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!

If you think a yoga teacher training isn’t for you think again. It’s a life changing experience!

Whether you’ll ever teach or not it’s about doing the work and transforming yourself into a more authentic version of yourself.  You deepen your knowledge of an activity you love and as my teacher Alison West told me. Yoga will change your life. And boy was she right.

So I’ve put together the Top 10 Reasons you would want to take the Fuller Yoga Teacher Training.

  1. Learn more about the yoga practice you love. The history, the philosophy, lifestyle choices in being a “yogi” and why they work.
  2. Learn more about your body and how to keep it safe. Those who dive into a yoga practice without having good knowledge of body mechanics get injured more quickly than those who know how the body should and shouldn’t move.
  3. You get to throw around big fancy words like dosha, citta, samskara and vashistasana and actually know what it means.
  4. You will get an opportunity to understand yourself better. Fuller Yoga teacher training is about diving deeper to understand what makes you tick. As Socrates said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
  5. You will get to do more yoga than you ever thought possible. Our training requires you to practice, practice, practice, and keep a record in order to get credit for all those hours on the mat.
  6. You will know how to teach to everyone. Our program is comprehensive. You won’t graduate only knowing how to teach to one type of yoga student. Whether they are beginners, devote practitioners, injured, or in their advanced years you will know how to teach a class specific to that demographic.
  7. Make new friends. Yoga Teacher Training is about sharing the love of yoga. Bonding over tea and texting each other to ask how you pronounce Utthita Hasta Pandangusthasana. Besides, these friends are embarking on a journey of health and well being which will be a great influence all around.
  8. Gain confidence! Whether you end up teaching or not you will gain more confidence being in front of people, sharing your experience and taking a leadership role.
  9. Giving is getting. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing someone say, “ah, that’s just what I needed, “or “thanks, my back doesn’t hurt anymore.”
  10. Make some money. You probably won’t retire on your yoga earnings but teaching and continuing to practice will keep you out of the old folks home with a little extra change in your pockets.

For more information on the Fuller Yoga Primary Yoga Teacher Training please contact or click here.

meditationProbably one of the hardest things you will do; meditation.  First you fidget, then you are uncomfortable and you brain just won’t turn off for God’s sake!  But everyone says how good it is for you, how many health benefits there are like lowering your blood pressure, reducing stress/anxiety and even helping with depression.  Then why is it so hard?  I remember not knowing what to do and watching my mind run all over the place.  Let’s face it meditation is boring.

That is it precisely.  It’s about observing the boredom, observing the thoughts, observing the body and how it feels.  It’s about observing it all so that it can pass through you.  So that the space between the thoughts becomes longer and longer.

In the space in between the thoughts you get quiet and a peace settles upon you until the sweetness of the moment is overwhelming and all you want to do is sit there forever.  I’ve been known to be late because I was so absorbed in the stillness.  I’ve since learned to put on a timer.

I’m so excited to be offering a 6wk OSHO meditation series here at the studio so you can have a chance to feel the bliss of stillness yourself.  For some of us it’s the only time it’s quiet in our lives.  The beauty of this is these meditations are active and you will be doing something and not just “sitting there”.

So check it out under courses, it starts soon.  OSHO Meditation

Can’t wait to see you on the inside.

 

Recently this question came across my yoga mat.  I fear I can hurt myself in back bends but I’m curious about your  All Levels Back Bending workshop would this be appropriate for me? What are the benefits of back bending?

Well quite honestly you can hurt yourself stepping off the curb.  Anything you do without awareness can cause injury or pain.  However, with a qualified instructor who guides you into and out of your postures anything is possible.

Back bends are a great way to stimulates the central nervous system, revitalize the organs and counter balance our way too forward bending culture. They bring awareness to your back body, create better posture and help open the heart which can also help with depression and anxiety.

Back bends can be simply lying on your back with your feet on the floor lifting your hips up but they can also be so much more.

Should you take a workshop?  Absolutely.

Yoga workshops are the best way to do something correctly and get the most knowledge out of your instructor.  You will learn how to safely go into and out of back bending sequences as well as understand how “warmed up” the body has to be to properly achieve any back bend. Workshops start slow and it’s a focused effort on one or two postures so everything you do will be toward the end set of back bending postures. Plus, there are usually less people than in a regular group class so you will have the extra time to ask questions and get the help you are looking for. You will also find out what set of muscles are limiting you from a more expansive back bending practice.

Sign up and take a back bending workshop, ask a lot of questions and bend over backwards with the pure joy of it!

Yoga is the fountain of youth. You’re only as young as your spine is flexible. ~Bob Harper

For class and workshop information visit www.fulleryoga.com

 

In response to Deven Oschmann’s light write up about yoga stereotypes http://yoganonymous.com/stop-the-stereotyping-5-yogi-labels-that-need-to-be-addressed/

I have just one question. Who is doing the stereotyping anyway? The beef is that there are articles “out there” about the perfect yoga body or drinking smoothies and wearing Lululemon. Well it’s true. My body has completely changed due to a consistent yoga practice and my entire body has gotten much leaner as a result. Even more then when I was taking 90 min. dance classes every day. As a person who keeps diving deeper into their practice healthy drinks, food and kombucha do feel better in my the body. I am and we are (I hope) working on keeping our vibration light which eating healthy and keeping our system running smoothly does just that. Also, most of us practicing yoga are still women so whether you get your yoga/workout clothes at Lululemon, Hard Tail or Walmart, we all like to look good.

Of course some might think that we are stuck to our mats every day. Cause we are. We know the difference between what our bodies feel like when they are stiff, sore and out of alignment and when they are not. So yes we are on our mats as much as possible because it just feels better than not. Plus for those who play sports, dance, mountain bike, run or even golf you’d better get on your mat every day. It’s the only way to keep your body in top shape for game day.

I don’t know about you but after teaching and practicing for over 15 years, I am much less fazed by things that used to piss me off, make me sad and sometimes full of rage.  So yes we are more serene and understanding because we know that the greater part of us that is an infinite being will never end and the human reactive part of us is only temporary.

Flexible bendy pretzels you bet! Aren’t you more flexible than you were when you started yoga? Then yes to those who don’t practice we are the bendy pretzel that scares them. To say that yoga is “definitely not about changing us” well I serious hope it will, because life before yoga was unbearable, miserable and very confusing.

Yoganonomous where do you get these writers? I Googled “creator of root2rise yoga and holistic health based out of Austin Texas” and came up with a “sorry this page is unavailable” from Facebook and a Roots2Rise studio out of Woodinville, WA. I think I’d better practice more yoga so I can decipher the authentic from the masquerade.

Justine_FullerMat_Photo_Phone

The worst thing you can do is expect the next person to be like the last.  I find it all the time especially in the business of being a small yog studio.  Teachers expect the new studio they begin teaching at to be like their previous or current one.  I find myself reminding them often Fuller Yoga™ Studio is not xyz studio and we do things differently here.

The same is true for your practice.  Each time you come into Crow, Triangle Pose or Half Moon Pose and expect it to be like the time before you will most likely be disappointed that it wasn’t as good as before or shocked that you did it better.  Your expectations can set you up.  You may miss some really great things because you expect it to be bad or you may walk away feeling like crap because you expected it to be so great.

So how can Fuller Yoga™ help you manage your expectations? How can The Fuller Mat™ help you not get stuck assuming your current practice/studio/relationship should or will be the same as the last? It’s easy.  From the very beginning Fuller Yoga™ is designed to put you completely in the moment by focusing on the flow of your breath and your ability to move fluidly.  Unlike practices that tend to repeat the same sequence of postures, Fuller Yoga requires you pay attention to how you move from one pose to the next discover the nuances and shifts that  keep you open for discovery, inquiry and new experiences.

No Fuller Yoga™ practice can ever be the same.  Because it is so connected to breath and approaching the postures from movement rather than adjusting your body to the pose it will always be organic, flowing, and free from expectations.

Join me in discovering the next level to your practice with a week long Fuller Yoga retreat       Feb. 8-14th, 2015 at The Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rica.