Thursday, February 1, 2018

February 2018 theme: LESS IS MORE!

February 2018's Theme: 
LESS IS MORE!

The concept of "Less is More" is one that is often challenging in our Western culture. However, more and more people are embracing simplicity in their lives - some going to the point of stripping down to very bare necessities, sprouting the now popular term "minimalistic." 

The Yoga Sutras offer many teachings about simplicity and any student of yoga often finds him or her self already on this path. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra II.40 says:
Through simplicity and continual refinement (Saucha), the body, thoughts, and emotions become clear reflections of the Self within. 
 
Therefore, a yogi or yogini is constantly seeking to live simply, which, in turn, clears energy at the body, mind and soul levels. We in the west, however, have been mostly raised with ideas like, "those with the most toys, wins" or "bigger is better." And there are many who still believe this to be true and live in this way. But, our obsession with excess has created problems that never existed before. In fact, the more "stuff" we possess, the more problems we create. 
 
In 2001 a visiting yogi named Sadhuru Jaggi Vasudev gave a talk at Princeton University on the "Art of Effortless Living." He said something that has always stuck with me - he said, "Animals have one problem: Hunger. When that's fed, they are happy. But with us once our hunger is fed, that's just he beginning of our problems." He went on to say that we create all of our other problems and have cultivated a culture of unhappiness that is now the norm because we continue to seek happiness by looking outside of ourselves for it. And are you ready for the kicker? He also said, "Using external means to be happy creates enslavement to the thing that you are trying to use to make you happy. Slowly you destroy what you seek and wind up unhappy."
 
WORD!
 
What we seek - what we all truly seek - is happiness. At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy. And believe it or not, this is totally achievable without any of your "stuff." In fact, your "stuff" is what is getting in the way of your happiness.
 
February is the last of the cold, damn, dark months. March ushers in the Equinox - the day of equal light and dark - and shows the promise of Spring. February is beautifully positioned in the year for releasing and letting go of excess. Whether to you this means accumulated possessions or inflammation in your body, let's work to release and purify the system and the energy around us this month and discover for yourself how less can be more!
 
Here are some helpful yogic tools for February in helping cultivate the energy of LESS IS MORE:
 
ChantOM. Keeping to simplicity, the mantra OM is the primordial vibrational sound that created all that exists or has ever existed in the universe. OM is all. Why not chant the simple mantra OM daily?
 
Meditation: Silence is a perfect meditation for this time of year. It is also the most challenging! So, start with several rounds of OM to help focus energy, and then focus on your normal breath. Try to keep your mind focused on this and coming back to this over and over, while still allowing for other thoughts to emerge. Start with 3-5 minutes, and give yourself permission to sit in a chair or lay down (just as long as you don't fall asleep).
 
Breath: Natural Breath. That's right. Your natural breath is beautiful. Sit or lay down comfortably and follow the ebb and flow of the inhalation and exhalation. Notice also any pause in between...it's as simple as that. 

Postures: Gentle and Restorative yoga postures can be hugely beneficial for this time of year. Doing less does not mean that you are not attending to your health and well being. Giving yourself time to rest and restore in a yoga practice can be everything! Check out our gentle classes on the regular schedule and the Restorative class this month below.

Alter: Your alter for February can be simple too. Since Imbolc is around February 2nd, use items appropriate for this time of year. A white cloth and candle at the center and an offering of water or milk can be added. Since there are no fresh flowers in February, you can put some dried-out herbs leftover from your garden on the alter, or some grains in an offering bowl. Remember that your alter is where you attend to your daily intentions, prayers and meditations, so always keep this area clean, and remove items from the past month.

Here's how you can join us in February at One Yoga Center to support our theme of LESS IS MORE:

Meditation (moving within, relaxing the mind & restoring the body)
1. Monday Meditations with Tracey at 11 am. $5 if attending 9:30 am class or $10 drop-in
2. Kundalini Meditation with Nirmal Nam Kaur Thursday Feb. 85pm $10
3. Crystal Bowl Meditation with Shalini Sunday Feb. 11, 11:30 am $25

Restorative Yoga w/Essential Oils, Sunday Feb. 18th 1 pm with Barbara
There's no better gift than the gift of self care. On Sunday Feb 18 join Barbara as she guides you through a restorative practice to soothe your body, calm your mind and  recharge your spirit. Through a series of supported poses you will nurture your nervous system leaving you feeling more balanced, relaxed, and refreshed. Barbara will also infuse the class with special essential oils for an added relaxation affect! Investment $40.
 
Yoga Regular Classes (creating balance for body, mind & soul)
Yoga has a way of creating balance where you need it. At One Yoga Center we try to work with the natural energy for the time of day and year in our regular classes. So, stop in and see any of our amazing teachers as we facilitate classes for all levels.
 
We hope you will take some time to join us in these amazing offerings! 

In Love, Service & Wisdom, Tracey and the One Yoga Center Teachers.

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Special Message from Tracey for February 

February is a short little month packed with a lot of punch. Valentine's Day aside, this month is full of holidays and special events, but is still mostly dark, damp and cold. Why do people get sick? Because we over do it in February. We still need to rest and take it easy, guys. I am reminding myself here too, because as we all know by now, I need it. This is why I felt it important to introduce the theme of LESS IS MORE for this month. 

When I first began holistic massage school the idea of less is more was introduced to me. In holistic philosophy, this is an imperative theme. I often think of how people begin new projects and new year intentions with overloaded energy, and then peter out fairly quickly. The idea is that by introducing things slowly and mindfully, the body, mind and spirit can integrate it gently into the entire being for longer and better affects. I have definitely found this to be true for me and in my life. And I have found profound benefits from using the approach of less is more even in my yoga practice. 

For instance, you know that place we call your "edge" in a posture? That point where you go to and maybe there is some shaking or notification from your body that you can, in no way, continue any farther? Well, I teach to find that spot, and pull away from it just slightly. Find the place where you can breathe into the pose in comfort and ease, as all yoga masters teach. You will find that if you stay and breath here that you will gradually increase your edge. If you push it, however, you will often find pain and even injury as a result. Thus, less is more.

The entire yoga practice teaches this concept. Simplicity, refinement and mindfulness are all taught in yoga. There are no sutras that mention purchasing the newest yoga mats each year for better performance or owning 47 pairs of leggings (oops)...and yet...

Last month I began a process of going through many levels of things and determining that it was time to purge and release in a bigger way. This epiphany came after a realization that I simply had too much "stuff." This stuff - these things - are not only possessions, but behavior patterns as well as excess weight and inflammation in my body. If everything is energy, then every little thing that you hold on to, attaches and creates issues. These accumulated attachments therefore create chronic pains and problems that continue to manifest into more energy and it can seem endless. I realized the only way to truly begin to heal all of the layers of "stuff" is to begin to let it go. And then in the end, less is more.

I came across this powerful manifesto that I invite you to invoke with me for February:
In Love & Light,
Tracey L. Ulshafer, Founder, One Yoga & Wellness Center LLC, Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher 500 hours (E-RYT500), RYS, CMT, Energy Worker, 11:11True One.