With the holidays knocking at the door,
I made a distinct choice to keep things at our studio simple as we close out
2014 and look toward a new year in January. For so many of us it can be a
richly scheduled time and managing our self care can be challenging through
the chaos. I envisioned a calm end to the year. As I planned, scheduled, and
concocted this for myself and the studio, the universe and life itself had a
lot of big changes brewing. With these changes it has made me take a
closer look at change itself and how our studio and yoga practice can help us
navigate the inevitable.
How many times in your life
have you seen change rolling toward you and deemed it unacceptable, not your
plan? Found yourself working wildly to prevent or ignore it? How many times
have you felt the urge, the deep internal pull, to change some lifestyle
pattern -- to lose 10 pounds, to incorporate more yoga into your day, to get
more aerobic exercise -- and found yourself floundering and struggling,
despite your commitment to yourself? With failures or negative moments in our
path we create self-doubt and oftentimes go in the opposite direction of our
same thing happens in our minds when we're in a pose. The mind begins to
produce an earful of limiting beliefs. Perhaps they sound something like,
"This hurts. I'm bored. This teacher is talking too much. I can't do this
right. That guy is doing it better." The mind rambles, complains and thinks
about anything else except for what's actually happening. So what do we do? We
let the thoughts go, without further engaging them, without believing them. As
we become aware of our minds and let them relax, as we stay aware of the
moment, of our breath, and of sensations, change happens blissfully. The mind
This is how transformation or change happens -- through conscious presence in the moment. Through awareness and acceptance of exactly what is happening, the body and mind adjusts itself and opens up with perfection and grace.
This same 6,000-year-old model of transformation can be applied to off-the-mat changes -- whether we are presented with them by life circumstances or they are changes that we want to initiate. We simply need to be present with "where we are" and what is happening in order to get to where we want to be!
As a yoga studio owner and Integrative Nutritionist I have the distinct pleasure of witnessing brave people using the tools of yoga to move forward in their lives and to access positive change. Many of my clients and students that share their stories have a lot in common. There are countless stories, such as Shannon's high-lighted below, of individuals that have worked for many years in a toxic corporate environment that was endangering their physical and emotional wellness. Each of these people share that they have been deeply plugged into the lifestyle and the salary, yet the stress and the culture of the job were robbing them of their lives. Through the practice and what they gain from it, against all odds, they have been able to extricate themselves from their unhappiness. They go onto live vibrantly, physically well, and follow their dreams.
How can you work with the yoga of change? Practice mindfulness. Develop conscious awareness through yoga. Make a plan, with simple, incremental steps, heading in the direction you want to go, perhaps working with a supportive friend or professional, someone to mirror you back to yourself. Let your actions be specific, measurable, time-bound, and wondrously delicious. Don't simply take away behavior -- give to yourself that which you are really longing for. Approaching change in a healthy way. How do you plan to approach change as a new year knocks?
I invite you to use your lessons in the yoga room, and out of the room: Loosen your grip, separate your feelings, unrravel your expectations, tap into the wisdom that surrounds you but is not in you, and above all else, BREATH.
Lots of hugs and namastes,
Kelly Schrader, Owner and Yogini
Bikram Yoga Grass Valley / Nevada City
Thanksgiving Holiday Schedule Changes
November Karma Class
Hospitality House, EVERY Tuesday evening at 6pm
Shiny Happy Yogi
Our Student of the Month: Shannon Jaycox
Each month we celebrate our students here at BYGVNC. We feature one of your inspiring stories about how you found Bikram Yoga and the positive changes it has brought to your life. This month our shiny happy yogi is Shannon Jaycox.
It is with a bitter-sweat acknowledgement of how much she has brought to our community and an encouraging farewell, that we say good-bye for now. Shannon will be pursuing her love for Ayurveda and taking on the position as the onsite manager at Blue Sage Ayurveda in North San Juan.
As a student, Shannon has an exemplary practice that demonstrates consistency, intensity and precision. We will miss her in the early mornings, glowing and ready to hit the mat first thing. As her teacher I can see that she grounds herself with her determined practice and gives her very best each time she steps into the hot room. I have seen first hand how she is mindful and non-judgmental toward herself, exhibiting non-attachment to the negative that inherently comes up in our lives. She continually picks up her mat, leaves her worries and sweat behind, and greats the world with open arms.
As the owner of our studio and mother to our community, I believe Shannon has been an excellent manager to the studio, employee and friend. The hours she has put in, her dedication to doing what is right, and her continued support of me is something that I have been thankful for every day. I am saddened by her pending absence but feel strongly that she will always be connected to the studio. At the same time I am more than proud of her for following her dream to be immersed in the world she is stepping more deeply into and for saying yes when the right opportunities present themselves.
This year has continually demonstrated to me that when you love the world it will love you back. Through Shannon's continued steps, one foot in front of the other, to becoming a happier and peaceful soul, the world has noticed. I have. I'll miss you Shannon, but I can't wait to see what the world has in store for you.
Q: How long have you been practicing?
S: I'm in my 8th year of practice.
Q: How often do you practice a week?
S: 4-6 days/week, sometimes 7!
Q: What is your favorite pose?
S: It changes each year the more I practice. The poses I used to hate I now love, and the ones I used to love now really annoy me! Right now with where I am in my practice I'm loving final spine twist. Ringing everything out at the end of practice feels amazing.
Q: Where do you spend your time when you are not at the studio?
S: At the California College of Ayurveda, where I've just completed my Ayurvedic internship and am now a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. If not seeing patients, I'm working in the spa and pancha karma center administering body therapies and taking care of multiple day patients who stay on site for cleansing.
Q: What do you love?
S: The beauty of the rhythm of nature that surrounds us each day, and the knowing that we can restart again.
Q: What advice would you give a first-timer?
S: The practice is just as much, if not more, mental than physical. If it's challenging for you, open up to the possibility of making class a moving meditation. Focusing on the mental aspect will allow the physical transformation to happen with ease and grace. And you'll notice huge growth in the practice of life that happens off your mat.
Q: Who's someone in your life you'd love to see join you in the room and why?
S: Anyone who hasn't done Bikram yoga is fair game for my convincing it is the single most important gift they could give to themselves. Healing and transformational on so many levels.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
S: "Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."- Edward Stanley 14th Earl of Derby (1799-1869)
Q: Say one nice thing about the person who first told you about Bikram Yoga.
S: She was one special lady who knew my Type A, competitive and perfectionistic mind needed the challenge of Bikram to kick my butt into relaxing just a bit!
Q: Do you have any yoga goals for the future?
S: My most immediate goal is to get back into a regular home practice that is self-led and totally inspired from what my body needs to replenish and nourish itself each day. I also want to get back into taking the Bikram Advanced series to continue to push my practice to new levels.
I first came to Bikram yoga after repeated running injuries and the need to find a physical practice that would help heal my body without pounding the pavement, yet still make me feel like I was getting a "workout". Yoga for me in the beginning was simply about achieving yet another type of physical fitness routine.
A year into my Bikram practice as I was going through divorce in my personal life, I found myself returning to my mat twice daily and using the practice as a salvation to heal from the deep emotional pain I was experiencing. It was at that time I realized the transformational power of Bikram yoga to heal on all levels.....mind, body and spirit. For two years, I reluctantly poured my heart into each and every class, vowing to leave the personal pain I was experiencing in the sweat on my mat. I was blessed with amazing teachers and fellow students who pushed and inspired me to keep on keeping on, as they were witness to big shifts that were taking place in my life.
Since that time, Bikram yoga has been a huge catalyst for spiritual growth and transformation. I came to find Hatha Yoga teacher training, Buddhism and Ayurveda all as a result of wanting to explore that deeper part of my soul. It has inspired me to outgrow a longstanding executive job in the corporate world and to relocate to an area that feeds my soul on so many levels and pursue my passion in the field of Ayurveda. I am forever grateful for the practice, and for the space in my mind and body it has created. Yoga has become a way of living for me that I strive to take off my mat and into the world every day, offering me the gift of continuing to forever be a student.