How we relax depends a lot on what our minds and bodies need. Some us need to work our muscles to exhaustion as much as we need to stretch our body and settle the breath. For that, we have the Strength Clinics and Power Vinyasa offerings. If you need a work out, and don’t want to invest in a separate membership at a gym in the Seattle or Shoreline area, consider checking these classes out and see if it helps scratch that itch.
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!
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!!!
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.
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!
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!
Kim Parker came to the Richmond Beach Yoga teacher training program last year with a wealth of yoga experience, life experience, and a serious practice of her own. She is a walking treasure trove of smarts, heart, and passion– prerequisites for teaching at RBY! Read on to find out more about who’s teaching a fantastic Monday night Vinyasa class:
Kim first stumbled across a yoga videotape while in high school. She was surprised by the calming and centering effect the simple sun salutations had on both her mind and body. In college, yoga reminded her how to get out of her busy head and connect with her body and breath. While studying abroad in Trinidad & Tobago, Kim was reunited with her childhood love of hand-drumming. Moved by the radiance of the drumming, singing, and folk dancing, she was fascinated by how comfortable the Trinis were in their own skin and with their own voices; they moved throughout their days with a natural rhythm and expressive joyfulness that inspired her to accept the beauty of her own body’s movements and explore the expression of her own voice. She went on to study comparative religions and global development, while also playing with many music ensembles and traveling the world to share music on tour.
The 2008 recession led her to juggle two jobs while trying to pay off student loans. Yoga became a lifeline for balance and peace in the midst of working long hours in a demanding office environment. The stress took a visible toll, exacerbating chronic back issues and also disrupting sleep, digestion, and mental focus. After years of trying to change herself to fit the mold of that environment, a series of unexpected deaths in her family shook her foundation and served as a wake up call to take better care of herself. Yoga became a healing space for her to face the realization that the path she had been set on was not serving her well. This sparked a major overhaul in priorities – a desire to be more fully present, to cultivate joy, and to create a new path that encouraged authenticity, passion, empathy, and connection. Inspired by her own experience of healing through acupuncture, nutrition, massage, meditation, and yoga, Kim found herself drawn to deepen her yoga practice by pursuing teacher training.
Kim draws on her own experiences of struggle and growth to meet students where they are with empathy and encouragement. She believes her task as a teacher is to listen, hold space, and offer her knowledge and intuition to help others connect with the power of this practice as well as the ancient wisdom that is present within each of us. Every person and experience is a teacher holding up a mirror for us to learn something new about ourselves, so we might shed the skins that no longer serve us and reveal that beautiful essence of truth at our core, which is our connection to Source and all that is.
We offer a monthly Intro to Yoga workshop at RBY. Do you remember the last time you tried something new? It takes courage! Perhaps you can even remember what it was like to learn to ride a bicycle. It took perseverance and a lot of help, for most of us– but then came that moment of freedom that we had worked so hard for!
We long for the fear to disappear. No one likes feeling awkward, clumsy, or confused. Often people tell me that is how they felt in their first few yoga classes, but that the feeling passed as they became familiar with the little things. How to use a block, what to do at the beginning and end of each class, and even how to clean a yoga mat: these details become second-nature. But more importantly, in yoga it’s allowing the concepts to sink in that makes the difference. For example, the concept of non-competitiveness. We relax in yoga when we realize that we really are doing it for ourselves, and that no one else (besides the teacher) is paying much attention to what we’re doing or not doing.
This is when the feeling of freedom comes over us. We practice in a group for inspiration from each other and instruction from the teacher. But we practice for ourselves. Yoga is not a performance, a show, or a competition. It is a practice, and one with many benefits– some of them quite surprising. For example, you might think you are starting your yoga practice to increase your flexibility, but find that you also sleep better and crave healthier foods.
Often when people are new to yoga, they wonder about the specific mechanisms that make yoga so effective. And indeed there is a lot of science behind what we do. We discuss some of this science in the Intro Workshop, in fact. But we can also simply let go and let the yoga works its magic, as long as we keep showing up on our mats.
Two things were confirmed for me this weekend in Portland: 1) Yoga is a superior method for working with chronic pain, and 2) Portlanders really are DIY-ers. The first was learned in a 3-day intensive training with Neil Pearson, a physiotherapist from Canada who is an expert on chronic pain and a fantastic yoga teacher to boot. The second was learned when one of my fellow trainees brought me chocolate that she had made herself. It was delicious.
All in all, it was a yoga geek’s dream weekend, but the fun really begins now that I’m home. Now I get to bring some of what I’ve learned into the studio. It’s time to share! The information and concepts I learned about the effectiveness of yoga in dealing with pain will be infused in group classes and will inform my 1:1 teaching in private sessions. Meanwhile, keep this in mind: when we have chronic pain, the most important thing is to never give up.
I came to yoga with chronic pain from a massive trauma to my spine that occurred in a treatment room. I know very well how chronic pain can take over everything in our life. It can make us cranky and depressed, and it can make us feel that we have lost control of our lives. As Neil said, taking care of chronic pain is a 24/7 job, but everyone needs a break! Yoga provides individualized, holistic, and empowering options for regaining body awareness and function. Let me know if you could use a 1:1 session. Just call or email, and we’ll set something up.
Oh, and I also learned this weekend that Portlanders really want to help you when you’re lost– just like in Portlandia. It’s real! I experienced it several times, driving around in the rainy dark. Patiently giving thorough directions seems to be a pastime in the City of Roses. It’s a beautiful expression of kindness and generosity. Another fellow trainee said that when she was new to Portland, she went the wrong way down a one-way street. The man she almost hit apologized to her and asked her if she was lost! Namaste to you, Portland!
We’ve started a lending library at RBY, and it opens for business this weekend.
Want to contribute? Please bring in yoga-related books that you no longer want on your shelf at home. We would love your help in building a collection of reference books, philosophy books, and meditation guides.
Want to borrow? The books are in the glass-paneled bookcase in the office. There are also many magazines you are welcome to borrow. Just write your name, phone number, book title, and date in the log.
Want to help? Are you a librarian, or a librarian wannabe? This is your chance! Please email Angeline at firstname.lastname@example.org.