Mindful Living

FREE YOGA WEDNESDAYS

Hot Yoga of East Nashville strives to provide a space where everyone feels comfortable, welcome and accepted.  Located in a historic East Nashville building, (formerly the East Nashville Cooperative – a food bank, health and welfare ministry that relocated to another space in East Nashville 3 years ago)  this yoga community is home to artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, students, moms, dads, and everyone in between.  The studio is a place where everyone can find movement, stillness, and strength inside of their minds and bodies.  The yoga we teach can truly restore a person’s sense of well-being and broaden their possibilities through both physical and mental stretching.

While yogis of all ages, shapes, and sizes will find similar benefits by coming to their mats, there is one glaring obstacle that many people face:  financial difficulty. We know there are folks who could benefit from yoga and can’t afford it.  We wish to remove that obstacle.

To this end, we are offering free yoga to any and all on Wednesdays.  (Yes, every Wednesday.) This includes all of the 15 class offerings from 6 am to 9 pm. A person need only show up at the studio to join a class.  Please remember that our classrooms do fill up, and a first-come-first-serve policy will be in place.

Donations are accepted for these classes, and 100% of the proceeds will be given to the Martha O’Bryan Center to support their education programs and their fight to end the cycle of poverty experienced by 1 in 5 people in Nashville today.

We invite you to come practice with us for free on Wednesdays!  Yoga, at its essence, means “union,” and we are committed to deepen our service to the community that has been our home since day one.  We appreciate you.

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    MY YOGA STORY: MORE LOVE, LESS FEAR, MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE

MY YOGA STORY: MORE LOVE, LESS FEAR, MORE OF WHAT YOU WANT IN YOUR LIFE

From: Allison Fallon
I started going to yoga about six weeks before everything fell apart. My husband-at-the-time and I had been trying to have a baby for almost two years at that point, and I was starting to lose hope that it would ever happen for us. But I heard a story about a woman who struggled with fertility for years, and when she started a regular yoga practice, she became pregnant within six months.
That was enough to convince me.
I walked down the street and signed up.
It had been a few years since I’d been in a regular routine of moving my body, but it didn’t seem like all that long since I’d been a distance runner. I had completed several half-marathons and a full marathon. So when the instructor suggested that for my first few classes I should focus on simply staying in the room, I balked a little.
I mean, how hard could it be to stay in a room?
That was before the class started and the heat pressed in and I realized how far you can get from yourself without even knowing it; how long you can go without paying any attention to the fact that you have been barely breathing.
Those first few classes were miserable.
I felt like I might be dying—and I was barely doing anything. Just sitting there on my mat. The only reason I kept coming back was that the instructor said yoga would help us to get three things, and I wanted each of those three things:
1. More love
2. Less fear
3. More of what we want in our lives.
I hoped she was right. I hoped yoga would help me get what I wanted.
Six weeks later, everything fell apart.
It was a normal Thursday afternoon when I uncovered the truth of my marriage, and suddenly the fact that we hadn’t been able to become pregnant wasn’t the problem anymore. The day I found what I found, a friend asked me if I was surprised, and I told a her to imagine she had been in a fist fight for years with a blindfold on.
Then today, someone took the blindfold off.
No, I was not surprised.
We hold truths in our bodies that are too big for our minds.
The irony is not lost on me that I went to yoga to get pregnant and instead ended up getting a divorce. But I am learning the hard and beautiful truth that sometimes what we think we want is not what we actually want, and that the process of getting what we want usually involves several things we did not want at all.
 So I kept going to yoga.
One of the things I have loved most about yoga is that there is nowhere to hide.
In life we hide behind make-up or name brands or job titles or relationship statuses. In yoga, in that hot room with all those smelly, sweaty not-so-covered-up bodies, there is nowhere to go except… right there.
In the truth.
The fleshy, terrible, magical, beautiful truth of you.
It’s a terrifying and beautiful thing to to see yourself so completely.
To look at where you are weak or soft or grieving or heartbroken and let love go there.
What a strange and petrifying feeling to find that all the pieces of the puzzle you had been fighting to hold together weren’t even your puzzle pieces in the first place, and that all that love you were dying to have had always been right there in front of you.
All you have to do is get soft enough to receive it.
All you had to do was stop trying so hard, and relax enough to let it in. That winter, I filed for divorce.
I walked into the attorney’s office and did the thing I swore to myself I would never do, the thing I had judged others for doing, the thing I had wanted to do for longer than I could even allow myself to admit. The truth does this to you, I guess. Humbles you. Makes you human again. Gets you back into alignment with yourself.
Yoga does this to you.
More love.
Less fear.
More of what you want in your life.
And after signing all of those terrible, beautiful, life-altering papers, I went to yoga again. I fought and cried and melted into my mat again, and again and again.
It was all I had. My offering. It was all it took.
What I’m learning from yoga is the same thing I’m learning from the rest of my life—which is that we are entitled to our efforts, but not to our outcomes; that we can either be in control, or be in love, but not both.
I’m learning to be in love. I’m choosing to be in love.
 Several things have changed in my life since those early days of yoga—beyond the fact that I am finally breathing again. I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I sleep better. I have better tools to calm my own anxiety. I’m more focused and productive. I feel more confident, more capable.
I’m stronger and also softer. I’ve even fallen in love.
And although in those early days yoga seemed like the hardest thing I had ever done, I’m learning now that it is also the easiest—the easiest and the best and the most life-changing thing you could ever do, showing up. Getting on your mat. Starting where you are.
Giving it all you have.
Slowly, without even knowing it, we are all getting where we’re trying to go.

MARCH 21-DAY CHALLENGE: CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN!

I didn’t grow up in a church that practiced Lent but I’ve always liked the idea of Lenten Season. 1) Because I like a good challenge or maybe I like the opportunity or excuse to try something new or clean up my routine. 2) Because I value the concept of shaking up routine, taking something away that I depend on, making myself a little uncomfortable in order to grow. I believe that one of the original concepts of giving something up for Lent (40 days) or any fasting is that when you miss, crave, or think about that thing you’ve given up (which will probably be many times a day), you use the opportunity to turn your mind to the thing you’re remembering and trying to meditate on more deeply. There are many things we can notice as we give something up that we are used to having or doing, when we simply shake up our routine – our emotional and physical patterns, our reliances, our habits around that thing that may not even be about the thing. Do I need the thing for the thing or to quiet some other desire or unrest that arises during my day?
Let’s be honest, I also like the idea of Lent or Cleanses or Challenges because it gives me a recipe for self-restraint – clear instructions, boundaries. But do I really need more self-restraint, more self-harm in my life, and isn’t that really more of a self-serving motive when look at my intentions? What can I do that will help me to grow and do better as a friend, a wife, a business owner, a dog-mama, a yoga teacher? For this challenge, I’m choosing to give up sugar – yes, because it contains empty calories but also because it is my comfort food, my go-to distraction from stillness and mindfulness, my craving that comes up most often that I actually need the least. I’m adding something to make me a more present, mindful wife and partner – giving positive affirmations each day to Clay… you know, being nicer and all that!  The hardest one, the habit I’m working on is not offering or giving my opinion on things when I’m not asked. You get it. It’s hard. I want to help but am I helping? Let’s try something new. Shake things up. Spring Challenge!
 
Get ready for your Choose-Your-Own-Challenge if you would like to join me!  You choose 3 ways to challenge yourself over the first 21 days of March:
1) Something you’re giving up
2) Something you’re adding
3) A habit your want to create or cultivate

I’m also providing daily guide for yoga/mindful challenges to keep you motivated and to inspire your sharing on social media (you’ll want to follow the challenge #hyespringchallenge on Instagram and post your challenges and inspirations): 

Day 1) Warrior
– choose your warrior posture, standing firm and ready for whatever comes your way!
Day 2) Breath Work
– demonstrate a breathing exercise that you are practicing, Pranyama – breathwork to still and focus the mind; to improve lungs and respiratory system.
Day 3) Backbend
– choose a backbend to send nourishing blood and oxygen to the vertebrae and cartilage. Healthy spine for a happy life!
Day 4) Nourish
– how are you nourishing yourself differently today and during this challenge? Try a new recipe or new way of cooking or preparing your favorite dish!
Day 5) Twist
– find a twist to squeeze out the internal organs and the spine – detoxify and stimulate the organs and glands.
Day 6) Hydrate
– drink water! Today try drinking – not 64 ounces but 132 ounces (16 glasses) of water. Maybe do it again tomorrow and the next day and for all 21 days.
Day 7) Shoulder Strength
– use a shoulder strengthening exercise to build strength for a stronger practice or maybe building your inversion practice
Day 8) Meditate
– practice a meditation exercise today… We will provide an exercise you can try!
 
Day 9) Dancer
– find grace and focus in your variation of dancer. Just like in our daily lives, in Dancer Posture, you have to find what to engage and what to soften – where to work and where to relax.
Day 10) Cleanse
– take something out of your routine/your body that isn’t serving you or something you don’t need today.
Day 11) Spiral Movement
– use a spiral movement to move energy, strengthen the inner and outer core, and to awaken your mind and body
Day 12) Balance
– find a balancing posture to develop your concentration – focus your mind on one thing only. You will find that you have no choice but to be present, in the moment, when you are balancing on one leg
Day 13) Inspiration
– Share who or what has been an inspiration lately or throughout your life. What words or example do you come back to as a reminder of what you are working towards or what is important to you.
Day 14) Heart Opener
– Open your heart with physical asana (posture) and follow it with internal reflection – what came up? Use meditation, prayer, intention or journalling to respond to what you saw or noticed
Day 15) Inversion
– Try an inversion today to change your perspective. Need support? No problem! Use a friend, a tree, your dog or another object!
Day 16) Hip Opener
– practice a hip-opening posture AND for extra credit – stay in the posture for 5 minutes (this means 5 minutes on each side if it is a single-sided posture)
Day 17) Free Movement
– find your free movement, dance or flow! Can you step to this? We want to see a video and don’t hold back… extra bonus points for yogis who get creative, have fun and let go of inhibitions!
Day 18) Core Strength
– practice an abdominal strengthening exercise. We strengthen our core so we can support the rest of our body and support the dreams we are building.
Day 19) Chakra Opener
– try a chakra opening movement to move energy through an area in your body that may feel “stuck” … We will give you some examples to try!
Day 20) Spine Lengthener / Back-body Opener
– find a forward fold or a seated stretch to decompress your spine, sending fresh blood flow to the space between the vertebrae. Lengthen the back sides of the legs, even the souls of the feet to allow your body to be at ease – not just to do more yoga postures but to do more life!
Day 21) Salutation
– Practice a salute to the sun, the moon, the gods and goddesses, your choice. Namasakara – means to bow to, to honor, to adore… in closing this challenge, we bow in honor to each of you, in gratitude for the world created around us.
Lastly, we have prizes! Sponsored Prizes include:
~ Aveda Hair + Skin Gift Sets
~ Lululemon – Professional Mat
~ Chelsea Young – Pantry Makeover & Grocery Trip | Meal Prep Class for you + 3 friends!
~ The Raw Deal – Gift Certificate for delivered raw meals!
~ Free Massage from Claire Wallace – Safe Camp Massage
~ Free Tuition for a Buti Yoga Teacher Training ($725 value)
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    BIKRAM + KUNDALINI PAIRING – YOUR SUN AND YOUR MOON PRACTICE

BIKRAM + KUNDALINI PAIRING – YOUR SUN AND YOUR MOON PRACTICE

Submitted by Annie Peterson, currently on her way to Nashville to teach Kundalini paired with an Advanced Bikram Yoga Class.
As this workshop came together, I really thought about how these two practices fit together for me.  The expressive hatha practice feels amazing in my body – the physicality, the process of alchemy that you undergo in the room, the confrontation of self and ego in the mirror.  It still works for me and I’ve been practicing consistently for 10 years.
5 years ago I found Kundalini yoga and added it to my Bikram practice.  As they say “All Roads Lead to Rome” and so the union, energy balance, mental clarity, meditation and awakening of the body’s systems are all present in both, as well as other yogic and non-yogic practices.  Anything humans do with mindfulness and intention can lead to self-realization, self-mastery and growth.
That said, to get to Rome (i.e. the self, potential, realization, to “come home”) you must choose one road, or a few, as the case may be.
The road to Rome for me has been a balancing of the hot and unheated practices of Bikram and Kundalini yoga – Kundalini mirrors the hatha practice: the room isn’t (intentionally) heated, often we close our eyes, and so it invites an experience of the self, body and consciousness from a different, yet equal, angle.
When I’ve stacked these practices back-to-back, the combined effect for me has been profoundly positive — that is, on the rare occasions I can do three hours of yoga in one day!
So, as Bre and I continued talking and brainstorming what we wanted this to be, we continued on our own paths and this concept emerged as an offering to students to experience a deeper hatha practice & learn about another set of tools to compliment whatever practice you already have…
I can only speak for myself, but I find these two lineages to be fascinating, and they’ve each brought so much to my life.  I’m looking forward to serving and engaging with this community this weekend!
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    WHEN I LET GO OF WHAT I WANT, TO TAKE CARE OF OTHER PEOPLE, MAYBE I GET WHAT I NEED

WHEN I LET GO OF WHAT I WANT, TO TAKE CARE OF OTHER PEOPLE, MAYBE I GET WHAT I NEED

After a particularly long workday, I was driving down Woodland Street en route to the Turnip Truck for some dinner goods. Realizing I had some letters to mail, I stopped at the post office and dropped them in the box. Before I could get back to my car, the woman selling newspapers outside hollered that she had a question for me: “Can you give me a ride home?”

It was hotter than the eye of a blowdryer outside, she was carrying about 18 bags of things, and I sympathized.  I wouldn’t have thought of offering but it was definitely the nice thing to do, so why not? “Sure,” I replied, and with that she hopped right in. She asked me for my name, even though we recognized each other – I’ve seen her most every day for the last 3 years at least, the sweet black lady who usually says, “Hey Baby” (like a sassy, southern mama bear) when I see her.  I learned her name for the first time as well. I continued along Woodland, silently planning my trip to the Turnip Truck (hopefuly this would include a smoothie sample) when she informed me that she lives in Madison. Immediately my paradigm shifted from my pleasant grocery trip and the particular items I wanted for dinner to the realization that I would now have to visit a grocery store in Madison or even Rivergate (my ultimate destination was in fact all the way up to my new residence in Goodlettsville). My heart sank a little but I turned the car north towards Madison and away from my beloved natural market. I told myself to quit all that nonsense and be grateful for the opportunity to help someone out but visions of smoothies were still dancing in my head.

We tried to make conversation on the 15-minute trip up north weaving in and out of traffic. I kept telling myself to “just be cool.” I was trying not to say something silly like some petty gripe that might normally come up in an everyday conversation but would seem rather insulting to someone whose job it is to stand outside 8 hours a day in the heat and cold, rain and snow, selling The Contributor for $2 apiece. So, I mostly just listened. Turned out she was born and raised here in Nashville. “We seen a lot,” she kept saying. “Things gonna get worse ‘fore they get better. A lot worse,” she said in response to her mainly one-sided conversation about the “improvements” in the area, which I’ve heard others refer to as gentrification. She seemed sorry for the young folks living through it and getting into trouble. Saddened by family members who have gone to jail or been killed. “They need a job, something to do. They NEED Jesus!” I nodded and tried to imagine life in her shoes… Our lives were different but we shared faith.


We got to the duplex where she lived, she got out and thanked me for the ride. I felt like it wasn’t nearly enough … but in the moment realized, what could I have done that would have been enough? Maybe it was just right. For today. I gave her what she needed in the moment…. I continued up the road. I called to tell my husband I’d be late because I’d gone off-course and also hit rush-hour traffic. He then asked me to stop at Walmart for some additional items since I was going to pass by the one on Gallatin. Getting hangrier by the minute, I agreed with an extra bit snappiness. I knew I was going to need something to eat to get me through the rest of the less-scenic driving route and the additional unpleasant errand. I pulled into the nearest grocery store, which was nothing like the pristine aisles of Turnip Truck with the stylish folks that frequent it. Here in Madison, I grabbed the first roasted chicken I found, Caesar salad in a bag, and a bottle of white wine (an impulse buy which seemed justified at this point).

Continuing on up the road, I pulled into Walmart, turned off my car and decided I needed to eat a chicken leg NOW. Realizing that the wine was a twist off bottle, I figured I might as well have a couple sips before going inside, then grabbed my purse and headed through the automatic doors with my chicken leg and greasy fingers. Another lesson in embracing the moment. I didn’t need the Turnip Truck. It would always be there tomorrow. And maybe letting go of attachments was the very thing I needed to be reminded of. Every moment of every day, I’m making plans and then trying to carry them out. But I’m not here just for myself. I can put my plans or desires on the back burner from time to time, and maybe sometimes, like today, that will be ultimately more rewarding.  

MINDFUL LIVING & MAKING BABIES

by Tara Smith

January, 2014 was the time during which I poured myself in my yoga practice again. One day at a time, what I thought might be 30 days, led me to practice daily for almost 4 months. It also led to me getting pregnant after 5 years of trying both natural and hormonal fertility treatments. I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but it was after I allowed myself to return to yoga that my body agreed to what my heart and mind had been wanting for so long.

My husband and I had just finished our last round of fertility treatment the month prior, and we we decided to take a break before proceeding to the next phase of our treatment. Since I would be on a break from the treatments, I decided that what I really wanted to do at that time was a 30-day challenge. This ended up turning into 60 days and then 90 days. I then started my fourth month. After 105 days of yoga, I found out that we had conceived naturally. I was elated and nervous all at the same time. How could this be? After years of trying, when we had finally stopped treatment and I immersed myself in yoga, it happened!

I’m not the first. In fact, I think it happens quite frequently.

But in my mind, I allowed myself that precious time on my mat every day, which allowed my mind and body to relax… and then boom!!

Per my doctors orders, I took the rest of the first trimester off of teaching and taking class to let crucial development take place. However, the moment I got the doctor’s OK to get back into the hot room, that’s exactly what I did, and I can’t tell you what a difference it made in every aspect of my pregnancy and delivery.

Hot yoga has been amazing for me for all the reasons it’s amazing for everyone – pregnant or not. The heat promoting circulatory benefits, reducing, rather eliminating completely, swelling in my wrists and ankles, and literally combating any negative side effects typically associated with pregnancy, as I kept up a practice of 3-4 times per week.

I was more noticeably relaxed, by maintaining a low blood pressure and keeping stress and anxiety at bay. Overall, I feel really good.

The breathing techniques – pranayama – that I practice in the Hot 26 series gave me even that much more power and control when delivery day arrived! Indeed, my son Lenon was born naturally and healthy, and I recovered as quickly as I could imagine.

My advice to any mother-to-be is this: as long as it feels good, do it! Your body will let you know what is right or wrong for you. Many women stay away from hot yoga when they are pregnant, but I don’t know what I would have done without it. As long as you have a regular practice and have approval from your doctor, you will be better off for the dedication you give to yourself during a time in which much of your energy is given to growing someone else. It is always important to take the time for yourself on your mat.