Posts

Yoga retreat Colorado - Axis Yoga Trainings

Spring Yoga Retreat Recap

 

3 Incredible Days to “Return to Center”

Last month, close to 30 people ventured to Grant, CO to spend a weekend in nature. Some were already close friends, some were strangers, but they all had a common goal… to pause, breathe and go deeper in practice.

Lead by both Axis Yoga Training’s Derik Eselius and Beth Sanchez (bethsanchezyoga.net), the 3-day adventure at the Santa Maria YMCA began with yoga and ended with more yoga. Enriched with Dharma talks, meditation, pranayama, nature hike, signing and a bonfire, it made for the perfect getaway to kick off the summer.

The theme “Return to Center” focused not only on going in, achieving balance and returning to Ayurvedic roots, but it also placed emphasis on connection and community.

It was an experience like no other and one that attendees carried with them, down from the mountain and back to their daily lives. Words can’t quite express the magic that took place at Santa Maria, but this video does a pretty good job!

 

Retreat in Crestone, CO 9/1 – 9/4

Join Axis Yoga Trainings, Derik Eselius and Beth Sanchez for an encore retreat as they gather in Crestone, CO this Fall. Spend 4 days at the Crestone Healing Arts Center Friday, September 1 – 4, 2017. Our theme for this retreat is “Going Within”. Immerse yourself in asana practice, pranayama, meditation, dharma talks, sharing and singing. Portions of the retreat will be in Noble Silence with built in times of laughter, being in nature, and having fun.

Click here to learn more and to register!

 

Become A Student of Yoga in 3 Steps


Being a student of yoga.

Here’s how…

Assuming I am still alive, I will be studying yoga until I am dead 🙂

Yoga, as most of us come to realize, is a lifelong study.  We may begin with the practice to loose weight or because a friend dragged us into class; but sooner or later the practice becomes more expansive.

Almost as if by magic, our mood improves, we become more available for other people and our values shift. We can start to see the interconnected nature between our thoughts and our circumstances.

As a natural extension of these discoveries, it is quite natural for one to want to share the gift of yoga with others, to teach.  Imparting the teachings of yoga is a wondrous opportunity that can reveal deeper dimensions of your own life as well as in the lives of your students.

There is just one caveat…

You must forever remain a student.

If you are not diligent in your own personal practice, or mistake teaching time for practice time, your teaching will likely become rote and uninspired -you lose the magic.  Personal practice is the foundation of teaching.

Here are a few time tested and simple tips for strengthening your personal practice and sewing the seeds of the inner teacher.


3 Ways to Truly Become A Student of Yoga

 

1. Have a Dedicated Space

Having a dedicated space in which to stretch, breath and or meditate is essential.  It does not have to be fancy. My first meditation enclave was wedged between a wall and a desk.  It felt like home.  Establishing home base for your practice will build up a vital charge of energy and association that will strengthen your practice.  Find some way to designate a formal practice space.

 

2. Regular Practice

In order for the practices to work, you have to do them.

I often tell students to make it easy on themselves by just committing to practicing on a daily basis, no matter how small.  This will circumvent the tendency to fall into “tomorrow” syndrome, in which it becomes more and more easy to dismiss the value of yoga practice with each passing day; until it becomes a nice idea rather than a living breathing reality.

If you want to get good at anything, whether it is playing the piano, mastering card tricks, learning to paint or pursuing your unique and noble life’s purpose, you have to practice.

 

3. Find Positive Association

The more we practice yoga, the more sensitive we become to what is wholesome and supportive to our well being and what is not.  Turning the tide of negative behavior takes ongoing dedicated practice as well as a healthy dose of love and acceptance.

What can we do outside of our formal practice time that will support our formal practice?  What foods do we eat?  Who do we hang out with?  What time do we go to bed at night?  Was that third slice of chocolate cake really worth it?

Find behaviors and associations that will feed your time on the mat or meditation cushion -it will generate a positive self reinforcing cycle.

 

Conclusion…

Being a dedicated student of yoga requires ongoing practice, it does not happen all at once. We may fail many times before overcoming our inner obstacles.  Teaching yoga gives us a chance to share the techniques with others and in the process, reinforce our  commitment and dedication to personal practice.  Be a yogi first, a teacher second.

Derik

 


Free Student-Lead Yoga Classes (Practicums)

Come experience these one of a kind classes and support these students and they show off the skills they have learned and blossom into full-fledged teachers!

Sunday, June 4, 2017
Class 1: Our Eternal Thread
1-2:30PM
Brian, Donna & Nikole

Class 2: The Space Within
3-4:30PM
Lindsay, Paul, Malina & Ashley

Saturday, June 10, 2017
Class 3: Sun, Earth, Moon
1-2:30PM
Lynda, Rebecca, Kristine

Class 4: The Yoga Breath & Mind
3-4:30PM
Haley, Lisa & Monica

Free to the public
3250 E. Sixth Ave. UCC ~ Upstairs

 

How to stop stuttering and suffering in your yoga practice this holiday season - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings Denver, CO

Stuttering In Your Yoga Practice This Holiday Season?

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Don’t let your yoga practice suffer in the holidays.

Binge drinking eggnog?  Cookie O.D.?  Late night raucous caroling?  Has your yoga taken a hit over the holidays?

It’s not uncommon for one’s commitment to yoga to waiver this time of year as outward activities subvert one’s inner peace.  Whatever your particular vice, consider these practical steps to reclaim your practice and keep your yoga on point in this celebratory season.

1. It is Never too Late!

No matter how low your practice may have declined, it is never too late to renew or revive it.  It is those first initial steps that can seem the most insurmountable.  Once you get started the rest seems to fall into place.  Yoga is the most dear friend that will never abandon you no matter how much you have abandoned it.

Don’t delay until the new year!  In fact, now is the time to create momentum that will launch you into the next trip around the sun with a fresh outlook on life.

2.  Let Go.

This is a totally different angle on yoga than practicing poses, but it is an easy and fulfilling way to bring the spirit of yoga to your daily life.  Letting go.

You do not have to look far to find examples of excess within our culture, just look at the latest holiday catalogue to show up in your mailbox and ask yourself “is this really necessary?”

In our materialistic culture, it can be easy to assume that we need something additional, something outside of ourselves to be fulfilled.  When in fact, the reverse is true.  Is there something that we are holding onto that we would be happier without?

This pertains to not only physical possessions but more importantly, mental attachments.  Clearing up psychic clutter of fear, resentment, anger will open the gateway to deeper levels of fulfillment in our day to day lives.  What are you willing to let go of, that once it’s gone, will free you up for more fun?

new-years-event-banner

3. Have Fun!

Yogic wisdom tells us that we are here for four primary reasons, one of which is kama or enjoyment.  We are here to experience the world in its fullness, joyfully.  Allow yourself to participate in the season’s celebrations, and your yoga practice, in the spirit of satisfaction and pleasure.

Consider adding some spice to your practice!

Expand your horizons, attend a class with another and highly reputable teacher.  Many studios offer “Friday Night Yoga” classes that feature very festive themes.  Attend classes that play (or don’t play) music.  Host a fellow yogi get together or simple bring a friend to class.

4. Make Mountains into Molehills.

It can be easy to get caught up in a grand vision of what our practice is supposed to look like, not meet that expectation, get discouraged, and quit. Sometimes less is more.

In my classes, I encourage students to begin by making small, manageable and sustainable changes.  Can you dedicate 20 minutes or more to a daily home practice?  Gradually increasing practice over time is more likely to stick than one big, ecstatic burst of inspiration.

If you do receive such a burst of enthusiasm (which can be great!) keep it in perspective and know that it is unlikely that you will live that way for the rest of your life.  (Sorry to be such a downer).

Consistency is the key to making long term progress on the path of yoga.  What can you do on a regular basis?  Life is better with yoga

5.  Prioritize Peace.

The goal is peace. People come to yoga for lots of different reasons: to lose weight, to find their tribe, to mend from an injury.  All of which are to be appreciated.  One essential reference point of the practice in peace, peace that brings freedom from internal friction within our own minds, peace that instills us with compassion and cultivates contentment.

Peace is something intrinsic within us, not something to be acquired.  In this season of “Peace on Earth” where does peace fall within your yoga practice?  Are you busy pursuing the outward appearance of the pose? How does peace show up (or not show up) in your relationships? How much do we practice self love and acceptance, the fruit of a peaceful perspective.

 

New Years Day Mantra for Inner-Illumination & Peace
– Jan. 1 at 9:30am

Start the new year on a sacred note. It will look very different than a conventional asana class, as we welcome the new year with meditation, individual and collective discussion (always inspiring!), and chanting the Gayatri Mantra 108 times. Create peace, within and without. Click here for more information.

3250 E. Sixth Ave. UCC
Suggested Donation ($15-20)

 

5 principles to be a better yoga student - axis yoga Denver

5 Yoga Principles to Be A Better Student

Axis Yoga Trainings of Denver, Colorado - Yoga Teacher Training 200-Hour Program

Become a better yoga student with these 5 mottos

Yoga can be very inspiring and yet we may find ourselves resisting or delaying practicing regularly.  We may have the best intentions, however get stuck in the actual application.   Here are five practice empowering perspectives and principles to help you make yoga a regular part of your life:

5 principles to be a better yoga student - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings Denver

1. Life is Better With Yoga

People share their personal yoga stories with me all the time.They tell me how yoga has touched their lives in deep and meaningful ways; from people who have recovered from addiction to living pain free from an injury, to improved relationships, to enhanced spiritual development.

Why?  Because, yoga is expressly designed to make one’s life better. It is made to iron out the friction that keeps us feeling separate from life, to lessen the drama and amp up the peace.

I find that I am most resistant and doubtful of yoga practice when I am practicing the least: “I know this yoga stuff doesn’t work, because I’m not doing it.”  It is at these rare-rare moments that I remind myself that the effort that I put in is truly worth it, many times over.

Something far greater than doubt and resistance awaits on the other side of shavasana.  It becomes necessary to take those first initial steps that will guide me further into the practice and the promise that it holds.

 

5 principles to be a better yoga student - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings Denver

2. Yoga Is Limitless. And So Is Your Practice.

Yoga is limitless.  There is no end to the amount peace, integration and fulfillment one can experience through the practice.  This may sound very lofty, but with deliberate effort, it is attainable.  Through regular practice, gradually our center of gravity begins to shift and we are no longer triggered quite as much or quite as often.

Yoga allows us to see ourselves from multiple perspectives, the same way you might hold a fine jewel up into the light to appreciate its shape, color, and how it reflects the light.

There is an element of mystery in yoga practice; it asks us to reconsider our conditioned thinking and to create space for uncertainty. Embrace letting go of preconceptions of yourself and the world around you and be open to yoga’s ability to guide you into and through the unknown.

Denver Yoga Teacher Training Yoga Event - Free December Classes at Axis Yoga

 

5 principles to be a better yoga student - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings Denver

3. Go Beyond The Mat & Go Beyond The Pose

The affects of a healthy asana practice are fairly immediate. The mind becomes clearer and the body becomes free and light.  This kind of practice may feed us for many years. And yet, sooner or later, whether it’s an inter-personal riff, or a parking ticket on street sweeping day, we are bound to experience some form of disappointment.

It is at this point that we can draw upon deeper yogic principles such as compassion and non-attachment to regain our center.

At first we do yoga to improve our lives.  Then we do our life to improve our yoga practice.  Consider, are there things you can be doing (or not doing) out side of formal practice time that will amplify your time on the mat or meditation cushion.  What small lifestyle changes can you make that will improve the quality of your practice?  Here are some questions you might ask yourself:

  • Can I make some small adjustments to my diet?
  • Can I make it a habit of getting to bed on time and or waking up early to allot time for regular morning practice?
  • What am I willing to let go of that no longer serves me?
  • What role does devotion play in my life?
  • Who do I spend my time with, is it supportive?
  • Is there a change I can make in the quality of my speech?

Even a small change in any of the above arenas can free up obstructed energy and open up an empowering feedback loop that is bound to add bounce to your yoga practice.  Pick one principle and commit to practicing it for 14 days or longer.  Better yet, invite a yoga buddy to make the change as well.

 

5 principles to be a better yoga student - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings Denver

4. Your Practice Doesn’t Work Unless You Do

In order for the practices to work, we have to DO them.  There seems to be no shortcut around this.  No amount of thinking about how one should practice, or reminiscing about past practices will substitute.  It is like learning any discipline, if you want to excel and reap the benefits, you need to practice.

This can be the daunting part.  However, it does not have to be a huge undertaking.  It is easy to assume that only the grandest version of a yoga practice will suffice, and then conclude that, if you are not living up to that vision, than you should quit.

Consistency is the key.  No matter how small, what can you do on a regular, sustainable basis?  In the words of the immortal Krishna, “Even a little of this practice will shelter you from great sorrow.”

 

5 principles to be a better yoga student - Axis Yoga Teacher Trainings Denver

5. Home Is Where The Asana Is

An entire world of revelation awakens when we adopt a home practice!  This is the point where we gather up all that we have learned from our teachers and begin to explore our personal relationship to yoga, outside of the bright or candle lit lights of the gym or studio.

One of the most genius aspects of yoga is that nothing outside of yourself is required.  All that is required is a breath, a body and a mind.  These are things that you take with you wherever you go, including your home.  On a very practical level, you can save yourself a lot of time and resources by rolling out your mat in your living room.  It does not need to be overly complicated.  In fact, the simpler the better.

Practicing at home will also allow you to better integrate the methods. No-thing outside of yourself is require.  The best news of all is that all the answers lie within you, waiting to be discovered. Yoga is the world’s greatest experiment in which you are both the subject and the object of investigation.  Practicing regularly at home will open the gates of greater love, insight and fulfillment.

 

I invite you to adopt any one or several of these concepts into your life both on and off of the mat.  It is never too late to reinvigorate your practice!

 

 

Free Student-Led Yoga Classes
– Dec. 11 & 17

At Axis, we teach the driving principles behind an comprehensive and in depth yoga practice (as opposed to route sequences). Our students have dedicated four months of their lives to learn these principles and will be sharing the final culmination of their understanding in their upcoming practicums. Come experience these one of a kind classes and support these students and they show off the skills they have learned and blossom into full fledged teachers! Click here for more information.

3250 E. Sixth Ave. UCC
Free and open to the public.

 

Observation

The training is coming closer to an end, and this is the final experiment.  At first, I thought I should choose the hardest experiment. I thought I should pick something that I am not good at. What is it? Maybe pranayama?  Or maybe mantra?  Then, I asked Derik his opinion and his answer was I should do something enjoyable. I thought that this was a very interesting suggestion.

Then, I started thinking about the entire training. What did I learn most? I learned a lot; I learned Yoga philosophy, proper alignment for poses, various kinds of pranayama work, beautiful mantras, ayurveda…etc., but the juiciest at the training was learning the importance of Savasana and how to let go of the struggle.

The Axis Yoga teachers may have noticed that I struggled a lot at the beginning of this training. I forced myself to understand everything at once and it was very frustrating. I got really angry at myself at one point because I felt like I was lost.

I learned to appreciate Savasana after doing a lot of Downward-Facing Dog poses, Triangle poses and other intense poses. I’ve been doing Yoga for a pretty long time, and until now I never really enjoyed Savasana; my mind always starts wondering to the things I will do after practice.

During the training I experienced very different feelings from the other Savasanas that I’d done in the past. I felt my own breath, sweat, heart beat, tension and feelings.  It was really nice; I felt like I could let go of everything.

Conclusion

As I mentioned, I struggled a lot at the beginning.  I even wondered if I could make it through the training, but instead of giving up my faith, I learned to let go of my struggles gradually.  Now, the training is almost over. I was counting how many days I have left every time I went to the training! It’s funny, I am sad to see the training is ending.

Thank you so much for guiding us in such a positive and gentle way. I cannot tell you how much I learned from all of you. You guys are wonderful teachers and I feel really fortunate that I had you in my Yoga path. It is truly a blessing.
Namaste,
Shigeko Leveque