Bikram Yoga AZ’s Rev Up Workshops: Levels of Love

19 Feb

Love is a universal magnetic energy.  In the English language we have just one word for love.  When I say, “I love you”, you don’t know if I love you like I love chocolate, if I am IN love with you, or I love you like family.  There are many different levels and types of love that exist.Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

The Greek language distinguishes at least four different ways as to how the word love is used. The ancient Greek words for love are: éros, storgē, philía, and agape.

  • Éros (ἔρως érōs) refers to love, mostly of the sexual passion. The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love.”
  • Storge (στοργή storgē) means love, affection and especially of parents and children. It is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring. It is also known to express mere acceptance or putting up with situations, as in “loving” the tyrant.
  • Philia (φιλία philía) refers to brotherly love. It is an affectionate friendship usually between equals. Like Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. Philia is expressed variously as loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. It is a bond that is cultivated.
  • Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) refers to unconditional love. Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character.  My teacher George Addair distinguished it as the ability to love the unlovable, give to the undeserving, and forgive the unforgivable. Agape love is peaceful, it is content, it is not possessive, it does not seek rewards and it is not seeking to be loved… it is seeking to GIVE love.

All the levels of love that exist are necessary and appropriate in their realm. Eros love keeps the human race alive by sparking chemistry and desire so that we continue to propagate the human race. Storge and Philia impact our relationships and help us to create bonds with one another. Agape love is universal, without conditions, often referred to as divine love.

Seeking love comes from a hunger to be loved. It often comes from a feeling of emptiness or inadequacy. The desire to give love comes from a place of adequacy, affirmation, and love fullness. Agape love is motivated by an attitude of “what can I give” instead of “what can I get”. I think of Agape love like sunshine. It gives without thought of return, equally to everyone.

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth, “You owe me.” Look what happens with love like that. It lights up the sky.” ~Rumi.

Agape love comes from fullness. When you have your ‘love tank’ full, when your needs are met, when you are taking care of your physical needs, when you have an attitude of gratitude in your life, when there is time for calm reflection, enough sleep and exercise to recharge your batteries then you have access to love. When you seek for love outside of yourself in hopes of it filling your tank it becomes dependent, demanding and possessive.

“True love has no objective and no demands. It is a condition of love fullness that flows like rain and falls on everything without judgment. True love allows everything to fulfill itself in its own way. It has no need to control others or to withhold itself.” -George Addair

When we love from a place of fullness it becomes sharable and highly contagious. It isn’t limited to romantic or family relationships. We can smile at a stranger with pure love and start a ripple effect of goodness into the world. I believe that we are connected as human beings.  Your well-being affects the people around you and then they affect the people around them and this goes on and on.  One random act of kindness can change the course of someone’s whole day.

Our greatest desire is to love and to be loved. Whatever it is that we want in our lives we have to first become a match for it. We have to be willing to give away the very thing that we want. If you want love in your life you must be willing to give love and to give first. To give agape love would be to give without conditions expecting nothing back in return.

Agape love is pure and perfect in nature. We are human, so we will fall short of this from time to time, but we can try. Conscious acts of Kindness and Secret Acts of Service can start to bring the practice of Agape Love into our lives. When you give…sometimes give in secret. When you practice this there will be no external recognition, no one to tell you good job, no one to say thank you, but you will have given for the pure joy of giving. Make it a habit to make another persons day everyday. In the morning you can think, “who’s day can I make to today?” “How can I make that persons day?” And then do it. In the happiness advantage they showed studies of people who do conscious acts of kindness for 21 days in a row become happier. These people were able to decrease stress levels and enhance mental health. To get the most benefit, acts of kindness should be deliberate and conscious.

We are programed to think there is not enough, there is a lack, there is scarcity and we have to get our share in order to survive. But this is an illusion of human animal. When we come from human spirit we realize that like a candle… we lose nothing by lighting another candle. It cost us nothing to love. Each act, each thought, each encounter creates a chain reaction in our world. When you create conscious kindness and conscious love it spreads through the world like wildfire. What better way to Change the World?

In theory it sounds good that love doesn’t cost us, but many of us have been hurt in love and have fear and sadness around loving again. Sign up for our next Rev Up Workshop on February 16th when we talk about barriers to love and how to overcome them. Looking forward to another workshop with you. — ND

Bikram Yoga Az’s Rev-Up Workshop: Let Nothing Steal Your Peace Away

5 Dec

By Nicole Deacon

My favorite season is the fall. I love when the leaves turn colors (sometimes have to travel to see it) and the weather starts to get the way I like it! It becomes perfect for nights on the patio, afternoon bike rides, and hiking. Summer ends…fall begins… and then we do it again the next year. We accept that there are seasons in the weather…but there are also seasons in our life. Everything has an ebb and a flow. In some ways both are similar to transitioning from one yoga pose to another. We all have moments of joy and clarity and moments of sorrow and fear.   We have new love come into our lives and loved ones we cherish leave our lives. This is life…seasons.unnamed-2

Bikram Yoga helps us to stay calm, peaceful, and joyful no matter what season of life we are in. It is easy to be peaceful in a happy situation… yoga practice teaches us to remain calm among the storms of our life as one stays composed during a yoga pose. We start to accept things as they are, instead of as we wish them to be.   We learn to control and direct our minds to create the experiences we want. Consistent yoga practice disciplines us to balance how things are and how we want them to be. We do not always have control over the events that happen to us (the weather, parents passing, wars, traffic, etc) but we do have control over how we experience them. We can train our mind to find the value, and to appreciate each moment that comes to us for what it is.  If we can remember Rollo May:

“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness. “

Yoga class is ultimately about self-awareness and self-realization. Bikram yoga helps us to be conscious of our breathing and more aware of ourselves. Yoga poses challenge us… in a hot, stinky, difficult position… can you breathe? can you find peace… and can you find joy?

It is through continued yoga practice; putting ourselves in a challenging environment that we get better and better at finding peace no matter what is happening around us. Through yoga, we eventually reach that point of bliss where nothing…no one… can steal our peace away.

 

Student Spotlight: Christina

25 Jun

Our June Student of the Month is Christina Mackenzie, also known as C-Mack! She is a smiling, happy face around both studios and we love her story about her first class experience! “A friend introduced me to the yoga. Like most people, I hated my first class. I went up to the front desk immediately afterwards and asked if they offered a non-heated yoga class, or one that did not last 90 minutes. Receiving a “no” answer to both questions, I was frustrated because I had already purchased a 30-day package. I walked to the grocery store next door and bought a ginormous bag of gummy bears.  I sat in front of the store in my sweat-drenched clothes and ate the whole thing. About mid-bag I started to notice how amazing I felt, and I knew it wasn’t because of the gummy bears. I went back a few days later and have been hooked ever since.”C-Mack

She has been consistently practicing 5-7 days a week since completing the 60-day challenge in February of 2012. “It’s the only exercise I’ve been able to stay consistent with. I’ve done spin, pilates, boot camp, and just about every fitness “groupon” deal out there. Every Bikram class is a great workout, but there are so many other benefits too. Every aspect of my life has improved since I started practicing Bikram Yoga. For one, my diet has improved. No longer do I binge on bags of candy and overall my appetite is more controlled. I choose healthier foods. I lost 25 pounds after doing the 60-day challenge in 2012 and have kept it off. I am never sick and generally feel good all of the time. I can’t remember the last time I had a cold or the flu. Even a headache is rare for me. I was always worried about my weight, diet and exercise. I was constantly thinking, ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that’ or ‘I need to go to the gym.’ The yoga has established routine and order in my life. I don’t really worry about those things anymore. I just go to yoga every day.”

Christina’s favorite posture is Standing Head to Knee!! “When I first started, I could barely hold my foot and never dreamed I’d be able to “kick out.” Now I can kick out and touch my forehead to my knee…and sometimes even hold it there for more than a few seconds! I am constantly working to improve this and every other posture.” While she is improving her postures, she has also noticed some more mental and emotional benefits from the practice. “I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve never had any injuries. However, I suffered from anxiety and mild depression in the past and was on medication for several years. Since practicing Bikram Yoga regularly, I no longer need any medication. I am naturally more relaxed, calm and happy.”

Her advice for new students: Give the yoga a chance. Eventually you will forget about the heat, and maybe even start to like it. You will get better at the postures and experience so many benefits doing it! Bikram Yoga really will “change your world.

Top 5 Thoughts That Pop Into My Head During Class.

1 – He (she) is holding triangle way too long.

2 – Please turn the fan on.

3 – No, don’t turn the fan off!

4 – Is she walking towards the door?  Is she opening the door? YES!

5 – (At the end of class) Man, that was awesome. I love this yoga!

Top 5 Herbs to Support Bikram Yoga Practice

11 Jun

Processed with MoldivBy Nikki Starr, aka “Starr”

These are my top 5 herbs to support my Bikram Yoga practice. When I use them, I use them consistently for a period of time in order to supplement my practice; however, I do not use them on a constant, month-to-month basis (except for Coconut Oil, which I do use everyday, often a few times a day for skincare, haircare, and also for cooking). I cycle them in and out of my routine depending on where my body is at and what it needs.

Before Class:

Ashwagandha

  • Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), or “Indian Ginseng” is one of the world’s most potent adaptogens
  • Helps the body adapt to and increase resistance to physiological and psychological stress
  • Powerful rejuvenative, promoting strength and vitality
  • Ashwagandha can be both calming and energizing, depending on your body’s needs
  • Normalizes Energy & Mood, relaxing the mind and rejuvenating the body
  • Helps repair depleted adrenal glands (damaged by coffee, alcohol, nicotine, stress, etc.)
  • Promotes healthy Immune system & Stress Response
  • The literal translation of Ashwagandha in Sanskrit means “One who possesses the strength of a horse”

Rhodiola Rosea Extract

  •  Helps people deal with physical stresses.
  • Rhodiola appears to augment physical and mental work aptitude and productivity.
  • It strengthens the nervous system, immunity, exercise capacity, energy levels, memorization, mood, and may even lengthen lifespan.

Tumeric

  • Antioxidant activity in Curcumin defends against free radicals
  • Natural inflammation response, promoting healthy joint movement
  • Curcuminoids and Turmerones assist in defending against free radicals
  • Maintains healthy, younger looking skin
  • Supports cardiovascular and liver health
  • Cleanses the blood, strengthens digestion, and eliminates toxins

 Triphala

  • Supports healthy weight loss
  • Nature’s best detox and purifier
  • Triphala helps maintain a healthy digestive tract
  • Powerful herbal antioxidant – Rich in natural Vitamin C
  • Improves digestion, elimination and assimilation of nutrients
  • Cleanses, nourishes, and strengthens the entire body
  • Balance and tone all systems
  • Tri-Doshic – good for all bodily constitutions
  • Considered one of the most important of all herbal formulations in the Ayurvedic system of health

After Class:

 Non-GMO Cold-pressed Coconut Oil

  • 100% Certified Organic, Cold-pressed Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Natural Source of Energy
  • Excellent skin moisturizer
  • Stable & Healthy Saturated Fat
  • A Deliciously Healthy Cooking Oil
  • Nature’s Ideal High Temperature Cooking Oil
  • Rich in Lauric Acid
  • Cruelty Free, Dairy, Gluten, Wheat & Soy Free

These may work for you or they may not. I do not take them all at the same time. I do not have any official herbal training (please consult your specialist to see if these are right for you). It is up to you to take from this list of supportive herbs what you will and try them as you wish. Enjoy!

“Life is Like Coffee” Movie

4 Jun

Do you know people that just seem to be happier in general? Do you say to yourself, “I want to be more like them”? Often, the happiest people in the world dont have the best of everything…they just make the best of everything!

Click the link below and enjoy this short video about how “Life is like Coffee”… and make the best of everything today!

Life is like Coffee Movie

3 Reasons to Stay for Savasana

29 Apr

From the Urban Yoga Blog, written by “Kim”

Savasana translates to corpse pose.  It is the final pose of a yoga practice. In savasana the body is still, the breath flows naturally, and if you’re lucky the mind becomes quiet and there is this essence of dropping into one’s self.

Savasana can be the most challenging part of a class. We are invited to just be, cultivating effortlessness and non-doing.  This can be tough for many of us, living in this multi-tasked, fast-paced lifestyle that has become the standard of normalcy in our country. Our minds and our bodies are not used to being quiet.

The good news is that we are already making an effort to create some sort of connection, just by walking through the doors of the studio and showing up to class. On the other hand, many of us feel like we don’t have time to do nothing for ten minutes, we just have too much to do. Coming from a self-titled savasana addict, here are some reasons to stay for savasana.

Savasan-ahhhhh

Savasan-ahhhhh

#1

Savasana is a crucial part of the practice.  It allows for the assimilation and integration of the “work” done throughout the practice.

Imagine your body is a garden.  Your asana coupled with mindful breathing is the planting of the seeds in your garden.  These seeds are powerful and potent.  They are the seeds of transformation.  They allow us to shift and transform our own energy, freeing ourselves from illusion, learned tendencies, and obstacles that may be hindering our personal growth.

Savasana is comparable to watering the seeds and giving them sunlight.  Savasana nourishes these precious seeds of transformation so that they take root and begin to grow and transform in your body on a cellular level.

Not a gardener?  Try this, your practice is equal to sitting at the computer and doing work, writing, emailing, designing, and/or researching, whatever your work is.  Savasana is comparable to saving your data.  You would never spend an hour doing work on the computer, then not save it, am I right?

#2

Savasana triggers the para-sympathetic nervous system, our rest and restore responses. Our heart rate slows and the breath becomes smooth and steady.  We are creating space for healing and deep relaxation from within.  The result of this is that we are better equipped to navigate through life off of the mat.  By allowing space for healing and rest with in ourselves, we are able to take care of our responsibilities off the mat from our overflow, not depleting ourselves energetically.  It takes about seven minutes to really settle in.  If you can, I suggest a good ten minutes at least, for an hour and fifteen minute practice.

#3

[As it says in the Yoga Sutras], Yogas chitta vritti nirodha, yoga is the stilling of the mind.  The physical practice of asana is meant to be a pre-cursor, a “warm-up” if you will, to prepare yourself for seated meditation.

We may get glimpses of this stilling through out our asana practice, small spaces between action, where the mind is calm, the body supported, and the breath steady.  However, we are consciously focused on breath and body.  There is still a sense of “doing”.

Savasana is an invitation to let go of all trying and doing; to be completely open to doing nothing.  We are invited to unplug from the busy monkey mind, and in turn, plug into the deep well of peace, support, and knowing that is essentially our true nature.

When this connection occurs, there is a sense of clarity and contentment.

For many of us, savasana may be the first time in our lives where we feel at peace, like we are welcoming ourselves back home.  This feeling, this connection, is often what sparks an interest in developing a deeper spiritual practice.  This starts with meditation, which leads to the stilling of the mind.  The more you meditate the easier it is to connect to that stillness when life gets crazy.  It’s kind of like muscle memory, but for the soul, you tap in and connect to source, to stillness, again and again, and over time that current of support and ease is more readily available.  This allows us to act from a place that resonates with our deepest longings and is in tune with our essential nature.  Life becomes enjoyable, not just manageable.

Savasana is truly a gift to give your self.  Every one deserves ten minutes a day to be still and connect to peace.  Every person I know could use a bit more not doing and just being in their life, (myself included).  The next time savasana rolls around, […] get comfy.  Your nervous system needs it, and you deserve it.  You may find that your perspective of savasana moves from “I don’t wannasana” to “so-awe-some-nah”.

 

Bikram Yoga on the Road

22 Apr

By Jessica Frent

image

Monday I flew to New York’s JFK airport, Tuesday I flew from New York to Chicago and Thursday back to Scottsdale. Each day I had the joy of practicing at a new studio, with instructors I hadn’t experienced before. Although it’s the same dialogue and postures, it’s never the same. I hear the dialogue differently each time, learn something new, and experience new challenges. If you’re like me and your work keeps you frequently away from home, you know how challenging it can be to maintain a regular practice. Travel time and meetings might leave little room in your schedule for a 90 minute class but I have found a little dedication and planning can help you keep up your practice when you’re traveling.

Whether you are traveling for work or on holiday most major cities across the globe offer Bikram Yoga and I make it a habit to always take a class after long flights to minimize jet lag. When you schedule your next trip, go to the Bikram Yoga class finder to find a studio near where you are staying.

Visiting Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona? We’d love to have you in our studios for your Bikram Yoga class “on the road”! We offer great drop-in rates, as well as an Out-of-Towner package (includes 5 consecutive days of yoga AND a mat and towel on each visit for just $50!). Click hereto see our locations and class times.

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