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  971 NW Spruce Ave Ste 101, Corvallis, OR  |  541-224-6566  |  My Account  |

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6:32 pm

Yoga or Pilates?

I am frequently asked, “What’s the difference between Yoga and Pilates?”  “Which is better for me?” Here is my short answer. I will start with the similarities.  Both Yoga and Pilates are mind-body exercises.  We pay attention as we move.  We listen to our bodies and we follow our body’s wisdom.  We do not try to escape when we are exercising, rather we drop in as deeply as we are able and pay attention to the body while it moves. By paying attention to the body’s sensations as we exercise, we are honing deep awareness.  We are learning how our bodies move and respond. Our goal is to shift from being unconsciously incompetent (where we are more likely to injure ourselves) to consciously competent (where we begin to feel at ease in our bodies).  As we continue to practice we become unconsciously competent, and that manifests as grace. Joseph H. Pilates developed his system of physical fitness in the early 20th century.  He called his exercises ‘Contrology.’ JH Pilates intended that you gained control over your body’s movements and form, and that both the mind and the body were trained together.  JH Pilates’ exercises were influenced by modern dance, yoga, and the physical culture movement of his day. Pilates focuses on core strength and flexibility, dominantly in the abdomen, back and pelvic floor.  You will spend the bulk of a Pilates class lying prone or supine on the floor.  You will do repetitive movements that isolate muscles in your body’s core.  You will use the movement of your arms and legs to challenge the stability of the body’s core muscles.  You will flex, bend and twist to develop strength and mobility. Yoga originated in India and has a long history. Yoga is not a religion and will not try to convert your beliefs.  In Yoga, the body is experienced as a pathway toward a deeper connection with your spiritual self, whatever your beliefs are.  I have been told that the yoga postures were developed as a way of creating vital health in the body while preparing the body for prayer and meditation. Yoga classes will generally begin with a guided breathing or centering exercise. You will then move through a sequence of postures that bend and twist the body through its full range of movement, building strength, flexibility, balance and grace in the process.   You will practice seated, prone, standing, supine and occasionally inverted poses.  There is less repetitive motion in a Yoga class than in a Pilates class. You work toward a fluid flow from one posture to another timed with your breath.  Yoga classes almost always end with guided rest and relaxation. So which is better for you? My answer: both.   I’d suggest you give each a try.  See what resonates and try that for a while.  Personally, I like a practice that includes both.  I find that Pilates fills holes that Yoga misses, and Yoga fills holes that Pilates misses.  If you prefer a class that is more ‘exercisey’ they you’ll probably like Pilates better.  If you are complimenting an athletic practice for increased flexibility and grace, then you’ll like an active yoga class better.   If you have a back injury or chronic illness, try Gentle or Adaptive Yoga. If you need to build more core strength, try a Pilates equipment class.   If you are mostly interested in stress reduction and relaxation, try Restorative Yoga, Flow Yoga or Yoga Bliss.  If you want a more active fiery yoga practice, give Rocket Yoga a try.  And if you are just feeling bored with your practice, then try something new from the menu. And, we are very happy to guide you to the best class for you.  Give us a call anytime:  541 231 6091

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12:19 pm

Counting Down, Counting Breaths

Just 10 days until we open Live Well Studio.  We are excited, busy, happy, and a little anxious.  It has been many years since I found myself in this kind of elated countdown.  I feel like I did in childhood counting the days until Christmas.   It is easy to fall into focusing on the future rather than living in the present. I am reminded of the meditation practice of counting breaths.  We can count days like breaths, weeks like breaths, months or years like breaths.  Each one passes and we come around again to being in this moment.  The gift of the practice is returning to this moment. Years ago when I just beginning this path a friend told me her story about learning how to count breaths.  She had been sitting with a Zen Meditation Teacher in Berkeley who taught this practice.  After a year or so, when she went in for private instruction with her teacher, she reported to him “Master, I have now counted 10,000 breaths. What should I do next.”  His reply, “Begin again, start at 1 and count to 10, then begin again.” There is no prize at the end of 10,000 breaths, or 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 years, no prize beyond being in the moment.  Being in the moment, in this breath, is the prize. Today I will take a break from the busyness of getting ready to move.  I will go out into the forest and walk and breath.  I will look at the trees, the sky, the birds and be present with my breath for as long as I am able. My mind will wander. I will begin thinking about my family, the studio, and the bigger world.  Then I will notice that my mind has drifted and I will return to my breath and the forest. The gift of meditation is the moment of being present: the moment when I feel alive, happy, and in awe of the world around me.  10 days, 10 breaths, begin again.

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10:18 am

Change and Transformation

David Life (cofounder of Jivamukti Yoga in NYC) says that "yoga is not for people who are interested in staying the same."  His words made me laugh.  Luckily, I am not very interested in staying the same.  No wonder yoga has been such a good fit for me. We never know where the paths of our lives will lead us.   We walk through life as if carrying a small lantern in a dark forest.  Only the path directly in front of us is illuminated. We imagine the path continues forward smoothly toward the destination we have intended. But there is no guarantee as to how smooth the path will be or to where it will take us.  The biggest gifts in my life have largely been unforeseen, unplanned and unexpected.  No doubt, my life will be full of unknowns for a while yet. Yoga teaches us grace in the face of the unknown.  Yoga teaches us that we can sit calmly at the center of a storm.  Yoga gives us stamina to walk into the shadows of our lives and emerge with smiles of gratitude.  Yoga has taught me to be a happier and healthier person.  I hope to continue to share that path with you.

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