Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hi there, yogis!

I missed you all last night! I couldn't be more thankful to Sunshine for subbing for me yesterday. I needed a chance to rest a little and catch up on the sleep I missed last week while I was fretting over the GRE. There's nothing like a little Sunshine on these rainy days. :) Speaking of the GRE, I will say that it went really well; but unfortunately, I was one point away from the score I needed. One point! Ah!! This is frustrating, but at the same time, I was pretty shocked over my scores to begin with. After I finished the test, I actually sat there and debated whether or not to look at my scores, because I am optimistic in that way. Alas, my curiosity got the best of me and as I sat there tallying it up, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. At the time of taking it, I only had a vague idea of what I was aiming for. It wasn't until yesterday when I spoke with my advisor that I had the somewhat disheartening realization of missing the mark by one point. I had dreaded this very moment, but in an odd way it just confirmed my dedication to the program, the school and the knowing deep inside that I am meant to be a counselor. It's funny, I never thought I would be applying to go back to school. I also didn't expect to care so much about this specific program. I had intended on applying to a safety school, I thought to myself that maybe I need a backup school; but, at the end of the day, even with my one-point away test score, I want to stay the course. Somehow the score just affirmed that I would rather keep trying for the program that I really want, rather than apply somewhere else. I am, in this moment, really thankful for everything this application process is teaching me. I feel beyond blessed to even have the opportunity to be considered for graduate school. I am taking the GRE again on Wednesday, December 9th. I have taken a little break from studying the past few days, but I am planning on jumping right back in. I just wanted to let you all know how much your support has meant to me throughout this process. I received so many messages of love and support the day of the test and I can not thank you guys enough. I am beyond grateful to know you guys, to be a part of Maitri and for the opportunity to share life with you all; to me that is what yoga is about.  In Libby's last post, she mentioned this idea that there are different types of yoga. Although, yes, it is true there are different types of yoga, there is this one underlying thread: yoga is a connection. I used to live in a lot of separation. For a long time, I think I had to. It was something I learned to do to protect myself at a very young age. When I started practicing, there was a moment on my mat when the teacher said, "don't judge yourself." I could feel the weight of the entire world being lifted off of what felt like, my very heavy shoulders and something in my heart softened. As a recovering perfectionist, I have spent a good portion of my life thinking I needed to be perfect in order to be loved. Yoga teaches us that this isn't true. Perfection is something that separates us, limits us and keeps us from living from our hearts. There have been so many things happening in the world recently because of separation. It's heartbreaking and the day I went in to take my test, I felt that in the grand scheme of things, it's pretty trivial to be so worried about one score. I guess, through this process I have had the overwhelming feeling that in order to do anything, we have to be for ourselves rather than against ourselves and that means, having the courage to remain connected to ourselves no matter what. It's easy to separate. It's easy to step into our fear, but through remaining connected we remain standing in truth and in love, anything else is just no good.

So today yogis, on this rainy Tuesday, I am sharing with you the commitment to staying connected. I am going to keep going. I am determined to keep trying and if Maitri is any indication of what lies in putting your whole heart into something, I know this: there is no failure.

My teacher says, our success is guaranteed. As long as we stay connected and live from our hearts, it doesn't matter whether you practice vinyasa or bikram, what matters is how fully we can say yes to our own humanness.

Sending you all so much love!

P.S. There is no advanced vinyasa with Nicole this evening; she is Spain!
P.P.S. I will be teaching on Wednesday, we will have both classes on Thursday. I will also be teaching Friday and maybe we should celebrate Maitri's bday at some point this month?

We will have light holiday classes next week and don't forget we have Nicole's Beginners Workshop. Tell yo' friends!

Love you guys!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Yoga: Only you can define it


It’s All Yoga

by: Libby Young

When I first started yoga that’s what I thought it was: yoga. But whenever I talked 

about it with other people I began getting the question, “What kind of yoga do you 

practice?” I would blankly stare back and they would begin to ramble off names of 

countries? Desserts? Pig Latin? I had no idea what they were saying. 

Now that I’ve dove into the yoga pool, I know my way around from Ashtanga to Yin. 

But I still get that same question, “What kind of yoga do you practice?” Heck, I’m 

guilty of it too. I’m now of the philosophy that all those years ago, in my ignorant 

state, I had it right. I practice yoga. Not Kundalini, not Iyengar, not even Vinyasa, but 

Here at Maitri, we are a Vinyasa studio. But honestly, it’s just a name. If you attend 

classes with any of our instructors, you will experience snippets of many styles; you 

may not even be aware of it. It’s one of the reasons I love it here. So many 

practitioners get stuck in the philosophy of “my style is better than your style”. I’m 

here to say, that’s simply not true. Whether you regularly practice Hatha or Bikram 

or Restorative, it’s all yoga. And more importantly, it’s all worth experiencing. All of 

our instructors take what we love of every style, of our own experiences, and pour it 

into our classes, into our students. Because we all love yoga. Not just Vinyasa, not 

just Kripalu, or Jivamukti, or Power, or Yin, but yoga.

I always challenge my students to learn about the different styles and experience 

them. But more importantly, to realize that one way isn’t the end-all-be-all of yoga. 

It’s all yoga, folks. And practicing under that umbrella of knowledge will lead you to 

places in your practice you didn’t even know were there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

You vs. Yourself: Yoga Practice

By Libby Young

Self-competitiveness is an innate characteristic in all of us. Some more than others; 

but all of us try to push ourselves to be better. Self-competition is when we try to 

outdo our own selves. To take what we’ve accomplished and say “I can do better”. 

When we step onto our yoga mats, we all feel it; that drive to push our bodies 

further and deeper than we ever have before. Every pose is a new challenge. Every 

posture, a goal to beat. 

Is this a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Well, yes and no. Life is the great yin and yang, 

the big balancing act. And it’s no different on your mat. Pushing yourself in your 

yoga practice is important. If I didn’t push myself then my practice would consist of 

savasana for an hour and I most definitely would not be a teacher. Self-competition 

when focused can be a powerful tool to help you achieve things once thought 

impossible. However if I pushed myself too much, I would have very serious injuries 

not limited to: torn muscles, torn ligaments, herniated discs, even broken bones. The 

physical practice of yoga is an exercise and needs to be treated like one. Warm ups 

and cool downs, moving carefully and holding poses with the correct alignment. 

Pushing yourself too hard and too fast won’t help you be better, it will help you get 


So harness that drive into realistic goals for every practice. Take time at the 

beginning (even during Pranayama or breathing) to focus on one specific goal. 

Maybe it’s to hold a balancing posture longer or moving deeper into your forward 

fold; whatever it is, it should be singular. When we bog our minds down with 

becoming the best at everything, we usually accomplish very little. Progress is 

almost always made in the baby steps.  Most importantly, make it realistic. Don’t 

expect to back bend your body into a wheel when you are recovering from a slipped 

disc or put your legs behind your head when you can’t even touch your toes. We 

hear this phrase so much in yoga, but that is because it is an important one: LISTEN 

TO YOUR BODY. Know yourself; know your strengths and your weaknesses. So set 

your goals accordingly and keep that drive in check. And most importantly, be at 

peace with your current state. Often times when we set goals for ourselves, we think 

we should achieve them in a blink of an eye. Be realistic about the timeline as well. 

And forgive yourself even if you surpass it. Be okay with where your practice and 

your body is at on a day-to-day basis. It’s good to look towards a goal and to hold 

ourselves accountable and be disappointed when we don’t reach it. It’s bad to think 

that we can instantly achieve said goal and punish ourselves when we don’t reach it. 

Whether your goal is big or small. Break it down and assess it every day. Let that 

self-competitiveness drive you forward, not crash you into a ditch. We all want to be 

better and to achieve new things. Be aware, be present, and be conscious every time 

you practice and you will succeed.