If we could sum up yoga in just one sentence, this would be it, "sthira sukham asanam"-- in everything we do there should be effort and ease, both qualities united, existing simultaneously. In Yoga Sutras, which is considered to be one of the main texts on yoga, Patanjali writes about the quality of being present, alert and relaxed at the same time. The book doesn't mention any specific pose or a sequence of poses, instead Patanjali talks about controlling our breathing, which in turn disciplines our mind and allows us to be fully present. This idea of reconciling the opposites, "ha" (sun) and "tha"(moon), yin and yang, is at the core of many wisdom traditions, yet so often we forget and become rigid, we get stressed, hold breath and tense up. If we could only remember in a challenging situation how to find balance of strength and relaxation, effort and ease, we would be so much more effective. Remembering to breathe fully, would supply much needed oxygen to the brain and muscles and we would be able to make better decisions. When the mind is clear, when we feel peaceful, we are much more likely to make the right choices. We are good at what we train, we can practice being mindful and peaceful in a sequence of challenging yoga poses or a sequence of strength or balance exercises. If there is a challenging situation, can we see it as an opportunity for practice?
This idea of deservability is very much in line with what yogis believe about the relationship of our thoughts, actions, character and ultimately our destiny.
"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character,
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."
a variation of an ancient proverb
Understanding our true nature changes everything about us, "every thought, feeling, and emotion, as well as every aspect of [our] behavior is predicated on the way [we] feel about [ourselves]," says Erich Schiffmann, one of the most prominent yoga teachers of our time. Many of us hold conflicting and confusing notions about ourselves accumulated over the years. We base our self image on the opinions we have heard, most of the time expressed by people who didn't really know, by those who were blinded by their own ignorance and suffering. As a result, when it comes to our self image, we hold lots of notions that have never been true or are no longer true. If we discard those wrong and outdated messages, we can let go, be free and live our lives fully. Yoga helps us slow down enough to discover our true self, to let go what is no longer true and to see the world with more clarity.
Years ago, after completing my first teacher training, my teacher said to me, share what you know and always remember why you do it. My goal is not to train you to lift a ridiculous amount of weight, do eight hundred push-ups or teach you how to get into a pretzel pose. Most of us are already tied up into knots. These extreme demands would only create more stress in body and mind. Instead, we will make your muscles healthier, stronger, more supple, your body more efficient: balanced and flexible. We will improve heart health and brain health, calm the mind and reduce inflammation in the body. Your bones and joint health will improve and even your skin will become more radiant. Daily activities will become a breeze, sports and adventures--more fun. Overall, you will grow and develop into the healthiest and happiest person you can be. It will positively affect every aspect of your life and everyone around you!
It is hard to believe that we opened the doors of our studio in Calabasas a little over a year ago - it feels like it was yesterday, and yet so many things happened and here are just some of them:
-We help more and more people every week to achieve their fitness and lifestyle goals
-Karolina taught a number of classes for our community at Lululemon at the Commons and on the lawn outside of our studio by the creek
-We traveled to Anaheim last year to participate in the biggest fitness conference (IDEA) to learn the latest techniques and methods, and plan to attend this year conference as well
-In March Calabasas Style magazine wrote an article discussing our approach to healthy fitness and we were happy to share some of our vision with our community
-We introduced a new Signature Class which is tailored to every client and includes a combination of strength training, Yoga, Pilates and TRX. Now this class is the most popular choice among our clients
Now we are working on several new ideas, and this blog is one of them. We want to share some of the knowledge, tips, and thoughts with you, and be able to help even more people to achieve their fitness goals. We will be writing about how to keep yourself fit without spending much time on it, what mistakes not to make when you workout, some tips about healthy eating, recovery techniques, our future events that we will be doing, and much more!