How to choose “Your” Yoga Studio

I have been to many yoga studios. What keeps me coming back to a yoga studio is determined by many factors. These factors are subjective, but here are 7 aspects to consider when choosing a yoga studio.

Yoga StudioLocation

It is going to be hard to be consistent with your practice if your yoga studio is far away or hard to get to. Richmond Beach Yoga is easy access from anywhere in Shoreline, even parts of Seattle  on the north end are a 10 minute drive. To make the whole yoga experience healthy, we’d ideally like to walk or bike to our yoga studio, but that is not possible for all of us. So, at very least keep the drive short and pick a non-rush-hour class time so that you are not stressed when you arrive.

Yoga Teacher Quality

All of our yoga teachers at RBY have been through extensive yoga teacher training, some more than once. Some of our teachers even teach a yoga teacher training 200 hour intensive at our yoga studio. In addition to experience, you want your yoga teacher to be personable and friendly. Please read about our yoga teachers and see who seems right for you.

Yoga Styles That Fit

Are you attracted to hard workouts or spiritual happiness? Are you working through an injury or just trying to work out stagnant body kinks. Read about what a yoga studio offers. For example, RBY is not a hot yoga studio, or bikram yoga studio. Our yoga studio is “room temperature”. We offer a wide variety of yoga styles: hatha yoga, vinyasa yoga, power yoga, yin yoga, and so much more.

A Beautiful Yoga Studio

I’ve been to many yoga studios. One felt like I was in a 1980’s office space, another was taller than it was wide, and in those spaces, after a while, I did not want to go back, just because of the space. Beauty is subjective, but subconsciously or consciously, we pick things because they are “beautiful”. The RBY yoga studio has an open feel, natural light, nice smooth bamboo floors, mirrors, and walls painted in soothing colors. Just the space alone will make you want to come back again and again.

Special Offers and Price of Yoga Classes

Special offers are nice but be realistic about how many times a month you can go to yoga class, and price your yoga studios based on that. RBY’s most common class card is the 10 class card averaging at $14 a visit and expiring in 6 months giving you plenty of time to use all 10. For more special offers, see our pricing.

More Than Yoga

Lastly, many people are looking for more than a yoga class. RBY is a yoga studio offering more than a place you do yoga. Meet friends and be a part of our little community. Take workshops, meditation classes, go on a retreat, or try outdoor yoga in the summer. We have a variety of options like this Savasana Workshop coming up in January 2017.

Strength Clinic and Power Vinyasa

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

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!

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.

This Short Blog Post is About Rain and Energy Channels in Our Bodies and Feeling Awesome.

Ten years old again! After hours at the computer, I venture out in my Canadian galoshes and my yellow reflective vest, umbrella in hand. This is not a drizzle or a mist. This is a decisive rain with no sign of stopping. I find myself trekking through rivulets and plunking through puddles. I trust my boots. A flock of geese materializes like a magic trick from a thick cloud and speeds west. The air is fresh and the sky is within reach. This wet world conjures thoughts of the nadis, and I find myself wondering if Richmond Beach Yoga students know what the nadis are. The word means “little river” in Sanskrit, and refers to the vast network of energy pathways in our electric bodies. This is the lit-up matrix of life coursing through our “mortal coils” and beyond. What have you done today that lit you up? That gave you energy? That turned you on like a disco ball? That made you feel lively as an impromptu creek that impishly careens down the street, unstoppable, free as the wild geese, that meets another stream at the corner and laughs all the way down the hill? What have you done recently that you loved to do when you were 10 years old? Especially if you can’t make it to yoga class today, go and DO THAT!

On Being New to Yoga

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.

Pain Care Yoga in Portlandia

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!

A Lending Library for Lifelong Learners

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 studio@richmondbeachyoga.com.

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