by Betsy Kase
Getting on the yoga mat is a challenge every time. Some days it is a crazy struggle and I never get there. Other days I get there, but I can’t move that fast, joints hurt, my vertigo is acting up or I’m just plain tired.
I know many of you can identify with this, and together we move slower through a faster pace class, skip poses, take time to crawl around on the mat more, take a break, and when needed, just lie down. Years ago, quieter practices (ie: restorative yoga) were incredibly elusive to me. I couldn’t understand how to “just” watch myself move slow, stay still, and be really interested in something that is so boring! Really boring. My mind would leap, like those black crickets in my basement, then shut down and I would sleep.
More recently, lying down in the middle of class is what I needed to do. And when I do, I have a little conversation with myself. I tell myself a whole story that I miraculously absorb all the benefits from the other students who practice around me, in front, to the back and on either side of me.
Yoga Haven is moving into it’s third decade, and my focus has been redirected towards more introspective, slower practices.
There are a number of practices that aren’t necessarily new, but have finally begun to make it into the mainstream yoga world. And I believe this is the direction to move in. We know the world is getting more chaotic, everything we see and experience in our everyday life is more charged and distracting than it was in the past. This is causing our nervous systems to ramp up and we never get a chance to recalibrate.
Our systems were never designed for this, and now almost everyone I come into contact with has some chronic issue, exasperated by the crazy culture we live in.
It is time to take seriously what “self-care” really means.
noun: self-care; noun: selfcare
• the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one's own health.
• the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
• "expressing oneself is an essential form of self-care"
Self care makes us stronger, healthy, more resilient. We then have more energy and resources to take care of others. But wow, the amount of guilt that I battle with when I have to make a choice between practicing yoga or showing up for someone else – is big! Sometimes overwhelming, and I don’t always choose ME first. It is something I continually have to commit to, and by including a variety of quieter classes and workshops to the schedule, I am trying to create a space for you, me, for us to choose self-care.
A more recent addition to the regular Monday schedule (Scarsdale at noon) is Functional Movement & Feldenkrais with Patricia Wahl. Feldenkrais is an exploration of the way we move our bodies, and understanding how to “remap” our neuromuscular patterns for less discomfort and pain in our daily lives. This modality is different from yoga, but they share many of the same mindful principles, as you slow yourself down.
This January we will be adding a Yin Yoga class to the weekly schedule: Tuesdays, 1 pm in Scarsdale with Debbie Zimmerman. Yin is a quiet and introspective practice, which benefits joint health, flexibility, circulation and mental awareness. Yin is appropriate for all levels.
Below find a listing of contemplative experiential classes and workshops. Many times students tell me a quieter practice is hard for them, my advice is. Always keep trying. It is important to experience different teachers and techniques to figure out what works for you, what slows you down. These practices are as important as eating healthy food and sleeping enough. Don’t give up!
Yoga Nidra Workshop:
Begin with a restorative practice to soothe the mind and body, followed by Yoga Nidra (guided meditation) to enter a more deeply relaxed state, allowing the body and mind to absorb your sankalpa (seed of heartfelt desire).
Next class: Friday, January 17th. Runs every 3-4 months.
Reiki and Restorative Workshop:
Experience a unique combination of Restorative Yoga & Reiki. Breathe and let go into cushions and props that are positioned to support the body in releasing tension and stress. As you relax, you’ll be offered Reiki, a gentle, hands-on technique that channels life force energy through the subtle body to promote deep relaxation, balance and well-being. This practice encourages the nervous system to quiet and allows for healing on a physical and emotional level.
Next class: January 4th. Runs monthly.
Floating Savasana Workshop:
Class begins with very gentle movement and stretches to prepare the mind and body for total relaxation. Then enveloped in a cocoon of total support, float weightlessly in an aerial hammock as you are led through a guided meditation and luxurious extended savanna. No aerial yoga experience necessary.
Not suitable for those with claustrophobia or vertigo.
Runs every 3-4 months.
Mindfulness for Over-Full Minds:
Yearning to trade exhaustion and overwhelm for a little peace and clarity?
In a 90-minute introductory session, we’ll explore the basics of what science has learned about mindfulness and the mind, and begin to see how we can use this understanding to live with greater awareness, and to respond more wisely to whatever life throws us. This one-night introduction will be followed by a series of four guided meditation sessions. You can sign up for either or both—and you’re welcome at either or both whether or not you have ever meditated.
Next Class: January 7th
Sound Bath Meditaion with Craniosacral Balancing
Enjoy a sound healing bath while also experiencing the gentle yet powerful effects of craniosacral therapy, a light touch technique that releases tension and stress held in and around the body.
January 22nd class is sold out. Stay tuned for more dates.
WEEKLY CLASSES ON THE REGULAR SCHEDULE
Functional Movement & Feldenkrais
As you learn more about your own movement patterns and improve your coordination, the end result of this class will leave your nervous system calmed and soothed. This class is a great compliment to any yoga practice. It is for those who want to prevent injury, are recovering from injury, or for anyone wanting to learn more easeful and efficient movement for daily life.
Weekly, Mondays, Noon in Scarsdale.
Yin Yoga is a practice that targets the connective tissue, ligaments, joints, fascia and bones. Yin Yoga is a slower paced class with passive poses that are held for up to five minutes, which gives the body a chance to work into these deeper tissues. Yin is a quiet and introspective practice which benefits joint health, flexibility, circulation and mental awareness. Yin is appropriate for all levels.
Weekly, Tuesdays, 1pm in Scarsdale
This is a more relaxed paced, more gentle class than the regular Level 1. Poses are held longer assisted by the use of props to facilitate a deeper relaxation. The needs and abilities of each student are respected in an atmosphere free of expectations. Ideal for the absolute beginner, seniors, those who are overweight, with limited flexibility, and those recovering from injuries. All students must be able to move to the floor and be able to get back up on their own.
Weekly, Sundays, 11am in Scarsdale
A nurturing, slow-paced, well-supported and relaxing practice. Move mindfully through a gentle flow punctuated with restorative pauses.
Open to all levels.
Bi-monthly, Thursdays, 7:30 pm in Scarsdale