Yoga for Runners

Ashley is an avid runner and yogi!

Ashley is an avid runner and yogi!

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If you identify as a runner you might be familiar with the following: shin splints, plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, stress fractures. Running takes a lot from your body. With every stride we exert 5 to 12 times our body weight to propel us through the next step. Do that for hours upon hours and you’re bound to end up with a nagging injury. We can’t change how demanding running is, but we can work to prevent these injuries by doing activities that help strengthen our tendons, ligaments, and muscles outside of the quadriceps and calves, which are usually the major muscle groups worked while running. Yoga has many benefits for runners. In addition to the physical effects, it is a highly mental practice. During moments of discomfort we learn to breathe through movements and hold poses; this is helpful when you’re at a point in a race where it’s too painful or tiring to go on. You develop your own mantras that help you achieve success when you just want to give up. As runners we tend to have tight hips, hamstrings, quads, calves, feet – you name it! The appeal of yoga is that no matter which class you go to, all of those body parts will be stretched in some way. In addition to stretching, yoga is a great workout for your core. Your core holds you up while running and will help you retain form in the late stages of a race or long run when your legs give out. A strong core also helps improve your endurance and form. We tend to neglect doing core work, or possibly try and do it improperly. We lead very busy lives and may not always make time for 10 minutes of stretching after every run, but it is highly suggested that you incorporate a yoga class into your self-care routine. Coming from a sport that is highly competitive, yoga is a breath of fresh air in a non-judgmental and supportive environment. It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t touch your toes, there is no competition or prize for doing so. Yoga teaches us to be honest with ourselves and listen to where we’re at in the current moment. Some days we must dial it back in order to move forward. In running, listening to our bodies is crucial and could mean the difference between a minor injury and a sidelining injury. If you feel that your running routine is missing something, are prone to common running injuries, need an effective cross training activity and/or looking to gain strength, flexibility, and confidence, yoga just may be what you need. Hope to see you on the mat!

- Ashley Shamus, Manager of the National Running Center in Clarks Summit


Want to Feel More Relaxed for Better Sleep? Try Meditation

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The benefits of meditation have been known in the Eastern world for generations, but we’re only now beginning to understand the science behind this age-old practice. In a fast-paced, technology-driven world, sometimes you need to take a step back to see how stress might be affecting your life. It could be damaging your relationships, wreaking havoc on your health, or leaving you sleep-deprived. If you want to reduce stress, center yourself, and improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, meditation might be right for you.

Stress-Related Sleep Deprivation

Stress comes with many harmful physical and mental side effects. A few you may have experienced include:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Muscle tension, especially in the shoulders and back
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Stomach upset such as acid reflux
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of focus
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Appetite changes
  • Social withdrawal

Stress can prevent you from reaching the deepest levels of sleep needed for full regenerative rest, compromising your immune system, affecting your appetite, and overall well-being.

Stress and sleep deprivation form a vicious cycle. Stress makes it hard to sleep, yet lack of sleep makes it difficult to deal with stress, making the effects of stress more pronounced. Bringing stress under control can help put you back on track for getting the full seven to eight hours of sleep you need each night.  

Using Meditation as a Relaxation Tool

Where does meditation come into the equation? Meditation can break the stress-sleep deprivation cycle. Meditation triggers what’s called the “relaxation response.” This response is accompanied by a decrease in oxygen consumption, an increased exhalation of nitric oxide, and a reduction in psychological distress. Other short and long-term effects of the relaxation response include:

  • Slowed brain wave patterns
  • Improved appearance of your skin
  • Decreased muscle tension
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Improved immune system
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Restored circulation
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Increase in communication skills

Other methods of treating sleep deprivation, like sleep education, have proven to be less effective than regular meditation. With continued practice, meditation can fundamentally change how genes express themselves. The genes begin to reverse the damage done by stress to individual cells. In addition, the amount of proteins that cause stress-related inflammation goes down, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other illnesses and disorders.

Meditation for Better Sleep

Today, meditation has become more accessible than in the past. Many yoga classes discuss and incorporate meditation as part of the class because the two are so closely related. Apps, websites, and online videos are readily available to help you learn meditative techniques. It can be done before bed to help you let go of stress and relieve tension. Whether you’re sitting in a quiet room or lying on your mattress ready to fall asleep, you can follow meditation instructions to help you drift off to sleep.

If you’re looking for a simple technique to try right away, mindfulness meditation works well for beginners. It involves breathing deeply from the diaphragm and listening and focusing on the inhalation and exhalation of the breath. Some techniques also involve the visualization of a nature scene or counting down numbers. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at developing a method that can change your relationship with stress and sleep.

From Sarah Johnson of Tuck

Incorporating Young Living Essential Oils Into Your Cooking…My Top 4 Tips!

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From Sandi Graham’s Vintage Kitchen

I must admit that I was hesitant in using essential oils into my cooking.  Admittedly, I was hesitant at the thought of using my essential oils in my cooking.  How would it work?  For example, I am not going to use Vitality Basil Oil on a Caprese Salad because the basil a visual ingredient.  However, using Orange essential oil in place of orange juice in a sauce, cuts out extra sugar while keeping the flavor element. 

Once I started thinking about flavor and health, I started playing with more ideas and ways to use essential oils.  Here are my suggestions to help you get started:

  1. You can always add more.  Essential oils are concentrated so you only need a drop or two in a recipe.   With about 85-100 drops in a bottle of Vitality oil, the price per drop is economical.  Additionally, sometimes fresh herbs are not available in the store, so the oils are a convenient substitute.
    (Note: if you are using black pepper, a drop may be too much.  Put a drop onto plate and dip a toothpick into the drop, then swirl the toothpick into your food.  Remember, you can always add more.)
  2. I think it is easiest to start with the citrus oils.  Adding lime, lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit or citrus fresh to a recipe in in place of an extract can bring delicious results.  Think cupcakes, frosting, or marinades.
  3. Beverages are a great place to experiment with adding essential oils.  Warm beverages, cold beverages, cocktails, mocktails, and smoothies can all benefit with a complement flavor.  How do you decide a complement flavor? Use some classics: orange and chocolate or cinnamon bark and apple are good places to start.  There are many premixed mocktails on the market, add an oil for a unique beverage.
  4. Don’t overlook dip, bread, or cake mixes.  You can customize a standard mix with just a few drops.  Try rosemary in a quick bread mix or in a marinara dipping sauce.
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Jaya Bingo!

Get on your mat and win! Join us for Jaya Bingo during the month of August!

Play to win prizes or complete the entire board to be entered to win a FREE Month at Jaya! Pick up your card at Jaya's front desk or download and print your own! Then get on your mat with us to win! 


Jaya Bingo is played from August 1st - August 31st. Winners will be drawn for prizes weekly. You will be automatically entered to win a free month with a completed card. Social posts are counted on Facebook and Instagram. Check in at Jaya and use the hashtag #jayasummerfun.

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!

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.

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.

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.