12 Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga at Goorus on Wednesday (aka Hump Day)

12 Reasons Why You Should Do Yoga at Goorus on Wednesday/Hump Day

1. 6:30am Level ½ Flow w/Susan Cambigue Tracey
2. 10:45am Level ½ Flow w/Al Tavera
3. 12:00pm Chair Yoga w/Susan Cambigue Tracey
4. 1:30pm Yoga for Health & Healing with Michelle Mazur
5. 4:00pm Level 2/3 Vinyasa Flow w/Ishmael Moran
6. 5:45pm Level ½ Flow w/Nichola Dunne
7. Benefits of yoga include: strengthening your core, correcting posture, increasing flexibility, relieving stress, & encouraging mindfulness
8. Connect with like-minded people. Practicing yoga in a community yoga studio includes being among people who all desire to improve themselves and the world around them. Connect with each other through a common bond of yoga.
9. Connect with people who are different from you! Yoga brings people together via love of the practice itself, but everyone is multi-faceted with various likes and dislikes, talents and personalities. Let’s embrace our differences and value each other for who we are.
10. Wednesdays are better with yoga. It’s the middle of the week. Work hasn’t drained all of our energy yet, despite the siren song of the couch. Instead of binge-watching the tube or getting caught up in social media, do something that benefits your body, heart and mind. Create a sense of peace for yourself after work by filling your evening with yoga.
11. Go to your happy place, not Happy Hour! Rather than reaching for a glass of wine, unwind with us through yoga. Stress can hold our minds hostage even after leaving work for the day. By breathing consciously and moving meditatively, you can relieve tension in your mind and body.
12. Let Hump Day be an opportunity for you to do something new! Oftentimes we do the same things over and over, yet expect different results. Unless you change things up, you might miss out on the new possibilities that are always within our reach. This Wednesday, commit to doing something different. Meet new people, practice new poses, and explore a change in routine.

How to Be "Successful" at Yoga

According to the ancient Indian text, The Bhagavad Gita, “Yoga is a journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” To those who are familiar with the Gita, as it is sometimes simply known, the “successful” practice of yoga requires some basic self-awareness. However, with time and consistent effort, yoga practitioners can develop even greater self-awareness.

Another basic component of a “successful” yoga practice is knowledge of the basic postures. Curiosity about expanding one’s knowledge of more complicated asanas may lead to a more satisfying yoga practice over time as well.  As so often happens in life, the journey turns out to be more meaningful than the actual destination. This concept of non-attachment (vairagya) is mentioned several times in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

Get to know Yoga
In his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. The sage Patanjali himself tells us that practice (abhyasa) is one of the core principles of yoga.  And we’ve all heard the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.”

My advice:  Attend yoga classes of all styles and with a variety of teachers.  This is the only way you can truly find out what--and who--you like.  At Goorus Yoga, we encourage all new students to take advantage of Goorus’ 14-days of unlimited yoga offer, our 2-for-1 special, or both!  In between classes, page through B.K.S. Iyengar’s seminal text, Light on Yoga, and check out websites like Do You Yoga and MindBody Green.

Why do you want to practice yoga?
Are you hoping to improve your flexibility or balance? Are you seeking stress relief, hoping to address an injury or health concern, or needing help with weight management?  Over time and with dedicated practice, yoga will help you improve your flexibility and balance; it also helps to alleviate anxiety and sleeplessness.  The true magic of yoga is the development of self-awareness. People ask me all the time if yoga will help them lose weight.  People do tend to lose weight once they take up a yoga practice, but is primarily because they are becoming more aware of what they should or should not put into their bodies, or they start noticing when they become full.

At Goorus Yoga Studio in Pacific Palisades, we have a variety of yoga classes, suitable for all levels of practitioner:

Beginning Yoga/Level 1/Level 1-2
If you are new to yoga, we recommend attending one of Nichola Dunne’s or Al Tavera’s classes.  Al teaches a 1-hour Level ½ Flow class on M/W/F at 10:45 and a 1-hour class at 8:30am on Sundays; he also teaches a longer class on Saturday mornings at 9:30am.  Nichola teaches a Level ½ Flow class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 to 11:15am and on M/W from 5:45 to 7pm.  We also recommend trying Erin Fahy’s 1-hour Gentle Yoga classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2pm, or her Alignment Focused Yoga on Mondays from 1:30-2:45pm.  All of the above classes are also great for people who haven’t practiced for some time as they can serve as a “refresher” of sorts.

Intermediate to Advanced Yoga/Level 2/Level 2-3
For folks who would like to explore more complex sequencing, a more vigorous flow or more advanced postures such as arm balances and inversions, we recommend trying Paula Edwards’ 9am class each Monday, Ishmael Moran’s 4pm classes on Wednesdays and Fridays, or Jeff Wells’ class on Sundays at 10am.  If you are seeking more of a cardio workout or “yoga boot camp” experience, we recommend trying out “The Class “ with Natalie Kuhn on Fridays at 9am.

Restorative/Yin/Chair Yoga
For those who are recovering from injuries or who have trouble getting down to/up from the floor, we highly recommend Susan Cambigue-Tracey’s Chair Yoga classes on Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:00 to 1:00pm.  Chair Yoga is a great way to maintain your flexibility and have fun – take it from someone who knows personally!  For those seeking deep relaxation, try Doug Binzak’s yin class on Thursdays at 4 or Nichola Dunne’s Urban Zen class on Sundays at 5:45pm. Try to approach each yoga session with a beginner’s mindset, and you will never be bored!

Deepening Your Practice Through Workshops & Trainings
Ready for a change?  Want to better understand the origins of yoga? Want to help others? If so, try out one of Goorus’ weekend workshops or enroll in our 200-hour yoga teacher training this summer with Michelle Mazur.  You may not even want to become a yoga teacher, but you will learn more healthy alignment for yourself because you will receive more personalized attention. By supporting your local studio and its teachers, you will meet other people in your home community, make new friends, and strengthen your existing relationships. 

Commit to Growth over the Long Term
Like with anything new, it’s best to start off slow.  Taking group classes or private lessons 2 to 3 times a week is a smart way to go at first—you are less likely to burn yourself out and less likely to injure yourself.  Another yogic principle is that of ahimsa—non-harming—toward yourself, others, and all living creatures. Gradually, over time, you can work up to 5 or more days a week, depending on the amount of free time you have in your schedule, of course!

Most of us want a quick fix for whatever ails us. With yoga, patience and persistence is key!  It may take as much as a year or two for yoga to reveal its benefits, but the rewards will touch upon every aspect of your life. Try thinking about yoga as more of a journey rather than a destination, and you won’t be disappointed with your progress or feel guilty about missing an occasional class.

In my gym rat days, I found it helpful to enlist a “workout buddy.”  Brainstorm about who motivates you, and create a support system for yourself.  Above all, do your best by listening to your body and focusing on your own yoga practice.  Watching other practitioners and comparing ourselves will only lead to frustration.

If you find yourself struggling, focus on your breath.  Along with awareness, breath is like the secret weapon of yoga.  There are so many other aspects of yoga to explore besides asana!  In addition to pranayama, there is also meditation, mudras, yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and so on and so forth.  Yoga is a very deep subject.

Think of yoga workshops and trainings as self-care or investments in your self.  According to Adidas ambassador, ultra marathoner, and Peloton instructor Robin Arzon, “Self-care is the most self-less act you can do for everyone who encounters your energy.  You are going to be a better sister, a better partner, and a better co-worker.” Now that, to me, sounds like success!

11 Beginner Yoga Mistakes Almost Everyone Will Make In Their First Class

Nowadays, it seems like everybody and their best friend is doing yoga. From in-person group classes at a gym to DVDs and online tutorials, Hatha and Bikram to Vinyasa and Kundalini (and more), the prevalence of Western yoga practices has taken off. People turn to yoga for all different reasons. Some begin practicing to gain greater flexibility, others to build strength, and more for peace of mind. Whatever leads you to yoga,  it can be fairly easy to make at least one of the many beginner yoga mistakes almost all newbies make.

To be honest, there are even days when the most veteran yogi decides to hit a last-minute heated class and hadn't properly hydrated or wears their new yoga gear to class before realizing that it is not going to work. But those are mistakes that you'll be much more likely to make when you're first starting out and haven't figured out what works for you in your practice (like how hydrated you really need to be before stepping in that room — can you tell I've made this mistake before?). Being are of the following common beginner mistakes will help you feel more confident and at ease when you step on the mat.

1. They Don’t Pick the Right Yoga to Start

With so many different yoga and yoga-style classes available, it can be difficult for beginners to know where to start and how to find the class that they're looking for. "So many new yoga students walk into power yoga or hot yoga classes only to be discouraged by the experience and get 'turned off' by yoga," yoga instructor Miriam Amselem says in an email exchange with Romper. "The best yoga style to start with is Hatha/Raja, which focuses on simple stretching poses with proper breathing techniques and light meditation." If, however, you're looking for a power yoga class, read up on it and know what to expect when you walk in the door. It'll be quite a bit different than some of the other styles.

2. They Ignore Their Breath

Breathing is so key each time you step on the mat to practice. To best honest, breathing is still hard for me sometimes, even five or so years into practice. "Don't hold your breath in yoga, unless you're doing pranayam," yoga instructor Katharine Bierce tells Rompervia email. "Conscious breathing is a part of the practice and many beginners miss out on the benefits of yoga by focusing on how it looks and not on how it feels." It can be hard to remember when you're focusing so intently on alignment and other things, but yoga relies on the breath, so cultivate that each time you practice.

3. They Don’t Use Props

Props like blocks, bolsters, and straps are meant to help add ease to your practice. It's not cheating to use them, but sometimes beginners worry that it's a sign they can't do something without help. "Props should be your best friend," yoga instructor Brittany Szafran tells Romper by email. "Newbies tend to either be intimidated by the equipment or embarrassed to use it and look like a beginner." If you aren't sure if you're using a prop correctly or want to know how you can better incorporate them into your practice, talk to your teacher after class. They'll know what to do.

4. They Overcommit

If you're new to yoga, don't try to do too much too soon. "Starting off two to three times a week is better than jumping into a 30 day challenge after being a serious couch potato," Bierce says. "Work up to a daily practice, but I wouldn't recommend it immediately."

5. They Only Focus on the Poses

Yes, the postures and your alignment and body mechanics are very important when practicing yoga, but it's about more than just that. "Physical yoga is not the goal of yoga, it's just one of the tools for learning to ultimately better control the mind," Szafan says. "The experience of getting into the pose and the awareness of your body and mind that you cultivate along the physical journey is much more important than the pose itself. Handstands don't make you a better yogi." Remember that yoga is about more that just your flexibility or muscle tone.

6. They Don’t Listen to Cues

This can be especially difficult if the instructor is using terms with which you aren't familiar, but listening to vocal cues that your teacher provides will help you adjust your alignment to practice safely and successfully. "New students are overwhelmed. The poses are unfamiliar, breathing seem to be a foreign request, and listening is the last thing they can do, as their senses are simultaneously being stimulated," yoga instructor Parinaz Samimi says in an email exchange with Romper. "My suggestion to all new students is to slow down and listen." When in doubt, take a deep breath, look to your instructor (if you can), and focus on what she's saying.

7. They Don’t Know Yoga Etiquette

Yoga isn't like a typical group fitness class. Removing your shoes and socks before you enter the yoga room, silencing your phone, and speaking very softly, if at all, are all important things you need to know before your first class. "Most studios have frequently asked questions posted on their website or they might have rules posted up above the asana room," yoga instructor Gretchen Lightfoot. She adds that this will help you figure out what you need to be ready for when you get to the studio.

8. They Don’t Leave Time to Ease In

Rushing into a class that's supposed to help with mindfulness isn't the best way to get the most from your practice. Lightfoot recommends arriving with enough time to find somewhere to park, sign in, get the lay of the land, and set up in the room so that you don't have to hurry or get yourself all worked up unnecessarily.

9. They Only Try One Style

As you probably know by now, there are many different styles of yoga. If one style isn't right for you, another one might be. "New yogis tend to get caught up in the more mainstream styles such as Vinyasa Flow," Szafan says. "But there is a whole universe of other styles that may better fit their needs if they were to open up to discovering them. Within these styles there are many techniques other than asana such as pranayama, mantra, and meditation to also expose yourself to." It's supposed to be enjoyable, so if you don't like the pace or tenets of one, there are plenty other for you to try.

10. They Don’t Take Advantage of Beginner Specials

Many yoga studios offer beginner specials. Sometimes it's free yoga for a week, sometimes it's a reduced fee for a month, it varies from studio to studio. Lightfoot recommends taking full advantage of that offer and take a wide variety of classes with different teachers and at different times. That way, once you have to pay more for classes, you'll know exactly which are right for you.

11.They’re Hard On Themselves

It's hard not to compare yourself to everyone else in the room or even your own abilities the last time you were on the mat. "If you make mistakes, embrace them because this is how we learn," Lightfoot tells Romper. "Have a little fun with it and have a little fun with yourself because it’s meant to be kind of creating awareness for yourself and awareness of your body and human bodies and humans are funny. Every day is different, so just embrace it and have fun with it." Some days you nail crow pose and other days you stumble out of downward-facing dog.

Additionally, feeling bad that you can't do the same pose as someone else because it's uncomfortable or painful is unnecessary (though understandable, I know). "There’s a chronic fear people have of posing incorrectly, especially when starting off," yoga instructor Jessamyn Stanley tells Romper by email. "Copying a pose to look just like someone else’s won’t be comfortable or feel natural and could end up just hurting you or straining your muscles."

This article originally ran on Romper on Friday, May 19, 2017.  Romper is a site for a new generation of women figuring out what motherhood means for us.  

Finding the Yin Within: A Conversation with Instructor Doug Binzak

The supple reed yields to the wind and thus leaps back again

the empty bowl is ready to be filled

the athlete expends energy and thus expands strength

….

ancient sayings illuminate

"yield and you shall overcome"

"empty and you shall be filled"

"it is done unto you as you believe"

"surrender and be free."

 (Tao 22)

Conversation with Doug Binzak flows easily. Bubbling with the thoughtful constancy of a river or stream, peaking with surprising eddies of humor, it is clear that Doug is familiar with the vibrant life energy that he discusses during class. When he mentions that the arch of the foot is, according to Eastern philosophies, the bubbling wellspring for the spirit, it is easy to imagine that Doug himself, or DB, is tapped into his own spigot. He guides us into each pose with the gentle tenacity of a warrior-poet, the thoughtfulness of a scholar. His soothing voice is appropriate for a Yin class, as he counsels us to let go, release, and receive the benefits of this practice.

Yin yoga, according to Doug, is about listening, “not trying to hold it together,” being still. It draws from the soft, dark, receptive side of life, as opposed to the active, strident, and strong Yang energy. He rattles off a list of dualities: inhale/ exhale, active/ still, sun/ moon, day/ night, talking/ listening, male/ female, to illustrate the point that there are “two complementary energies” and “the interplay of those two things creates the Way of Life, the Tao”. 

Doug came to yoga, as many yogis do, through relationship. After working in the entertainment industry for years, rising within the ranks of Fox, his position at the department would have been relocated. He took a sabbatical. That’s when he started dating a woman who worked at a yoga studio-- a woman who is now his wife.

Beyond beginning a practice on the mat, Doug would read books at the yoga studio and felt a spiritual resonance with Buddhism and Taoism. He began to wash and dry rags used to clean mats in return for free yoga and found himself feeling re-embodied and opened up to Eastern perspectives. When a friend from the basketball court, who was also a yoga teacher, encouraged Doug to take a teacher training, Doug went for it. For both practical and spiritual reasons (there was a dearth of Yin teachers in the early 2000’s), Doug specialized in Yin.  “I really fell in love with it… it helped me to listen to my body on an intimate level and… drop into the experience of what a stretch is as it morphs.” He learned to approach poses from the inside/ out, as opposed to outside/in, and found that his yang practice began to blossom as well.

Now working as a Spiritual and Grief Counselor for Tranquil Care Hospice, it is this kind of conscious awareness of balance that makes Doug so good at what he does: as a counselor, he spends his days listening to people and absorbing their energy, and as a teacher he has the chance to pass on his knowledge and be more expressive.

When I ask him about the value of a Yin practice in particular, he replies from both macro and micro perspectives. Philosophically and metaphysically, he notes that in a time of global warming, the practice of Yin, a cooling practice, fits with necessary global adjustments. “It is yoga for every body,” he says, “beneficial for all levels of yoga practice,” adding that each pose and variation is “a Goldilocks experience-- find the one that tastes just right for you.” He also emphasizes the importance of a Yin practice for us as we age: “When you’re young you’re like Gumby.” As we get older, protective membranes and fluids in our joints begin to dry up. We may feel stiff in the morning and start to notice aches and pains in our joints that never bothered us before. “Yin,” Doug says, “teaches us how to exercise and be sensitive to areas where the body bends, to keep our joints moist as we age.”

For those who have never before practiced Yin, Doug suggests you “discover something that's totally customizable, safe--you don’t have to do something you don’t want to do or doesn’t feel right. Hear what I have to say and at the end, you can tell me if it’s bullshit or not,” then he smiles and quips, “As we say to our 6-year-old, you have to take one ‘no thank-you’ bite.”

Cosmic and grounded, compassionate and generous, kind, engaging, and firm, Doug embodies the wisdom he shares and emanates an inspiring balance of yang and yin. “Your own teacher is inside,” he advises during class, “you just have to learn how to listen.”

Doug Binzak teaches yin yoga at Goorus on Thursdays, 4-5:30pm.

Daily Dedications with Student Jill Cervant

What strikes me the most as I sit and chat with yoga student Jill Cervant at the Goorus studio is the joyous glow that emanates from her eyes. A dedicated yogi with an impressive commitment to her daily practice, Jill clearly loves what she does. As I ask her questions like, “What is your favorite yoga pose?” (shoulder stand, for the record: she likes that you are reversing the effects of gravity) and “How did you first start practicing yoga?” she responds with laughter, smiles, and a lightness that spreads across her features. Talking with her is infectious; by the end of our chat, I am feeling more centered too.

Jill first started practicing yoga in New York in her early 20’s, where she worked as a dancer on Broadway and in nightclubs. When she decided to leave the dance world, a friend brought her to her first yoga class. She loved it.

Thirty years later, Jill is an avid yogi. For the past three or four years now she has maintained a beautiful daily practice: she meditates for half an hour before focusing on the core yoga poses. “When you focus on the basics,” she says, “you can build a strong foundation. You can make simple poses as rigorous as you want.” She finds the benefits of a daily practice significant: “Just starting that practice everyday and just breathing, it becomes second nature,” she says, describing an ease in the constancy which she didn’t quite find from practicing a few times a week.

Proof of Jill’s passion for yoga? Her daily practice takes place first thing in the morning. “It’s the only time I know I’ll be able to get here,” she says. This includes zipping down from her Mandeville Canyon home to practice with the core morning group that attends the 6:30 AM Wake Up Yoga classes at Goorus. She describes to me how special it is to practice in the early mornings, “You arrive in the dark,” she notes, “and it’s light when you walk out.” An apt metaphor for the ongoing practice of yoga itself.

In addition to her M/W/F earlybird practice, Jill attends 8:30 AM classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, adding Kundalini and Iyengar to the mix.  “I love the variety,” she says, “taking classes with five different teachers with five different perspectives.” She loves the variety that yoga has become now, in general. Each student can choose from a wide range to find “the kind of practice you want for your body and your life.”

All of this dedication pays off. Yoga affects every area of Jill’s life. She finds herself more centered, more focused, and notes that yoga lowers her anxiety level, or, she corrects with a laugh, it makes her “more able to cope”. It is this sense of levity and groundedness in the face of life’s struggles that makes Jill’s yoga practice so inspiring.

When asked to offer words of wisdom to yoga students who might be new to the mat, Jill shared these gems: “Be patient with yourself. Yoga is not a competition. Just getting yourself to the mat consistently, no matter how much you can bend or not bend, is beneficial.”

She grins and that soft glow illuminates her face again, “Just getting there,” she says.It’s a lovely reminder that sometimes, just showing up, once, and twice, and then over and over again, is enough.

Fun Ways to Get Fit in 2017

Getting fit is all the rage these days. Especially at the beginning of a new year, when people like the idea of a clean slate to help launch a healthier lifestyle. Oftentimes, however, these well-meant plans are dashed by the second month. Usually this stems from overdoing it and expectations that are too high. Not everyone is built to hop out of bed at 6 am for a daily run, and not everyone has the time to attend a cycling class after work. Sometimes it’s even sheer boredom that pushes people off of their fitness plans. One of the best ways to get fit and stay fit is to find something you like to do and something that you look forward to doing. Once you get the hang of that, it’s likely you’ll want to incorporate other activities. Baby steps can truly lead to great strides. In the meantime, if you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas to get you moving:

Social Dance
Take a social dance class in your community. Check a local college to see if they have classes you can audit or research dance studios in your area. You will have a unique workout experience and a ton of fun.

Become a dog walker
Spending time with dogs actually has incredible health benefits. A great way to incorporate those benefits into your life is to become a dog walker. With apps like Rover’s, it’s easier than ever to get connected with clients. And of course, dog walking is a great workout. Chances are you’ll get in so many steps a day simply walking your clients that you won’t need to spend much of your free time at the gym.

Geocaching
If you have ever been geocaching, you know that it involves a large amount of walking. Instead of just taking a walk down a neighborhood sidewalk, go on your very own treasure hunt! It will keep you so busy, you may not even remember you're exercising.

Yoga
It’s not just for relaxation! Yoga is an incredible way to work on fitness, strength, and flexibility. Not to mention that it forces you to be more mindful of your body. There are all different types of yoga available, too, and yoga is something you can do at home alone, or there are classes just about everywhere (i.e. studios, community centers, gyms). The physical and mental benefits of yoga can be truly life-changing.

Indoor Rock Climbing
You can typically find rock climbing walls at local gyms or college fitness centers. It will require a good bit of endurance, and it will force you to use nearly every muscle in your body. It is a fun way to get in a workout for the day while placing your focus on overcoming a challenge.

Clean The House the Old-Fashioned Way
Since we all have to clean our houses anyway, try doing a few tasks the old-fashioned way for a little extra exercise. For example, use a bucket and rag to clean the floor instead of mop or Swiffer, and wash the dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher in order to spend a little more time standing.

Play with Your Kids
Play active games with your kids like hide-and-seek, tag, or Twister. Play fetch or take the family dog for a walk. You will have very little trouble finding active games to play with your kids, because their endless amounts of energy with make them the best fitness coach you could have.

Exercise on the Couch
The internet is full of exercise routines that you can complete while watching television. Accomplish simple things like leg lifts or crunches on the couch, and sit up straight instead of leaning into the couch cushions. You could notice a big difference in your core and leg strength, just by making these little changes through the course of your week.

Redecorate Your House or Someone Else’s
Have you ever moved furniture before? If you have, you know the physical strain it places on muscles all throughout your body. There is even a whole program, called “The Movement,” dedicated to the idea of getting fit by moving household items. If following a moving-inspired workout routine doesn’t appeal to you, you can always volunteer to help friends, neighbors, and relatives with their moves. You’ll get a good workout and have some brownie points saved up when the time comes to ask for help for your next move!

Racquetball
You may want to strap on some safety goggles and athletic shoes for this one. You will be moving all over a small court, attempting to swing a racquet precisely enough to hit the ball as it flies all over the room. These courts can usually be found at a local gym or college fitness center. Racquetball is tons of fun and constant movement.

Fitness is important for long-term health and well-being, but it has to be something you can and want to commit to. Set yourself up to make your goals happen by finding the right activity for you.

What is a Soundbath? Guru Mitar Explains the Benefits of Sound

We’re really looking forward to our upcoming Sound Bath with Guru Mitar Kaur at Goorus on February 12! We asked Guru Mitar a few questions so that you can know what to expect.

What is a Breathwork Soundbath?

It is a sacred healing journey; it is like a very deep and lasting massage tuning the body and soul to its greatest possible resonance. Like adjusting a piano, your body can be tuned to achieve optimal physical balance. Within a breathing sound journey, you allow the breath and vibrational sound to bring the body back to its full potential.   

What was your first introduction to sound baths and how did you get started? 

My first experience of a sound bath was in a Kundalini yoga class back in 2004.  My teacher was an expert in sound therapy; he would always bathe us in a sound bath at the end of each class. There was one particular evening when he was playing Venus the Gong of Love, that I felt like I had an out of body experience; it was as if I merged with the gong and was traveling beyond my physical body. After the session, I felt amazingly full of life and energy.  After that experience I wanted to share the experience with others, so I purchased my own Gong of Love. 

What kind of sounds do you create, what instruments do you use, and what are the healing aspects of the sounds, if any?

Scientifically, the sounds relax our nervous system and activate right brain activity (the creative, intuitive side). Our left brain (the logical side) relaxes, resulting in less mind chatter. During our waking state, the normal frequency of our brain waves is that of Beta; during the sound bath the brain-waves move into the deeper Alpha and Theta brain wave frequencies where profoundly deep healing can occur.

Today I use many sacred instruments, from drums, to gongs, healings inging bowls, winds chimes, tuning forks, tingsha meditation bells. 

The drum creates a low frequency and deeply penetrating sound vibration moving the brainwave activity to the Delta waves, similar to deep restorative sleep. It is within Delta brains waves that healing and regeneration are stimulated within the body.

The sound of the gong is the sound of the universe and by listening to it you are tuning in to the sounds of the cosmos. The gong has many unpredictable sounds which help the brain move smoothly from an active brain wave to deeper states of relaxation (Theta or Delta).   

I also play quartz crystal singings bowls. Quartz has the ability to transform, store, and amplify energy and is used in a variety of common items today including watches and computers. The human body is crystalline in nature and the sound of the bowls has a powerful healing effect on all of our bodily systems.

Tibetan singing bowls are considered a symbol of “the unknowable,” and their vibrations have been described as the “sound of the universe manifesting.”  The pure sonic waves that ring from the bowls are said to have the ability to awaken every cell within the body.  

What can people expect during your Breathwork Soundbath with us on February 12th?

First we will use the breath; the breath is a powerful healing tool. When you want to hold down and repress your feeling and emotions, you do so instinctively by holding your breath. The opposite is also true; if you consciously breathe you can allow deeply-held feelings and emotions to free themselves. Then, you simply allow the sacred healing sound to heal every cell within the body.

 

Guru Mitar Kaur teaches Kundalini yoga at Goorus on Thursdays at 8:30am.

December News & Announcements

Happy Holidays, yogis ~
 
We all know that yoga is not only good for you, but also loads of fun. However, not everyone is able to squeeze it into their schedule or budget. They may be feeling intimidated or just not able to follow through on their intentions.
 
If you know someone who could really benefit from a regular yoga practice, but is new to yoga, we have four two-hour workshops lined up for January through April—each of which includes a free week of yoga afterwards!
 
For those looking to learn deepen their understanding of Iyengar Yoga, Lori McIntosh will teach a special pop-up “Fundamentals of Iyengar Yoga” class on Thursdays in January from 5:45-7pm.
 
Silvi Winthrop will also teach two meditation classes on Wednesdays in January from 6-7:15pm; these classes will meet on January 4 & January 11.
 
If you know someone who can’t—or won’t—take group yoga classes, why not gift them our online, interactive classes? They never need to leave the comfort of their home!  We can also schedule private lessons with your favorite instructor or book a yoga party for a group of your friends—just say the word and we’ll make it happen. Goorus also carries a variety of yoga mats, blocks, and foam rollers if you are searching for the perfect gift for your favorite yogi or yogini.
 
In January, we have some amazing guest teachers leading incredible workshops. If your schedule permits, we encourage you to check out the following events:
 
Sun. 1/8/17 | 2-4pm
Sweet Release: Yin Flow
Jennifer Goodman
$35 early/$40 late
 
Sat. 1/21/17 | 2-4pm
Healthy, Happy Feet: Yoga for Your Feet
Wendy Shubin
$25 early/$30 late
 
Sun. 1/22/17| 2-4:30pm
Meet Your Fascia - A Practice for Your Practice
Diana Cummins
$25 early/$30 late (Franklin Balls will be available for purchase)
 
Since the New Year is nearly upon us, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone (in a funny way, of course!) of yoga etiquette while in the studio. Enjoy the following, short installment from Tejas Yoga in Chicago! https://youtu.be/N-3f4lCkcsA

As we move from a heated election season into the busy holiday season, let your yoga practice provide a refuge. Why not try Nichola Dunne’s Urban Zen class on Sundays from 5:45-7pm? Ideal for all levels, this self-care practice consists of gentle, therapeutic movements and incorporates essential oils, Reiki, guided meditation.
 
John and I are so grateful for the wide community of friends, teachers, students, and all who have contributed to the Goorus community.  Wishing you a mindful holiday season!
 
Gretchen
 
P.S.  Goorus will be closed for the holidays on Sunday, December 25 and Sunday, January 1.