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May 2010
- Issue 42

First off, I want to thank everyone who emailed me a copy of my March 2010 newsletter after my request in last month's newsletter.  I had no idea so many people were keeping them.  I hope you're reading them too!  You're awesome!

For those of you who wish to join our May classes, we've got several that are being offered.  Please check our website at www.intoyoga.ca or go directly to our classes page at www.intoyoga.ca/classes.htm. These are updated frequently as classes are added or revised.  Please visit often.

We've been teased with the sunshine lately, and I for one, can't wait until it stays around longer and brings some real warmth with it. 

For some reason, the sun also brings lots of questions about weight loss.  Yoga and Pilates can be a great part of a weight loss program.  However, doing them alone may take a longer period than you'd hoped for to see results.  I recommend nutritional cleansing and, over the past three and a half years, I have worked with many individuals with specific products that help to get very fast results.  Nutritional cleansing is not only for weight loss, but helps to build lean muscle and is great for athletes, new moms and just about anyone who wants better health.

For anyone interested, we will be holding an informal information group in Burnaby on Monday May 3 7:00pm - 8:30pm.  Guests will be invited to taste some of the products, and learn why nutritional cleansing is different than a regular cleanse, fast or diet.  Please come and learn about this process and decide if it would be right for you or someone you know.  Aside from releasing weight for those that need it, other benefits of nutritional cleansing are the ability to cope with and reduce stress, better sleep, clearer mental focus, and a whole lot more. RSVP info@intoyoga.ca and let me know how many guests you'd like to bring.

I hope you enjoy our May Newsletter.

18th Annual Wellness Show
When Less is More
Recipe - Carrot - Cranberry - Walnut Salad
Yoga/Pilates & Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work
Baby Sign Language  
We Want Your Feedback 
Promote YOUR Business
Quips and Quotes
Find us on Twitter and Facebook
Past Newsletters
Your Contributions Welcome
Our Privacy Policy
Email A Friend 

18th Annual Wellness Show
One again we will be exhibitors in the 18th Annual Wellness Show taking place this weekend under the sales at Canada Place.  Come visit us at booth #118.  The brochure says its a NuCerity Booth, but it's actually us with Isagenix nutritional cleansing.  I hope you'll drop by to say hello.  For  more information go to www.thewellnessshow.com.


When Less is More
By Phillip Moffitt
published in The Yoga Journal

By trying too hard, you may be adding tension to your poses...and your life.

Some people approach their yoga practice as a break from the world, a separate space where they can recover from life's stresses and strains. Once they've pulled themselves back together, they return to their families and jobs renewed. I think that's legitimate, but it's not my experience. I approach yoga from the perspective that I'm learning something that can be integrated into my life. Over the years I've come to understand that life itself is mostly an opportunity to practice, to move towards wholeness of experience. Our formal practices like yoga and meditation provide us with a safe, nourishing environment in which we can gain stability and abilities that aid this process.

For instance, last week while I was teaching a yoga class built around working without tension, the relevance of yoga to the rest of life just naturally emerged. We started with Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana). First I had the students push their hands hard into the floor, feel the resulting tension in the shoulder muscles, and notice how when they pushed themselves into the posture that same tension was built into the pose. "Just do the pose without adding anything," I repeated over and over. Next, I had them lightly place their hands on the mat, as though they were ready at any moment to lift off the floor, and witness how this also created tension in the shoulder muscles and neck when they pushed up into Downward-Facing Dog. We experimented to see if it was possible to let go of the added tension once fully in the pose. It was a mixed class in terms of the students' skill levels and innate flexibility, yet by the end of class most of the students seemed to be incorporating the idea into their practice.

"Watch a senior teacher do their own asanas," I told them. "One thing you will notice is how relaxed they are in their bodies, as though they aren't efforting. No matter how much they urge you to work hard, they don't mean for you to tense. That's something you're adding because your mind wants to participate. Just let your body do the work. Much of yoga is learning to get out of your own way."

I then pointed out that what we really want to learn is how to incorporate our yoga practice into the rest of our lives and to respond appropriately to life's challenges without adding tension. It is at this level that yoga really becomes a deeper practice. You can be under tremendous stress and come back into experiencing your feet on the ground as though it were just another moment of Mountain Pose (Tadasana); or you can receive a big disappointment and be able to drop into your breath, realizing it's just another moment of practice, and allow the breath to move the feelings through your body.

Easy Does It
The idea of not adding tension is a universal principle. In teaching vipassana Buddhist meditation, which is a moment-to-moment mindfulness practice, I emphasize that the mind can just rest on the experience of hearing, just as the buttocks rest on the meditation cushion. In resting there need not be any reference to "I"; hearing just arises in the mind. The meditator then shifts the mind's attention to the breath, and the same thing applies: The in-breath arises, has a duration, then an ending; the out-breath follows the same pattern. Over time the meditator is able to experience many moments on the cushion where there is no added tension, no contraction into the idea of a rigid unchanging Self. Eventually the understanding spreads into daily life. When there is no added tension, there is the opportunity for liberation, to simply be with what arises in the moment. This is what is referred to in Zen as "beginner's mind," and it applies directly to your yoga practice.

Recently I experienced how easy it is for tension to creep into my poses when my teacher Tony Briggs and I attended a two-day workshop with one of his teachers, Shandor Remete. Shandor is an inspiring and demanding teacher, and I was intensely efforting in each pose. I glanced over at Tony and saw that his body, while fully engaged, seemed very relaxed; there wasn't any visible tension. At first I wondered, "Why isn't he working harder?" I kept sneaking looks at him until I finally realized the truth: He was just doing the pose. In contrast, I was having to overcome the constraints caused by the tension I was adding to the pose. Later when I asked Tony how he stayed so relaxed in a pose, he quoted his first teacher, Judith Lasater, saying there's a difference between "action"—the doing of the pose—and "friction"—unnecessary efforting.

Don't confuse not adding tension with just hanging out in a pose. Of course you have to work the arms in Downward-Facing Dog. But don't tense the arms, the shoulders, or the back to work them; instead place your awareness in the bones, feel the skeleton providing stability, and allow the nervous system to be neutral. Maintain that neutrality as you use your muscles to push up into the pose. Then activate only those muscles needed to move the pelvis farther away from the arms, and to create space between the pelvis and the thigh bones, and between the top of the pelvis and the rib cage. You will discover that you can create more space in your body and hold the pose longer. How can you tell if you're doing it correctly? Another of my teachers, Ramanand Patel, will tell students to observe the breath; if it can't move freely, there is constriction in the pose.

Shift into Neutral
A question that arises for us all is, "What is the proper use of will in yoga and life in general?" On the one hand, it takes a certain amount of will just to practice, let alone grow your yoga practice, and the same is true in life. On the other hand, excessive willfulness creates undesirable tension. Finding the balance between will and acceptance is part of what you are learning in your yoga practice, just as you are learning what is the proper balance between pain and relaxation. One of the benefits of doing yoga is you begin to develop the intuitive art of finding balance in any life situation.

Another way to approach this question is to begin to differentiate between intention and willfulness. Intention is setting a direction for yourself in movement or in actions in your life and holding it as both a vision and an outcome, so that it acts as both an inspiration and a map. Many books on the "inner game" of various sports make use of this viewpoint. Willfulness is the determination to push through any resistance. The difference between intention and willfulness in this context is that intention implies flexibility and gentleness, while willfulness is absolute, unswerving, and rigid. Both intention and willfulness can be desirable, but for most of your yoga practice and for your life, intention is the more balanced, healthier approach. Again, you can learn to make these distinctions in the laboratory of the yoga studio and then carry them into the rest of your life; that's what makes yoga such a profound practice.

To discover this for yourself, try this experiment. Do Triangle Pose (Trikonasana), and as you bend over to the side, focus your mind on your own body experience. See if you tense the lower abdomen as you start to bend. Your instructor may well have been saying for months not to harden the stomach as you bend, and you never grasped the meaning before. If it's not clear whether or not you are tightening, deliberately tense the stomach as you bend and see how difficult it is to both extend and twist the spine with a tense belly. Then do the opposite and see how much more potential exists for fluidity. Or do Warrior II Pose (Virabhadrasana II) with the intent of keeping the little toe side of the back foot on the ground while you bend the front leg in the proper manner. It's very easy to think you have to tense the back leg, but the opposite is true; the more you simply rest the back foot and allow the weight to flow from the buttock to the floor, then let the front leg bend from this anchor, the easier it is to do the pose.

Neutrality is a key concept in movement. When the body is in neutral, it is ready to move in the desired direction without delay or additional effort. One way to assess your body for neutrality in yoga is to see if you are relaxed in beginning a pose and if you can maintain the sense of overall relaxation as you begin working the body.

In a similar manner, equanimity is a key concept in vipassana practice. When the mind has equanimity and something pleasant arises, you experience the moment without trying to hold onto it and creating tension. If something unpleasant arises, your mind does not contract in a futile attempt to avoid what is arising. Instead, it stays open and relaxed even though you are having an unpleasant experience; therefore, you suffer less.

You can experience the truth of this yourself in yoga. In his book Light on Yoga, B.K.S. Iyengar rates every pose according to difficulty except for Corpse Pose (Savasana), which he does not rate because he says it is simply too difficult to register on the same scale with the other poses. Savasana is the ultimate neutral position—the mind and the body are alert, both are awake, but they are not contracted in any way.

Living your life with equanimity has the same flavor as Savasana: You are alert, but the mind is not attaching to anything; it is just appropriately responsive. Although the teaching of mindful equanimity is a Buddhist practice, you can imagine being able to go through your yoga practice and even your usual day while in Savasana. It may sound far-fetched at this point in your practice, but many people have varying degrees of this ability which they've attained through diligent practice. It's not an all or none situation; rather, it is about adding a little more calmness and alertness to your practice, your work, and your home life. Of course, you can be assured you will completely lose it and have to rediscover it, and that this pattern will repeat itself endlessly. But, overall, there is growth in your practice and in the quality of your life, and you have more moments of being able to live from your deeper values.

Relax into Life
So, is it possible to let loose of tension once you are in a pose? It depends on where you are holding the tension. In movement, there is a primary path of intention in the body and also secondary paths. The primary path involves weight-bearing effort, such as the action of the hands and arms in Downward-Facing Dog; the secondary paths are such things as the neck, abdomen, hips, and chest. Because they are not weight bearing, the secondary paths can move in and out of tension while in the pose; but in the primary, weight-bearing path, tension gets locked into the pose. Try as you might, you can't release it without breaking the structure of the pose.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the Olympic gold medal track star, once said of her running style that she established her speed as quickly as possible and then concentrated on relaxing while she allowed her body to run. A yoga pose is like that. You can find the appropriate structure of the pose for yourself on any particular day with your body just as it is, then relax into the experience regardless of the pleasantness or unpleasantness of the sensation. Don't waste energy creating tension, judging the pose, or wishing you were somehow different than you are in this moment.

Is your life any different than your yoga practice? Is it possible to relax once you have fallen into tension in a moment of your life? My experience is that it is exactly the same. You can be tense when starting to make a presentation and then relax, or get tense in the middle of a discussion with your wife or husband and then let it go. But if you lock into a point of view in which you have to be right or the other person has to change, then that is just like a weight-bearing pose in yoga, and there is no getting rid of the tension without relinquishing your position and starting over. Letting go of tension in life is a lot harder to do than relaxing in Triangle Pose—one more reason to appreciate your yoga practice.

Phillip Moffitt began studying raja meditation in 1972 and vipassana meditation in 1983. He is a member of the Spirit Rock Teachers Council and teaches vipassana retreats throughout the country as well as a weekly meditation at the Turtle Island Yoga Center in San Rafael, California. Phillip is the co-author for The Power to Heal and the founder of the Life Balance Institute.


Carrot - Cranberry - Walnut Salad
(6 Servings)


  • 1/4 cup silken tofu
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. walnut oil
  • 3 cups coarsely grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts

Blend tofu, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and salt in blender until smooth. Blend in oil. Toss tofu mixture with carrots and dried cranberries in bowl. Chill 30 minutes. Top with walnuts.

Nutritional Value Per Serving
Calories: 196, Protein: 4g, Total fat: 16g, Saturated fat: 2g, Carbs: 13g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 232mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 6g


Yoga/Pilates & Nutritional Cleanse Seminars at Work

Have you achieved your New Year's Goals yet?  Spring has arrived.  So if your answer is no, and your goal is better health or weight loss, then perhaps it's time for a "Spring cleaning."

Our nutritional cleanse systems offer rapid results, with little or not cost.  A combination of meal replacement shakes, regular meals and a cleansing drink, can give your body the healthy look and feel you've been striving for.  It's easy to get started, just email sheri@cleanseyourbody.ca or call me at 604.421.9872.

All health regimes should include a good dose of exercise.  Yoga or Pilates at work allows you to obtain that without having to use precious "after hours" to head to the gym.

We have instructors available to suit your time - early morning, lunch time, or after work.  You choose.  Clear a room, bring a Yoga/Pilates mat and we'll be there!

If you want to look and feel better this year, what could be easier than taking a break at work and moving into a state of perfect bliss for 45 minutes once or twice a week?

Call 604-421-9872 or email info@intoyoga.ca.  Visit our Corporate page on our website at www.intoyoga.ca/corporate.htm.


Baby Sign Language
By Rachna Gupta

Use sign language to communicate with your baby. Here is information to get you started.

Soon after birth, infants are provided with the ability to understand language. However, they are not equipped to produce speech until after 12 to 24 months of age. Due to this, parents are left wondering what is going on inside their little heads. Teaching your child signs and gestures as well as spoken words ensures that they are quickly able to communicate and understand the world around them.

Research that has been conducted on this subject shows the benefits of signing to your pre-verbal child. The mid 1990’s revealed that contrary to popular belief signing does not deter or delay your child from speaking, and that it actually encourages earlier communication. Using sign language enables a child to be an active communicator at a much earlier age rather than a passive observer. Research conducted at the University of California has linked infant sign to a boost in IQ scores.

How to begin signing
All babies use their hands naturally in an attempt to communicate. Signs like waving bye-bye, clapping hands and shaking their heads in delight are some of the common signs. Unfortunately the number of signs that a child displays naturally is very limited.

When to begin
Just like babies begin speaking at different ages so do they begin signing at different ages too. You can begin signing with your baby at any time and you will notice your child taking an avid interest in your hand movements. However it is important to remember that the motor skills of a child, which are necessary for him/her to sign back only mature around 10 months of age.

What to begin with
Always begin with a few words that represent actions or objects that your baby is interested in. This will enable your child to focus on words that are of interest to him/her.

Use words whenever you sign
Maintain a strong connection between the sign and the word so that once your child learns to speak she/he will have already learned that words and signs are interchangeable.

Repeat the word and the sign
The key to success is repetition. The more you repeat the word and the sign, the sooner your baby will realize the connection between the two. This will encourage your child to sign back to you. You could try using the signs before, during and after a given activity.

The use of signs helps your child to identify one word out of seemingly endless streams of words. Signing with your baby clearly marks the words that you are teaching and helps your baby separate that one word from all the others. Not only this, you are also giving her/him valuable examples of the syntax of a language by offering and marking the same symbol as it occurs in many distinct positions in many different sentences representing one unvarying action or object.

Make it a part of your daily routine
Including signs in your daily routine helps your child pick them up sooner. You could pick a few of your baby’s favorite animals and then place pictures and toys of the animals in places that you frequent each day. These signs can be reinforced while saying nursery rhymes or singing songs.

How to get your baby’s attention
To get your baby’s attention you can use both nonverbal and verbal signs. You can ask your baby to look at you or you can tap, touch or rub your baby. To do this, you can also move an object of interest such as a toy towards your baby. Your child may grasp the sign even if you do not have her/his attention, but having her/his attention will ensure that she/he learns quickly.

Hold the object or point to it
As you begin it is important that your child has a visual picture of the sign and the word. For this you can use real object, a toy that represents it or a picture of the real thing. Try and include all visual forms of the object that the word represents.

Wait for response
You have already spent a great deal of time carrying on two sides of a conversation with your baby, it is now important to give your child enough time to respond. Begin by asking questions and waiting for at least 20 seconds. Use this time to look at your child attentively and expectantly before answering with the word and the sign. Doing this will give your child the clue that you are inviting him/her into the conversation.

Make signs on your child’s body
While following the above steps your child will have ample opportunity to see the signs that you teach her/him, but feeling a sign is equally important. Use your hands to make the movement on your child’s body. Keeping your child on your lap while making the sign will certainly help make it easier for you to make the sign correctly.

Help your baby to make the sign
Guide your baby’s hand, of course after ensuring that your baby enjoys your help. It is advisable to stop if your child shows displeasure.

Ask your baby to display the sign
Encourage your baby to sign by asking her/him to show you his/her hands, and gently tapping her/his hands while at it. You could play some games wherein you place the toy further away from the child and ask your baby to make the sign. Help your baby by making the sign if she has not been able to make it or gets frustrated.

Use the correct sign at all times
Babies are not able to reproduce the sign perfectly in a short time. In this case you should continue to use the same sign, as changing the sign to match your child’s will only make the child confused as to what the correct sign is.

Using one hand to sign
It is important to remember that your baby is perceptive and knows when you are using a single hand to make a sign that generally requires two. Thus, the best time to teach your child signs is during that time of the day when you have free time.

Share books with your infant
Select books that have your baby’s favorite objects and offer her/him the sign whenever you say the word for the object. Look at your baby and notice her/his eyes to see what she is attracted to in the book. After you have done that comment on the image and offer the sign for the image. Give her/him enough time to respond.

Recognize and respond to your child’s signs
Reward your child whenever she/he asks for something. In case you are unable to give her/him what she wants then make sure that you reward her/him in some other way, making it clear to her/him that you understand what he/she is asking for. Even when the child makes an attempt to sign, reward her/him for their attempts.

Be patient and offer praise
It is important to remember that your child will learn more quickly if he/she enjoys the process and is consistently rewarded for every attempt. Motivation arises from the fun generated when signing together. How many signs your baby makes and how he/she makes them is not the question, the question here is let your baby laugh, play, smile and sign.

  • Share your child’s knowledge about signs with caregivers and family members.
  • Create a few of your own signs.
  • Start with simple words and signs.
  • Have patience.
  • Follow the lead your child gives you.
  • Praise your child.

Original Article at www.Buzzle.com.


We Want Your Feedback

Have you experienced classes with us before?  If so, we'd like to hear from you.  The good and the bad.  Tell us what you like.  How have they improved your life?  What keeps you coming back?  Plus, tell us what we could do better (but be kind).  What can we improve and what would you like to see that we're not providing?  Email your comments to info@intoyoga.ca.  We're listening. 

Promote YOUR Business

Are you a woman business owner, professional or entrepreneur interested in creating more referrals for your business

I am an area coordinator for The Heart Link Network, a fun, non-threatening, non-membership networking event showcasing women who are serious about growing their business.

Our events are held in a warm environment with dinner provided. It is a powerful, unique and effective marketing tool specifically designed to link women so they can nurture, support, enrich and resource one another in both personal and professional ways.

Consider joining our Heart Link Networking Group. You can find more details at www.meetup.com/Burnaby-Heart-Link. Or simply register and lock in your business category at www.V5A4B7.TheHeartLinkNetwork.com.  Be added to our news updates and invites by emailing sheri@cleanseyourbody.ca with ADD ME TO HLN in the subject line.


Quips and Quotes

To know yourself you need not go to any book, to any priest, to any psychologist. The whole treasure is within yourself. J. Krishnamurti

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Past Newsletters

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Your Contributions Welcome

If you would like to contribute in some way to upcoming newsletters, please contact us at info@intoyoga.ca.  We welcome your views, thoughts, enlightenments, articles, etc.  When contacting us, please be sure to let us know that you'd like to have your contribution inserted into our newsletter.

To submit articles for our website you can visit http://www.intoyoga.ca/articles.htm to review our guidelines.

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