I’m writing this blog in the midst of a nasty stomach bug. It’s taking me twice as long to finish due to many bathroom interruptions. My day has been shot. I slept most of it away, missed teaching and practicing yoga and am wondering how I’ll gather energy to play with my daughter when she gets home from day care. Calgon, take me away!! I wish that a yoga class would make something like a stomach bug go away but it doesn’t. Yoga does have many healing powers, and I witness it first hand every day.
The secrets to staying healthy are simple: eat well, hydrate, get enough sleep, and exercise. Unfortunately many people have a hard time with these few simple steps. Due to the demand of jobs, children, family, homes, pets, etc, the basic needs of health are not met. Many Americans are sleep deprived, overweight, dehydrated and don’t exercise.
We are lucky here on the Seacoast that we have such an active and health conscious community. Everywhere people are running, biking, kayaking, swimming and enjoying the outdoors. We have such an array of different restaurants that offer healthy, fresh, local and sustainable food. We are a destination for tourists to come to enjoy, relax, have fun, and rest. We are a mecca for yoga, with many studios and teachers serving the seacoast.
I see all types of people at 3 Bridges, It’s what I love about most about our studio. Everyone that walks through the door is not super thin, flexible, done-up, or strong. We have men and women, students and professionals, tourists and locals, vegans and carnivores. Some have practiced yoga before and some have no clue what a yoga pose is.
So what is it about yoga that can bring such a diverse group of people together? IT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD! Everyone has a different reason for practicing yoga; healing a body part after an injury, losing weight, reducing stress, increasing flexibility and strength, better sleep or even finding spirituality. Yoga helps with all of these things!
I’ve heard people say that they can’t even touch their toes so yoga is not for them. You are the person I want to teach! I’ve seen such grand transformation in students flexibility and strength after practicing consistently for a period of time. It’s truly amazing! I’ve taught people with all types of injuries and conditions. The majority of them stick with it and FEEL BETTER! Don’t get me wrong, yoga is physical and it’s not easy, especially the Vinyasa Yoga that we practice here.
It seems we all have some “issue” whether it be physical, mental, or social. I thought I had seen it all while I was a bartender, but I see a lot as a yoga teacher. People are afraid of starting something new, embarrassed about not doing a pose right, nervous that their knee will give out, or overall just intimidated about “doing” yoga. Getting on to a mat is the first and hardest step, it gets easier over time and IT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD!
After years of practicing yoga you may still have tight hamstrings, a bad back or may never be able to touch your toes, but I’ll bet that those things won’t matter anymore. You’ll learn to give yourself a break and honor your body for what it is. You’ll modify your practice accordingly and reap the many other benefits that your practice can give you. I’ve been reading this quote in class and it sums up the healing powers of yoga and all that it can offer to your life.
“Becoming human means discovering our fullness and learning to live from it.” –John Welwood
Rolf Gates writes about this in his book Meditations from the Mat by saying:
Bring your all to your practice. Do not use it as a means to control your weight, or your appearance, or the effects of aging. Let your practice be a means to discover your fullness. Be vulnerable, be sad, be mad, be happy, but be there. Life is about giving and through giving we receive everything that we need. Let your practice be about giving—give of your heart, give of your spirit, give of your virtue.
This blog was inspired by a couple that is a part of helping and healing in our community, Joseph Carringer and Nicole Salotti. Joseph is a didgeridoo musician that helps heal people through sound therapy. Check out his work here. Nicole is constantly helpful. She’s part of the charity Helping People Helping Pets and we’ve seen her personally helping people after a yoga class and being active in the community. Way to go Joseph and Nicole!
1. What brought you to yoga and how long have you been practicing?
Nicole: For 2+ years (1997 – 2000) I was consistently doing yoga while living/working in NYC and then when I moved to Nashua NH in July of 2000 I stopped due to traveling back and forth to NYC to finish up contracts in the city. In 2001 I moved to Portsmouth and it wasn’t until 2003 did I started going to studios again, but only sporadically for I didn’t find a studio/yoga instructor that I was really comfortable with and felt compelled to constantly go.
When I was working in NYC, besides walking everywhere and being caught up in the hustle and bustle of the needing to “be” somewhere I was looking for something physical, yet calming to help me relax and get out of my mind, so I started to look into yoga.
In the fall of 1997 I started taking yoga classes at Dharma Mittra’s yoga studio (not knowing who he was at the time), I was walking by where his old studio was, looked up saw the words Yoga, looked to the left and there was a set of stairs leading up to a small studio. The studio was 4 blocks from where I worked and I went 1-3 times a week…it was my reprieve in a sea of people and sounds. I felt strong both mentally and physically.
I missed not going to yoga once I moved to NH but, I was no longer single — I live and started a business with my husband and there never seemed to be enough time….realizing I didn’t make time for yoga/myself.
Joseph: My wife first brought me to a single yoga class over 12 years ago that was at a health club. It was being taught in the same manner as an aerobics class and I immediately thought after years of competitive sports that it was just “stretching” and I did not need it. That experience is what kept me from yoga doing yoga again for many years.
I have been participating as an didgeridoo sound therapy practitioner in yoga sound workshops for nearly 10 years. I watched classes as a co facilitator for several years before I ever took my first yoga class at 3 Bridges. My wife and an yoga instructor from a studio in Boston that I work with ganged up on me at a “Karma Yoga Day” celebration in Boston nearly 3 years ago and asked me to “give it another try”.
Nicole had been coming to 3 Bridges for a few months at that point and I agreed to come to a beginners class. The difference between “fitness yoga” and a “flow class” taught in a manner to connect with a deeper sense of mind and body was what hooked me. This is also what I saw being taught in many of the classes that I performed at over the years, but the experience of “fitness yoga” had me believing that “I could not do yoga because I am a bad stretcher”. That first class at 3 Bridges showed me clearly that yoga is about my personal relationship with me.
That’s what got me to “come to yoga” what keeps me coming back to yoga is the deep personal connection to the changing states of my body. The connection I feel to my the health of my mind, body and spirit.
2. What pose has given you the most benefits? Which one is the most difficult? Why?
Nicole: I think all poses give my body benefit, because each pose stretches and strengthens different areas of my body. Chaturanga is a difficult and beneficial pose for me because it helps me build my arm strength — I always danced, did aerobics or casually swam, but never did a lot of arm building exercises so this is an area of my that definitely needs attention.
Joseph:I love “Tree Pose”. I feel confident in tree. As far as health benefits I would say that it is not a single pose but a full Sun Salutation is where I find the most benefits health wise to my body. I can feel the engagement of the muscle groups, the circulation of the lymphatic etc. The most difficult poses for me are the the arm stands etc. The poses that were designed for people under both 6’ and 125 lbs
3. What has been the most challenging aspect of your practice?
Nicole: When I started coming to yoga again after taking time off, slowing down was a challenge, my mind/body were anticipating the next pose. Now that I’ve been going to yoga more (even if it is only once a week), I enjoy slowing down my bodies moves/transitions into poses (it makes my body stronger) as well as my mind. Yoga really helps my mind, which in turns helps my work and relationships.
Balancing poses are also challenging…making time to come to class more often can be a challenge, I’d like to go 3-4 times a week.
Joseph: The most challenging aspect of my practice is showing up. I prefer to come to the 50 minute lunch class on “No One Works On Wednesdays”. My work schedule requires travel as well as random office times so to stay on a regular yoga routine can be challenging at best.
4. How has your practice affected your relationship to each other? How does your relationship affect your personal practice?
Nicole: Yoga has helped our relationship by creating a space where do something together that is not work related as well as providing a fun and relaxing activity. Since we work live and work together, Joseph and I are around each other pretty much all of the time, so even when we go out to dinner or go out and do something socially the topic of work inevitably comes up.
I’ve never been a sports person and Joseph was very physically active with an array of sports, so all of the “activities” he wanted to do together really wasn’t interested, I always wanted to him to come and do yoga with me – it was something we could do together other than work and I new it would help his body by giving him more flexibility as well as help him get out of his active mind.
Yoga provides a space for us to be with each other, look at each other and smile, but yet still be in your own space, it provides a special time/activity we do together.
It’s helped my personal practice knowing that I introduced yoga to someone that I love. It is really wonderful to look over and see Joseph next to me know he is enjoying it even though it can be challenging for him at times. Yoga has really helped his flexibility/stretching, calm his mind, as well as fill my heart with happiness.
Joseph: Yoga is something that I started to do with my wife. Even though my practice is solitary it is nice to have her energy near by while I am practicing. We usually walk or ride our bikes to yoga so even the trip to the studio gives us a moment together out of the office to interact in a none “business” environment and catch up. Going to afternoon lunch yoga has acted to diffuse many of my most stressful work days which inevitably creates a healthier environment for our relationship. Our relationship has probably been the single largest factor in yoga becoming a regular part of my monthly routine. Nicole is a great motivator for me not to skip yoga.
5. Are you competitive with each other on and off the mat?
Nicole: I’ve not a very competitive person, so that does not happen for me on the mat, although I am kind of envious of how he can effortlessly do Tree pose. :}
Because we live and work together, competition comes into play once in awhile, but I really try not bring that aspect into our relationship, but may be because I am bit of a control freak I just don’t notice it….? :\
Joseph: Not really on the mat. We joke sometimes, but Nicole never did completive sports and I did so their is a bit of a disconnect with us when it comes to athletic competition. I am actually really grateful for that because it has always been a nurturing and supportive experience to practice yoga with Nicole instead of who is doing “better”. Off the mat we work together in our own businesses. We are not competitive, but we are both alpha.
6. What would you tell someone who hasn’t made it to the mat for a yoga class yet?
Nicole: Not to worry about what you “think” you can do or not do, once you try it you will realize that your body and mind with Thank You.
Yoga helps you be aware of what is going on in your body — where you need to be more careful/gentle with yourself and where you body is feeling stable enough to move/shift your body more.
Joseph: Go to yoga. Move your body. Breathe. Get to know yourself on the mat.
7. Feel free to tell us about yourself, work, hobbies, dislikes, etc.
Nicole: I have a degree in ecology, strive to be ecologically conscious and mindful. I love to garden, dance, listen to music, animals, cook and eat good food, people, smiling and laughing. I dislike jealousy, the political process, racism, suppression.
Joseph: Professional didgeridoo player and full time human.
Bio 01: http://bastinadomusic.com/bastinado_about.html
Bio 02: http://www.didgetherapy.com/biography_joseph_carringer.html
Some of my likes: Dogs, didgeridoos, my wife, nice people
Some of my of dislikes: Political correctness, lack of a sense of humor, mean people
Hobbies: I have turned most of my hobbies into career paths or business assets so I don’t have hobbies anymore, but I work for fun and have fun at work