Hello Lifties! We hope that your Thanksgiving Day was full of food, fun, family/friends, new traditions and/or old, and lots of belly laughs. Possibly even Gail's Gratitude flow! It's impossible to think of the word "gratitude" and not feel filled to the brim with it when reflecting on Lift+Studio, even beyond a day of thanks giving. Gratitude for our founder Kim Saunders, our leader Lori Denton, our ringmaster Paige Dunford and all the amazing humans who help make Lift+Studio run, pulse, embrace and thrive. Not to mention the incredible people to join us on the mat with full hearts, open minds and deep souls.
In Sanskrit "gratitude" is written beautifully as कृतज्ञता with the transliteration of kRtajJatA. Yoga offers many poses of gratitude such as child's pose, mountain pose and, of course, Savasana. These poses are ones of gratitude for the work the body has done throughout the class. How lovely and what a great idea; to establish a clearly defined action for when your are challenged mentally, emotionally, and/or physically off the mat just as when you are on it. Something we could all do well to remember with the holiday season upon us! Paige is known to say at the end of her class, "now is the end of our practice together but the true yoga begins when we leave the mat". Yes! Implement your yoga in your daily approach to life. If you ever get stumped for ideas of respite off the mat, you've got a crew of good souls happy to brainstorm with you!
Namaste Friends and be grateful and gentle with yourselves!
This week we are pleased to discuss an amazing workshop that will be held on Saturday, November 23rd at 6PM with the dynamic duo of Michael Burke and Paige Dunford at the helm. In the Sound Body Sound Mind Workshop, restorative yoga is combined beautifully with a sound bath. But what is a "sound bath" exactly and why should it be on all of our "to do" lists? We all know time speeds up this time of year with community and holiday activities. It's during these times of fervent planning and effort when it is essential to take the time required to slow down and get back in alignment with oneself. Doing this just might make the entire holiday experience much more enjoyable!
What is restorative yoga? This is a style of yoga with an aim to nourish the body into a state of deep relaxation and rest. When we allow ourselves to dip into a state of calm, all of the body's natural healing mechanisms can come to life! When we enter this state on a regular basis, our efforts toward other areas of life are more productive and efficient.
What is a "Sound Bath"? This is a shared experience in which the physical environment is filled with ambient sounds created by a myriad of instruments and tools. Michael Burke explains, “We hear with much more than our ears. We hear/awaken with each cell of our being. We hear/feel through each pore of our skin. The Sound Bath is an invitation for your being to be massaged from within. These sounds help to release and rejuvenate all that we are.”
Why have you decided to pair yoga with live music? Combining restorative yoga with a sound bath is a way to induce ourselves into a deep meditative and restful state. This is not only an experience in calming down, but one that may increase awareness of self, creativity, healing and restoration. This is a beautiful way to welcome the end of the year and is a wonderful practice in which one may come home to their body.
How will the room be set up? Michael has a table he sets up ahead of time where he can mindfully place each of his bowls, Native American flutes, gongs, rain sticks, and drums. Paige will create a space for each yoga mat that includes a variety of yoga props to soften and mold the floor to meet your body with foundation, grounding, and comfort.
How will the evening unfold? Following a brief introduction, Paige will begin guiding the restorative yoga practice. She will provide assistance in allowing each of our unique bodies to settle into the support of the props. Breath guidance will also be used as a doorway into relaxation. All the while, Michael will begin creating healing sounds. He may walk slowly around the room with his instruments, so that participants may feel the vibrations even more prominently. All movements, shapes, and practices are optional. Know that full permission to allow your body to be the way it wants to be in each moment is always present.
How might one continue this practice at home? An individuals inner calm is always there for them. Experiences like this will help us realize how we can continue to connect to that space. For one person it might be creating a bedtime ritual that includes journaling or a warm cup of tea. For another person, sitting for 10 minutes in meditation early in the morning might be their reminder. At the end of the Sound Body Sound Mind workshop, we’ll all commune together to talk about ways to keep these good vibes going through the end of the year.
You guys. This week is so amazing. This week we chatted with the lovely Ms. Elyse Robleto!! This marvelous gem of a human is fairly new to Lift, as of Spring 2019. This Florida native has been holding meditation and yoga as her touchstones since childhood. After becoming a mother she refocused her yoga practice and furthered it with yoga leadership and teacher training. Since coming to LIft+Yoga she has embraced the 6AM time slot and welcomes the day to come with her students! What wonderful and empowering way to start the day Lifties! Put it on your calendar, you will be so glad you did it!
Lift: Lovely Elyse, You've been practicing yoga for almost your whole life. Do you do yoga everyday?
Elyse: I do practice yoga daily either through asana (physical practice), breathing, meditation or a combination. I encourage my students, and anyone actually, that integrating yoga into your daily life can start off as simply as closing your eyes and mindfully taking five slow, deep breaths when you first wake up in the morning. Once out of bed, take a rag doll pose for 5-6 deep breaths and then step back to down dog for 5-6 breaths. Repeat this simple flow until you feel ready to tackle your day. It can take as little as 5 minutes but will make such a positive difference in your day! Love it, love it, love it!
Lift: This is such great advice for first thing in the morning and a great way to prepare for your morning class. What can we expect from your 6AM class and how else should we prepare ourselves.
Elyse: Yes, do the simple flow and don't forget your water. It's best to drink water consistently throughout the day. Amp up the water the day before and hours after, especially, when doing these heated classes, The studio will be between 80-90 degrees and filled with upbeat music. The flows will definitely get your heart rate up and your sweat on but will also provide opportunities to reset and rest.
The classes I teach are for every yogi, regardless of their age, experience, or level. Your alignment and safety is my priority during my classes and the flow will rise to meet you where you need it to be. My goal is for my fellow yogis to enjoy their practice, to feel strong and confident in their abilities and accomplishments. If a student doesn’t feel their body wants to cooperate in a particular pose, we look for other ways to access it. One of the things I love about yoga is that there is no such thing as the “right” way to do a pose. There are multiple safe ways to approach each one. All that is needed is openness to figure out which approach suits you at that particular moment. It’s all about what works for you and your body. For your comfort, it’s best not to have a full tummy and, again, to be well hydrated.
Lift: What do you think is the hardest, or most challenging, thing about yoga?
Elyse: The hardest part of taking a yoga class is getting in the car to go. The only prep I do is putting on my shoes to walk out the door. Once I get to class, it’s like every bit of stress falls off and I get to indulge and let go for a beautiful hour.
Lift: Do you have specific goals for your personal practice?
Elyse: The goals I set for myself are simple. Just to remember to breathe and give myself space to grow and to fall. When I fall out, I know I’ve really given it my all.
Lift: What is the most surprising thing you have found about yoga?
Elyse: The most surprising thing I have found about yoga is how letting go of what I think I’m capable of and embracing the practice itself opens up a world full of possibility on and off my mat. Just trying something new, not second guessing myself and developing a “yes” mindset. This is one of many lessons I've learned through my yoga practice.
Lift: So Elyse, where is one place in the world you'd like to do yoga?
Elyse: My "bucket list" spot to practice would be on the gorgeous, black sand beaches of Santorini, Greece!
Lift: So good! We know you are new to the area, but do you have any recommendations you'd like to share with your fellow Lifties?
Elyse: Yes, my family and I moved from Florida to Georgia last January and we are having so much fun exploring all the different places in and around Atlanta. So far my favorite, and my recommendation, is the Amicalola Falls area, particularly now! It’s a gorgeous and magical place with multiple hikes for every level.
Lift: Nice! Thank you for your time Elyse. Namaste and see you on the mat!
Hellloooooooo Lifties! We were on a hiatus because Karen was hogging all the LIft social media. She is SUCH a diva. Not to be out done we have a fantastic post this week with our beloved leader and owner, Lori Denton. If you have yet to meet Lori, be sure to introduce yourself when you come by for a class.
Lift: So, Lori. Inquiring minds want to know. You lead the helm of this amazing studio, why don't you teach?
Lori: I've done a couple of teacher training programs and I'm currently enrolled in Lift's YTT program with Kim Saunders. But, if I'm honest, I'm a terrible teacher! After 15+ years of practicing my body knows what to do but articulating that into clear, concise cues to create a cohesive and energetic practice for others to follow isn't my strength. In some ways I believe owning a yoga studio and fostering a safe and welcoming environment provides a form of guidance to others for their personal yoga practice. It's my way of encouraging all those curious to discover the myriad of benefits yoga has to offer.
Lift: Well you certainly have been doing a great job! What are your thoughts as you reflect back on the time since you've wrapped your arms around Lift?
Lori: Wow! It's been a whirlwind! The transition to take on Lift happened quickly. That's my personality. When I come upon something that speaks to my heart, I jump in without hesitation. And I'm so happy I did! Bringing the Lift community into my life has brought me so much joy! I'm thankful for KIm and the wonderful Good Vibe Tribe for all their help getting me up to speed and to our members for being patient with the changes in the studio. I love the feedback I have gotten and continue to get. I hope our members will continue to share their thoughts for what they'd like to see at Lift going forward. This is OUR community so I hope no one is shy about making suggestions! To keep learning and reflecting is growing!
Lift: So what are we to look forward to experiencing with Lift?
Lori: We have such an amazing group of regular members that I'd like to start doing more for them. I'm working on some programs that would either be exclusive to that group or, at a minimum, offer discounts for events and workshops. I'm also working to create more partnerships within this area. That's all I can say at this point but stay tuned! Corporate yoga is also a focus for me and I love that companies are starting to recognize the value of providing yoga as a part of their employee wellness plans. I've started partnerships with a couple of local companies in this capacity to both bring yoga onsite to them as well as offering discounts to Lift. If any of our readers would like to put me in touch with their company's HR department to talk details, please reach out!
I also have a referral program in the works. We all have friends who are interested in trying yoga, but for some reason feel shy. I'm hoping that by encouraging our members to bring a friend with them to class we show others the benefits of yoga in an non-intimidating way and for those already familiar with yoga, an inviting place to practice, grow, make new friends and be a part of a great community. Stay tuned for more information on this too!
One of the most exciting things on the docket for Lift in 2020 is our new 300 hour YTT program! I'm working with Rachel to develop an amazing and well-rounded 300-hour program. We have some details on the website so if your are interested go ahead and fill out the form so we can get in touch once we have all the dates nailed down! With Kim and Rachel leading our programs, I believe Lift will have the best and most comprehensive teacher training in the area. One that is challenging, insightful, welcoming, and supportive.
Lift: What are your goals for Lift as a community and a studio?
Lori: My number one goal is to take the foundation that Kim built of an inviting community and continue build upon it. To make yoga accessible to as many people as possible. I have some exciting new branding changes coming that will debut in a couple of weeks which will echo these goals. My objective is to to have Lift continue to provide well-rounded classes and add to them. I hope to keep growing our new youth class (teens on Sunday @ 4pm and kids on Tuesdays at 4:45pm) well as to add prenatal and senior-specific classes. Yoga is not just for one body type, age, gender, or situation. It's meant to be a lifelong practice and I want Lift to support that aspect of yoga.
Lift: This is so exciting Lori! Thank you for sharing your reflections, plans, and goals! Thank you for your time! Namaste.