Ukulele Fridays

Ukulele Fridays are officially a thing now. Join me Friday mornings at 9am at Anjali Hot Yatra Yoga for a sweet Hot Yatra flow that includes singing and mantras and my awesome new uke! Click on the image below to view an Instagram-sized snippet of my first kirtan song. I'd also like to thank you all for being so supportive. Sharing this part of my practice was a huge leap out of my comfort zone. I was terrified to do it but you all are amazing. THANK YOU. 

 

Click here if the video does not play

About the mantra in the video…

lokah: location (everywhere)
samastah: sameness or equality
sukhino: sweetness or happiness
bhavantu: unto all

This mantra asks for happiness for all without any conditions or qualifiers. May all beings everywhere be happy. Period. It is also important to realize that this won't necessarily happen just because we ask. We must cultivate within ourselves qualities of friendliness (maitri) and compassionate action (karuna) and these qualities in turn give power to the mantra. When we chant we are both asking and affirming our practice. 

Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu. May all beings everywhere be happy.  

5 Years Ago

yoga teacher vision board5 years ago this month I taught my first yoga class.

I had just completed a 200 hour Hot Yoga teacher training and I couldn't wait to share the wealth of knowledge I had accumulated (Look out Asheville! Here comes Lindsay Fields, RYT200!). The class was held in a gym and we used space heaters and homemade door draft blockers to heat the room. I had a carefuly curated playlist and flyers I designed myself. Most of the students in that class consisted of my friends and family. And it was pretty great, if I do say so myself. 

5 years ago this month I was ready. I felt fresh, optimistic, and excited.

What I would encounter following that first class, was more challenging than I expected. Starting a new yoga class, in a new location, in a different style than was was already established here in Asheville, and all with a non-existent advertising budget, was not easy. It was lot of hard work and often met with disappointment, questions, and lessons.  

In the last 5 years I have had many classes where no students showed up. I've been "let go" by yoga studios and gyms. I have felt frustrated, misunderstood, criticized, ridiculed, and even wronged at times and I have made plenty of mistakes myself. 

So, why continue? Moreover, how can I continue and maintain the purity and authenticity of yoga without being colored by the negative expereinces? 

Without a doubt, it has been my personal practice that has kept me grounded and honest. Meditation, self reflection, yamas and niyamas, discipline, equanimity, letting go of attachment, friendliness, and compassion are more than words I memorized for a teaching certificate, they are my life. When offering a class or workshop I consider it for a while first. Before I begin a new project or class, I meditate and get clear about my intentions. I remind myself of why I practice yoga and what led me to that first teacher training. I consider my students and I am careful where I choose to teach and what people/businesses I work with.

And I think maybe the negative experiences are part of the yoga. They are the teachers, my practice being reflected back at me. 

Yes, there have been bumps along the way, but those bumps in my path have led me to treasured friendships, more teacher trainings, a deeper personal practice, and a life I truly love. Through it all, I have always enjoyed leading yoga classes. Whether to 1 person or 30, I always leave with a big ol' YES in my heart. 

So, 5 years later, a little older, and perhaps wiser. How do I feel about teaching yoga? 

Grateful. Settled. Inspired. 

With Love, 

Lindsay

Why I Love Vinyasa Yoga

There are so many reasons, actually. Here is one:

I find the individual asanas fascinating and fun. It can be meditative and illuminating to break down a pose (by anatomical focus, actions, alignment, variations, symbolism, etc.) and practice it in a static way.

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But it is also important to learn how to MOVE in a healthy and sustainable way, a skill that really serves us in daily life. Moving in between the poses with attention and care teaches us about our biomechanics. Synching our transitions with the natural actions of our breath and vital life force, helps us set ourselves up to be efficient and open in the asana with a balance of effort and relaxation. This, to me, is the gift of Vinyasa Yoga.
 
And what if we could apply this principle to life? To be able to hold ourselves, understand ourselves, move freely, and flow into and out of transitions gracefully, requires practice. That's what our mats are for.
 
Love,
 
Lindsay
 

NamaSTAY Hot Yoga Towel Review

I am so excited to be writing my first Hot Yoga product review in, ahem, a very long time. But this towel rocks! I just had to share.

The NamaSTAY Non Slip Yoga Towel

 
I love when I find a product that fits seamlessly into my practice without becoming a distraction. I honestly would rather go without the accessories than have something that I have to continually adjust and fix and keep an eye on while I practice. This is why I think it is totally worth it to invest in quality yoga props, to find a few key pieces that work so well you don't even notice them while you're practicing but you can't imagine being without them ( i.e. clothing that doesn't ride or chafe, a mat that is the right size, a block that does it all). I would definitely put the NamaSTAY towel into this category of quality and usefulness. 
 
 
The color options are terrific and varied and the texture of the towel is plush and soft. The microfiber material is absorbent and becomes even softer when wet. Also, like most yoga practice towels, the NamaSTAY towel grips even better when it is wet. This is especially helpful to know if you practice Hot Vinyasa styles, where you are at times moving between yoga poses at a faster pace. It also makes a difference in poses like Downward Facing Dog and arm balances, where you are using your hands on your mat to support some or all your body weight. 
 
 
My lululemon "The Mat," which is slightly bigger than the average yoga mat, fits perfectly into the sleeves at either end of the Medium Size NamaSTAY towel (they have a handy sizing chart on their website to help you find the best fit for your mat). The name NamaSTAY is spot on as this towel truly stays in place and, if you're like me and you like to get your sweat on, you know how important and helpful this feature is. A good, absorbent towel that doesn't slide around is necessary for safety during Hot Yoga practice. 
 

Try it Yourself

The wonderful folks at NamaSTAY Towels have set up a discount code for you, my dear readers. This code is good for 20% off a NamaSTAY Yoga Towel!
 
Simply enter case-sensitive code: LINDSAY when purchasing a towel at www.namastaytowel.com
 
If you are looking for a product that will support your yoga practice and not distract you from the goodness that comes with a sweet, sweaty flow, then I recommend you get a NamaSTAY yoga towel … or two! As you can see in the picture to the right, my NamaSTAY towel inspires me to kick up my feet and smile. 
 
Keep it Sweaty, 
 
Lindsay

The Power of Choice and The Yoga of Action

Life is Good

I mean, really, REALLY GOOD. It is easy, however, to get caught up in the not-so-good – the suffering, the disaster and the struggle. With so many of us fighting just to pay the bills and to put food on the table, it can be comforting to commiserate and complain with others who are experiencing the same thing. Lately though, I have noticed that focusing on the struggle is actually counter-productive. It is overwhelming and frankly pointless.

Suffering is Optional

I am aware that struggles will continue to occur in my life. I also realize that how I respond to the struggle is my choice. Yoga and mindfulness practices have helped me get to the point where I can notice the things in life, and in the world, that are unfair, unjust or downright difficult. I can notice these things and not get wrapped up in the hopelessness of it all. In the midst of crisis, I can still feel connected and comforted. I am fully aware of the suffering in my life and in the lives of others but I also see the potential that lies in each and every one of us. It is empowering. It is inspiring. It leads to the kind of action that can make a difference.

Unsure about what action you should take? Join the club.

If you find yourself feeling confused or helpless, know that you are not alone. Take comfort in your choices, even the little ones. Making a choice to live a life of mindfulness is taking action. Making a choice to roll out your mat or sit on your meditation cushion is taking action. Whether the choice is to go for a walk, to help a neighbor, or to simply feel better about yourself, the choice itself is the first step towards making a difference. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem, when you claim your power of choice, it has a snowball effect in your life.

Why Yoga?

In yoga practice we confront ourselves both physically and mentally. We practice letting go of attachments in the simplest of ways. For example, we let go of thinking about our To-Do Lists and instead focus on breathing and relaxation. Yoga reveals to us our strengths, our limitations and our unhealthy patterns of thinking. It teaches us acceptance and shows us where we have room to grow. With that awareness, we are left with a choice. And just as we practice, we can choose to let go of fear and suffering and focus on solutions and potential instead. Take comfort in your choices because they contain your power for transformation, for change.

Every minute of every day is full of opportunity to claim your power. And it really is as simple as a choice – a choice, right now, between fear and LIFE. I choose life – fully awake, vibrant, healthy, active, compassionate life. And with that simple choice I am seeing evidence of my untapped potential. And it is good, really, REALLY GOOD.

So, how do you shift from worry and fear to decisive action? How does yoga practice help you make a difference in your life and the lives of others? I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

Yours in Gratitude,

Lindsay

A Yoga Pose for Letting Go and Opening to Potential

 

Reclining Hero's Pose Variation

Practice moving into this pose with intention and deliberate placement of your body. Exercise your power of presence, choice and action.

 

supported hero pose supta virasana

Sit with your feet at the outsides of your hips. You can separate your knees as wide as you'd like to find a comfortable position for your knees. Keep your feet close to your hips with the tops of your feet on the floor and your toes pointed directly behind you. Place a bolster or  folded blankets behind you and begin to recline back, resting your upper body on the bolster. Your neck should be in a neutral position which means you may need to use additional bolsters or blankets to see that your head and neck are supported. Relax as completely and deeply as possible. Breath slowly in and out through the nose. Relax your shoulders down and rest your arms on the floor with your palms facing up. Allow your heart center to widen as if the skin and muscles of your chest and your ribs are opening side to side, exposing your heart and revealing your true nature, your choices in this moment, your power.

Yoga to the Rescue: Winter Warmth is Just a Pose Away

Snowed in and stir crazy? Or is it just me?

I am so restless in fact that I've moved furniture in the coldest room of my house so that I could have some space to get busy and heat things up yoga-style. I've even busted out the camera (and leg warmers and yoga socks ).

Here is a short yoga practice, about 20 minutes total, that I put together with the intention of heating up my body and soothing my nerves. The sequence includes a fire starting breathing technique, sun and moon salutations, strength building poses, deep hip stretches and backbends. And don't forget about final relaxation to help spread that fire to your whole body.

The audio and video quality is not the best but the information is there. This sequence (and my legwarmers) has been so helpful to me while I've been snowbound. I hope it helps you, too.

So, turn up the heat and move your body. Let's melt the snow together y'all.

Yoga for Winter Warmth Part 1 – The Warm Up

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Yoga for Winter Warmth Part 2 – Deeper Stretches and Heat Building Poses

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Post your questions or share your Yoga for Winter Warmth experience below.

Namaste,

Lindsay

#365yoga on Twitter

Mindful Monday Recap: Living Your Yoga in 2011 #365yoga

One of my favorite things about blogs and social media networks is the way in which they foster community and support. Perhaps this is because I am already accustomed to, and really enjoy this aspect of my life (you know, the part when I’m not on the computer). Yoga studios, teachers and practitioners do the exact some thing every day by creating meaningful relationships, by reaching out to one another with questions and guidance and by engaging in conversations about what really matters to them.

So, thanks yoga bloggers, for bringing that community, support and authenticity online.

For this week’s Mindful Monday post, I thought I would share with you some of the amazing recent developments in the online yoga world. It is truly inspiring.

#354yoga is a movement of yogi tweeters and bloggers who are intentionally creating a space to support their dedication to their path and deepening their commitment to themselves and to yoga. I love it.

#365yoga on Twitter

It began with a tweet. Read Nancy’s post on her blog, Flying Yogini to learn how #365yoga started and what it means to live your yoga every day. Then, subscribe to Flying Yogini to follow Nancy’s journey and insights. Thanks, Nancy, for getting the ball rolling!! Follow Nancy on Twitter at @yoga_mydrishti.

I am loving Sarah’s 365 posts on her blog, Sarahsana. So, definitely head on over there and do some reading. Her most recent post is titled The Yoga of Jack White and it totally caught me off guard with how deep and insightful it is. Simply beautiful – Chaturanga push-ups for your life. Thanks, Sarah! Your yoga is beautiful and inspiring. Follow Sarah on Twitter at @SarahKohl.

YogaDork is joining in on the fun and kicking it off with a super-duper giveaway. 10 YogaDork readers will receive a copy of Judith Hanson Lasater’s book, A Year of Living Your Yoga: Daily Practices to Shape Your Life, followed by an interview with Judith Hanson Lasater and regular #365yoga posts. Thanks YogaDork for helping to spread this message to a larger audience and for providing a forum of support and all kinds of yoga goodness. Follow @YogaDork on Twitter.

Want to get involved? There are many ways to join the 365yoga community (hint: you already are). You can follow along by typing the #365yoga hashtag into a Twitter search. Share your year of yoga by adding the hashtag #365yoga to your tweets. Journal or blog about your experience. Post status updates on Facebook, create a photo journal, or simply read others’ posts and leave comments to share your thoughts.

As for me, I will be joining in as well with regular #365yoga posts and tweets (follow me @lindsayyoga) as well as more yoga videos and giveaways! Yippee!!

Are you blogging about your #365yoga journey? Are you a fellow yoga tweeter? Please share a link to your blog and/or your Twitter handle so that we can stay in touch, share and continue to inspire each other.

Yours in Gratitude,

Lindsay Fields

Her trainer, Hari Chetan, began teaching her when she was four, and calls her a miracle and a perfectionist

Mindful Monday Recap: 6 Year Old Yogi, Mantras and The Un-Indian Experience

Happy Mindful New Year!

Kick off your week and your New Year with some yoga-related reading. Here is a quick recap of some blog posts and articles that I have read recently and wanted to share. Good stuff.

 

If you haven't already, check out My Yoga Hot Spot: 2010's Greatest Hits for some fun and useful yoga reading. I am celebrating and saying goodbye to the past year of yoga blogging and moving into 2011 with one word in mind … Wheeeeeee!!!!

Yoga: A Positively Un-Indian Experience This post recently make the rounds on the social networks and sparked some interesting conversations and re-sparked the Yoga/Hinduism debate.

I think this is pretty neat-o. World's youngest yoga teacher, six, hailed as a miracle at Indian ashram It reminds me of my little girl and how she teaches me yoga on occasion.

Release to Receive Beauty and insight from the Chopra Center. The idea of releasing the past in order to receive the future is something I have heard and read about before, yet is is always good advice.

A Monday Morning Mantra for the New Year via the YOGANONYMOUS blog. I have tuned in for these posts for a couple of weeks now and I love them. Thoughtful. Inspired. Honest.

My friends in hotness, Moksha Yoga, have themselves a really fabulous website complete with Yoga Posture Tip of the Month videos. January's tip is Savasana, Corpse Pose – one of my personal favs. They also share Green Living video tips and I am loving it.

Last but not least, from Yoga Journal, read about The Sweet Simplicity of Om

So, read it up already and have yourselves a super mindful week!

Love,

Lindsay 

ninapaley

My Yoga Hot Spot: 2010’s Greatest Hits

Today is January 2nd, 2011 and I am saying my goodbyes to 2010

Yes, I am fully aware that I am a little behind in my New Year's themed posts. I did consider not posting this and simply going ahead with my 2011. But I decided that it was worth it to honor 2010 with a simple blog post so that I can move forward with a sense of completion and that fresh-all-over feeling that the new year can bring. So much has happened in the past 12 months. I will spare you the play-by-play but basically, to sum it up, it was all I could ever ask for. I have grown. I have had fun. I have opened myself up in new and exciting ways. I am doing what I love. And I have the support of friends and family and you, my readers all over the world. So, thanks … really, thanks!

So here it is, Some of My Yoga Hot Spot's most memorable posts from 2010.

1. 10 Things They Don't Tell You About Hot Yoga

 

2. 26 Hot Yoga Quotes and Some Smokin' HOT Photos, Too!

3. Foot Yoga – Foga? How yoga and stretching your feet can help with pain, stress and more! [VIDEO]

 

4. You Know You're a Hot Yogi If …

 

 

5. Bringing Your Yoga Practice Off of Your Mat

 

More Goodies From 2010

I have some truly fabulous stuff planned for 2011. I am so excited I can hardly stand it. In a word … Wheeeeeeee!!!!!

Love,

Lindsay

Phillip Askew New York City Vinyasa YouTube Still

Friday Favorites: Beautiful Vinyasa Yoga Video

I love everything about this video – the music, the editing, the asana.

A friend of mine forwarded this to me a couple of days ago. It is definitely my favorite YouTube find of the week. I am even considering updating my Top 5 Yoga-Related YouTube Moments to include it. Enjoy!

Phillip Askew New York City Vinyasa

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P.S. You might recognize Phillip Askew from another breathtaking yoga video Variations on Surya Namaskara.