Bonnie McCulloch

Why Yoga?

I could write a book on the many, many reason to practice yoga.  For me it has changed my life is so many ways.  I have practiced yoga on and off since I was 19 and let me tell you-that is a long time! Yoga is like your favorite pair of jeans-you need to try a few to find the ones that fit your body and that you feel good in.  With yoga there are many types or styles of yoga- Hatha, Power, Yin-Yoga-just to name a few.  A great goal for anyone who wants to start practicing yoga is to just go and try a few different classes (most studios offer the first class for free).

Yoga can be awkward at first-your first Downward Dog can feel weird with your tush in the air. I clearly remember my first class in the basement of a church in my town, I think I giggled through most of it. I think the reason for this is that we are not as comfortable with our bodies as we would like to be and we tend to feel self-conscious when we are in some of the yoga poses. After a few classes this usually goes away or it may take a little longer to feel more at ease with your body and the wonderful things it can do.

There are numerous mental and physical benefits of practicing yoga-here are a few from About.com-Yoga.

Physical Benefits

Flexibility: Stretching your tight body in new ways will help it to become more flexible, bringing greater range of motion to muscles and joints. Over time, you can expect to gain flexibility in your hamstrings, back, shoulders, and hips.

Strength: Many yoga poses require you to support the weight of your own body in new ways, including balancing on one leg (such as in Tree Pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (such as in Downward Facing Dog). Some exercises require you to move slowly in and out of poses, which also increases strength.

Muscle tone: As a by-product of getting stronger, you can expect to see increased muscle tone. Yoga helps shape long, lean muscles.

Pain Prevention: Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. That can cause tightness and spinal compression, which you can begin to address with yoga. Yoga also improves your alignment, both in and out of class, which helps prevent many other types of pain.

Better Breathing: Most of us breathe very shallowly into the lungs and don’t give much thought to how we breathe. Yoga breathing exercises, called Pranayama, focus the attention on the breath and teach us how to better use our lungs, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, which has both physical and mental benefits.

Mental Benefits

Mental Calmness: Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing calmness to the mind. Yoga also introduces you to meditation techniques, such as watching how you breathe and disengagement from your thoughts, which help calm the mind.

Stress Reduction: Physical activity is good for relieving stress, and this is particularly true of yoga. Because of the concentration required, your daily troubles, both large and small, seem to melt away during the time you are doing yoga. This provides a much-needed break from your stressors, as well as helping put things into perspective. The emphasis yoga places on being in the moment can also help relieve stress, as you learn not to dwell on past events or anticipate the future. You will leave a yoga class feeling less stressed than when you started..

Body Awareness: Doing yoga will give you an increased awareness of your own body. You are often called upon to make small, subtle movements to improve your alignment. Over time, this will increase your level of comfort in your own body. This can lead to improved posture and greater self-confidence.

If you have always wanted to try a yoga class GO AND DO IT! You maybe surprised how much you love it.

Have a wonderful week.

Be Happy~Be Well

Bonnie

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Autumn Yoga

Autumn is the time to Let Go…… see it in nature as the leaves wither, die and fall to the ground. Old feelings, beliefs and attachments leave, creating a fresh space to grow with new wisdom and compassion for ourselves.

Yoga poses in autumn focus on body areas that hold and store excess: outer hips, side waist, back of thighs and aims to free up and open our upper chest shoulder region. In yoga practice the poses will open and release these areas for greater health. We become more toned and improve the contractive elimination of our body. In letting go of excess we improve our lung health and soften chest, shoulders and neck.   Improved breathing results with more life force (Prana) to inspire ourselves and be motivated and full of energy.

Autumn is a time of Transformation: see what you can create in yourself, with healthy habits, great nutrition and yoga. With this, you enjoy a clear perspective, inspiration and an open heart .

~Gwynne Jones-Yoga Therapy

If you would like to try yoga this Fall come to one of my free class through the Bedford Recreation Department- www.bedfordrecreation.org Even if you have never tried yoga before or you aren’t sure that you want to sign up for a class-just come and see what a yoga class is all about.  Come share yoga with me!

Tuesdays 9:30-10:30am, 9/18-11/20 10 weeks

Class will be held in the Union Room

Free/Trial class will be 9/11 in the Union Room 9:30-10:30am

 

Wednesdays 7:00-8:00pm, 9/19-12/5 (no classes 11/7 and 11/21) 10 weeks

Class will be held in the Union Room

Free/Trial class will be 9/12 in the Union Room 7:00-8:00pm

 

Fridays 9:30-10:30am, 9/21- 11/30(no class 11/23) 10 weeks

Class will be held in the Kids Club Room

Free/Trail class will be 9/14 in the Kids Club Room 9:30-10:30am

Hope you all had a wonderful summer and are looking forward to a beautiful Autumn.

Namaste,

Bonnie

Listening To Your Body

What a week!  I realized more than ever before how important it is to listen to your body.  But it does not stop there.  Due to the nature of having Type 1 diabetes, I have times when my sugar is really high or low and sometimes shifting between the two quickly.  This past week was one of those weeks where it seemed no matter what I did, nothing seemed to change.  At first I was so stressed and worried about it but then of course that made matters worse.  I decided to listen, truly be aware of my body, and see if I can figure out what to do to help me get through the week.

For one I rested.  This is not an easy task for me and I am not one that enjoys slowing down but I did.  I had to disappoint a few people (including my 10-year-old) and take the time I needed.   I made sure I ate well and drank lots of water.  I felt very fatigued and I made sure that I didn’t overdo it with any strenuous activities.  My high sugars have  started to slowly go down and I feel more like myself.

What I learned from this week is that our bodies tell us in many ways when we need to slow down, eat better and hydrate.  In yoga we teach how important it is to have a mind-body connection.  When we are stressed, our body responds to it in so many ways, migraines, stomach issues, muscles tension-I could go on and on.  Take the time to listen to your body.  I understand so well that this is not always an option especially being a parent. But by taking care of our physical body, I believe, will ultimately help you be a better you-it certainly helped me.

Be Happy, Be Well,

Bonnie

Savasasana-Relaxation Pose:

 

 

Serenity Shelter?

Last week my family and I  went to the Polar Caves in NH.  During this visit we came across this wonderful structure called the “Serenity Shelter”.  This of course got me thinking about how wonderful it would be to have a place to go and find peace and serenity in my life.  When I say a “place” I mean an actual place-not in my mind.  I also thought about how wonderful it would be to have a place in my home or in my yard that I can actually go when I need to just sit and breathe.

Although I do not have such a place in my home, I do find true peace and serenity when I am in Ogunquit Maine.  When I am sitting on a bench along the Marginal Way looking out at the ocean, I feel such peace in my mind and in my body. I know when I am there it is a gift and I am so grateful that I have found a place that soothes my soul. But of course this does not help me when I cannot be in Maine.

Finding a “Serenity Shelter” at home is a new goal for me.  I know for sure that when I figure out where this will be, I need to shut my phone off and tell my family that I need a few minutes to not be disturbed.  I feel this is so important to have a physical spot set-up to just have time to take a moment and be present. It might be your bedroom or maybe outside in your yard or even a few minutes when you walk your dog.  I am sure some of you who might be reading this are saying “sure this would work in my house-ha ha”. It can work but it takes work to carve out time for ourselves.  If it is impossible to find a place at your home then maybe you can find a place near by.  For some people it’s the gym or at the track.  Just a place where you feel you can breathe and distress. I will be working on this for myself and I will let you know when I find it.  Have a wonderful week.

Namaste,

Bonnie

My Sister-My Gift

My sister Maureen is one of my greatest gifts.  My Mom never had a sister and after having three boys and a girl (my sister), she prayed that she would have a girl to give my sister the gift that she never had-a sister.  I find peace in knowing that I can go to her at anytime, tell her anything and she will love me.  She has comforted me in some of the worst times in my life and she loves my son as if he is her’s.  She always supported me in my dream to become a yoga instructor and made me feel like I could do/be anything I wanted.

It is so important to have people in your life that add to your life-somehow they just make it better.  It could be anyone-a sister, a spouse, a friend. I am so grateful for my sister and she is truly a blessing in my life.  If you have someone in your life that you consider a blessing, tell them! I spent the whole day today with my sister -I feel so lucky.

Take note this week of the people around you that help you find peace in your life-maybe you are “that” person for someone else.

Peace to all of you,

Bonnie

Gratitude

I love this quote-it speaks to my heart.  Be grateful for the people around you that see things in us that we sometimes cannot see in ourselves. For me it can be as simple as someone in my yoga class telling me that they felt good after class or that something I said was meaningful to them. It’s not always about the big stuff-the little things people do can be so powerful.  I have deep gratitude for my family and friends who make the time to help “rekindle” my spark.  Hope you find a little peace and happiness this week.

Namaste-I Honor The Light Within All Of You,

Bonnie

Good Morning Monday??

What happened to Sunday? Not sure what happened but I seemed to have missed Sunday and here I am on Monday.  Happy Monday! This is a perfect example of when life is moving too fast we forget things that are important or we are not living in the moment.  I constantly struggle with this.  I completely understand that we can not live in the moment all the time-it’s impossible, but we can try to take time out everyday to just notice what and who are around us. It doesn’t have to be anything big-just something simple.

Find the timeHow will you find YOUR peace this week?

Namaste,

Bonnie

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