Looking For Spring

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter here in Aurora, IL.  Image(ice formation on the side of the studio)

I think we are all about to go a little crazy living in this arctic climate…. but, we have hope.   Hope that those bulbs under the layers of snow, ice, and soil will bloom soon.

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This week, let’s just enjoy some photos of the beautiful gardens at the AYC and think of warmer weather.  Thanks to the hard work of Marianne Gerry, the center has spectacular front and side gardens.  

Image(Marianne Gerry)

Marianne is a yoga student at the center who volunteers her time and shares perennials form her home garden with the Aurora Yoga Center.  

Image(Marianne in half handstand)

It’s amazing what she has created.  Everyone enjoys the colors and textures that bloom all Spring, Summer, & Fall.

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The garden is starting to come to life despite the frigid temperatures.   We will soon see the crocuses poking through the stark, white snow.

This Summer, Lisa and the kids plan to add a new garden to the backyard of the studio.  This will be an organic veggie garden.   Can’t wait to dig in the dirt!  

Even though it is cold, we hope to see you at the Aurora Yoga Center soon!
Peace & Love, Lisa & Jeff
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AYC’s Featured Student February 2014: Lisa Manning

You know the old saying, the shoemaker’s kids are barefoot..….well, the yoga teacher’s wife doesn’t practice yoga – as much as she could or should – but that is changing.  With the New Year 2014, I, Lisa Manning, decided I was going to go to yoga at least 2 times per week, hopefully more.   Hey, I get free yoga, I better take advantage of it!

 Image(Lisa & Jeff October 2013)

A lot of my personality, is a quiet, introverted person who likes to make art, and work on crafts.   Knitting and crochet are pretty sedentary activities!  Having this nature, its easy to avoid exercise, especially when life is busy with kids, their activities, and multiple part time jobs.  However, I know I feel great when I do yoga – I just need to get in the door and on the mat and then I’m fine.  I’m not so great at practicing alone and at home.

My yoga history… Funny thing is, I started yoga before Jeff!  When we were at the University of Idaho around 1999, I took a yoga class at the University and really liked it.  I wanted to pursue yoga further and found the Moscow Yoga Center, downtown Moscow, Idaho.  This is a picture perfect, little university downtown – the bookstore, art gallery, yoga studio, food co-op, tie-dye store, gem store, restaurants… you get the picture.  We were living in a hippy paradise and it was pretty easy to make healthy choices.

There was a free yoga class at the Moscow Yoga Center at the beginning of our 2nd year at the University of Idaho.   After a day of rock climbing, I dragged Jeff and his buddy Randy to this free class taught by Jeri Hudak (who became our favorite teacher).   Jeff loved the class and the rest is history.  Jeff’s passion for yoga continues to grow every day!

Image(Lisa practicing a back bend with Jeri Hudak, yoga workshop at the Aurora Yoga Center in 2010.)

I did yoga on a regular basis throughout my pregnancy with Olivia, our first born in 2001.  But… Life got busy with kids, jobs, moving to California and back to Illinois.  As a mom, all too often I neglect myself.   Now it’s the new year, 2014.   I also turn 40 this year in June, I’m out of shape and it’s time to get busy.  Luckily, I don’t have any major health issues, but small aches and pains seem to go away when I’m practicing yoga regularly and my mood improves as well.

Image(Lisa working with the wall ropes, January 2, 2014)

January 2014, here I am at my first class of the year… Thursday, January 2nd.   Little did I know, just a few short days later I would get a big surprise.   I wasn’t practicing yoga alone, I have a tiny partner on board…  I found out on January 5th that I’m pregnant and due September 10th. 

Image(Lisa’s downward facing dog, January 2014)

Now more than ever I feel the importance of a regular practice.  I need to stay strong for the months ahead.  I need to be healthy and keep moving.   I’m not going to be skinny anytime soon, but that will be OK too.  

Image(Lisa Manning & John McEnroe – practicing headless headstands, February 2014)

I also find that yoga is extremely helpful for my mental health.   When my mind is racing with to-do lists and worries, yoga grounds me and slows down those thoughts, and eases my mind.   I’m a person who struggles with depression and ADD, yoga is really helpful for dissipating the blues and bringing focus too.   

Image(Relaxing, soaking up some rays in Goddess Pose – Supta Baddha Konasana, February 2014)

If I can do yoga, so can you!   You don’t like exercise, neither do I.  You are overweight and out of shape, here I am your chubby friend!   You don’t have much money, it’s only about $10 per class and if that’s still not doable, we’ll work with you.  You are spinning and can’t decide what to do first, try a yoga class!  You are too depressed, just get in the door to the yoga center and you’ll feel better.   You have health and physical concerns, talk to Jeff, he teaches therapeutic yoga that can be helpful for everyone.  You are 40 and pregnant, great! – come on down to the Aurora Yoga Center!   

New Prenatal / Postnatal yoga class! – Tuesday mornings beginning March 4th, 9:30-10:30a.m. 

We hope to see you soon at the Aurora Yoga Center!

Peace & Love, Lisa & Jeff

 

P.S.  Is not easy to share photos of myself, but I will keep you updated on this blog about my practice this year, throughout my pregnancy, and afterwards.   I hope sharing myself will be helpful to others & you see that yoga really is for regular people, no matter your size or age – this is real life!   

 

 

Play Dead…. It’s Good For You!!!!

Ask most any yoga student what their favorite part of class is and they will tell you, “Savasana”.   Savasana, pronounced:  shah-VAHS-anna, means corpse pose.  So, you just lay there, and yet this can be one of the most challenging yoga poses.

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From Iyengar Yoga Resources:  At the end of our asana practice we lie down, feet fallen outward, breath long, hands facing the sky, for savasana, corpse pose. By all accounts, corpse pose is considered the most difficult posture, as we posture the mind and body to imitate a corpse. “Most difficult for students,” says Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, “not waking, not sleeping.”

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Savasana is particularly effective after a yoga practice.  The body has been worked and now is a time to let go.  Without falling asleep, allowing your body to completely relax. By quieting the mind and following your breath, a meditative state can be achieved.  Savasana relieves stress, resets the nervous system, and lowers blood pressure.   The Mayo Clinic has been studying the positive effects on the heart from a savasana practice.

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If it hurts to lay flat on your back, there are many supportive and propped positions for savasana.  Savasana doesn’t have to be laying flat on the hard floor.

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Sandbags and weights can be added to the pose for deeper release.

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Savasana is great to do after anything.  After a math class,  exercising, a day of work, any activity – savasana is a good break before the next activity.  Just like we digest our food, our nerves need to digest experience.  Because we are so fast moving in this country we usually don’t give ourselves time to digest our experience.

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Try practicing savasana if you are having trouble falling asleep.

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Use this winter time of hibernation, rest, and regeneration to practice savasana consistently.   Try corpse pose throughout your day, not just at the end of your yoga class, just give yourself 5 minutes to lay down.

Peace & Love, 

Jeff & Lisa

Yoga Bones

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Yoga Bones is our t-shirt company!  Fun t-shirts that we have been making since our days living in Sonoma, CA.   About 10 years ago some of Jeff’s first skeleton designs were printed on to t-shirts hand-dyed by Lisa. 

Image (October 2005)

We started making them for an annual Halloween Folk Art show that we participated in, it was a lot of fun.   The shirts came out cool, so we made them about once per year.  After moving back to Aurora, IL in 2006, we made them again to sell to Jeff’s yoga students (coming to the basement yoga studio).  Lisa also sold them in Chicago at art festivals along with her Nido Threads clothing.

Image(one of the 1st Yoga Bones)

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(tie-dye circles on the back of each tie-dyed shirts we call the “ghost”)

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(Lisa selling Yoga Bones at an art festival in Chicago 2008)Image 

For the past decade the Yoga Bones shirts have been made sporadically, we feel it’s time to focus on these great shirts.  2014 is the year that Yoga Bones is going big! – We are now online and shirts can be ordered from anywhere in the world!  

All of the designs are drawn by Jeff.   These skeletons doing yoga poses also illustrate Jeff’s teaching manuals.  His yoga skeletons can also be found in his many pieces of artwork:  ink drawings, paintings, and encaustics.   Lisa screen-prints the shirts at our friends’ great print shop in Montgomery, IL:  American Sportswear.   American Sportswear is owned and operated by the Pasulka family who lived in the house across the street from Lisa growing up.  If you need t-shirts for your school or group – these are great people to work with and a small, family-owned business!

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Since the website was just launched, we are starting pretty basic – there are crew neck t-shirts for men and women in long and short sleeve styles.  These shirts come in white, grey, or black.  We also are printing women’s scoop neck, organic cotton t-shirts from Alternative Apparel.  These are very soft and come in red, pink, green, blue, brown, & natural.  

In the near future, we will offer hand-dyed shirts as well as other styles of shirts, pants, yoga bags, and more.

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Please spread the word about Yoga Bones – they are great t-shirts for regular people who practice yoga.   Starting at $18, these shirts won’t break the bank and will keep your body covered while you bend and stretch!   It would be a challenge to have a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ in our Yoga Bones shirts, and they are NOT see-through!   

We hope you visit our site and find a shirt for yourself and one for a gift as well.  www.YogaBones.net

Peace & Love, 

Lisa & Jeff Manning