Let's explore

What do you think when you hear yoga? I know when I started, I thought about being limber, and showing off my old splits moves, standing on my arms, my head, and making pretzel shapes. (The answer is …no, I can’t do much of those after 8 years of practice :-).

Now when I think of yoga I see a much more complex picture.  And if you wanted to get hard core…i mean REALLLLLY dig in there and be a HARD CORE yogi.  Like the Awesomest Yoga Person You can personally be..then you are ready for Yoga Bootcamp.

  1. Put on comfy clothes
  2. lay down on the floor, put a blanket over you, maybe something under your knees to prevent knee/hip pain
  3. Ooh. maybe a nice comfy cervical pillow under your neck.
  4. Relax

I have heard many people tell me they know that they should relax but they also know that they are “not doing it right”, and they are probably right.  TV/Computer time tends to take up our free time, and when sucked into it, we don’t make time to “let go” of stress, the drive to “get everything done”.

Scientifically speaking

Doctors often use relaxation and rest as a prescription for diseases which cannot be “cured” but only managed with drugs.  These include exhaustion, allergies, stress, anxiety, extreme anxiety, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and more.  Studies have been done recently on a technique called “Yoga Nidra”, which I practice regularly for a variety of reasons.  I use it to destress, help my body heal when I’m sick, and help me get over the mental hurdles that sometimes impede my progress at work, with working out, or with meditation (more here).  Yoga Nidra beats out sleep for the purposes of restoring and refreshing the body and the mind because the process allows you to systematically wind down the body and the mind…truly resting.

And it’s not just for Yogi’s and Yogini’s! The Integrated Restoration Institute has been working along with the Department of Defense and other programs to learn the power of Yoga Nidra in soldiers who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Additionally a study at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO (GO TIGERS!) on the effects of Yoga Nidra on the  stress, depression, and anxiety that often plagues university students.

So how do you get some relaxation?  There are a lot of ways to start…

Do a little bit each day

The simplest way to start is to spend 5-10 min a day in a quiet room, no distractions or interruptions.  Just breathe and watch your breath.  It is more important to do this everyday for a short period of time than it is for you to do an hour one day a week.

Do you have 5 minutes a day?  Can you carve out 3 minutes? Please do.  Because making time for 5 min of quiet, can help you live the rest of your day in a quieter way that will reap the reward of MORE time.

Before bedtime.

Another option is to get a relaxation program that you can do as you fall asleep.  I use one of several different methods.

Relax into Greatness  from Rod Stryker has a couple of practices that take you through Yoga Nidra.  A bonus, in that he also recommends that you use Relax into Greatness to “seed” your subconscious with intentions in order to achieve your goals.

Simply Relax is a great resource from Rhonda Mills . She has several different relaxations, some of which are as short as 10 minutes.

In the morning

Just before sunrise is the optimal time to meditate, and to practice relaxation with one of the CD’s mentioned above.  According to the yogis, the mind becomes most active between 4AM -7AM.  If you want to really train the mind to act from a relaxed state, use the morning as time for relaxation and meditation.  But if you don’t like to be up that early, don’t worry.  You can still get a lot done in your comfort zone.  Start demanding the time for it.


Getting the Sleep of your dreams – Yoga International Magazine


Most of the yoga I practice comes from a system called ParaYoga. ParaYoga was founded by Rod Stryker and there are a number of amazing ParaYoga Certified Teachers.  It includes the teachings of many aspects of yoga science all drawn from Tantric Hatha Yoga.

A Tantric yogi treats all of life as a grand experiment, diving in head first, then embracing elements of life (yoga, funk music, ice cream) that “work”, and releasing elements of life (yoga, funk music, ice cream) that do not “work” for the goals he/she has.  Nothing is good, nothing is bad.  Every piece is just fodder for expanding your experience of connection.

How is this science?  It’s in the process of trial and error…but here your body and life experiences serve as the lab.

  1. Set a goal. “Heal right hip pain”, or “Satisfaction with my job” or “Stop arguing w/ a loved one”
  2. Get guidance- a teacher and teachings that speak to you.
  3. Work with teacher to choose yoga/meditation practices that support goal.
  4. Begin to practice.
  5. Practice some more.
  6. Check in.  What is the effect? Is my right hip experiencing more pain? Less pain?  Am I finding satisfaction in my job?  Have I developed tools to stop arguing and reach harmony w/ my loved ones?
  7. Modify practice
  8. Repeat 4-8 as necessary…until goal is achieved or needs to be changed.

More info….

ParaYoga Facebook

ParaYoga Twitter

Rod Stryker’s recommended reading list. 
Living Tantra – teachings of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait (Rod Stryker’s teacher)

The Himalayan Institute – Center for yoga and the teachings of Swami Rama (Pandit Rajmani’s teacher)

Rod’s students locally:

Rhonda Mills – St. Louis’s certified ParaYoga teacher (and my teacher)

Mia Park – Chicago’s certified ParaYoga teacher –almost local.  Mia embodies yoga in a way that inspires me and many others!

Sherry Summers – My first yoga teacher!  Her beginners classes are starting!

The Very First Post

Welcome welcome welcome!  I’m super stoked about this blog.  I’ve been studying yoga for the past 7 years, and have worked in the science world for over 12.  I’m a huge sponge for information related to health science,  and ways to make life more fun and enjoyable all around.

I completed my yoga teacher certification last year with Rhonda Mills.  The training was a fantastic year-long immersion in meditation and yoga practices all designed to bring me more in touch with myself and to catapult me into designing my life in a way that feels fantastic.

Part of what I came out of that training with, was a clearer view of how I wanted to share yoga with the world.  And I know that I want to share the core pieces with my friends, family, and curious types who want to know more.

I also want to educate myself on the place where science meets self-healing arts like yoga, meditation, energetic healing, etc.  My starting point will be mainstream resources like the Mayo Clinic and the NIH (National Institutes of Health) funded projects around complementary medicine.  And I’ll also bring you information from people that have helped me to transform my life and attitudes into the happy person I am today.

So Stay Tuned.  we’re going to talk about Fear, Emotions, Food and emotions, Dating, Independent Single Women, Neuroscience + Meditation, Anything I can Find on the Gut and the Nervous system