Meet Kristina!

June 5, 2018

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What brought you to yoga? About 7 years ago I began training for and completed a ½ marathon. I was so psyched that I began training for a full marathon almost immediately afterwards. I went for a long run on a cold January day and in an effort to complete the run, I sprinted the last mile. As I ran I felt like something snapped in my left hip area and immediately felt intense pain in my knee and had a hard time walking. I came to find out that I pulled my IT band. I went through PT, but needed something to keep myself stretched and toned. I took my first yoga class and I fell in love with the connection between body and mind. I loved the meditative qualities as well as the mindfulness and focus. The strengthening of my body was also a huge plus!

In what ways has yoga impacted your life? Yoga has helped me to refocus more quickly after life throws curve balls at me. Even if I lose my temper or emotion gets away from me, my training has taught me to always return to the breath.

Why did you decide to enroll in a Yoga Teacher Training? While I was a Police Officer, a friend asked me what I would do if I wasn’t Police Officer. Without even thinking “become a Yoga Teacher” came out of my mouth. I wasn’t even aware I wanted to teach! Well, after the birth of my daughter almost 4 years ago, I decided I wanted to retire and there happened to be a Yoga Teacher Training starting that fall at the studio I was practicing in. I signed up and have not regretted one step of this new journey.

Looking back what advice would you give to yourself the first time you stepped onto a yoga mat? Stop trying to compete with others. Enjoy the moment. Be curious about the practice and where the teacher is trying to lead you. SOFTEN! Oh, and none of the other students are watching you!!

What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching? Spending free time with my Step-sons, husband and daughter doing something fun like hiking or going to the beach, I love to go to the beach with my daughter. I love to garden, going to amusement parks, AND if I can find the time, I love to read.

What advice would you give a beginner? Be kind to yourself and try not to judge. Everyone has a starting point when they begin yoga. Don’t aspire and wish to be in the difficult postures immediately. Those take time, but be present in the moment and be patient with yourself about where you are in your practice. The teacher is there to help you.

What is your favorite pose? My favorite pose constantly changes. Sometimes it’s wheel, sometimes Balancing Half Moon, but I think most consistently it is Warrior II. I love the grounding and strength of the posture. It is a conscious effort to be in such a strong posture, but at the same time to soften the gripping.

What surprise have you found about yourself or others from being a teacher? I found that I do love to teach. I wasn’t sure as I went through training if I truly did want to teach, but once I began to teach, I loved it. When I center my class, I can truly let go of what is happening beyond the studio walls, no matter what went on in life before I walked through the doors. As the class and I begin to breathe in unison and the class begins to move, my tension melts away and I begin to soften. Teaching is a big part of my yoga path.

Join Kristina as she leads you through #108SunSalutations

Sunday June 24th from 3-5pm. Fee $35

Sign up with this link.

 

Meet Melissa!

March 1, 2018
image41. What brought you to yoga?
Years ago I found myself in a rut struggling with anxiety, insomnia and chronic
neck pain ​from a car accident in my teens.  Feeling a little down one day I asked myself “is this as good as it gets?” The universe seemed to respond quickly as I soon found myself in a yoga class breathing, twisting and turning without a clue as to what I was doing.

​ ​
Walking out of that first class was like experiencing a whole new lease on life that felt hopeful, healthy and vibrant! I was hooked, and that feeling has been bringing me back to my mat every day!
2. In what ways has yoga impacted your life?
The day after my first yoga class was quickly followed by a second class the next day, and the next day and then followed by three to five times per week. The effects of peace, calm and joy felt on my first day were confirmed again and again as each day I left class feeling fantastic! Anxiety and neck pain disappeared and I was sleeping great!
3. Why did you decide to enroll in a Yoga Teacher Training?
My desire to create beautiful things through art and design carried me naturally into the desire to share the beautiful effects yoga had in my life. Enrolling in training at Kripalu was a natural next step after a year since stepping into my first yoga class.
4. Looking back what advice would you give to yourself the first time you stepped onto a yoga mat?

​ ​Relax and have fun! Our mind and body tend to be at odds with new experiences. Quieting the mind and listening to the body allows one to begin to experience the body leading you into a new and wonderful world of peace. This can be challenging when our mind rules our world, but that is where yoga really shines.
5. What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching?

Traveling, paddleboarding, hiking and spending time with my family and friends.
6. What advice would you give a beginner?
Try it!  Let your body be the judge after a class or two.  Once we get out of our mind and allow our body to twist and turn releasing the tension and stress that we aren’t even aware of, the mind becomes more calm and centered which is a wonderful feeling! So many times people get caught up in thinking their yoga pose needs to be as perfect as the poses on the cover of yoga journal but it doesn’t. Yoga isn’t about perfect poses, yoga’s about connecting to your body and yourself.
7. What is your favorite pose?
I really want to say savasana because that’s my all-time favorite, but only after a full practice!  Dancer pose is my favorite! I love the benefits, it’s a great backbend and quad stretch!
8. What surprise have you found about yourself or others from being a teacher?
I never imagined myself being a teacher. Now my full time job is being a yoga and meditation teacher and a reiki practitioner. Yoga teacher training was such an empowering and confidence building experience that it has literally created a career I never knew was waiting for me.
To find a class with Melissa visit www.fulleryoga.com
Each month we will be highlighting our instructors.  Those individuals who have integrated yoga off their mat and into their life, their conversations and their way of living.  Here are some answers to some of your burning questions. From Nancy;Nancy Adler
1. What brought you to yoga?
Space and quiet, and maybe a little desire to have arms that look like Madonna
2. In what ways has yoga impacted your life?
It has offered me a path, it gives me tools for handling all the struggles and stress of life and it has opened up a community of friends, students and teachers who change my life daily.
3. Why did you decide to enroll in a Yoga Teacher Training?
I loved yoga so much that i wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to experience what it had given me.
4. Looking back what advice would you give to yourself the first time you stepped onto a yoga mat?
There is no “right” way to do any yoga pose and no need to do every pose. Oh, and back off, more is not always better.
5. What activities do you enjoy outside of teaching?
Learning and sharing about essential oils, running with my dog, and laughing with my family.
6. What advice would you give a beginner?
Try a basic class first and many different teachers.
7. What is your favorite pose?
It won’t surprise my students to hear all versions of lunge:  High Lunge, Runners Lunge and Low Lunge.  But it’ll probably be different tomorrow.
8. What surprise have you found about yourself or others from being a teacher?
The biggest surprise is that my students teach me more than I teach them.
Thanks for reading.  We will be updating both the blog and our instructors insights as we head into 2018.

wall-yogaAs the month of Love is upon us it gets me thinking of the heart, self love and deep courage.  What makes courage, courage?

My conclusion is that courage is doing or saying the things most other people we know are not.  If they were it would be called normal not courage.  For example, if everyone were to quit their stable jobs and leave their family to go travel around the world at the age of 45 then it would be the norm, and then not going would be courageous.  But on a smaller scale if everyone had those difficult conversations that include topics like; I want to separate, or I’m deeply afraid of showing you I’m vulnerable, I love you so much it scares me, I lied to you, or I have a terminal illness and I’d like to talk about the end of my time,  then we might be a healthier more well adjusted society.

It takes real courage to get to the heart of it.  To be deeply honest with yourself and then be  that honest with those closest to you.  Your palms might sweat, you may experience shortness of breath, feel anxious and even a little nauseous, but in the face of communicating your truth these are all signs of great courage.

So how do we live the tough stuff?  Sometimes our truth may disappoint people. They may feel hurt, betrayed or thrown off their path.  Then we feel responsible and don’t want to feel that we are the cause of another persons suffering. And in the same way our truth may help another feel relieved and validated.  If we say nothing we deny ourselves the opportunity to strengthen our courage muscle the heart.  Because it is only with great strength and courage that we can even have those difficult conversations.

Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years to help get over the fear and draw on the courage that lives in you heart so the truth can set everyone free.

  1.  Spend time alone.  It’s hard to tell if we are reacting or not.  It’s easy to say I want to move to another state when your state just raised taxes yet again.  Or fantasize about a new lover when you just got into a fight with yours.  Time spent alone will help you determine what is true.  The truth doesn’t yell.  It doesn’t give the finger, or yell F. You.  The truth never says “If only…… or when I…… then……I’ll…..”  The truth is usually quiet and strong and hits you like a rock when you stubble upon it and it is best found when you are still with no distractions and by yourself.
  2. Ask yourself often, “Is this what I really want?”  You may not know what you want but you may know something is off, not quiet right.  Somewhere inside you know you haven’t met your truth just yet.  This is a good place to be because sometimes you have to know what you don’t want in order to know what you do.  Be curious.  The answer to the question; What do I want? lies also in the question; “Is this what I really want?” because it helps you focus on what is here right now in front of you and not something that has not yet been realized.
  3. Embrace the fear.  Never try to push it away or stop feeling it.  That only leads to bad things.  When your palms get sweaty embrace it.  Know that you are on the right track.  When your stomach starts to do flip flops pat yourself on the back,you are on your way to being more courageous then you ever have before.  Set a place at the table for your fear and anxiety when you are ready to have that oh so difficult yet courageous and deeply liberating discussion.  And of course remember, the truth doesn’t yell.  It doesn’t give the finger, or yell F. You.  The truth never says “If only…… or when I…… then……I’ll…..”

 

Strengthen your heart this year.  Be your own Valentine and show yourself are courageous beyond measure.  Take the risk.  Love yourself deeply enough to be true.  Tell the truth.     It might just set you free.

Breathe,

Justine

For a full list of classes workshops and fun events visit www.fulleryoga.com

For individual sessions of wisdom please email;

info@fulleryoga.com

And if we don’t have those difficult talks and maybe even arguments then we all suffer.  There’s hidden anger, sadness and resentment that can linger for years.

 

godEver since “The Secret” got the general public thinking about The Law of Attraction and other meditation techniques to help you reach your goals people have been trying to figure it out.  Well here’s the one thing you really need to know.  You are not your thoughts.  So many of us think that what we are thinking is the truth, reality, and the hard cold facts.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The REAL Truth.

Until you can take control of your mind and thus your emotions that follow you will struggle with getting what you want.  In order to manifest your dreams you have to be very detailed, specific and feel really good when you think about getting them.  You can’t want a new house and the minute you think about having it you come up with excuses as to why it can’t be for you.  You have to love thinking about your new house, decorate it, paint it, mentally live in it.  How does it feel to live there?  Wake up there?  Park your car there?  These are the details needed to let the Universe know you mean business.

And at no time should you ever let doubt, excuses or negative thoughts enter your mind.  They are not real.  They are just thoughts passing by like people on the street.  Let them go.

How else can you get your mind to keep focusing and feeling good about what you want?  Create a Vision Board!  That way every day you get to see what it is you want and remind yourself how good it’s going to feel when you have it.  But again DON’T let your mind take over.  Your mental talk is designed to keep you safe and small for your own survival.  But we’ve grown so much since the days of real imminent danger.  It’s time to challenge your mind, challenge your thoughts and start thinking of good things.  Things that make you smile, laugh and lift you up.  In fact thank goodness for smart phones because when my mind would get negative and doubtful  all I had to do what watch some comedians on YouTube and my spirits lifted.   Don’t let your mind brood and go on and on.  Get out of that quickly, however you can.  And don’t spend too much time around others who bring your down also or don’t believe in you.  They won’t help your cause.

So go ahead and try a Vision Board, Feel what your Dreams accomplished feel like and most of all Have Fun!

If you want a more personal approach to manifesting your dreams and a little guidance send me an email at fulleryoga@gmail.com  We can set up some coaching calls, exercises and if your local we can even do some meet and greets.

Rates are flexible.

Breathe

 

christmas-relax

Tis’ the season to be merry or at least congenial and nice.

The holidays are stressful.  We are entertaining, traveling, have to mail packages, and then of course there is the baking and cooking.  You need a way to get through the holidays while still enjoying them.  So from a yoga perspective I’ve come up with 4 things you can do to get through the holidays without loosing  your s&*t.

  1. Take the pressure off!  5o years ago or even 20 we didn’t have as much technology or hand held gadgets that contended with our time.  There’s no reason we can’t “go back in time” to a less multi-tasking era.  Cut yourself some slack and put down the phone.
  2. You can’t do it all perfectly.  But you can probably do 3 things really well.  Pick a few things that you really care about and do them well.  Maybe it’s setting the table, or making your favorite dish amazing, or making sure your guest feel cared for.  Whatever the 3 things are, do them like it’s your first time.  The rest can find it’s way without all the tension.
  3. Laugh more.  Watch comedians on you tube, Lampoon’s Christmas movies or old movies of people you love.  Laughter will help you not take it all so seriously and help you find some joy this season.
  4. Get quiet.  The best way to keep your sanity is to go inward, listen to your breath and sit still. Reflect on the good things you have in your life no matter how small.  This will create space in your mind and space in your heart.  And from this space all things are possible.

Keep in mind that most people no matter how miserable they are do the best that they can.  I wish you a joyful and safe holiday season.

MERRY NAMASTE’

For me it’s personal. headshot 2015

I was living in New York City, I was 26 years old and living my dream of auditioning to become a full time modern dancer and travel the world with a group of people that would become my best friends.

Audition after audition with other dancers who were far more trained than I took its toll on myself esteem and made me question the feasibility of my dreams.  I was waiting tables taking dance classes everywhere and fitting in at least one yoga class a week with Dharma Mittra.   My ballet teacher from San Francisco raved about how we should all take yoga as part of our dance training.  So although I had read Krishnamurti as a teen, my yoga practice was only focused on getting better balance in my turns.

Then a fellow dancer suggested I sign up for Yoga Union’s 200 hour teacher training with Alison West.  When I initially met Alison I noticed she carried herself well.  She was incredibly precise and with her British accent came across as strict and slightly intimidating.  In fact she still is unless you know her.  She is a stickler for form, safety and the health of every individual’s body while they are taking her yoga classes.  I liked her so much I signed up for the month long training.  This was to be part my career change and making my transition to Connecticut.  During the training I would stay 5 nights in the city and travel to Connecticut for one day and night to spend time in my new residence.

What always amazes me when I look back on these things is, how did I pay for that?  Both with the Yoga Union training and subsequent overseas yoga training, it always amazes me that somehow I pulled it off financially.  But you know how the saying goes, “if there is a will, there is a way.”

I remember Alison said to a new student one day jokingly, “be careful if you take a yoga class, it will change your life.”  And for me it did.  I never thought teaching yoga would be a full time job for me or that I would be good at it.  I had always thought I would teach the older populations thinking it would be easier.  Who knew I had a power yoga teacher hidden within?

Over the 18 years I have been teaching yoga I have seen yoga go from a practice on the outskirts of the fitness industry to a staple in every gym.  And with anything that becomes mainstream the details can get lost in hype.

That is why I am have dedicated the Fuller Yoga Primary Teacher Training towards the making of knowledgeable, sensitive, and discerning yoga teachers.   I have seen many “certified” yoga teachers know very little about anatomy and the body’s natural abilities and limitations in an individual.  There is also a lack of knowledge about how to modify or make accessible postures for those individuals whose body’s aren’t quite ready for the full expression of the pose.  I have even seen yoga teachers who have been teaching less than 4 years start their own teacher training.  And not to mention the incredible onslaught of social media pictures of women who are young and extremely flexible giving the average person something completely out of reach to emulate.

Fuller Yoga Primary Teacher Training is about so much more than turning out teachers and making a profit.  This training is about you, your practice and the gifts you can offer to others through the practice of yoga.  Our Training is designed in two tracks.  Track 1, The Foundation is to deepen your study of yoga and to learn more about yourself and how yoga can help you navigate the ups and downs that life has to offer.  You will learn anatomy, breathing, yoga philosophy and the alignment of each posture.  There will be study on the mind, its nature and how you can manage thoughts and emotions by using your yoga practice.  You will also be exposed to various styles of yoga and we are looking into a field trip to NYC.

Track 2, The Gift is for those who have made the commitment to become a certified yoga instructor.  This will be for 3 weekends.  In this portion you will learn how to teach a class, deal with multiple levels in a class, how to plan a themed class and the art of sequencing.
You will also learn how to market yourself and establish yourself as in independent contractor and how to create boundaries with students both on and off the mat.

I’ve learned so much within 18 years of teaching, anywhere from a gym, to a yoga studio, to a church basement and upon receiving your certificate will be well equipped to teach wherever the universe needs you.  Fuller Yoga Teacher Training will not teach you a system of yoga where one size fits all.  It is designed to help you know how to cater each posture and each class to either yourself or the students you teach.  You will graduate stronger physically and mentally, more confident and with skills that can assist you as a teacher, a parent, a co-worker, a boss, a partner, and a member of the human race.

For more information visit https://fulleryoga.perfectmind.com/SocialSite/retreatstrainings

or email info@fulleryoga.com

A True Yogi

June 30, 2016

It was 2 years ago that Patrick Williams came into our life as a student of the Om For Life™ class (bottom left).  2015-03-24 Om For LifeHe had recently been diagnosed for the second time with cancer.  The first time was with a brain tumor at the age of 2.  As these things go his doctor is also a student at Fuller Yoga and once she heard about our Free Yoga class for Cancer Patients and Survivors (Om For Life) she sent Patrick to us right away.  He was a pole vaulter, swimmer and skier and so took to yoga like a fish to water.  That was two years ago.

As he continued the program he began to take more and more classes.  Patrick would take everything from Heated Power Yoga to Gentle Yoga depending on how he was feeling that day.  As the tumor(s) grew in his abdomen and as the pain and nausea meds changed so too did his practice.  But what never changed was Patrick’s attitude.  He was always ready to greet you with a smile and ask “how are you?”

Patrick was a wonderfully willing student of yoga and it showed in his practice.  His ability to surrender to the day at hand allowed him to accomplish the 25 mile bike ride for bike 5 patrick and momCT Challenge last year as well as complicated postures with the most surrendered and grateful heart.  Patrick didn’t hide his illness nor did he seem embarrassed or ashamed.  He was gracious to talk about how yoga helped him through treatment and keep his mind focused on the present moment instead of making him crazy.

He got frustrated though and had to deal with not being able to do the things he once loved.  He mentioned that all his friends were moving along in their college careers and that he was behind.  He also got frustrated that his illness took away his strength and ability to use his body as he once had.

So this year we are dedicating our 2nd Annual CT Yoga Fest to Patrick Williams who passed away June 16th, 2016.  Patrick was a big heart and an even bigger yogi.Patrick Williams 2016.jpg

To donate to our Fuller Yoga bike team and raise funds for the Om For Life Program         Click here.

For more pictures of the CT Challenge ride and Patrick Click here

Fuller Yoga

I have to say it because I see it all the time.  Bad form in a power yoga class!

Hundreds of people are replacing their gym memberships and Crossfit classes with a membership to a Power Yoga studio and for good reason!  A heated power yoga class is a great workout without the joint pounding of the gym.  Power yoga creates strong, long and lean muscles as oppose to big bulky and tight muscles.  However, if you have bad form you are just as likely to injury yourself in yoga.  Here are the top 3 most dangerous things I see people do when they start power yoga.

  1. Push yourself beyond your edge. This is not the gym.  You are not in competition with anyone except maybe yourself.  But if you injure yourself in the process then you have to take your next level back to zero and at that point your best will be a lot lower than your best before you went too far.  The body is pliable when listened to.  Stay tuned to how your body feels.  Know the difference between a stretch and a pull.  You will feel a stretch in the middle of the muscle and a pull will happen at the origin or insertion points of the muscle.  Yoga is intended to be practiced for life not just for a two year period while your friends think it’s the in thing to do.  Lesson:  Less is more, don’t push!
  2. Don’t listen or Do listen to the teacher! If you are not listening to your instructor you are missing out on some great cues on how to adjust your body to make your posture and your body feel awesome.  Conversely, if your instructor is inexperienced or did not get an education from a creditable source (look for RYS at the end of her name) you may want to not listen and tune into your body instead.  Never go into a posture in a way that doesn’t feel good because your teacher told you to.  That mentality is never a way to peace and ease in your body and goes against the first principle of yoga- Ahimsa; non-violence.
  3. Be above a workshop. Never think you know the postures and the alignment.  Take workshops, try an arm balancing, inversion or back-bending workshop.  You will get a lot out of focusing your time towards one aspect of the practice.  2-3 hours of arm balancing you say???    Workshops are never like a class.  They are slower; they explain, practice and try new things.  You will partner up with others, you will get to observe and talk about what you see and feel and most importantly you will get to ask questions.  By taking a workshop every couple of months you will completely change how you practice on a weekly basis and begin to truly feel like a yogi!

After 18 years of teaching and owning a yoga studio I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff but if you adhere to not going beyond your edge, listen to yourself or your teacher depending on what is appropriate, and committing to taking at least one workshop every quarter you will be amazed at the changes in your practice, your body and your life.

For more information on 200hr Yoga Teacher Training with Justine, workshops or in you have basic yoga questions email: info@fulleryoga.com or visit: www.fulleryoga.com

Om for Life

I learned about OM for life from my niece through a Facebook link when I was just about finished with chemo and heading into six weeks of radiation. From the moment classes began, I felt that the free yoga class was one of two extraordinary gifts most personal to me, the other being a fantastic—okay, reasonably fantastic—wig!

There was no other hour of the week where I felt completely myself within a community that needed no explanation or comfort.  Every class ended with a much stronger me in spirit and well-being.  Regardless of the instructional level of intensity, I physically and emotionally felt on my way to better health superseding any kind of actual medication.  Our instructors are women who emanate non-judgement, belief in our ability to regain strength, and compassion without pity for our plight.  They have given me a sense of complete trust, hard to articulate, and peppered our classes with so much to learn and embrace.  I don’t want our classes to end every Saturday.

The fact that it is free and perfectly scheduled also lends the experience to more gratitude and relief.  I am deeply grateful for this part of my healing and look forward to a lifelong commitment to yoga.  -Adina

Click here for our next Free Om For Life yoga series.

Help Fuller Yoga raise more money with @CTChallenge for programs like this!