Goodbye Tucson: Continuing The Journey

Six months ago I asked myself a question:

What will become of my life in six months if I commit to practicing each and every premise of Yoga, every day?

Well, I can honestly say that I did NOT practice each premise of yoga every day.

But, I did attempt. And consistently. In truth, I have been on the eight-fold yogic path for quite some time now.

During that time I kept something at the forefront of my mind:

The Bhagavad Gita says:

“Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof. Never let the fruits of action be your motive;and never cease to work. Work in the name of the Lord, abandoning selfish desires. Be not affected by success of failure. This equipoise is called Yoga.”

“Yoga is not for him who gorges too much, nor for him who starves himself. It is not for him who sleeps too much, nor for him who stays awake. By moderation in eating and drinking and in resting, by regulation in working and by concordance in sleeping and waking, Yoga destroys all pain and sorrow.

I learned the important lesson of not expecting anything from the work. And yet, the work speaks for itself.

(Despite the fact that I didn’t live exactly like an ancient yogini) My life has changed since I started making the conscious effort to incorporate these ancient commandments into my life.

One of the overarching gifts that I have received over the last few months is TRUST.

With trust comes courage. And with that courage, I am making a life-changing decision.

I’m moving to Portland, OR.

(I know, I know. Another yoga fanatic moves to Portland. How cliché.Bear with me.)

I have been spent 6+ years living in Tucson and have been a part of the Yoga community for the majority of that time. YogaOasis is my home studio, where I began practicing as an adult and where I was trained. 4th Avenue Yoga is where I developed as a teacher. The UA Campus Rec gave me the opportunity to give back to students at UA (& to teach SUP yoga in the desert!)

There have been countless mentors along the way. Friends who I have watched go from timid teacher-trainees to empowered and inspiring teachers. My own students who have proven to be the main reason why I want to delve deeper as a yoga teacher.

I am humbled by the amount of LOVE and pure support that I have received in this city. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Tucson.

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Bamboo Room, YogaOasis in Tucson

Why Portland?

(As if it needs explanation)

I went Portland in June and fell in love. I felt like my path was illuminated. I have been many places, but this one has been calling me for a very long time.

I’ve been told that Portland is “saturated” with yoga teachers and there is so much “competition”.

I believe that every person who has chosen to teach this practice is already my friend. I look forward to being in a place filled with potential teachers. Future mentors. Gurus. I will be focusing my attention. The aim is to grow and expand as a student, as a teacher, as a citizen of this earth.

Like a journeyman does in any craft, it’s time for me to experience something new.

Connect With Me

If you have come to my classes in Tucson and have yet to connect with me, PLEASE DO.

I want to see each and every one of you again. Think of it like this: Now you have a place to stay when you visit Portland.

Also, if you know someone in Portland who you think I’d vibe with: connect us!

That’s all this life is about folks. Connection.

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Blake and I in Portland

My last classes in Tucson will be in the second week of November.

Love & Light,

Tatiana

Savasana… Say What?

Why We End Yoga Class in Savasana

I used to leave before savasana.

Seriously, I would roll up my yoga mat and leave while everyone was getting comfy for that last, wonderfully therapeutic pose of class.

I was under the belief that savasana was a waste of time and that I needed to skip it in order to complete higher priority items on my to-do list.

How wrong I was.

At this time in my life I was a high-strung journalism student at the University of Arizona who found solace in the rigorous postures that yoga provided, but still hadn’t mastered my distracted, monkey mind. Especially when my body was in stillness.

Not surprisingly, it was during this time that I suffered my first earth-shattering anxiety attack. Not long after that came a full-on breakdown that led me to drop out of college.

I’m writing this now, a few years later, as an Alumna of the University of Arizona Journalism School, and a yoga teacher. Needless to say much has changed between then and now, especially my priorities. Now I wouldn’t dream of walking out before savasana. Here’s why:

What is Savasana? 

Sava: corpse ; asana: pose

Savasana literally translates to “corpse pose”, and is traditionally done at the end of the yoga practice to promote conscious relaxation in order to refresh the body and mind.

B.K.S. Iyengar says, “By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax… Therefore, this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master.”

Savasana is a place to integrate the balancing and reviving effects of the previous yoga postures, or asanas. Iyengar advises 15 to 20 minutes spent in stillness to reap full benefits. It can also be used as a place to begin meditative work.

How To Relax In Savasana

Iyengar wasn’t lying—final stillness can truly be one of the most difficult parts of the practice to master.  Luckily, there are a few time tested ways to focus attention and fall into conscious observation of the body.

Mantra: “a word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation.”

  • The effects of mantra are much like those that come from counting sleep before we fall asleep. It’s an active technique to calm the mind. When you notice your mind wander away from the mantra, simply bring the attention back and begin again. Simple as that.
  • Many mantras are taught in sanskrit, but a mantra doesn’t have to be in sanskrit to work. My own mantra is in English and personalized to me. I often change the mantra that I come to depending on the day, how I’m feeling, and what I’m seeking to bring to fruition in my life. (More on Mantra to come).

Body Scan

  • Taking note of how the body feels—good or bad, sensation or numbness—from the tips of the toes, working up the legs, hips, stomach, to the fingertips, arms, shoulders, face, tongue, past the forehead and all the way up to the top of your head.

Conscious Release

  • This can be done in conjunction with the body scan, it is simply making the conscious effort to relax and release each muscle in the body.

Breath Work /Pranayama 

  • Keep your focused attention on the breath. Notice the place above your upper lip where you can feel your exhales. Acknowledge your chest as it rises and falls. Take these few moments to really feel the subtle effects that every new breath brings to the body.

Physical Effects Of Savasana

  • Decreases heart rate
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Decreases respiration
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Decreases general anxiety
  • Decreases fatigue
  • Increases  energy levels
  • Increases focus, concentration

Savasana And The Brain

When you first settle yourself onto the floor in savasana, your mind may whirl and run for a few minutes until changes begin to take place in your brain. Brain waves change from Beta Waves—or brain waves that are produced when you are conscious and thinking— to Theta and Delta waves—or those that are associated with dreaming, sleep, creativity, and the subconscious.

Savasana And The Nervous System

 

In savasana the nervous system stands to reap real benefits. While reclined and relaxed in savasana, your nervous system shifts to the parasympathetic state. This is the state in which your body can relax fully, opposite of the sympathetic state— in which anxiety levels are high and the body is alert.

During the practice your brain will be sent a host of new neuromuscular information, we take savasana as a reset, to help the brain integrate this new information to the nervous system.

 

A Final Test

 

One way to view savasana is as a final test to check if the asana practice has done its job.

Is your mind calm, quiet, and at rest?

 

… If not, that’s okay. It’s called yoga practice for a reason.  😉

 

(As always, if you have questions on savasana or on any part of this wonderful yoga practice (or anything else) feel free to message me or comment here.)

 

Love & Light,

~Tatiana

 

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Savasana Views at YogaOasis, Tucson, Ariz. 2016