about food and nutrition. We could spend days debunking all the popular food myths, but today in the blog we are pulling out 3 of the most common ones… Myth #1 – Controlling calories in and calories out is what matters most in order to lose weight A calories in/calories out stance is a narrow way to think about weight loss. Simply put 100 calories of broccoli, blueberries, or bone broth is vastly different than 100 calories of pasta, pizza, or pastries. In other words, it isn’t so much the quantity of calories that matters as much as the quality of them. If your calorie intake is high in carbohydrates, sugar, and empty calories (calories with no nutritional value), the impact on your metabolism as well as the increased inflammation in the body will create a situation in which weight loss is much ...
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5 Small Steps to Eating Smarter

Achieving your nutrition goals doesn’t have to be hard or feel difficult to achieve. You just need a few key actions to help you take small steps toward your goals. Why small steps? Because small steps create lasting change. Small steps allow us to transform habits and implement new systems that we are able to hold onto long term. When we try to change everything all at once we doom ourselves to failure – that’s too much change at once, no matter how determined you are. And once we feel like we are failing, it is too easy to throw up our hands and throw in the towel. So, what are some key small steps to help us conquer our nutrition goals in 2021? The answer may vary depending on your specific goals, but generally speaking, here are my top 5 small steps to help you reach your nutrition goals: ...
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Benefits of Heart Opening Poses

We shared some examples of heart opening poses in an earlier blog post this month (if you missed that post be sure to go back and check it out) and now we want to take a moment to focus on why you should do them. What do they have to offer us? Heart opening poses offer a whole host of benefits. And there’s no better time than February to pay a little more attention to them. But what makes them so great? We list out some of the specific benefits below, but let’s talk about heart openers from a broader perspective for a moment. We can all likely surmise some of the benefits of heart opening poses just thinking about what those poses are doing for our physical body when we are in them. But there’s more to a good heart opener than just the physical effects on the chest ...
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Metta Meditation

If you have never experienced a Metta meditation, it is a beautiful thing. It is a loving-kindness meditation, perfect for our February focus on all things love. It is a calming, centering, relaxing guided meditation that helps us to focus on loving-kindness toward ourselves and others. Our very own Shelley Herlihy recorded a Metta Mediation for us back in the earlier months of the COVID shutdown and we wanted to share it with you gain here: https://youtu.be/FyJQP4FtYp8 Please give it a listen and enjoy. May it bring you peace, love and a deep sense of loving-kindness in your heart. Namaste. Want to know more about Shelley? Here’s her bio from the Ignite website: Shelley Herlihy fell in love with yoga around 2005 when she realized that some of the most beautiful moments she ever experienced were on her yoga mat. Yoga has given her the ability to carry the practice ...
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Heart Opening Poses

Since February is the month of love, we will highlight some heart opening poses on the blog this month. While these poses have much to offer us, as heart openers they offer numerous benefits including: Improves postureStrengthens the upper backIncreases lung capacityReleases tension in the back and shouldersStimulates the thyroid and pituitary glandIncreases energyHelps to clear the heart chakra So, with all those benefits in mind, let’s head over to our mats and try these amazing heart openers… Bow poseCamelBridgeWheelCobraFishDancer’s poseCow (from Cat/Cow pose)Puppy PoseHalf Pigeon (with the variation of the overhead grip) Whether you choose to try a few poses or make a full routine from the whole list, you will enjoy the benefits of these heart opening poses during the month of love and into the months to come. Open your heart to all these poses have to offer. Namaste ...
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The Many Faces of Love

In English we use the word love to describe feelings toward a variety of people, things, and situations. For example: I love my spouse. I love my parents. I love my friends. I love yoga. I love chocolate. I love to travel. And yet if you really think about the feeling you might be having in each one of those situations, it is not exactly the same. The “love” you feel for your spouse isn’t usually the same as what you feel for a hobby or favorite food, for example. Many other languages in the world have more than word for love. For example, the Greek languages has four main words for love – one for romantic love, one for spiritual or charitable love, one for the affection between parents and their children, and one for non-romantic love (think friends and other members of your family). And the Greek language ...
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Benefits of Goal Setting & Planning

We’ve talked a lot about goal setting and planning this month, and with good reason. Spending a little time on the front end can pay dividends in the end. But what really are the benefits of intentional goal setting and planning? In this blog I will go through a few of the reasons I believe make goal setting and planning incredibly beneficial. Benefit #1 – Provides direction and focus A well written goal provides clear focus and direction. Often referred to as SMART goals, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely really help you to stay on target with your goals. Again, taking time on the front end when you are setting/planning your goals is key to ultimately achieving those goals. Benefit #2 – Helps maintain motivation, especially when you are struggling or have a setback related to one of your goals When you get into a slump ...
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Meditation for Focus & Goal Achievement

Before you sit down to plan out your goals for the month or year, spending some time in stillness can be a great help. Allowing the mind and body to relax, let go of attachments, expectations, stresses, and worries will help you to focus on the task at hand. Below is a short breathing activity and meditation designed to help you gain clarity and focus for planning, and ultimately achieving, your 2021 goals. Note – You will need a candle for this meditation. Sit comfortably with shoulders relaxed and your head, neck, and shoulders in alignment. You may choose to close your eyes softly. Just relax and breathe for a few rounds of breath. Letting go of the day…letting go of the week…letting go of anything else you are holding on to that isn’t serving you. As you continue to breathe, allow each exhale to bring relaxation to the muscles ...
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Mindful Goal Setting & Planning Tips

I look forward to this time of the year for many reasons, one of which is the emotional high that comes with it. We come off of Christmas and the New Year and head into a brand-new year. New beginnings, new opportunities. It can be quite exciting. At least I think so. I am always excited to spend time working on my goals for the coming year. It is a special opportunity when I set aside time to relax, reflect, connect, and dream big. Whether you do your goal planning on your own, follow a specific program, or attend a workshop, you want the end results to be something you will have success at achieving. What I want to share with you today is a few tips I have found to be invaluable to my goal setting and goal achieving process. Tip # 1 - "Small Bites" When we make ...
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Resolutions, Pitfalls & How to Follow Through This Year

Most of us have set New Year’s Resolutions for ourselves at one time or another.  Maybe you faithfully do it every year.  Maybe you do it as a family or a couple, or maybe you do it individually.  Maybe you do it for personal goals or professional goals, or perhaps for both.  Regardless, the more important question is how many of us ever attain the goals we set in January?  You know the answer already, don’t you?  That’s right… very, very few of us.  In fact, by March there’s no sign of any New Year’s Resolution for most of us.  Why is that?  How can we be so convicted and passionate about losing the weight, reorganizing the house, finding a new job, getting out of debt, starting that new project, trying a new hobby, etc. in the first weeks of the new year only to return to old habits and ...
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20 Things I Learned in 2020

Every year teaches us something, wouldn’t you agree? In fact, we usually learn several things over the course of a given year.  The year 2020 has been unlike any in years in this life. No shortage of lessons for sure and I share my top 20 lessons from 2020 with you here.1. Life is precious and it is short. Make each day count in all things you do.2. Looking at the highlight of events and happenings in 2020 - so much loss, so much pain and suffering, so much struggle. 3. Loneliness has a whole new meaning in a social distanced world.4. Togetherness has a whole new meaning in a quarantine-centered world.5. Mental health is REALLY important and yet resources are not vast enough to meet the needs.6. Convenience and laziness at their finest... Amazon, Doordash, Instacart, Shipt, and more. You really never need to leave your house - convenient ...
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Benefits of Giving/Serving Others

We always hear about how we should be of service, help others, give our time, our money, and/or our talents because it feels good to do so. And if you have ever done any of those things you know there is some truth to that argument. But there is so much more to it than that. So much more to giving and serving than just feeling good. There have actually been scientific studies done on the benefits of helping others. One study cited 7 scientific benefits: Helps you live longerIt is contagiousMakes us happyHelps with chronic painLowers blood pressurePromotes positive behaviors in young people (especially teens)Gives us a sense of purpose and satisfaction Other research has shown that helping others also brings us closer together, helps us to keep things in perspective, improve your outlook on life, increases your self-esteem, and can decrease depression. So, you see, it isn’t just ...
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Meditation for Service & Giving

Living a life of service and giving to others is a deeply rooted tradition in yoga. This meditation is designed to help you focus on the ways in which you might better serve or give in your own life. Remember that giving and doing acts of service aren’t just things to think about during this time of year. It should be a regular mindset for us so we all can lead better, more intentional lives. Namaste. Sit comfortably with shoulders relaxed, placing the backs of your hands on your knees (palms facing up). Begin to relax the body with each exhale. Scanning the body from head to toe, letting each muscle release and relax. Take as long as is needed for this step. When the body is feeling settled and relaxed, place one hand over your heart and the other over your belly. Feel each inhale and exhale in your ...
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Yoga Poses for Giving & Receiving Energy

Giving depends on receiving.  Simply put, I cannot give unless there is someone to receive what I have to give.  It is a balance… much like inhaling and exhaling.  They go work together to create something bigger than their individual parts.  One without the other just doesn’t really work. So today, we will examine some poses that help us to open our hearts in order that we might be able to give and receive more.  Opening our hearts (and our minds) is an important part of giving and receiving.  You can only truly give what you are willing to receive yourself.  So, this brief flow will help us to keep our hearts open during this season focused on giving and receiving. Begin with your hands over heart for some opening breath work and grounding.  Perhaps you have a favorite breath, or maybe you just want to sit in stillness and ...
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Seva & The Season of Giving

We are all very familiar with the idea of giving around the holidays.  We give gifts to friends and family.  We also tend to give gifts to our postal worker, package delivery service driver, teachers, hair stylist, co-workers, neighbors, etc.  And during this time of year we often make more donations (monetary or otherwise) to charities, churches, and other non-profit organizations.  Giving is a long standing tradition during the Christmas holiday season.  And it feels good to share our bountiful blessings with those around us, doesn’t it?  In yoga there is a term that, by definition, means selfless service.  That word is Seva.  Seva is a Sanskrit word comes out of the long history of yoga, and focuses on selfless efforts that benefit the welfare of all, without an expectation of a result or award for providing that selfless service. In practice, historically yogis would perform Seva as a part ...
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Benefits of Gratitude in Your Yoga Practice and Life

Generally speaking, when you practice gratitude on a regular basis you tend to have much more of an optimistic, upbeat outlook on life. You exude a positive energy, are more open, calm, and accepting. You often can see the bigger picture and keep things in a more manageable perspective. Simply put, it changes how you view things, how you respond to things, and how you look at things overall. Perhaps you have experienced this firsthand or know someone who has. If you have ever been there yourself, you know it feels good. And if you have not personally been there, you likely know someone who has and thus you may have experienced what it is like just to be around them when they are in that deep seated state of gratitude…even just to be around someone living in a place of gratitude feels really good. Those “side effects” or benefits ...
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Meditation for Gratitude

This simple meditation will help you to not only relax but to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude in your being as well. It is especially good for when you are feeling frustrated, depressed, or struggling in some area of your life. If helps you remember all the many blessings I your life, despite what challenges may be before you. May this meditation serve you well. Find a comfortable seat, relax your shoulders and close your eyes softly. Take a deep breath in, hold it for a second, and then release it. Do that two more times. Then allow the breath to flow naturally. With each exhale, allow the body to relax a little bit more deeply. Relax the crown of you head…your temples…your cheeks…your jaw…and your throat. Allow the arms to be heavy, fingers relaxed. Relax your low back, hips and buttocks. Relax your knees, ankles and toes. Feel ...
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“Namaste”

Namaste is one of those words many use but few really know how to accurately define it. The reason for this is likely twofold: Modern culture uses the term in a wide variety of ways (from speaking it at the end of a yoga class to using it in fun slogans on shirts and stickers, i.e. “Namaste in bed”), some of which are not reflective of the true meaning of the wordThere are several translations passed down from the original Sanskrit texts Generally speaking, Namaste is a sign of respect and an acknowledgment that means so more than just “hello” or “thank you.”  It speaks of a respect for and/or an honoring of another.   Trying to track down one definition can be a bit challenging in that you’ll come across numerous translations and explanations. One example of a contemporary break down of the meaning of this Sanskrit word is: Namah ...
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Gratitude & Yoga

Yoga is often defined as union, specifically union of mind and body… or of movement and breath.  In essence yoga helps us to connect more deeply with our minds and our bodies, and as such yoga helps us be more present.  When we are present we aren’t stuck in the past or worrying about the future – we are in the moment and only in that moment.  When we focus on the past or future we are usually in a state of mind focused on lack, worry, or some other negative feeling. Conversely, when we are present we are able to be more aware of where we are and what we have. And so yoga and gratitude have a beautiful connection. When we practice yoga we have the opportunity to be transported to a place where we are much more free from the stresses and worries of our lives. We ...
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Restorative Yoga for Your Breast Cancer Recovery Journey

When we practice restorative yoga, the focus is not on stretching or strengthening but instead on releasing and letting go. We release tension in our muscles and gently stimulate the organs through long-held poses designed to support and comfort the body. In order to achieve the comfort that we are seeking in restorative yoga, a variety of props such as blankets, blocks, bolsters, sandbags, and eye pillows are often used. Restorative yoga helps us to relearn how to relax while also helping us to develop the skill/ability to self-soothe. This is self-care at its finest. Restorative yoga enhances our healing capacity by helping us to regulate the stress response in our bodies and then help us to also rebalance our nervous system. Reducing stress in this way, with yoga, may help address many health concerns. You can adapt all types of yoga, including restorative yoga, to your fitness level and ...
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Self Love & Self Care Meditation

Permission slips... remember those?  When we were in school we would get a permission slip signed to go on a field trip or to go home with a friend on their bus.  And I suppose if you think about it, hall passes were permission slips too - permission slips to be in the hall (to go to the office, the bathroom, or another classroom, etc.) rather than in class.  Permission slips certainly came in handy when we were growing up, didn't they? But now that we are older, we don't really have permission slips anymore. But wouldn't it be nice if we did? Just think if someone gave us a permission slip to take a day off work or to not clean the house this week, or (fill in the blank with whatever would absolutely make your day!). How amazing would that be?!! But the truth of the matter is we ...
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6 Poses for Breast Health

Those of us who practice yoga regularly know that yoga does a lot of wonderful things for the body, and when it comes to breast health specifically, yoga provides many important benefits. For example: Heart opening poses and twists improve/increase circulation in the chest and lymphatic system, thus improving immune function in the body.Deep breathing during a yoga practice helps bring more oxygen to the upper lobes of the lungs, which in turn facilitates the release of more oxygen into the upper chest and lymphatic areas, again helping to boost the immune system.Yoga in general helps to reduce stress and boost immunity, particularly resting poses that help to soothe the nervous system (switching on our parasympathetic nervous system, which again helps to improve our immune system). So, when it comes to breast health, yoga is clearly a good addition to your overall health regiment. And it doesn’t have to be ...
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Yoga & Cancer

Many studies suggest that yoga can help people with cancer cope with symptoms and side effects, making yoga a great complimentary therapy for cancer patients. Simply put yoga can help improve their quality of life while undergoing treatments and recovering from surgeries. Some cancer patients, who have chosen to practice yoga while undergoing treatments and surgeries, will tell you about how yoga helps them calm their minds, while others say it helped to reduce the pain, tiredness, or depression they had felt prior to trying yoga. By choosing one of the gentler styles of yoga, cancer patients can find relief and possibly even help speed up their recovery. So, with that general introduction, here are some of the benefits yoga has been shown to have for cancer patients as determined from numerous surveys and studies that have been done: Lower fatigueReduced stressImproved physical functioningBetter sleepLower risk of recurrence And not ...
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The Benefits of Tree Pose

Earlier this month we talked about how to modify Tree (Vrksasana) Pose so you that can personalize it and therefore maximize the improvement of your balance. In this blog we will focus on the other benefits Tree Pose offers, in addition to being a great way to improve your balance. If you pause for a moment and just think about all that is involved with doing Tree Pose, the list of benefits will probably not surprise you. The grounding and connecting of the one foot into the floor. All the weight shifted to one leg during the pose. The tightening of the core to help with balance. The positioning of the hips to help the body remain stable in the pose. The list of benefits is pretty easy to guess, but here we go… Benefits of Tree Pose: It improves balance and stability in the legsIt strengthens the ligaments and ...
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Meditation for Change & Letting Go

Change can be hard, especially if it signifies the end of something that we are especially fond of or are extremely comfortable with. And there are countless ways for you to deal with change in your life. One way is to breathe and meditate, both of which help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest and digest” system of our bodies. Breathwork helps us to relax, to let go of stress and tension, to release expectations and attachments, and to find our way to a sense of inner peace and calm. Likewise, meditating can help us to let go of the things we are holding on to which are no longer serving us, such as those attachments to how things used to be. So, as we start to transition into the Fall with cooler weather, shorter days, and heading back to school in these unprecedented COVID times, I invite ...
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Modifying Tree Pose

Balance is so important yet often overlooked. In essence, balance is about control. If you think a small child first learning to walk, balance is the key to his/her ability to stay on two feet and move about freely. Once we learn to balance our bodies at that young age, we then are able to exercise control over our movements. But balance isn’t just important for toddlers as they are learning to walk. Balance remains important throughout our lives. The better balance we have as we age the less likely we are to fall and injure ourselves, not to mention making movement in general easier too. But if we don’t pay attention to balance, if we don’t work on our balance, we will lose it as we get older. Fortunately, balance is something we can improve with regular practice. As we learn good balance, we also improve our agility and ...
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Poses for Comfort & Balance

As we get set to change seasons yet again, we can find ourselves in a place of longing… longing for balance, comfort, and a healthy dose of the familiar.  Change can be hard, even the change of the seasons.  And given all the change in our world right now, as a result of COVID, it is likely that your inner desire for balance and comfort is stronger than ever. Given the likelihood of most of us feeling that way, we will begin the blog this month with a short yoga sequence that lends itself toward cultivating balance and comfort. A short practice to help us feel more grounded and balanced, increasing our comfort level for the changes to come. So, grab your mat and a block (bolster is optional) and work on finding our center and relaxing into a little yoga comfort. Let’s begin seated, in Easy Seated pose, just ...
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Yoga as Part of Your Wellness Journey

This month in the Ignite blog we are pausing to reflect on peace and wellness.  In a previous blog, I talked about the many benefits of yoga, which included many things that can lead to peace and overall wellness.  Yoga is perhaps the perfect tool for improving the amount of peace/calm in our lives as well as improving our overall health and wellness. When we think about peace, that sense of calm in the mind and body (that feeling of little to no stress, that sense that all is/will be well), it is freeing, relaxing, comforting. Participating in a yoga class, following the queues and breathing with movements, your body and mind can't help but begin to let go of stress, worries, etc. Your body and mind can't help but feel more peaceful by the end of the practice. And when we think about wellness, we think about the health of ...
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Meditation for Stress Relief

According to the Chopra Center, a pioneer in meditation and wellness, meditation is best described as the progressive quieting of the mind. In our normal, everyday consciousness, our mind is filled with an unending flow of thoughts. The thoughts can become so noisy and even overwhelming and stressful. We might be replaying events and conversations in your mind (dwelling on the past). We might be thinking about what’s going to happen at our next meeting or activity. We might create fantasies about what life will be like when our dreams are fulfilled (future tripping). Or we may conjure up scary scenarios about our worst fears coming true (worrying). Seldom are we just in the present moment in our minds. Between each thought there is a space known to meditators as the “gap”, or the pause between thoughts. In meditation, the goal is for your awareness to move from all that ...
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10 Benefits of Child’s Pose

Earlier this month we talked about how to modify the two versions of Child’s pose (Balasana). Today I want to share some of the benefits that I am sure you experience when doing the poses but may not be cognizant of from an academic standpoint. If you have ever taken a yoga class, then you know first-hand that yoga in general is incredibly beneficial. However, each pose offers its own unique benefits to us as practitioners, and Child’s pose is no exception. Here are some of the main benefits of Child’s Pose. As you will see, there is a little something for everyone in this pose. 10 Benefits of Child’s Pose: Helps to release tension in the back, shoulders, and chestStretches the hips, thighs, and anklesStretches the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the kneesAllowing the forehead (your third eye chakra) to rest on the ground has a calming and soothing ...
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Modifying Child’s Pose

Perhaps one of the best-known yoga poses aside from Savasana is Child’s pose. It is a restful, comforting pose utilized in pretty much every type of yoga. There are two common versions of Child’s pose - ”regular” Child’s pose and Extended Child’s pose. Personally, I find them each wonderful for different reasons. Both are, as mentioned previously, very restful and relaxing, but I find that Child’s pose, with the rounded back and shoulders drooping toward the floor is a wonderful stretch for the upper back and shoulders. That is something I really appreciate some days. Extended Child’s pose on the other hand is a great way to stretch the low back, spine, and shoulders, which also feels great some days. These two versions of Child’s pose, in and of themselves, can be a modification for each other. Some people find the wider knees of Extended Child’s pose more comfortable than ...
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5 Poses to Free You From Stress

Yoga in general is good for helping to relieve stress, especially hatha yoga, yin yoga, and restorative yoga.  But you don’t always have to go to a yoga class to experience the stress relieving benefits of yoga… you can simply take a few moments at home to enjoy a couple of poses that will help melt your stress away.  Anyone who has ever taken a yoga class knows Savasana (Corpse pose) is great for relaxing and relieving stress, because we end every yoga classes with this final relaxation period.  It may easily be the most calming portion of a yoga class, though some people find it challenging to just lay there on the floor doing nothing.  This pose is designed to put the body at total ease and to trigger the body’s relaxation response in which your breathing slows down, your blood pressure lowers, and your nervous system quiets down ...
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On the Blog this July: Freedom & Independence with Yoga

July is perhaps best known as the month we celebrate the birthday of America as a nation.  July 4th is a holiday long celebrated as a reminder of our independence as a nation.  And so, in keeping with the theme of freedom and independence this month, Ignite’s blog will focus on how yoga and meditation can help us to find freedom and independence from stress.  We will examine some poses that help to relief stress, share a meditation designed to help relieve stress, as well as share the benefits and modifications for one particularly stress relieving pose. So, get ready for some pampering posts this month in the Ignite Yoga & Wellness Blog… and allow yourself the opportunity to partake and enjoy a little freedom and independence from our long standing nemesis -- stress. Namaste! PS: A reminder that we are now holding in-person yoga classes at Ignite Yoga South ...
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Amazing Benefits of Sun Salutations

We previously talked about how to modify the Sun Salutation A sequence, and today we will explore the many amazing benefits that Sun Salutation A provide to the body. In the previous blog we mentioned how Sun Salutations are a great way to build heat and warm up the body, but what other benefits does this sequence have? Well for starters, when you do a series of them you are getting a great cardio exercise that’s good for the whole body because it fills the body with waves of oxygenated blood which helps to, among other things, eliminate toxins in the body. That alone makes doing sun salutations worth the time and energy expended, but fortunately this is not the only benefit. Here’s a few more of many of the other benefits to doing sun salutations: Increased blood circulationLubricates the jointsMore flexibilityTones the bodyIncreases strengthBoosts energyCalms the nervous systemHelps you ...
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Meditation for Reflection

As we've now entered the Summer Solstice, we are called to honor the new season by slowing down and reflecting.  There are many ways to pause, to slow down, and to reflect.  Meditation is one of those ways.  And truly it is one of my personal favorites. There are many misconceptions of meditation, many common misunderstandings, which often prevent people from giving it a try. At its core, meditation is all about pausing. Stopping and breathing. Being in the moment. And while we try to minimize the thoughts we have during meditation, it is not about stopping all thoughts from occurring. The quieting of the mind, the slowing down of the mind, is the goal – not the ceasing of all thoughts. And it is when the mind becomes a little more quiet than usual that we often can experience a period of reflection during our meditation. So, let’s try ...
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Modifying Sun Salutations

Modifying Sun Salutation A A Sun salutation is a series of poses completed in a sequence thus creating a flow of movement that is coordinated with your breath. Completing multiple sun salutations in a row, helps you to build heat in the body, which is one reason why they are often done as a part of the warm up portion of a yoga class. In this blog we are going to focus specifically on Sun Salutation A (Surya Namaskara A), the most basic of the various types of Sun Salutations, and how to modify it in various ways. As the Sun Salutation A sequence is described below, you will see numerous examples of ways in which you can modify each portion of the sequence. Remember, in yoga we always want to listen to the body and do only what feels good. If you can’t perform one pose as it is ...
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Yoga Poses for Reflection & Slowing Down

Later on this month we will celebrate the Summer Solstice.  Historically the summer solstice has been considered a time of new beginnings, a time to celebrate the sun/nature, as well as a time to slow down and reflect on the changes you’ve experienced thus far in the year.  And the year 2020 has certainly given us plenty to reflect on, hasn’t it? So with that in mind, our June blog posts will focus on all things related to the sun (think sun salutations) as well as slowing down and reflecting (as in meditation and restorative yoga). So as we prepare to enter into the second half of this 2020 journey, join us throughout the month in our blog and take some time to reflect on where you have been, where you want to go, what truly is important in your life, and also on how yoga and meditation can help ...
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Tips for Breaking Unwanted Habits

We all have habits…some good and some, well, not so good. And those habits are often so deeply engrained into our everyday lives, into the very fiber of our being, that they can be hard to change. Some can even feel impossible to change. Others may be newly developed habits as a result of having to stay at home for these past few months during the COVID-19 epidemic. Biting our finger nails. Tapping a pen on the table. Shaking your leg while seated at a table. Smoking. Gambling. Overeating. Shopping. Cutting people off when they are a speaking. Saying “um” a lot when you speak. Cracking your gum while you are chewing it. We could list things for days, but you get the idea. (I am sure you see some of these habits in yourself, a family member, a friend, and/or a few of your colleagues.) And like it or ...
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The Importance of Sleep

I’m sure you’ve heard that sleep is important. You may even have heard that you should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. But do you know why? Do you know what sleep does for your body and how it can help you, especially during times this like? There’s no doubt - good, quality sleep is super important. It helps many of our bodily functions from hormones, energy, gut health, and your immune system, just to name a few. During sleep, your body repairs itself and cleans up some of the damage we do during the day. The less sleep you get, the less chance your body has to repair itself. Many things factor into a good night’s sleep, but let’s talk for a moment about the one many of us are already familiar with – melatonin. Melatonin is produced by our pineal gland, a tiny gland in our ...
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Yoga for Grief

Right now, in the midst of this world-wide pandemic, many of us are struggling with grief. Grief can be experienced anytime there is a loss. Many of us are grieving our lives, the way they used to be. We are grieving jobs, not being able to see loved ones, not being able to go to our favorite restaurants and stores, not being able to celebrate birthdays and holidays together, and in general, not being able to come and go as we please. And in some cases, we are grieving numerous losses at once. It can feel overwhelming, especially as we are experiencing this during a period of time when we are expected to stay at home, away from many members of our individual support systems. While it might sound strange to say we are grieving at a time like this, if you stop and examine how you are feeling, you ...
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What’s in Your Immune System’s Toolkit?

What Tools are in Your Immune System’s Toolkit? We all know that social distancing, washing your hands, and keeping your hands away from your face are great ways to prevent the spread of germs and thus stay healthy, but how can we boost our immune system to further help us stay well? Believe it or not, we all have a powerful toolbox filled with some pretty amazing ways to strengthen your immune system helping you to stay healthy. So what’s in that toolkit? Meditation - Now is the perfect time to focus on your meditation practice.  Mediation helps to activate numerous other systems that the body uses/needs to defend against viruses and other illnesses.  It can also help to calm some of the stress and anxiety you might be experiencing right now. Movement – Moving is great way to deal with stress & stimulate your immune system.  Whether you head ...
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Yoga Prop Ideas

Given that we are all quarantined at home right now, keeping up with our yoga practice can be a bit challenging in a number of ways.  One such challenge for practicing at home is related to yoga props, as many of yoga students don’t have their own blocks, straps and bolsters at home.  And while we could easily hop on Amazon and order up a few items, that can get expensive.  So instead, one option is to use common household items…things you already have on hand. Here are a few ideas of common household items you could use as substitutes for yoga props so you can enjoy your yoga practice from home a bit more … Yoga blocksA thick book or several books tied togetherA shoe box or other similarly sized book, filled with something so it doesn’t collapse easilyFolded towels or blankets can work as wellStrapsA scarfA tieA beltA ...
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Tips to Avoid Going Stir-Crazy During Quarantine

Going stir-crazy with too much down time during this quarantine period? Here are a few preventative measures to help keep you calm and sane during this housebound time we are currently in.  1. Maintain some kind of routine – Routines help keep your nervous system stimulated which can help keep you from going completely stir crazy at times like this.  And while your routine in times like this will likely be different from your normal routine, try to develop some kind of routine for your “new normal”.  Consider adding self-care items to your routine as well, such as drink lots of water, eat healthy meals on a regular schedule, rest, exercise, etc. 2. Spend time on a hobby – If you don’t have a hobby, now is the perfect time to find one.  Prior to this quarantine, many of us would regularly complain about how we wish we had more ...
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Tips for Boosting Your Immune System & Staying Healthy

Remember simple tips for preventing the spread of germs.Wash your hands with warm soap and waterKeep your fingers/hands off your face and out of your eyes, mouth and noseSocial distancingNasal cleansing (ex. Neti pot) to clean out nasal passage - especially important if you have been out and about among othersProper Nutrition – The food you eat plays a huge role in maintaining a strong immune system.Avoid the middle aisles of the grocery storesAvoid refined sugars (which suppress the immune system for 2-5 hours after negation)Eat lots of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables (they contain phytonutrients & bioflavoids which directly strengthen our immune systems) – Eat them as a snack, use them to your favorite nutritious recipes, add them to smoothies, etc.Exercise - Exercising is great way to deal with stress & stimulate your immune system.Choose activities you enjoyIf you have children, involve them in the activity as wellIt can be ...
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Tips for Working from Home

Three Top Tips for Working from Home - How to be Productive While Also Staying Healthy Establish a routine and a schedule.Recognize it will not be like your normal routine…nor should it be, but having a routine is important to ensure focus and productivity while also avoiding the development of unhealthy habits Include meals and breaks in your schedule…even if you normally don’t have time for those under normal work circumstances, when you are working from home it is important to take time to nourish your body and mindHave a proper work space that is comfortable and conducive to being productiveSet reminders for the items on your to do list and/or calendarUse your calendar and set up times to work on certain activities or projects, check in with people, etc.  And remember to put your lunch and breaks on the calendar too!Make time for stretch breaks!Movement is important for your health, ...
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Fitting In Daily Meditation

Most of us have heard about the many benefits of having a daily meditation practice.  From decreased stress and anxiety to improved sleep and mood, we know meditation is good for us.  The problem comes in when we try to fit it into our hectic lives.  Many people say they simply just don’t have time to meditate every day. I would argue that you have to make time, otherwise the quality of your life, and the lives of those with whom you interact with daily, will suffer. While it can feel like there is never enough time for meditation, there are actually many ways in which you can sneak a little meditation into your daily life without much interference with your current schedule. Here are a few tips for squeezing meditation into your day: Wake up 5-10 mins earlier and sit right back down. – Not a lot of time, ...
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Scheduling Daily Self-Care

When you read the title of this blog post, does it sound indulgent to you?  Does it bring up words like selfish, irresponsible, or arrogant for you?  You are not alone.  The idea of taking time out for ourselves is something we have been brainwashed to believe is a selfish, self-serving thing we should be ashamed of even thinking about.  We live in a society that glorifies being busy - it has become like a badge of honor.  But here’s the rub – self-care is absolutely essential for us to be healthy and to function properly on a daily basis. I am not suggesting you shirk your responsibilities, not go to work, stop caring for your kids, ignore your spouse or loved ones just so you can spend all day at the spa or laying around eating bon-bons.  What I am saying, though, is that it is actually irresponsible of ...
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Meal Planning 101

Meal planning is a great tool to help you achieve your nutrition goals because it helps you: Eat healthyManage portion sizesHelps avoid wasting of foodSaves timeSaves money Like any new habit, menu planning gets easier with practice. Over time, you'll figure out ways to make the process work for you. In the meantime, here are some top tips for meal planning: Menu planning doesn't have to be complicated. Begin by writing down some of your favorite meals. (And if you are cooking for a family, ask them to suggest menu ideas as well.) You can also look on places like Pinterest, in cookbooks, or on recipe websites. You can even find sample menus and menu-planning apps online.Plan one week of meals at a time, including side dishes, entrees and some healthy desserts. Some things to consider as you contemplate menu options:Check your calendar for what nights you'll have time to ...
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The Benefits of Yoga

A quick google search can net you articles, infographics, blogs, and testimonials galore on the benefits of yoga. Perhaps an even easier way to find out about the myriad of benefits yoga offers is to just ask anyone who does yoga on a fairly regular basis. Regardless of the source you might choose, you’ll find that beyond a doubt, yoga offers a ton of benefits. What’s really great today is that there’s now scientific and medical research to confirm what yoga practitioners have said all along as to the many, many benefits of yoga. From the physical to the mental, the external to the internal, there’s no shortage of real benefits to a consistent yoga practice. Here's just a few of the benefits of yoga to consider: Benefits to the Physical Body Increases flexibilityBuilds musclePerfects posturePrevents cartilage and joint break downProtects the spineImproves bone healthSupports your connective tissuesIncreases blood flowDrains ...
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19 Things I Learned in 2019

As this year and decade draw to a close, it is important to spend a little time reflecting on all the events and lessons that have come and gone.  The year 2019 reminded me of a number of things I have always known to be true…but somehow 2019 just helped reinforce them in a big, bold way.  Some of these items overlap a bit and some may sound rather cliché, but regardless, these are the things I am leaving 2019 with and have an ever-better understanding of… the good, bad, and indifferent.  Life is short and it is precious… Don’t waste a moment of it.Perspective… Take time to get some on every issue.Don’t sweat the small stuff.(It is all small stuff.)Stop and breathe.Laughter is truly good for the soul.Learn from kids and animals… They know something about life and perspective that most adults seem to have forgotten.Self-care is non-negotiable.I am ...
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The Must-Have Morning Routine

There’s a lot of research out there that proves without a doubt that a good morning routine leads to a more successful day. If you read up on any Fortune 500 CEO’s or billionaire entrepreneurs you’ll find they all have a morning routine. In fact, if you look closely at their routines there are a lot of similarities. I first gained a strong sense of the power of a morning routine when I read Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning*. A relatively quick read, Elrod provides a simple formula for amping up your morning routine to transform your life. After reading his book I played around for quite some time to find the best morning routine for me, something that Elrod states is a key to having a successful morning routine. If your routine doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t feel good to you, then you won’t do it. Plain and ...
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The Art of Successful Goal Setting & Planning

Winter is upon us now, and with it comes more time spent inside our homes and also more time reflecting inwards as well. This is the time of year when we start to reflect on this current year that is quickly drawing to a close, as well as on potential goals for the upcoming year. Most of us have set New Year’s Resolutions for ourselves at one time or another. Maybe you faithfully do it every year. Maybe you do it as a family or a couple, or maybe you do it individually. Maybe you do it for personal goals or professional goals, or perhaps for both. Regardless, the more important question is how many of us ever attain the goals we set in January? You know the answer already, don’t you. Yep…very, very few of us. In fact, by March there’s no sign of any New Year’s Resolution for ...
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Sugar Facts

Sugar – The Not So Sweet Truth We could talk for hours about all the things sugar does to our body and why we really need to limit, if not eliminate, our sugar consumption. Let’s start with just a few powerful facts about sugar… Did you know that the average adult female should have no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of sugar per day and adult males should aim for less than 36 grams (9 teaspoons) per day?  In reality most of us end up consuming far more than that amount daily.  To that point, just as an example, the average soda has more than twice that daily amount of sugar we should consume in a day.  Many prepackaged snacks, candy bars, drinks, etc. don’t come in a single serving size. They are actually meant to be multiple servings, yet we often eat/drink the whole thing in one sitting, consuming even more ...
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Nutrition Pitfalls

Food and Marketing Tips & Tricks Food companies are smart! They know how to label their products to increase the likelihood of someone buying them. Have you ever noticed how packages gain labels like Gluten-Free, Organic, Vegan, Non-GMO, Keto, Paleo, etc. as soon as that new craze gains enough momentum? They capitalize on every new fad, diet, or food craze in order to increase their bottom line. One major problem with this is that we tend to believe that the foods with these labels are healthy for us because of that label, when in reality that is often not the case. Just because you see a label like “Organic”, doesn’t mean the food product is good for us. We need to read the nutrition and ingredients labels on the product. The ingredients in the product may be organic, but they may also still be high in unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar, ...
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Eating for the Holidays

Eating for the Holidays – Top Tips Oh the seduction of the holidays, with all the yummy treats and large meals coupled with family gatherings, holiday parties, and all the other festive events and activities that fill our schedules this time of year… As fun and exciting as the holiday season can be, it is not without its downside.  There’s too much food (nutritional stress), too many events on the schedule (general stress, not to mention a lack of sleep), too much spending (financial stress)… just to name a few. As nostalgic as we may get about the holidays, when it comes to our overall health and nutrition it is important for us to be mindful of our choices. The November and December holiday season may take up less than 1/6 of the calendar, but the effects of it can have a profound impact on us for months, and sometimes ...
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Giving Yourself Permission

You know that voice you have, the one that talks to you from time to time pointing out all the things you did wrong, all the ways in which you are not good enough or are not like everyone else?  You know that ego voice that is harsh and critical of virtually everything you do.  Yes, that voice.  We all have it.  Some of us fall victim to it far more easily than others, but we all suffer as a result of that voice in some way or another.  And in yoga class is no exception. Fact - we all get in our own heads, that’s a given, and our ego voice can create some pretty amazing stories that, if we listen to them, can really mess with our yoga practice.  You have no balance.  You aren’t flexible.  You missed class last week.  You can’t do that pose like the ...
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Yoga for Anger Management

Anger is a natural human emotion. We all feel it from time to time. The catch, of course, is finding a way to manage our anger when it does arise. And yoga is one way we can calm down and work through the anger we are feeling in an effort to keep it from blowing up to an unhealthy level. Anger comes in many forms – frustration, jealousy, outrage, judgement, criticism, resentment, and hatred, just to name a few – and often involves not only an emotional but also a physical response in our bodies as well.  Given all its complexities, it is no wonder why anger can be hard to prevent or even treat. But yoga is perhaps one of the best ways to combat your feelings of anger. Since yoga by its very definition is the union of the mind and body, it can help us move through ...
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The 8 Limbs of Yoga

The 8 Limbs of Yoga – A Closer Look at Their Role in Yoga and in Life The 8 Limbs of Yoga, also sometimes referred to as the 8 Stages or Phases of Yoga, is the cornerstone of Yogic Philosophy, dating back millennia. The origins of yoga come to us from India more than 2500 years ago. The Vedic texts provide us with a background and a philosophy for the practice of yoga and for how to live a better life in general. Here’s a very brief summary of the 8 Limbs of Yoga: The Yamas – In short, these are restraints… suggestions for how to live your life in harmony with yourself, others and the universe.  An example would be Ahimsa, the principle of nonviolence or of not harming yourself, others, or the planet. The Niyamas - In short, these are observances…suggestions for how to live your life in ...
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Moving into Silence & Stillness

The current state of society is probably best described as hurried, chaotic, and filled with constant distractions and noise.  There’s little time for rest, relaxation, or even some  quiet time.  The net result – many of us are tired, exhausted, and worn down.  And while it may seem, at least for many of us, like there’s never a break or a moment of quiet, yoga can help us temporarily escape the chaos, the frantic pace, the distractions, and all the noise of life. Yoga by definition is the union of the mind, body, and spirit and its purpose is multi-faceted. Depending on the type of yoga you choose to practice you can enjoy benefits such as improved flexibility, muscle strengthening and toning, and balance, just to name a few. Helping you to still the body and mind is also a key benefit of numerous types of yoga. For the time ...
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Yoga and The Stress Connection

By Bobbi Billman, Owner, Ignite Yoga & Wellness As featured in York County Medicine Magazine, Summer 2019 edition “The greatest wealth is health,” according to the Roman poet Virgil. So why are so many of us squandering it, instead of making an investment in healthy living? Despite the presence of technology designed to make our lives easier, stress and anxiety remain constant companions. While the plethora of apps and software facilitate the daily grind, tight deadlines, increased workloads, and the challenges of balancing work and home life increases our stress load. Societal pressures (both real and perceived) keep us plugged in to a constant pulse. We are overstimulated with text messages, emails, and notifications that bombard us one alert tone to the next. The impact is evident in the overall decline of our health and mental wellness. A decrease in sleep quality, coupled with the inability to relax, has led ...
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Maintaining Your Yoga Practice

When I first started practicing yoga in college I could only afford to go on occasion, but as I got older and settled into my career I finally had the finances to allow for a more consistent yoga practice…but when I finally got to that point in my life a funny thing happened. I didn’t go very often. That’s right. I know, it makes no sense, right? I loved yoga, I wanted to go to classes, and I had done it enough to know all the good things it did for my body, mind, and spirit. But when I finally had the financial means to go consistently, I didn’t go. And I am willing to bet that you can either relate to that yourself or you know a fellow yogi who can. It is actually quite common. Maintaining your yoga practice isn’t always as easy as we might like it ...
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Yoga Can Do That?!

Yoga can do... an incredible amount of things! Yoga is defined as union.  Specifically, it is referring to the union of the mind, body, and spirit.  Talk to anyone who has taken yoga on any kind of a regular basis and they can confirm the accuracy of this definition.  Because of what yoga is, there are so many things it can offer us.  If you have heard anything about yoga, it probably included a few benefits – reasons why you should commit to a regular practice. Yogis the world over have been touting the many benefits of yoga for centuries. Bu t we are fortunate to live in this present time. A time when there are thousands of medical and scientific studies that now prove what yogis have known all along - yoga is so good very for all aspects of our mind, body, and spirit. So what exactly are ...
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Yoga Poses to Start Your Day

After a night of sleep, our bodies need a little bit of movement to get moving and kick start the day. Many of us sleep in ways that put our bodies in rounded or curled up positions, so when we finally get up in the morning our muscles really need to stretch and lengthen. Yoga is a perfect way to bring movement to your body while helping you to wake up and become energized to face the day.  There are many poses that would work well to introduce movement to your otherwise sleepy body, but here are a few we find especially helpful: 1. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) No matter which of version of sequence you choose to do, it is steeped in the tradition of practicing it with the rising the sun. And even if the sun isn't coming up as you are moving through this sequence, it is ...
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Yoga for Weight Loss

Yoga is well known for its ability to help with flexibility, stretching, and even building and toning muscle, but did you know it can play a role in weight loss as well? A regular yoga practice can actually play a significant role in weight loss, but maybe not in the way you might think. While many types of yoga don’t usually burn the same number of calories and fat as traditional exercise methods, yoga does increase your awareness of the connection between your mind, body, and spirit. It also turns on the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates breathing, digestion, stress, and hormones. Yoga helps us slow you down mentally which in turn helps us to distinguish between the urge to eat and the emotional impulses that sometimes drive us to eat solely to help us feel better about something. Yoga can also help us discern what we are truly hungry ...
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New Services at Ignite Yoga & Wellness

Nutrition Coaching Packages with Ignite Yoga & Wellness 3 different coaching options to help you meet and crush your goals! Option 1 - Nutrition Cleanse Group A 4-Week Nutrition Cleanse Program with Yoga 1 ½ hours each week for four weeks (beginning July 2019)60 minutes nutrition and cleanse education/instruction (includes general information on food & nutrition, tips for healthy living despite our chaotic lives, resources and recipes, plus lots of personal support specific to your individual journey) 30 minutes yoga instruction to support your nutrition cleanse journey Includes a free 30 minute Discovery Session prior to the first week, in which we clearly identify your personal goals for the program, review your health history, current nutrition trends and habits, etc. so you can get the most out of your time in the group. Cost - $35/week or pay for the full program in advance at $120 (saves you $20!) Members ...
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Introducing Ignite Yoga & Wellness

Ignite has definitely seen some changes over the years - a location change in 2015, an ownership change in 2017, and now an official name change in 2019. Through it all, our mission has remained the same. New business name launch - May 27th, 2019. Our purpose has always been to inspire and cultivate a community of students who live their yoga on and off the mat… who strive to live the best version of their lives each day. With every class and workshop, our intention has always been to provide a peaceful, safe, and welcoming space for students of all shapes, sizes, ages, and experience levels. We passionately stand by this mission at Ignite Yoga & Wellness. As we head into a new era here at Ignite, we are extremely excited to expand the ways in which we will be able to help our students meet their yoga and ...
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Chair Yoga Explained

Chair yoga is a form of yoga that is practiced sitting on a chair, or standing using a chair for support. It is one of the gentlest forms of yoga available. Almost any traditional yoga pose or move can be replicated and altered to accommodate chair yoga. Chair yoga is a great practice for everyone. Simply put, if you can sit you can do chair yoga. And while anyone can do chair yoga, it is especially perfect for: Pregnant womenAnyone who works a desk jobSenior citizensPeople who travel a good bit, spending hours seated in a car or on a planeAnyone who uses a wheelchairIndividuals struggling with any mobility issuesAnyone recovering from various injuries or surgeriesSomeone who struggles with chronic pain, high blood pressure, vertigo, carpal tunnel syndrome, anxiety, arthritis, osteoporosis, and multiple sclerosis The beauty of chair yoga is that is quite versatile and can be modified based on ...
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Yoga Poses to Help You Sleep

A blog from Ignite Owner, Bobbi Billman - May 2019 Have trouble sleeping? You’re in good company. Based on research from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, over one-third of Americans have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. The pace of our hectic lives, the non-stop bombardment of stimuli, and our seemingly never-ending To Do lists are among the reasons why more and more of us find it challenging to fall asleep at night or to stay asleep once we manage to drift off. So what can we do to help combat this ever growing trend? Well, for one thing, how about a couple of yoga poses before bed? That’s right -- yoga at bedtime. There are countless benefits to practicing yoga on a consistent basis, and improved sleep habits is among them. But how does yoga help with sleep? For one thing, by its very nature, yoga causes us ...
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Yoga is for Every Body

Yoga Really is for Every Body There is no such thing as a “yoga body”. In reality, yoga bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Survey a handful of classes at various studios and you will find a wide variety of people in the rooms. Do a Google search and find resources, videos, and articles by yoga teachers of all ages, shapes, and sizes. With so many types of yoga, there really is a type of yoga that will resonate with every body. Yoga, in general, is a low impact activity, making it accessible to everyone, regardless of physical limitations or concerns. Plus, with all the potential modifications teachers can offer, there are so many options available. Yoga poses have a basic set of guidelines, but it is up to you to listen to your body and make any adjustments as needed (with the assistance of the teacher as needed) ...
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