All posts filed under: Practice

Cardio Yoga

I am absolutely delighted to announce that Aleta Howard will be joining the Yoga Community and offering her unique YBB (Yoga Booty Ballet) classes starting February 2nd and through the spring.  What is YBB?  On the schedule, we are calling it Cardio Yoga.  If you think that “yoga” means traditional asana, then you might feel that YBB is more of an exercise class and wonder what it is doing on a yoga studio schedule. Well, first of all, YBB combines some elements of Hatha yoga that will be recognizable to yogis who do have experience with more traditional yoga classes that are based on asana.  Second, YBB includes yoga kriya from the Kundalini tradition and the creation and support of a personal intention is an important part of each and every class.  Third, what is yoga?  While this is a deeper issue that would require both a lifetime of examination and certainly a much more respectful examination than I can offer here, I would like to suggest that expressing the body with joy, opening and …

Do You Know Your Heart?

This weekend, Plamen Karagyozov will be facilitating a three-hour workshop featuring the heart salutations at Yoga Matrika, an intimate space for yoga, meditation and healing in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh.  Acquaint Your Heart will be held from 1:00 to 4:00pm on Saturday, October 1, 2011 at Yoga Matrika. If you were asked to describe your heart’s desire, most likely, you would immediately formulate a cerebral response that would be conditioned by culture, religion, traditions, expectations and other aspects of your unique human experience.  In reality, the heart is the very first organ of intelligence that you formed in your embryonic state.  We can learn how to consult the heart, listen to the heart and act on the heart through yoga and movement practices that draw upon our embodied intelligence to gain access to this important source of information. The Heart Salutations that Plamen will offer in the workshop are a twelve step sequence flow (vinyasa) of energetic seals of the whole body(mudras) and asana that are accompanied by the breath (pranayama). At first, the body is …

Keep Your Unkind Words to Yourself

Walk silently. I read this today on a sign indicating appropriate behavior while in the hallway at my son’s elementary school.  When I read it the first time, it made sense to me.  I’m sure that I was trained in the same way and have probably seen this message infinite times in my own elementary school and other institutional experiences and beyond.  But, the more I looked at the sign, the less I was sure of what it meant. In my experience, this means, don’t make noise when you walk in the hall.  But, how do I know this?  Walk silently actually means something very different depending on the context. There are other messages on other signs.  One of those messages is that students should “Keep their unkind words to themselves.”  Again, upon initial reading, I immediately knew what this meant.  It means that I shouldn’t call anyone a Poopy Head, you know, at least to their face.  But, again, the more I saw this message, the less I was sure of what this really …

Compassion and Generosity

For those of you who live in Pittsburgh and use public buses regularly for transportation, you know that the last week has been a nightmare. At all times of day and night the buses are crowded and most service that we had come to depend on every 15-20 minutes is now only coming once every hour. Many bus drivers are frustrated and exhausted and riders are squished and even riders that have no business standing and hanging on for dear life are being asked to do so. With the reduction in service, many buses are too crowded to stop and pick up new passengers along the route.  As I looked out the window when we passed stops by there were literally ten to twenty people waiting at these stops who would now have to wait 30-minutes to an hour for the next bus with absolutely no guarantee that one might come that would actually be able to stop and pick them up. I am currently 30+ weeks pregnant and was riding the bus with my …

Frozen Food Month

Seriously, did you know that March was Frozen Food Month?  I didn’t know this until I received an e-mail from Giant Eagle supermarkets here in Pittsburgh indicating that there was just one week left to appreciate frozen foods.  From Lean Pockets to Ego waffles to Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (my personal favorite of the frozen edibles), we had a whole month to appreciate frozen foods and I squandered it not realizing my loss.  But, it’s not too late, there’s still a whole week to take advantage of this special time to explore the delights of our freezers. Did you know what else March is? Women’s History Month.  Yes, women share the glory of this month with frozen foods.  So far, President Obama has not yet made an official Women’s History Month 2011 Proclamation.  When he does, it will be posted here. Now, while we mere citizens have an entire week to honor frozen foods and the ladies we love at the same time by buying them some ice cream, the President only has one …

Stir the Sea

And on this first day of spring, the morning after the most magnificent moon, I offer a poem by Shutaku: Mind set free in the Dharma-realm, I sit at the moon-filled window Watching the mountains with my ears, Hearing the stream with open eyes. Each molecule preaches perfect law, Each moment chants true sutra: The most fleeting thought is timeless. A single hair’s enough to stir the sea.

Spring Preparation #6: Make a Commitment

The kind of commitment that I’m talking about is also sometimes referred to as “put your money where your mouth is.”  You know that you want to make a commitment to developing your yoga practice, your meditation practice or both.  Maybe you’ve been meaning to try yoga for a while.  Perhaps, after the 15th article you’ve read this month about the benefits of meditation you feel almost obligated to give it a try.  Maybe you’ve let your mat get dusty this winter or it might even be frozen in your trunk? Whether you’ve never done yoga or meditated before or you’ve been a yogi at heart for forever, this season of renewal reminds us of the value of commitment.  Registering for an 8-week small group series with Sharon for this spring is an excellent way to ease yourself back on your mat or cushion or find out what all the buzz is about for yourself for the very first time. Here are just some of the benefits to committing to a private small-group class over …

Spring Meditation #2: Yoga to Balance the Liver

Spring The water murmurs In the old stone well, And, a rippling mirror, Gives back the clear blue sky. The river roars, Swollen with the late rains of spring. On the cool, jade-green grass The golden sunshine Splashes. Sometimes, at early dawn, I climb Even as far as Lien Shan Temple. In the spring I plow the thirsty field, That it may drink new life. I eat a little, I work a little, Each day my hair grows thinner, And, it seems, I lean ever a bit more heavily On my old thornwood cane. ~Liu Tzu-Hui, Sung Dynasty, AD 960-1278 [This translation from Beinfield and Korngold, page 160] With the coming of spring, here is a gentle yoga-based exercise to balance the liver energy in the body. The energy of the liver (or, “Liver Meridian”) starts at the inside base of the big toe and runs up the inside of the leg, goes through the reproductive organs and flows under the front of the ribs into the liver where it circulates upwards through the lungs.  …

Just Twenty-Days

In just twenty-days it will be spring.  For any readers in parts of the country where it hasn’t snowed or dropped ice every week since Thanksgiving or where you have had more than five days of sun in the past four-months, perhaps the significance of this announcement escapes you.  But, for my gentle readers located in places in the world where this type of environmental stress has been a part of your daily life for over a quarter of the year, you know in every cell of your body and every corner of your soul what the true meaning of this revelation is. It means that our faith has not been misplaced.  It means that our desire for light, for transformation and creativity is about to be answered.  There have already been subtle signs of the changes in energy and season here in Pittsburgh.  The sky is lighter earlier in the morning and stays lighter well past 5:00 pm.  In the morning, early song birds send their sweet message into the air.  In even the …

Optimize Fertility with Yoga

Read about yoga, stress and fertility here. Read about classes in meditation and yoga to support optimum fertility here. Yoga Benefits that Optimize Fertility and Reproductive Health stress relief hormone balance endocrine system support increased circulation to reproductive organs enhanced quality of sleep decreased anxiety and fear Yoga is a magnificent form of preparation for all creative activities and having a regular yoga practice is a beautiful way to support optimum fertility and reproductive health for men and women. Rather than think of yoga as one more thing you can do to help get pregnant or as an addition to any treatment you may be receiving for an “infertility” diagnosis, we believe that yoga should be something that you do for yourself. Enjoy! Our classroom environment is kept to a comfortable temperature and we offer non-competitive classes that are ideal for women and men that are actively trying to conceive. All yoga and meditation classes on the schedule are excellent for supporting reproductive health. Yoga for Optimum Fertility Series Four-Week Series on Thursdays from 6:00 …

Meditation in Motion

Read more on the benefits of meditation. Read more on how regular meditation can impact your genetic expression. Read here on basic instructions for mindfulness meditation. Meditation in Motion: 4-class Series Mondays 6:00-7:30 pm, 3/14 through 4/4 Facilitated by: Sharon Rudyk Cost for 4-class series: $65 (Online Registration HERE) Research indicates that the benefits of mindful breathing, gentle physical movements and a variety of techniques including visualization and meditation are powerful tools for health and healing. From reversing heart disease to changing the expression of your genes, a regular meditation practice has a significant impact on your quality of life. In this small group series, we will specifically explore a variety of meditation techniques that can be used by anyone regardless of your previous experience with yoga or meditation. We will do some physical movements, but these types of movements are very natural and can be accomplished by any adult regardless of your physical shape or abilities (they can even be done while sitting in a chair!). Relieve stress, relax the body and learn quick …

Football, Swimsuits and the Yoga of Feminism

As I teach two prenatal yoga classes every week, I have the honor and joy of watching incredibly strong women embody the true spirit of Warrior poses.  I can actually see the energy rising up through the soles of their feet and into their core to support the amazing act of creation they carry within them.  There is a courage, a dignity and strength of force there that is palpable in the room.  It is, for me, an experience and one that brings me, each class, into a new appreciation for the beauty and strength that is woman. The energy of these movements is the embodiment of grace.  Grace representing the fact that each one of these women has opened their hearts to the potential for immense joy and immeasurable loss and grief.  No words are required.  Through movement and intention, the expression of strength and grace is clear and concise. Last weekend, I was able to catch the very end of the playoff game between the Steelers and the Ravens.  While I can’t say …

Holiday Yoga: A Prenatal Practice

Yoga Matrika is going to be offering a limited number of prenatal yoga classes during the holidays.  In case you don’t live in Pittsburgh and have found this practice online, Yoga Matrika offers prenatal yoga classes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The good news about this practice is that you can do it anywhere! We all know that even a few stretches and relaxation exercises can make a huge difference in how we feel during pregnancy.  During the holidays, our diets and schedules change and this makes it even more important that we maintain our practice.  Here is a very short practice that is appropriate for pregnant women that you can do at home, if you are traveling or wherever you roam.  For all you Pittsburgh-based Matrika Mammas, I look forward to seeing you again in person for class in the new year! Center & Breathe First step, find a comfortable seat.  You do not have to be sitting on the floor and if you are at all swollen or feel any aches, it may be best …

The McRib is Back

Nestled in between some of the most idiotic political advertisements I have ever seen was a clean and simple advertising campaign from the Mc family of restaurants announcing the “great news” that the McRib was back.  Seriously?  Did anyone miss the McRib?  Obviously, someone did. For me, the idiotic campaigns of both politicians and this questionably edible treat are both a clear sign that it is time for everyone to do more yoga.  Doing yoga provides us with a clear connection to our deepest intelligence and relieves us of fear and anxiety about the future.  Over time, grounding ourselves in the present moment, with a deep connection to what is most true for ourselves and to our universal nature through breath and mindful movement prevents us from attachment to the forms of suffering that are implicated in these advertisements. These advertisements indicate to me that these politicians and corporations are appealing to an un-centered population, one that is filled with desires, angers and fears that they can not even name.  Or, perhaps, even more dangerous, …

Art of the Inhale

At Yoga Matrika, an intimate community-based yoga studio in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, I offer a class three times a week called Body, Breath and Mind.  These are intermediate level yoga classes with a holistic approach to yoga practices including asana, pranayama, energy anatomy,philosophy and ethics and meditation. This week, one of the pranayama exercises we will practice is Anuloma Krama.  This beautiful breathing practice starts with a complete exhale.  The empty lungs are then filled in two sips of breath with a pause between.  In this sweet ode to the in-breath, we pause to appreciate what it feels like to be full of potential, energy and life.  Then, we realize that we can open just a little bit more.  Then, we pause in this great state of expansion and life before returning to where we began, with a complete exhale. While these instructions are given here for general use, it is important to note that: Many people should not hold their breath, including women who are pregnant.  Please ask your doctor if you have any …

Cabin Fever & Yoga in Pittsburgh

There was one very brave student at tonight’s class.  She was new to Yoga Matrika and was curious about what the class title, Mindful Yoga, really meant.  I prattled on about Vajra Yoga and not making a distinction between asana practice and meditation and how we create a moving meditation through our practice……….but during our practice together, I started to question the whole thing entirely.  You see, that’s the problem with having an answer to everything—-you miss opportunities for reaching a greater understanding.  In this case, I was incredibly inspired by the clarity of this student’s practice and she taught me a lot about mindfulness.  So, thank you dear student, and hope you come back soon! What I realised is that what I don’t know about mindfulness is a lot.  While there are so very many things that I hope that my Mindful Flow classes mean, the real mindfulness is in the interpretation.  I asked my student to choose an intention for her practice and to anchor that intention with awareness of the breath or …

Insults Can Be Funny

It’s a snow day here in Pittsburgh—-a REAL snow day!  A day that reminds us not to take our little scheduled selves all that seriously, to stay in our pajamas and build snow creatures in our backyards.  In honor of the snow day, I thought I’d provide a list of insults and jokes from one of my favorite joke books, the 4th edition of A Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book. INSULTS I’d say he’s about one Froot Loop shy of a full box. The wheel’s spinning, but the hamster’s asleep. I’d explain it to you but your brain would explode. I like your approach…let’s see your departure. Where other people have a brain, he’s got resonance. Doesn’t have his belt through all the loops. He’s so dense, light bends around him. Hard to believe that he beat out a million other sperm. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Looks like he played goalie for the darts team. YO’ MAMA JOKES In honor of the Matrikas, who I am sure …

Remembering the Beginning

I remember my first yoga class.  I was terrified, but also desperate—two emotional qualities that I prefer to limit, never mind experience together!  The terror was due to the absolute distrust that I had that my body could “do” yoga.  The desperation was due to a mounting level of stress that was starting to rule over my days and nights. It was a Bikram class in Philadelphia taught by the extraordinary Joel Pier.  Why was Joel extraordinary?  First, when I went to inquire about the class, he welcomed me in and assured me that my tight, stressed-out, non-flexible and entirely uncoordinated mind and body would only appreciate the task and that it was impossible to fail.  Second, while Joel used the standard Bikram script, he added to it a sense of joy and humour while asking everyone to “just kill themselves!”.  Third, Joel reminded me to smile.  And finally, his patience and insight allowed me to experience the practice on my own, in my own way and safely with respect to my own emotional, spiritual …

OPEN HOUSE: Saturday, December 5

You know you’re curious—-what’s going on in there at 6520 Wilkins Avenue?  Here’s your chance to check out Yoga Matrika’s new studio spaces, share some sweet holiday spirited refreshments and shop for some hand-crafted gifts.  There are many items that are under $10 that are great for office presents, gift exchanges, hostess presents and stocking stuffers.  This is a great craft sale with NO CROWDS, NO PARKING PROBLEMS and great snacks and activities for children! EVERYTHING for sale is locally made and includes: jewelry, aromatherapy, herbal and green teas, eye pillows and scented sachets to create passion, promote peace and some even keep moths out of your woolies!  We have herbal products for pregnant and new moms like lactation support teas, belly balm and vegan nipple creams.  Fleece and knitted hats for babies and young children and felted wool hats—even some handspun and dyed yarn by our lovely local Cosy!  You can also purchase discounted gift certificates and class cards during the open house or purchase a new yoga mat for a friend or yourself!  …

Early Bird Yoga

Pittsburgh is not a sleeping in kind of city.  In honor of all those who are juggling family and jobs, commitments that make evening yoga impossible and those who just like to see the sun rise, Yoga Matrika is now offering—–Early Bird Yoga with Apple Knisley!  Every Thursday at 5:45 am you can drop-in for this delicious hour of yoga that will inspire you to greet the day with stretching the body open, taking deep breaths and finding a moment of peace in which to set your intention for the day ahead.  As we imagine that you might need some incentive to get out of bed this early on a regular basis, we have requested that you pre-register for series of 4-Early Bird classes in a row.  It’s $50 for 4-Early Bird Classes and you can purchase your Early Bird Class Card Here: https://dharmatribeonline.com//matrika/index.php?tab=3 Let’s say you are just curious about Early Bird Yoga or maybe you just find yourself wandering about at 5:00am and not able to get back to sleep start thinking about …