Saturday, June 20, 2020

DONATION-BASED "INTERACTIVE MYSORE ASHTANGA CLASSES" !!!


Join me for ongoing "Interactive Mysore" virtual Ashtanga classes 

***SUNDAYS 8-10 am PDT!***

(On 6/21 - INTERNATIONAL YOGA DAY all proceeds will be matched by me and donated to www.yogagivesback.org.)

Pay what you choose and get the class ID# through this link:


Log on to www.zoom.us, enter the ID# and join us... 

***TUESDAYS and THURSDAYS 7-9 am PDT *** classes
are offered through The Mindful Body online platform:


All classes will offer you the choice of a quiet Mysore-Style "gallery" class energy amongst other practitioners or a private practice (no one sees or hears your practice except me) in a "break-out room" where we can interact regarding alignment and practice refinements during the class time.
Practitioners who are still learning the sequence, need advice on how to work with an injury or would like modifications for the traditional poses are MOST welcome!

Hope to see you there!







Sunday, May 24, 2020

JOIN ME FOR LIVE-ON-LINE (LOL!) INTERACTIVE MYSORE CLASSES


Ongoing starting 5/26/20:

***  "MYSORE with PRACTICE CONSULT" classes via Zoom  ***
(A small amount of Ashtanga Yoga experience is necessary for this virtual format)

TUESDAYS & THURSDAYS - 7-9am PDT through The Mindful Body

These classes will offer you the choice of a quiet Mysore-Style class amongst the group energy or a private practice (no one sees or hears your practice except me) in a 'break-out room' where we can interact regarding alignment and practice refinements during the class time.
Practitioners who are still learning the sequence or need modifications for the traditional poses are MOST welcome! 
Also, included is an optional 15 -min 'Practice Consult' at a time of your choice post class.  These Consults can consist of anything you wish, ie., Q and A, adding a new pose to your sequence, injury tending or practice review from the class time.

SUNDAYS - 8-10am PDT are DONATION- BASED INTERACTIVE MYSORE CLASSES.

PAY WHAT YOU CHOOSE!  DONATE and get class ID # through the PayPal link below...
Log on to Zoom:  www.zoom.us  and enter ID# to join us! 

I am also offering FULL-LENGTH PRIVATES on a donation sliding scale, if that is something you are interested in.  

I hope you will join me in exploring this new virtual world of intimacy and connection!

 






Friday, March 27, 2020

20 TIPS FOR CREATING A YOGA PRACTICE IN YOUR OWN HOME



     During this unprecedented time of "social distancing" and "stay-at-home" mandates by state and local governments, yoga practitioners from all over the globe are facing the choice of practicing solo, choosing to participate in a virtual class or take a break until yoga studios open again.  Most are opting for some combination of all three and are, perhaps for the first time, needing to craft a manageable home yoga regimen.
  
     There are many reasons other than following "shelter-in-place" edicts that create a necessity for self-practice, including: nursing an injury, financial concerns, illness recovery, working through grief, logistical constraints, lack of childcare, just to name a few.  Whatever the reason, it can be very challenging to initiate and maintain consistency when left to one's own devises.  Our human needs for community, relationship and belonging are especially highlighted in this mandatory isolation time which makes starting a home practice even more challenging but, can be I believe, ultimately self-empowering and very rewarding.   

     I have been practicing mostly alone for over 25 years (for more info on my yoga journey...  https://breathetogetheronline.com/yoga/getting-to-know-ashtanga-instructor-leigha-nicole/?fbclid=lwAR0gHQ0YkhVRh8zevdLW5-euKFFsZJeb4kdgrArMNJx4T9F9_45V9cc6RaY ) mainly due to a lack of close proximity to my primary teachers.  Thankfully, going to India many times for extended study and visiting my Western teachers for classes and trainings a few times annually, allowed me to "plug in" to a learning environment which inspired and energized my solitary sadhana.  I feel very fortunate to have had long-time relationships with my yoga, painting and bodywork teachers, some many decades in length and I have never lived close to any of them.  Most of my extra money over the years has been spent visiting them as often as possible to obtain their much needed wisdom and advice.  So, even though I believe there is no substitute for finding and maintaining a relationship with a qualified teacher that inspires, sometimes there is a need for deepening one's Svadhyaya (study of the self) through practicing alone.
    
   * WARNING:  These suggestions could be considered by some to be so unconventional they boarder on disrespect to yogic teachings.  It is of course, not at all my intention to be disrespectful of any yoga lineage, ancient text, or traditional method.  I believe in the importance of Parampara (the passing on of ancient knowledge through successive generations) and am deeply committed to preserving whatever I have learned out of respect for my teachers.  These tips are offered in the spirit of self love and care based on whatever yoga style feels appropriate and loosening the strict ideas around what constitutes a legitimate "practice" that could be preventing us from carving out some much needed quiet "tuning in" time.

                                                              


1)  WARM UP WITH HYDROTHERAPY - Bathing before a yoga practice not only warms up the physical body but, will allow you to feel fresh on the mat. Also, we are observing Saucha (one of the Niyamas meaning "cleanliness"). 

2)  TRY A LITTLE CAFFEINE - If your constitution can tolerate a caffeinated drink of some kind then perhaps timing a mug of your choice before you begin can give you an added energy boost to propel you on to your mat.  Also, it can assist in intestinal elimination which is ideal!

3)  CREATE A BEAUTIFUL SACRED SPACE - Making an altar that has deep meaning for you with pictures, deities, candles, talismans, etc., can inspire devotion and can allow you to start your practice with an attitude of gratitude!   You may want to place your mat facing it.  Even if you don't have a lot of room, turning the heat up, cleaning your mat, the floor under your mat, lighting a candle, putting some essential oil you love in a diffuser or burning some pure incense (I buy pure sandalwood and aloes wood here...http://kohshisf.com/ ) can create a warm and inspiring environment.

4)  ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS - Give yourself a window of time to do necessary chores, answer emails, fulfill family duties, etc., then TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!  It takes much discipline to focus in this modern age and it may take some time to be able to concentrate and stay on the mat but, Pratyahara (control of the senses) and Dharana (developing concentration) are 2 important limbs of yoga and worth cultivating.

5)  START A PRACTICE JOURNAL -  I have had many practice journals over the years that allow me to document my experiences with different poses and sequences.  This is particularly helpful when working through an injury.

6)  CHOOSE SOME INSPIRATIONAL CHANTING OR MUSIC - I sometimes love to hear music or sutra chanting while I am doing yoga.  Listen to any music that inspires you.  Maybe the kids or your dog will join in.   Occasionally, the music I choose leads to spontaneous dancing which can win out over yoga! Not such a bad thing every once in a while!  
As far as chanting goes, by far my favorite is Dr. Jayashree from Mysore... https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/drmajayashree1.  I have found that her lovely meditative tone also makes it easy to memorize the Yoga Sutras, if that is something that interests you.

7)  BE REALISTIC ABOUT TIME AND ADJUST ACCORDINGLY - How much time do you really have for yoga?  Don't be hard on yourself if you have less time than usual.  We all have busy lives and fitting in just a few minutes for ourselves can seem almost impossible at times.   
Since we follow specific sequences in the Ashtanga system that are progressive, it can be a little easier to abbreviate than in other systems. Sometimes we may only have time for a few Sun Salutations, which is fine since they are mini practices in themselves.  Make sure your routine is balanced (lots of yoga books have sample routines in them) and that you are mindful of practicing progressively.  We may have to realistically weigh quality over quantity.  
Consult your teacher if you need ideas regarding shorter sequences in your lineage or style.  Practice what you know and remember that a little yoga is better than none at all.                        


8)  TRY SOME VIRTUAL COMPANY - Practicing to a DVD or an audio class is sometimes a fun idea.  Of course, YouTube has lots of yogic lectures available for streaming.  Richard Freeman has some great "Studio Talks" available for purchase as well as his brilliant series, "Yoga Matrix".  A must have for serious students of yoga philosophy... https://www.richardfreemanyoga.com/audio .    
Another great option, which many teachers are now offering is an online class!  The Mindful Body in San Francisco, a studio where I teach several times a year, has a full online schedule available with excellent teachers... https://themindfulbody.com/yoga-schedule/ .

9)  START WITH A BRIEF SITTING PRACTICE - A few minutes of Zazen (sitting meditation) can be a great way of tapping into the present moment and exploring one's inner landscape before launching into movement.  

10) BEGIN WITH SOME INSPIRATIONAL READING - For decades I have started my early mornings with some spiritual reading.  When the mind is fresh is a good time to implant some affirmations or uplifting words.  You might want to study 1 Yoga Sutra a day.  "The Unadorned Thread of Yoga" is a compilation book that has 10 translations per sutra... https://www.yogasutras.net/product/unadorned-thread/ .

11) SAY YES TO COMFORTABLE CLOTHING - Consider wearing a loose fitting outfit made from natural fibers.  If you normally practice in fashionable, tight, spandex-type tights and tops (ie., Lululemon) try something less constricting.  Maybe, if it feels good, try practicing braless! 

12) PHONE A FRIEND - Inviting a friend over for a practice date can go a long way to keeping us committed and accountable. 

13) CHOOSE A THEME - Picking a area of focus in advance can provide some interesting insights.  Grouping poses together from a catagory (twists, forward bends, back bends) can provide an easy theme.  If you are an Ashtanga Yoga practitioner then there are some obvious areas of focus which can be isolated such as: Ujjayi breath, Bandhas, Drishti, etc.

14) START WITH YOUR FAVORITE POSE OR AN INVERSION - Lately, I have been starting my practice upside-down.  It flushes my brain with blood and changes my perspective immediately.  Doing your favorite pose first sometimes can lure you on to your mat like nothing else.   

15) GET CREATIVE WITH PROPS - There are so many fun props to incorporate into our practices these days.  Balls, blocks, bolsters, blankets, wrist wedges, back bending wheels, backbender benches and headstanders are just some of the toys you can try... https://www.yogaprops.com/ .

16) USE A MIRROR TO CHECK YOUR ALIGNMENT - Occasionally, checking my alignment in a mirror is very educational.  Sometimes our proprioception can play tricks on us and the alignment we are trying to maintain in some poses is much different than we think.  Using a mirror is especially helpful when checking for body asymmetries. 

17) CHECK IN WITH YOUR TEACHER - It is very helpful sometimes to get in touch with our teachers.  They can provide answers to our questions and give needed suggestions regarding our yoga practice.  If you are lucky enough to have an established relationship with a teacher, getting some feedback can feel like a lifeline!

18) EAT A TINY BIT OF FOOD - Depending on when you are practicing, having a little bit of easily digestible food (half of a banana, a few almonds, some fresh juice, etc.) can quell hunger long enough to squeeze in a little yoga. Ideally, we would have at least 4 hours between a meal and yoga but, when we are trying to fit in our yoga during a child's nap time or a lunch hour, we may need a small snack to get us through.

19) SET OUT YOUR MAT AND YOUR YOGA OUTFIT THE NIGHT BEFORE - Seeing our mat rolled out and our clothes ready to put on can inspire us to begin without delay.  

20) GIVE YOURSELF A LONG SHAVASANA - Committing to giving ourselves a long uninterrupted rest at the end of our practice can also provide needed incentive.  Particularly when we have not slept well the night before. 

                                                          *  *  *    


  

Monday, January 27, 2020

JUST 3 SPOTS LEFT FOR OUR YOGA AUTUMN EQUINOX RETREAT IN CRESTONE, COLORADO...









HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR AND BLESSINGS FOR A PEACEFUL 2020!  

I am thrilled and honored to be hosting a yoga retreat in my magical home town of Crestone, Colorado on the Autumn Equinox 9/22-27!  Our venue is the secluded Vajra Vidya Retreat  Center nestled in the pristine forests of the Baca National Wildlife refuge, whose residential monastic community we will join daily for Tibetan Buddhist prayers, sutra chanting and silent sitting in the Karma Kagyu tradition.   We will have morning Mysore-style (self-paced) yoga classes suited to all levels.  Covid precautions will be observed including: social distancing indoors and in the yoga room, daily temperature checks and masks when appropriate.  We will have a variety of optional afternoon wilderness adventures combined with 3 organic vegetarian meals daily.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ashtanga-yoga-and-buddhist-meditation-with-leigha-nicole-registration-80787155557
  

Here is a sample itinerary:



Day 1
3:00 pm - Arrive at Vajra Vidya Retreat Center
settle into accommodations
Walk to the Tashi Gomang Stupa or other Crestone spiritual centers
6:00 pm - Dinner
7:30 pm -  Orientation with the VVRC residents
8:00 pm - Star gazing!



  Day 2
5:00 am - Coffee/tea/fruit
6-8 am - Mysore Ashtanga Yoga practice
8:30 am - Breakfast
9-10:30 am - Prayer/chanting/silent meditation with the resident monastics
Rest/forest exploration
12:30 pm - Lunch
1:30 - 3:30 pm  Silent hike to Secret Prayer Flag Mountain
4-5:45 pm - Japanese Tea Ceremony
6:00 pm - Dinner



Day 3
5:00 am - Coffe/tea/fruit
6-8 am - Mysore Ashtanga Yoga practice
8:30 am - Breakfast
9-10:30 am - Prayer/chanting/silent meditation with the resident monastics
Rest/forest exploration
12:30 pm - Lunch
1:30 - 5:30 pm - Hike to Zapata Falls and sand boarding at The Great Sand Dunes National Park
6:00 pm - Dinner


Day 4
5:00 am - Coffee/tea/fruit
6-8 am - Mysore Ashtanga Yoga practice
8:30 am - Breakfast
9-10:30 am - Prayer/chanting/silent meditation with the resident monastics
12:30 pm - Lunch at VVRC or pack lunch
2-4 pm - Short hike to secret Tibetan Prayer Flag mountain
OR
12:30 - 5:30 pm - Longer forest hike up Willow creek trail to the meadow
6 pm - Dinner




Day 5
5:00 am - Coffee/tea/fruit
6-8 am - Mysore Ashtanga Yoga practice
8:30 am - Breakfast
9-10:30 am - Prayer/chanting/silent meditation with the resident monastics
Rest/forest exploration
12:30 pm - Lunch
1:30 - 6 pm - Day trip to swim in the Arkansas River and Salida Aquatic  Hot Springs
6 pm - Dinner






Day 6
 5:00 am - Coffee/tea/fruit
6-8 am - Mysore Ashtanga Yoga practice
8:30 am - Breakfast
9-10:30 am - Prayer/chanting/silent meditation with the resident monastics
Packing up
11:30 am - Closing circle
12:30 pm - Lunch
1:30 pm - Good bye hugs! 


I hope you can join us for deepening our contemplative practices amidst the raw natural beauty of Colorado!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ashtanga-yoga-and-buddhist-meditation-with-leigha-nicole-registration-80787155557














Thursday, January 2, 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR! HAPPY NEW DECADE!



I hope for all of us more patience, tolerance, compassion, kindness and glowing health in 2020.  I am excited to be going back to The Mindful Body  www.themindfulbody.com  for another 2 weeks of Mysore-style teaching starting this Sunday.  The Sunday class will now be 2 1/2 hours to accommodate a larger student base.  Sunday Mysore classes are 8 - 10:30am and M - F classes are 7 - 9am (doors open at 6am - adjustments start at 7am).  Also, I am doing a back bending workshop on Saturday January 18th; 2-5pm....




   BLISSFUL BACK BENDING

The Second Series of Ashtanga Yoga (Nadi Shodhana) starts with an accessible group of back bending postures which will provide the outline for this workshop.  We will explore the gravity-reversing back bending process in a gentle sequential way with lots of safety tips and researching poses along the way.  
Technical inquiry and a little partner work will be included to create a lively forum for investigation.
Practitioners should have some comfort with the Ashtanga Primary Series but, no experience with the Intermediate Series is necessary.  
This workshop counts as 3 hours of CE through Yoga Alliance.
https://themindfulbody.com/workshops-events/





Saturday, November 16, 2019


THANKSGIVING GREETINGS!
I'm enjoying the beautiful fall leaves, chilly nights and first snowfalls of the season.  Looking forward to guest teaching at The Mindful Body in San Francisco for 2 stints around the holidays.  Join me whether you are a new Ashtanga Yoga practitioner or a seasoned one.  Self-paced Mysore-style classes are an ideal learning environment.  All are most welcome!
*The Mindful Body dates:
12/3-20/2019   &   1/5-19/2020
https://themindfulbody.com/leigha-nicole/ 

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Save $250 with early bird retreat registration before 12/30/2019!


ASHTANGA YOGA AND ZEN MEDITATION
IN CRESTONE, COLORADO
WITH LEIGHA NICOLE

Unplug and renew your spirit on a healing retreat in the stunning Sangre de Cristo mountains.  Daily morning Mysore-style Ashtanga Yoga classes, Zazen meditation instruction and practice with a residential monastic community, hiking, hot springs and gourmet vegetarian meals.
Don't miss this wonderful chance to deepen your yoga and contemplative practice in a supportive environment in a gorgeous natural setting!
Early bird pricing ends 12/30/2019 so, click below and register now!