We all can quickly come up with a list of obstacles preventing us from taking time to exercise, prepare a healthy meal or relax, but the most frequent reason I hear is guilt. So often we feel guilty for taking action, time or money to do something that improves our health and/or happiness. I say hogwash! How can you be a patient and kind parent, spouse or friend if you are stressed out, run down, or operating on crappy fuel and junk food?
You owe it not just to yourself, but to your loved ones to take care of you! If you have ever flown, you know that each and every time you fly the attendants will remind you that in the case of an emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Why is that? Well you can only go so long without oxygen right? You only have a matter of minutes before you will pass out. After you have passed out you cannot help anyone! In fact, then others will need to help you instead. So, put on that oxygen mask immediately, and you can be of service to the entire plane.
Is this any different than real life? I would argue that it isn't. It's likely that you have a number of others that depend upon you including children, pets, co-workers, family members, neighbors and others in your community. If you are neglecting to take care of your health, you won't be able to help anyone else for too long. If you are stressed out and under nourished it is a matter of time before you will exhaust yourself or even worse get sick. Long-term stress that goes on for years can have even more serious results such as chronic diseases including cancers and depression. But with a little planning you can take a few minutes for yourself and take action to feel great for years to come!
Here are some suggestions / reminders of ways that you can help yourself out:
These are just a few ideas, I think you get it. The main point is do NOT feel guilty about taking time for you. This life is a gift and so is your body. Take good care of it and reap the benefits of self care. .
winds of change,
time is ticking,
in your mind drifting,
forward you move,
towards your goals,
inward you move,
towards your soul,
may your spell bind,
all in your chant,
as atoms expand,
and molecules dance,
give you the power,
raised from sleep,
you call on the essence,
of inner peace
Poem by Sol Asar, Raw Foods Chef and Kemetic Meditation Teacher at PuraVegan Cafe. You can take meditation class with Sol in exchange for a donation on Fridays at 12pm, inside PuraVegan Yoga Studio.
How often do you rush through your entire day wondering where the time went and how it's already time to climb into bed? Or how many parents feel like the time slips away and their kids have grown up in the blink of an eye. We spend so much time "being busy" and doing things we think will pay off in the future, we often forget to pause and savor the current moment. Learning to pause, taking a breath, and participating in the present moment can have tremendously healing benefits and provide much needed breaks from our repetitive thought patterns (aka: stress).
What does it mean to pause? What do I do?
It's simple. Put down the phone, or close your laptop. Look around and observe your surroundings. Look at the person you are with, or look at the sky, your hands or anything in front of you. Listen to the sounds, even if it is as simple as the hum of your refrigerator. Feel the sensations on your skin, or of your heart beating. Smell the air, or pause and notice the scent of your food before or in the middle of your meal time.
When is a good time to pause?
I think a better answer is when should you not pause, because you can almost pause any time. I do not recommend pausing when driving or operating machinery. Avoid pausing when engaged in activities that require your focus for safety. Otherwise most any time is a good moment to pause. Below are some examples:
By now you are probably getting the idea and understand some benefits of pausing. Now is a good time to get started!
written by: Gina Schneider (bio below)
Happiness is not an unattainable mystery emotion handed out to a lucky few. It’s more like car maintenance. Just like shaving and cleaning, happiness is easier to maintain with regular attention. The longer you let it slide, the harder it is to get back under control. Here are a few simple ideas to help you be and stay happy.
I have been asked so many times why we choose to offer yoga by donation at PuraVegan. How does it work? Why do we do it? Here is a little background on our offerings in case you haven't visited or don't know the story. Our little cafe has an adjoining small yoga studio that you access from the dining room. The studio is small, simple and modest. I'm not the best at decorating and I cannot afford to put in beautiful flooring (YET!), but I absolutely LOVE my little space. When you take class in our studio you are likely to hear blenders going in the morning buzzing with acai bowl goodness, or live jazz, african drums, or opera singers in the evenings from our next door neighbor, The Tavern of Fine Arts. Our studio holds a maximum of 15 students - and that is tight. Students can donate whatever amount they can choose.
When I first opened the studio in 2011, we charged class fees similar to other studios. At the time there were many other yoga studios in St Louis, however there were far fewer than exist today. We are in a neighborhood that has a very wide range of people with greatly varying economic resources. I'll never forget two experiences that led me to change over our model from a for-profit yoga studio to donation based.
The first month that we opened we offered all classes for free and they were packed! I remember one elderly woman that lived in the neighborhood kept walking back and forth past the studio window one day while I was teaching. I finally looked out to see that she was walking by to observe what poses we were doing, and then walking down out of my view to do the poses on the sidewalk. I stepped outside and invited her in. She told me that she always wanted to try yoga, but couldn't afford class. She had no idea that class was free at that time so I invited her in. She stayed after telling me that she felt intimated due to her age and physical abilities but wanted to learn more if she could save up the money. It pained me to learn that I had put a business in her neighborhood offering classes that could change her life, but she couldn't afford to continue.
The other story is of another neighborhood resident that saw our advertisement for a special one-time donation class we were offering. This particular guest would be considered by many to be very odd, however I felt honored that he chose us to help him begin his yoga practice. I observed some behavior that evening which made my heart sink. When class was over most of us hung around and socialized, including our new student. I witnessed people laughing at him, rolling their eyes at his ideas, and making comments and jokes at his expense. He definitely is a unique individual, and instead of celebrating that he was made to feel like an outsider. From that day on it has been my #1 aim to ensure that our classes are welcome to anyone and everyone.
I now know that I did not want our studio to focus on the ways to maximize profit, get into the most advanced postures, or to get the toughest workout possible. I think those things are great to explore, however I felt a need to provide a space for anyone to be part of a community learn and grow from yoga regardless off their background or financial resources. Our vision is to teach people how to de-stress, love themselves and breathe! We decided that all classes would become 100% donation based meaning that students offer whatever they are able to for the weekly classes. We provide yoga mats, blankets, blocks, straps and bolsters to help support you, and don't worry, your teacher will show you how they are utilized. Due to the structure of our studio model we attract a wide variety of people, which makes my heart smile! Students tend to donate anywhere between $5 and $20 per class. Just this week a student brought the teacher a specialty food item in place of money, because they were experiencing hard economic times. Another student has donated books to our library in place of cash.
Our classes vary greatly from teacher to teacher, as we don't mandate any sort of teaching style. We have been so blessed with kind and patient teachers at our studio. It takes a very special person to offer their teachings, offer their time, and to hold the space each week without any expectations of what they will receive in return.
So if you are still reading you probably wonder how teachers get paid. Our instructors receive 100% of the students' donations for weekly classes, whether the donation is made with cash or credit card. So now you probably wonder - how can we make money off of this? Well, we don't. We do benefit that many students will enjoy a juice or meal before or after class, however we could probably financially benefit more from using that space for a store or expanded cafe seating. Offering yoga to the community is our vision and has been since day one. As long as we have students coming we plan to continue with this model.
We want to change and improve lives at PuraVegan Cafe & Yoga and are determined to continue this path. Stress and poor diet is an epidemic in our culture and we want to help anyone that is interested to find balance and learn to manage their life through breath, food and community. Please join us!
written by Monica Stoutenborough
CLICK HERE for our current donation yoga schedule.
Please welcome Nancy Lewis to PuraVegan! She will be teaching a weekly Kundalini Yoga Class on Tuesdays from 9:30 - 11:00 am. Nancy has been involved in the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for the past 25 years.
ABOUT KUNDALINI YOGA: called yoga of awareness, it consists of simple yoga techniques that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter his or her age or physical ability. It is a complete science that includes breath (pranayam), yoga postures (asana), sound, chanting (mantra), and meditation. It is designed to provide you with the experience of your highest consciousness through the raising of your Kundalini. With Kundalini Yoga you can build a healthy body, develop a balanced mind, make contact with your inner wisdom, as well as open the door so that you can exceed your full potential. It gives you vitality and health. It makes you radiant, peaceful and strong so that you can meet life's challenges and excel.
Please also welcome Gina Schneider, Gina will be teaching Hatha Yoga on Thursday evenings, from 5:00 - 6:00 pm. Gina is a certified yoga instructor, personal trainer and member of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). She holds a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin. While Gina has worked in many different aspects of the sports and fitness industry, she has found teaching yoga to be the most rewarding by far.
Take 5 days off of cooking and food preparation to relax, restore and reconnect with your natural cycle of intuitive eating combined with yoga and meditation.
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION