Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What's the Big Deal?

What's the big deal about yoga?

It sure seems like a big deal.  Studios popping up everywhere, conferences & festivals & fundraisers, websites & blogs about it (like this one).

It appears to be a big deal for a lot of people.

Yoga is a big deal for me.

I practice asana (poses) & pranayama (breath work) every day. I do my best to practice the yamas & niyamas every day & to use the principles of the Yoga Sutras. Yoga has helped me change the way I move through my life.  So yeah, it's a big deal for me.

But maybe it's not a big deal for you. Maybe you just drop in for a class now & then. Maybe you've only watched a video on youtube or heard friends talk about it. Maybe you're thinking "what is the big deal?!".

There's a lot to be gained from the practice of yoga...whatever type of yoga you practice. There's a lot to learn - a lot I still have to learn.

So if it's not a big deal to you, well then, no big deal.

But consider this...if you feel better when you step on your mat, or better yet, when you step off your mat after you've practiced, that's enough. That in & of itself is a pretty big deal.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

What I learned from Skiing

My family started skiing last year.  We only skied a few times last year, but we've been skiing more this year...well, as much as the winter has allowed.

This year I noticed that when I ski down the mountain, I'm leaning back in my boots.  When really, it feels like I should be leaning forward.

I know I'm leaning back because I don't want to go fast.  And, to be totally honest, I don't want to fall.

So basically, I'm skiing down the mountain, leaning back & resisting every moment of it & thinking about not wanting to fall.

If you've ever read any of my other blogs, you know I fully believe in the Law of Attraction.  So...what comes to mind when you read that?

Skiing downhill, leaning back, thinking about not falling.

I'm an accident waiting to happen:)

Ok, so there's the Law of Attraction piece. If I don't want to fall, I need to stop thinking about falling.

The bigger piece for me is leaning back.  Because we do it with so many things in in our life.  Lean back, pull back, dig in & create more tension than there needs to be.  That's exactly what I'm doing when I'm skiing.  I'm creating excessive & unnecessary resistance.  I also heard my fellow teacher, Melissa Pressmar (, describe it as stretching a rubber band.  The more you pull back (whether it be from a situation or a person that you have to deal with) the more tension you create.  You keep stretching that rubber band until it's super tight...or it snaps.

But if you lean into it a bit. Soften. Relax. Then you can ski gracefully down the mountain.

I've had a few runs like that.  And I do like skiing, so I'm going to keep at it. Because really, it's just another opportunity to practice my yoga off my mat.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"I should do yoga"

I heard someone say this the other day: "I should do yoga". But..she quickly followed "I don't like it".

She was physically fit, looked like she was in great shape. She talked about taking spin class, so she obviously kept active.

But she didn't like yoga.

At the time, I didn't say anything. What could I say? I love yoga. Everything about it. Practicing, teaching. It brings me great joy. Anything I say about yoga comes from that place.  But no matter what I say, if someone doesn't like it, what I say won't matter.

It occurred to me the next day. She didn't like yoga. But most of what she was talking about was the poses, the asanas. I teach power yoga. I teach a practice that is based around the poses.  But the poses are only a piece of the practice. The other pieces - breath, focus, compassion, joy, being present - the asanas are a chance to practice those. And those are the important pieces of yoga.

It made me wonder...did she practice those pieces in the other activities in her life? When she was doing whatever she was doing - spinning, running - was she focused on her breath? Was she focused? Was she present? I don't know about the compassionate piece, because I don't know how compassionate you can be with yourself when you're in a spin class:)

My Mother doesn't practice asana. But she gardens. She loves it. I'm pretty sure when she's gardening she's present. She's focused. It's her yoga.

I know other people who run, bike, paint, swim, write, pray. They do what they love. When they do what they love, they're present. They're focused.

So, to those who say they don't like yoga, but think they should do it I would say this...If you don't like the asanas, don't do them. But find something in your life that can be your yoga practice. Yes, your practice. Something that you do just because you love it. Because it brings you joy. Not something you do because you think you should or something you do that you think you need to master.  Something you simply do.

And then come & take class with me...I'll change your opinion of the asanas too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What do the Sutras say about that?

Yoga Sutra 1.14 says "practice for a long time, with consistency & enthusiasm". (this is the translation that resonates most with me - there are other similar translations).  A practice like this sticks.  It's becomes a part of your everyday life & part of who you are.

Yoga Sutra 1.14 doesn't say "practice a whole lot in January & then forget about it the rest of the year".

If you've been practicing yoga & haven't heard of the Yoga Sutras, now's your chance to learn about them.  Look it up on Google or buy a good book on Amazon. 

Yoga Sutra 1.14: "practice for a long time, with consistency & enthusiasm".

We get alot of new students in my yoga studio every January.  It's awesome.  People committing or recommitting to taking care of themselves.

But...inevitably, there are those people who stop coming for class after January.

Stuff comes up, life happens & if you're one of those people, you just stop getting on your mat.  When I first started practicing, I was one of those people.

"practice for a long time"  As in, start now practice until you're 100 years old.

"with consistency" Make your practice a priority...make yourself a priority.  Commit to practicing 3 days a week, 5 days a week, 7 days a week.

"enthusiasm" Does getting on your mat feel like just something else you have to do? If you can get on your mat...if you have a body that you can move through a yoga excited about that!! If you can actually get into a studio to excited about that!! Seriously. Remember how lucky you are to have a body & a life that can support your yoga practice.

If you want to experience transformation this year, practice. Forget your resolutions & just practice.  Practice with consistency & enthusiasm & keep practicing for a very long time.  


Monday, January 18, 2016

New Year's Intentions

Intention: A thing intended; an aim or plan

Resolution: The act of solving a problem

New Year's Resolutions.  Do you have them?  It's mid-January.  Did you have them?

We start thinking about resolutions in December.  Move full-force into January with them.  And by this time each year, many have forgotten about them.

I can't remember the last time I made a New Year's resolution.  I think practicing yoga is at the root of that.  When I hear people talk about their resolutions, it seems that they are focusing on what they don't like about themselves or their lives.  As though there's a problem that needs to be fixed.

I operate as best I can using the Law of Attraction.  So if I want to create a shift or a change, I focus on what's going right & how to bring about more of that.  For example, if I want to eat better & feel better, instead of saying "I need to stop eating junk food", I say "I've been eating some healthy food lately - I'm going to eat more of that".

A resolution implies there's problem that needs to be fixed.  When it comes to New Year's resolutions, it implies that we are the problem.  We are too fat, we don't exercise enough, we've made poor choices in relationships. We want to change what we don't like in our life, but we operate from the premise that there is something wrong with us that needs to be fixed.

What if there's nothing wrong with us?  What if we're just focusing on the wrong thing?  What if we could shift our focus to what is working & going right & focus on attracting & creating more of that?

There's your intention. Aim for what you want more of.  Even if you hate your job, there must be something about it you like (Remember when adults asked you your favorite subject in school & you said "recess"?).  For anything that you want to change, start from a place of appreciating what you already have.  Then aim for attracting more of that.

Resolutions fade quickly. Intentions last.

If you feel like you "failed" at your resolutions, let them go.  Let go of the idea that somehow you failed.  If you were focused on what's wrong, it's simply that your focus was off.  Refocus.  Feel what's right about you & your life.  And then set your intentions.

Monday, January 4, 2016

7 ways to inner peace

Happy New Year! 
I was asked to write a piece for Unlocking Litchfield (  They requested my 7 top tips for finding inner piece.  I was eager point out that Inner Peace isn't something you can find outside of's something that exist within each of us.  Still, the list is a nice reminder for us all (me included) of ways to practice reconnecting.
Wishing each of you an abundant & peaceful 2016! 
7 Ways to Inner Peace in 2016
1. Breathe. You might be thinking, "Really? That's her advice?" I know - cliché, overused by yoga teachers everywhere. But try it - right now, try it. Take a big breath in through your nose, and a long slow breath out through your mouth. Do it again. Now, close your eyes and take 3 breaths like that. Long full breaths in - and even, measured breaths out.  Just notice if anything has changed. If you did that thinking that it was just nonsense, guess what - nothing is going to happen. So try it again and really notice if anything...anything, has changed.  And that leads me to the next tip...

2. Be Present. Did you take those 3 deep breaths and notice each moment of the breath - how it felt in your body, in your lungs, did you hear it? If all of your attention was focused on it, if you looked for anything that had changed within you, then you were present - even if just for a moment.  And maybe you even felt it...a connection with yourself - a taste of inner peace.
3. Connect. Connect with yourself - through breath, through yoga, through running, or whatever it is that brings your joy.  Connect with your joy.
4. Connect with others.  Old fashioned connection - in person, face to face (connection through social media does not count!).  Look someone in the eyes.  Touch someone. Let them know that you see them, and then let them see you. Now notice how that feels - to see and be seen.  It doesn't even have to be someone you know. It works with a friend or a stranger.
5. Don't do anything. When you don't know what to do to find inner peace, don't do anything (except breathe).  Don't look to see what other people are doing on Facebook.  Don't search Google for answers.  I guarantee you; you will not find inner peace inside your mobile device.  When you take your phone or your iPad apart, all you are going to find is a bunch of hardware. 
6. Make a gratitude list.  Yup - a gratitude list. Simple, but it works.  Make it in your mind, or better yet, on paper.  What are you grateful for?  It can be a short or a long list, simple or complicated.  Now pause.  Don't do anything else (except breathe) and reflect on that list.  How do you feel?  Notice if you feel different.
7. Practice. Honestly, it's not magic.  It just takes practice.  It becomes a habit & then a state of being. Your Inner Peace.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reindeer Games

It's the Holiday season, and for alot of people, it means things get busier.  You might find yourself Dashing through stores to get things you need. Or Dancing late into the night at a party. Maybe Prancing through the aisles of the grocery store looking at all the holiday candy & other treats.

Ok...enough with the Reindeer games...seriously...

The holidays get busy for us too.  But my intention is to move through the holidays with ease & grace.  My intention is really to move through my whole life with ease & grace.  That's my intention. Doesn't always play out that way:)

It may sound silly, but I like to take something as abstract & maybe intangible as "move through the holidays with ease & grace" and make it attainable by focusing on the practical.  It's what I do when I teach.  I don't teach people to sit & meditate.  Not because I don't think there's value in it.  But because I know how challenging it is for me. And because I know that given a choice between physical exercise & seated meditation, most people (not all!) will choose exercise.  So I teach a very physical yoga class, but I teach it as a meditation in motion. Creating a practical & attainable way to meditate.

So....back to ease & grace.  How does one move through the holidays with ease & grace? Here are my 5 suggestions:

1. I say, start small.  Don't worry about everything you have to do between now & Christmas - focus on today.  Take it one day at a time.

2. That being said...a little planning goes a long way. And it's hard to feel at ease & full of grace if you're hungry. In our house, hungry leads to hangry (you know, hungry...angry...hangry).  So I never leave home without a snack.  And I love the healthy snack options offered at  Healthy snacks that taste good - stuff that you're actually going to want to eat when you're .

3. Make time for yourself.  The busier you get, the more important it is to make that time for yourself.  If you can't make it into the studio to take class, try a podcast or a youtube video.

4.  Set yourself up for sucess.  This ties the last 3 together.  Don't say you're going to move through the next 3 weeks with ease & grace & then loose your temper & beat yourself up about it & abandon your intention.  When you leave for your mega-shopping trip at the mall, don't pack those healthy snacks that have been sitting in your pantry for 6 months because you don't really like them. And don't say you're going to go to a 90 minute yoga class every day for the rest of the year, even though you've never, ever done more than 15 minutes a day.  You're not setting yourself up for success.  Make your goals practical & attainable.  Set yourself up for success.  Get through a meeting with ease & grace.  Let your snacks be tasty & healthy.  Commit to getting into the studio for 1 yoga class a week & do shorter practices at home the rest of the days.

5. Start now.  Don't wait until the New Year.  Don't wait until next week.  Don't wait until everything is just right.  Just start now.

For great, healthy snacks that you want to eat, check out the healthy snacks page  at  There's too many to mention here, but I do love pistachios, dried strawberries & trail mix.

If you can't make it into Sanctaury Power Yoga to take class, check out my podcasts on itunes.  Search for me: Heather Rems Korwin.  My podcasts are free!