It’s your weekly class. You’re in triangle, or pigeon, or wheel or another favorite pose (savanana anyone!). You feel gooood and you think, “gee I wish I didn’t have to wait until next week to feel this awesome again.” You resolve then and there to start doing some poses at home. Maybe you buy a mat. Maybe you even unroll that mat on the floor in your bedroom or kitchen or office. Then you sit down on the mat and realize that even though you’ve been going to classes for six months, a year, three years, you have absolutely no idea where to start! Practicing at home, on your own, without any guidance feels like a monumental and overwhelming task. So you sit, breathe, maybe sigh, then go to the kitchen for a snack.
Or, instead of grabbing a snack you enroll in an online yoga hub or buy some dvds and practice via video, that’s how I started. (Still grabbed the snack after 🙂 ) But still, something feels lacking. You’ve been doing your poses long enough and you want more. You want to answer that longing inside to have a personal yoga practice.
I’ve designed this 6 – week online guide to lead you step by step through the process of cultivating your personal yoga practice. In just 10 – 30 minutes a day, a few days a week you will get the skills and confidence you need to design a personal practice to last a lifetime. I still want you to keep up with your weekly yoga class – you’re already getting the benefits of having a stellar teacher check your alignment and guide you and your community of yoga friends through an uplifting experience. In just 10 – 30 minutes of personal practice a few days a week you will be able to reduce stress, increase your energy, adapt to your changing needs, stay vibrant as you age, and find your calm center more often.
This course is for you if:
This course is not for you if:
What People are Saying
100% of past course survey respondants report:
“Melinda, I thought the material you put together is wonderful, and I plan on continuing to work through it and build my practice…the resources you have given me give me a clear path how to proceed, and I am excited! Thank you!” ~ Mary
“Through the stress of Furlough, then catch up nursing home surveys, then holidays, and finally preparing for retirement with lots of unknowns, your online yoga class with its practices help bring me back to my big and daily intentions. Also as a supplement to core exercise, it really helps to keep me flexible. I can always tell when it has been too long between practices. The joints always speak.” ~ Patty
“Responses to questions were quick and helpful. I also realized how much more I have to learn as well as how much I learned from this course.” ~ Prefer to Remain Anonymous
“This was a great course to keep my on track with my practice. I will miss my weekly emails, but will adapt and continue practicing!” ~ Prefer to Remain Anonymous
“Melinda’s gift of words, alignment & teaching have transformed not only my yoga practice but my perspective in life. Be ready to be blessed!” ~ Michelette
How it Works and What’s Included
February 3 – March 15, 2014
Week One – Space: Finding Time and Space for Your Personal Practice
Week Two – Earth: The Roots of Your Practice – Intention, Attention and Stability
Week Three – Water: Let Your Practice Flow – Picking Your Poses and Putting them Together
Week Four – Fire: Find Your Passion – Poses, Sequences and Styles of Movement that Light Up Your Heart
Week Five – Air: Expanding Your Horizons – Creating More Personal Sequences, What to do on days you’re not inspired.
Week Six – Seasons of Practice: Adapting your practice to the seasons of your life
Personal Practice Coaching Option*
Want some one on one coaching? This option will give you access to two 30 minute online coaching sessions (via skype) or one 60 minute in person session. We’ll go over the course material, and create a series of sequences that you can use in your practice. I’ll address your questions and concerns and offer guidance for deepening your experience and inquiry on the mat.
*Can be added at anytime during the course. Must be used by March 14, 2014.
My Personal Practice Story
I started practicing yoga on my own with a video when I was 16. For years I dabbled, following one video or book or other. After some time of following the same routine over and over again the former dancer in me took over and started re-arranging the sequences. Then I started going to public classes and bringing home those routines. I took a few private lessons. It wasn’t until I enrolled in a 9 month yoga immersion – nearly ten years after starting yoga – that I really learned how to build my own personal practice. It was phenomenal, but you don’t need to wait as long as I did to get the benefits of a personal practice! Today I love my personal yoga practice. It’s like a loyal friend always there for me when I need it. It keeps me physicall fit, mentally sane and spiritually centered. I can’t wait to share it with you!
Your Guide: About Melinda
Melinda is an experienced E-RYT-200, RYT 500 Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance and former Anusara-Inspired Instructor dedicated to the life affirming principles of yoga. Melinda brings a unique and soulful blend of practicality and poetry that empowers students to live brilliantly from the heart by viewing embodiment as a gift & loving the life we are each given. Through in person and online classes, workshops and retreats, Melinda blends ancient wisdom and modern understanding to guide students from feeling stuck, disconnected or uninspired to a vibrant, creative and nourishing daily experience of the sacred in all its forms on and off the yoga mat.
We purchased our tickets days in advance then met up at my house sometime after 10pm. We gathered in the van and drove down to the “good theatre” (as opposed to the “bad theatre” where no one went unless that was the only showing in town). By 11 the lines were quite long. By 11:30 the entire north end of the mall was packed with people, many in costume. At 11:40 management opened the doors and the throng of people funneled in, all vying for a good seat. The excitement in the air was palpable, electric. As the lights went dark a collective hush washed through the crowd. The giant orchestral chord struck and out of nowhere, big yellow letters appeared on screen. The crowd erupted in whoops and cheers. For the first time older Millennials and young Gen-X-ers everywhere finally got to experience the film out of the confines of tv and on the massive landscape of the big screen. I’m talking of course of the 1997 re-release of Star Wars: A New Hope.
That same year J.K. Rowling published the first Harry Potter book and a new cultural
phenomenon was born. For an entire decade children, teenagers and adults all around the globe were captivated by the wizarding world. Youth literacy rose at a staggering rate as children (and adults) not prone to reading suddenly became so engaged that they’d read the increasingly thick books in two or three days. Midnight book releases matched the excitement generally reserved for midnight cult movies and rock concerts.
For the launch of the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, my mother’s bookstore held a midnight book party complete with costumes, treats, a reading of the first chapter and me dressed as Professor Trelawny telling fortunes. The final two installments, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, were released in the US in late July of 2005 and 2007, days before my families’ annual trip to Kanuga Conference Center for a week long summer retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Kanuga is a very special place and families have been attending the same week of summer guest period for generations. People do a lot of reading during their week at Kanuga, and in the summers of 2005 and 2007 the campus was sprinkled with folks reading the same book. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing someone with the latest Potter novel in hand. An unstated rule not to spoil the plot was adhered to and conversations ofter started with, “What page are you on?” Or you’d walk past someone absorbed in the magic and a simple “raise of the book” was enough to make a connection to last a lifetime.
This is the thing about the Potter novels, they created a deep and powerful feeling of connection and community. Mention Olivander’s, Quidditch, or horcrux, and suddenly you are engaged in the shared imagination of millions. The release of the movies which began in 2001 was eagerly anticipated with excitement and trepidation. Could such beloved books be accurately translated to screen? For my part, I think Warner Brother’s has done a remarkable job morphing the books into film. Sure, a good bit had to be cut, but they have captured the spirit, if not the letter, of the series. From Chris Columbus’ sparkling telling of Sorcerer’s Stone and the vastly underrated Chamber of Secrets, to David Yates’ heart stealing interpretations of the final three books, the varying directors and their styles matched each novel well. The world watched the characters grow up in the pages of the books and the perfectly cast actors grow in height, acting ability, and depth on screen. The fervor of the movies only increased loyalty and readership of the books; a remarkable feat.
Still, for me the most captivating thing about Potter Nation is that it centers not just around a series of books, but a series of books about death. In our culture, at least in our American culture, death is treated as “unnatural,” something to be avoided, or worse treated with gross irreverence. In the Potter books children are not shielded from the reality that all life ends (and not always peacefully) and that we all react to this awareness of mortality in different ways. The “Death Eaters,” the minions of Voldermort, the super villain, react to this knowledge by seeking power over others. They disregard the sanctity of life to abate their fear of death. The Aurors and people of light recognize death as a natural, albeit painful, event and embrace life as a time to engage fully in the gifts of love and relationship. They recognize the dark war they are thrust into as a necessary evil to prevent genocide and preserve life so that when death does happen, it does so reverently.
The most stunning example of this play is between Harry and Voldermort. “Neither can live while the other survives.” 17 year old Harry’s life has been defined by death and over the course of the books he comes to the difficult realization that he must either die, or kill. In the end, he is killed, but because of a deep and powerful magic, does not die. Nor does he kill. It is his attempt to disarm Voldermort that links their wands, inadvertently casting Voldermort’s killing spell back on himself. Voldermort finally faces death by his own hand. This and the other potent themes in the Potter novels are a glaring perspective for a culture that has a tendency to tell children that their beloved pet has just moved to a farm upstate where she can enjoy wide open spaces, rather than letting them meet the reality of death and the pain of loss.
And so it is, that as the last movie is released excitement fills the air. The costumed millions turn our for midnight launch parties and flock to the weekend release. Facebook and Twitter are brimming with posts and opinions and the language of the wizarding world. A global party is under way.
Thank you J.K. Rowling for enlivening the world with a book about death.
Check Out Melissa Howard Grantham’s “Ten Signs You Might Be Addicted to Harry Potter.”
While unloading the dishes I was struck by an accidental arrangement of my friend Stephanie’s pottery*. Three lovely teacups and saucers, a bowl and a mug smiling from the top rack. Art in the dishwasher.
There is so much beauty in the world, so much vibrant life, and yet, the quiet splendor of the world can so easily go unnoticed. We may marvel at a particularly glorious sunset, or be filled with awe at a geography not our own, but what about the little majesties? What about the small daily delights? Like pottery in the dishwasher.
My brother says “It is because God is so constant that we forget.**” When something is always there it is so easy not to notice, or take it for granted. Correction, when something good is always there we forget. It’s easy to take detailed notes on the persistently irritating things in life.
But what would happen if we were to turn all of that nit-picky energy and refocus it on the small, really small, beauties in life? We would become true disciples of the householder’s path, not to mention, much happier people. John Friend tells a story of watching his spiritual teacher wash dishes. “Have you ever seen a master wash a plate? The way she dips it and out of the water, it’s like an exquisite dance, because she knows that dish, the water, her hand, all of it is Shakti, all of it Divine.***”
While these tiny displays of beauty are individually fleeting, they are born from a Constant, like those lightening shows you see on field trips to the science museum. Out of the darkness bright bits of light burst here, there and everywhere. “Look at me, here I am!” The fingerlings of electricity are so enchanting it’s easy to miss the brilliant orb in the middle of the room creating the sparks.
Appreciating the small joys in life is actually the work of remembering the bigger picture. These dazzling little displays of Grace are complete in and of themselves but they also point to a greater wholeness. They point to the constant presence of God. Through seeing the small things we begin to awaken to the vision the Infinite that surrounds us and is in us. Seeing God’s continuous presence in the world is fairly easy. Connecting to such inner Constancy is decidedly harder. That’s what meditation is for. In meditation you get to internalize all those outer cues and follow them on the path to the heart.
Take a moment to look around you. Really look. What strikes you as beautiful, delightful, perhaps even humorous? Notice the smile that plays across your lips when you become aware of this little darling of a moment. Notice how for even just a second, you soften. Then in meditation, asana, prayer, or other centering practice come back to the memory of this tiny beauty. Feel the expansion as you appreciate the smallness of life. Breathe into the fullness that is already there and savor those little beauties as expressions of God’s grandeur; as reminders of the ever affirming presence of Grace “in you, as you and all around you.”****