online meditation videos

  • Bring in the Spring: 10 Tips to Shift into the Season

    Today marks the official dawn of spring! Sure, it may not feel very spring-like. It snowed in North Carolina last week, and I know it's still cold in a lot of places. Winter is sometimes slow to release her chilly grip. Even still, I know spring is upon us. The sun feels a bit warmer when it touches my skin. The days are brighter. The energy is up! Yes, yogis, spring is here. Even if it hasn’t made itself totally obvious yet.

    Since we are seasonally shifting, it’s important to make some minor lifestyle changes. It’s time to let go of your wintery ways and change in accordance with the season to stay balanced and happy!

    Spring is a season of warmth, moisture, and softness. The heat from the sun is now awakening the vibrancy and beauty of all life that was lying dormant during winter (including yourself, perhaps). Even so, this season can be problematic for some. Spring is also a season of colds, sinus congestion, and allergies. To avoid these typical spring occurrences, it’s important to emphasize internal spring cleaning.

    Spring Guidelines:

    1. Eat a lighter diet.
    2. Take on some sort of cleansing program. Kitchari cleanses are a really nourishing way to cleanse while still getting plenty of food.
    3. Start to wake up earlier. Rise with the sun!
    4. Declutter and rearrange your space to best support yourself in this season. What do you use, what do you need each day? What can be donated, sold, or put away until it gets cold out again?
    5. Say goodbye to all napping unless you're sick or pregnant. I'm serious. Napping causes stagnation.
    6. As it really begins to heat up, take measures to keep cool. Practice cooling forms of yoga, such as yin yoga. (Sort by style and find all of our online yin yoga classes). Practice cooling forward folds. Take a refreshing dip.
    7. Take time to appreciate the reawakening of nature. Take nature walks. Go on a long hike. Take your laptop or tablet outside and practice yoga outdoors. Observe all the new life emerging. New sprouts. New blooms and blossoms. New, vibrant energy. Embrace it all!
    8. Since there will be a lot of action going on outside, set aside time for introspective activities, such as meditation or writing. We offer an awesome collection of online meditation classes. Please check them out! Reserve time for stillness.
    9. Do some emotional housekeeping and cleaning. How are you feeling? Are you holding on to anything you should be releasing? Are you happy? Self-reflect.
    10. Practice detoxifying, renewing yoga classes. Think twists, twists, and more twists. To find all of our twisting online yoga flows, sort by Focus.

    Spring these balancing tips into action. Be full of the joys of spring.

  • Feature Friday: What’s New?

    Let's see...

    What do we have going on this week? Well, lots. Read on to find an online yoga practice that strikes your fancy. Then, take it to the mat.

    firefly pose

    Arm balance junkie?

    Join Cristi Christensen for an online Vinyasa flow and exploration of eka pada koundinyasana II, titibasana, and bakasana post-hamstring and hip-opening. What’s more, enjoy a core plank, push-up, spinal flow series that will fire up your core and bring flexibility to the spine.

    Rock yo hips.

    Work in a quick and well-rounded hip opening practice complete with a warm-up, standing postures, balancing poses and restorative hip openers. Release tension to receive the numerous physical and energetic benefits of this online yoga practice with Gigi Yogini.

    Start trippin’ off the POWER.

    Begin this online yoga class on your back with Goldie Oren’s signature ab work to fire up the core. You'll then move into several low and high lunges to power up the legs. Then flow through four Sun Salutation A's to build heat. The sequence will continue to flow into externally rotated poses like Warrior II, extended side angle and half moon pose. After the standing hip openers, you'll come into several internally rotated poses and twists, including revolved extended side angle, revolved triangle and Warrior III. Then making your way onto your stomach for three bow poses and a restful child's pose. You'll close the practice with a long pigeon pose with the option to twist, and a peaceful savasana.

    Pranayamas, asanas, mudras, oh my!

    Join Andrey Lappa for a short Universal Yoga Mandala class introducing pranayamas, mudras, and color visualizations for the development of dharana (internal focus and concentration) while skillfully incorporating vinyasas, asanas, and turns on the mat. Feel a balancing of the mind and body - the internal and the external harmonized.

    Unleash your inner yoga ninja. 

    Sensei Kim McNeil takes it up a notch to lead you in an online yoga practice to safely improve the mobility of your lower body joints. Learn how to properly move the spine, hips, and knees in a way that will make you stronger, improve your balance, and promote happy joints. All the while you will be challenged to stay in touch with your breathing and find your inner yoga ninja so you can continue to karate chop stress long after you've left the mat.

    Release!

    Take a wonderful, guided journey with Annie Carpenter as you release through the entire body in this online pranayama and meditation class. Start with a guided relaxation as you prepare your body for a seated pranayama and meditation experience.

    Here comes the Barre burn.

    Join Tammy Rowe for a fast-paced online Core Fusion class which is a nice challenge for students with Core Fusion or barre experience. Fusing the disciplines of core conditioning, Pilates, the Lotte Berk Method, and yoga, this highly acclaimed transformational fitness experience incorporates 50 years of collective teacher expertise. It allows you to work from the inside out, consistently delivering results, including washboard abs, a tighter and higher backside, and a perfectly toned body.

    Lots of newness to explore, right? Enjoy your exploration. Enjoy your practice.

    ~Tess

  • 5 Ways to Let Go

    releasing expectation

    If there’s one thing yoga has drilled into me time and time again it is this: Release expectation. People and situations will disappoint you. Some individuals will get off on seeing you wounded, flailing, or failing. These people will be strangers, mentors, and sometimes, they will even be those with whom you've deeply entrusted your friendship. It doesn’t matter. In the larger scheme of things, it’s not really about these people. Let them do as they will. Let them think what they wish. If you really know yourself, you have all the tools you need to take these punches and to freakin’ take them with grace. And after you take the heat, all you can do is let it go. Then, you put up a fight for the things in life that truly matter. You do you and you do it well. And you never, EVER let them see you sweat (off the mat, of course).

    Yes, this is easier said than done.

    Yes, this takes practice.

    Yes, this requires you choose to perceive this all as ultimately positive.

    How do you do that? What can you do to rebound from disappointment or pain? What can you do when people dish out these emotional punches or stings? How do you avoid letting your anger intervene? How do you confront the situation with grace? How do you let it go?

    1. Breathe. First and foremost, breathe. Practice pranayama. Breath of Fire is a powerful tool to expel overwhelming thoughts and any underlying anxieties you are feeling.
    2. Consider this a message. The universe, whether you realize it or not, is incredibly intelligent. If you have up to this point led with integrity and done your best to bring positive, clean energy into all of your experiences, the universe is most likely looking out for you here. Maybe this unfortunate event is simply a door closing to open a new one. Instead of mourning this loss, consider the new opportunities that are now awake. What will this situation open up for you?
    3. Control your reaction. This, at the end of the day, is the only thing you can count on: Your reaction in the face of a problem. Choose a reaction that you won’t look back on and regret. Choose the higher path. Choose rationality, calm, and discretion. Choose wisely in the emotions you reveal. Choose to view this “bad” situation as a "good" one in disguise. Choose to dwell in possibility, not negativity.
    4. Concentrate on your most important relationship: The one you have with yourself. This should be your priority. Observe how you are responding in the face of these punches. How are these stimuli influencing you? Watch yourself. Be an observer on your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. All of this will create space between you and whatever is going on. A good way to take this watchfulness approach is to meditate. Meditation reveals all of the garbage. Gradually, it allows you to empty out the mental trash and rid yourself of things that are an incredible waste of your energy and space.
    5. Forgive. Don’t give this person or situation any more power over you than they are worth. Forgiveness is powerful because it releases the toxic energy that you share with this person or situation. Holding onto anger and other feelings and emotions will just add flame to the fire. It gives this person or thing great power over you and your thoughts whether you recognize it or not. Forgive it to free it.

    Letting s**t go is tough, yet it is well within your power. You have the power to allow what will and will not get to you. You have the power to open new doors. You have the power to view bad situations as opportunities. Don’t let the bad and the ugly saturate your experience and detract from all of the good. Because the bad and the ugly happen for a reason. If you can stop obsessing over it and consider it all a blessing in disguise, you will be in a place of security and strength. You will come out on top and that much stronger.

    Let it go. Let it all go.

    ~Tess

  • 3 Ways to Attract Positive Vibes

     tadasana

    1. Think Positive. What you allow to slosh around in your head truly does influence the way you feel and what you attract. If you want to feel good and attract good things, think good things. Simple, right? Yes. Simple, but not easy. For those prone to negative thoughts, it takes lots of practice to rewire the natural tendencies and patterns we have created. For me, the practice of cultivating positive thoughts began in yoga. As I practiced more yoga, I became increasingly more self-aware. As I observed my thinking mind, I realized that my thoughts were totally tainting my experience. Yoga, among other realms, helped me to release a lot of this self-induced toxicity. The yoga is still working on me, each day allowing me to release a little bit more or, at the very least, showing me what I need to work on and what negative patterns of thought and behavior need some rewiring.
    2. Feel Positive. Thoughts influence how you feel, yet the reversal also holds true: How you feel, influences your thoughts. One sure way to feel better is to get moving. Yoga just makes you feel good. It flushes out stagnation and lethargy and wrings out all of the toxic accumulations. All the positive vibrations you create via the physical practice (be it asana, pranayama, or mantra), translate powerfully to the mental body. You know this to be true. For example, say your favorite song comes on. You start jammin' to it, and your mood quickly shifts. The physical vibrations positively influence your mental body. The same phenomenon occurs in the yoga practice. The physical vibrations created via movement and action positively influence your thoughts and actions. To test it out, here are 3 physical practices specifically designed to generate positive mental and spiritual transformations:
      • Backbending: Harnessing the Power of Intention with Kelly Gardner // Begin by reversing the old adage, "I'll believe it when I see it," to remind yourself that it is also holds true that, "I'll see it when I believe it." The power of setting a positive intention and working with that intention through breath, body, and mind is transformative. Every pose in this Anusara yoga sequence is purposeful. Open up your body via deep backbends to powerfully expand your mind. (60 mins.)
      • Twisting: Balancing the Nadis with Jeanne Heileman // Twisting is not only a great way to cleanse the body, but when done on a deeper level, it becomes a mental and spiritual cleanse. The online yoga class begins with abdominal work and the cleansing techniques of Uddiyana Bandha and Agni Sara to really awaken the center. The breathing pattern of Samana Vayu is introduced to take this even deeper. Using that heat, you will move into twists from many perspectives to wring out the organs as well as to wring out your thought patterns. When you can change the way that you breathe, you can change the patterns in the mind. This can lead to space for new, positive habits. The result of this type of practice is a calmer, more stable energy and more centering in the spine. (75 mins.)
      • Anahata: Finding the Lightness of the Heart with Jeanne Heileman // The quality of the Heart Chakra is Air, yet most of us do not feel as though our hearts could be as light as air. This online yoga class will help transform your perspective to the positive energy and region within the heart. You will be guided through a specific pranayama called Viloma that moves the breath against the grain of what is comfortable, to create expansion and strength in the lungs and heart. Jeanne will then guide you on a journey deep within the heart, using Tantric techniques she has learned from her master teacher, that can help you find a beauty and deep love that dwells at the darkest cave of the heart. This meditation can be a life-changer if done for 30 days in a row. (24 mins.)
    3. Do Positive. Put out positive vibes. Commit to positive actions. Do good things for your friends, family, and fellow yogis. Shine a smile to a stranger. Be helpful. What’s more, wrap all of these positive outputs in love and compassion. Scientifically speaking, the person who gives receives a much higher dopamine (happy chemical) surge than the receiver. Interesting, right? It’s the law of karma in action.

    To attract positive, to realize your dreams and the impossible, you have to think, feel, and do positive. What you put out in this lifetime, you will inevitably receive.

    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” ~ Sun Tzu

    Be victorious.

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: www.fitbodyflow.com

  • Feature Friday: What’s New?

    downward facing dog

    There’s a lot on tap this week. You’re bound to find something that resonates.

    1. Slay Away Your Inner Demons.  Invoke Durga, the Goddess of Fierce Compassion, in this slow flow, online Vinyasa yoga class with Cristi Christensen. Durga, a spiritual warrior, rides around on a tiger and uses a sword to slay inner demons and egos. Use your breath and practice to slay away anything that doesn't serve you.
    2. Bliss Out. Join Universal Yoga developer, Andrey Lappa, in a beautifully balanced online yoga sequence designed to create freedom and bliss in the upper and lower body.
    3. Enjoy an Energetic Venture. Join Andrey Lappa again for an online yoga sequence that incorporates turns on the mat while creating diagonal lines of energy in the body (i.e. left hip and right shoulder), transversal openings (i.e. legs and arms wide, then deeply crossed) and longitudinal openings (straight forward and straight back).
    4. Satisfy Your Joints. Sensei Kim McNeil leads you in an online yoga practice that will help you safely improve the mobility of the upper body joints. You will learn how to properly move the neck, shoulders, and spine in a way that will promote happy joints, plus increase muscular strength. All the while you will get in touch with your inner yoga ninja so you can feel confident, stress-free, and calm.
    5. Achieve Total Balance and Tranquility. This mandala (a geometric symbol representing the completeness, balance and harmony of the universe) online yoga class with Andrey Lappa begins with preparatory pranayamas unique to the Universal Yoga System. Enjoy the post effect of total balance for the upper body, the lower body, the spine, and consciousness.
    6. Uncover Your Inner Voice. Explore the use of Mantra with Jeanne Heileman. This online yoga class focuses on aspects of the Fifth Chakra, which are connected to sound and vibration. You will join the students in the class vocalizing the mantra "So Hum" as you move through Sun Salutations and poses. At times, things will get quiet as you silently repeat the mantra, feeling the vibrational quality that the mantra provides, resonate throughout the poses. This well-rounded class leads to Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and Matseyasana (Fish Pose). It seems pretty simple on the outside, but the students reported that the experience was very powerful on the inside. Give it a try!
    7. Stop the Thought Wheels from Turning. In this online meditation class with Jeanne Heileman, the mantra "So Hum" is offered, after some Pranayama to help establish a focused environment. "So Hum" is a simple, safe, and extremely powerful mantra that works in alignment with any spiritual/religious perspective you might already follow. It can also help fill the void if no perspective exists at this time in your life. This meditation is a really wonderful option for when your mind is racing around a lot and concentration is difficult. It is also wonderful for those times when you feel lower in self-esteem, lacking any outer support. The effects of the mantra are truly powerful, and come in time, after many, many repetitions. It's worth doing!
    8. Open Your Heart.  Join psychotherapist and yoga instructor Ashley Turner for this online yoga class filmed at Exhale Spa in Venice, CA. Open with heart openers and upper back openers for the thoracic spine. Enjoy a challenging Vinyasa flow class and explore backbends from basic to advanced.

    So many fresh and fabulous options. What will you choose?

    ~Tess

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