This photo was taken in Costa Rica on a vast open beach. We intentionally shot this with the background submerged in a glow of bright light to emphasize the light that yoga is, the limitless light and space it can bring.
As I practice I am accompanied by my shadow and this to me symbolizes that we are never really truly alone. There are so many deep layers, intricate levels and dimensions to self. Yoga has brought me to a place of knowing; acknowledging and studying many concepts that have helped create a self-relationship that brings me to my truest potential and fullest experience of life. When I first started practicing, my intention was on mastering the next pose, practicing from a place of striving if you will – seeking to conquer the next Asana. Now a days my intention comes from simply breathing the poses as they come up and noticing how they affect me – experiencing each moment in the moment and the moments in between. Through this path of exploration I’ve gained a sense of lightness and limitless potential, through the mind, through the body and the spirit. I guess this comes from my attitude and my growth towards the practice, which has changed over the years. Learning to understand and find self-inquiry, self-awareness and self-knowledge. Knowing that there are postures that I won’t be able to do yet observing with time and patience that there are poses I might be able to do someday. So I give myself space to develop and explore from a place of discernment, courage and compassion. This ideology I take with me off the mat, daily observing and work towards my life goals, focused and yet adaptable. When I worked into layers of identification about who I am, on many levels I found real self-acceptance and I’ve gotten to know myself quite deeply – my tendencies, triggers, when I seek to react or how I respond when faced with challenges. This open honest communication I’ve tried to have with myself has helped me challenge the walls and personal boundaries I’ve put in place over the years for protection. Through these observations I feel like I am able to make meaningful choices, clearly see the reality of the world around me and my own truest nature within it. To me, the nature is pure vibrations beyond the physical body. We are all multi-dimensional beings. The practice of yoga is partly understanding that everything comes back to now – ‘The Nowness’. How am I being or expressing in my now with myself? How do I emanate that outward? And through the practice I’ve learned how to balance my energies, physically, emotionally, mentally and really live in elevating my spiritual vibrations and in this vibration that bright light surrounds me. This vibration is the energy to show up and live life and be here as it unfolds.
The strength I feel comes from a vulnerability I’ve allowed myself to explore through studying yoga. A vulnerability that has brought me and taught me sensitivity, compassion, kindness for others and myself. My practice is a practice on the mat and just as much off the mat, constantly showing me how to return to balance internally and externally. When I waver I smile and I try to get right back on track. In these moments I have found my truest tests in how I recover and accepting I am perfectly imperfect. I will succeed and I will fail. And in this notion there is wisdom and beauty that color my wave of existence. So what is yoga? It’s everything. It’s being in the imbalance to find balance, its energy, its love, its light. I’ve come to learn in everything we do there is a beginning, a middle and an end and through the practice I’ve come to really live in that experience.
- Bianca FearonClick here to sign up for Yin Yoga Teacher Training!
Greetings and a Happy New Year to you Hot 8 Yogis!
The time has come for another Yoga Barre Teacher Training Adventure! Starting January 31st we will begin our journey. You will learn how to teach the Yoga Barre sequence. We will break down components of the barre class as we combine stretch, strength and balance to design a long lean muscle. You will be given teaching tools for cueing positions, learn how to put music to movement, study anatomy to better understand how the muscles in the body work, develop long lasting friendships, get in the best shape of your life while learning the Yoga Barre class. The workshop is a 4 week- end intensive, We meet Sat and Sun from 12-6 for a total of 8 sessions. We then offer a month of community classes and you will teach to the public. Your life,body, mind and spirit will never be the same again as you gain a positive addiction to this class. I love this class and have devoted my life to teaching. Teaching teachers is my specialty and I live for the intense hands on experience. Numerous teachers have been launched from this workshop. Let me launch you too!
Join me for the final YB open house Jan 25th at noon in Beverly Hills. I will teach a Yoga Barre class and you'll get a feel for the workshop.
Meet me at the Barre
Xo Nancy Norby :-)Yoga Barre Teacher Training
Beverly Hills Studio
January 31, 2015 - February 22, 2015
Click here to sign up!
Just as any physical structure needs a solid foundation to endure the forces of nature, the seeds of yoga must be planted with a firm and tender hand if they are to bloom with everlasting vitality.
Yoga is the practice of conscious embodiment. It is a choice to awaken into clearer understanding within ourselves so that we may experience life more fully. Most people can feel the difference between a movement grounded in truth versus one that lacks authenticity. A healthy approach to yoga is no different than a healthy approach to any relationship. If we want something to grow beautifully we must treat it with loving care.
Breath awareness creates space for truthful presence. This is the seed. From here we observe our thoughts and begin to take responsibility for our actions, clearing the soil that nourishes the root.
Yoga postures are external shapes which express our inner state of being. When we approach a posture from breath, with alertness, ease, passion and receptivity, we empower ourselves to approach all aspects of life in the same way.
With grounded intentions we discover that the branches, or ‘limbs’ of yoga practice begin to develop all together, with each part directly and intricately relating to the other. The key is remaining rooted with a positive and patient attitude for the long term process so we can enjoy the organic unfolding and go with the flow!
- Love, La MerHot 8 Foundations Workshop (4 Week Series) January 31, 2015 - February 21, 2015 Beverly Hills Studio Location
Click here to sign up!
Synergy is a practice that inspires trust, communication, and playfulness. Every time I am engaged in this practice I witness profound and moving results not only within myself, but in every individual in the class. Typically, students begin the practice feeling intimidated and reserved about working with another individual (even couples who are close to each other) but by the end of a workshop, the walls and resistance dissolve and what is left is open-hearted freedom in each participant.
I love having the opportunity to observe students coming into deeper trust within themselves and with their partners. Not only do students release fears about their ability to work with others, but they get to have the experience of using their bodies in ways they never thought possible. While the work and benefits relate to our inner experience, it also relates to the physical body. Each participant will be guided and supported in learning to ‘fly’ his or her partner, and hold one another’s body weight. The strength of our bodies is evoked in a way that allows for meditation and physical action to merge.
As a teacher, this practice has inspired me to trust that everyone is capable of participating in this healing art. I have seen people with (what appears to be) no strength, support someone else with ease and grace. It has really taught me not to make any judgments on anyone.
Synergy heals through the body-to-body connection. The power that comes from bypassing the limiting beliefs of the mind and getting right into the physical work, demonstrates the power we hold in our physical body and the wisdom and intelligence that exists within each of us outside the mind.
Synergy creates peace. My favorite quote from a student after class is, “ This practice can heal the world! It would end all war and fighting! We need to share this with the world.” The truth in that statement is palpable after feeling the work. This is not limited to anyone; in fact, this could be the path to peace on this earth.
- Amanda DykannSYNERGY YOGA (Click here to sign up!)
Valentines Day, February 14, 2015
Santa Monica - 1:30-3:30pm
With Amanda Dykann
Upon the first week of moving to LA, I wrote an organic yoga rap parody, “Namaste, Bitches,” to make light of the yoga world in which I found myself.
By the end of my five months in LA, my friends joked that I had become my own parody because, in an unexpected turn of events, I fell in love with yoga after writing the rap. Now, yoga is a vital part of my daily routine.
My mind always runs in 100 different directions. I tend to either dwell on past moments and wonder what could have been, or have so many ideas for the future that the ideas paralyze me and I don’t end up getting anything done.
I moved to LA after graduating from college and ending a relationship. I had lost a bit of myself and was reeling from the feeling of amputating someone out of my life. I needed to escape my pangs of inadequacy and emptiness, which manifested into dark shadows over my spirit every morning.
I went to my first yoga class in hopes of stilling my mind a bit. I viewed it as something to do once every month or two as a sort of physical and mental detox.
During the first class, I was a little impatient as I kept falling out of postures while everyone stood fierce and focused around me. Even so, I left the class feeling more energized than when I walked in.
I was hooked. I realized that yoga, while sometimes having a stigma as an obnoxious, main-streamed way of trying to be spiritual is, at its core, a very powerful tool that allows us to tap into our inner spiritual and physical potential.
At my first yoga class, I was given a yoga towel to roll over my mat.
The words, “Every day, in every way, I am stronger,” were embroidered at the top of the towel. I now think of that phrase every morning when I wake up.
Although the original yoga sutras were developed 2,000 years ago, many people don’t realize that, until 100 years ago, yoga was mainly about focusing on breath and meditation to escape worldly sensations and move closer to connecting one’s individual consciousness with the consciousness of the world, to move closer to nirvana.
The postures developed in yoga in recent centuries (the “asana” or physical practice of yoga is only one of the eight limbs of yoga) were designed to prepare the body to be able to sit in stillness for extended periods of time in meditation.
Even as yoga has, in many places, morphed into a type of physical activity, I found that it has influenced my perspective of the type of person I want to be and how I live my life.
I recently got my 200-hour yoga teacher certification, not only to be able to share my love of yoga with others, but also to have a deeper understanding of the spiritual aspects and roots of yoga. I love the idea that in yoga, all the strength you need, you find within yourself.
All the flexibility and space you create in each posture is also found within yourself. The more you open your heart (literally and figuratively), the more open you are to receiving and giving love and energy to those around you.
Here are some of my biggest takeaways from yoga, thus far:
1. Release to receive
In yoga postures, you often breathe into the pain or tension of a pose. While this can initially cause discomfort, the more you lean into the pose head on, the easier the pose becomes in the long run.
It creates more space, it releases tension in that area of the body, and it makes you feel as if you let something go. In life, sometimes we are unable to love to our fullest because we hold on to something that no longer serves us or brings us happiness.
While it is hard to let this person or thing go, once we do, we realize that in doing so, we become able to receive more love and energy from other aspects of our lives.
A quote I often associate with this is, “The shell must break before the bird can fly.”
2. You have to love yourself if you expect others to love you
As my yoga teacher said to us, “We are all the connections and completions to our own existence.”
We are often hard on ourselves, placing so many mental and physical demands on our bodies and then beating ourselves up for not eating well or not being productive enough or saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time.
Yoga helped me see that the only life over which I have direct control is my own. The person I spend the most time with is myself. I should be kind to myself and love myself in order to be able to love other people to the best of my ability.
Similarly, I will never know if what I do impresses other people. I should first aim to impress myself by pushing myself to places I didn’t think I could go.
When you feel confident in how you spend your time and how you treat yourself, your relationships with other people will fall into place, too.
3. All the space, flexibility and strength you need is inside of you, waiting to be used
When making excuses about why they could never do yoga, people often say “I’m not flexible enough” or “I could never do a headstand, I would be the worst person in the class.” Six months ago, I could also barely touch my toes, and now, I have my splits.
Even if that wasn’t the case, yoga isn’t about being “good enough” or naturally flexible or mastering the awesome-looking poses; it is just about being committed to showing up every day and challenging your body to the best of YOUR ability.
4. Trust your intuition
In the past, I used to go against my gut feeling and instead do what I thought I should do or what I thought others wanted me to do. The more I did yoga, the more I started to see how to better harmonize what I felt in my gut with my thoughts and actions.
Usually, in the yogic sense, trusting my intuition would mean knowing that I would feel better if I got out of bed and did yoga rather than lay there, letting old memories seep into my new morning.
In a broader sense, trusting my intuition now means letting someone go if he or she makes me unhappy or being completely honest with someone in a difficult situation.
5. Disconnect to reconnect
We can often get lost on the screens, constantly checking our phones for updates with a subconscious desire to feel needed by and connected with others.
Having at least one hour a day when I turn my phone off and focus on the physical reminds me that life is what we feel, not emails or Facebook statuses suspended in an intangible cyber-space.
6. Live life’s transitions gracefully so you’re not knocked off your center-point
In learning a new balancing pose or in being thrown into a completely new environment, it is natural to want to hold back or not fully commit as to not risk falling or being rejected.
Doing balancing poses reminds me that I can’t just shoot to the “full expression” of the pose on day one, but it will come gradually if I slowly and gracefully push myself each day.
It also reminds me that sometimes, the only way to learn how to hold a posture comes after countless times of falling from trying to commit fully.
Falling out of a posture is only a problem if you don’t try to get back into it again. What I love most of all about balancing poses, however, is the hyper-focus one must have to succeed.
This intense focus permits no stray thought to enter the mind, which is a welcome time of stillness for a place where lingering memories and new ideas are usually frantically swirling.
7. If someone gives you negative vibes, it’s because s/he takes energy from you
This goes back to loving yourself in point two. If you know your self-worth, you won’t let in negative vibes from someone else because you will be too consumed with putting out and receiving positive vibes that are appreciated and multiplied by others around you.
8. Enjoy the physical body to the fullest, diving into the ocean of consciousness
Little things, like focusing on deep breaths throughout class reminds me that I often take for granted the fact that I have a functioning body with functioning senses that allow me to do physical activities and experience physical sensations.
9. You find your strength in being vulnerable
When learning a new pose, it is natural to fall or feel uncomfortable. Some of the most vulnerable poses, such as hip and heart openers, like wheel or half pigeon, allow us to feel more open than ever before.
Similarly, being vulnerable with what you want — ie: not being afraid of someone’s rejection or not being afraid of failing — allows you the maximum potential for success.
Also, in the sentiment of love, you should never regret being vulnerable and letting people know that you care about them. Even if they don’t return the feeling, you’ll never wonder “what if?” Feeling vulnerable in yoga and in life should be viewed as a strength, not a weakness.
10. We are all bound to each other by energetic threads
The energy we put out not only affects us, but also those around us. It is important to think about how our actions and vibes can alter those of others.
I often find that when I am around someone who has great energy, it rubs off on me. I also find that if I am thinking about someone I love, I will get a message from him or her or something will pop up that reminds me of him or her.
Who knows if it is just coincidence, but it never hurts to think good thoughts and send good energy.
You might have heard of the expression said at the end of yoga classes, “Namaste.” In Sanskrit, it roughly means, “I bow to the divine in you.”
The idea is that the goodness that is in me is also somewhere within you. Rather than seeing each other’s flaws, we should strive to find the connecting thread of goodness and of humanity that ties all of us together.
As I moved from LA to England to start graduate school, everything from the weather to my friend group, to what I focus on has changed. One thing that keeps me grounded, aligned in what I believe to be my truest sense of self, is yoga. I do it in the morning, every day, before I check my phone and before I leave my room.
Not only has yoga brought me closer to my new friends (as I now hold classes for my course mates!), but it helps me figure out how the person I am inside can be best projected to the outside to connect with other people.
It also reminds me to slow down and experience every sensation, with all of my senses. Most importantly, it helps me strip away my ego (a constant work in progress), need for approval and fear of missing out (FOMO!).
It also helps me feel more connected to myself and those around me in a world where it is often too easy to feel alone in the bustle and stress of our daily lives.
- Meredith Baker(Originally written for Elite Daily)
Hot 8 Foundations is a welcoming step in your yoga practice whether a novice or well versed yogi looking for a deeper understanding of this ancient practice. The practice of yoga has many more facets than just the physical postures. In this workshop we will touch upon a deeper understanding of meditation and yogic philosophy to help reveal layers of mental awareness and deeper compassion in your mind and life! You will learn what separates a yogic lifestyle from other fitness programs by 'being the change.' You will become stronger not only in body, but in mind.
Foundations is beneficial for a range of yogi’s from beginners to those looking for inspiration or a deeper practice. Whether you would like to understand more about meditation or a specific body alignment in a yoga pose, your foundations teachers will help you find what you are looking for in a fun and encouraging group setting!
The effect of delving deeper into the principles of yoga philosophy snuck up on me. I was introduced to yoga as a way to become more flexible and strong. That alone was enough to keep me coming back, I very quickly felt a greater range of motion in my body, every movement, action and task was simply easier. On the days I practiced yoga, I had a sense of being chilled out and relaxed. However, I didn't consciously realize that at first. Noticing the physical effects of yoga came easy to me, but the first time I really noticed a change in my mind I was stuck in a traffic jam. I started to notice my reaction in the form of physical sensations beginning to bubble inside my body and when I would normally get upset, I suddenly became aware it was my choice to feel how ever I wanted. The fact was, I was stuck in traffic, I could fight it, or I could just ‘trust’ and go with the flow. In that moment something was freed inside my mind, the 8 limbed yogic path had subconsciously started to clear away the psychic debris. That was just the start! Layer by layer we can begin to reveal the pure consciousness and compassion we are truly made of.
Click here to sign up!
- Layna Dakin