It was a beautiful day in my neighborhood :)
Sunshine makes me happy...lots of humor and love lead the way today as fifteen people gathered at Franklin Fieldhouse to stretch and breathe.
Today's class started with a brief guided love meditation that brought everyone's attention to their own heart. Yoga has taught me is that we all need more love in our lives, and it starts with loving ourselves. Take a breath and give yourself a mental high five. YOU ARE AWESOME!
Today's organization was Reflections of Wellness for Women, an Aurora Group that is in its' seventeenth year. Every year, the group hosts a self-care expo, promoting health and wellness.
The adventure continues.....
Weather-74 & SUNNY
Students-2 chair, 13 mat
Organization-Reflections of Wellness
What a day for a daydream.....
Blue is the color of the throat chakra. When I need a boost of confidence, I wear my blue tank top. I woke up this morning thinking I would say a few words to my students about how these classes are going so far. We are exactly halfway through the fundraiser; fifteen classes behind us, fifteen classes to go. Little did I know that I would be speaking to so many people!
Thirty-one people showed up for class today. Some were in a chair, some were on a mat. People of all ages, sizes and abilities. Teenagers, seniors, and everyone in between. Tears came to my eyes when I saw everyone relaxing in child's pose. This was exactly what I envisioned when I started planning these classes.
"If you want something, give it"-Deepak Chopra
I wanted to find a way to help the people right in front of me, the people living in my community. The thing that I am good at, the thing that I love, is yoga. That is why I am teaching these classes, to allow people to come and try it again and again for free if necessary. There are 15 classes left....now's your chance!!
It was awesome to see eight people show up today, in spite of the cloudy weather.
The coming weekend looks beautiful and sunny :)
In the last week, eighty people have joined me on the field. We have raised $182.00 for West Allis organizations, including the Senior Center and five different PTA's. I am grateful people are feeling benefit from these classes and are coming back for more :)
Almost halfway through...see you soon!
Weather- 67 & cloudy
Students-3 chair, 5 mat
Only 17 more chances to join me for free sunrise yoga :)
Benefits of practicing yoga outside in the early morning....
*Cultivates a feeling of connection and peace
*Gentle movement loosens muscles that tend to stiffen overnight
*By taking care of yourself first thing, it's easier to make healthier choices throughout the rest of the day
*Connecting with nature is very grounding, encouraging a sense of calm that continues
*Focusing on breath and body allows greater concentration
Weather-68 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 5 mat
We raised $18 for Jefferson Elementary today. To me, that's a victory. To me, the eleven people who showed up this morning are heroes. When people find out about these classes, the first question I hear is "why"? Why am I doing this and why is it free?
It's because I am absolutely convinced that yoga saved my life. For most of my life, I was depressed, miserable and angry. I was tired, hurting and bloated. I spread negativity wherever I went. Although It didn't happen overnight, adding yoga to my life took me from the saddest person I know to the happiest. I put a lot of work in. It has all been worth it and I truly want to share it with everyone around me. I'm not unique. It will work for you, too!
New to yoga? Come to a class. If you don't like me as a teacher, please find another teacher. Really. :) We sit and breathe and learn to love ourselves in my classes and I realize that approach doesn't work for everyone. However, yoga WILL work for you, I promise! There are many types of yoga and many wonderful teachers out there. Find a teacher you connect with, someone who inspires you to come back for more, someone who tells you things you already knew, but needed to be reminded of :)
I close every class with the words "thank you for taking the time to take care of yourself". I know it's a choice to show up to an exercise class. I know that there is often something else to do. I also know that once you start to show yourself a little love, magical things happen. :)
Questions & comments are always welcome :) See you tomorrow!
Weather- 72 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 9 mat
Hello West Allis :)
Yesterday I told you about some general things yoga can help with. Today, I wanted to take a moment to tell you a little something about my own journey...
One of the many things that yoga has helped me improve is my posture. I suffer from a host of back issues including scoliosis, sciatica, widening of my sacroiliac joint, and at least one bulging disc. As a result of all of that damage, I was medicated for years and even had several rounds of injections to help control the pain. It didn't happen overnight, but through consistent yoga practice my back strengthened enough that I stopped needing medication. I stand much taller than I used to, and I am grateful for that.
Do you have an everyday ache or pain that you think yoga will help with? Come on down for a class or two....they're free for the next 19 days :)
Weather-74 & Sunny
Students-2 chair, 10 mat
Organization-Irving Elementary PTA
Have your own yoga story that you'd like to share? I'd love hearing about it :)
We were back outside for class today :)
A dozen people braved the early morning to do yoga with me. It's awesome to see so many new and returning students, gathering to find a little zen in the early morning sunshine. This is exactly what I was imagining when I thought these classes up.
If you are new to yoga, here are some of the benefits you might not know about:
Improved breath capacity Increased peace of mind
Blood pressure maintenance Memory improvement
Improved flexibility and strength Decreased anxiety and depression
Increased body awareness Improved concentration
These classes are meant to be beginner friendly. I encourage all of my students to work at their own pace, and modify as they need to.
Weather-74 & sunny
Students-2 chair, 10 mat
Today is all about gratitude <3
I would like to take a moment to thank Linda, Shelly, and everyone else at the WAWM Rec Department for all of their support. Being able to offer these classes free of charge, rain, shine, or unbearable heat is all thanks to them. I would also like to thank the wonderful Jenny, who volunteered to be there every day and helps make everyone feel welcome.
Today's organization was the West Allis Senior Center. This one was especially important to me because I teach a weekly class there. Every Thursday morning 12-20 people gather in the lower level to breathe, move and laugh together. It is one of the highlights of my week. I'm especially grateful that my dad attends class most weeks, and my mom joins him when she can. I love the feeling of support and friendliness that everyone has, and I look forward to teaching there for years to come <3
Thanks to everyone who is showing up to practice with me.
See you tomorrow......
Weather-78 & HUMID
Students-4 chair, 7 mat
Organization-WA Senior Center
Nineteen people were glad to be practicing inside the air-conditioned fieldhouse today. Whew! It was a humid one. We will also be inside tomorrow. :)
The organization of the day was the WISH Group, a program offered through the West Allis Police Department in partnership with the West Allis Health Department and West Allis Woman’s Club.
WISH stands for Women Initiate Self-Healing and Hope and is a support, empowerment, and educational group for women who are in an abusive relationship or have been in an abusive relationship. The group helps women gain support, insight and strength from other women who have experienced (and survived!) domestic violence.
I continually stress how unimportant the money is to me, that the goal of these classes is to get people doing yoga and feeling better. However, it was an honor to raise $54.00 today.
Weather-78 & HUMID (class was indoors)
Students-2 chair, 17 mat
Horace Mann was in the HOUSE today!
Or on the field :)
For the first time, I had people come from the organization of the day. Not surprisingly, it was our best day yet! Nineteen people came to get some zen this morning, including five staff members from Horace Mann, plus a parent and a grandparent. WOW. I'm filled with gratitude <3
Today's students included a 10 year old (3rd time he's been there!) and a 69 year old (my dad) Way to go guys! <3
Special thanks to Principal Krupar for sending email reminders and being the first one from Mann there :) Your support was very effective.
Extra special thanks to my sister, Mrs. Foukas, for not only getting out of bed at the crack of dawn, but also for getting all of her amazing co-workers and parents to show up. I love you!
Weather-72 & Sunny
Students-4 chair, 15 mat (WOOT!)
Organization-Horace Mann PTA
Five people braved the heat with me today.
One of the benefits of moving your body first thing in the morning is that you are filled with energy and enthusiasm for the rest of your day. You've already taken the time to care for yourself, which means you are more likely to keep the trend going all day. Bringing focus to your breath and body, especially in nature, is a wonderful way to connect to yourself on a deeper level, which cultivates peace of mind.
I often teach breathing exercises during class. Here is one of my favorites :)
Inhale for the count of four
Hold your breath in for the count of four
Exhale for the count of four
Hold your breath out for the count of four
Do this as many times as you like, one breath or 100. You can make your count as long or as short as you'd like, just keep it equal (inhale 5, hold 5 etc)
Weather-76, Sunny & HOT
Students-2 chair, 3 mat
Organization-FLW Intermediate PTA
Eight beautiful people joined me this morning at Franklin Fieldhouse.
Yoga has given me the very special skill of rooting for EVERYONE I meet. When I drive past strangers on the street who are jogging or biking, or walking their dog, I silently cheer for them. They are out moving their bodies. You go, Lady! Awesome job, dude! I cheer for them because I have finally learned how to cheer for myself.
That's the community I am hoping to build by offering these classes. People who want to cheer for each other, and for themselves. If you need encouragement, I am here, silently (and often verbally) cheering for you.
It's one of my special skills :)
Slowly but surely word is getting out about these classes. It fills my heart with gratitude to see people returning day after day, or arriving for the first time.
All are welcome.
Weather-68 & Sunny
People-2 chair, 6 mat
Organization-Franklin Elementary PTA
*Special thanks to Jenny from the WAWM Rec Department for being there to help us every morning. We couldn't do this without you!
Day 4. Another early one :)
I was so pleased that 13 people came to do yoga with me today. I love seeing so many body types and ages show up to feel better! Today's age range was 10-65. These classes are truly meant to be for everyone.
If you have ever attended one of my classes, you've probably heard me talk about the healing power of yoga. When you can focus your logical mind to pay attention to your breath and body, you send all kinds of signals to your brain and other systems that it's time to repair and relax. Also, by engaging your logical mind, your emotional mind quiets down. This is why people speak of the stress-relieving benefits of a yoga class.
Come join me sometime...only 26 days left!
Weather 70 & Sunny
Students 13 (10 mat, 3 chair)
Organization Central HS PTA
Money Raised $32.41
Today was the first time class was held at 6:15
Would anyone show up? :)
One of my chair yoga ladies, who is planning on being at most of the classes, was already there. Whew. She said she hopes I get a better turnout than just her. I said my turnout was just fine already :)
Thankfully, a few more did show up. The weather for today's class was absolutely gorgeous.
If you are wondering what these morning yoga classes are like, here is a rough schedule:
First, we sit and breathe in the sunshine.
Then, we move and breathe, but only as much as our bodies want to (slow sun salutations, standing poses, stretching)
Finally, we lay down and breathe in the sunshine.
Can you tell a Wisconsin girl planned these classes? Winter is just around the corner....come join me!
Weather-70 & Sunny (BEAUTIFUL!)
Students- 7 (2 chair, 5 mat)
Organization-Horace Mann Community Closet
Money Raised- $21.00
Day 2 dawned dark and cloudy.
Would anyone show up? (WIll I be asking myself this every morning?)
Being an optimist, I decided to look at this as an opportunity to see how holding class inside would be....
Turns out, the building was perfect. Nice windows on each side, so we had a breeze going through the room. Tibetan singing bells playing on the mantel (strangely, there is a nice fireplace in The Franklin Field House. Who knew?) The overhead lights were a bit of a challenge, but we worked it out :)
Kudos to my chair yoga ladies....they worked up a sweat and loved it!
Weather-70 & rainy
Students-9 (7 mat, 2 chair)
Organization-Sodexo Backpack Program
Money Raised $28.00
I had my alarm set for 5am, but I was still up at 4. Oh, the anticipation. Would
anyone show up?
I got to the field at 7am. No one else was there yet. I spent time sitting in the sunshine, visualizing the class ahead of me. Months of planning, weeks of advertising and passing out flyers, countless deep breaths and it was finally here.
Would anyone show up?
I wanted this series of 30 classes to be successful. Having one person show up to do yoga with me, and feel better in their body and mind....that is success to me. Of course, I want more than one, .I want 100! That's why it's free!
Fourteen people showed up!! Eleven for mat yoga, three for chair yoga, and one who did both!** A wonderful mix of my regular students and newcomers, including two people who never did yoga before! Perfect!
Yoga has been a huge source of healing in my life, and I know that many people out there suffer everyday, either with physical or emotional pain. Yoga helps with both better than anything I have ever tried.
Things yoga has taught me:
To have patience with myself, which helps me have patience with others.
To love myself, which helps me love others
To give is to receive
Please join me one of these days!
Organization-West Allis Christmas Parade
Money Raised $38.50
**My student who did both mat and chair yoga today is one of my favorite regulars. She was coming to 3 mat classes and 1 chair class every week before she injured her arm and found out her cancer was back. She hugged me after class, told me she loved me and said "That felt like coming home".
This is why I view what I do as a calling, not a job. I am grateful for the healing powers of yoga. I am grateful for everyone who shows up to a class and leaves feeling better.
(pictures coming in the next few days!)