Living Yoga in Every Day Life

I teach yoga and offer massage therapy in both Oakland and San Francisco, so I often commute by BART. While aboard, I witnessed a young man purposely taking up two seats, his backpack resting on the seat next to him. At the next stop, a man got on the train and kindly asked if he could sit in the seat where the backpack was. The young man just blankly looked at him. The older man asked again, and the young man shook his head. The older man, frustrated, muttered under his breath, and stormed away to stand in the center of the train car.

Not a minute later, a young woman nicely asks with a smile if she could sit down. He gives the same sort of answer. The girl smiles genuinely and asks again. And, then again. The young man looks right at her, shakes his head no, and continues to move to the music in his headphones. She walks away and moves into a different train car. Whoa, this kid was not going to give his seat up for anything!

 His actions, though impolite in nature, got me thinking on a deeper level. Why is he hanging on to this extra seat? Does he not want anyone that close to him? Or, maybe he has had to fight for everything in life, and now he has something and he won’t let it go, because once it’s gone, it’s gone. Perhaps something as common as giving up a seat on the train could mean a real loss to him?

 I wasn’t sure. But, I chose to take this opportunity to metaphorically “gaze into a mirror at myself.” The reflection looking back reminded me of times when I held on too tightly to something for fear of losing it. Or, times when I wanted more and more, when I didn’t necessarily need it. Even times when I was rigid and judgmental in my thinking. I thought more and more about how I could change.

 Yoga has always been an inspiration for shifts in my life. In witnessing the train situation, I was drawn towards santosha. Santosha is one of the niyamas, one of the five self observances or ethics within the Eight Limbs of Yoga. When you experience santosha, you are content and counting your blessings in gratitude. You are able to accept what happens, because you do not need more than you already have. With this kind of satisfaction, supreme joy can be gained.

 I believe there are valuable lessons to be learned in our every day interactions with other people. In watching the young man not give up his seat, I was inspired to focus on being satisfied and grateful for what I already have, rather than wanting more. Within days of truly applying this to all aspects of my life, I booked more private reiki and massage clients. My group yoga classes had greater attendance, and were even more meaningful for my students and I (and still continue to be). A reiki and yoga workshop that I was hosting sold out. I may have attracted a bit of the supreme joy and tranquility that comes from santosha.

 Is this easy to do? Not always. I encourage anyone reading this to see day to day occurrences in a new light. I challenge you to always be grateful, because you are never lacking. These lessons only make us stronger. You are always where you need to be.

 Christie P.

Workplace Yoga & Meditation to Reduce Stress

Did you know that stress combined with a sedentary jobs increases your risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders? Would you believe that brief moments of guided meditation and yoga at your desk can help reduce your stress?? As little as 15 minutes to be exact. 

     A recent small study including just 20 people who were taken through each of the following; a guided meditation, yoga, and allowed to continue working without interruption. Each intervention lasted 15 minutes and there was a day between each of the interventions. Different stress markers were tested at the baseline, during the 15 minute interventions, and 15 minutes after. Different measures were recorded such as perceived stress, blood pressure, respiration rate, heart rate, and heart rate variability.  Analysis of the data showed both yoga and meditation reduced perceived stress (the mental aspect) plus the effect continued after the post-intervention period. The markers for physical stress tended to return to the baseline levels with the exception of respiratory rates following chair yoga. 

    While the study was relatively small, its results conclude that there is no harm in implementing a basic 15 minute chair routine at least once a day, especially if you are in a sedentary career. More studies need to be conducted but one can assume the data suggests that the level of productivity, improved employee health, job performance, job satisfaction, and absenteeism could be positively affected by the implementation of workplace yoga and meditaiton.

The following link will provide you with a variety of chair yoga poses you can try or contact Truve to have an extraordinary fitness professional come to your workplace to lead you through yoga and meditation.

July 11th Workout

Please complete the circuit 2x through.

Pick a weight that is manageable for you and you feel like you are working pretty hard by the last few reps. Remember to consult with your physician before beginning any new fitness routines.

Side crunches x 20 per side
(Drop knees to one side, hands behind your head, crunch up)

Narrow stance push up x 10
(Hands right under your shoulders, elbows track back by your sides)

Opposite elbow to knee x 20 per side
(Laying on your back, cross one ankle over the opposite knee, hands behind your head, opposite elbow to knee crunch)

Wide stance push up x10
(Hands as wide as possible)

Side plank w/hip dip x 15 per side
(On your elbow in a side plank position, drop your hip towards the ground and back up)

Staggered hand Push up x 5 per hand
(Starting with one hand under the shoulder, the other out wide and in front of the body. Switch hands after each push up)

Sprint x 20 seconds

Squat w/shoulder press x 20 w/5-20lbs
(Squat w/feet relatively close together, as you stand up, press arms straight up)

Tricep Kick backs x20 w/5-15lbs per hand
(Bent forward at the waist, bring elbows up by your sides, moving only from the elbow, extend your arms backwards)

Walking Lunges x12 per leg w/0-20lbs per hand
(Holding weight in both hands)

Hammer bicep curls x20 w/5-20lbs per hand
(Hands in a neutral position with palms facing one another, remember to lower down slowly)

Mountain Climbers x 15 per leg
(Starting in a push up position, bring one foot forward, jump up and switch feet so that the other foot is forward)

Tricep Skull crushers x 30 w/5-15lbs
(Standing tall, with weight overhead, lower it back behind your head, keeping elbows facing forward)

Sprint x 20 seconds

Rest 2-3 minutes