Celebrate Winter Solstice

  Winter Solstice Arrives in Cleveland, OH at December 21, 2015 at 11:49PM Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and from this day, until the summer solstice in June, the daylight hours increase each day. In ancient times, people held huge celebrations to welcome …

Celebrate Winter Solstice



Winter Solstice Arrives in Cleveland on Monday, December 21nd at 11:49AM EST in Cleveland, OH 

Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and from this day, until the summer solstice in June, the daylight hours increase each day. In ancient times, people held huge celebrations to welcome the light, it also marks the first day of Winter.

The Winter Solstice is a wonderful time to celebrate the season with your family! Consider making ice lanterns and line your driveway or front walk, make a yule log or visit your child’s classroom and share a story about the solstice (teachers love this!). There are countless ways to celebrate the return of the sun. Here are a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoy!  Be sure to let me know your solstice traditions in the comments below! Let’s welcome the LIGHT together!

  • Make a wreath from evergreens (a symbol of the Solstice) collected by family members. On or after New Year’s Day, your wreath can be returned to Nature.
  • Make your family’s favorite food and/or a cake and put a sunshine on it.  Birthday candles can be put on the dessert. Each family member can light a candle and make a wish for the holiday season or the upcoming calendar year. Once all candles are lit, the family as a whole can blow them out to send wishes on their way. Then call out “Happy Solstice” or “Good Yule” in unison.
  • Ring a bell together to celebrate your connection with the cycles of Nature and to celebrate your connection with life on planet Earth and all of Nature.
  • Light a candle (also a symbol of the Solstice) and talk about what the Solstice means. Ask family members to focus on a candle, and then extinguish. Sit in darkness for a few moments and reflect on the importance of light and of Sun to life on the planet.
  • Feed the birds! Take your family outdoors during the Winter at this Solstice time. Focus on being part of the fabric of life of Nature. Then express appreciation for the beauty of Nature. Each family member then takes a handful of seeds and focuses on the seeds as symbols of life and as messengers of goodwill toward other parts of Nature and then places the seeds in a feeder or grass. Enjoy the light!!!!

Energy Flow

Week 3 of Starting a Home Practice

When I first learned about nadis I was fascinated! I was already interested in the chakras, so this information helped me make an even deeper connection to understanding energy in our bodies. Nadis are the subtle channels, or paths, that prana (energy) flows through the body. Many yoga anatomy books vary in stating exactly how many nadis there are in the body (anywhere from several thousand to 72,000 and beyond), but there are six that are very important they are ida, pingala, sushumna, brahmani, chitrani and vijnani. Three of these are most important, according to Swami Rama, Dr. Ballentine and Dr. Hymes in the book Science of Breath “…pingala (surya) flows through the right nostril, ida (chandra) flows through the left nostril; and sushumna, which is when both nostrils flow freely without any obstruction…All three major nadis originate at the base of the spine and travel upward. The sushumna nadi is centrally located and travels along the spinal canal. At the level of the larynx it divides into an anterior and posterior portion, both of which terminate in the brahmarandra (cavity of the Brahma)…the ida and pingala nadis also travel upward along the spinal column, but they crisscross each other and the sushumna before terminating in the left and right nostrils, respectively. The junctions where the ida and pingala and sushumna meet along the spinal column are called chakras (wheels).”

In class, you may have heard me say we need to work through “trapped” energy by doing certain poses. I am referring to prana. This trapped prana, or energy, can get all jammed up in different parts of our body and that’s when we begin to feel bad. Many of us know exactly where those areas are by the symptoms. For example, we might get frequent headaches (6th chakra), we might have shortness of breath (4th chakra), or we may suffer from digestive problems (3rd chakra). The result of freeing the prana to move through the nadis is that magical feeling you have after class that is difficult to describe to others who have never practiced yoga. Moving our bodies, moves the energy, in turn, making us feel better-sometimes much better. Learning more about the chakras can be extremely helpful in learning how to relieve discomfort in your body and even in your life.

So, what does asana mean and how does it relate to the nadis? Asana means “pose”. Yoga actually began as a meditative practice until about a thousand years ago. The ancient yogis realized that they had this powerful energy built up inside of them and they felt a strong need to move. They developed a series of poses that had a deep effect on body and mind. This set of poses makes up Hatha Yoga.

Many people new to yoga are often intimidated by all the different kinds of yoga out there today, but all these styles are rooted in Hatha yoga which has been called the “Grandfather” of all yoga. You may also be familiar with The Eight Limbs of Yoga. The Eight Limbs are actually part of Ashtanga yoga or Raja yoga meaning “the royal path”.

One style of yoga is not necessarily better than another, it’s really up to you to find what style is best for you and fits your needs. All yoga is good yoga when practiced with awareness, commitment and dedication. Yoga can lead you to a life you never imagined! My best advice to a new student is to try several different styles of yoga to see which one you like most. Some people enjoy a vigorous practice in a hot room with music, while others enjoy a gentler class with no music, and many people enjoy a combination of the two. As a practitioner of yoga, I like all styles of yoga but it’s the connection I have to the teacher’s personal style that keeps me coming back to their class. There are so many wonderful styles of yoga to choose from and even more amazing teachers dedicated to giving you a great class!

This week, I encourage you to step out into your community and try a new class or rent a DVD. See what you like! remember, take a beginner class if you’re new to yoga or the particular style. If you are going to a studio, call ahead or check their website if you aren’t sure what level to take. But, most of all, enjoy your experience! And, of course, don’t forget to come back to my class and bring a friend!

Here are some of my favorite DVD’s
Jo Tastula – High Vibrations
Yoga for Beginners
Sean Corne
Sean Corne II
Ashtanga Yoga
Pre-Natal with Shiva Rea