After walking into her first Yoga class at the age of 18, Yoga has been the one constant in keeping her body healthy. Her practice would come and go but her love for the practice never diminished. She then took the leap into Teacher Training through CorePower Yoga in and since then has continued her training and has watched her passion grow. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
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As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Melain Blue grew up in a musical household and began working as a professional singer at a very young age. After starting her family, she shifted away from a performance based career in favor of a fitness focused lifestyle, where her love of music drew her into the world of dance fitness.
Having no previous experience with dance, she began training in hip hop, jazz, salsa, and belly dance. Melain used barre classes to help her learn proper dance form and technique. Her unique experience with dance gives her an ability to share what she has learned with other people that have no dance background but would like to be able to move with the fluidity and power of a trained dancer.
The experience at GHY transformed her yoga practice leaving her hungry to learn more. She did her hour yoga teacher training in and graduated as a physical therapist assistant in By exploring alignment and muscle activation in asana Laura gets to meld yoga and physical therapy. Laura feels that your yoga practice should be a magical space of play, where you can laugh, learn, and contemplate.
I have been teaching yoga in the Maple Valley area since I am currently going to school to become a Physical Therapist Assistant. My teaching style infuses many different modalities. My classes are a unique combination of movement, stillness and self-care techniques; merging exercise science and yogic principles to find balance of body and mind. Providing a safe and relaxing environment with a focus on improving strength, stability, mobility, flexibility, balance and overall wellness.
I am inspired by the people that I am fortunate to be able to learn from and those that I get to share and work with. Instructor I attended my first yoga class about 13 years ago, I felt a positive shift within me and was hooked. It has been a journey of mind and soul. Through my practice I have become acutely aware of my balances and imbalances and I am always working towards living in harmony with my body, in tuned with the vital importance of pranayama. I believe that yoga is for every body and that everyone can reap the health benefits, which there are so many.
Yoga has a way of being just what you need. I continue to deepen my knowledge and fuel my passion through workshops, literature, and most importantly through my practice. I am forever a willing student. I have been blessed to share my enthusiasm with other yogis, and be a part of a great yoga community. Ali Valdez led the hour teacher training that I attended in I feel lucky and honored to have her as one of my teachers. She gave me a comprehensive foundation from where my deeper yoga knowledge continues to grow from.
I believe in living a healthy and happy life, and wish the same for others as well. In addition to practicing yoga, she studied dance, was a gymnast, a distance runner, and currently is a student of Taekwondo. Of all her chosen disciplines, it was her yoga practice that transcended all, providing the strength, flexibility and endurance of mind and body needed to be successful in each one.
After a 15 year career at Nordstrom and the birth of her son in , Stacie took her yoga practice to a higher level. With a desire to share the balanced, harmonious and injury-free lifestyle she came to know and appreciate with others, she became a certified yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance. She currently holds an E-RYT Hour Certification and enjoys practicing with a wide variety of yogis as often as possible. If she is not practicing yoga, she can probably be found at the Taekwondo studio, at a concert watching her son play one of his many guitars, or spending time with her beloved family and friends.
He views yoga as a practice of introspection and personal growth building upon the foundation we lay for ourselves everyday. Our foundation may not be ready for yoga, but yoga will always be there waiting for the day that we are ready for it! Enthralled with the endless journey that combines the calming of your mind, tuning into every fiber of your body, and the pure athleticism; you can find Kenny frequenting classes, signing up for workshops, and discovering a new edge on his mat. Teaching was something he again stumbled on, but with a mischievous smile he will challenge you through your practice and encourage you to find your individual edge!
His motto is to live life without regrets, because without your past you would not be the beautiful person you are today! Instructor I began practicing yoga in and fell in love. I had always been an athlete and used to challenging myself, but yoga took me to a whole new level of working my body and mind in unison. My passion in life is to help others become the very best version of themselves and I hope to inspire many along my journey.
I gain so much from my students that helps me grow as a teacher, a student and an individual. Sometimes a teacher, always a student. With a background in traditional yoga it took Stephanie almost 10 months to walk into her first Hot Yoga class and from the very first class it was love! Now, teaching certificate in hand and many hours of training under her belt she is enjoying the ability to teach yoga and bring this amazing approach to life to as many students as she can. With that first yoga class came the passion and desire to teach.
Growing up her background in traditional style Russian ballet led to a scholarship at the San Francisco School of Ballet as a teenager. But, on a completely different level, Yoga heals the spirit, soul and body. Something dance cannot claim as a benefit.
In as a first time participant, she placed third in the Senior Division of Washington Regional Asana Championships held by the USA Yoga Federation specializing in the demonstration of yoga asanas. Suzanne is light hearted, exciting, fun and a passionate instructor with a desire to share the many priceless benefits of yoga leading to a healthier lifestyle and a happy life. Before she decided she wanted to dedicate her life to yoga, She was in a dark state of her life after losing her sister to cancer.
The devastating loss took a toll on her family, and it felt as if life was spiraling out of control. It was hard for her to find normalcy in her life…There was always something missing. Soon she began attending college to complete her prerequisites for law school and began working as a paralegal at a personal injury law firm. Although she loved her team and co-workers, she began practicing yoga more then ever.
Not only was it a stress reliever and a way to decompress from a busy, fast-paced day, it was also when she truly and deeply began to heal from the loss of her sister. In early Nicole took a leap of faith, quit her job and completed her hour yoga teacher training with Ali Valdez, founder of Sattva Yoga. At that time yoga studios were few and far between and she immediately knew she wanted to bring yoga to the place closest to her heart, where she was raised…Her hometown of Maple Valley!
She wanted to make this lifestyle accessible to her own community and give the surrounding residents the opportunity to use yoga as their outlet in life too! Outside the studio, Nicole is passionate about her wonderful, supportive husband. Without him running a business and being a mother would be nearly impossible! And of course her two beautiful daughters who she hopes to guide them to understand health and have a passion for LIFE and living out their true desires. Bailey earned her B. In she earned her hr Yoga teaching certificate through Core Power Yoga and completed her Barre teacher training through Total Barre.
Instructor Brandy went to her first Hot Yoga class over 9 years ago with a friend on a quest for better health. She gained more than she anticipated and found a new passion for life through yoga. Feeling more inspired and energetic than she ever had she started spreading the word and bringing friends with to class with her. Realizing how much she enjoyed sharing yoga with people it was an easy decision to attend the hour Hot Hatha training in with Yoga to the People. Brandy went directly from hatha training to Baptiste power training and completed another hours.
Teaching was the best decision she ever made and has made her life more complete. Brandy fest that being able to practice and teach throughout her pregnancy made the whole experience even more enjoyable and beautiful. Aimee went to her first hot yoga class in After falling in love with the way it made her feel, she began practicing regularly.
She began to notice all of the amazing people in the yoga community and that the yoga teachers were extremely happy and positive! She knew that she had to bring light to other people by leading them through the postures, which led her to pursue certification in the teacher training program in Yoga has allowed her to become more physically fit, flexible, ward off stress and anxiety, and find peace within herself.
As yoga has so many lessons, she looks forward to learning from her students and inspiring them to become their best self! Instructor What if yoga starts here: Do unto yourself as you would have others do unto you. What if we listened to and honored our needs, respected our minds, and loved our bodies? Through yoga I am reminded to render myself childlike in fascination and sensitivity to the most subtle sensations in my body and mind.
I am inspired to live consciously and vibrantly in the here and now. To savor every taste, every sight, every touch, and every word spoken to me. I am creating space to separate myself from my suffering, my desires, and my fears. I learned to teach. And now I teach to learn, to connect, and to love. The center for every BODY. Avg Room Temp: degrees. YIN Static stretching, some active, some passive. Avg Room Temp: 78 degrees. Every Mudra creates a rhythm in the body. It's like you know like a vibratory field, like a spiral effect.
It creates a rhythm in the body that stays for four to six hours. Now when we go a nutritionist and prescribe a supplement or to a doctor and she prescribed some medicine, they say, okay, take twice in a day or once in a day and so on and so forth. They say that because the effect of that medication is going to stay in our system for that time and after that you need again, a second dose.
The same goes for all these yoga practices. So if you are doing it as therapy, you must do it three times a day for that rhythm that you have generated to sustain and stay in the body. So if you're starting and doing a Mudra practice as therapy, practice it for many months, seven days, give one day for each tissue, you know, let it speak to all the seven level of your tissues and practice it for two minutes, three times a day.
If you don't see any change in your sleep patterns and your appetite and your level of rest focus, then it is not for you. But I know it works. So you have to try it sincerely. That it's just not something you do at they sitting in a particular way and when you're meditating or when you're just focusing. But really the cell phone awareness is the key to this. You know, when you do a practice for your body, your body speaks and the practice should not be a monologue.
It should be a dialogue. It should not be that this is what I'm going to do today. And I tick mark by the end and I did it and I did a great job. It is a dialogue when you are talking to someone. I'm sure no one enjoys it. When you're talking to someone with the idea of conversation and there is only one person speaking and the other person does not have any chance to speak. In this case with practices, you're speaking to yourself.
You do the practice, you listen, you let the body communicate, the body communicates through temperature, through taste, through all the five sensory organs, through kindness tactic experiences, stay present to them when they are therapeutic. Melvin, there are spiritual, the language is different. The language is the state of your mind. So in that case you do not separate so much you because by separating you almost create interference with the practice. If you're so much hyper aware of what is my taste, what is my body temperature, then that meditation, which is one plus one is equal to none or numbness, we'll create a separate identity.
So what kind of mudras you are practicing makes a difference to how you are going to interact with them or just to witness them or simply allow them? So in spiritual Mudras, let's take an example of the most common, spiritual Mudra, ca;;ed the Gyan mudra, where the word Gyan means wisdom. This is Gyan seal. When you join the index finger pad with the thumb pad and keep the rest of the three extended, you know which one I'm talking about?
It's the most common mudra that anyone must have ever seen in any picture in the name of mudras or in the name of a Buddhist sculpture and so on and so forth. Now, this mudra is called wisdom seal for a reason. In this kind of mudra, you do not so much pay attention to your body contemplation and taste in the mouth and so on and so forth, but more the state of the mind.
This Mudra has beautiful symbology. If you extend your palm forward and face up and joined the index finger with the town, the index finger represents the individuated mind and it represents the Shakti, the feminine energy. The thumbpresents a universal mind, the consciousness and the masculine principle. So then you bring the index finger pad with the thumb pad. It represents the union of the individuated mind, the matter, the feminine energy with the Universal Mind, consciousness and the masculine energy and that represents yoga and that is the wisdom we are talk about.
I'm beyond the state of awake. I'm beyond the state of dream state. I'm beyond the dreamless sleep. I'm beyond these three states of mind. Those of us who might be familiar with the ayurvedic terminology or I am beyond the three Doshas Vata, Pitta and Kapha and those of us who are practicing Tantra and yoga, I'm beyond the bondages of time: past, present, and future.
So there is such a symbology in this Mudra that merely by holding it, I am communicating to myself that I am beyond these three: the bondages of time and place, states of mind and doshas. I am the union between the individuated mind and the universal mind and it is represented not by the coming together of this, but by the hollow that is held in the loop.
We again get lost in because you know that yoga means plus means joining. It could mean one plus one is equal to two or one plus one is equal to 11 or one plus one is equal to infinity, but yoga is a different kind of union here at means one plus one is equal to none. So that hollow in the loop between the index finger and the thumb representing noneness, the void or even the everythingness, not noneness is everythingness also. So when you are practicing this Mudra, then pay attention initially to the point of contact between the index finger and thumb. And as you pay attention to it, you can hear or sense a pulsation like heartbeat, throbbing at the point of contact.
Pay attention not to the throbbing, but the silence between the two throbs. Let them be connected like a string of beads. Silence to silence, to silence. That is the gateway into this loop into this void, into that nothingness that unveils the state of mind, which is not colored, which is not this or that.
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So see here we are not paying attention to the taste. Here we are paying attention to a different aspect. I mean you went through the whole thing and said, okay, all of this has meaning. And I can understand now why you might want to do this, but are all mudras like that, that they have layers and layers of meaning. There are Mudras associated with Chakras, there are mudras associated with mantras.
They do have layers and layers of meaning and symbology and almost they open a gateway to enter into a different state. And when we talk about therapeutic Mudras that is not so much about symbology, that is more about pressure and posture. So where are you putting the pressure? Are you allowing the channels in the Meridians to be open for communication so that the right messages can go in and the metabolic waste can move out? Whether it'd be practicing pranyam, a breathing practice, alternate nostril breathing, how you fold your fingers to press the nostril.
That is a hand mudra now that has a deep symbology and maybe we have time or not have time to go into it. I will leave it for you to see if that question comes up. Everything even the practice of agnisar are you know, bramacharya, which is also known as the breath of fire. They're the place, the place where we place our hands over body position.
That is a Mudra in the asanas that is mudras, in the meditation over body position why cross legged only. Why the spine has to be upright, why it cannot be leaning forward or backward, why the chin has to be parallel. It is basically coming from the Mudras, but I would also like to say I know I'm sharing a lot of different details which kind of explore its intensity and depth. I also want the listeners to know that each one of you, no matter how you're sitting right now, no matter if you're laying down and listening, you are in Mudra. Mudras are accessible to everyone and everyone knows about it.
Even if we do not know the term, we are all practicing mudras,of our body language is mudras. How the expression in our eyes change and squinted them or make them broader or focus them. It is Mudra how we move over hands and at times interlace the fingers or keep the hand on the chin. These are, or how we say hello and how we say bye these are all Mudras so you know them. The only thing is now you're knowing them a little bit more.
That's all. What's the most effective way shall we say? I wouldn't say thoughts lessness because there could be freedom from thoughts but there could not be minus thought state because as long as we're alive there will be vibrations and that will be thought and so on. So one is you know in your meditation, introduce them with that. If you are not doing yet and choose any mudra. My favorite one is the Yang would rather that I just shared with all of you.
Just use that with the palms facing up or palms facing down, whichever is more comfortable, like there'd be that space for you to experience and explore and if you are looking for practicing therapeutic Mudras, a good starting point would be the five elements or the five Pranam mudras:, the prana, vayu, udana, apana practicing those Mudras, taking a Sankalpa, making a resolve for doing it for seven days, two minutes, three times a day, and allowing the space to experience how is the mudra communicating to you.
But if these teams do structured ways for you, a lot of my students, I know what they do is they just open up the book and see which mudra comes up. They believe in the power of you know that there are no coincidences and they practice at Mudra and see how it changes their breath and how does it make them feel. So you can choose the structured pathway or can choose to be absolutely free and see how it unveils to you.
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I really had no idea that there was so much to mudras. If you would like to contact Indu. She is that Info I will spell this. It's not yoga.
It's Yog and website is www. Her Book Mudra. The sacred secret is available in Europe. It's actually been translated into French and German. It's available on her website, which I just gave you and on Amazon. So it sounds like an excellent resource for those of you that have become interested in this. Instagram is the same, but there are no caps. So it's into Aurora official. So this is how you might like to get a hold of Indu to find out how. I know I've looked at a small youtube video that she had about mudras, which was very fascinating. So I think there's a lot of resources that Indu has provided.
Indu, Is there anything that you would like to cover that we maybe didn't cover in enough depth or didn't cover at all that you would like the listeners to know? Don't become stagnant in your practice. Let there be space for exploration. Keep moving and keep your eyes and your ears open when you are doing a practice. Don't become too compliant and passive and also don't become too structured and robotic. Let there be that space for communication conversation.
Let your practice be a dialogue, not a monologue and there is beauty that is there in these practices and it opens up layers by layers, by layers. No matter where you start. We all are going to meet in the center at this one point called Yoga. No matter which lineage what style you're coming from, it is all going to end in just one place. Mudras you already know them. You already are them. You're just becoming a little bit more curious, inspired and looking into it. So I really hope you enjoyed this journey, this pilgrimage of knowing the self and realizing the self.
And thank you so much, Stephanie, for holding this podcast and creating this space. And I really sincerely. And do it. So it was very instructive and, and obviously something that you've studied for a long time. So I want to thank you so much for agreeing to be on the podcast and sharing your wonderful knowledge with us. And if you don't mind, maybe I would like to chant a mantra if that's okay. And if we have time,. Go ahead. Thank you so much. This is our first yoga student on changing the face of yoga. Her name is Diane Randall and Diane is energized, committed, and passionate about leading wellness conversations around life balance, self-care, plant based nutrition and whole life wellness.
Her joy is seeing individuals adapt health and wellness methods that reduce stress and bring harmonious balance to their lives. She excels at equipping business professionals with workable wellness advice and strategies that meet their demanding lifestyle. And she's been a yoga student for 12 years. Welcome Diane. And I'm really glad to have you on the podcast.
I think the way you're going to look at it as very different from most of my guests and I'm really excited to talk to you about it. So can you just tell us how you started in Yoga? Probably 15 years ago. I went to a class, I won't say I started, I'll say I went to a class maybe 15 years ago and I went with my brother and, and just to make the story go faster.
I did not like the yoga because my mind was running 50 miles a minute. And then here I am in this yoga class trying to relax and be still and it just wasn't happening. So I decided that yoga wasn't for me. It wasn't for me because I'm laying down in Shavasana thinking about all the calls I need to make, all the things I needed to do. So I, I left the class and I didn't go back until about 12 and a half, 13 years ago when what I realized was I wasn't ready, ready for Yoga because my life at that time was so hectic, so stressed.
I literally had a monkey mind just going 50 miles a minute. I wasn't sleeping. And what I realized was when I went back that I was really rattled, ready to settle into the classes just to see what it was all about. Because at that time I had, I had very high blood pressure and a lot of stress. So I was just looking for something to help me to just calm myself down.
But what ended up happening, I settled into, I surrendered really into the practice because I didn't know what I did know. But what has happened over the years is I found so much peace, so much a enjoyment in just having a calm mind. It really helped me to settle down over time. And I didn't even see that coming. Not only did it helped me settle, it has really enriched my life in a way over time that I have developed more patience. My heart has opened up a lot more, you know, just settling into the calmness of the meditation and the Yoga. So what I'd say is it's really, really helped me to change my life over the years.
And I've taken some of the practices that I've learned to help, not only to center my clients, my students, whoever I'm with initially, but I help people to just clear any noise or chatter that is in their heads. Before I started class or I started coaching session or start of just consulting. So it's really allowed me to just be present with people in my life as far as my work, in my home life.
But that you had to be ready to accept it first. I had to be ready and I was like, this is too slow for me. I don't want to do this anymore. And I'm like, you know, I don't know what that's about, but I recognize that I wasn't ready. I really wasn't ready at that time. No, not to put it on ourselves all the time. They're saying, hey, maybe they just weren't ready to do yoga yet. So you did yoga and how long do you think it took you through learning these tools and stuff to really see that significant emotional and physical difference? I've noticed and observed myself over time because you know, it's not like you know that all these different things are going to happen to enrich your life.
I would say after a few years I started noticing how much more peaceful I was, how I was engaging and sharing what I learned at my practices. Just not even thinking about it. It just became part of what I do to help to settle and integrate myself into my life as well as sharing with others.
And I know how good I feel using some of my yoga techniques that I just shared that with everyone around me. And you know when you're running, running, running, and then you meet up, whether it's at a coaching session or a class, most of the time your mind is not in the room yet. So what I do to bring everybody together and just to clear a release, whatever chatter is going on in that moment, just to get everybody in the room and ready for what I'm about to say or do. It's mainly a tool to get everybody present to what we're about to do as well as get me present and grounded for what I'm about to do with my audience.
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Now you actually have expanded this out so that you're looking at wellness on several different levels. Were you doing that before, before you started taking the yoga or? The more peaceful and the more quiet my mind became, the better I felt because I feel that yoga helped too with the stress. So at that time I just evolved into looking at life balance, helping people with demanding schedules like mine was at the time to just settle into their life and take care of themselves. Not only, mentally, physically, and spiritually, but just to look at the whole, and I feel that the yoga help to settle me down enough so that I could share everything that I was learning, which allows me to show up and just be present in the moment and grounded.
That is such an awesome feeling and experience to just be grounded in the moment. And when you're running around all the time, you notice that difference. You notice it is not something you experience all the time. Have you just changed yourself? As I've changed myself over the years, everything changed. Everything changed. I definitely don't have a stressful life anymore. Two things. My kids grew up for one thing. But I evolved so much into this person who loves the quiet when I was younger and stressed out, just be still and quiet. You know, it just didn't feel right at the time. But that's, that's my life.
That's who I am. And in my work, a lot of it is helping people to come into balance, whether it's with their food, whether it's with their mindset. It's just been awesome because I feel that all that is in alignment with my life in the work I do. And I still go into corporations to do consulting work. But what I notice is over the years, I've just evolved it into this practice where I go in and I can just share. It's not that stressful energy that I used to just carry everywhere with me. Is that a fair statement?
That is huge. I've wanted people that I encountered that I come into contact with to experience the same thing, just to slow that mind. To the point where for the last five years I go to silent retreats. Well part of the retreat is yoga. I love yoga because it's such a calming. Not only do I get to stretch my bodyand to all the different positions, but when I want to check out and just go somewhere and calm down, yoga is usually involved even on the silent retreats that I've gone to for the past five years. What would you say to someone to help them with their self-care? What would you give them, some tools or some help or?
So really close your eyes and explore to really feel what's going on? What is the truth of what I'm experiencing? Because you know when you're burnt out, it's a combination of things that have happened over time and it's being honest and authentic about what may be going on inside. It's really taking an honest look at your life and what's going on to get an indication of where your energy and attention is in the moment around the time that you're feeling burnt out. It's exploring that burnout. What does that mean? What has transpired?
Why am I in this? The current situation? It's exploring that, not just looking at it as burnout. How did I arrive here? It's really digging in and exploring that.
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I'm sure it could be a little off putting, perhaps is the word, that you know to really dig into yourself and see what's happening. Sometimes you just kind of ignore it. And if it's off putting, then it's like, okay, what is that off putting about? Why am I feeling that way about it and everything I do, I tell everyone it's about being authentic, being honest about what is really going on here.
Just be honest with yourself about it. And you know what? Once you figure it out, you may not be ready to deal with that. And that's okay too. But the changes happen when we're ready to explore. To dig inside and make what I call a mindful change is to dig in, to really figure out what's going on and try to change that from the inside out. And I've had so many years for this.
What I do now is I don't start trying to figure things out. And then a lot of times if you quiet your mind down, the answers start coming forward, you know? So if I'm stressed out, maybe if I could just sit down and be quiet for five minutes, you know, maybe even close my eyes. Maybe some truth about what's going on will come forward because you've quieted your mind down enough and you're still enough for something to come in to give you some ideas. At least that is what I do now. I'll say, oh my goodness, I need to do something and I don't know what to do in this moment.
So now I say, you know what, I'm just gonna. I'm just gonna sit with this, see what comes up. To see it from the student's point of view and I think you've just done a great job of explaining how you've embraced yoga and taking it into all parts of your life. But I would like to know if there's anything that either you think we haven't covered in enough depth or that you would like the listeners to know that we haven't covered at all since we're coming to the end of the podcast.
But I'd like you to have that opportunity if there's something that you want to say. See if something comes forward in terms of something little that you can use to just make your life a little bit better. If you're looking at maybe self-care or making your life more balanced. It's just sitting quiet and seeing what you need in that moment. I do want to mention that Diane has written a book. Diane, the title is Jumpstart Your Life. Find your motivation and change your life one step at a time. I was impressed with all of the really practical tools that you had in there about going through negative self-talk and self care and getting balanced.
It was all very well done. I thought. It was a workshop that I taught for 10 years that I decided to put into a book because I used those exercises to really help people, not only free their lives up but learning how to focus on the part of your life that needs your attention and energy. And, you know, we have to give ourselves permission because there's so much negative self talk about, why are you doing this? You know, it's just giving ourselves permission to dive into our lives and see what's going on. And so glad that you came on. Like I said, I'm so excited we have a yoga student and I think that you really show what Yoga can be to people who do not want to teach it or be a therapist, but just live with it like you do.
I'm very excited to welcome Stephanie Spence to the podcast and she has a really interesting topic. We're going to talk about how to be environmentally aware as a Yogi. I think this is a great topic. Stephanie has been practicing yoga for almost 40 years, which is pretty incredible in and of its self, she's a yoga educator and author, an inspirational speaker and activist and a creative leader.
She's based in Coronado, California, and she's a trail blazer with an inspiring and empowering approach to self inquiry and personal development. Her book, Yoga wisdom: Warrior Tales Inspiring you on an off your Mat is available wherever books are sold. She's committed to helping ignite the desire for others to create a life of health and joy for themselves through a sustainable practice of yoga for a lifetime of transformation.
She's on a mission to inspire the whole world to practice yoga. Welcome Stephanie, and is there anything else you'd like to add to that? Stephanie, thank you so much. I'm just so honored to be here and always thrilled to meet another Stephanie. Stephanie put out a Facebook post, which I thought was really fascinating about how yogis and why Yogis should be environmentally sensitive and look to saving the planet in their own way.
Stephanie has agreed to talk about this because I think it's important for all Yogis to kind of get this thought in their brain. Do I, and how do I be better at this? So Stephanie, what I think we were talking before, and you said there was, what, , yogis? So I think I just started thinking about, okay, I don't know if I've been responsible in figuring out where I'm getting my products, goods and services until I had a personal experience working at a yoga studio where the people that were running the studio were incredibly unethical. And ever since then it really shifted my life and my awareness around the idea of, wow, are we just doing yoga poses or are we actually really trying to live a yogic life?
And I think most people would like to really take their practice off the mat. So that's where this idea came from, was working at this studio where the people didn't pay yoga teachers and didn't source the materials and the things that they were selling from respectable and ethical sources. And it really was upsetting to me at the time because I kept on saying, this is so not yoga. And then I thought to myself, well, how, how can I explain that to somebody else?
And I have tried mats that were natural fibers and they didn't work very well. So how do we go about being more ethical and yet still be safe in some ways? I think the positive ethical qualities that you're talking about are outlined in Hatha Yoga And if you'll allow me, I'd like us to even talk about some of those qualities because you're right, I mean, it's expensive to go out and, and try all these different products and there's so many designations now when you look, and I think people are heavily influenced by a couple of buzz words that they hear all the time.
And a friend of mine works in the green movement in sustainable fashion. And I started to ask him how do people even find these things out? Your brain can just explode thinking about all these big questions. And the way that I like to look at that as it pertains to this subject is that as I am out in the world, I'm trying to match my sensibilities with the values that I am aspiring to.
And I think so the idea that if I can take something as simple a concept as being peaceful with the idea that wow, these things that I'm buying and using does it have that same effect on the world? And then another one is truthfulness, which is Satya. And so it's not only about being honest with yourself, it's about being honest with others and living in truth. So if, if you're honest with yourself and others, I'm also expecting other people to give full disclosure. So you should be able to go on to anybody's site and they should not only have like their ethics or their company code of conduct or their mission statement.
They should have something that you should be able to access. And I think that's a really interesting one is truthfulness or the Satya is that it's really not only about being honest with ourselves and others, it's about these companies being honest with us as well. Another one that I like to look at is the third one, it's righteousness, which is a Asteya. And it's really about like non-stealing or non-cheating But more than that it's actually defined as looking at fair trade.
So for instance, in exchange for product goods and services, a fair price or a fair way of operating in the world. And I think so many companies now, thank God, have done a really good job of perhaps giving up a portion of their proceeds to a charity or have looked at ways of making things affordable for the masses instead of like organic food, just being accessible to people, to rich people or that kind of principle.
I think this falls under that category, meaning that if you feel really good about your exchange with a consumer or a company, I think that's a yoga observance. And I think that my behavior in the world for inspired living from these companies, their products, their services or their professional practices should match what we're trying to do and, and how we're trying to live. But how do we get that kind of information out there? I think you have to discern for yourself, not only through trusted sources and evaluating, maybe the marketing of how you're receiving information.
It's become a really big buzz right now in the United States about what is fake news or what is it. But I think we've always been subjected to subtle forms or call it manipulation or advertising or marketing, but now that we've determined through problems that they've had through social media, for instance, Facebook, but you can actually now be, manipulated into thinking good or bad things or using your own judgment has become, I think, trickier. So you're right, I think it's up to us to live in a spiritual focus, which actually takes me to number four, which is wisdom, which is Brahmacharya.
So as I live in this spiritual focus and as I'm cultivating my inner and outer happiness, I think being centered in that is really important. So I don't know about you, but I think this makes me think about the difference between like a habit and a ritual. Like is it just habit to assume that the way that you see this information or this product or whatever if it has that good vibe and a good feeling and you know, peaceful colors and beautiful people or whatever, you're just kind of assuming based on a million different things that they hire really powerful marketing teams to put together for them, that they have your wellbeing in mind.
I try and live with the spiritual focus. I think sometimes I actually even become a little naive in practicing this, this quality of Brahmacharya which is wisdom. But I don't want to be ignorant to the realities of a purchasing goods because it is a business, right? So I don't know about you, but I think sometimes I've bought things thinking that I was doing the right thing, but you're right. Like I'll bring home a mat and it just falls apart. So I think I have to be very careful of saying, well maybe somebody is trying to do the right thing, but, but unless I am accountable to myself to really do the research, I think it's just, instead of it being a practice, it's more of a habit.
It's just, I'm going to kind of default to the idea that, oh, if this major brand said something that it must be really good for me because they're yogis right. Because the marketing can fool us. They look very Yogic, shall we say. But you really have to do some research to confirm that.
And it is a sad, but true for me, it's amazing how all of these challenges become these lessons. I mean, we talk about it all the time, but when I worked for this yoga studio, I assumed because they were running a yoga studio, that the people that were running the studio were ethical and very yoga centered and, even I only worked there part time for a short period of time. I talk about this in my book. It was when I was first diving deeper into yoga because you're right, I've practiced for 40 years, but I've only been a yoga teacher now for about But as I was diving deeper into what do I really want to do with this yoga teaching certificate?
I actually considered opening a studio. So I thought I should work at one to see what it's really like. And thank God for me encountering this awful experience. I ended up finding out a lot about myself and a lot about how I wanted to move forward in the yoga community. And that's why I ended up writing a book instead. But at the time it was so shocking to me, Stephanie, they reported to the government that I made like thousands of dollars working for them when I actually hadn't.
And I found that out only because I was working there. And then on top of it, they lied to the government about how much they paid me. I mean, the whole thing just sounds crazy, but I think that's why I'm still talking about it because it left a huge impact on me. And that's why, I think this is kind of an interesting subject.
I think we have a choice and, and that's one of the really cool things that yoga teaches, that we are designing our life, that we are accountable for how we move and operate through the world. And obviously everybody wants to do that in a really wonderful, healthy body, mind and spirit. I never say that correctly. I'm trying to say these slowly because I mispronounce them terribly. And a lot of this is not only being moderate and external in outwardly ways, but also the energy that you use in your actions and how you consume is actually defined in this simplicity principle, which I think is really interesting.
The next one is worship of a spiritual goal. And that's Ishvara Pranidanha and that is, is how we remind ourselves and again and again of our spiritual goal. So in other words as I apply it to this we daily practice, I have to kind of use the energy to force myself to evaluate these things.
The next one is sacrificing the ego which is Satya, but I think that really to have a purity of mind, speech and body of a clarity of thought. I don't know necessarily how it would really apply it to this, but I think it just means that as, as we clean out our own house and our own body, mind and spirit, you want to take care of, of, of how you maintain that.
So again, I think it's about am I constantly living the principles in the way that I want to exist in the world. These observances, but I think we're supposed to follow. The next one is self-discipline, which is Tapas. A lot of people know that word, but that really just same thing, kind of as a reflection of the last one. It means to live a disciplined life. And I think that it's cool that we're kind of accountable and I love it that people look to us as teachers and how we lead by example more than how we lead.
And I think the real integrity comes in when you not only talk these things but if you walk the walk too. The next one we have a couple more is a reading, which is Svadhyaya. And that's really just like a mantra or a meditation. And I think sometimes keeping us on the spiritual path.
It connects us in a way that makes us like spiritual victors. I feel like the sense of community that I'm talking about, that if all of us came together and just even try to couple of these things that we're talking about today that we could really effect change on a global scale. I think that's just really amazing. The last one is a contentment or Santosha.
And really that's just being satisfied with one has and of course in a state of gratitude, I think you operate from a place of, wow, do I really need more? Do I need more yoga pants? Do I need more stuff? Do I need more products? Now I've found that sometimes I'll dedicate the idea that instead of going out and buying something else, I'll spend that money to invest on either, I don't know, like a online class on yoga philosophy or something.
Now this just applies to yoga, but I don't know about you, but the number one thing that people ask me all the time is, how can I take what I'm doing on my mat off the mat? So I think that it's really just about how are we conducting ourselves in the world in a way that really feels like it's part of a bigger yoga community. So that's one of the reasons I think it's cool. You and I are even talking, it is a global conversation now and I just love that.
It's not just an exercise, but how do you recommend or do you yourself bring that philosophy onto the mat other than how we act and how we model. I certainly think that's important, but I'm wondering, a lot of people kind of want to share it and yet it seems to be a rather difficult thing in some ways. For me. I think it's so easy to cut to the chase when I just asked myself, how you do yoga is how you do life. So as I'm so grateful that I've been able to practice yoga now for 40 years. I've obviously gone through a lot of different phases, this is my healthiest lifelong companion and my buddy and my teacher and my go to because I have been able to develop self-awareness and trust my intuition.
But more than that I am constantly still unfolding in a really cool organic way. So for instance, the other day I went to a yoga class and I was frustrated because I felt like the teacher was doing dangerous sequencing. So I had to ask myself, okay, first off, am I frustrated in the rest of my life and where's that coming from?
Or more than that, it's sometimes really challenging for me to speak up and I had to ask myself is it, do I want to try and talk to this person or do I just do my deal and leave or, so I think there's so much investigation of the philosophy that while you're on your mat, you can, if you want to use it as a tool for self-awareness and to reveal to you aspects of your life.
Sometimes it's just a matter of asking myself, well, am I getting what I need? I've recently discovered that I was actually doing yoga that wasn't as physically easy or as physically challenging as I needed because I had dropped into too much of the philosophy or the other yummy aspects. And I had to ask myself, wow, if you want to practice yoga forever, even if it's just yin or, something on the physical side, I can be able to move and do what I want and move through the world in a way that I feel good. So I like all three components. Some people, especially in the west, it's super-fitness oriented right now.
You can easily fall into an imbalance of even the things that you're trying to do. I think it is an interesting concept that teachers have to get across that yes, I am your guide, but you are in charge of your yoga on the mat and you really have to go in deep and think, is this what I want and should I do this this way or can I do it another way? I think that is important because I think sometimes people aren't used to that gentle way of guiding.
They're used to you do this now and do four push-ups or whatever. And sometimes I actually want to go to a class because of that. I just don't want to think today, I just want somebody else to tell me what to do. But what I've found is that there's kind of no escaping it as you're just there by yourself. You're right. A good teacher will present what they have to share that day.
And it's really up to you to whether or not you take something with you. And I think sometimes too, we need to challenge ourselves that people really are listening to us. And perhaps maybe talk about something like this in a class or you know, if you have a website or blog or you send out a newsletter, I just think it would be interesting. You don't have to support or discourage somebody from any certain company or product or whatever. But I think until something personally happened to me, I didn't start thinking about this. And because I also have a friend of mine who is an ethical fashion, he's really at the forefront of this.
I said, but my God, we're so busy and there's so much information out there. How do I find those things out? He said, well, there's a lot of really good people that are trying to do that. Same with Yoga teachers. I think there's a lot of really good people on the planet that are serving others by doing this.
So maybe this is just something else that you would introduce. I've never thought of applying those 10 principles to environmental good. They are so all encompassing, aren't they? That we can really use them to think our way through almost any problem that we might have. And I think everybody will have their own interpretation of these.
You know, as I, as I talked through them, you'll have a different interpretation too, which I think is actually a really beautiful aspect of this. So that's awesome. Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed this. It was a really different way to think about yoga and what are our responsibilities might be. There is quite a responsibility to being a teacher I think, and introducing yoga to people. I hope that your listeners will check out my book and if you want to find me for more information or if you want to send me a question or are you hate what I say or you want to connect I am on Stephanie spence.
I just, I thought it was a really interesting podcast that is a really new way to look at philosophy. For some reason philosophy seems to be coming up a lot with the podcast guests these days and I think that's probably a good thing. Have a super rest of your day. Instagram: Stephanie Yogini. Facebook: Spence yoga wisdom. Twitte:r Stephanieyogayoginic. Book: Yoga wisdom: Warrior tails inspiring you on and off your mat.
It is also a Nautilus book award winner. And you can get it at Amazon and all those places that we usually go to get our books. I asked you on, because I saw that you had a post on Facebook about your online course Yoga for aging gracefully system and I'd like to talk about that because, of all the podcasts out of over a hundred, only two of them have been about yoga for mature adults and they're very, very popular ones.
I ask you some questions about your online course and we'll start with why did you decide to do an online course? I have also seen that there's not a lot of conversation in the media about yoga for aging gracefully. I went and did my own research looking for online programs and really had a hard time finding anything. I also think that's really important because otherwise you're just interacting with a computer.
But, besides all the videos that are a part of the program where you get to see me and hear me and just be connected that way, I also found it to be really important to incorporate more community. So one of the ways that the program incorporates community is by having a Facebook group. I've used Facebook groups and at many times and feel like they're a great resource. I can meet like-minded people who have same sort of questions and concerns I do. So I facilitate that group.
I offer an optional weekly coaching call for everybody in this six week program and where we can actually talk on the phone and you can hear other people and their stories. And I just wanted to make sure there was also some real human contact involved. And of course people can come to the live workshops that I do as well. I teach this same six week program live, in person, multiple times a year. What I did was really have each module of the six modules, each one of those addresses, one of the Koshas, which are these layers, sheets, dimensions of ourselves, humans.
It starts with the physical layer, like building strength and flexibility and balance and all those very important things we need. They feel less energetic. So we do Pranayama and restorative yoga and different practices that can really shift the energy level so people can go out and do things they love and get in the garden and get in nature and socialize and do those things that really matter to them.
Not only yoga, but I bring in Tai Chi and other more science based movements that have been proven through studies to actually help cognitive function. So there's a module all about the mind and stimulating and keeping that active through movement of the body as well as other meditation and mindfulness practices. And, so one of the modules is all about uplifting the spirit because we go through so much as we age, there is, a lot more natural, occurrences of loss and grief and, it's really important to honor those parts of ourselves that are experiencing that.
And so, bringing in loving kindness practice and being conscious about the way that we care for ourselves, is definitely a big part of all of what I teach as well. And I think that's true of society in general is that we're focusing on the loss of the physical and age. Whereas that may not be the biggest thing that we need to really think about as we age or do you not agree with that? If I'm teaching a group Yoga for seniors class where it's a drop in and people are coming expecting the majority of the class to be yoga postures and wanting that, that's their motivation for coming.
Then I will definitely focus on more of the physical practices including Pranayama, not just Asana, but as I was saying, the more that we can refine the group. By having designated programs that are designed for certain areas of life, like yoga for grief or yoga to help energy levels and improve energy, then people will, , you could do group programs that have more focused on those other Koshas.
Maybe they are doing quite well mentally and spiritually, but maybe it's not so much the physical body. So I was trying to create a balance in this program. So there's really all, all the options there and it takes, , six weeks and 12 videos to, to do that, which could really, could last a lifetime. You have access to those for the entire lifetime. Foster greater confidence and contentment and that one can age with wisdom and grace. As you said on your blog, it's rather hard to define wisdom, but,older people seem to have a higher proportion of that then others.
And so what are you doing? How are you putting your yoga classes and workshops and courses together to kind of invite people to think about their own wisdom and, and what it's doing for them? Sometimes I invite people to journal what they're thinking. I have different logs that I use so that we can, start to just be more inquisitive and notice our own behaviors outside of the classroom, as well as inside of the classroom.
And the best thing I think is to give people time and space to share. And that's what the community aspect is about for me is that, we all learned from each other and you never hopefully stopped learning. That's being alive is, is growing and learning. So we, I give space in group programs for people to talk and share their wisdom with each other, to ask questions of not just me but each other.
And I think that fosters community that is really able to learn and grow together. So could you talk a little bit about your thinking on that? Well, I created this product and I really want to share it, not just for my own profit, for reaching underserved populations that can't necessarily afford to buy an online program. So in partnering with nonprofits, I hope to be able to distribute either some or all of the videos, to populations that those nonprofits reach.
As I mentioned, my work is trauma informed, so people who have gone through traumatic situations, which are many, many of us, if not all of us at some point, but those who really have a higher degree, of trauma history in their life, I feel like this program could be appropriate for them. I'm just interested in collaboration so that I can give back to those people who, , in those nonprofits who are doing such great work and help me reach out to more people and make this accessible to everyone who needs it.
I mostly am trying to find the right ones. It's not so easy to find the best fit. I think it'd be great if it could be, an organization that I resonate with a lot and they're so busy doing the work. I think that I'm just getting my foot in the door with a couple places, but nothing has come to fruition yet because I am in the early stages of this process. The most important thing, to teaching, that's a hard one. There's so many important things to teaching. Well, one of the that I like to do is really meet the student where they're at and listen.
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I, for the online program, I try to have, I have a whole page devoted to describing it and, and helping people understand if it's right for them. They can choose whether it's a good fit and and in person, , listening to the person, talk about what they're needing when they do the coaching call and helping them, with just discovering more of the fabulous schools of yoga that are out there, that I've spent so many years learning about and getting in and getting messy and immersed in.
I try to really give a lot of information and modifications to help it work for everybody, whether they're experiencing persistent pain, illness, injury, all those things that do tend to increase as we get older. That's the thing I feel like is the most important is that it's more specialized and specific to the people in the room. You can get the most benefit out of it when you're not necessarily not going to a generalized class, which might not really fit your needs, but if you're going to a class for older adults or a chair yoga or a gentle class or a therapeutic yoga class, those are all classes that can fit your needs better than just a basic Hatha yoga or Hatha flow or some other class might do.
And I think that it is important too, be diverse in your teaching also. I read your blog and there was one about, and I thought it was interesting, That positive psychological attitudes in women over 45 was correlated strongly with the number of hours that they had done yoga. Why did you choose that particular research study that was on pub med. Because I thought it was really interesting that you looked at t psychological benefits, when, so much of yoga these days appears to be physical. It has a huge impact on our physical health.
And so if we perceive ourselves to be under a lot of stress that is correlated with higher instances of illness and pain and, problems in life physically. So I think it's really important to address the mental and emotional aspects of, and I've spent a lot of time studying Buddhism as well as the Hindu yogis kind of philosophies and think that working with the mind is just, is so important, just as important really because the mind can change the body in ways we don't understand in positive and negative ways.
But, that study I chose also because it did pertain to women, which are the majority of the people who do yoga. I also chose it because it's looking at a slightly older group of people. Over Not that that's an elderly population, but it's still somebody who is past their youthful years. And so I do think that's also more relevant to the people that I'm really focusing my work on. I also thought it has a scientific basis.
There are a lot of yoga studies that just because of funding have been quite small and that the more that we can bring it out and use the data we got and put that all together and build bigger studies, the more solid the data. So it's not an esoteric thing with a lot of words people don't understand and concepts that are very foreign that I bring it to be more, a little bit more relatable. And I know I use this idea of the Kosha model without really going into much detail.
But if you've got listeners who already are familiar with that, I wouldn't need to, but for the people who aren't, I just gave the tiniest little synopsis of these layers of our being, and how they can relate to different aspects of our life. I just have found it very valuable as a tool to understand better the human experience. So, that's like in the final workshop in module of the workshop online program. One of the things we do in one of those classes is to go through also the Chakra system and just be more aware of that, that way of looking at ourselves. Facebook is Sierra Laurel Yoga as is her Instagram.
Which is location independent and offered worldwide. Has a masters of science in yoga therapy: research based course on yoga therapy. Rich in yoga philosophy as well. Yoga research does not have to be cold, clinical but also has a rich tradition of yoga philosophy.