Sunday, October 30, 2016

Diets, Ranch Dressing, and Exercise

*The Story of How Tranquility Yoga Came to Be....Or Diets, Ranch Dressing, and Exercise"
Jeanne began practicing yoga in her home in rural northeastern Oklahoma in September of 1995 with the show Yoga Zone.  She loved how despite all other forms of exercise, yoga made her feel calm and peaceful even while she was preoccupied with the busyness of raising teenagers on a farm and living in chaos.  Yoga was foreign to her experience, actually, she had never heard of it.  Her "go to" pose, and the only one she could do, was Cat/Cow or flexion/extension of the spine on all fours.  Child's pose was even difficult.  Downward Facing Dog was impossible because it hurt her wrists/hands and her hamstrings were too tight with a knee injury.

Yes, she walked.  She tried running in short intervals and enjoyed the stress release it provided, but Jeanne kept returning to the little Yoga Zone show.  Peaceful and calm despite the knee issue and hating down dog.  There was no mat.  There were no blocks, blankets, straps, and/or bolsters.  Just the living room floor and 1990's type of television.  

The teenagers grew up and went to college, one married, and Jeanne was still practicing yoga at home, lonelier than ever, depressed, but busy as a teacher then principal of public school.  The weight was coming off slowly, and the hamstrings were better.  Occasionally, she would venture off to Claremore to practice a yoga/Pilates class with a girl named Debbie* (cute, blonde, and funny with amazing flexibility).  Jeanne only dreamed of one day being able to do a shoulder stand, but alas, the hips were not ready to invert.  So, she kept dreaming and exercising.

In 2003, her life took an abrupt change.  Concentration was difficult.  Her powers to stay focused were challenged, and her anxiety level increased.  She just kept working and working and working because that is where the nice words were.  Yoga Zone was no longer on the television; in fact, she did not own one any longer as she moved away from the farm.  So, Jeanne found a place at a church in Tulsa where she regularly went to a yoga class twice a week.  Yes, she ran every day (about 5 miles), but Jeanne longed for the peace and calm that the yoga class offered.

The weight came off, even more slowly, and Jeanne began going to the YMCA where she lifted weights and liked it.  The Thornton Y in Tulsa also offered yoga classes where Downward Dog became her friend, blocks, blankets, and straps were available to help any time she needed them (which was a lot because she went to as many classes as they offered).  Her favorite teachers were Jenny and Janet.  Janet told her that they were thinking of starting a yoga school in Tulsa, but Jeanne knew that she did not have the funds as a school teacher to take the training.  In fact, she even dreamed of someday offering the same tranquility she felt to others by becoming a teacher with a weekend class called Yoga Fit; however, she did not have the money for that either.  

Inversions scared Jeanne to death.  She was sure she would break her neck or worse, embarrass herself beyond belief.  Arm balances intrigued her, but they were too hard because she still lacked the core strength needed.  Jeanne continually just fell on her face every time she tried Crow Pose.  So, she got into the habit of when the Y teacher said, "Today we are going to work on headstand, handstand, arm balances...," she would sneak out and go upstairs to do the elliptical and more weights.

One bright spring day in March, she met a nice guy who asked her to dance at her church's single group activity (Christ United Methodist).  He was fun, friendly, and a good dancer.  They became friends, and he met her at her weekly two step class to be her friend and dance partner.  Amazingly enough, he talked as much as Jeanne did, and they never ran out of topics to converse about, but he hated exercise, diets, and Ranch dressing on salads.  He went with her faithfully to the Y because he only needed to get in shape for his yearly physical at the Air Force National Guard.  This nice guy was named Brian, but Jeanne had made a VOW to herself NEVER to become romantically involved EVER again.  He even went to the yoga classes with her.

A year and a half later, one evening Jeanne made dinner for this handsome friend, and he came into her house from work, laid his full weekly paycheck down on the counter next to her stove, and said, "Here is my paycheck."  Jeanne was shocked.  Why would  he give her his pay check, for goodness sake?  Then, he said, "I believe in you and your dream to someday become a yoga teacher.  If you need more money to take the training, let me know."  Side note:  And...there has been a whole lot more.

After her first training was completed, the following day, Brian asked her to be his forever wife.  She cried.  Never had she know such kindness or someone that she enjoyed being with 24 hours a day.  Four days later, her best friend  stood beside her, one of her best former students took pictures, and they were married at De's house.

In 2008, this handsome man deployed once again to Kuwait, for there had been many deployments since the day of the dance when she met him.  This one proved to be the longest overseas deployment.  Jeanne taught fifth grade all day long, taught yoga at the Y and All American, and continued taking yoga training.  One November evening, two of the ladies in her yoga class asked if she might teach yoga in her home on Monday nights.  With no one else there, why not, she wondered.

One class has become over 30 classes each week.  Eight years later, she still loves the peace, calm, and tranquility she feels in every class.  No longer running due to knee injuries, the bike has become her cardio exercise despite the saddle soreness, and her forever friend, Brian, diets, exercises (sometimes), and eats Ranch dressing faithfully.  

Each day Jeanne prays for tranquility to be experienced by every person who walks through the door.  She no longer teaches math and science, but in a way she does, because she loves to study anatomy and does bookkeeping to keep the small business with a BIG dream to make a significance difference in the lives of its people.

*The cute blonde at the Claremore Rec Center with amazing flexibility now works with Jeanne at Tranquility as a sub teacher.  Her name is Debbie Gunkel.  (:

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What Type of Yoga Are You Attracted to? Perhaps you should re-consider that what you need may not be your favorite, but you actually benefit more.

Often times the yoga we are attracted to may reflect our current stress level and Ayurvedic dosha*.
What we need, however, is often the opposite of what we want.  Here are the benefits of each type of yoga.
Restorative Yoga - Why practice it?
  1. Regenerates the body and mind
  2. Improves flexibility without injury risk or pain
  3. Optimal alignment for your body type using props (bolsters, blankets, straps, blocks, sand bags, etc)
  4. Helps relieve anxiety
  5. Develops patience and the ability to be still to focus
  6. Improves insomnia issues by teaching you how to relax
  7. Respiration (breath in; breath out) and circulation are enhanced
  8. Gives you the opportunity to reduce pain in shoulders, neck, back, hips, legs, arms
  9. Increases self-awareness 
  10. Allows you to meditate comfortably
These restorative practices are available like a "stay-cation" on Sundays at 3:00 p.m., Monday evenings at 6:45 p.m., and Wednesday evenings at 6:45 p.m. here at Tranquility.  Men and women both benefit from these practices, and some restorative poses are a part of every class.

*Vata dosha hates them; Kapha dosha loves them; Pitta dosha doesn't mind as long as they are not hot.

Slow, Beginner Style Yoga with Gentle Cues and Use of Time

  1. Improved posture
  2. Emphasizes breath practice
  3. In depth cues to fine tune the poses
  4. Stretches are timely; in other words, you will stay a long time using props to support you
  5. Humility is built through longer holds
  6. Enhances muscle tone
  7. Increases calmness of mind
  8. Builds the ability to concentrate
  9. Healthier lifestyles are encouraged and less craving for unhealthy food choices
  10. Improves overall functioning of the body and decreases likelihood of dis-ease
This slow, beginner style class is offered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. and Saturday morning at 7:00 a.m.  Beginner classes are also available at 12:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at Tranquility.

*Pitta Dosha often enjoys this type of practice due to the technicality of each pose (they want to get it right); Kapha Dosha may enjoy it since there is not a lot of movement; Vata Dosha usually grows impatient and craves the movement from one pose to another as it reflects their overly busy minds/emotions.

Vinyasa Flow Yoga - Movement with Breath

  1. Decreases depression
  2. Increases cardiovascular condition
  3. Burns more calories
  4. Lessens the desire to smoke (study published in 2012 in the Journal of Women’s Health found that women smokers who practiced vinyasa yoga were more likely to abstain from smoking than their non-yoga-practicing counterparts.)
  5. Improves fatigue issues by increasing energy
  6. Reduces migraine headaches
  7. Builds lean muscle mass creating balanced strength throughout the body
  8. Helps relieve stress and worrisome thougths
  9. Flexibility is enhanced through fresh oxygen and a constant flow of motion to strengthen then stretch opposing muscle groups
  10. Focuses on the breath for 60 minutes or more which reduces anxiety, balances metabolic system, and increases ability to sleep
Vinyasa Flow classes are usually moderate to vigorous levels at Tranquility.  Seasoned beginners to intermediate yogis and yoginis can enjoy this practice. Some beginners may find it beneficial as well.  Sunday's Vinyasa Flow class is outside when the weather permits at 4:30 p.m. or inside the studio.  During the cooler temperatures, it is a heated class.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday Vinyasa classes are twice daily.  5:45 p.m. in the evening and 9:30 a.m. in the morning.  On Saturday, we offer a Vinyasa style class at 10:30 a.m.

* Vata Dosha loves Vinyasa movement; Pitta Dosha requires cooler air or air movement to enjoy it; Kapha Dosha desperately needs it to get the lymphatic system moving in the body.   All three doshas are enhanced by Vinyasa.

Weight Bearing Exercise - Lighter Weights; Lunges, Squats, and Warriors-12-15 Reps per Set
  1. Enhances muscular endurance
  2. Decreased body fat
  3. Improves body composition
  4. Builds upper body strength in women
  5. Diminishes risk of injury using lighter weights vs heavier weights
  6. Metabolic rate increases due to muscle vs fat distribution in the body
  7. Circulation and oxygen usage are built with lighter weights and movement based practice
  8. Provides an antidote to the hormonal and metabolic changes as women age; thus, helping to prevent osteoporosis
  9. Increases bone density
  10. Confidence and appearance are heightened.
Weight Lifting classes are on Tuesday late afternoon at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.
All doshas benefit from the weight lifting, but none really enjoy it.  (:

Why Cycling or Spinning Classes?  
Any one can do it!
  1. Enjoy a low impact, cardiovascular exercise
  2. Calories are burned at a higher rate; helps you lose weight
  3. Progress is monitored or choose your own challenge
  4. Tones legs (quads, hamstrings, and calves)
  5. Abdominal workout is improved as you learn to move from your core
  6. Relax and visit during warm-up and cool-down; great conversation times
  7. Builds endurance
  8. Trains your body to work more efficiently - the breakout point will become lower the longer you work at it and the more consistent you are with spinning
  9. Strengthen the muscles surround the KNEES - Treadmills, elliptical, and the stair stepper are often hard on the knee joints; the bike helps to rehab
  10. Challenging to the body and allows the mind to rest
Spin classes are offered six times per week at Tranquility with a 20 minutes yoga stretch and 5 minutes of relaxation following.
  • Monday at 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday at 8:00 a.m.
  • Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. (Short Spin 30 minutes)
  • Thursday at 7:30 a.m.
  • Friday at 7:00 a.m. (Short Spin 30 minutes)
  • Saturday at 12:00 p.m.  Halloween Spin - lots of fun music!
Reserve your spot on the bike or just show up.  Bring your own bike and trainer.  Literally, any one can spin with tennis shoes or spin shoes with an SPD cleat.  All doshas can benefit from aerobic exercise.  
"One ride, one heart, one destiny."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Cycle? I used to hate it.

I used to hate spinning classes.
There I have said it.
The music was too loud.
The mirrors were too accusing.
The competitive spirit was too much.
The microphones were scratchy and irritating.
Now I love spin class because we do yoga afterwards and final relaxation.
I love the music because it is different and just the right volume that allows conversation and friendship to blossom.
I love the windows we look out of onto the big back yard with horses in neighboring yards to look at, the dogs playing tug of war, and the beautiful green grass.
I love the fact that mirrors are only in the restroom and hallway.  I am not critiquing my appearance.
I love the fact that there is no microphone.  I love the fact that I am pushing myself into cardio then stretching and relaxing afterwards.
I love spinning class.  I enjoy the sweating and cardio.  I don't even mind the saddle any more.  Picture from the bike.
Loves yoga and loves to spin.

Weight Lifting: The Why's, the What's, and How Much?

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