Introducing… A Yoga Teacher

For those of you considering offering beginner yoga classes, and have not made that commitment yet, our conversation with Lisa Willcock will surely stir your interest about what a yoga teacher might be like and what motivates them to teach.

I had the pleasure of lunching with a lovely woman on International Women’s Day. Lisa Willcock is a wife and mother foremost,  and she also works as a nurse in the Integrated Medicine department of a local hospital. Through her many years and experiences of surgical and I.C.U. nursing in hospitals, she has come to appreciate the importance of the connection of the mind and body in regard to health and wellness. It is this appreciation that drew her to explore a yoga class at her gym. Initially, like many people, she thought yoga was mostly about stretching and is “what you would do after a real workout”. However, as her practice continued, she discovered just how thoroughly yoga can work the body and serve to link it to and center the mind as well. Pleased and intrigued with the benefits of yoga, Lisa eventually completed a yoga teacher training program. Today, though she has sufficient work to do in nursing as well as mothering, she also teaches a weekly yoga class for beginners.  

“ I like it more than I ever imagined”, Lisa remarked, in describing the joy of sharing yoga with first-timers.  She went on to describe that people who assumed they were not flexible enough, or perhaps too out-of-shape to attempt Yoga are now learning that Yoga is adaptable to every body type and age group, and can leave you feeling energized as well as exercised. Lisa has also held a

few private classes at a friend’s house and an after-school class for middle school girls, which I personally appreciate.  Though at first, a teenager may disregard Yoga as an older person’s activity, actually, adolescence is a great time in life to become in-tune with your body and learn to direct your energy in productive ways, while also adopting techniques for bringing peace and calm  to your mind.

Lisa is a hard-working and busy woman, but she makes time in her schedule to practice yoga, preferentially, over other types of exercise, and to introduce and guide others into a life- giving yoga practice.  What a breath of fresh air, to meet a medical professional who recognizes the interconnectedness of our body, mind, and spirit, and in who in light of that is dedicated to serving others.

If you would like to start offering the gift of yoga to others, and not sure where to start, consider posting your offerings on our website, www.thebiggreengym.com.  Choose the time and location that are most convenient for you.  Our website helps connect you with others in your community who are looking for someone just like you!

ZMAN0213

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Things to Consider Before Your First Yoga Class

 

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Leave Comparison at the Door-  Unlike so many exercise events, Yoga isn’t about competition.  Yes, there will be others around you with less body fat, more muscle and flexibility, doing things that you may have only seen at a circus.  However, remember that those people are not living your life in your body. Your life is your journey and consequently; your yoga practice belongs to you alone. In practicing, you learn to notice your strengths and weaknesses, and that they are always changing according to the time and will  applied to them. That is a beautiful thing- no matter what the person next to you is doing. So, focus on your own path.

 

Yoga Gear is a thing, not the thing- Make sure you have comfortable clothing that won’t shift and fall as you move through different postures, causing an embarrassing moment.  A yoga mat should have just enough stickiness so that you don’t slip when in a wide-leg posture or ‘downward dog’. That being said, there are scads of very expensive yoga gear options, none of which will help you go deeper into your own practice- owing to the dollars spent.  Opting to purchase quality, affordable items, while adhering to a consistent and mindful practice would most likely keep you in greater graces with Yoga’s original intent, which leads us to the next point.

 

What’s this all about anyway?-  Are you trying Yoga to get a certain body shape or to arrive at ‘the splits’?  Yoga’s original intent was to cultivate discernment, awareness, self-regulation and higher consciousness in the individual.  Some instructors may teach with the former goal in mind, but most will guide on the original foundation.  Embracing that mindset will allow you to enjoy and understand yourself more, as well as the yoga session for which you signed up. You may hear yogis talking about Yoga as their practice and their lifestyle.  This is where other forms of exercise differ. You may be interested in Yoga only as a weekly class and that’s ok, but the larger context for your class is that a person gains greater benefits when they practice Yoga daily.  When you make space and time in your home for Yoga- even if it is only meditation on an intention for each day- you’re “hitting a homerun” for what it means to “do Yoga”. Our website, http://www.thebiggrrengym.com shows many unique yoga experiences offered in your area.

 

When it is all said and done, I’m pretty sure you’ll be glad you tried Yoga.  The great thing about it is that as much as you are willing to try, you’ll be rewarded with physical and mental gain.  You’re taking time out to refill your tank, so to speak. Try your best to maintain a positive attitude and look for the good.  In this way, it’s a win-win situation.

 

https://www.care2.com/greenliving/12-yoga-tips-for-beginners.html

https://www.verywellfit.com/essential-beginner-yoga-tips-3566732

 

Yoga to Enliven Winter

Autumn and Winter are wonderful seasons! Relationships strengthen with fireside moments as friends and family converge. We hardly need a reason to be thankful at Thanksgiving as these aesthetics please and nourish our souls.  We rejoice to see the beauty in zillions of different snowflakes and anticipate loving memories made around a holiday table. For many people, especially in northern climes, these things are all true; and yet there is another side to the coin.  After the buzz of the holidays and the dawn of the New Year, cold weather can creep into your body in a way that threatens to chill your joy.  Seeing less of the sun in these months can bring on a truly scientific kind of depression and each day can begin to be more of a drudgery than a gift.  

There are several ways to aid seasonal affective disorder.  Vitamin supplements, light therapy, aromatherapy and relational activities are among them.  Another important aspect of overall health, specifically in the Winter months, is physical exercise.  Of course the options are vast for exercise indoors as well as outdoors.  We’d like to focus on one form of exercise, and that is Yoga.  

Yoga is especially suited for facing cold weather and “Winter Blues” as it can be modified on the spot for a huge range of physical capabilities within a large group of people indoors, and for those who need particular solace, it can be practiced alone with the help of an instructor on video.  Yoga allows the person to dial down thoughts and tensions, to deepen and focus on breath control, and possibly gain greater mental peace in the midst of a heavy season.  Yoga brings warmth to the body with the option of challenging poses while because of its more stationary structure, minimizing the opportunity for injury.  Most yoga practices begin slow, with a built-in warm-up and end gradually allowing the body to “soak” in the energy and circulation that was generated.

Dana Flynn, a yoga teacher at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City, relishes helping her students feel “fresh, inspired and alive.” She had a part in creating the studio which features brightly colored ceiling-to-floor curtains, glitter sealed into the floor, and a disco ball for the end of class.  So, not only does the activity of Yoga work towards a lifting of emotions, but the look and feel of the place in which you practice, plays a large role.

Melissa Vance, a student and teacher of Yoga, says “I’ve come to rely on the therapeutic benefits of my daily practice to help me shift my viewpoint while energizing my body that seems to want to hibernate for a few months in the Winter… When Winter blues have you feeling down, think about the importance of the time spent in Savasana (corpse pose) and remember that you’ll soon be moving around- enjoying the warmth and growth of Spring once again.” She recommends this yoga sequence that exemplifies the convergence of strength through the feet with the flow of melting snow: Downward Dog, Warrior 1, Warrior 2, Triangle, Half Moon.

Whatever form of Yoga you choose in seeking emotional balance during the Winter, whether it be relaxing Yin, an energizing flow, or a meditation sequence, simply the act of getting on your mat can begin to tip the scales in favor of a healthier, happy “you” this season.  

Explore the offerings on thebiggreengym.com and find just the right yoga experience to meet your physical and emotional needs.

 

 

http://spryliving.com/articles/yoga-to-ease-the-winter-blues/

http://melissavance.com/2017/01/21/yoga-for-the-winter-blues/

Can Being in Nature Improve Your Well-Being?

As it turns out, our drive to get outdoors is more than just a passing whim – it’s an inherent aspect of our biology.

being in nature can improve wellbeing

Have you ever felt more at peace with the world than when you’re in nature? As humans, we have a natural need to connect with the outside world. And science helps explain why. As it turns out, our drive to get outdoors is more than just a passing whim – it’s an inherent aspect of our biology.

Improve Your Circadian Rhythm

Have you ever noticed that children are naturally sleepy when it gets dark, but are up with the sun the next morning? This is because their circadian rhythms are better regulated than most adults. Indoor lighting and screens can make it difficult for us to fall and stay asleep over time – but spending time in nature can reset your biological clock. If you have a difficult time sleeping, shut down your screens a couple of hours before bed – and get outdoors.

Enjoy the Green

There is something about nature – specifically greenery – that has a positive effect on our health. In fact, studies have shown that patients who had “green” views from their hospital rooms had shorter postoperative stays, reported fewer postoperative complications, and took fewer painkillers. What a testament to the great outdoors!

Other studies have shown that time in nature can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Kids who spend time outside report a reduction in their symptoms as well as a decrease in “attention fatigue.”

A Simple Look Will Do

If you’re not the rugged, Bear Gyrlls type, don’t fret: you don’t have to be an outdoor survivalist to enjoy the health benefits of nature. Studies show that the simple act of looking at trees can improve mood, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress. And reducing stress has a bevy of other health benefits, like boosting your immune system.
Spending time in nature will help your physical and emotional wellbeing. Whether it’s a dense rural forest or a tree-lined urban park, being outside helps people feel better. And you don’t have to be a wilderness expert to enjoy the health benefits – simply get out of the house or office for a change and explore the great outdoors.

The Big Green Gym is a new innovative way to spend time outside by connecting you with a yoga instructor offering an outdoor session.

Sources:
http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html
https://thetrek.co/scientifically-supported-reasons-get-outsidehttp://therapychanges.com/blog/2016/04/psychological-benefits-spending-time-nature

4 Reasons to Practice Yoga Outside

When practicing yoga, we are trying to connect with ourselves. What better place to do this than a peaceful place in nature?

 

4 Reasons to Practice Yoga Outside

If you consider yourself a yogi, you’ve probably spent countless hours in a crammed, sweaty yoga studio. While the heat and sweat can help benefit your flexibility, it might be time to explore other venues – like outside. When practicing yoga, we are trying to connect with ourselves. What better place to do this than a peaceful place in nature?

Here are the top four reasons why you should practice yoga outside.

  1. Being Outside Boosts Your Well-Being. Just being outdoors boosts your mood, self-esteem, and psychological well-being. The fresh air will clear your mind and prepare you for your yoga practices. Becoming one with the earth leaves you with good feelings and allows you a more natural way to practice.
  2. Great Views. Being able to find a perfect spot in nature for your yoga not only offers you serenity, but also a great view. Practicing outdoors allows you to choose your favorite scenic background, and gives you a greater opportunity to connect with yourself.
  3. Perfect Background Music. In a yoga studio, there is often quiet music playing, or a soundtrack replicating the noises you might find outdoors. Why not give yourself the natural soundtrack of birds, wind, or water? These sounds will help you feel at peace and further connect to the nature around you.
  4. Explore New Places. Practicing yoga outdoors allows you a beautiful and natural environment. Choosing a new place each time you practice allows you to explore the nature in your area and discover new favorite places. There could be a perfect yoga getaway a few blocks from your home you never knew existed.

You will not be disappointed when choosing to practice yoga outdoors. After you’re finished, the outdoors is the perfect environment to cool down and reflect on your experience. You can use this opportunity to go on a peaceful walk through the woods or along the beach, and your yoga mat is the perfect place for quick meditation. Your perfect spot in nature will ensure you connect and develop your skills.