The Little Things Really DO Add Up

 

A week and half ago I returned from teaching our third annual retreat in Mexico. I’m still feeling the benefits! One of the things that I’ve taken from the retreat, was a reminder about WRITING DOWN INTENTIONS and KEEPING a GRATITUDE list. Mindy, the owner of the retreat center, Villa Ananda, mentioned in our closing circle how her mother suggested to her this past year that she write down each morning her intention for the day, and write down a list of things she was grateful for at the end of the day. Right away, it reminded me of my old 12 Step days when my sponsor would have my write a gratitude list at the end of each day! I returned to Colorado a little over a week ago, and one of the first things I did was buy a simple, small little notebook that fits easily in my purse, to write in each day. A notebook specifically for my INTENTION for the day, and a little list of GRATITUDE  at the end of the day. In the past, I’ve journaled, written blogs, etc., and often have felt the pressure to keep it up and make it something really “different” and “profound”! In just this short week, I’ve found a lot of pleasure and perspective in keeping this small notebook. It starts my day off on the right foot, gets me focused, allows me to write a little (which I love doing) and reminds me at the end of the day of what really matters.

To any and all that read this, I suggest purchasing a little INTENTION and GRATITUDE notebook. Mine only cost $1.99 at the local gas station, and has been a simple, effective little practice this week. A practice that I haven’t had in my life for a number of years, but one that has proven to be great. Sometimes its the little things, like a notebook, 5 minutes of breathing or meditation that can make for great changes in our daily life and overall happiness.

Thanks for reading, subscribing and forwarding this blog if you feel so inclined.

Here’s a picture that Lara from the Mexico retreat sent to me. Simple, yet inspiring.

RasaOm Symbol

 

Have a good rest of your Monday and start to your week……if you’re a Southern California resident, please join me for class when I’m there next week at Exhale, Venice on Wednesday, March 27th at 5:30 pm. If you live in CO, please come visit us for a class at First Ray Yoga near Vail, and if you live in another state, please visit my website and “Jamie’s travel schedule” page to see when I’ll be teaching in your area next. See you soon here or there. Now, go out and get yourself a little notebook!

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Mexico, Mexico, Mexico……..classes, traveling and workshops, too!

*The Third annual Mexico yoga retreat, new class schedule, travel to Los Angeles and workshops:

MEXICO

On the bumpy plane ride back from Mexico to the cooler mountains of Colorado. The week teaching in Mexico on our third annual retreat went so fast (!), although our arrival last weekend and our first two days there seems like forever ago.

I can’t thank the participants enough. Its always the special group (although slightly different each year), that makes the week what it is. Our ages ranged from 17 to a few in their sixties. There were a couple of mother daughter duos, a sister, mom and daughter trio, and us that came alone. As “the teacher”, my tendency is to arrive with the sense that I need to take care and be there for everyone on the retreat. I leave today feeling as if they all took care of me! I’m tired and my voice is sore, but beyond that, I feel like I recieved so much from the week, and that truly means, I received so much from the people on the retreat. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Here are some pics of Villa Ananda, the ayurvedic retreat center where we stay and practice. This yearly ritual for me would not be the same without the wonderful coordination and planning that comes from Rasa Yoga Center in Ashland, OR in conjunction with Villa Ananda. Thank you for having me!

Sunrise two mornings ago….

Sunrise at Villa Ananda

Afternoon and evening at Villa Ananda

VillaAnandaPatio

Pool in afternoonVilla Ananda

VillaAnandaSunset

SavasanaVilla Ananda

Near the end of this month I’ll be teaching in Los Angeles my How to Teach Beginners segment in Annie Carpenter’s teacher training, March 28th. Around that date I’ll be in L.A teaching a few classes at Exhale, Center for Sacred Movement AND seeing people for one on one private sessions. Please let me know in advance if you’d like to schedule a private. Space and time are limited. I’ll be sending out an e-mail to my Los Angeles area e-mail list with the exact classes that I’ll be teaching while in the area very soon.

Our First Ray Yoga studio’s complete schedule of classes, including workshops is up and posted at www.firstrayyoga.com – if in the area, or have friends and family in the area, please have them stop by for a class.

Please note we have two workshops coming up, March 23rd, “Change your Life, Learn to Breathe”, and March 24th, “TruCore”. Please see the First Ray Yoga website for times and descritptions of these workshops.

See you soon!

The Benefits of Pushing a Wall

In this BLOG:

The Benefits of Pushing a Wall, Workshops at First Ray Yoga, One Spot left in Mexico AND Up Coming Travel:

THE BENEFITS OF PUSHING A WALL

I’m thrilled to say that in these initial few weeks of the First Ray Yoga studio being open, we’ve had quite a few first timers to yoga. Working with beginners, those brand new to yoga, is nothing less than an awesome experience. To see someone breathing, opening and changing right before your eyes is unique.

The first month of the studio being open coincided with a teaching trip to Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago. One of the courses I taught there was my How to Teach Beginners training. This course is a favorite of mine. Its a time to get real and remember that the simple things are truly the most important. So, for this blog, I’m highlighting a pose that I’ve been teaching a lot in the past few weeks – PUSH WALL.

Push Wall does so much for us, in one (seemingly) simple pose. Here’s what to do, how to do it, and why:

– Breathe deep, even, steady breaths.

– Walk to a wall and place your hands on the wall at about the height of your shoulders. Place your hands a little wider than shoulder distance.

– Turn hands out slightly – spread fingers and gently press palms in to the wall.

– Walk feet away from wall about a leg’s length.

– Bend your knees, and reach your hips, tailbone, sits bones in to the center of the room.

– Try to sense that your legs are directly under your pelvis, and work towards having your spine long, from your tailbone to the crown of your head.

– Feet are straight – center of each foot facing the wall.

– Your thighs being parallel will help to open your lower back.

– Knees slightly bent will help you hinge/tilt your pelvis forward – when you can tilt your pelvis forward, your hamstrings will lengthen and your lower back will also stabilize – strengthening your spine.

– Sense that your lower back and the back of your pelvis is long, not rounding.

– Hollow, pull in your lower abs and lower ribs AS you tilt your pelvis forward.

– Sense length in both sides of your waste.

– Spread your shoulder blades APART across your upper back, and wrap your outer arms in towards your face.

– Be able to see your upper arms out of the corners of your eyes.

– Don’t try to press your chest and/or head down towards the floor.

– Make space from your ears to the tops of your shoulders.

– Breathe deep, even, steady breaths in to your side ribs.

This pose strengthens and stretches the upper back, shoulders and arms, strengthens and stretches the entire spine, and stretches the hamstrings, calves and achilles.

Try for about 10 steady breaths, then repeat. In these instructions I gave, I’ve said to have the knees bent…..although, over time, you may straighten your legs/knees, but it isn’t necessary or even “the goal”. “The goal” is to have your spine long, even if it means knees are bent.

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WORKSHOPS AT FIRST RAY YOGA (103 Williams St. Minturn, CO 81645)

This coming weekend, February 16th and 17th, TWO workshops:

– Saturday, February 16th: 2 – 4 pm. Introduction to Pilates mat – $15.00

– Sunday, February 17th: 2 – 4 pm. Introduction to Yoga – $15.00

– For First Ray Yoga’s weekly class schedule, click HERE

ONE SPOT LEFT IN MEXICO!

Our third annual Retreat in Mexico is right around the corner. We just opened up one more spot on  this trip. The dates are March 3rd – 9th at the Villa Ananda retreat center. For all the details and to register, please visit Rasa Yoga Center’s website.

UP COMING TRAVEL

– Mexico retreat March 3 – 9th – www.rasayogacenter.com

– March 28 – 29: How to Teach Beginners course within Annie Carpenter’s Teacher Training, Exhale, Venice. www.exhalespa.com

– May 10 – 12: Applied Anatomy for Vinyasa Flow Sequencing within Rasa Yoga Center’s Teacher Training. www.rasayogacenter.com – Medford/Ashland, OR

For a listing of my travel schedule, please click HERE – a handful of new dates are in the works and will be added. Please check back for more teaching near you.

*Thanks for reading and passing along this blog and information if you feel so inclined. And remember, if you’re in the CO area, please stop by First Ray Yoga for a class or workshop up here near Vail. If you’re interested in practicing with me at home, we have downloadable classes/video on our site – click HERE.

 

Confidential Testimonials

In this BLOG:

– BLOG: Confidential Testimonials

– Up Coming Travel to Los Angeles

– Media for download and for sale

Its early Friday morning. The sun isn’t up yet here in the mountains, and surprisingly, I got myself out of bed earlier than I actually needed to get myself to the studio and on my mat. Not a usual thing.

This is my first blog since opening First Ray Yoga on January 2nd. We’re officially on our third day. I’m sitting in the studio next to the fire. I think its negative something outside, but its toasty in here and it will be a sunny Colorado day.

We’ve already learned quite a bit about what the area needs in terms of yoga. I’m also constantly reminded of how many stereotypes people have about yoga. I hope in this studio and in my life I shatter some of them.

Along with these initial findings, I’ve also heard comments that remind me of the simple, day in, day out benefits of yoga. And thats what really makes me so happy. Its simple – we take the time to breathe, do some simple movements, and then we feel better and the world is an easier place to live in. Its simple but huge! In two days I’ve heard one new friend who has rhumatoid arthritis say that she felt much better than usual the next morning after yoga class the night before. Another woman said she’s had insomnia for months and slept through the night for the first time the night after her class. One man said he felt more relaxed than he had in years. And, on the flip side, I’ve heard from people around town that they’re not flexible enough to do yoga, or they don’t think its for them because of various reasons, such as, they don’t want to become vegan or vegetarian, they smoke cigaretts or still want to drink beer. These reasons for not trying yoga make me frustrated. Frustrated beacuse I hate the idea that someone thinks they need to change or be anything other than themselves to come to a yoga class. You don’t need to be any particular way to practice. And, I definitely don’t want people to feel as if they can’t be themselves. The funny thing is is that this practice works on us. With time and consistency, most poeple do drop behavoirs or habits that aren’t serving them, but its often times a natural process of things that fall away when they don’t serve us any longer. Without us even trying.

My desire with this studio – one of many, really – is to provide a place where people can breathe, move, feel better in their body/brain and get a sense that they are already great as they are. And still, after class if they want, go to the Saloon to have a burger and a beer! (As long as they invite me once in a while….please)

So, here we are on day three in Minturn, CO in the Vail Valley. I would not have expected this right now, but we’re doing it and I’m thrilled to be here. Hoping to practice yoga with the people – real people. Come as you are.

 UP COMING TRAVEL

I’ll be teaching in Los Angeles the last week in January at Exhale, Center for Sacred Movement in Venice. I’ll be teaching open, public classes and my How to Teach Beginners Course on Saturday and Sunday, January 26th and 27th. I’ll also be seeing students for private instruction. If interested in a private, please e-mail me at jamie@firstrayyoga.com. For information on the How to Teach Beginners Course, please visit the Exhale website (www.exhalespa.com, workshops page) for the full description of the course and to register. Please pre register for this weekend. I hope to see you soon in Los Angeles or elsewhere. And, if you’re in the CO area, stop by First Ray Yoga in Minturn. http://www.firstrayyoga.com

MEDIA

On our First Ray Yoga site we have downloadable classes for sale – audio and video. And, if you prefer a hard copy, I can mail you one or feel free to stop in at the studio and pick up a Beginners DVD or Intermediate audio practice. We’re at 103 Williams St. In Minturn.

NOW is the time to BREATHE

Every season is a good time to remember our breath – especially during the holidays and as we prepare to enter a new year.

This weekend I’ve been home, visiting my family for the first time in over three years. I had a great conversation with my dad about yoga, and was reminded today of the benefits of breathing. The thing about breathing, simply noticing our breath and breathing a little deeper, is the fact that we can do it any place, at any time, and its more beneficial than we realize. If we are alive, we can breathe. Breathing is truly the heart of our yoga practice.

Breathing a little deeper, in and out, strengthens our heart, strengthens our lungs, aids in circulation, and perhaps above all else, helps to calm our nervous system and allows us to be less stressed. This is yoga. We don’t need to “know” how to do yoga or achieve any fancy yoga pose to have our life changed by this great practice. We can see the biggest, most beneficial parts of this practice change our life, if we take the time to focus on our breath. Practicing yoga poses is icing on the cake. Practicing deep, fluid breaths is the heart of the practice.

We can breathe at work, sitting in traffic, while practicing yoga poses or while in a conversation with someone. The trick is, reminding ourselves to pay attention to it! Those of you that have practiced yoga with me know that I’m a big fan of reminding ourselves of simple things, like breathing, by using post it notes. One on your bathroom mirror, one on your fridge, one in your car. Place a post it note wherever you think it will be helpful to remind yourself through out the day to breathe. These moments of deeper breathing add up, little by little, to make big changes in our life.

STUDIO REMINDER

The first, First Ray Yoga studio is about to open its doors next week! We’re having an open house on Saturday, December 15th from 1 – 4pm. We’ll have beverages and snacks to share. Its a time to say hello and get to know the community more. We’re at 164 Railroad Ave. suite 100 in Minturn, CO. Please spread the word to anyone you know in the area. We’ll begin classes the week of December 16th. Within a couple of days we’ll have the class schedule posted on our site at http://www.firstrayyoga.com. Please help us spread the word. Thanks!

AMBASSADOR of the WEEK

This week, YogaEarth (www.yogaearth.com) has featured me as their Ambassador of the Week. Its up on their blog at https://www.yogaearth.com/yoga-living/yogaearth-ambassador-of-the-week-jamie-elmer/

When Things Fall in to Place

Tobin’s first flier for the studio….

When Tobin and I drove across the country in September, from Florida to CO, leaving the boat behind, the one thing that kept going through my mind was, “I need consistency”! I have so many great memories of living on the boat, but a life for the past three years that depended on the weather, sea conditions and season, wore on me. We landed back in Colorado and are up in the mountains near Vail. After exploring different options, ideas, etc, we’ve landed on our next adventure – opening the first, First Ray Yoga studio. The desire in me to teach more, work with students more regularly, and have more consistency in my life has been growing and growing. We knew a studio was in the cards some day, we just didn’t know when. Now is the time. Once we arrived here, all the factors have been falling in to place……..

Many of my closest friends own yoga studios and have given me such warnings as “Talk to me BEFORE you open a space”. Or, “Its way more difficult to have a studio than I ever expected”. I’ve been traveling the country the last few years teaching, from L.A to Miami, Saranac Lake, NY to Oklahoma, and I’ve been taking notes. Taking notes on everything from schedules and class offerings to colors and the smell in the room. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to keep it simple, manageable and affordable!!!! (I apologize to my friends for not consulting them before making this decision!) So, we’re starting small. Just me teaching on the schedule at first. Offering classes, one on one instruction, worskhops and eventually trainings. Its small enough that when I’m not here,  traveling some place else in the country, we’re closed. Grass roots. Mom and Pop. So far, the community and people of Minturn have been open and welcoming. The town is small, yet so close to Vail, Edwards, Eagle and the airport. A great spot.

So, here we are. Now is the time. Officially the studio is at 164 Railroad Ave., suite 100 Minturn, CO. We’ll open for a meet and greet on December 15th, have a modified schedule through the holidays, and then our full schedule starting January 1st, 2013. All the info will be on the website at www.firstrayyoga.com – also on this site is my travel schedule for those of you not in the CO area.

Thanks for your support and good wishes. Please help us spread the word and I look forward to seeing you some place in the world soon!

Our Every Day Teachers – Not “Masters” or “Gurus”

Its been a full few weeks – Florida to Colorado, Colorado to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Virginia. I spent this past weekend teaching at East Meets West Center in Vienna, VA – part of the studio’s teacher training. It was a great experience. Mainly of course, because of the group of students. Yesterday morning, I headed back to Colorado to stay put for a little while.

To top off a good weekend, two nights ago I had the pleasure of having dinner with a relatively new, but good friend. She’s smart, present and down to earth. She’s the type of person I can be honest with, and not not feel judged by. These are the characteristics  I admire in a  person. And, my sense of feeling accepted by her is something I appreciate very much. Dinner the other night got me thinking about the experience of students in this past weekend’s teacher training. What was their experience like with me as “the teacher”? I also thought about my own experience, as a student, with many teachers over the years. What sort of teachers have I chosen to be around and why? There days I gravitate towards teachers that are honest, open minded and able to not have all the answers.

Right now, some of my best teachers aren’t in the yoga room, but are friends and loved ones. People who are grounded, direct, confident and non-judgemental. There are some amazing teachers all around us, none of whom have or need the title of “master” or “guru”. I should probably thank these friends and loved ones more often and let them know that they’re admired and appreciated.