Yoga on the Roof!

2016 Yoga on the Roof

2016 Yoga on the Roof

Join us Tuesday, July 4th on the rooftop of the Marketplace at Steamtown for Yoga on the Roof! Kids are welcome and there will be a coloring contest featuring the July Yogaphants! Take the coloring sheet with you or color it there, then scan or snap a picture of your masterpiece! Post it to the Jaya Facebook and a winner will be chosen!

Mindfulness Meditation: Why It’s So Important?

Mindfulness meditation is one form of meditation that has been practiced for thousands of years. It has been passed down from teacher to student through a long standing oral tradition. Meditation has numerous benefits but when I was recently asked why it is so important, I had to pause before answering. The answer is in the descriptions of those who practice as they describe their personal journeys. Their reflections usually end with a similar phrase; “It saved my life.” This isn’t uttered with a hint of melodrama. It is said with the strength that it just is. I would have to count myself among those uttering the same words.

I have been practicing mindfulness meditation for four years.  I have experienced my own personal benefits leading to a shift in my professional career as a nutritionist and mindful eating teacher. Scientifically proven, mindfulness meditation when practiced consistently decreases stress, reduces anxiety and depression, as well as ameliorating pain. This practice also increases mood, executive function, body satisfaction, and memory. These are all impactful truths, empowering for those practicing, and important for emotional well-being. I am blessed to have experienced many of these benefits, but what I find so incredible are the subtler, positive benefits. I find that I am able to sleep better enabling better food choices. I can respond to family situations with greater compassion. I am able to be kinder to myself during moments of stress, and therefore make better decisions. My life feels more real, more whole-heartedly lived. I am able to relate to my family, friends, and clients with greater compassion and connection. Isn’t this what we, as human beings, are striving for in this life? For these powerful reasons, I affirm that meditation saved my life.

Lisa Rigau MS, RN

Lisa teaches Guided Meditation at 11:30am Saturdays at Jaya

November Yogaphants

I began drawing elephants in yoga poses not long after I began my own practice of yoga five years ago. As I struggled to learn poses, control my breathing, and develop physical and mental strength I found myself repeatedly sketching a small elephant in my favorite challenge pose at the time: Crow. I realized how perfect an elephant was suited for the pose!! I discovered how utterly graceful he appeared, and recalled a video I had watched as a child of an elephant swimming - the ponderous pachyderm we are familiar with on the land becomes a surprising ballerina in water

Here, then, was my inspiration for Jaya the Elephant: a small portly elephant with several handicaps of his that would normally trouble anyone trying to pose in yoga: a long trunk and tusks that just get in the way sometimes! Yet, as my practice developed so did Jaya's. He learned to adjust his poses to accommodate for his trunk (he even learned to cheat a little with it).

Jaya the Elephant became the ideal yogi for me : defying the very laws of nature and gravity and challenging himself by practicing yoga.

National Yoga Month & New Classes!

September is National Yoga month and to celebrate Jaya is offering all new students an introductory $30 for 30 days deal! Current members bring a friend or lots of them and get a FREE class for each new yogi you bring to Jaya this month!

Beginning the week of September 12th, enjoy even more classes at Jaya Yoga.  Check out the details below!

Monday
5:30 pm – Slow Flow with Annmarie
A slow, gentle, but deep approach to Vinyasa yoga. This practice links poses to breath to revel body awareness, inner strength and easeful opening. Great for beginners. All levels welcome.

7:00pm – Guided Meditation with Lisa
A 30 minute guided practice helping to cultivate attention, awareness, presence, compassion, and awakening to one’s own life.  Through breath and body awareness you will practice connecting with the present moment and being more aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations. This class is a great opportunity to squeeze in a meditation after work, before dinner or on your way home. All levels welcome.

Wednesday
7:00pm – Aromatherapy Meditation with Katie
A meditation class designed to lift your spirit and boost your energy while simultaneously relaxing and balancing. Each session will offer an essential oil to use during class to be inhaled and/or applied to each person. Class will include a guided meditation and calming music at the end. All levels welcome.

Thursday
6:45pm – Heated Power Hour with Drew
An open level yoga class taught in a room heated to 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat will provide for a detoxifying sweat while you flow through an athletic and dynamic sequence of postures. Prior experience with yoga is recommended.

Pose of the Week: Plank

Plank pose

Plank pose

Plank is a great way to strengthen and tone your core.  It also strengthens the wrists, arms and spine.  Plank helps lay the groundwork for more challenging arm balances and is also a key pose in Sun Salutations.

Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana, or Downward Dog.  Inhale, shift the weight forward until the shoulders are directly over the wrists and the torso is parallel to the floor.  Spread your fingers wide.  Firm the bases of your index fingers into the floor. Essentially press the earth away.  Broaden the shoulder blades. Lengthen the crown of the head forward and the tailbone toward the heels.  Align the body in a straight line from the top of your head to your heels.  Hold the posture for 30 seconds to one minute.  For a more advanced variation try lifting one leg at a time.  Avoid Plank if you are suffering from Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sesame Noodle Salad

Make this recipe from Jaya yogi Leah Cooper, you won't regret it!

Sesame Noodle Salad

Cold Sesame noodle salad

Cold Sesame noodle salad

INGREDIENTS
Salad:

  • Kale
  • Linguini
  • Quinoa
  • Carrots
  • Edamame
  • Clementines
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Red Onions


Peanut Sauce:

  • ½ cup Smooth Peanut Butter
  • ½ tbsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sesame Oil
  • ⅓ cup White Vinegar
  • Ginger
  • 1-2 cloves Garlic
  • Cilantro
  • ⅓ cup Soy Sauce


Dressing:

  • 5 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Honey
  • 3 tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger
  • ½ tbsp. Fresh Garlic
  • 2 tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil, Peanut Oil or Grapeseed Oil


Garnish:

  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Scallions

Directions:

For the kale, make sure you massage it otherwise it will not be an enjoyable salad. You clean it, get rid of the ribs and put it in a bowl with a bit of olive oil and salt. Rub those greens down like you are trying to get its phone number. You are basically pre-chewing the greens as kale is incredibly tough in its raw state. Once it is broken down you can cover it and keep it in the fridge if you massage a lot of it. I do about 3 days worth at a time and it keeps beautifully in the refrigerator. It’s also worth mentioning that I keep my raw kale in water in the fridge to help keep it from wilting. It’s like a little bouquet of health saying hello when you open the fridge.
Cook up some linguini and set aside. Do the same thing with quinoa. I put some soy sauce and sesame oil in the quinoa for this salad. I shredded carrots, shelled edamame and cut fresh clementine segments. Get creative, you can add slivered almonds or those crispy wontons, cashews, whatever Asian thing you might think of, even water chestnuts and that hilarious little corn.

For the cold peanut noodle sauce, I Googled a recipe for guidelines and then adjusted it to my taste. Make sure you put the ginger and cilantro in that sauce. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I also added about ½ cup water to thin it out, because this is super thick.

Toss the pasta with the peanut sauce and then build the salad.

The best advice I can give it to get out of your head when it comes to cooking. If you think something will taste good in this salad, than add it! A salmon filet, some poached or grilled chicken. I personally feel this salad has enough going on and the protein in the quinoa is enough. You do you.

Recipe from the kitchen of yogi Leah Cooper

Pose of the Week: Vrksasana

Vrksasana or Tree Pose

Vrksasana or Tree Pose

Vrksasana or Tree Pose

"Storms make trees take deeper roots." - Dolly Parton

Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Shift the weight onto the right foot and bring the left foot high to the inner thigh. If you're struggling to bring the foot to the thigh, bring the foot to rest on the calf.  Avoid placing the foot directly on the knee.  Press the sole of the foot into the thigh and resist with the standing leg.  Tailbone points down, hips stay squared forward, much like headlights. Choose a drishti, (a focal point on the floor or wall in front of you) to focus on and help keep your balance.  If you are struggling with balance use a wall for support.  Arm variations include hands to the heart, stretching your arms straight up toward the ceiling, parallel to each other, or touch the palms together forming an inverted V with the arms. For an extra challenge try closing your eyes.  Practice the pose for thirty seconds to one minute.  Vrksasana works to improve balance and strengthens thighs, calves, ankles & spine. A great one to practice in the kitchen while making dinner or standing in line at the grocery store!

Best Ever Green Smoothie

Try out this recipe for the best ever green smoothie!

Best Ever Green Smoothie

Recipe makes 16 oz.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup packed chopped kale
  • 1 cup packed spinach
  • 1 cup frozen chopped mango
  • 1 cup no sugar added 100% apple juice

DIRECTIONS
Combine ingredients in a blender in the order listed above then blend until very smooth and serve.

NOTES
This smoothie makes great smoothie packs! Combine kale, spinach and mango in baggies then freeze. When ready to drink, dump contents of one baggie into a blender, add juice and then blend until smooth.

Recipe courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats.

Pose of the Week: Trikonasana

Trikonasana / Triangle Pose

Trikonasana / Triangle Pose

Trikonasana (trik-cone-AHS-anna)or Triangle Pose.

Standing in Tadasana/Mountain Pose (big toes to touch, heels slightly apart, arms by sides).  As you exhale bring feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.  Turn your right foot slightly to the left and the left foot out about 90 degrees.  Align the left heel so it is bisecting the arch of the right foot. Exhale and extend your torso to the left directly over the left leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist.  Imagine you are between two walls and don’t want to touch either one. Anchor this movement by strengthening the right leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the right, keeping the two sides equally long.  Rest your left hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside or inside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. You may also rest your hand on a yoga block.  Stretch your right arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Shift the gaze up towards the right thumb. You may choose to take the extended version and extend your top arm parallel with the top ear.

If you feel unsteady you can use a wall for support.  If there is any strain in the neck look down towards the front foot. 

Avoid this pose if you have low blood pressure, diarrhea, or a headache. If you have a heart condition, practice against a wall and keep top arm on hip.  Stay in this pose for five (5) to ten (10) breaths.  Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat on the second side for the same amount of breaths. 

Benefits include stretching and strengthening the thighs, knees, and ankles.  Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine.  Helps relieve stress. Improves digestion. Can relieve the symptoms of menopause. Relieves backache, can be especially helpful through second trimester of pregnancy. 

Pose of the Week: Viparita Karani

Viparita Karani (vip-par-ee-tah car-AHN-ee) or legs up the wall is a personal and a student favorite.

Viparita Karani is a gentle, restorative inversion and a wonderful way to relax. Benefits of this posture, include relieving tired or cramped legs and feet, gently stretches the back legs, front body, and the back of the neck. It can also relieve mild backaches and calms the mind.

Grab a blanket/towel or pillow if you prefer a little extra cusion and head to the nearest wall. Begin by sitting next to a wall with one side of your body against the wall and your knees bent into the chest. Bring the lower back onto the floor while bringing the legs up the wall so your heels are resting on the wall. Slowly release the elbows and lower thewhole back down to the floor. If you have any low back or neck pain, fold a yoga blanket or towel (or pillow) and
place one under the low back and also under the neck. Keep your legs relatively firm, just enough to hold them vertically in place without “locking” the knees.

Stay in this pose anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. Be sure not to twist off the support when coming out. Instead, slide off the support onto the floor before turning to the side. You can also bend your knees and push your feet against the wall to lift your pelvis off the support. Then slide the support to one side, lower your pelvis to the floor, and turn to the side. Stay on your side for a few breaths, and come up to sitting with an exhale.

Try Viparita Karani to relieve anxiety, arthritis, digestive problems, headache, high and low blood pressure, insomnia, migraine, mild depression, respiratory ailments, urinary disorders, varicose veins, menstrual cramps, premenstrual syndrome and menopause.

As with any inversion Viparita Karani should be avoided if you have serious eye problems, such as glaucoma. With serious neck or back problems only perform this pose with the supervision of a teacher. If your feet begin to tingle during this pose, bend your knees, touch your soles together, and slide the outer edges of your feet down the wall, bringing your heels close to your pelvis.

 

Viparita karani / legs up the wall

Viparita karani / legs up the wall