Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra Q&A with Angeline

Q: What is “Nidra”?

A: Nidra means “sleep”, but we stay awake during the Yoga Nidra process. It’s really delightful— especially for anyone who has sleep issues and therefore doesn’t get the wonderful rest that’s expected from a good night’s sleep. Guided deep relaxation can help us heal at a cellular level, the way normal sleep does. It’s said that 1 hour of Yoga Nidra equals 4 hours of regular sleep.

Q: What should I expect from a Yoga Nidra session?

A: Sweet rest, and a connection with oneself that is the result of the skilfull use of language and a receptiveness to positive suggestions. Guided relaxation of the body. Words— ideas and images— are used to draw a person out of their busy mindset and into a timeless state of deep being. This can be a lot of fun, or it can be moving, or it can simply be relaxing. You may have insights about yourself during or as a result of Yoga Nidra.

Q: So what exactly will we do for one hour?

A: We’ll do a bit of gentle movement and get in touch with our breath. We’ll set an intention for this powerful practice. Then each participant will relax physically, as in savasana, and let the magical inner journey begin. I will offer suggestions and directions, but sometimes you might wander down your own dreamy trail for a while. You’ll be guided back!

Q: What is your background? What do you bring to Yoga Nidra?

A: Fundamentally, Yoga Nidra is about learning— to become more self-aware, to relax, to unlearn old patterns. I’ve been teaching since I was a kid. Plus I learned to meditate when I was 8 years old. I’m a trained hypnotherapist, yoga teacher, and school teacher. And I appreciate the magic of language— whether it be through poetry, or an inspirational speaker, or just telling someone we love them. It could also be the colorful language of dreams, which comes through in Yoga Nidra— sometimes in powerful and surprising ways.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Yoga Nidra from your perspective?

A: I really believe that we already have all the wisdom and peace and happiness we need within us. Yoga Nidra is a practice that helps remove any blockages to the free-flow of these qualities, of our life energy. I often ponder how we settle for this or that, when in reality I am sure that we are all capable of amazing insight and transcendent states of bliss— and it’s all inside us— covered, perhaps, by a very thin veil.

Q: What should I do to prepare for the Yoga Nidra session?

A: Between now and the session, start thinking about something that seems to be in your way— a fear, a hang-up of some sort. Or even a health issue. You could also see if some kind of intention (this is called “sankalpa” in Sanskrit, the language of Yoga) arises. On a practical level, wear layers. Bring your own eye pillow unless you want to use one of ours. Bring a soft blanket as an extra layer if you’d like— or even a pillow from home. Some people have said they’re going to wear their pajamas and go home and sleep. Great idea! I’d be ready to have really interesting dreams!

Musings on Vulnerability

Slowly reading, ‘Daring Greatly’ by Brene Brown.

From page 43

In the song “Hallelujah,” Leonard Cohen writes, “Love is not a victory march, it’s a cold  and it’s a broken hallelujah.” Love is a form of vulnerability and if you replace the word love with vulnerability in that line, it’s just as true. From calling a friend who’s experienced a terrible tragedy to starting your own business, from feeling terrified to experiencing liberation, vulnerability is life’s great dare. It’s life asking, “Are you all in? Can you value your own vulnerability as much as you value it in others?” Answering yes to these questions is not weakness: It’s courage beyond measure. It’s daring greatly.

I’ve been talking a lot about giving our all to our practice, whether in yoga or in our meditation, and Brene’s reflections on vulnerability is absolutely relevant. If we give 100% but don’t begin from a soft, uncertain, vulnerable place, we wind up starting from tension and ending in tension in each and every pose. We strengthen the very sides of ourselves that keep us from feeling vulnerable and open to life.  The great thing about yoga and meditation is that if we don’t know how to be vulnerable in our practice, the very act of practicing will bring us to places where we feel uncomfortable, insecure, unrooted, unprotected. And when we feel those things, we slowly learn to breath into them, give them a space to be, and learn to open up from them. We soften into a pose or the breath or our intention and then notice how the mind, our habits, physical and mental, will start to fight it, try to shut us down, make us invulnerable, in control, secure. Slowly, we begin to value and give energy to those soft, open places that actually allow us to be courageous, outgoing, tough, intimate, whatever we need in the moment, and stop listening so much to the defenses that paradoxically make us weak and disconnected from life. It’s incredibly challenging work, but well well worth every bit of effort we can give it. See you on the mat!

New Fall Series Classes

Fall will get rolling with a new set of  8 week, series classes. Each will take place in our beautiful East side Studio.  More info about each coming soon!!!

Men’s Class
begins August 24th
with Rob Kovacevic
Post Natal
Begins September 16th
with Kristen Stevens
Tuesdays 12:45 – 2pm
Kid’s Yoga
begins September 19th
with Emily Peterson
4:15 – 5:00 ages 5 – 8
5:15 – 6:00 ages 9 – 12
8 week rolling series. When one ends, we pick up the following week with the next: Each of these series must be bought as a package but missed classes can be credited to the following series.  

RBY’s Yoga Studio Side Space Returns!!!

Yes, summer has barely let us know she’s here and we’re already anticipating the Fall season. But it’s cause we’re so darned excited about the side space coming back to RBY!!!

We’ll begin with offering the following community based classes in early Fall:   A Post-Natal Class. Continuing the Children’s Yoga Class.

Eventually we will move the meditation classes here as well.

For those of you who have taken classes or attended workshops here in the past, you know it has a wonderful calm and settled feeling. A great space for people to gather and share. Look for more opportunities to practice in this awesome space come Fall!!

Children’s Yoga Begins July!!!

Children’s Yoga
with Emily Peterson

A class just-for-kids!
Mondays: July 11th – August 29th.
8 week series. Prepaid $88 per child

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. Ages 5 – 8
3:00 – 3:45 p.m. Ages 9 – 12

In a safe, nurturing environment your little yogi can begin to explore basic breathing techniques and traditional yoga postures. This class series will introduce breath awareness, yoga and FUN! Building strength and flexibility in both body and mind. Class will incorporate different modalities from mindful breathing to playing with poses to fun games to get the kids running around. Classes are limited in size so sign up soon!!

$88 for the Series. Pre-Registration is required. No refunds once the series begins. This is a series, and as such there is no drop-in attendance. Children must be enrolled in the full series at $88 per child whether or not they can attend all 8 classes.

Sign up here.

Summer Solstice Sound Bath

Summer Solstice Sound Bath at Richmond Beach Yoga
Sunday, June 19th, 8pm-9pm

Summer Solstice Sound Bath

A time to celebrate the life-sustaining light of the sun, Summer Solstice marks the longest day of the year, and for many, ushers in a season of relaxation, play, and soaking up the sunshine!  It’s a time to reconnect with our joy and passion.  Yet, in our go-go culture, we can feel stressed to squeeze in all the fun (and projects!) while the sun is out.  At the end of it all, we might feel more drained and in a daze, when we longed to feel relaxed and renewed.

We may ask: Where is space for peace and quiet?  Where is the sweetness of unscheduled time, of spontaniety?  Where is that grounded sense of being present and connected with our joy?

Join Kim for an evening to unwind and recharge, so you can feel the vibrance of the season in your being, and have the energy and enthusiasm to enjoy the summer sweetness you long for.

Nourish yourself with space for reconnection and relaxation as we come together to reset our own vibrations with the healing sounds of the Tibetan Singing Bowls.  We will open our sacred space with time to connect with your deep desire for this season.  By setting intentions and offering gratitude, we open ourselves to receive joy and sweet rejuvenation.  Kim will guide you through deep relaxation with the harmony of the singing bowls as you rest in supported savasana, allowing you the space to soak in that sweetness of bringing mind, body, and spirit together for an experience of calm, grounding presence – leaving you relaxed and refreshed to savor your summer season!

Kim is a lifelong musician with a breadth of experience that has included orchestras, bands, and small ensembles – with performances from Carnegie Hall to Trinidadian folk festivals to the Great Wall of China, and many stops in between!  She is humbled to bring the healing vibrations of music to the community of Richmond Beach Yoga.

Thirty-four different opportunities to practice!

Since January, RBY has offered more than thirty classes to it’s members. We’ve added a couple more for the Summer and are now at thirty four classes offered every week. What this means to all of us is that we have every opportunity to not only keep our practice consistent but also to strengthen it by adding complementary practices to our root training.

If we love our Hatha classes, we’ll find that Vinyasa will help build stamina and increase awareness of how the breath and the pose flow with one another. If we love Vinyasa, gentle or restorative will make sure we are staying loose and open, that we’re really paying attention to each breath and pose. Gentle and restorative complement each other naturally and Yin complements all of the above by opening us up through the hips and lower back!

The Magic of Retreat

Every retreat is full of surprises. Once you’ve been on retreat, you know to expect the unexpected: maybe not a huge epiphany, but a small, meaningful shift in perspective. Whether we are retreating from something or seeking peace and quiet, something in us begins to stir the moment we set the intention to go on retreat.

One of the first things we notice on retreat is how we are profoundly connected to those around us, and yet we are having a profoundly personal experience. It is as if, to borrow from Rilke, we are “protecting one another’s solitude.”

A retreat is sacred by default. Something in us calls, and is called to. As Rumi advised, we should let ourselves be “silently drawn by the strange pull” of what we really love. Sometimes the busy-ness of life covers the ears of our hearts and keeps us from hearing that call, from feeling that pull.

Retreat offers novelty: new surroundings, new constellations of people. We might feel as if we were stepping onto our mat or sitting on our meditation cushion for the first time. We might realize it’s been a long time since we stood still in the midst of trees and listened to the birds calling to one another. We might wake up refreshed for the first time in a long time, to the wonderful smell of coffee that someone else prepared for us.

Then comes the time of goodbyes and departure, and return to the familiar. And yet something is different. We are clearer. We are better listeners; our hearts are full and we are more present for those we had left behind. We might have learned a new yoga pose, a new way of guiding the breath— or we might have learned that we love saffron, or that we have the ability to relax profoundly and hear our inner voice in the practice of yoga nidra.

So the retreat lingers lightly, casting a bit of brightness and color on what might otherwise seem like the drudgery or monotony of daily life. We don’t go on retreat to escape the everyday; rather we go on retreat to be reminded of the sacred beauty that infuses every aspect of our human life, and we rejoice.

Like the Best Nap of Your Life: Restorative Yoga Begins March 4

This is from Alison Solam, who will be teaching the Candlelight Restorative Yoga class on Fridays from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m.

I am thrilled to be teaching a Restorative Yoga class at Richmond Beach Yoga. Restorative Yoga means different things to different people, so I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify what I will be teaching. This class will be geared entirely toward reducing stress and anxiety, as we will be working with the parasympathetic nervous system (the calming “rest and digest” system, as opposed to “fight or flight”).

Just like in other Yoga, we will be doing certain postures. These yoga postures attend to different parts of the body– for example, the digestive system, respiratory system, and reproductive system.  But there is no effort and no deep stretching. These poses you do supported by bolsters, blankets, and other props.  So you are held up in the pose. The result is that you receive many of the same benefits of other yoga classes, but with the additional benefit of the feeling of something similar to the best nap you ever had in your life. Each pose will be held for five to ten minutes.

This restorative class begins in March Fridays from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. It follows the Hatha Yoga class at 5 o’clock. The two classes together make a really great marriage of intensity and deep calm. This class is part of your regular membership, so what do you have to lose?

Editor’s note: the photo is of a child in a restorative pose during a kids’ class at RBY. She loved it, and we think you will, too!

Lastly: This class is limited to 15 people, so please pre-register online. It is still included in membership, but we need your help to make sure there are enough props for everyone. At some point perhaps we’ll open it up to more people if students can bring some of their own props– for example, blankets, bolsters, and/or eye pillows. Thank you ahead of time for your cooperation!

Replacing Chronic Pain with Chronic Yoga

What would you risk giving up in developing a chronic case of yoga? Chronic crankiness? Chronic creakiness? Chronic cough? I met a new student today– one with scoliosis. I told her that yoga does help scoliosis, but only if you KEEP DOING IT. I told her I gave up chronic back pain for chronic yoga. I gave up chronic low blood pressure for chronic yoga. I also gave up chronic depression and anxiety for chronic yoga. If a cure is really fast, it probably won’t last. You deserve better. How about chronic energy? Chronic freedom of movement? Chronic strength? Of course yoga doesn’t cure everything, nor does it cure most things terribly quickly. But it does work. Yoga works. Yoga is magic. But you are the magician. You hold the magic wand.

Abracadabra, get on your mat.

Be open to surprise, and willing to let go. When I was told I was developing arthritis in my spine at a very young age, I  tried everything, and nothing worked– except yoga. Feel good, or at least feel better. But above all, feel that you have some control over your life. Chronic pain, whether its origins are organic or traumatic, can run your life. Developing strength and flexibility through yoga asana (postures) and healthy breathing patterns frees up energy in our bodies, allowing us to create our own healing. There’s one caveat: you’ll need to keep at it. Don’t stop practicing yoga once you feel better. Keep going: from healing and recovery to deepening practice, maintaining strength and range of motion in the joints, and preventing future pain.  Most likely you won’t want to stop, because you’ll enjoy the practice, the learning, and the results– which are profound and long-lasting, if you allow them to be. It’s up to you.