Here in the Western world we think the purpose of yoga is to become flexible, stretch our bodies, tighten our cores, get a yoga butt and if we’re lucky maybe even reduce stress.  But, the truth is…that’s all wrong!  Although these are the positive-side benefits of a yoga practice, they are far from the true purpose of yoga postures.

You see, the true purpose of a yoga pose is to create an environment in which we experience sensation.  In this case, physical sensation.  By doing so, we can then observe how we react around that sensation.  What is our approach to that sensation?  Do we get angry, feel like giving up, start giving the teacher the evil eye?  To be aware of our responses to sensation means we can open the door to being able to make choices.  Because we become aware, we can take that moment to decide how we want to react, or if we want to react at all.

Now, how is this relevant to daily life you might ask?  Well, when your kid is screaming at the top of his/her lungs, and you notice your body begin to tighten up, with the practice you’ve put in on your yoga mat, you can then have a choice on how you want to react.  Say someone at work says something demeaning and disrespectful.  Your body begins to feel hot and angry.  Upon noticing that, you can now choose how you want to handle the situation.  So then, our children and our co-workers become opportunities for us to awaken.  These gifts help free ourselves from the automatic responses that may cause more trouble than just blowing off steam.

And how can this awareness around sensation help our relationship with ourselves?  Well, when we put ourselves into a warrior II pose and begin to complain to ourselves about how weak we are, or tell ourselves we could never hold it that long, then we get the opportunity to change the self-talk to something more positive like, hey, I’m here aren’t I?  Or well, THIS is how we build endurance.  In opposition, if you are the type of person to always push too hard, you might notice yourself feeling the burn in warrior II and your first response would be to go deeper than everyone else, stay longer than everyone else.  Around this awareness you may choose to give yourself a break, do something differently, or even back off a bit and avoid injury. This can lead to real self-care and compassion.

The ancient philosophers knew “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”  All the external things in the world won’t bring you lasting happiness, but having the consciousness to choose your thoughts and actions… well, it just might get us close.

I’ve been hearing it from the teachers at the studio.  They feel lost.  Not sure what to do.  How to plan their lives.  With 5 yoga/Pilates studios closed since this all began the reality is sinking in.  But here at Fuller Yoga, we are hopeful.  We just purchased more Pilates Reformers so we can have the most comprehensive workouts available to those of you who want to come in.  And with only be 3 people per class and plenty of social distancing it’s the perfect way to stay in shape and out of pain.  We have a select number of classes on our schedule for you to come into the studio so you can get a change of scenery and a little sacred space.  We are social distancing, cleaning, wearing masks and since everyone will 6ft apart you are not required to wear them during yoga.  Not only that, we have Courtyard Yoga at the back of Glen Lochen every Friday night at 5:30pm which is incredibly lovely with the warm weather, shade and just enough breeze to cool you off.

But wait!  I told you that there was one thing you needed to do to not feel SO LOST.  So what is it?

Consistency!  Now is the time to nail down that committed time to join a yoga, Pilates or barre class. Fire up your laptop and take a Zoom class with us.  Pick your days Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:30am?  or will it be Monday at Wednesdays at 6pm?  We even have Monday and Fridays at 11am.  Whatever time works for you, put it in your schedule, RIGHT NOW!  Here’s the link.  https://fulleryoga.com/schedule/  I mean it do it now otherwise you, like most of us, you will put it off.  Although we do have an on demand library of videos I still believe that holding yourself responsible for showing up every week is exactly what we all need to feel grounded and not lost in the sauce.  Turn off the news and turn on your intuition.  Start identifying what you like, what you really want and what makes your heart sing.  Put the classes in your schedule, don’t cheat yourself and commit to the gift of loving yourself with a consistent yoga and Pilates practice.  I mean it do it TODAY!

Thank you to our dedicated teachers and loyal students!

In the era of Coronavirus who knows what the answers are?  Here in Connecticut our Governor Ned Lamont is telling us that gym/studios can open as of June 17th.  However, we must be 6 ft apart and wear masks.  Or, we can be 12 ft apart and not wear masks.  I prefer no masks.

So, that leaves us with a max capacity of 5 students to a class and a whole lot of cleaning to do.  And, since we have been financially impacted I have to ask, will it help pay the rent?  Currently, we have 20 classes online and most folks are feeling pretty safe with that.  Plus, we are putting together a video library for students who can’t make the live classes.  Not to mention the warnings about the cases getting worse in the Fall.

No one wants to have to think about all these things.  I’m exhausted.  My brain is exhausted.  I’ve made more decisions in the last 3 months than the last 3 years!  As I hear of yoga studios closing due to Covid-19 I don’t want us to be one of them.  How long will we have to socially distance?  Can we  sustain financially month after month after month?  We want to stay in business!  We want (when it’s safe to come out) to have a sanctuary, a place to process, space to decompress and restore our bodies and minds.  We want our community to re-connect with the people they have bonded with over the last 9 years.  That will be our path to healing.  And, in years to come we can say, “do you remember when…….” and the new students at Fuller Yoga will say, “what was that like?”

Since we have the green light to open here is our solution.  Students can book private and semi-private classes from 1-5 people for you, your family or friends either in the studio, outdoors or via zoom.  We will open some group classes limited to 5 people and specialty classes will slowly come back on the schedule.  And our favorite new class will be Courtyard Yoga, a donation based class every Friday night at 5:30 pm starting July 3rd weather permitting.  Look out for free Intro to Yoga classes as well as fun workshops online and outdoors throughout the summer.

We’ll get through this, together.

The word yoga means to yoke to bring together.  So it’s fitting to look at bringing yoga and the black community together.  When I talk about yoga to those who don’t practice I always hear the same things.  Oh, I can’t do yoga.  Isn’t it hard?  But I’m not flexible.  Do I have to chant om?  I can’t be in class with those skinny girls.  Is it a religion?  And this is just from “white people”.  So I asked my yoga trainees of color, how can we break down the stereotypes of yoga for communities of color?  How can we make yoga more inviting and less intimidating?  I hear others in the yoga community talk of making yoga more affordable to people of color and I think now that’s stereotypical.  To assume just because of the color of someone’s skin that they don’t have money?  So, if they are Jewish we should charge them more?  Everyone needs a break now and then but it shouldn’t depend on the color of their skin.

I appreciate the #yoga5BLM and all the Caucasians standing up for people of color and yes we DO need to raise our voices.  It HAS gone on too long.  It IS injustice.  But, I have to ask, who among you has a black friend?  Who among you have reached out to your black co-worker to find out “how are you with all this?”  Does your child have black friends?   Maybe their aren’t many people of color in your area but if there are, are you really reaching out where you can?  Are you really there to emotionally support those you know of color?  Have you really been a true neighbor?  Have you asked, do you need anything?  Because, until we are together as friends and neighbors this #yoga4BLM is only a moment. Where those people posting slick Instagram images get to feel powerful for standing up for something, which is great don’t get me wrong, but back it up.  Put some muscle into it.  Don’t let it just be the statement of 2020, the post on your feed, that time period when…  Let your commitment be real.   Take a virtual class from Afro Flow Yoga™, or somewhere else that looks interesting, start making friends and neighbors of color, for now and all the days to come and your life will be much much fuller.

 

Top 3 Yoga Mats Today

June 7, 2020

So where do you start when it comes to all the Yoga Equipment you will now have to drag to class?  Which mat should I buy?  How long will it hold up? Do I really have to spend $100 on a yoga mat?  What about blocks? Do I need them? Which blankets should I buy and what about that bolster?  Do I have to lug that thing to class too?

It’s a strange new world when it comes to our social activities now.  We have to stay 6 ft apart from each other in yoga, wear a mask to enter the building and bring all our yoga equipment.  So what essentials should you really buy?

First of all, let’s start talk yoga mat.  This is not an exercise mat.  Exercise mats are at least 1/2 an inch and pretty squishy.  Your typical yoga mat is going to be about 1/8-1/4″ in thickness and can be as light as 2.2 lbs or as heavy as 7.5 lbs. and depending on what style of yoga you practice will make a big difference on which one you buy.

See below for some of the best mats on the market now.

My absolute most favorite 5 star yoga mat right now is the B-Mat Strong.  The first time I used one I was like wow this is it!  I loved the grip, the cushion and I didn’t have to do anything to make it more perfect than it is. (Like add water or a yogi toes towel.)  Here’s what they have to say.

  • PERFORMANCE GRIP: The B Mat is ultra grippy and will keep you grounded and supported in any practice, even in sweaty conditions
  • OPEN-CELL TECHNOLOGY: Non-slip Rubber, an open-cell material, means that sweat won’t pool on top of your mat which can create a slippery experience
  • PREMIUM QUALITY: Made of high quality ingredients and constructed to withstand heat, sweat, and the most butt-kicking vinyasa flow of your life
  • B YOGA: Our products are sustainable and responsibly produced for all types of fitness or any floor exercise routines including Yoga or Pilates
  • DIMENSIONS: 71 inches L x 26 inches W x 6. 0mm in thickness

LOVE IT!

Next I’d have to say is the Manduka PRO Yoga Mat.  This was my favorite for a while.  We even carried them in the studio however, I am not a person who sweats much but my students are and they found they were slipping when it was wet.  Maybe due to the closed cell surface as opposed to the open cell with the B-Mat.  A yogi-toes towel is usually recommended with the Manduka Mat and I’m sure if I sweat more I’d love that too.  This mat is great for gentle yoga, all levels yoga, Pilates, Barre, vinyasa yoga with no heat and some methodical and precise Iyengar yoga.  Here is the deets on what you need to know.

  • Imported
  • High-density Closed-cell surface prevents sweat from seeping into the comfortable mat cushion, superior joint protection, and unmatched grip and support, With a Lifetime Warranty offered when sold and shipped by Amazon.com
  • Standard: 7. 5 lbs. ; 71″ x 26″; 6 mm thick, due to the unique craftsmanship, there may be slight variances in weight and length which can range +/-1”
  • Extra long: 9. 5 lbs. ; 85″ x 26″; 6 mm thick, due to the unique craftsmanship, there may be slight variances in weight and length which can range +/-1”
  • The PRO Series is certified STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX️ (12.HUS.17706 | Hohenstein HTTI) to keep you and your family safe from harmful substances.
  • To Store: Roll Manduka PRO mats with the top side (fabric-finish) facing outwards. This keeps the corners of the mat flat when practicing.
  • To Break In: The surface texture of Manduka PRO mats improves with use. The best way to break in your mat is practice, practice, practice.
  • To Clean: Keep your mat in the best condition by wiping it down after every practice with Manduka All-Purpose Mat Wash. It’s specially formulated to clean your mat without damaging the surface or causing slippage. DO NOT soak, shower or submerge your mat

Yoga Design Lab Infinity Mat takes it for the heat.  Once you get a little sweaty, BAM! There you go stuck on your mat! I also love the amount of designs (in the name) and colors they have to choose from.  The Mandala print keeps your mind on your practice so you mind practicing. Here’s their claim to fame.

  • PERFORMANCE: Premium non-slip yoga mat offers superior wet or dry grip. The beautiful laser cut mandala print helps to align your poses.
  • ECO-FRIENDLY: Ethically sourced natural tree rubber mat base is 5 mm thick for extra cushion
  • EASY TO CLEAN: Wipe down your mat with a soft towel dampened with soap and water. Allow to fully air dry lying flat or hanging. Roll with the colored/designed side on the outside.
  • DISCOUNT YOGA SET OFFER: Buy two or more YDL products and get 10% or more off your order. Scroll down to Promotions section for codes.
  • GIVING BACK: $1 of each purchase goes to support boys and girls youth yoga programs in need 

 

You’ve probably never thought of it before now, but Thank You is a powerful statement. It says, I see you, I appreciate you, I am receiving what you are giving, I acknowledge you. And, I don’t know any better time to keep saying thank  you, than right now. I know for me when our students say thank you after a class, it says my time and instruction was valuable. It keeps me going to knowing I’m making a difference and that me being here matters.

Think about all the essential workers you come into contact with every week. Basically, taking the risk of contracting COVID-19, just to make (for some) minimum wage. Your grocery store cashier, ups driver, mail person, the pet store re-stocker,the person handing you your takeout and anyone else who is working.

Make a difference, take the time to say Thank You, to everyone you come into contact with. Even your own family and your pets. They understand. This is hard on everyone, so give a thank you.  give yourself a thank you and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Humanity is strong. You’ve got this.

THANK YOU!

We are here!  We are working and we are thinking of you!

Now what can you give mom or any special woman in your life that is thoughtful, under $40 and support local businesses looking to survive COVID-19?  The instructors and I have a few simple items that say “I’m thinking of you Mom.”

Here you go.  We hope something calls to you.

DIY Semi-Precious Stone Bracelet Kit

Now is the perfect time for a little DIY.  Easily make wonderful bracelets with your mom, sister, daughter or friends through zoom if you don’t live together.  A fun thing to do together or by yourself to make something lovely and meaningful.  Beading is super relaxing and a great way to take your mind off things for a while.  Each kit includes semi-precious stone beads (your choice of color), string, clasps, and good juju from Melissa to create your own beautiful and unique bracelet just for you.

These are a perfect gift to make for yourself, someone else or purchase as a gift for another.

$35.00 Includes Free Shipping!

Purchase 1 Bracelet Kit Here!

Purchase 2 Bracelet Kits Here!

Purchase 3 Bracelet Kits Here!

Purchase 4 Bracelet Kits Here!

*When making your Pay Pal payment please let me know if you have any bead color preference or any kind of vibes you’re looking to manifest into your life!

 

Lavender Eye Pillows

Great for women, men and children!  These lavender eye pillows are perfect for relieving headaches, tension, migraines, puffy eyes, and sinus pressure.  They can be used during meditation, final relaxation after yoga, during yoga nidra or anytime you just need a break from the computer or life in general.  These eye pillows can be used for hot or cold therapy. Use hot if you need relaxation, have sore muscles, or abdominal pain.  Serve chilled if you have an injury, migraine, headache, puffy eyes or to reduce swelling anywhere.  Using only organic lavender and high quality handmade durable silk you will want to take it where ever you go.

#30 Includes Free Shipping

Colors available purple, turquoise, blue and pink.

Click here to purchase!

When making your PayPal payment let me know what color eye pillow you’d like.

 

Energy Clearing Kit

This energy clearing kit is a beautiful bundle of palo santo and selenite, wrapped with an organic dried rose.  This set is great for energetically clearing spaces, meditation rituals and decorating your space.

-Palo Santo is good for clearing negative and stagnant energy while sealing in positive energies.

-Selenite is cleansing and brings good luck and protection.

-Rose is wonderful for love and healing.

$25 Includes Free Shipping!

Click here to purchase

For questions on any of the above products you can email

melissa@blissfulbymelissa

Wow, the internet has exploded with offerings of online classes.  There are fitness classes, meditation classes, yoga classes, cooking classes and any other thing you might want to learn about. With so much out there, how do you choose?
Well, we now know money is powerful. Our purchases make a big impact on businesses big and small and it’s important to ask yourself who you want to support.  With so many people flocking online with their offerings, you might encounter some shoddy stuff.  So, I’ve created a few ways for you to think about looking for online yoga and Pilates classes.
  1. Do they have a brick and mortar location? These establishments definitely need your support. Hosting online classes without overhead is hugely profitable, so the expenses might be low and if you are paying for classes you may want to support a studio with an actual location. Your dollar will mean a lot more. Plus, when we can return to going into public places you will be able to meet the teacher and the people you’ve been practicing with.
  2. Do they offer your level? Does the online offering have the level that fits you? Do they have enough offerings that you won’t have to jump from website to website to find what you are looking for?
  3. Do they get to know you? If you are taking a free class or sign up for a yoga video subscription service, can the instructors really get to know you and your issues? What if there is an ongoing injury and some postures should be avoided? Only with a qualified instructor who gets to know you and interact with you, will be the most help.
  4. Do they charge? That’s not a bad thing. Studios who have online classes who charge will be invested in your experience and will want to keep you as a customer. The other thing you can look for is if they are charitable. Does your money to them support others as well?
  5. Will they let you try it for free? Since classes are online, you won’t be taking up the spot of a paying student. So see if they will allow you to take a complimentary class before you commit financially.
Use your power wisely. Consider what is really important to you in your practice or if you are just starting out. Then invest the time to investigate to find the right fit. You, your body and your mental health are worth it.

Having a place of sanctuary right now is pretty key.  We are in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, and yoga studios are closed, kids are home from school, and no one can sit down at restaurants.  So how do we find a place to calm our minds, tell ourselves it will be o.k. or even cry some tears when it all feels overwhelming?  We create; that’s what we do!

  1. First thing you have to do is CLEAN!  Before diving into your practice or workout take time to sweep, mop, dust the shelves, open the windows and let some fresh air in.  Cleaning your space is just as important as the practice itself.  It will help you know what the space is specifically for and keep you focused on just that.
  2. ORGANIZE!  Pick up any clutter.  Place books, magazines, pillows and blankets into cabinets or neat piles that look put together and don’t disturb your eyes.  This way there will be less distractions both visually and mentally thinking I really should put those away.
  3. Find MEANING!  Find a direction to face that feels right.  Maybe the floor slants or the sun comes in a particular way and you feel better facing one direction vs. another creating a focal point.  Then at the top of your mat, make it SACRED!  Place pictures, memories, rocks, candles, dolls, flowers.  Use anything that helps you feel at peace, evokes love, gives you joy, or helps you feel grounded.
  4. Have what you NEED!  You may end up doing yoga and other activities that require props and equipment.  So make sure you have your blocks, blankets, bolster, strap, yoga mat, weights, Pilates ring, theraband, and maybe a ball.  The last thing you want to do is waste time trying to find something in the middle of your practice/workout.
  5. RITUALIZE! Before starting your activity, do something that will give you a boundary, a ritual that you do each and every time.  Say a Mantra or prayer.  Put up a sign, “Do Not Disturb.” Close the door, and draw a line on the floor “Do not cross until practice is over!”  Find a way to put up a boundary around your practice so you can keep distractions at bay.

Home practices present a multitude of challenges that your local studio has eliminated for you.  So now that we have to spend some serious time at home we should make the best of it and see if we can vibe up our space until we can get back to the studios.  But until then…..Om is where the heart is.

 

Silver Linings

March 22, 2020

There is a lot of time to think and ponder.  For one, now that I’m cooking every meal I realized, my mom had cooked or prepared food up to 3 times a day.  WE NEVER ATE OUT!  We sat down as a family and ate.  She told me that if your child was involved in a sport (like one) that was a big deal.  Not only for the time, but also for the expense.  So as awful as the COVID-19 virus is it has opened our eyes to more simplicity and that we can live just fine with less, and if you have more now is the time to share your time and your resources.

Things I appreciate about the the current situation.

1. Using up things. Like getting to the bottom of my lotion before buying a new one.

2. Being resourceful. Getting creative with meals, and cleaning products and finding different ways to do things.

3. Working on new projects. Like figuring how to stream our classes online.

4. Supporting our students and connecting with our community through text, email, phone, zoom.

5. Finishing projects.

6. Contemplating. Taking the time to slow down and feel my way through this. What is the right thing to do? How can I support others right now? What is the best choice for myself and the business at this time and how does that affect the future?

In the midst of a lot to fear. I invite you to pause and think of others, be of service and count any blessing you can find. We are still holding classes online for you to enjoy in the comfort of your home.  Just look for any class that says online, sign up and we will send you an email with the link. https://fulleryoga.com/schedule/

LIVE SIMPLY AND WISELY

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