Weekly Words of Wisdom – MUSIC

Weekly Words of Wisdom – M is for MUSIC – I’ve been so blessed by music in my life! My dad was a musician, and some of my happiest childhood memories are of him with his guitar strapped on, strolling around the house playing and singing.

And some of my happiest adulthood memories have been with my brothers as they play their guitars – all of us singing together and just having the best time.

For centuries music has been a way to bring people together. Chants and ceremonial melodies have soothed souls and ruffled feathers since the beginning of time.

Music can bring back memories in the sweetest and/or most painful way – drawing us back to our life’s journey and stirring past emotions.

Music can lift our spirits when we’re feeling low, energize us when we need a boost, and soothe us if we’re feeling scattered.

I feel like music is an important piece of my yoga teaching practice. I always love when a yoga student tells me after class that they enjoyed my playlist. They tell me of a song that took them back in time, or that a song played at the perfect time to remind them of someone they loved and lost.

My music collection and yoga playlists are on Spotify, so if you use that app you are welcome to download my yoga playlists. Look for my music under “Deb Althoff”.

Do you allow music to play an important role in your life? Are there songs that instantly take you back in time? Maybe songs you fast-forward because the memory is too painful?

MUSIC is medicine. I’ve got the music in me. And that’s me at 3 with my daddy’s guitar.

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Weekly Words of Wisdom – LIGHT

Weekly Words of Wisdom – L is for LIGHT – When I was a little girl, one of my favorite Sunday school songs went like this:

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna’ let it shine.
This little light of mine, yes I’m gonna’ let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”

It was a catchy little tune and like all the songs I sang in Sunday school, the melody meant more to me than the lyrics. I sang those words at top of my lungs without understanding their true meaning.

Today, as I’m called to put myself in front of others and lead yoga classes – as I continue to push through vulnerability and share my words on social media – I’ve come to fully understand the meaning of allowing my light to shine.

We dim our light out of fear of rejection and fear of being judged. We believe we are somehow inadequate or lacking and we resist the urge to shine too brightly because we might be exposed and revealed.

But here’s the thing. If we dim ourselves too low, we will never have the opportunity to share our gifts – the messages we came here to share with others in an effort to make this world a brighter and better place.

If I “hide it [my light] under a bushel” my message will not be known, and I believe that I have a really important message to share.

I’m here to shine the light on the benefits of yoga, and to share it with as many people as I can while I’m still able to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…

How does if feel to let your LIGHT shine? Turn your dimmer switch up to the highest setting and leave it there. You were born for this.

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Heart & Lung Meridian Relief – Quarter Dog Pose

Quarter Dog Pose ~ Surrender yourself into this yoga posture that helps to balance the heart and lung meridians.

Benefits:  Quarter dog pose can be a fairly intense stretch for the underarms, chest, rib cage and belly. It helps to release tension in the entire spine, and is oh-so-calming to the nervous system.

How to: From table pose, bring the right elbow to the mat and extend your right hand across the mat. Keep your hips stacked over the knees as you reach the left arm forward as far as you can. (In the photo it looks like my left elbow is resting on the mat, but it’s actually lifted just a bit. Keep the elbow of your extended arm lifted if you can.) Take a deep breath in, and with your exhale release your forehead to rest on your right forearm. Breathe deeply here for several breath cycles, and then repeat on the other side.

Affirmation: “I surrender sadness and replace it with joy.”

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A happy yoga pose ~ Happy Baby

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana) – Release tension in the hips and low back in this playful, happy yoga pose.

Benefits:  This pose helps to release tension in the low back and sacrum. It opens the hips, inner thighs and groin; stretches the hamstrings and glutes; relieves stress and fatigue; and calms the nervous system. It also helps to balance the kidney meridian where fear and anxiety can be held – balancing this meridian restores a sense of peace and well-being.

How to:  Rest on your back and hug the knees into the belly and chest. Reach between the knees and take hold of your big toes, or the outside edges of your feet. Open the legs to life the bottoms of the feet to face up, and the knees draw down toward the earth. The elbows are on the inside of the knees.

Once you’ve found the position of this pose, you can rock side to side or play with the legs by straightening one knee as you bend the other knee a little deeper.

Bonus points: Put a smile on your face! The pose is called happy baby! You never saw a grumpy baby hold this shape!

Mantra: “I feel joyful in my body!”

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Weekly Words of Wisdom – KEEP

Weekly Words of Wisdom: K is for KEEP ~ Keep moving.

One thing I know for sure is that movement changes everything. When we create movement in the body (yoga poses, exercising, dancing…) we physically change our connection to space and time. We improve circulation and in turn, we improve the quality of our health.

Stillness is great and much needed at times, but too much stillness can make everything stagnant. Prolonged stillness in the physical body makes us sluggish and weak. (If you don’t use it you lose it.)

Prolonged stillness in the mind (or repetitive thoughts that go on and on without really going anywhere) may hold us in an emotional prison.

Change the position in your mind and body by looking for ways to mix things up a bit. Take a different route to work. Park a little further out in the parking lot and enjoy the extra steps. Order something different at your favorite restaurant. Dig deep in your closet and wear that red shirt you haven’t worn in ages.

And by all means, KEEP on keepin’ on!

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