Archive for the ‘Yoga for Strength’ Category
What feels better than loving your work-out, really achieving results, and feeling better before, during, and after your practice. It is truly what brings me back to my mat over and over, and continuously renews my love for life. I have studied and practiced yoga for 20 years now. I have never been happier or healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually than during these 20 years of study. Yoga is a mental and physical practice that will improve and cure the mind of life’s aversions and afflictions, instilling peace, tranquility and deep calm if practiced regularly. Yoga actually took over my life time gym membership. I don’t remember ever not exercising, because I just love it.
As an avid athlete in my teens/twenties I accumulated injuries from gymnastics, water & snow skiing, in-line skating, kick-boxing and high-heels that left me now achy ankles, knees, hip and low back. Even my yoga asana practice was becoming a challenge, one that left me sore and achy. Arthritis was setting in, weakening the joints and causing chronic pain. My core strength was suffering because of 3 pregnancies in 4 years. I was sick from NSAIDs, physical therapy was not helping, and I didn’t like the thought of pain-killers, cortizone injections, hip or knee replacement (not yet, way too young). I seriously feared for another 40 years of suffering in this body that I had pretty much destroyed in the first 30. But the solution has been the precise mixture of yoga, pilates, and traditional ballet.
This is the ultimate combination of 3 disciplines honoring the body/mind/spirit to heal and strengthen naturally though movement. You don’t have to have ever had a class in any of the the three, don’t be intimidated. Although it isn’t easy, it is simple. Equipment requirements: a yoga mat, light wrist and ankle weights, the back of a chair. The real medicine, the real beauty is in the specific choreographed sequences, that targets core strenght from the knees to the solarplexis. We use pilates to deeply strengthen the core, the body as a free-weight creating long beautiful yoga poses, ballet technique ,and integrated weights to further sculpt and strengthen the shoulders, arms, booty and legs. These specific sequences are also naturally a pain-reliever. Strengthening creates a natural anti-inflamatory for the body that relieves pain and swelling while burning up to 600 calories per session increasing muscle density and mass.
This practice is universally good for women and men who either want to strengthen, lengthen and define their already atheletic bodies, like runners, or distance walkers, weight lifters. Or to an individual getting back into a fitness regime, post pregnancy, recovering from illness, injury or surgery.
Lisa Tokarz, ERYT200 and founding director of the Yoga Studio of Shelby has worked in the fitness industry for 20 years. She is a graduate of Walsh College of Accountancy and also worked in the financial markets during the great bull markets of the 1990′s training executives in market data and IT. Her family lead her further down the path of fitness through the discovery of yoga, which fulfilled a hunger never quite fed through other adventures. Lisa has studied with the foremost teacher’s from around the world including His Holiness the Dali Lama, John Friend, Sharon & David, and Sri K. Pattabis Jois. She has incorporated these teachings in all areas of her life with joy and success and wishes to share her knowldege during a time when healthcare and related costs are at an all time high crisis level.
Check out her classes, Tuesday through Sunday at The Yoga Studio of Shelby. Located on Van Dyke Ave. north of 21 Mile Rd. Shelby Springs Plaza. Click on Classes/Class Schedule for the complete schedule of classes. Namaste’
Eight Limbs of Yoga
Yama (Self-Control: how to treat and care for others)
Ahimsa (Non-Violence: protecting all living beings, making life safe for others, practicing kindness, consideration)
Satya (Truthfulness: think before you speak, remain silent if the truth would hurt, do not speak unnecessarily)
Asteya (Non-Stealing: do not take what does not belong to you, do not waste another’s time, do not tell confidential information, save on non-renewable energy)
Bramacharya (Mastering Relationships: form relationships based on understanding, respect others relationships, practice moderation and self-control)
Aparigraha (Non-Possessiveness: take only what is necessary, let go of attachments to things, don’t hoard, don’t be greedy, give away what you no longer use)
Niyama (Commitments: how to treat and care for ourselves)
Saucha (Cleanliness: keeping your environment clean, eat healthy, encourage positive thinking)
Santosha (Contentment: be grateful and happy with what you have and who you are, realize everyone has struggles and accept and move through difficult situations with grace)
Tapas (Daily Practice: keep the body fit on a daily basis, eat only when hungry, regularly pay attention to breath)
Svadhayaya (Daily Study: read something inspirational, become centered, get to know yourself better)
Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender to Higher Power: let go of false sense of control, become attuned to God’s will)
Asana (Physical Poses: move the body everyday to improve strength, balance and flexibility)
Pranayama (Breath Control: to cleanse, strengthen, increase energy and improve health)
Pratyahara (Withdraw From External: letting go of outer distractions, turning inward)
Dharana (Focus: concentration, train the mind to focus without distraction)
Dhyana (Fixation: uninterrupted flow of concentration to see the Truth)
Samadhi (Perfect Meditation: Begin to see your life improve, imbued with more love and deeper connections to yourself, your loved-ones and ultimately all humanity)
With so many people trying yoga today, it can be a difficult task finding the right yoga teacher. Everyday, people take yoga classes at the gym or through local community centers. For the most part, it’s an inexpensive and somewhat safe way to try yoga. But if you have medical conditions of any kind from blood pressure, arthritis, back pain, shoulder issues. carpal tunnel, or rehab-ing from surgery, it’s not only important, but vital to work with a Yoga Teacher who has been professionally trained, and has considerable experience with alignment principles. These two credentials are challenging to find. And here’s why……
There are no legal regulations on the teaching of yoga. You could literally take a yoga class with a person who has no professional training, no education, and worst of all, no experience with teaching individuals who have physical conditions. That’s like seeing a doctor with no training…
Our bodies are our tool to experience life. If it’s in pain, life can be disenchanting and challenging at best. Yoga can relieve the pain in our bodies, even help heal the body, along with proper nutrition. But your yoga teacher needs specific wisdom to help you do just that. So what to look out for…
First, if it’s cheap or free, there is usually a reason. And that is the red first flag. No talented and well trained yoga teacher can work for free. Yoga teachers who are continuously updating their talent and studying with Master Teachers pay dearly for their training. Teachers at the Yoga Studio are professionally trained, and are required yearly to complete advance training that exceeds the minimum requirement of the Yoga Alliance.
Second, be very careful taking the yoga classes at the gym or community center. I talk with people about yoga frequently. What upsets me most is hearing that someone took a yoga class with 20-30 people in it, and they hurt themselves seriously, and they don’t want to do yoga ever again. That is always an indication that the Teacher had little to no knowledge or wisdom of the science, and the class was too large for the students to get proper attention. Remember, there are a lot of doctors in the world, few with exceptional talent. Yoga is the same.
Third, if you already train heavily or if you are a runner. Please, please, please check your teachers out. If you are tight already, your yoga teacher can help you stretch properly. It’s not, lunge or spread your legs, touch your toes and bounce. In fact, that’s exactly the wrong way to stretch. Nothing screams hamstring, or groin tear louder. And sadly, I heard a story about an athelete that had that experience in their gym yoga class. And had to stop running forever…
What do you do then? Referral is always a good start. Then check out your teachers credentials. A good yoga teacher is always willing to dicuss their training. And literally brag about their own teachers. Because a good yoga teacher is always a good student. You can also go online to the Yoga Alliance. They keep a relatively accurate database of professionally trained yoga teachers with miminum standards and requirements. The teachers at the Yoga Studio, not only have the minimum requirements, but are required to exceed these standards.
Lisa Tokarz, ERYT200, and founding director at the Yoga Studio of Shelby, located in Macomb County has received this credential by having a minimum of 200 hours of training, and teaching a minimum of 1,000 hours within 2 years of training. Over the past 10 years of teaching, Lisa has over 500 hours of professional training, she has taught roughly 500 hours in the last year alone. She has worked with students recovering from breast cancer, back surgery, shoulder surgery, severe and chronic arthritis. She specializes in knees and hips as she is an extreme athelete herself, and in her 20′s broke both knees skiing mogels, and suffered from complications of improper healing which lead to chronic and severe hip and low back pain. All of these issues with time, have been overcome by studying with many of the foremost yoga teachers from around the world.
Bottom line, don’t be afraid of yoga, be afraid of improperly trained yoga teacher’s. Do your homework, interview a few yoga teacher’s, make an appointment to visist a yoga studio. Don’t take yoga classes that are cheap, and watch out for free classes, (they are usually taught by teachers with little or no experience). At the Yoga Studio, we have a free class on the schedule, however, Anna is one of our most talented and skilled teacher’s in the industry. We picked her because we understand how important it is to have a positive nurturing experience as a new student of yoga.
What’s your eat, pray, love? Hmmmmm, eat?…gotta be the infinite supply of giant chocolate chip cookies on Silent Retreat last weekend. Pray?… for peace every day, and please stop the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Love? My amazing husband and partner, my kids, my cat….all the beautiful people practicing & teaching yoga at the Yoga Studio of Shelby. Find out your eat, pray, love with a yoga class at the Yoga Studio of Shelby.
Many people think yoga only stretches the body. What most people don’t know is that yoga can strengthen us by using the body as the free-weight. We move more weight with our own body, than we would consider moving at the gym. I would never think of benching pressing 140 lbs. but I do move that much weight in a yoga class. By learning specific poses (asana) we build strength and definition unlike traditional exercise methods.
About the author
Lisa Tokarz, E-RYT, is the founding director and senior teacher at the Yoga Studio of Shelby, locate in Macomb county. Lisa has studied the philosophies of yoga and dharma for 17 years, and believes we all contain the potiential to reach optimal health and happiness through a regular yoga practice both on and off the mat.