A New Year is coming up, and you’ve decided this is the year you will a) lose weight, b) get fit, c) find peace, or d) all of the above. So you are ready to sign up for your first yoga class- Yay! Except…what are you getting yourself into? What if everyone there is a) skinny, b) flexible beyond belief, c) they meditate!, d) all of the above? It’s all a bit much, right?
Here’s what you can expect: there will be all kinds of bodies there (see the picture above), at all levels of flexibility, fitness, and reasons for being there. Some will be first-timers like you, some will have some yoga experience. Some will have fashionable yoga clothes, the newest yoga mats, the latest accessories. Some will be wearing shorts and t-shirts, will have ratty mats, and no designer water bottles. No one will stare at you or judge you on your yoga chops, or your lack of yoga chops, and if they do, just smile at them and say “Namaste” (nah-mah-stay), the all-purpose yoga greeting which basically means, “We’re all the same, you and me.”
Many classes, like mine, begin with a period of meditation, and some people have a little trouble with this, for various reasons. Some folks are just not used to sitting quietly, in stillness, for any length of time. Some have been told or heard that it is against Christian beliefs, but many others, Christians and other religious believers, that while prayer is talking to God, meditation is listening for the reply. It can also be defined as a period of focus, of “thinking with love” (Apostle Paul) on peace, or God, or Jesus, or being kind, or giving thanks. To quote Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”.
After the beginning meditation, prepare to sweat! A warm-up period usually follows, which serves to not only prepare the body for the poses that follow, but also focuses the mind, and begins to lengthen and strengthen your breathing to give you a strong foundation and continuing energy boosting. After the warm-up, the class transitions into the traditional yoga poses, like downward dog, or Triangle pose, to strengthen the body, work your muscles, and trim off those extra pounds. Yes, you will get frustrated, as some poses are more challenging than others, but so will others in the class, and yes, you may be sore the next day, but keep with your commitment and be proud of the soreness! You are on your way to looking and feeling stronger, to determination of mind and peace of spirit.
At the end of many classes, there will be a period of rest, usually a time of lying peacefully and quietly on your mat, either in silence or to soothing music or the sound of bells ringing. Congratulate yourself on this first step you’ve taken on your new path to wellness, mindfulness and peace. Smile gently to yourself and look forward to continued progress on your journey.
And now, let’s look at choosing your first class. First, why choose a class to go to at all? Can’t you just go to YouTube, find a video to follow, and do it at home? Yes, you can, but here’s why this is not the best option: Commitment. In order to make a real change in your life, you need to commit your time, your money, your self to the practice. Will you do this at home, where every thing and everyone there wants your attention and it’s too easy to say, I’ll practice later, just as soon as I do this, feed that, go here, be there? Probably not, and certainly not at the level of commitment that you need to make a real change.
So, use all this technology we have at our disposal to find yoga studios near you. Look at their class offerings, and find one that is a beginner level class. Look at their pricing system, and see if they offer a free starter class, so that you can go once to see if you like the class, the instructor, the feel of the place, and if it’s going to be for you or not. If you dislike or feel uncomfortable with any of these things, find the next place, ask for a free taste of the class, and see how you like that one.
At IslandLotus Yoga, where I teach Raja Yoga, I offer you your first class free, and am currently offering a gift certificate for a free class, which can be used anytime. If Knotts Island is too far for you, Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake are loaded with yoga studios, spas that offer yoga, yoga teachers that offer private lessons. Very easy to find a place to begin.
Now, after checking out places and teachers and finding a place where you are comfortable, make that commitment to yourself by signing up for one of the multiple class plans. Then, put your body where your money is, and attend those classes!
Last year’s garden (2014) was a huge success- if you judge it by the 30-foot pumpkin vine that grew there. If you judge it by its fruits and veggies, it was a sad failure. The 30-foot pumpkin vine produced flowers that should have led to pumpkins but the flowers on that vine, and on a lot of other plants in the garden, did not get pollinated. Here’s a clue why: last year, in our big yard and garden, I saw only two honey bees. My husband routinely leaves large areas of our yard, where clover grows wild, unmowed for the bees. Trying not to step on them used to be a problem. But in the past few years, they’ve gotten more and more rare, and last year, as I said, I only saw two.
I like bees and have always wanted to keep them. When I was a child, I used to catch them in jars because I thought if I caught enough of them, they’d build honeycombs and start making honey for me. That didn’t work, of course. More recently, when a nearby neighbor set up hives, we were thrilled- but the bees failed to thrive, probably because of the prevalence of other neighbors rigorously spraying chemicals on their gardens and fruit trees. Other factors played a role as well, but the end result is the same- no pollinators, no fruits, no veggies.
Do you have a desire to keep bees? Or just learn how bees and other pollinators affect our food supply, and what you can do to help? Here’s an opportunity: Buzzy from The Beekeeper’s Guild of Southeast Virginia will be on the island on April 18th, 2015 to answer all your beekeeping questions! Open to all, this event will be held rain or shine and is free (donations for Buzzy’s travel expenses and time are welcome but not required). Refreshments served after the class (your contributions of snacks or drinks also welcome!)
- Date: Saturday, April 18th, 2015
- Time: 10:30am
- Place: 204 Parker Lane, Knotts Island, NC
Call/text me at 252.722.1690 or moonrabbit220 (at) gmail.com if you have questions or need directions. You can join this event on Facebook here. This event is hosted by me, Mari Mann, at my IslandLotus Yoga location. All are welcome to join!
Spring is almost upon us! IslandLotus Yoga would like to invite you to a free yoga class, this Saturday, March 21st, at 9am, to experience and participate in a half-mala. A half-mala is 54 consecutive Salutes to the Sun to celebrate the return of the Sun, new beginnings, warmth and growth. Mindful meditation combined with vigorous exercise and traditional yoga poses. This is a free event and open to all regardless of experience.. I am hoping that Spring will cooperate with this event and give us a lovely warm day on beautiful Knotts Island Bay, so that we can practice outside, but the class will be held regardless of what Spring plans for this Saturday. IslandLotus Yoga is at 204 Parker Lane, Knotts Island, NC. If you’d like more information about this event, please call/text me (mari) at 252.722.1690 or follow the Facebook link below.
I’ll be running this giveaway for one week, from December 2nd to December 9th, 2014. The giveaway is for one signed copy of Stories from the Other World. To enter to win, leave a comment here, or on Facebook. Bonne chance!
(Update: The giveaway is over, and the winner is…Ann Sutton! Thank you to all who entered and for all your support.)
From The Blonde Coyote’s blog…..
In honor of Black Friday, here’s my aconsumerism post Conquering IKEA. Enjoy! And remember kids, you save even more when you don’t buy anything at all!
My college apartment was amazing. Over the course of my three years there I furnished and decorated the whole place, floor to ceiling, with stuff from IKEA. I had couches, tables, chairs, curtains, bookshelves, framed art. The works. I have no idea how much money I spent at IKEA, but it must have been a lot. I remember giving myself a $100 budget every time I went to IKEA and I went often.
Then when I graduated, I gave it all away. I was hitting the road west, to Oregon, and every single thing I owned that wouldn’t fit in my 2-door VW had to go. I could have sold it. I could have stored it all…
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Visit me at Willowgait Farm’s Artisan Festival on Sunday, Oct. 26th, 2014, from 10am t0 4pm on beautiful Knotts Island, North Carolina. I’ll be signing copies of my new book, Stories from the Other World and holding drawings for free yoga classes and book copies.
I’ll also be selling paintings by Ethel Barritt, baby spider plants and aloe veras, and homemade hot pepper vinegar. The Knotts Island Ruritans will be there selling barbecue, too. Come on down and enjoy the day!
Raja Yoga classes led by
Raja (Royal or King) Yoga comes from the Vietnamese tradition of Yoga. It combines familiar yoga poses with strenuous exercise and is suitable for people at all levels of practice- from beginners to more advanced levels. Because my classes are small, I tailor them to fit individuals at their pace and skills, also what they hope to get out of yoga.
Classes are held Tuesday mornings at 9am, Friday mornings at 8:30am, and Wednesday evenings at 6pm. All students are asked to follow these guidelines:
- Please arrive about 5-10 minutes before the class. We’ll need a little time to meet each other and get settled before class.
- Bring a mat, if you have one (there are a few extras available) or a large towel.
- Wear clothes that allow you to move freely and that give you support.
- Eat lightly, and give yourself a couple of hours to digest, before class.
- Remove your shoes at the door. Socks are okay, but ideally we will practice barefoot.
- Turn off cell phones or leave them in your car.
- No perfumes or heavy fragrances of any kind. We’ll be breathing deeply and need clean air.
- Bring water, if you like.
- Keep conversation to a minimum during class.
- Most of all, bring an open mind and a positive and willing attitude.
- The first class is free. If you decide to continue, each class will be $10 per person for the 1 hour class. Pay ahead for 4 classes for $30, or 8 classes for $60. Bring a friend and get a free class.
All classes are held at 204 Parker Lane. Parker Lane is off of South End Road, and is at first a paved road, then becomes a dirt lane that makes a sharp left as you approach the bay. 204 is the 2nd house on the right after you make the sharp left turn.
Please call or text me at 252.722.1690 if you have questions, need help to get to class, or just to say hello. I hope to meet you soon.