Yearly Archives: 2014

Slow Down!

A few months ago, I was at a yoga event where I ran into someone I hadn’t seen for quite some time. We had an extremely short exchange. I said, ‘hello, how’s it going’. They responded, “so busy. I’m really busy teaching. Just really busy”. In about 1 minute, they were able to sum up all their commitments, then hurry off to take their yoga class. Beside the fact that there was so much irony being at a yoga event where regardless of the yoga topic being presented, the common denominator is to pay attention. To pay attention means slow down. Paying attention means that details are considered. All sorts of subtleties are revealed. We move slower, actively listen, and most important pay attention to what is actually happening in the present moment without time traveling. Worth even more of a mention, the space in between events is acknowledged which means the quality of the experiences we are having increase.

I often stress the importance of creating space in life… This is especially important this time of year when we tend to over-book in attempt to close off the year without carrying the past over into the new year. Without a doubt, space will show up in life if we make room for it. Space allows us to expand, explore, get rooted, and stabilize. Space is the catalyst for wellbeing. Without space, the density of stagnation is what sets the foundation for the manifestation of disease and pain. Without space, it is impossible to be present for the ones we love, especially if we are not prioritizing ourselves.

Isabelle CaseyQuality increases when we slow down.. Just like in yoga transitions, we have loads of opportunity to do this as well. Right now, vinyasa yoga is the hot trend. Most don’t teach or practice it the way it was meant to be taught- postures informed by breath; breath revealing energetic intelligence; the length of a breath cycle dictating  the time spent transitioning between asanas.  Overstimulating circumstances such as excessive heat, music, fast and complicated routines not only inspire distraction within the body of the class, but the energetic imbalances this sort of diffusion encourages reinforces instability. As a result, our yoga practice becomes the tool to reinforce the unstable qualities, as opposed to increase the qualities that create awareness.

No different than yoga transitions, in life we have the transitional moments… Quiet space, transition, places to be still, reflect, and indulge in the present moment we often neglect. I used to be just like many- over committed, always planning, living in the future, not feeling complete, all while also teaching yoga. Then one day, it really hit me how fast life goes. Its hard to really acknowledge that when you are deeply invested in your commitments. I began to notice that as soon as my week began it would be almost over. I could always clearly reflect on what had happened the day or year before. It would feel like it just happened. Deadlines would just come so fast. One of my teachers told me a good measurement of time is to watch how fast your children grow. That made it very real. After all, I can remember being 5 years old like it was yesterday… and I’m 38.

Under my ‘yoga job’, I have quite a few commitments (yoga teacher/trainer/mentor/ private instruction/ MYS Editor/Website Navigator-too many roles to list)- all of which I love and am deeply committed to. In order to do them all and do them all well, I’ve had to learn a few techniques that help me create more free time, but more importantly, help the quality of my present tense life experiences glow.

                         6 things I do to widen the gap between my commitments:

1. Create time buffers. When I have full days, which is often, I make sure to pad my schedule with plenty of time between. I didn’t always do this. This came about after the realization that not only did my day feel like a blur, but my week did too– Morning turned into bedtime; Monday night became Saturday morning. I didn’t like this. I realize life is short and if I spend my time booking myself full, without quality time in between, I was going to be 90 years old before I knew it.

2. I don’t over schedule myself. I have a set number of meetings per day/week (phone, lunch, in-person), that I will not surpass. Integrity is key and I hold myself accountable with my calendar.

3. Cut myself off. I make sure that I work within the time frame of the work hours I have on my daily calendar & call it a day when its time to end. Besides, the work will still be there the next day.

4. Self Care: I have a non-negotiable daily early morning yoga & meditation sadhana (practice). In the past, when I would skip and plan to carve out time later in the day, it just wouldn’t happen. So, its the first thing I do always.
This includes cooking. I always make my meals, with exception of extracurricular dinner dates (mostly weekends), or if I indulge in the luxury of a juice from the juice bar inside the yoga studio I teach at. I add this in to my ‘schedule’, because self care is imperative to quality. If I don’t take care of myself, I know that anything I’m committed to will be half-ass quality.

5. Less is more. Prioritize what you absolutely need to do each day and clear your schedule of the rest. So key during the holiday season. This is the time of year where according to Ayurveda, we should be hunkering down. Because of holidays and festivities, we fall victim to the fast pace of the season, ending up burning the candle at both ends. This leaves little energy for ourselves and the ones we love. So, do less and be more.

6. Meditate. Every. Single. Day! Here’s exactly what I do: brush my teeth, tongue scrape, wash my face, grab my big sweater coat, sit on the floor, and close my eyes. Its sets the tone of my day doing it first thing. I find if I wait to meditate, too many things have occurred and it is difficult to settle down.

As a result of how I manage my time, I have more time. I’ve become more efficient at my commitments and the space between continues to increase revealing more free time. I walk my dogs a few times a day. Read daily. Experiment in the kitchen outside of just my meal making. Oh and sometimes I do absolutely nothing and I love it.

Create space to make positive changes.

We have plenty of opportunities and remember that every component of your life, you choose. Its all a choice. Start small…

-Turn off the radio & don’t talk on the phone when you commute. See what you notice- every light, every road sign, other vehicles, every little moment it takes to get to the final destination. A college professor of mine once said that those who are continuously engaging, are afraid to be alone with themselves.

-Learn how to say no. Its an art for sure, but it will free up time for those of you who overcommit. Be okay with the fact that you can’t do everything or be everywhere. That’s energetically depleting and the goal is to see more space and be more whole, so say NO!

-Take 15 minute breaks before and after your daily appointments. Doesn’t sound like much, but if you don’t do this now, try it. Those breaks add up to hours.

-Consolidate your errand running. If you grocery shop multiple times a week, plan your week and choose a day to shop. (I know I just contradicted myself as this involves future planning. Sometimes you just have to!). Better yet, join a Food Co-op Delivery service. Order from the comfort of home, and have it delivered to your front door.

These are just some ideas. Just try one. Start small and reap the rewards of quality time and the experience of space between things. After all, life is short and it flies by. Just check out a little person in your life and remember when they were even younger. Make the most of every moment. Slow down.

Bryan Kest Power Yoga

For those of you who don’t know Bryan, he has been a key figure in the global yoga community for over 30 years, beginning at age 14. His first teacher was David Williams, a pioneer in bringing Ashtanga Yoga to the west. Bryan continued his studies in India under Ashtanga’s founder, Pattabhi Jois. Bryan has integrated his experience of traditional yoga and delivers it seamlessly on stilling the mind and understanding our relationship with the inner teacher (sat guru) inside. Read about Bryan Kest’s yoga journey here.

I first met Bryan some years ago at a workshop. I was always interested in studying with him, but the opportunity never presented itself. I knew of so many who spoke highly of him for his direct approach to sharing yoga. (There are many well known instructors whom I study with now, such as Seane Corn, who were also students of his early on- references go a long way with me!). I was most impressed with BK by his clear way of expressing his points. He doesn’t heavily layer ethereal metaphors to express a point. He also uses himself as an example in his lessons, demonstrating vulnerability. Though he can seem intense with his raw, direct personality, BK is fun, gentle, and most important, has a big heart. His compassion clearly is conveyed through passionate reverence of his message. This sincerity is what drew me to continue my studies and complete the Bryan Kest Power Yoga Teacher Training. Since then, I’ve experience personal transformation and growth transcending the yoga mat. I’ve gained clarity in relationships, my teaching, practice, and rooted into deeper sense of self.

bk dog

One more thing… Power Yoga… its a yoga label liberally tossed around these days. Often times it is associated with heated and intensely physically challenging classes. BK’s Power Yoga, was not only pioneer in this ‘style’, but it isn’t what I just described. Well, it is but its not… Its the balance of physical and mental practice, which enables personal exploration and growth. The physical practice can be as challenging as one makes it, that said, if that is the goal, check that off the list. The mental aspect is challenging as BK is a master in the integration of life experiences, often times calling out current affairs and issues that we all deal with today. This, mixed with the physical, is why its called ‘power’, not because its super hot or that the practice is dependent on asana to journey deeper.
bk weekend flyer

Stay tuned for the next Bryan Kest Weekend in 2015! You won’t want to miss him!

Manifest!… Happy 2014!

So much has happened in the past year, and I owe the acknowledgement to the power of manifestation, and diving head first into goals.

A year in review… 2013 was filled with a continuation of consistent weekly community blog postings from myself and the greater yoga community, setting the tone of my vision of highlighting yoga culture locally here in Atlanta, and beyond. We have readers and contributors from all over the globe now. Its amazing and it couldn’t have happened without community support.

Manifest

From the beginning of the year, one of my goals was to have a team. It was an open conversation I freely shared when enrolling others of my vision. As the year got going, I got super clear on components of my vision and the direction MYS was traveling. I needed help in order to make it a reality. As much as I shared with community supporters, I manifested equally. Not long after, the MYS family grew, adding 2 more co-editors: Michelle Young, & Meredith Hesse. Our bandwidth is larger and the website’s depth is stronger. The team spreads the community message by contributing blog posts and taking ownership over specific areas of the MYS site, such as lifestyle, events, and yogic insight on everyday life. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel grateful for them.

In early fall 2013, another big change… The  Atlanta Yoga Scene incarnated to My Yoga Scene reflecting more accurately the global yoga community. It was an organic transition inspired by the fact that yoga is practiced everywhere and has no restrictions. Though specific geography influences trends and styles, yoga is yoga. No matter where you travel to practice, there is always a common thread that connects the message. For me it was clear that the new name needed to embrace our greater yoga community, hence My Yoga Scene was born with the vision and mission to connect yoga communities and encourage conversations and experiences from yogis everywhere.

AYS becomes MYS

There are new goals pulled from the vision & mission of MYS that are currently underway. One of which is the website will soon be getting a new face-lift, creating more ease in navigation for both users and the MYS team. Expect to see the new website relaunch in the next coming months. There will be new faces that are part of the MYS family as well. Another goal that has come to fruition is that MYS will have a more formal role in supporting events, beginning locally first. Our first gig will be supporting and having a presence at Chantlanta, March 2014. I’m so excited about this and trust you will be also.

For right now, I celebrate with you 17 months of growth, inspiration, perspective, and community  that you all had a hand in facilitating since I took ownership. Without your support, the MYS wouldn’t be where it is today and definitely couldn’t go to where its headed. I thank you greatly from the depth of my heart. Here’s to 364 more days of peace, love, and community! Manifest… its where its at. Happy 2014!

Tony & IsabelleIsabelle is a community leader on and off the mat. She shares yoga through weekly yoga classes, workshops, trainings, and local & international yoga retreats, She is also the owner & Editor In Chief of My Yoga Scene. When not teaching, she finds inspiration from her daily home  yoga practice, and her interests in ayurveda, cooking, reading, writing, hammock-ing, trail-running, and traveling. Isabelle takes great pride in living a life of wonderment and is lit up at any opportunity to connect to other yogis. She loves creating community and knows this work lends to positive personal growth and spreading of the yoga tradition. For more information, please visit Isabelle Casey.