This is where we get to explore and delve deeper into all things yoga! There is just so much to learn about this ancient practice. Did you know that originally “yoga” was simply “sitting + meditation?” The “asana or movement” practice that is so popular these days evolved from the “stillness practice.” Our topics will be varied, comical, compassionate, and insightful.
Why do Kundalini Yoga? I asked myself that question when I contemplated giving this unique yoga style a try. I thought it would be too easy, being a gal who likes to get her workout and stretch on at the same time during my yoga practice!
What I discovered in my Kundalini journey couldn’t be further from the truth. Ask me to do 108 Sun Salutations or 108 chaturangas in a row in 95 degree heat, no problem. Ask me to hold my arms above my head statically at a 45-degree angle while practicing Breath of Fire for 5 minutes, and I was falling apart! My mind was telling me to give up and tap out!
Kundalini will push all of your buttons and take you into a state of greater awareness. The mental strength and laser focus I have developed while learning and practicing Kundalini Yoga have helped me in many other areas of my life.
Kundalini Yoga is often referred to as the yoga of awareness. It is a powerful meditation practice that combines mantras, mudras, breath work, and movement. This practice elevates our consciousness and helps guide us in our thoughts, actions, and decisions. If we can control our thoughts, we can control our reality!
Kundalini taps into our nervous system—it slows down our parasympathetic system, so that we can be in a more calm and grounded state, and when we calm our nervous system, we calm every system in the body: our digestive, our circulatory, our cardiovascular, our endocrine, our respiratory, our lymphatic—the list goes on. We have this impact on every system of the body as we tune in to our Kundalini energy.
Through this practice, we peel ourselves apart like an onion. Kundalini brings awareness to things that are holding us back. It helps us have more awareness over what we’re thinking—our thoughts and beliefs. We’re basically able to start calling ourselves out on our own BS. Like “Oh, Barbara that’s a thought of fear. Thats a limiting thought. That’s gonna hold you back if you keep thinking like that. Why don’t you think this way instead?” Peeling ourselves back like an onion. Freeing ourselves to be comfortable in our own skin…at home within ourselves and so aligned to our highest self.
This is a true transformation of the subtle body. You will not only tune in, but you will tone the muscles of the body and get an amazing workout! It will improve your overall well-being, your digestion, and look out arms & abs!!! Believe me, you are not sacrificing your workout in Kundalini!
When you begin to live your life authentically, your life and way of being become the example that guides others. Kundalini Yoga reminds us of the power we have always had within us—it just helps us to access it.
Give this new style of yoga a try! Remember to just breathe. Everything else is optional.
Sat Nam Yogis!
By Barbara Schuette on June 29, 2022
THE 5 – 5 – 5 PRACTICE
Practicing a consistent morning routine can be transformative for your life. When I get off track and neglect my a.m. routine, my mood and mental health suffer. But, when I unfailingly stick to my morning routine my mindset is better, I am more resilient and I get more done. 15 minutes can make the difference between having a good day and a challenging day. It’s a real game changer!
5 MINUTES – PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Write it down
The simple act of writing something down makes it more important to your brain – you will remember it better
It’s nice to be able to look back later and see patterns or remember special times
3 things is enough
Sometimes 3 things to be grateful for come really quickly other times it takes a moment. Either way 3 is enough to highlight per day.
Think both big and small
I am eternally grateful for my family and friends but I’m also really grateful for hot coffee and pens that write smoothly – it all counts
When I do express gratitude for a special person in my life, I try to be specific. On one Saturday in December, I noted that I was grateful for pancakes with my grandson Wes <3
You will start noticing things that you are grateful for throughout your day
Practicing gratitude will become second nature
Seeing how much good there is in your life will become abundantly clear
Need help getting started? Click the download button below for a free printable gratitude starter worksheet!
5 MINUTES – PRACTICE YOGA
Focus on connecting your breath to your movement for ultimate impact
Let your body fully express the pose before moving on – take your time.
A little goes a long way
This short practice will help you tune into your body and focus your mind
Sun Salutation A 3 times
Sun Salutation B 1 time
5 rounds of Cat and Cow
5 breaths in Child Pose
For full descriptions of these yoga sequences and poses check out these blog posts
5 MINUTES – PRACTICE MEDITATION
Relax but sit with a straight back or simply lay down
A cushion or stool is really nice – comfort is key
Make your space welcoming and relaxing
My meditation space, the yoga den, is the warmest room in the house. I’m pretty much always cold, so this is important to me
I frequently burn incense or candles while I meditate. The smell and the sound help me to relax more fully.
Focus on your breath
Sometimes I simply count; 1 inhale, 2 exhale, 3 inhale and so on
Other times I focus on inhaling an attribute I want, like confidence, and exhaling something I do not want, like fear – inhale confidence, exhale fear
There’s an app for that! My favorite is Calm
Interested in guided meditation? Tune into our YouTube channel – Finding Your Own
This 5 – 5 – 5 Practice has really helped me to start my day on a positive note and carry that positivity with me throughout the day. Try spending 15 minutes of your morning tuning into your mind and body and see what it does for you.
Thank you for reading!
Find this beauty and her lovely daughter, Shelby Funneman, on their website: https://findingyourown.com/15-minutes-to-a-better-day/
Also, check out her 5 Minute Daily Journal on Amazon or available at the studio for only $9.99!
5 Minute Daily Journal
We love Miss Vicki and appreciate all she contributes to our small yoga Kula!
By Barbara Schuette on June 9, 2022
Yoga is a practice that began thousands of years ago. It’s not known what exact year yoga became a thing, but it’s been around for a long time! When yoga was invented, people didn’t sit in chairs looking at computer screens for hours upon hours each day. Yoga does not promote balance and strength from an imbalanced body. It promotes balance and strength from a balanced body. Yoga was invented when the human body was still relatively posturally balanced.
Maybe you’ve tried yoga and it caused you pain. Don’t blame it on yoga! We want to optimize your yoga practice by realigning the body. From my experience and that of many yogis before me, yoga can be transformational. It can change your life. But the body needs to be in balance before yoga can be effective and transformational.
Yoga wants for you to have freedom and ultimately to fully know yourself better. Freedom not only in the physical body, but the emotional and mental bodies, as well. Freedom from pain, stress, and anxiety. Freedom to be yourself. These three things–the head, the heart, and the body–need to be in balance in order for you to achieve this freedom.
From my personal journey, I have learned many things about the yoga practice that go beyond sequencing and the perfect Standing Bow Pose. I’ve learned from studying other forms of exercise, that things need to be aligned and balanced in the physical body in order to be pain free and have a successful yoga practice. I’ve learned a method of exercise that I’ve been incorporating into many of our yoga classes called the Egoscue Method to help achieve that balance.
Pete Egoscue is a Vietnam War veteran who returned home with a Purple Heart, combat wounds, and unbearable chronic nerve pain. His doctors told him there was nothing they could do for him. He was going to have to live in terrible pain for the rest of his life and take medications to mask the symptoms. Being a Marine, this was unacceptable to Pete. He set out to heal himself and developed a series of what he calls “E-cises” that can realign posture + balance the physical body.
In our daily classes, workshops, and video uploads we will be focusing on some E-cises to get the body realigned so that the stretching and movement we perform with our yoga practice can be more effective. Today we are talking specifically about the hips. Almost 70% of people who undergo hip replacement surgery have that surgery done on their dominant side. Right-handed people are far more likely to have their right hip replaced than their left. Upper-body imbalance affects shoulder position, which in turn affects hip position. We use our dominant hand far more often for repetitive tasks, creating imbalance and stress on the muscles, bones, and joints of the dominant side.
A strong spine, hamstrings, and glutes are important for the health of our hips and pelvis, allowing us to stretch without injury. Weak hamstrings can lead to overstretching which can result in a common yoga injury known as “Yoga Butt.” Properly warming up in any yoga practice can also prevent this injury as well as balancing the body.
Remember, there are 4 load joints in the body that need to be properly aligned in order to live without pain—our shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Here are some E-cises to help us get the load joints in balance and alleviate our joint and low back pain.
1. TRICEP HOLDS-1 minute each side.
2. IN LINE GLUTEAL CONTRACTIONS-10 reps; 3 sets. Promotes strength + stability in hips.
3. ARM CIRCLES–(with Golfer's grip) One set forward-40 reps; flip palms; one set backward-40 reps. Circles in direction of thumbs.
4. ELBOW CURLS–(with golfer’s grip at temples thumbs down; elbows chin level and touch in front) 25-30 reps.
5. ARMS EXTENDED OVERHEAD, PALMS PRESSED AWAY, LOOKING UP–Keep elbows locked with constant tension on forearms, no backbending here; hold for 1 minute.
6. TOE RAISES 3 WAYS–neutral, internal, and external rotation of feet (good for strength in arches)--1 set each, 10 reps.
7. HANDS ON BACK HINGED AT HIPS FORWARD FOLD; relax the belly, no rounding in the spine, sway back,send the hips back directly over knees + knees over ankles; constantly pulling elbows and scapula together on the back body like you’re holding a quarter between the 2 shoulder blades; thighs tight–hold 30-60 seconds.
8. CROSS CRAWLING–on back opposite arm + leg; realigning the spine and engaging the core; crawling on our backs!
9. OPPOSITE ARM/LEG–on stomach; 2 sets, 10 reps each
10. SUPERMAN–on stomach; 1-2sets, 10 reps each.
11. KNEE DROPS WITH HOLDS TO EACH SIDE-hold 30-60 seconds each side; keep toes pointed forward.
12. STATIC EXTENSION-on all 4s, hold 1-2 minutes. Keep elbows locked and wrists under the shoulders; hips slightly in front of the knees approx. 6 inches. Belly muscles are relaxed, sway back and looking down.
13. CAT & DOGS–10-20 reps quickly; this resets the spine from everything we’ve done
This is not an inclusive list of E-cises, but a great place to begin to get the body and load joints back in alignment. Give them a try and begin to live pain free. Then let’s do some Yoga and feel better together!
By Barbara Schuette on April 18, 2022
As Yoga guides, we try our best to help 'guide’ our yoga students through their practice so ultimately they can feel better. I honestly believe that’s our goal! Why else would we work the insane hours we work, often times before and after our ‘day’ jobs and on weekends? Yoga is the epitome of “help me help you!” (in the famous words of Cuba Gooding Jr. in the movie “Jerry Maguire”!)
Here are some thoughts from yogis on the topic of receiving corrections or adjustments during a yoga class:
“Absolutely. I have had teachers who would simply spit out canned instructions without interacting with students. Teachers who correct and adjust are the really good ones, and I for one love to get adjusted.”
“I am a teacher and even I NEED correction in class. No one is ever going to do any pose perfectly, and you can always go a little bit deeper in the pose with the assistance of someone. I welcome all adjustments, corrections, etc., and you shouldn't feel bad. Sometimes you need someone to come along and tell you that your feet need to be wider in Warrior II so you don’t injure your bent knee by overextending it.”
“Corrections make me feel like I'm learning something. Of course I would get a lot out of yoga even if I do it exactly the way I did it last week, but that's not why I attend a class. I attend a class to learn something I didn't already know.”
Yoga teachers truly want to guide you into safe + effective positions. If your teacher, guide or instructor asks you to do something differently be mindful of these 2 things. She or he wants you do do the pose the ‘right’ way NOT the ‘perfect’ way to your fullest range of motion because:
1- Doing a pose the right way with proper form is SAFE, thereby avoiding injury.
2- Doing a pose the right way with proper form is EFFECTIVE, thereby getting the most bang for your buck in the pose.
Next time your yoga guide requests that you move this way or that or do a pose a certain way, simply do your best. That’s all she’s asking. Like any other emotion that comes up in class.... feel it, acknowledge it, and let it go staying focused on your own practice, not comparing yourself to anyone else.
By Barbara Schuette on March 31, 2022
“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says I’m possible.”
You, and only you, have the power to create yourself and to recreate yourself over and over again. Every moment is a new opportunity to create the ‘now’ version of you and to step into that. You don’t owe it to anybody to stay in any one particular box or to color inside of the lines or to be the person who you were before. 🖍
Oprah says that we each have the power to step consciously into our own evolution. We each have the power to choose the pathless path that is in front of us.
But there is some prerequisite work to becoming all that you want to become. And that is to know what it is you want and to become very clear—the yoga practice wants for us to find clarity—in who you are and what you want. This is the prerequisite work to becoming the most authentically expressed version of you. And so this practice calls us into this deep introspective work, this study of ourselves. There is a Sanskrit word I’ve shared before, Svadhyaya, which is the study of self and outlined in the yoga sutras, the original 8 limbs of yoga meditation. The practice calls us to study ourselves so that we can access the power, the wisdom, the creativity, the freedom, and the play that inevitably comes as we create ourselves from ourselves.
Mark Groves teaches that we don’t get what we want in life just because we want it. Instead, we get more of what we are. And so the perspective and the attitude becomes one of responsibility. Instead of asking, “What do I want to go out in the world and achieve or get?” we can make the u-turn back here and we can ask, “Who do I have to become to be a match for all that I want? How do I offer the world the truest, most raw and most honest version of me, so that I can attract all the right things into my life.”
I love the question “Who do I have to be to be a match for that?” It’s worth exploring.
“The process is the goal.”-Tara Stiles
Ask yourself these questions:
“Who are you? What is important to you?” We don’t merely get what we want. We attract all that we already are. Only you can know the next step on your pathless path and savor the journey to becoming confident and fully self-realized.
Again the reminder that at any given moment, you have the power to create and recreate yourself again and again. One of my teachers once said, “If we are lucky, we will die to ourselves 1000 times before we actually die.” That every day you wake up as the ‘now’ version of you, and you don’t owe it anyone to stay within the box of yesterday.
In order to become more and more of who you are, the prerequisite work is that you know you. You know what’s important to you. You know the values that you hold that will influence and touch everything that you do and everything that moves through you. And you do the work—‘learn + do!’ We get the opportunity to build lives that we are infatuated with—lives that we love.
We invite you to dream big. Set challenging goals and become the very best you that you can be. Practice, practice, practice will bring improvements. With commitment, mindful work, and consistency in your yoga + meditation practice you WILL achieve what once seemed impossible! 💫
An enlightening listen on the topic of gaining confidence and stepping into the best version of yourself is Tara Stiles' 'Feel Better' Podcast, "How To Gain Confidence In Yourself (and how you are in the world)".
Are you ready to fully know yourself better and step into all you were meant to be? Listen to The REALIFE Process with Teresa McCloy and learn how to be productive and experience success in your REALIFE!
By Barbara Schuette on March 17, 2022
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that excuse I’d be rich! It’s like saying, "I can’t go to the gym until I lose weight!”
The reason that gyms are here for us and that the yoga practice is here for us is to help us achieve our goals and see improvements. If we were all perfect to begin with wouldn’t it all seem a little boring?
So you're gonna give this yoga thing a try! 👏 You’ve begun your yoga journey, now what?
Will you be flexible over night? Is that even the goal? Some of us will never be able to touch our toes. Try bending your knees. Put your belly on your thighs. Give yourself some grace.
We are all on this ‘pathless path’ where the endpoint isn’t even the “W.” The Win is this pathless path you’re on, the process, the journey—where each and every day you show up on your mat and discover something new about yourself. And that’s the most fulfilling part of it all. Every day noticing the subtle little changes in your body + mind + heart that showing up on your mat can do for you.
Every time you practice is truly a new beginning and a new opportunity for improvement, growth, and change. Consistency is the key. 🔑 Doing the little things—the hard work, the discipline every single day. And one day after a consistent practice, picking up a load of laundry and noticing that your back pain is less or your knee bends like it never used to before, becomes the reward…
So here’s the thing about yoga: whether you are experiencing pain, trauma, injury, stress, anxiety, loss, fear, indigestion, nerve damage, inflammation, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, insomnia, migraines, (the list goes on)…there’s likely a tool in the Yoga toolbox that can bring you back to balance. 🧰
In fact, the benefits of yoga are endless and have stood the true test of time (quite literally 1000s of years🤯!) Most, if not all, modern elite athletes practice yoga to enhance and extend the longevity of their chosen career/sport. (Yes, Jack Flaherty, Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James, and David Beckham practice yoga!) ⚾️🏈🏀⚽️
Whether you’re an elite athlete or an average person like most of us, yoga can enhance your life in so many ways not only physically, but mentally + emotionally. It can give you mental clarity and help you achieve any goals you may have in life. Yoga can help you answer these most important questions, "Who am I?", "What do I want?", and "How can I serve?" We don't get what we want. We get what we are. Let yoga help you discover who you are and become the best version of yourself.
Take this pathless path of yoga and who knows where it may lead you?! 💫
An enlightening resource for the “I’m not flexible enough” reason for not trying yoga is Tara Stiles’ podcast, Feel Better: "Yoga Talks: Help I Can't Touch My Toes!"
By Barbara Schuette on February 16, 2022
I have embraced the everyday wisdom of 2 amazing humans! One has taught me mental toughness and physical discipline, and the other has taught me how to do hard things with ease.
So I did a thing. And so have several of our yogis. We joined Andy Frisella’s 75 Hard Challenge. Some joined it and have already competed it. Others of us joined at the beginning of the new year and are getting so close. Is this a weight loss program? No! It’s a mental toughness program built on the basis that if you build strength in your mind first…your body will follow. As a matter of fact, our yogis and myself do not need to lose weight. We are already physically in pretty decent shape. Then why do we need this program?
Well, I can’t speak for the others, but for me personally it was a matter of detoxing my body from the inside out. Along with that comes the mental discipline of getting yourself to follow the program without wavering, knowing that 1 book page less read or one tiny sip of wine that day means you will have to start all over.
I won’t explain the program here in detail. If you want a rundown of it you can simply Google 75 Hard by Andy Frisella. The point I’m hoping to make is this battle that we have with ourselves, some of us our entire lives, can be won. Yes, most every day of our lives can be a “W” instead of an “L”. Andy simply gives us the tools and information to do it, and the program is free! The only fee is telling others about the challenge and how it’s changed your life. That’s what I’m here to do.
Whether it’s an addiction to alcohol or food or a lack of discipline to simply read a book or two every month, this program, with your hard work and attention to detail and honesty, can CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER! How do I know? Because the program has done this for me, rivaling only the birth of my children and finding the yoga + meditation practice.
So where does the ‘ease’ part enter since this program clearly states ‘hard’ in its title? Seems like an oxymoron! The program is tough. How I’ve approached it is with softness + ease thanks to another amazing human—Tara Stiles.
Tara has taught me the importance of slowing down and softening in most things I do. And guess what? My productivity has exploded!
My yoga + meditation practice that provides flexibility, physical strength, and mental clarity have been battling for years with my more deviant side of not treating my body so well. Not getting enough sleep due to too much stress and drinking alcohol were my main deterrents for leading a life that otherwise would have been extremely healthy. I felt sick, sluggish and out of balance most of the time. It has been one step forward and two steps back in regards to my mental toughness + treating my body right (softness) for years. I was constantly on the cycle of being good to my body part of the day and the other part of the day letting lack of discipline take me down. Poor sleep and indigestion would ensue, and then I would start all over each day with running, yoga + meditation to undo the bad I had done the night before.
Anyone else ever been in this vicious cycle? It’s brutal and unhealthy to say the least. Tara speaks of taking care of you and doing the right things in her new podcast, "Feel Better" and her latest, bestselling book, "Clean Mind, Clean Body." When I'm taking my daily outdoor walk, I can listen and learn from her while completing one of the tasks of 75 Hard!
I’ve been able to complete 38 days of the ‘hard’ program..(halfway through!)—while practicing, reading and listening to Tara’s softness principles and I’ve never felt more grounded, calm, focused, intentional and handling my life with ‘ease’—all the things the yoga + meditation practice want for us.
Ultimately what the yoga + meditation practice wants for us is our freedom. Freedom from the things in our lives that hinder us from being the best we can be and reaching our fullest potential. Andy and Tara have given me the tools to implement what yoga has always wanted for me. Softness + ease are a way of life for me now, and it has had a ripple effect on everyone in my life. Thank you Andy Frisella and Tara Stiles for sharing what worked for you with every human in the world!
By Barbara Schuette on February 6, 2022
What’s a Barbism? Good question! I didn’t know either until I received a very awesome tank top for my birthday from some of our yoga Kula and on the back it read, “Let that shit go!”
Wow, they’re actually listening to me! I say LOTS of goofy things in class—mostly metaphors! These expressions of words or “isms” help to paint a picture for the particular pose we may be in or benefit we should be getting from the pose. For instance, our floor series in the Hot 26 classes are designed to flush toxins out the the spine and internal organs with all of the twisting and compressing—“wringing them out like a dishcloth!”
Here are a few of the poses (off the top of my head and in no particular order) that I have some pretty standard “isms” for:
Awkward Pose Part 1: “Sit your hips down like you’re trying to put a butt print on the back wall!”
Awkward Pose part 2:
“Come up high onto your tippy toes maximum like a ballerina or MANerina!” OR
“Come up high onto your tippy toes like we’ve all strapped on a pair of stiletto heels!”
Tree Pose in Half Lotus:
“Bring your foot up into your bikini or speedo line.” OR “Bring both hands to heart center namaskar, but if you stick your booty out like a duck don’t do that!”
Hands-to-feet pose or Padahastasana:
“Give your shins a kiss 💋!” OR “Scoop up your heels like 2 tiny steam shovels!” Mini Warm-up: “ Let your head hang heavy like a bowling ball that weights 10-12 pounds and shake what your momma gave you!”
Awkward Pose Part 3: “Zip up your legs all the way from your knees up to your WOOHOO!!!” Everyone in class makes the 'woohoo' sound on that one 🙌
Full Locust Pose: “Tap the floor and give your neighbor some good Juju because we’re all in this sh** together!”
Also, “you’re soaring like a 747 like our friend, Colleen ❤️"
Shavasana after Camel Pose: “Camel can make you feel kinda WONKY! If you feel that way then congratulations, you did it right!” OR it’s “bliss or barf🤮” in that pose! I promise it will become more bliss.
Fixed Firm Pose: “Look down the center line of you as give yourself a beautiful double chin forming a perfect human bridge!” For a while some of our yogis thought I was saying “Fixed Sperm!”…omg!!
Standing Separate Leg Forehead to Knee Pose: “Tuck your chin to your chest as you go down—not very attractive!”
Floor Bow Pose: “We are doing a backward bend on our bellies!”
Balancing Stick: “From the side your body looks like the capital letter T as in Teresa, Talitha, or Tuladandasana!”
Cobra Pose: “From the side your arms look like the upside down letter L as in Lisa or Lissa or Linda!”
“We’re twisting like wet ropes one at the wrists and one at the elbows!” OR “Sling some sweat at your neighbor!”
Standing Bow-Pulling Pose:
“Your back leg is like the runner on a boat—it steers the whole posture!" OR "The harder you kick you can hold forever!” OR “Keep your ears on straight! (no tilted eyebrows!)”
“Concentrate on 3 things: your breathing, your stillness + your relaxation and I’ll call you back in a few moments.”
OR “This is the most difficult pose—try not to think, scratch, wipe, move, or pop!”
“Tuck your chin in to your chest and roll down like you’re rolling up your yoga mat.” Also, “ You’re pulling so hard on your heels that if you let go you’ll do a forward somersault!”
“Hips are forward and the grip is nice + tight on the heels: if you let go you will sling forward like a slingshot!”
Half Locust Pose:
“Your palms are face down, like you’re returning a volleyball!”
Standing Separate Leg Stretching Pose:
“Swan dive down as you give your neighbor (sister, husband, wife or friend) a VIEW!” AND “This one is kryptonite for all of those crinkled up sciatic nerves!”
Half Tortoise Pose🐢:
“Stretch your arms to the top of your mat and feel the scapula coming out of the sides of your body.”
Super Sit Up or Hot Yogi Sit Up:
“Engage your core. MAKE IT COUNT!”
Last set of any pose: “Last one best one!”
Creating these visuals as we have our moving meditation is so enlightening and truly does get one “out of your head" as we yoga teachers like to say!
Drop me a DM and let me know how many I forgot! And always remember, “The best thing you can do after a hot yoga class is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!!!”
By Barbara Schuette on January 7, 2022
Madhya is a Sanskrit word that references the pause or the space between. It references the pause between breaths (even though this may only be a millisecond) or the pause between stimulus and response.
Often in class with our variety of breathing exercises, we purposely expand the pause between the in breath and the out breath. This experience of lengthening the gap between breaths actually allows us to feel our lungs inflating and hugging into the heart space as we inhale and deflating as we exhale. It is within that small space of time that we check in with body and notice how we are feeling.
The classic example of “madhya” is when someone rudely cuts you off in traffic (stimulus) and your reaction to it (response.) Did you react and yell, possibly curse, or did you pause, count to 10, and respond by staying calm and safe? If you yelled and cussed, did it increase your blood pressure or the rude driver’s? 🤔
Expanding the gap—the space between—holds so much power! It can be the difference between a positive outcome of any situation or a negative outcome. And guess what? Only you hold the power to expand the pause and decide how to respond, taking into consideration the feelings of others involved. It can be the difference between making a mountain out of a molehill in our daily lives.
Again who holds the power to lengthen the space—that hang time—between stimulus and response? Between action and reaction? You. Only you. You can control the outcome of so many situations or occurrences by simply pausing, counting to 10, considering how your impulsive side wants you to react and how your sensible side knows it needs to respond.
Maybe next time you are cut off in traffic and ready to explode, you can pause, take a breath, laugh or even say a prayer that he or she doesn’t cause an accident. 🙏
It’s a great reminder for all of us to slow down, soften, pause + watch your breath move you.
A fantastic read to help us slow down and care for ourselves is Tara Stiles' book, "Clean Body, Clean Mind: A 28-Day Plan for Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Self-Care."
By Barbara Schuette on November 20, 2021
Samavesha is a Sanskrit term that means the study of self. But let’s first try to understand this word “Sanskrit” that we hear so commonly referred to in the yoga world.
Sanskrit is the original language of yoga. It is an ancient language that is the classical language of India. It literally connects us to the classical form of yoga that has been orally repeated for thousands of years. There is a deep and rich philosophy beneath the yoga practice. Sanskrit is the language by which that philosophy lives, breathes + flows.
Samavesha is a yoga term that has a lot of meaning in the meditation practice. I like to think of it in meditation as this balance between the inside and the outside. The balance between our relationship with self and our relationship with others.
The yoga practice ultimately wants us to have a better relationship and understanding of ourselves. Yoga is not about getting better at yoga. Yoga is about having a better understanding of who we are in our mind, body + spirit and carrying that knowledge of ourselves as we interact with others in our external world. This connection we have with self can help us make the world a more peaceful and happy place to live.
From the Dhammapada, which is a philosophical yogic text, we learn that our jobs here are “to laugh with wisdom and tenderly care for the precious days we are given.” For me this pretty much sums it all up, highlighting “to laugh.” We just don’t need to take it all so seriously.
With this in mind, let our relationship with ourselves be a dance. Enjoy the flux between the inward and the outward: between being with self and being with others. In time alone, you will build nutrients to bring to your relationships. In time with others, you can lean into support and being nurtured and loved.
Something that has helped me in my own self study is “maitri” which translates loving kindness toward oneself. There is a great need for that in today's world of constant interaction with computers, cell phones, and multi media. A wonderful book that offers heart advice for difficult times and enlightenment for our own self study is Pema Chodron’s "When Things Fall Apart."
By Barbara Schuette on October 26, 2021
One of the first things I learned when I was deciding to become a yoga teacher was to teach from love. And it resonates with me each and every time I lead a class or hold a private lesson. This tool of love is the most important one to have in your Yoga toolbox. 🧰
I became a yoga teacher because I loved the yoga and wanted to share that love with others. When I don’t know what to do for a student, I just try to figure out how to love them more.
Most of my life I didn’t have anything I was passionate about. Nothing that set a spark under me. I loved raising my children, but had little time to develop any hobbies or interests. I did love to run and found I could easily do that when they were sleeping in the wee hours of the morning. It was an awesome way to maintain my weight and keep me fit. Then came my 40's…
Running was still effective at keeping the weight off and enhancing my mood—nothing like a good ole “runner’s high.” Or so I thought… I knew I didn’t stretch enough. Actually barely at all. And the joints were beginning to ache a little (or a lot 🤔!)
So this is when I stumbled upon my first hot yoga experience while I was working in St. Louis. Well, if you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know I haven’t looked back! I found my passion—yessss!!!
Next step: how to bring this amazing practice to my hometown??? Wow that was the question. Money, money, money was all I kept thinking—“where the hell was I gonna get the cash to start up a hot yoga studio and would it even go over in a small town??”💰
I had so much desire to help others and teach from love and share this practice, I decided I didn’t need money—just a physical location. Well that became my home studio (namely my oldest daughter’s bedroom!) I spent very little in start up costs because I already had all of my heaters (notice plural!) and could get the room (that only held about 8 yogis) up to over 100 degrees! I was set!
So not to bore you all with the rest of the details, things just evolved from there, and I count my blessings each and every day! Life is like the race between the tortoise 🐢 and the hare 🐇. It’s like a crockpot, not a microwave. Slow and steady wins the race every time!
Things didn’t happen over night! Baby steps! They are still happening! But teaching from a place of love with the passion to help others makes the journey so worth the wait. 💫
By Barbara Schuette on October 12, 2021
So you have a back or knee injury. Running and biking are out for now. What about the Hot 26 yoga series? Should you continue your practice?
Oh my goodness, absolutely, 💯 percent, unequivocally YESSSS! Do not stop practicing! You will heal faster with a continued practice! I have had many injuries (mainly low back, carpal tunnel and currently right knee) and I Never. Skip. A. Day.
The Hot 26 yoga series is a healing yoga. It was designed to heal the mind + the body + the spirit. Due to the nature of the practice and how well it works, it attracts students with all types of physical limitations.
The goal for any student in any posture, injured or not, is to work towards their full range of motion, without pain, and then try to hold it for the duration of the posture. Key words: “their full range of motion.” They may stay right at the top of Fixed Firm pose taking weight maybe into their arms and hands, because we all know, “You can mess with the Gods, but you can’t mess with your knees!”—B.C.
Over time, this is what creates more range of motion and the strength to support it. The simple philosophy of “Try the Right Way” is how all of the healing happens. Once you understand the philosophy that range of motion creates the benefit, anyone can be helped—regardless of limitations!
First step as always: don’t be scared! Skip the sit ups if you have a back injury. Maybe skip the forward bending postures completely—especially for acute herniation. Use a block under the hips in Fixed Firm if the knees are hurting or a block under the hips in Half Tortoise if the ankles have reduced range of motion. Modify, modify, modify!
Backward bending is healing, especially for lower back issues. People with acute back injuries should come to class as soon as possible. The sooner they come to class, the faster they heal!
The beauty of this series is that it’s for EVERY body and ALL-levels! So if you need a block or even a chair next to you, request this from your instructor! I have been known to say, “Try not to use the wall in the balancing series.” I’m wanting you to work on the muscle memory in the standing leg without the “crutch” of the wall. But honestly, after doing some of my research on injuries, I’m going to offer it. If that’s what it takes for someone to realize their fullest potential in the pose, then I believe someday they WILL lose the training wheels (wall or chair) and do this on their own! 🚴 The Hot 26 practice is just that powerful… 💫
And always be mindful of this as you practice, “Form before depth!” If you have limitations or injuries or maybe something else inhibiting the fullest expression of any posture, then give it time—modify—keep practicing—maybe skip the pose all together—and be ready someday to sore like the Eagle you were meant to be. 🦅
Just never give up!
By Barbara Schuette on September 29, 2021
You may have asked yourself, “Is yoga all I need to do to stay in shape and be healthy?” “Should I do it every day?” The answer emphatically is YES! Now hear me when I say all types of yoga are wonderful, but obviously they can’t all take the place of cardio and strength training, i.e. restorative yoga.
What kind of yoga then CAN be all inclusive of what you need to have a full-rounded workout regimen?
If you’ve read our previous blogs about the Hot 26 Yoga series, then you guessed what my answer would be!—of course, the Hot 26! Preferably the 75 or 90 minute versions, but 60 minutes will do just fine! Couple that with a little walking and you have the perfect mix!
When I began practicing 7 years ago I was running an average of 30 miles and biking 75 miles a week. I considered myself in tip top shape! Whyyy then was I still, as the P90X guy says, “a little loose in the cage?!” I couldn’t get rid of the extra tube around my waist for nothing! I did push-ups and sit ups and of course a ton of cardio, rarely skipping a day!
I looked at my first yoga teacher, Cindy, standing up on the podium instructing the Hot 26 class (yes most instructors “instruct” only) and I said to myself, “I want to look that good!” She was older than me, had 5 children, and surgery to her spine (I could see the long scar on her back), and she had a rockin’ hot bod!
So I asked her one day after class what else she did to stay so fit. Obviously ONLY YOGA couldn’t produce that fit shape. She said the Hot 26 was all she did. Every. Single. Day.
Cindy said she took her first Hot 26 class a few years back and decided then and there she was going to teach it some day. For the next 28 days (I think that’s the right number) she took the 90 minute Hot 26 class every day. At the time I just could not imagine that—90 minutes in 105 degrees every day?! No freaking way!
I was addicted and kept taking classes as many days per week as I could while I kept up with my running schedule. Well, with time limitations while working full time and driving home on the weekends (2 hours away), I had to give something less attention. So running started to take a backseat to my newfound love, the Hot 26!
Nothing I had ever tried helped me to lose weight + feel this great! My carpal tunnel syndrome that I had dealt with for many years was slowly subsiding, low back pain was all but gone, and my stubborn knee pain that flared up from time to time was gone!
And the scale! Yes, I weighed every day after my class! I would sometimes lose 4-6 pounds in each class. Eventually the weight stayed off and my body composition morphed! I was no longer loose in the cage—I actually had abs under some of that insulation!
The feeling of elation after the Hot 26 yoga class actually rivaled my “runner’s high” I used to feel after my long runs. Do I still run + bike? Absolutely! But not near as often and not near as hard! I was pounding my body on the pavement—literally! Thus maybe the knee and low back pain? 🤔
All I can say is that I’m pain free and medication free AND in the best shape of my life in my 50s. That means the world to me.
So to answer your question, is yoga enough and should you do it every day? Yes! It’s like brushing your teeth and taking a shower. Try not to skip! Come back and see me in a year and let me know how it has changed your life!
If you would like more insight into this topic, I recommend this book by Bikram Choudhury!
**Pictured above, Barbara Schuette, age 52.
By Barbara Schuette on September 22, 2021
Who’s ready to take their practice to the next level? Are you a runner, walker, biker, or do you sit at a desk all day? Want to learn more about feeling better? 🧘♀️
Then workshops are your answer! 🤩
Attending a workshop is an opportunity to bring information and insight to your practice. It is a chance to put greater thought and self awareness of the body parts we use into each posture. You will have the chance to ask questions and discuss any yoga topics that are important to you.
Attending a workshop is a great way to energize your practice and find new inspiration for your time on the mat! Let's rekindle our passion for yoga together!
Saturday, April 23, 2022 10:30am-12pm ~ 'HIPS DON'T LIE YOGA WORKSHOP'
Bring your yoga mat and yoga mat towel—be prepared to participate and sweat! 💦
See “Events” in the Lotus Room Yoga Facebook group for more details and reserve your place today!
We would love to save space for you on your mat 🧡
By Barbara Schuette on September 20, 2021
It is this famous quote above that I have referred back to several times on my yoga journey. When I began my yoga practice in my mid-forties, of course I thought I was too old. Too old and I started too late. Well I am here to show you the possibilities!
Did I ever imagine doing full fixed firm or standing head to knee pose at age 46? No way! And what about that 3rd part of Awkward Pose—woohoo-!! That one can seem hard on the ole’ knees, but here I am bouncing at the bottom as I hold on to my imaginary box and let that ball roll down my thighs to my mat! For several years I kept trying and got better and better until finally I was doing all expressions of the postures with ease (not perfection mind you!)
We all have setbacks. We all have days when we just don’t have our groove. We all feel from time to time like we are too old, too sick or maybe it’s too late for me to start something new. Or maybe I don’t deserve this, I’m not good enough.
The Hot 26 series teaches you to be honest with yourself and give yourself the space you need to grow and thrive. This practice attracts people with limitations. It is for EVERY body! Embrace your present self physically + mentally + spiritually and "Start Where You Are."
It is quite possible you haven’t reached your fullest potential—yet!
Check out our podcast with the Griesbaum Girls: It’s Never Too Late To Get Fit!
By Barbara Schuette on September 16, 2021
It’s hot. You’re dripping buckets of sweat. You have just finished taking a shower from the inside out of your body, and the river you’ve created is a moat of DNA surrounding your yoga mat (I love using that visual in class lol!)
Your studio offers towels. Aren’t you supposed to wipe off all of the droplets of sweat on your face, neck, arms, and every other surface of the largest organ in your body until you stop sweating so much? Nooooo!!!
That is the one thing you will never hear this instructor say in one of my hot yoga classes—“towel off!” How many times have you heard me say, “Just let that sweat drip!” or as we do Eagle prep, “Sling some sweat at your neighbor!” as we twist our arms into wet ropes? I want my students to enjoy getting into and out of their poses, not make their bodies work harder thereby increasing their heart rates even more than they already are! Whaaatt do I mean?
Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling down. Think of sweating as a natural air conditioner for your body! If you wipe away the sweat with a towel, your body will have to work harder to produce more sweat to cool you off again. You won’t win this race! Wiping off the sweat will only disrupt your practice and steal the precious few moments of stillness between poses that you have. If you’ve ever practiced in front of a mirror during a hot yoga sesh, you may have noticed the all-embarrassing hardening of your nipples underneath that adorable Fabletics sports bra. Yes, that’s your body doing it’s JOB trying to cool you off from the inside out—let it!
Early on in my years of practicing, my yoga instructors encouraged us not to wipe the sweat away during class, to just ignore it, let it flow. Again, it’s there for a reason—to help cool your body! The only thing I wipe during a hot yoga class is my eyes so that I can see, and I usually just swipe the sweat away with my fingers.
Class is over. Toxins are excreted. Room is beginning to cool off (a small tad!) After class it’s a different story—wipe away and please help your teacher by sopping up as much of your “mat moat” as you can with your yoga mat towel.
And drink lots of H2O the day prior to and after your class 💦💦—keep track of how much you’re drinking with this awesome 1/2 gallon water bottle.
By Barbara Schuette on September 9, 2021
“After a hot yoga class I feel like I’ve run a marathon, went to the chiropractor, and had a massage all at once.”—Barbara
So you made it through your first Hot yoga class. It was about 105 degrees Fahrenheit and 40% humidity. After peeling off your wet clothes and hopefully showering, you’re already planning to take your next one! Because chances are, like me, you’re hooked! I remember driving home from my first Hot 26 class and saying to myself, “Why haven’t I done this all of my life?” After all of the torture of the hot chamber, I felt better than I had felt in my entire life. Was I going to do it again? You bet!
The sweat of a Hot yoga session is distinct from the sweat of any other exercise session. Not to sound all disgusting and explicit about it, but everyone who performs an especially fast-paced hot yoga session understands that you hit a stage where sweat literally pours out of the body. The first time my daughter attended a Hot 26 class with me in Phoenix, she said she literally saw the sweat coming out of the pours of her knees—now that’s hot!
While this may feel disconcerting and generally icky to hot yoga novices, it’s something that many experienced yogis are eager to do. Why? It could be due to the detoxification process. The heat and increased energy intake allow you to sweat a ton! 💦💦 When you sweat, you minimize water retention and shed a long list of toxins, chemicals, and other harmful substances that shouldn’t be in your body.
Your body is designed to adjust to the heat. The heat in the room helps bring oxygen into your body to warm your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. If you try to stretch when you’re cold, it doesn’t work. You would never hammer cold steel if you’re trying to make a sword. The heat helps you to move. It also helps to work deeper, safely.
3 reasons for the heat:
1. Helps you heal.
2. Prevents injuries.
3. Makes your body operate more efficiently.
Sweating is good for you!
During your first class, the heat is usually a significant distraction, but over time you will begin to love the heat. The focus you develop by practicing in the hot room strengthens your discipline, your determination, and your power of concentration. Think of it as mental strength training!
Plus, newer studies show that being in the heat like a sauna, but not, can also help improve your sense of well-being and can even alleviate depression.
We have so many members right now who will tell you how much better and healthier they feel after taking a Hot 26 class. The best part is that your body adapts to the heat after only 7-14 days of practice. In fact, many of our members practice from home or while on the road and use a space heater to create a similar “in studio” experience! Now that’s dedication!
**Remember, you need a yoga towel for your yoga mat to prevent slippage. When we are pouring sweat we literally create a slip-n-slide and increase risk of injury. A towel to absorb all of those drips is mandatory in most hot yoga studios!
Sweat on everyone!
By Barbara Schuette on September 2, 2021
Since I began the practice of yoga, I have believed it is a panacea—a cure all. In fact, if yoga could be put in a pill form, every human would take it. There would be no need for cures to diseases, just this one prevention pill daily! 💊
Yoga, the Hot 26 series specifically, is the best anti-stress, anti-depressant, anti-arthritis, anti-aging, anti-allergen medicine there is. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Stress is a major cause of mental and physical illness and disease in today’s society. Here are a few interesting facts about stress and our flagship Hot 26 class:
Stress compromises the immune system.
Hot 26 yoga builds and strengthens the immune system.
Stress causes more problems and mental and physical illnesses.
Hot 26 yoga heals from the inside out, keeps the body full of vitality, immune to diseases.
Stress destroys the life in your life.
Hot 26 yoga floods every single organ, gland, molecule, and cell in your body with rejuvenating and reenergizing energy and fresh oxygenated blood (and synovial fluid!)
Stress deprives the brain from oxygen.
Hot 26 yoga has postures that pump high speed oxygen-rich blood, full of nutrients into the brain, reenergizing all the brain cells.
Stress exhausts and depletes energy levels.
Hot 26 boosts energy levels.
Stress is the WORST thing for your health and wellness.
Hot 26 is the BEST thing for your health and wellness!
Convinced yet? One of the best books I’ve read on the topic is Bikram Yoga: The Guru Behind Hot Yoga... In fact, this was the first yoga book I ever read. I was enthralled by how good I was feeling and the changes happening in my body. This book puts into perspective everything I’m trying to express to you about the Hot 26 yoga series!
Give this practice a try and see the results for yourself!
Part 3: Why is this yoga class so f***ing hot?!
By Barbara Schuette on August 26, 2021
Living pain free isn’t a dream! One of the most common phrases I hear after taking a few of our yoga classes is, “My pain is gone!”
Wow. “My pain is gone.” I have said this for years, but when I began sharing this practice with others and they actually said it to me—wow! The motto for the Hot 26 series is “Healthy Spine=Healthy Life.” I used to hear my mentors repeat this in class, especially during the spine strengthening series. A “Strong Spine=Healthy Spine” and “A healthy spine bends in all directions.” It does seem that so many things “healthy” stem from our backbone--the house don't fall when the bones are good!
We use our spines in everything we do AND we abuse our spines in many ways. We are usually headed in one direction with our spines in our daily lives, and that is forward—driving, on the phone, hunched over a computer, picking up the laundry, picking up the kids—you get the idea. The Hot 26 yoga series is a series of “counterposes to life.” Not only do we bend forward, but we bend sideways, obliquely and backwards throughout the series. The entire series is designed to flush toxins out of the spine and to strengthen the spine.
But the modern day miracle of sequential poses in this series is not only beneficial for our spines. We flush toxins out of our joints and internal organs—like a dish cloth! What??
Our practice is composed of Hatha postures. When I was moving back to Effingham from St. Louis a few years ago, and I knew the Hot 26 was no longer going to be available to me, my instructor, Charles, told me to find a studio that had a Hatha Yoga class.
Hmm 🤔 what is Hatha yoga?
There are many varying definitions of the practice, but the one that has stuck with me is that we hold our poses for 20-40 seconds, repeat on the other side, and then do another set. So it’s a slower paced, static yoga practice with mindfulness incorporated into every pose, thus the phrase, “moving meditation.” We focus on our breath as we hold our poses and have our moving meditation. One truly forgets the “to-do lists” and the “checklists” because you are so focused on the instructor’s words (the dialogue) and getting in to and out of the poses.
But don’t let the slower pace of the Hot 26 yoga series fool you. By no means does that make it easier than other forms of yoga, especially with the element of the heat (remember hot is in the title!) I call it INTERVAL TRAINING YOGA! We get the heart rate up in to the target zone, and then we rest between postures—but not for long!
This yoga series is designed for everyone—first time students and experienced practitioners alike! Each posture stretches and strengthens specific muscles, ligaments, and joints stimulating the organs, glands, and nerves to move fresh oxygenated blood to 100% of the body. We compress + grip + squeeze + effectively put tourniquets on our joints sending fresh synovial fluid to them upon the release of the pose—no knee replacements for us!!!
With regular practice, the Hot 26 series improves health, increases energy, helps prevent illness and injury, and limits the effects of aging. As a physical challenge, this yoga changes the body’s shape, helping you to develop muscle tone and lose inches. As a mental challenge, this yoga combines the skills of concentration, patience, and self-control to improve mental clarity and reduce stress.
Notice the feeling of euphoria and pure peace as you drive home from a Hot 26 class—did you forget to turn on the radio or check your phone?!! Yes!!!
It’s a life-changer—try it and see the change in yours!
Pictured above: Barbara ~ Age: 52 in Half Moon Pose (#1 of the Hot 26 poses)
Part 2B: Hot 26 is a panacea!
By Barbara Schuette on August 21, 2021
Welcome to the KULA!
You may have heard us refer to our Lotus Room “Kula” quite often. Well what in the world is a Kula? Kula is a Sanskrit term meaning family, tribe, community, or clan. Here at Lotus Room Yoga we consider all of you family—our yoga fam.
We truly want every person who practices with us to feel like they are part of a supportive, like-minded group of yogis and yoginis. Our Kula is for yogis who want to deepen their practice mentally, physically + emotionally all within a community of humans doing the same. Very often at the beginning of one of our practices we will go around the room introducing ourselves so that everyone knows your name—and we’re always glad you came! Okay that was a really bad theme-song-to-the-sitcom-“Cheers”-reference, but you get the drift!
Our Kula is a safe space for you to connect + express. We want our yogis to feel welcome, supported and to know that we are all truly “in this sh** together!”
So join us 7 days a week as we move, sit + breathe. We would love for you to be part of our Kula!!!
By Barbara Schuette on August 20, 2021
What the heck is Hot Fusion 26, Hot 26+2, OG Hot Yoga, Ghosh Yoga and Bikram Yoga? They are all one and the same and come from the Ghosh lineage. Well what is the Ghosh lineage? Bishnu Ghosh was a Hatha yogi from Kolkata, India who practiced postures and breathing exercises that were therapeutic. He prescribed them for his patients’ specific ailments. I have been involved with Ghosh yoga for 7 years teaching, practicing and promoting this healing practice. Every day there is something new to learn, new to experience, and new to teach. I love educating my students on the benefits of this practice and reminding them of why they are doing each posture or breathing exercise.
This yoga practice truly is a science. Yoga gurus used to prescribe yoga postures to heal bodies in India. If you had a problem you would go see someone like Bishnu Ghosh, and he would prescribe yoga postures (asanas or poses) and explain how to do them.
Previously there was no existing sequence to a yoga series, especially for beginners. There were thousands of postures on charts which were on paper, books, or posters. Most of them looked like you would have to get into a pretzel shape and therefore did not seem possible for the average person.
Ghosh was Bikram Choudhury’s guru and taught him everything he knew about yoga. The “26 poses + 2 breathing exercises” were sequenced and “prescribed” in the same exact format to every student in the 1970’s when the practice was westernized by Bikram. Many famous teachers have come from Bikram’s school including Tony Sanchez and Emmy Cleaves (pictured above with Bikram) and they still prescribe this yoga in the exact same format to their students. Many famous actresses, singers, and athletes practice the Hot 26 yoga series, including Jennifer Anniston, Lady Gaga, and David Beckham (and maybe Posh!)
You don’t need to be graceful, talented or even athletic to do yoga. All you need is a little space and honesty (and a decent yoga mat). The simplicity and ingenuity of the “26 postures + 2 breathing exercises” is accessible for EVERY body! It is truly a modern day miracle 💫
Emmy Cleaves ~ Age: 85
Bikram Choudhury ~ Age: 66
Any doubts about Hot 26 = Fountain of Youth?
Part 2: The benefits of this self-healing, life-changing series will be discussed in my next blog!
By Barbara Schuette on August 16, 2021