May You Bloom and Grow…..Forever – Guest Post by Lauralaine Thiers

 

Through this class I have gained skills that I will carry on with me long after I leave Cape Fear. I think I’ve learned a lot about my physical capabilities like balance and strength as well as opening my mind and exploring things like patience and compassion. I believe I’ve grown since beginning this class in that I notice myself more often being mindful of my words and actions and how they affect others as well as being mindful of my place in the universe and continuously trying to only put out good energy and good karma. I’ve learned that yoga goes beyond stretching and posing on a mat. Yoga is a way of life and practicing yoga only paves the way to manifest a more peaceful lifestyle. 

I plan to continue to practice yoga on my own in a self-taught manor and push my boundaries as I explore new poses and meditations. Hand-in-hand with yoga, I have found meditating incredibly useful especially in stressful times to collect myself and stay grounded. A combination of continuous yoga practice and meditation will only continue to move me closer to true enlightenment, the ultimate goal. Although at the moment I have no set destination, yoga has proved to be a practice that has rightfully gained a spot in my life indefinitely. I plan on utilizing yoga as I do now, and hope to blossom through practice just as I hope to blossom as an individual.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

What Was, Is Again – Guest Post

I especially identify with students who are coming to yoga for the first time in their twenties. That’s when I was first exposed to it. I wasn’t the kid whose parents did yoga or who did it through gymnastics or dance. It’s something that I needed back then, but didn’t know a thing about. I like when students who have had it once can find their way back onto the yoga path….

At the beginning of the semester, I was kind of skeptical about taking a yoga course. It wasn’t needed for any credentials, but I had taken yoga classes years ago out of high school, and remembered just how therapeutic they could be. The difference now of course, is about 50 lbs and 17 years!

That being said, I am so glad I went through with this class. It has helped me focus on my breathing, which is huge because I am an asthmatic. This class has helped me to be able to relax to the point of meditation, which was really surprising to me. It didn’t come right away, but I got there. I’m thankful that Mrs. P is so patient with us, because one of the fears that I had going in was that the pacing would be too fast, but that wasn’t the case. I was able to keep up and I actually learned about myself in the process. I surprised myself at how flexible (and NOT flexible) I actually was.

Being encouraged to do yoga, at least a few moments a day, has had a positive impact on me. I find myself taking opportunities to do more stretches throughout the day and since we also covered different breathing techniques, I’ve learned how deal with stress a little better as well.

All in all I enjoyed my time in this class, and I have definitely been given tools that I will continue to practice. Thanks for a great experience!

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

What is Yoga? – Guest Post

I truly never know what a student will write about when I give them the opportunity to reflect on a semester of yoga. Sometimes they tell about how little they connected with the practice of yoga. Other times they tell about how much they get out of it. It’s really only discovered when one delves deeply into their own honesty about what the practice really means….

Taking yoga for the first time, I was not sure what to expect at first because I have no experience in yoga. Ever since I was a little kid, I always had a general idea of what yoga was supposed to look like, and whenever I tried learning yoga, it never worked out in the end. In all honesty, I thought yoga would be a lot easier than having to take walking for fitness or health class. I assumed yoga would be less work to do, but I was wrong. To my surprise, yoga is very challenging. It takes hard work to learn, especially for me, because you must put a lot of physical and mental energy into recreating all the different types of yoga poses.

During this semester, I have learned that yoga is physical but mental as well. Also, when practicing yoga, you must remember that your mind and body must stay connected with the movements to keep yourself balanced. In taking this course, I have grown a lot more physically and mentally by trying my best to learn the yoga poses and getting myself out of my comfort zone. After this class is over, I intend to use yoga by teaching my close friends and family at home. I plan to keep yoga alive by regular attending yoga classes around the Wilmington area. Overall, I had an enjoyable experience while taking this course. I want to say a big thanks to Mrs. P. for being a yoga instructor at Cape Fear and for being able to teach us life lessons through this enjoyable experience. Thanks to her, I have learned lots of new things in this class, and I hope to continue practicing yoga.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Letting Go – Guest Post

Sometimes a student is so quiet that you’re not sure that they’re engaged in learning what you’re presenting. But for many of my students they experience the same themes. I think that we need yoga more than ever in the world. We need to get rid of the anxiety and stress that comes with every day life and get back to letting go of the things we cannot control…..

I am glad I choose to take Yoga my first year of college. Yoga has helped me deal with my stress. I have anxiety and depression and can get stressed over things that are not in my control.Yoga has taught me to live more in the moment. I understand now that things take time, it’s a process and the process/development can be a beautiful journey. My favorite discussion topic was the Yamas and Niyamas. My top three were Ahimsa, Asteya and Isvara Pranidhana. When learning about the Yamas and Niyamas, it made me question myself a lot like asking myself “Am I happy?” “Am I satisfed?” “What’s next?”. All things we ask ourselves when we get older.  

My overall Yoga experience was a good one. I will continue to practice Yoga more at home. Before starting Yoga I thought it would be just sitting in silence for a long time and clearing your mind and thoughts but it’s more than that. I was not expecting to do deep stretches that began to really test my body, but I liked it. My favorite part of Yoga is the spiritual side of it. I love the feeling I have after I do Yoga, it’s the same feeling I have when I leave the gym. The feeling of letting go and taking your mind off things that stress you. I really enjoyed taking Yoga this semester. 

 

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Opening the Bottle – Guest Post

Have you been there? Were you the type of person who was too tough for yoga? I was. Sometimes my students resist yoga because they believe that it’s too easy. Others come to the practice hoping for that ease and learn a lot more about their strength. Sometimes the strength is not in the body itself….

Starting off in the class, I thought that it was just going to be easy and something that I could easily breeze through. I believed that coming to this class would relax my inner mind and calm my soul. But oh was I wrong. I found out that yoga connects your mind and soul and it kinda made me take a deeper look into my life and into the things I needed to change. It helped me grow with not only my flexibility but as a person that is now in touch with the outside world. I thought that yoga would just have helped me with being able to touch my toes but it did more than that when it showed me another part of the world. I have learned multiple things about myself in yoga. One of the largest things is that I need to listen to myself. So many times I have pushed through pain and suffering mentally and physically and that made me in a worse state than I already was. Yoga really showed me that it’s okay to hurt and it’s okay to let those feelings free. It taught me not to keep things so bottled up and on my chest.

In the future I will probably not practice yoga on a daily basis. Mostly because it makes my joint hurt. But I think I am going to keep in my mind the practices that I learned about connecting with my inner body. I have become more aware of myself and the people around me. The most important thing to me is that I have become more happier with myself and learned not to be so upset all time. Yoga has made me grow and taught me new things that I would have never imagined. I am so forever grateful for the experience I got to have with my friends of feeling the opening and connection of the heart and soul but also seeing them perform ridiculous poses. Until next time, Namaste.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Yoga is Fun by Thomas Hill – Guest Post

Not all parts of yoga are for everyone. But some of my favorite students are male students and athletes and when I can get one that’s both it’s even better! This student was a challenge in more ways than one. His background and mine were very different and I think he was coaxed into taking this class by a group of friends. He was also a joy to have in class each day as he lightened the somewhat serious mood of teaching yoga from time to time.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this yoga class.  I set a goal at the beginning of the semester to be able to easily touch my toes and still for some reason cannot do it.  However, I have learned a lot about yoga and about my body during this class.  Practicing yoga throughout the semester helped me push my body to the limit and see how much I could do.  I learned that there are some poses in yoga I can do with ease and some are a little bit more difficult.  It was fun to learn something new and a little about where the practice of yoga came from. 

 

The dreaded crow pose!

The thing I enjoyed the most was the strength and balance poses.  I liked how they pushed my body to another level and I could feel the muscles burning.  I think crow pose is interesting and I had fun attempting that one.  One thing I did not like doing was meditating.  I’ve never really been a fan of that kind of stuff and it’s hard for me to just sit there and breathe for long periods of time without getting sidetracked.  All in all, I really enjoyed this class.  Thank you for making yoga fun.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Walk in the Clouds by Rebekah Johnson – Guest Post

Testimonials are all that it takes for some people to jump on a bandwagon. What’s your excuse for not trying yoga this year? If this account of the effects of practicing aren’t enough for you to at least consider it…..I don’t know what would be.

I was really excited to get into this class and am leaving the class with so much more knowledge about yoga than what I had entering. Every Monday after leaving class, I walked out feeling like I was walking on clouds. There is a lightness that comes with my steps after a good practice and that lightness continues on with me throughout my days.

The practices we have learned in class are now incorporated into my daily routine. Although I have a very busy life and schedule, I make time for yoga whether it be 30 minutes or an hour plus. The meditation practices, particularly yoga nidra, have also been brought into my routine every other day if not daily. Taking the time to practice and learn has impacted me far more than just physically. The spiritual up lifting I have been experiencing is incredible. This class has truly changed my life for the better and i am excited to continue on with my yoga journey.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

A Peaceful Place in the Mind by Melissa – Guest Post

Students come in to my class from all different walks of life. Today I will start a new yoga class, not at CFCC. I will meet 30 new faces with stories I’ve yet to hear. Each student brings something different to the yoga experience and each student is touched in a different way by yoga. Thankfully most of them are positive and yoga brings them relief from back pain, a mental break, or even lifts a little of their grief.

Previous to this semester, I had only ever taken a few yoga classes, mostly just basic classes through the YMCA near where I worked. To be completely honest, I had always thought of yoga as a sort of soft exercise and somehow not as worthy of my time as more obviously physically-intensive practices such as Pilates, cardio, or lifting. Three years ago this week, I went through an immense emotional trauma when my boyfriend of eight months passed away suddenly and without much explanation. To say the least, the loss and the lack of closure messed me up, and I had trouble finding peace in my thoughts when I was by myself. After several months of therapy and dabbling with occasional yoga classes at the YMCA, I felt soothed. Despite the fact that the instructor mostly just guided us through the poses and didn’t really teach us much about breathing, the best part about these classes was the rest that it gave my mind to just focus on moving my body and nothing else, to simply relax in the nothingness when we spent the last few minutes of class in a relaxation pose.

Since moving to Wilmington, I have felt that I have been caught in an endless cycle of a full course load at school, a 35-hour work week, and trying to find sleep in between. I didn’t have the time to devote to exercise and I certainly didn’t have the money to join a yoga studio, so I just gave up on working out. Stuck in what seemed to be an endless cycle of stress and mounting cynicism and frustration, I decided that this semester I should take yoga and get back to that quiet place in my mind that I loved so much when I was healing. What surprised me the most about this class was what I learned about how to breathe in different ways and how the breath is supposed to properly line up with your physical movements during your yoga poses.

I had hoped to come to some sort of self-revelation this semester, but I found it more difficult than ever to free my mind of the stress and frustration and quiet the noise. When discussing the Eight-Limb path and focusing on not having violent thoughts towards others or to oneself, I had to be introspective and I realized that my mind was an angrier place than it used to be. I am still working through this part of my yoga practice, and I think an important part of freeing myself of these dark frustrations will be distancing myself from as many people who are sources of negativity as possible. Physically, I have loved learning the restorative poses and different ways to stretch my back out, I feel that these movements will continue to be useful when my body is feeling the strain from waitressing and bartending in the coming months.

I hope that I will have the time and the money to join some sort of yoga practice in the near future, mostly because I like the structure of someone leading me through the poses. Because of this class, however, I feel more confident in practicing the poses specific to my body’s immediate needs and the breathing and meditation techniques that will help me find that peaceful place in my mind once again.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Connections – Guest Post

I finished teaching at CFCC this past month, but I still have several yoga stories to share from my students. I hope to post them each Monday for the weeks to come. This particular student reminded me that yoga is about community and that sharing our stories is an important part of that unity. I am glad that this class helped the student to join together her mind and body as well as herself to her yoga community and ultimately lead to connecting her yoga life into every day life.

Coming into the semester, I thought that I was entering a class that was just an easy ‘A’, however, I think I needed this class more than I had realized. This class has had a positive impact on my mindset. There have even been some things said in the sessions that I would recall back to during the day or even week. This included the sharing of personal stories or other tips for different topics. When personal stories were shared, it made the class become more relatable and it showed me how yoga can impact everyday life like stories about family, driving, events, and more. When we were given tips on yoga stretches at home, or different eating methods, I brought those tips home with me and practiced them. As a result, I learned to really listened to my body more and understood how it worked. At the beginning of yoga, it was hard for me to sit down and really focus on not thinking about anything. However, as the semester went on, I realized it was not about “silencing” the thoughts but to reflect on them instead.

In my other classes, I have struggled with sitting down in one spot for a longer amount of time, and paying attention to the topic that is being covered. Having a physical education class that deals on meditation and focusing has helped me immensely. This class keeps my attention by being hands on and interactive, so I found myself enjoying the class more and more each week. Yoga has taught me how to not only find out my limits physically, but mentally as well. I faced some hardships throughout the semester but having this yoga class during the day, helped me to have a sort of mental “break” and I could just focus on the class, instead of what was going on. I have really enjoyed this class and I would definitely recommend it to every student.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Little Surprises – Guest Post

I wish I had found yoga sooner in my life. I think that I would have been a better person for longer. I would have been far more grounded. I would have been happier and made different choices. However, part of the practice of yoga and self-discovery is not to look back and wish that things were different….they are to take what you have and what you learn and turn it into something good.

Because of where I find myself in life I am teaching yoga and have two amazing children. I am happy with what I do and who I am now. I am trying to be a good person and trying to give that same gift to my students. I always want them to walk away from these sessions feeling like they know who they are and what they need to do…..just as this student “unexpectedly” did.

During the course of Yoga 1 I have learned a lot about Yoga and myself. I first realized I was completely tensed up. I could feel it after the first few classes, at first I thought about it being soreness but then it hit me that all the stress or things piling up in my life were just sitting in a different place in my body instead of my head. I wanted to get more into yoga to help relieve that stress but halfway through the semester, my car broke down, that was the point were I wanted to give up. Unfortunately, I did give up for a bit. I’m not so sure I’ve managed to pull myself completely out but I’ll get there. What this in overall aspects has taught me about my self is that I need better personal reflection; I need to create my own space and schedule. No more pushing things off till the last minute (except this paper).

What I intend to do is take these Yoga skills and use them more and more in my daily life. I really did enjoy this class, especially for a 9am class. It helped me wake up and be ready for the day. I would like to take Yoga 2 in the fall but if not I will take it again at UNCW when I transfer. I hope to use the breathing exercises and the restorative poses the most because I do need to find a way to calm down and I enjoyed the many different ways we could breathe. Woman doing lion pose (simhasana)However the Lion pose happens to be my favorite in general. Its quite hard to be in a bad mood and force yourself to cross your eyes and make a growling/breathing sounds. Although my attendance may not reflect it, I did feel as if this class helped me get through this semester. Yoga isn’t easy but while feeling that sense of vulnerability I felt safe. I felt as if I had any issues or anything I needed to express I could. The affirmation card assignment to remind ourselves of something was a great one. It forced me to break through a few walls of my own to discover what I know, what I need and now I don’t have to mindlessly search in hopes I’ll find it. It feels good to have a sense of direction come from a class you wouldn’t have expected.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.