Yoga has been a great asset to my long history of physical activity. From gymnastics to dance to yoga I have always been active and I never practice the same thing twice. I’ve been a rebel against regimented styles that do the same thing each and every time. Although I have taught and taken Ashtanga, I’ve always complimented it with other yoga practices in order to keep things fresh and new.
The traditional yoga mat is an integral part of one’s practice, fashion statement and lifestyle yet also a limiting space for the body. In 2004 while working with a client who had a hard time comprehending the idea of swinging her legs on the floor while laying on her back it dawned on me that these “traditional yoga mats” are far too limiting. In fact they are damn near the size of coffins! The mat needed to be bigger and rounder so I created The Fuller Mat™. Even though I had been teaching since 1998 and practicing since 1996, yoga was still fairly new on the market. I had to search high and low to find a source for such a long and wide roll of sticky material that could be adaptive as a yoga mat. I was lucky to be able to get a small quantity and begin developing and practicing and teaching Fuller Yoga™ on The Fuller Mat™.
Since then using The Fuller Mat™ has blessed me with profound insights on postures and transitions that can not only open joints and muscles more thoroughly, but also develop patterns that help move a practitioner more easily into arm balances, back bends and twists that most people struggle with for years. My students have gained leaps and bounds in their flexibility and learned to trust the circles and patterns we work with. They can feel the right connection to what flows and what doesn’t both in their practice which then gets translated to their life.
In winter of 2015, I move Fuller Yoga™ out into the world by offering a week long retreat at The Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rice Feb. 8-14, 2015. We will be able to develop our practice with two yoga classes a day and also define space and flow for ourselves in practice and in life. For more details on the retreat please visit; http://fulleryoga.com/OurSite/retreatstrainingsJustine_Fuller_BioPic

#1 Fundamental Fear

October 20, 2013

Fingers of the UniverseWhat if who I am isn’t who I need to be to get what I want?  This belief, that at the core of my being I am flawed and my hopes and dreams are unattainable because I do not posses the qualities of those people who get what they want and do live their dreams.  I’ve come down with a case (yet again) of magical thinking. That there is some sort of way to be which is outside myself, or way to do things which is not like mine that I need to adhere to and morph myself into being because who I am just isn’t the right person to have what I so deeply desire.  I haven’t had the right education, I don’t have the right people around me, I don’t think the right way to create abundance, I didn’t have the right upbringing etc. etc. .  I suppose this is how many enslaved people must have felt. That no matter how strong their desire is the constructs of society and things outside of themselves will keep them in forever yearning.  This must be purgatory. This is torture.  What if it’s true and my whole life is for nothing but to be in a constant state of unrequited love if you will?  So then I remember this is a thought.  It’s just a thought.  A very powerful one but still just a thought.  I think of all the uneducated non-business degree people who have achieved their dreams. Colonel SandersOprah Winfrey (grew up poor), Lady Gaga (dropped out of college), Rosalie Mera (dropped out of school at 11 to become a seamstress).

On the other hand I say “Why would God be so cruel to insight such desire within me only to keep me from it because I lack the mental acuity or perspective to reach my goal?”    I do some Byron Katie 4 questions on it and I say to myself, “What if who I am is exactly who I need to be to get what I want?”  And for a moment there is relief, space and ease.  I relax and let myself be ok with who I am, the education I have received, the people I’m around and the things I want out of life if only for a moment this is enough.  Besides I’m not dead yet so there is still a chance.

Feedback for Fuller Yoga

October 14, 2013
It is so great to get feedback on people’s experience of Fuller Yoga™.  After almost 10 years of developing this style (which is hard to explain) I appreciate another yogi’s perspective.  Every time I teach or practice Fuller Yoga my body opens in many new ways and releases some long held tensions that normal yoga just hasn’t.  I find new spatial relationships and become an endless creator of movement and transitions from one pose to the next.
 
“I just took my first Fuller Yoga class, the first of many!!! This is a unique and inspired class! I loved Justine’s description of imaging the dome above the round mat-somehow the dome became sky-like.Great combination of classic yoga poses combined with movement-all on the round Fuller mat. A great physical and spiritual workout!I highly recommend!!”  – Rachel Siporin

Most of what’s on my Facebook Page is positive affirmations from various friends and colleagues.  This of course makes sense since I own a yoga studio and teach several classes a week.  However, what I’m realizing about this feel good world is that no one is talking about how to really incorporate these positive vibes into your body and not just your mind because there is something that happens after we speak the good stuff that no one is talking about and it creates a terrible obstacle to changing your life experience.

1.  The Back Talk– You will experience this immediately after your positive affirmation.  It’s the voice that says, “that’s silly no you can’t.”  “Yea right.”  “Forget it that’s never going to happen.”  You need to know to be prepared for this.  Expect your lower mind to bring up excuses to keep you where you are.  Change is scary for the ego because its main job is to keep the status quo.

2. Back Lash – This is when the back talk has integrated itself into your physical world. Back lash is when something good happens to you and you can’t hold it.  For example you identify that something good has happened to you.  Say you found a $20 bill in an old wallet.  This is great, you’re excited, and later that day you trip and fall on your knees.  Then you begin to justify the bad experience with the good one.  Basically saying “see I told you not to get excited.”  “You were too happy.”  “This is karma.”  “You should of given that money away.”  No this is the energy of the back talk playing itself out.  We set ourselves up to prove that we are unworthy and shouldn’t take joy in things.  We don’t deserve to be happy.  So the cycle begins. We do our affirmations, we don’t believe them and then we prove to ourselves that they don’t work.

3. The Witness – This is the stage where things get exciting.  When we cultivate witnessing our mind and thoughts we can easily catch the back talk and see the ego cycle playing itself out.  Then when good things happen to us we can take it in and say yes this is great I deserve this and consciously be prepared for the events and belief systems that are waiting at the helm to take us down. So when you feel that negativity creep up on you, you know you must have done something good for yourself.

Don’t just say the affirmations and try to feel them you also have to be an ego slayer. Prepare for the evil twins Back Talk and Back Lash.  Witness consciousness is your kryptonite. Your ego and negative mind is Lex Luthor trying to take over your entire world.  Call on your witness to destroy the misguided ego.  The world is safe and good and loving you every second even when it isn’t it still is cause this ride it temporary and we aren’t human forever so enjoy every last happy rocky road of it.

Now that Spring is finally upon us, it’s time to twist out those cobwebs of Old Man Winter.  This will require a chair and humility.  Let’s first open our back a little before we start.  Go ahead and stand up tall, then soften your knees so there is a slight bend, then creasing at the hips fold over and hang your upper body towards the floor.  Let your head go and make sure you can see between your legs. Take 3 deep breaths.  When you feel ready slowly roll up one vertebra at a time.  Now we are ready for a twist.

You will need a chair with no arm handles so that you can position yourself properly to execute the twist.  Sit so that your right shoulder is facing the back of the chair and your right hand on the far side of the back of the chair.  Your left hand will be across your body and closer to you.  Lengthen your spine from the pelvic floor up through the crown of the head and inhale.

Then as you exhale begin twisting your abdomen first, then your rib cage, shoulders and finally your head.  This twist should move up your spine.  You don’t want your shoulders twisted if your belly button hasn’t moved yet.  Once you have gotten yourself into the pose take a deep breath in and as you exhale twist deeper.  Stay there for 3 more breaths.  When ready release from the pose slowly.

Staying there turn gently to the left to release the deep back muscles.  Now change sides by facing your legs to the other side.  You may repeat this if you like. 

As you are twisting it’s best to close your eyes and imagine your stress, tension and worries literally getting wrung out.  Squeeze out the bad vibes and when you release begin to inhale a new one and feel how your life would be without the stress you’ve been experiencing.

As always let me know how it goes.

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

This week we are going to learn how to stretch our neck.  Seems easy enough but there are lots of small movements we can do to make the stretches more effective and long lasting.  Again you can do this seated or standing.  (Hint: I recommend doing this with a friend who can read the instructions to you as you do them.) Start by centering yourself using the Durga Breath we learned last week.  Go ahead I will wait……

Ok to begin, gently lower your chin to your chest.  Make sure you do not let your shoulders slump forward though.  It’s important to keep your spine long and just stretch the neck.  Your head is anywhere from 12 to 14 lbs. and more if you’re stubborn; so let the weight of your head hang forward.  You should feel a gentle pulling on the back of your neck.  Breathe.  Now roll your right ear to your right shoulder NOT your shoulder up to your ear!  Keep your ear in line with the shoulder you should be looking forward not down to the floor or up to the ceiling. Breathe deeply for 5 breaths.  Feel how the left side stretches?  Each time you exhale focus on releasing tight muscles; whatever that means to you.  If you have to imagine a puppy or a happy baby to think light then do so until you understand what it means and feels like to relax.  Now to release roll your chin back to your chest.  There are lots of small muscles in the neck and we do not want to strain them after having taken such a deep stretch.

Lift your head up from center and look straight ahead.  Close your eyes and feel the difference between the right and left sides of your neck.  Pretty cool huh?  Now repeat on the other side.

If you feel tightness in any area of the movement from chin to your chest to ear to your shoulder go ahead and stop where it feels tight, breath and allow your neck to relax.  Be kind to your neck, it has to hold up all that wisdom, intelligence and maybe a little stubbornness. 

Live Simply and Wisely,

Justine

How to Breathe

February 13, 2013

One part of living healthy is knowing how to breathe well. When we feel stressed anxious or even lethargic it can make our breathing shallow and labored.  We limit the oxygen to the brain and short circuit our ability to handle stress.  That’s why knowing how to breathe deeply is so important.  Before we begin notice how you feel right now.  What is your general mood or temperament; grumpy, sad, happy, stressed?  Do you want to change your current feeling to one of being present and calm? Then let’s begin.

Sit tall right where you are, close your eyes and notice your breath.  Is it shallow or deep?  Do you feel it in your chest, back or belly?  Are you breathing more through your nose or mouth? No judgments just notice.  Now that you’ve recognized your normal breathing patterns I’m going to teach you how to breathe more deeply so you can access your vital life force and feel less stress.  This breathing technique is called Durga Breath or 3 Part Breath. 

 Place your left hand on your belly below your navel. (It should be your left hand because it represents the feminine and nurturing oneself as you are about to do right now.)   Now place your right hand on your chest.  Inhale through your nose sooooo deeeeeply that your hand moves out, feel the breath expanding your belly; once you feel your belly expand take a little more air into your body hold it for a moment; now slowly exhale through your nose.  On your next breath take the air into your belly and then let it expand out to your ribs.  Feel the ribs expanding out like wings. When you are full of air slowly exhale through your nose.  This may take a few rounds of breathing to really get familiar with breathing this deeply but when you’ve mastered it you are ready for the third part.  Take breath into your belly feeling your left hand get pushed out as you did before then into your ribs and finally into your chest.  You will feel your right hand rise with the breath.  As you exhale your chest will relax your ribs will descend and your belly will come in.  With your eyes closed repeat this at least 5-8 times.  If you experience the desire to yawn honor that and let yourself yawn. 

This Durga Breath is great because (1) more air is taken in to the lower lobes of the lungs which have a larger capacity than the upper lobes; (2) the diaphragm acts like a second heart. Its piston-like movements expand the base of the lungs, allowing them to draw in more venous blood- this increase in the venous circulation improves the general circulation; (3) the abdominal organs are massaged by the up and down movements of the diaphragm; and (4) low breathing has a beneficial effect on the solar plexus, a very important nerve center which educes relaxation.

Now how you are feeling?  Did it change?  How and in what ways?  Remember breathing is free so use this deep breathing to manage stress and create more health.  Practice Often.

Live Simply and Wisely,    

Justine

If you have questions or comments I would love to answer them email me at info@fulleryoga.com

First of all ultimately yoga is suppose to feel good.  Sure in the beginning it’s painful or uncomfortable during the pose as is anything new or different but we all know that at least after Sivasana we feel better.  However, there are 3 surefire ways to know if you are executing your poses correctly.

1.  You will still be able to breathe slowly and deeply while you are executing the pose.

2. Your mind will want to focus on your body.

3. Your body will feel “aligned”.  Although that word may be elusive in the beginning you will begin to understand how much better you feel when you have aligned your body in the correct way.  It will feel like the damn of tightness has lifted, the light has cracked through the clouds and you are back to being you again.

Enjoy.  How did it feel when you “got it”, when you were doing yoga?

What was your moment and how did you just know? I would love to hear your experience?

 

The Bad Yogi

December 21, 2012

People do crazy things just look in the news. Some people lie, cheat, steal and kill to get their point across and yes even some yogi’s do it too. Just look at the shooting at Lululemon, but being honest with who you are and what you are feeling and wanting may avoid such atrocities or even white lies that insipidly harm ourselves and others.

A yoga instructor accused me of saying things I did not say, made demands she knew I could not comply with and made me out to be the bad guy. As much as I tried to resolve the situation in the best way I could she just wasn’t willing to communicate. So, I accepted my role of bad guy that I was to be to her. Like many others in her life I was one of many people who have done her wrong and so there really was no way of resolving anything as she was determined to be a victim.

What leads us to these kind of behaviors? Fear, lack of courage, low self-esteem, and a whole slew of misguided ideas of ourselves that the ego has projected to keep us in a role or category that we could name “safe” or “comfort zone”. If we could be really honest (satya, what we learn in The Yamas) with ourselves and communicate our findings and feelings to others who would really listen then we might live in a more mature and peaceful world. But when we don’t have that courage we find any excuses to leave, cheat, or begin to view someone as the enemy in order to do what is right in our heart’s to do, the ego’s view of ourselves, get away from a particular feeling or satisfy, if only temporarily, a need. Even if that need is to continue to be the victim or (any other label here).