Arm Balances are Fun!

Arm balances are fun!  A good starting arm balance is crow pose (bakasana).  To set this up, place the hands flat on the ground shoulder width with the knees high up near the armpits.  From there look about a foot in front of your hands and keep the eyes there.  Begin to bend the elbows and everything will start to come forward.  From there, lift one foot off the ground at a time.  Starting in this shape, the knees may be on the triceps but eventually, they will be in free air with the strength of the core holding the posture.  This posture requires a lot of core strength for the balance and the quads need to be stretched and warmed as they tend to cramp if not warmed up.  Build core strength by planking and leg lifting as we routinely teach at the studio!

In Unity and Love,

Sarvesh (Gary)

* – Photo taken at the University St steps, Seattle, WA

Maximize Your Assets

Republish from Mindful Studio Magazine, by Sarvesh Naagari.

In corporate finance, there is a measure that shows how well a company is utilizing its assets. It’s a simple calculation called ROA, which stands for Return on Assets. It’s calculated by taking net income by the average assets that a company has.

For a yoga studio, this may be tricky, especially if the building is not owned. The real assets of a yoga studio are its teachings and teachers. However, there are ways that we can measure the utilization of the space that we rent similar to a return on assets. For most leased studios, the space itself has a utilization rate that can be calculated by the total amount of class time divided by the total hours that the space is available for space utilization.

For example, if a studio has four 1-hour classes per day and has 16 hours available for class time (6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., we exclude overnight), then the space has a 25 percent utilization rate. We could also take net income for any given month and divide that by the cost of the space for a return on the asset itself, the asset being the space.

These measurements provide us two key components, the first of which is the overall utilization of the space available and then the utilization of the space when used. Tracking this month over month provides key insight into the business. Maybe if the utilization rate is low, we add classes and then find that the utilization increases, but profitability doesn’t. Maybe the utilization is high, but the profitability is low, and we need to cut out some classes. Maybe we consider adding ancillary services such as massage, reiki or other fitness classes to increase utilization and profitability.

There are many levers to pull to increase the success of our studios, but independent of the levers that we pull, we should understand the effects on the success or failure of the business as we make the decisions. This is why it is always recommended that we measure our businesses.

Introduction to Pranayama

Yoga Practice and Philosophy – Pranayama

Pranayama is the 4th limb of the 8 limbs of Yoga and means Breath/Energy Control.  The topic is broad and deep so a good starting point is an introduction!  In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali tells us that we can regulate the breath by location, season and number; and then into a fourth state of transcendence.  We must remember that the breath is tied directly to the emotions (nervous system) and the mind.  Often in our Pranayama practices we stir up some very uncomfortable feelings.  This is not a reason to stop practice, but to push on!  Our Pranayama practice destroys the shroud to our inner effulgence and shows us our inner light.While we can teach about 100 Pranayama techniques at Ripple Yoga, we limit them to what the students is ready and prepared to practice.  When the student is ready, the teacher and the practice will appear!

In Unity and Love,

Sarvesh (Gary)

* – Photo taken at Ananda Ashram, Pondicherry, India

Yoga Therapy – Foot Problems

Yoga Therapy – Foot Problems

If your feet are tight and sore or suffer from afflictions such as Plantar Fasciitis, these postures are for you.  Veera Vajrasana (Shown in the picture) has been known to correct this condition.  This also helps alleviate foot cramps and tightness from shoes, especially high heels.  Keeping the feet healthy is important for physical and nervous system (energetic) reasons.  The feet are the terminus points for nerve endings of the organs and the spine and we have to walk on them for the rest of our lives!  Other postures that help with the feet are sitting hips to heels (Vajrasana) and sitting with the shoelace of one foot in the arch of the other hips to heels (Ekakin Vajrasana).  The latter is particularly helpful for organ cleansing and rejuvenation.  Sitting in hips to heels is also good for preventing and correcting circulation problems in the legs below the knees and stretching out the ankles, which can get quite stiff.  So remember, healthy feet, happy life!In Unity and Love,

Sarvesh (Gary)

* – Photo taken at Niagara Falls, NY

Yoga Tips – The 8 Limbs

Yoga Philosophy – The 8 Limbs
We often hear Yoga teachers talking about the 8 limbs of Yoga.  What are these anyway?  Maharishi Patanjali outlined the 8 limbs of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras about 2,500 years ago.  The 8 limbs are the stepping stones to enlightenment, or as he puts it Moksha.  While they are generally spoken and taught in a linear manner, they are non-linear.  They are:
  • Yama – The restraint of animal instincts
  • Niyama – Embracing our human nature
  • Asana – Physical practice
  • Pranayama – Breath control
  • Pratyahara – Sensory control/fulfillment
  • Dharana – Concentration/focus of the mind
  • Dhyana – Absorption/meditation
  • Samadhi – Cosmic consciousness
While the 8 limbs are usually taught in a linear fashion they are anything but.  We are ususally practicing more than one limb at a time even if we are unaware of doing so!

Yoga and Politics – Republished

This article was written for Mindful Studio Magazine and is written towards studio owners but is relevant for teachers and students.

Yoga and Politics

We live in contentious times. Historians say the recent election and its results have polarized the nation to a degree not seen since the Civil War. As yoga studio owners, it may often seem difficult to navigate the political landscape as fear and despair or hope and happiness is gripping the emotional balance of our students. In either case, emotionalism runs high and we have to decide how we can best serve our communities.

In this case, it is recommended that we lean on the teachings of yoga as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Yoga is the ultimate union and unity. Yoga views all beings as divine souls that in our very essence are identical. Yoga is apolitical and does not take sides. Politics, and this means all politics, creates duality. And as soon as duality has been created, yoga ceases to exist.

As studio owners, we cannot afford to take sides in the political debate despite any beliefs that we have personally because we will alienate a portion of our students. It is shortsighted and misguided to assume that everyone believes as we believe, and judgmental and wrong to dismiss anyone that believes differently.

When students visit Ripple Yoga and express anxiety regarding the election, we remind them of the teachings of yoga and that true unity, not so-called political unity, is the answer. The reality is that the further we are away from someone in our argument or beliefs, the closer we are to actually being them.

We also remind students to have compassion for the self and to project that compassion to others. Speaking in hate and pointing out the identity of another human being by race, gender, sexual preference or religion is racism. Yoga teaches that human beings are human beings — no identity tags required. Only then do we begin to see and feel the unity of yoga. When we teach these things, the student will move out of the emotional part of the brain and be relieved of any stress and anxiety, and they will be grateful.

It is recommended that all teachers adhere to a policy of no politics within the business for the health of the studio and the happiness of the community. It is important that all teachers are in line with and understand these principles.

Yoga is unity. Let’s allow yoga and our studios to be the voice of reason in these difficult times, and change the way in which we communicate. By doing so, we can be the inspiration for others to do the same.

Yoga Tips – Chatarunga

Asana Practice – Proper Chaturunga

During Vinyasa Flow practice we often move from high plank to Chaturunga (low plank) and then to upward facing dog.  In this flow, it is important that we perform the transition from high plank to low plank properly so as to keep the shoulders, wrists and elbows healthy while maximizing the benefit of the shape.  From high plank externally rotate the forearms.  This will move the shoulders down the spine and allow the elbows to pin to the sides of the body rather than stick out away from the body.  Come down 90 degrees at the elbows.  (See picture of Kim above).  There should be a straight line of energy from the heels to the crown of the head.  Then lift into upward facing dog!  It is really that simple.  To modify, drop the knees.  See you on the mat!

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