Empowerment Through Yoga Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

For women, who make up 72% of yoga practitioners in the U.S., yoga has been lauded for its ability to cultivate self-love, confidence, and inner peace as well as strength, courage, and vitality. Yoga has fueled many heroine journeys.  

For BAMBU’s Kim Winnick, pranayama (yogic breath) gave her the power to overcome debilitating anxiety. Yoga taught Tracy Tushar that she didn’t need to “earn” the peace and quiet she craved, empowering her to prioritize her needs.

March 8 is International Women’s Day and in honor of our students – most of whom are women – we want to celebrate you and your stories of Empowerment Through Yoga. 

Through my practice of yoga, I realize all beings everywhere deserve peace and happiness it does not have to be earned.

~ Tracy Tushar

Has yoga helped you curb anxiety, reduce stress, and discover the joy of being in your body? Maybe it taught you the importance of deep and profound rest. Did it provide tools for you to step into your power and live life on your own terms? Whether it’s resulted in physical strengthening or mental fortitude, changes big or small, your yoga story is unique and worthy of reflection and celebration.

What is your story? How has yoga at BAMBU made a difference in how you live your life? Tell us about it here and we’ll send you a gift.

You can read Kim’s story here.

Teaching Our Inner Heart with Lessons for the Outer Body

Building lovingkindness – an inner attitude of wholeheartedly wishing all beings experience happiness – is trickiest when it comes to extending these feelings toward those with whom we’re in conflict. Sometimes it can be difficult to know how to extend lovingkindness without condoning bad behaviors in others or accepting harm done to us.

In Yoga we can take our lessons from our physical practice and extend them off the mat. Let’s look at Revolved Half Moon Pose (Parvritta Ardha Chandrasana) and how it relates to lovingkindness practice.

Most heart-opening poses taught in connection with lovingkindness, involve big heart openings such as backbends. But in this version of Half Moon we must balance on opposite hand and foot. This creates restrictions in the body when attempting to radiate the heart center up and extend the other hand and foot outward. It’s much like trying to send out feelings of lovingkindness from a place of conflict. It’s harder to get where we want to go, but not impossible.

To move into the pose, we root down into the standing leg and lift the back foot to hip height, drawing both hips in toward the midline. The shoulder of the grounding arm draws in as the hand roots down. As we anchor hips and shoulder we fortify our core and our foundation from which we can twist and open up the heart center and extend the upper arm. Maintaining integrity in the foundation is key. If the hip of the extended leg begins to drop, reduce the twist. Don’t sacrifice the balance in the hips for the extension in the chest and upper arm. Greater ease and extension in the pose will come in time with consistent practice.

Note the importance of shoring up the torso where manipura (naval/courage) chakra and anahata (heart/compassion) chakra reside and the setting of boundaries (not allowing the hip drop) to keep the core steady. Developing a lovingkindness attitude toward those who are difficult for us, means opening up from a place of strength. It takes courage. It also takes practice.

For more on lovingkindness practice see our post here or practice along with this recorded meditation.

If 2020 were a yoga class…

In a year upended by a pandemic, navigating the events of 2020 was like being in a perpetual Yoga class, the kind that’s physically hard and emotionally draining yet leaves you forever changed by its powerful life lessons. 2020 demanded that we see things in our world as they are and not just how we wish them to be. It challenged us to balance effort and ease. It required us to practice surrender and acceptance.

It also dispelled some unspoken myths of what’s required to practice Yoga. Like the Grinch who stole Christmas, the shutdown in March stripped Yoga of its commercial trimmings. Without brick-and-mortar studios to house our practice, we soon learned that the magic of Yoga can manifest without straps, bolsters, and blocks. It doesn’t require candles or music or essential oils. Even without a serene practice space, Yoga will transform, support, and meet us wherever we are.

As you show up for your practice in 2021, BAMBU is here to support you. Our skilled and compassionate teachers will help you get right to the heart of what’s needed most in our livestream classes.

We’ll also help you expand your practice with a monthly theme. This month we explore the use of Sankalpa as a tool for clarity and connection with our highest aim. (Sign up for 5 free daily email lessons plus a Yoga Nidra practice here.)

If you’re new to yoga or restarting your practice, consider our four week Absolute Beginner series. We also have a new Weekly Unlimited package that you can get for a limited time for just $21 per week.

If financial constraints are keeping you from your practice, please reach out for support. We’re here to help.


So bring it on 2021, we’re ready for you!


PS – In December we switched our studio software to fitDEGREE and transferred all existing student info. Learn more about the new platform here.

Community Care – Election Week Specials

We’re here to help you release stress and stay grounded. Be sure to register to take these complimentary live stream community classes this week:

  • Tuesday, November 3: MID-DAY STRETCH at noon – sign up!
  • Tuesday, November 3: SLOW FLOW at 5:30 pm – sign up!
  • Wednesday, November 4: YOGA NIDRA at 7:30 pm – sign up!
  • Thursday, November 5: MID-DAY STRECH at noon – sign up!
Also enjoy these pre-recorded offerings anytime you need them.

Strength-inspired music

Today’s playlist was inspired by Black History Month.

  1. Alabama — John Coltrane
  2. People Get Ready — The Impressions
  3. A Change is Gonna Come — Aretha Franklin
  4. Talkin’ Bout A Revolution — Tracy Chapman
  5. What’s Going On — Marvin Gaye
  6. I Am Not My Hair — India.Arie
  7. Halo — Beyonce
  8. Doo Wop (That Thing) — Lauryn Hill
  9. Redemption Song (Band Version) — Bob Marley
  10. Love & Hate — Michael Kiwanuka
  11. Superpower — Beyonce
  12. Unity — Tina Turner, Dechen Shak-Dagsay & Regula Curti
  13. Bija Mantra-Om Shrim Hrim Klim Mahalakshmyai Namaha (feat. Vidura Barrios

Fear of flying?

If the idea of being held up in the air by a fellow student is intimidating or the thought of supporting another human being as they seek to find balance off the ground makes you queasy, you’re in good company. Before taking their first class, many students question if they’re strong enough, flexible enough, or otherwise fit enough for AcroYoga.

What outweighs the uncertainty however is the intrigue that this yoga style brings. There’s a ‘magic’ in the poses and a beauty in seeing the partnership of two AcroYogis in action.  And you can discover what it’s all about at this Saturday’s AcroYoga 101: FUNdamentals with Leyna Schaeffer. To help you look past the fears and consider the possibilities we’ve put together this collection of videos and articles.

Here’s a video from instructor Leyna Schaeffer giving a quick look at what happened at a recent AcroYoga 101 class.

 

 

Here is one of many available TED Talks on the interpersonal benefits of AcroYoga.

 

Yoga Journal’s sample class gives a sense of how AcroYoga poses are learned.

AcroYoga 101: A Classic Sequence for Beginners

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Leyna shared this video for a look at some of the poses you’ll learn.

 

For a quick summary on AcroYoga’s benefits check out this article.

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At the end of the day, the best way to decide if AcroYoga is right for you is to try it. Don’t miss this opportunity. Find your wings and fly. Register today.

 

Father’s Day Flow Playlist

>>Enjoy this collection of music celebrating fathers.

  1. Buddha’s Lullaby – Manose
  2. Daughters – John Mayer
  3. Dance With My Father – Luther Vandross
  4. My Father’s Eyes – Eric Clapton
  5. Papa Was a Rolling Stone – The Temptations
  6. Father and Daughter – Paul Simon
  7. Teach Your Children – Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
  8. Cat’s In The Cradle – Harry Chapin
  9. Father’s Child – Michael Kiwanuka
  10. Piece by Piece (Idol version) – Kelly Clarkson
  11. Long Time Sun – Snatam Kaur
  12. Om Mani Padme Hum 1 (Mantra) – Jane Winther
  13. Ancient Irish Gregorian Chant – Serenitatis Gregorian Chant for Meditation
  14. Gregorian Chant Lullaby –  Serenitatis Gregorian Chant for Meditation

 

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Summer Yoga Flow Playlist

>>>Enjoy the summer grooves of this playlist from Sunday, June 4.

  1. Angelic Rays – Crystal Voices
  2. Groovin’ – The Young Rascals
  3. Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee
  4. Rock on Hanuman – MC Yogi with Krishna Das
  5. Love Belongs to Everyone/Gayatri (Deep Dub Mix) – David Newman, Krishna Venkatesh
  6. Lovely Day (Remastered)- Bill Withers
  7. Be Thankful for What You Got – William DeVaughn
  8. Lokah Somasta – Deva Premal and Miten
  9. Summertime (feat. Peter Gabriel) – Larry Adler
  10. Black Hole Sun – Stella Starlight Trio
  11. Moon River (feat. Killa Kyleon) – Earl Klugh
  12. Om Mani Padme Hum 1 (Mantra) – Jane Winther
  13. Sanctus – Ashana

Mantra: ADI SHAKTI

In honor of Mother’s Day we offer this devotional mantra that invokes the primary Creative Power which is manifest as the feminine. It calls upon the Mother Power.

Mantra:

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo
Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo
Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Namo Namo
Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo

Translation:

First force of all creation, to You I bow
Divine force, everywhere, to You I bow
Creative force, primal force, to You I bow
Rising up, Divine Mother, to You I bow

Benefits:

The Adi Shakti Mantra tunes one into the frequency of the Divine Mother, and to the primal protective, generating energy. It is said that chanting it eliminates fears and fulfills desires.

 

Does separation make us feel more connected?

Despite the technology that allows us to message or speak to one another at any time, you don’t have to look very hard to see the  growing struggle for individuals to connect with others. In the news and social media, inflammatory comments are rampant and creating walls between people of differing ideas and beliefs. What is going on?

Noted author and speaker Brené Brown has done extensive research on connection which she defines as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”

Because Brown contends that we are hardwired for connection, it’s puzzling to see the surge in “othering” (the purposeful separation created between a perceived “us” vs. “them”) that’s appearing in our daily discourse. Whether it be political leanings, skin color, religion, or ethnicity, the divisions in our country are growing deeper.

If connection is so vital to us, why then are we working so hard on separating ourselves?

There seems to be aamma-quote-2n evolutionary drive behind ‘othering.’ Psychologist speculate that having strong distinctions between groups was important in our tribal past when knowing who wasn’t a part of your group was essential for survival.

Despite the progress in globalization, societies around the world continue to cycle through periods of self-imposed divisions, most notably when fear and uncertainty are left unchecked.

The reason for our resistance to connection during times of stress, may be found in the teachings of the Tao Te Ching.  It reminds us of the value of opposites. There is no black without white, no light without dark, no good without evil, no left without right, no front without back. We experience things only in contrast to other things. The more we focus on the differences, the more value we give to the commonalities.

Could the reason for the increase in ‘othering’ and separation simply be a natural response to our increasing need to feel connected? With our 24-hour news cycles and constant bombardment of bold, sometimes shockingly candid discussions on social channels, could we be feeling less safe, less certain and be in greater need to seek comfort among those who are like us? And as we seek to make those connections, is it possible we inadvertently create more divisions?

I think so. I believe, too, that we can find connection without ‘othering’ by bringing more yoga to our lives. In upcoming posts, we’ll explore yoga’s role in helping us find greater connection – and unity – in a different way.

~ K