yoga

Rough Starting in 2024

This year has been challenging in a new kind of way.

Mostly, this is due to a client deciding that they were just not going to pay me for a contract. Right when I was finishing up. It was really disappointing, because I was building this awesome new shed and had finished the framing for the roof and the walls and brought out the metal sheeting for the roof and some concrete hardy board for the walls, both of which were very cool new outdoor building products from Texas. I was ready to make a masterpiece. Then this person just decided that they needed to cancel; no real reason.

I worked on this project for over a month. The whole thing sits on a massive French drain that I built one top of 6 large footings. The shed’s infrastructure came out pretty good in the end, once another guy came in a finished it for less money. Unfortunately, I have no recourse because I still don’t have my landscaping license; which is bullshit to begin with. This whole ordeal is making me rethink getting back into the landscaping industry.

Licensing Difficulties

Earlier in the year, I had applied for a new landscaping contractors license and I was supposed to test in October, but I wasn’t able to find a reference. The state also tried to force me to change my business name to include “landscaping”, which is kind of a silly overstepping of the government. These regulations are supposed to help people somehow? The state of California, seems especially intent on preventing smaller businesses from even starting. Food is controlled; medicine is controlled (and by the way, mushrooms are still schedule 1, same as heroine!), poison from big companies is allowed, everything seems to have been over stabilized because of the military industrial complex

s need to stabilize the economy to sustain growth. You can tell that this system which has entrenched itself into the court systems has no interest in the commonwealth. The infrastructure, roads, power lines, etc are deteriorating pretty badly. They are also very poorly planned, scheduled, and constructed. At this point, it makes more sense for these companies to build things that deteriorate quickly because their contracts become more valuable. Similar to a car company making cheaper parts that you won’t notice. Regulation actually seems to be counterproductive in these areas. You’d think the government would want to spend more money helping the homeless and working on immigration rather than running sting operations and all of the infrastructure required to test and charge for landscaping licenses, maintain a board etc. It’s like the DMV charging a little bit extra every year. Why don’t our taxes cover DMV fees in the state of California? Why are paying the DMV fees at all?

These regulations are formulated so that larger companies, that are entrenched, have the upper hand when it comes to business operations. This is called regulatory capture and it is basically now a reality in many places in America. People that participate in the justice and court systems say that this is true of the courts as well, though I don’t have experience with this. It seems to be rampant in the divorce industry; there is an exploitation occurring.

This is a new age form of governmental monopolization, similar to the inefficacies of communism. It reminds me a lot of Paris when I was 20; it’s nearly impossible to do anything because of the amount of rules that exist! It’s happening in every industry as the military industrial complex expands; Dwight Eisenhower warned about this after WWII. So we can dismantle it, but it’s going to take a decade or more. But anyways, the state said that I had to have “landscaping” in my business name (which is nonsense, because I was already doing all kinds of things that normal people would not call “landscaping”.), including plumbing and some light electrical work. What is with the reference? No exceptions for college graduates, no talking to customers. Why do they even test people, these aren’t skills you can reasonably “prove” on a test. It’s just another system of government trying to control things that it shouldn’t. I’ve heard from a few contractors that the test is mostly about the business portion anyways; rules which the regulatory bodies decide on. Its a conflict of interest.

Resigning to let go and Move on

I have no recourse except to let myself be taken by this client. Kinda sucks. But overall it a good lesson. And now I want to get out of the landscaping industry. It’s a pretty sad situation, but things could be much worse. I still am very healthy, I am learning, I didn’t lose everything I own. But honestly all of this licensing and client nonsense makes me want to leave the state. Who do these people think they are? In many other states, there are literally 0 laws about landscaping. There are many, far more important issues for the government to focus on that could actually be productive for society. We need to figure out our rehabilitation, education, and prison systems. This should be consuming every last ounce of energy of the government and state.

Taking Refuge at Bushnell’s Landscaping in Granite Bay

I decided that I needed to get a real job. To get some experience in the field working for someone that could vouch for me to get my landscaping licensing. To try to find mentor to help me to see into the future and decide if this would be a path for me. I decided to get a job for Bushnell’s in Granite Bay, CA. I needed to go completely legit, and work on my schooling to become some kind of engineer, designer, creator, whatever. Something involving computation, but also lots of math, modeling, etc. To be honest, I have been missing working with computers for a while and the recent advances in AI have me drooling to get my hands on some more advanced machine learning models. I am a giant data nerd and have been since I played WOW when I was 15. Don’t tell anyone ffs. I am currently taking math and physics classes online and it has been awesome. I also getting back into coding with python and data analysis, all of which seems to work and flow really well together. Soon, I’ll be learning more advanced biology, neuroscience, and cellular mechanics. stuff like that. I am going to stop doing as much labor and start working on designs. At the end of last year, I was considering buying a little walk on tractor.

Bushnell was very receptive to getting a new employee that had some experience landscaping, so I got the slightly more than full-time job working at the Nursery and for his landscaping company. It’s pretty nice to have a steady stream of working coming in, even though it is only maintenance. Refocusing on design is going to be great for me. I am also really hoping that Bushnell will sponsor me to test for my licensing. I am not a fan of maintenance work, I like making new things and installing, but I have come to appreciate the steady work on maintenance. I’ll do maintenance, but I don’t like it very much. I’d prefer to be repairing an irrigation system or adding drainage, or still my favorite of all time, planting plants. Soon, I’m hoping to get working on some larger projects with Bushnell and I’ll feature some of his work to show off why it’s awesome, and how his systems are designed.

This has been a fairly wet winter and I have spent a lot of time outside doing maintenance and fertilizing plants, I’ve been working a lot. But the work is much lighter than the construction work I was doing before so it’s not a big deal. I got sick a couple of times this winter, but it felt like a good sick, like it made me healthier to go through and experience the bacteria or viruses or whatever.

I had never done a liquid fertilizer before so I got to learn about nitrogen and spreading agents and humic acid and stuff. It’s really amazing what some fertilizer can do for plant growth and health. I am thinking of formulating my own mixture with liquid kelp and bat guano and experimenting with some nutrient enhancements. Different plants have different fertilization specifications so that is something interesting I will have a chance to learn and experiment with. Bushnell has some amazing work.

Leveling Up to Landscape Designer

Dave Bushnell’s work has an obviously superior quality to it; he has the ability to grow a plant from a seed and then install it into a client’s yard. You can see distinction in the end product. This control over the plant’s life gives him a somewhat unparalleled design ability to understand how plants can flow and grow together, which is the most important part of any ecosystem, but especially an ornamental landscape. The plants and colors need to fit together to move the human eye around the scene and generally you want the plants to exist together in a harmonious equilibrium. I have done a decent amount of designing in the wood-working and fencing and gate building fields as well so I can create entryways that invite and appeal and just can’t wait to be walked through! Complimenting areas with greenery, or specialized architectural features: stone walls, arches, stone steps, etc is a great way to enhance the enjoyability of a space.

Design is going to be the future of my landscaping business. In a few years I’m hoping to have 2-3 Tesla bots or similar running around doing landscaping and I’ll just focus on the planning and logistics of the planting, drainage, and irrigation systems that I install. I’ll also want to build rock walls, patios, decks, etc. all to create wonderful spaces for people to enjoy.

I’m not sure if I’m going to move to Texas or not yet; it is very appealing because of the law. California is going down, quickly and I do not want to be a part of any of what is happening here.

Delays and Updates for Eros Part 3

I was planning on finishing my album in the beginning of the year, but because I got a full time job working at Bushnell’s I’ve had time to think more about the last tracks and what I want to create with them. I have three more tracks that are coming out shortly here.

Battle for Mars is the newest and last track of the EROS Part 3 album; it has two version, the long version and the shorter version, each of which has a unique flavor. I have spent about 5 months on these pieces of music so I hope you have a chance to enjoy them. I’ll be uploading the album to Spotify for a release date on the 1st of June. I’ll post an article when I release the album, but for now you can enjoy the track on SoundCloud, its out there 😀

Yoga as a constant force

Mediation and yoga have been very important for me during this tumultuous time where I get myself out of this little situation. After having that client cancel on me, I was fuming and I really had no way to vent the energy. Yoga was tremendously helpful; it helps me to process emotions. I generally do lots of exercise to move through deeper kinds of feelings like what I was dealing with at the end of last year. Yoga and my movement practice are a very important refuge and it always comes in handy. Breathing control is always very useful. It still took about a month to get over; but without yoga I think it would have taken me much longer. Now I am just getting refocused on the path to wherever new job as an opportunity to get back into my practice and start documenting more of my findings, as I do think that yoga is a form of science and that we should be using it to ameliorate our mental health. Think of it like breath science and thought training, focusing, something like that while exercising. It is a very interesting phenomenon. I’m looking forward to teaching this week, so see you at East Wind if you get a chance to take my class.

Yoga has helped me in a huge way through this whole process. Its really helped in letting go of holding any grudges.

I’ll be creating more yoga content soon here, once I cool down from working all the time, which I am still doing to get myself out of this silly debt.

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The Science of Serenity: Yoga’s Impact on the Nervous System and Hormonal Balance

Introduction

Over the past 10 years, I have been attempting to understand and adapt the ancient practice of yoga. I travelled to Mysore to study ancient yogic traditions through the lens of modern science. It has also helped me to understand what brought me to yoga originally. Over the course of teaching thousands of students yoga, I can confirm that the benefits of yoga are tremendous and very much understated in modern society. It’s simple; health is declining because it isnt valued. The practice of yoga allows for an individual to realize fascinating and comprehensive benefits for human health and to redistribute their system of valued. Yoga is a way of philosophy. This article will delve into the anatomical and physiological underpinnings of yoga, specifically its profound effects on the nervous system and hormonal balance, to illuminate how these practices foster positive mental health.

Yoga and the Nervous System

The Parasympathetic Nervous System and Yoga

Yoga’s ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), often referred to as the “rest and digest” system, is a cornerstone of its mental health benefits. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, practices such as gentle yoga poses, meditation, and pranayama (breath control) significantly increase vagal tone, an indicator of parasympathetic activity, leading to relaxation and stress reduction (Streeter et al., 2010).

Just sitting still and breathing deeply can lower your cortisol levels significantly. I can’t tell you how many people miss out on this in favor of the “go” mentality. To relax, you have to stop; sometimes.

Neuroplasticity and Mindfulness Practices

Research in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience outlines how consistent yoga practice contributes to neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new neural connections throughout life. This adaptability is enhanced by yoga’s mindfulness component, promoting cognitive flexibility and resilience to stress (Gard et al., 2014).

These findings collectively suggest that yoga can play a pivotal role in mental health interventions. By enhancing neuroplasticity and fostering a mindful approach to mental health, yoga offers a holistic and effective strategy for managing anxiety and depression, supporting its integration into mental health treatment and wellness programs for addicts and/or abusers.

Meditation and Brain Structure: Research has shown that meditation, a key component of yoga, can lead to changes in the brain’s structure, particularly in areas associated with memory, sense of self, empathy, and stress. For instance, a study that found increased gray matter density in the hippocampus, known for its role in learning and memory, in individuals who engage in mindfulness meditation.

Breath control and pranayama practices influence the autonomic nervous system, shifting the balance towards the vagus nerve, which helps promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. This shift is associated with reduced cortisol levels, a marker of stress, thereby potentially reducing anxiety and depressive symptoms.

lakeyoga_Elliot&Mandy

Yoga for Hormonal Balance

Cortisol and Stress Response

A pivotal study in Psychoneuroendocrinology demonstrated that regular yoga practitioners exhibit lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, compared to non-practitioners. This suggests that yoga can modulate the body’s stress response system, leading to improved mental health outcomes (West, Otte, Geher, Johnson, & Mohr, 2004).

Yoga’s Effect on the Endocrine System

Yoga’s impact extends to the broader endocrine system, which regulates hormones. The Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology reported that specific yoga poses and sequences can stimulate or soothe various glands, promoting hormonal balance. This equilibrium is essential for mood regulation, stress management, and overall mental well-being [1]. Studies have indicated that mindfulness practices can reduce rumination, a significant factor in the development and maintenance of depression. By fostering a non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, yoga helps individuals break the cycle of negative thought patterns.

Practical Applications

The practice of asana can optimize the nervous system and hormonal functions. For example, inversions like downward dog or headstand can rejuvenate the endocrine system, while slow, mindful movements in poses such as child’s pose or seated forward bend activate the vagus nerve, fostering a state of calm.

Yoga for Substance Abuse Disorders

Yoga has been increasingly explored as a complementary intervention strategy in the treatment of substance use disorders (SUDs), with several studies highlighting its potential benefits. Research demonstrates that yoga practices, including Hatha yoga, Sudarshan Kriya yoga, and various breathing and meditation exercises, can have positive effects on individuals struggling with substance use, including tobacco, alcohol, or opioids.

Incorporating Scholarly Insights into Daily Practice

Understanding the science behind yoga empowers practitioners to tailor their practice to specific mental health goals. When you are stressed, you can meditate. By integrating these scientifically backed techniques into regular practice, you can control your own health. There is a lot of research left to be done; but there is some evidence to support yoga as an effective therapy for anxiety and depression. Obviously these are hard things to measure; not only are depressions and anxiety subjective, but the way each individual experience yoga is different because of different use histories in the body from sports, etc.

Conclusion

These findings collectively suggest that yoga, through its multifaceted practices of breathing, contorting, and physical rigor can ameliorate mental health. The confluence of yoga with modern scientific research offers compelling evidence of its benefits. The key to further research will be underpinning its exact efficacy in enhancing mental health. So far, the breathing techniques have yielded some of the most widely acknowledged clinical data. As we continue to explore the depths of yoga’s therapeutic potential, it becomes clear that this ancient practice holds timeless relevance in our quest for psychological well-being in the contemporary world. During our lifetime, we might learn why!

References (read the first one!)

  1. Bhavanani, A. B., Madanmohan, & Sanjay, Z. (2012). Understanding the Science of Yoga. The Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
  2. Gard, T., Noggle, J. J., Park, C. L., Vago, D. R., & Wilson, A. (2014). Potential self-regulatory mechanisms of yoga for psychological health. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
  3. Streeter, C. C., Gerbarg, P. L., Saper, R. B., Ciraulo, D. A., & Brown, R. P. (2010). Effects of yoga on the autonomic nervous system, gamma-aminobutyric-acid, and allostasis in epilepsy, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
  4. West, J., Otte, C., Geher, K., Johnson, J., & Mohr, D. C. (2004). Effects of Hatha Yoga and African Dance on Perceived Stress, Affect, and Salivary Cortisol. Psychoneuroendocrinology.
  5. Namrata Walia, Jennifer Matas, Acara Turner, Sandra Gonzalez and Roger Zoorob -The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

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Shaucha | शौच | purity & cleanliness

Shaucha is the 1st Niyama of Yoga; or the restraints of behavior. This concept that is central to the Indian religion and yoga and is part of what creates a clear and focused mind. It also means a clean body and sets of actions; its implies purity and cleanliness through all of life in a balanced way.

It is also important when speaking to aim to control your communications from a calm and peaceful mind. Saucha is most often practiced in daily life, whilst cleaning your space; or your car; doing your laundry or even taking showers. Nourishment and organization are also central to saucha.

Saucha and Santosha are very interconnected. One leads to the other, which is why saucha is the first Niyama and Santosha is the second. And remember that these are behavioral guidelines or ways to act around others.

Saucha’s concepts lend themselves to better Focus

Meditation was created to clear and enhance mental focus. Saucha is a part of that because meditation requires a little bit of preparation; sometimes a shower before, or simply taking off your shoes and sitting on a pillow or a mat, etc. So keeping space clean is an important part of that. In yoga, it is very important to keep the space clean of pests; especially in post WW2 India. It is also about creating a clean relationship to yourself; getting rid of the baggage so to speak. Cleaning not only enhances your mental health, but it also removes stress from your body. “Clutter and mess can create more stress and anxiety, but by cleaning, organizing, and reducing the clutter, people are able to take control of their environment and create a more relaxing environment that helps them focus better on the more pressing issues in their lives.”[7]

5 Techniques to create Saucha

  1. Meditate for a couple of minutes first thing in the morning. Clear your mind before your day.
  2. Neti Pot – clear your nasal cavity
  3. Dharana Meditation – focus on a single object and stare at it for 5 minutes or more. Choose a few objects of different distances for longer practice.
  4. Declutter and clean your house and your car
  5. Eat organic foods

References:

  1. The Art of Living Retreat Center – How to Live in Harmony with Yourself and the World Around You
  2. The Art of Living Retreat Center – Saucha – the First Niyama
  3. Bret Larking – What is Saucha
  4. Yoga International – Yamas and Niyamas
  5. Wikipedia – Niyamas
  6. Wikipedia – Saucha
  7. Very Well Mind – The Connection Between Decluttering, Cleaning, and Mental Health
  8. Forbes – the Mental Health Benefits of a Clean Home

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Dall-E & the E.T. - Santosha

Santosha | संतोष | Contentment | Satisfaction

Santosha, the second Niyama of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is sometimes spelled Santosa, is a portmanteau in Sanskrit, derived from Saṃ-prefix (सं-, सम्-) and Tosha (तोष (from root √तुष्, √tuṣ)). SaM-, means “completely”, “altogether” or “entirely”,[5] and Tosha (from the root √tus), “contentment”, “satisfaction”, “acceptance”, “being comfortable”.[5]

In modern Californian yoga culture, we say, “chillin” to express this. Contentment is the name of the game. Yoga and santosha are somewhat synonymous; it is a big part of yogic philosophy.

Dall-E & the E.T. - Santosha

Sam is similar to sum, totality and entirely. Tosha or Tushti (तुष्टि) is about appreciation, mindfulness, gratitude, harmony, an active inner contentment. But like all other Sanskrit words; there is a rather distinct philosophical implication behind this compounded idea.

Samtosa, or Santosha means inner serenity; a lacking of cravings and desires; satisfaction in the present. In a way, it is less reactive and more sustainable than happiness, which would be more like the upward part of a mountain that has a valley beneath it. It is like a gentle hum in the background of life that keeps you excited for what comes next.

Minimization is important in the philosophies of santosha. Less things and obligations; more relationships, time with nature, etc. We have so much in the way of our happiness; how can we possibly enjoy ourselves if we don’t take any time to feel that way. Difficulty will always exist; especially with big challenges. Santosha exists in small moments; like taking your time to enjoy the first sip of coffee you have or to eat a decent breakfast.

Relinquishing expectations can also create a path for cultivating Santosha. This is something I’ve had to do with my own life in big ways; letting go of thinking that I would be a full-time yoga instructor; or that I was ready to start a landscaping business by myself have been big lessons for me. I am finding Santosha in the journey of creating these things in balance.

This concept, Santosha, has been a theme as I’ve started a new job at Bushnell’s landscaping service. It will be great to have steady work and will provide an excellent opportunity to learn from a successful, high quality tradesman.

Contentment is hard when you have to let go of a successful and fun yoga class. My Wednesday noon class at East Wind in Roseville always felt special, like a fun and welcoming place to come back to. However, transitioning that class to another teacher has been a long time in coming. I’ve had several projects where taking the time to teach yoga at noon has been very difficult. I still teach Tuesday evening 7pm and Sunday evening 5pm classes.

DALL·E & the E.T. - Job's loss (biblical)
DALL·E & the E.T. – Job’s loss (biblical)

I’d like to add another class or maybe two; I’d like to teach more yoga at the very beginning and the end of the day so we’ll see if that can work out this year!

EROS part 3 has also been slightly put on the back-burner; I am still finishing the music, just a lot slower than I was able to when I had all day to work on it. I have a couple more dnb tracks and a couple of house tracks to get out there. Some really cool sound designs on these! The new full- time job has been really time consuming, which is great! But I don’t get as much time for music so I’ll have to double down on sound design and melody writing after work.

Niyama #2

Santosha is the second of Patanjali’s Niyamas; it means contentment and also unison with what is; reality. Santosha is an ethical concept in Hindu philosophy. It is a tenet of yoga and corresponds to the mental state that you are trying to create with asana. With focus, you can create a state of santosha by moving through all the things that make you unhappy or dissatisfied and accepting them; or coming to terms with their conclusions.

Santosha means to be completely content with, or satisfied with, accepting and comfortable in what is. To be present to everything and happy with it. This creates a personal growth that allows you to be okay with anything that is happening around you. Similar to a tree growing ferociously on the side of a cliff.

5 Ways to Create Santosha in your life

Dall-E & the E.T. - Job's cosmic spiritual battle
Dall-E & the E.T. – Job’s cosmic spiritual battle
  1. appreciate difficulty in your journey
  2. entertain the point of view of others
  3. be nice, but don’t give away your attention
  4. create commitment and discipline
  5. learn to love your flaws and weaknesses

What does Santosha really mean

Santosha is a method for creating happiness. It is not complacency! It is a method for drawing contentment from within to make what is happening on the exterior irrelevant. So a lot of times, you have to spend time creating it; it won’t just appear after a moment on your mat. Sometimes you have to sit with it for a few hours, or do 2 yoga classes in a row. Meditating really helps too, but that is an internal relationship that has to be built up over time. You have to learn how to enjoy being in warrior 2 when you don’t want to be. You have to show up for it, then stick with it and accept your feelings as it happens. Yoga is just like a simulation or practice ground for what happens in life.

Santosha is really cultivating a space inside of yourself that is nice to come back to. Much of Indian philosophies relate nourishment and satisfaction to commitment and discipline. This commitment and focus to contentment and satisfaction is a self-fulfilling prophecy in many ways. I believe it is how there are so many people out there that are happy without excess.

Santosha is Deep Satisfaction

Santosha is within your control; you simply have to actively cultivate it. It is about the story in your mind and realizing that is a fabrication and it detracts from your fun! Our true power exists in our ability to act and create in the present moment; when we are lost in our story, we lose sight of that. This also means recognizing that our words do not have power over us; when someone else uses a specific word that grabs your attention, remember that you give it power by spending time focusing on it. Redirect your attention and it loses its power and more important its meaning. We are the creators of meaning in our lives by choosing what we spend our time doing and who we spend our time with so we have to make sure that we are doing things that we are passionate about!

References:
  1. Ekhart Yoga – Santosha
  2. Yoga International – Is Santosha (Contentment) Really Possible?
  3. Hindu American – 5 Things to know about OM
  4. Yogajala – Santosha
  5. shahzadpurfarmyoga.com – Samkhya Karika 50, Satisfaction is of 9 Types, 4 Internal & 5 External
  6. Wikipedia – Santosha

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Unlock-Zen-1

Unlock Your Inner Zen – Daoist Yoga with Elliot

Enjoy this 30 minute Daoist yoga sessions for your major muscles and nerves.

Flow with your breath through the sequence and release into your mind.

Practice yoga with Elliot!

Yoga with Elliot | Episode 3:

Beginner/Intermediate Yoga Class

Unlock-Zen-1
yoga with elliot: Episode 3 Daoist Symbol | by Dall-E

Postures (asanas) for weight loss and mental health.

You can tell I am a little bit chunky in this video and I like to gain weight during the winter to stay warmer. I’ll get back into really really good shape later; eating a lot during the winter is a favorite past-time of mine.

This video is for people who are interested in yoga, but haven’t really experienced it yet. Anyone that is in a high stress environment, or that has to drive a lot or sit at a desk during the day. It is very general and focuses on major muscles groups, such as hamstrings, quadradus lumborum, shoulders, hips, glutes, lower spinal erectors, quadriceps and inner thigh muscles.

Yoga is Healthy, practice a lot to cultivate Santosha, happiness.

Most will find this to help release some of the cortisol from the major muscle groups in the body; but I would imagine that military professionals, police officers, firefighters, doctors, and nurses, as well as other people in high-stress environments can benefit a lot from yoga’s ability to process stress[1]. Cortisol is stress hormone and it is stored in the blood stream in muscles. With focused and meditative breathing holding postures and flowing through sun salutations can greatly improve sleep quality, relieve cortisol from the blood stream, enhanced coping, self-efficacy and positive mood[2]. Further, on evaluating the published studies, it is concluded that sleep and cognitive functions are optimized by yoga practice, which brings about changes in autonomic function, structural changes, changes in metabolism, neurochemistry and improved functional brain network connectivity in key regions of the brain.[3] Yoga practices can increase multiple neurotransmitters and hormones such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine—all natural anti-depressants. [4] The practice of Yoga improves sleep architecture and mental well-being in young and middle-aged adults. [4]

“Yoga also boosts the innate antiviral response and brain health by enhancing natural defense genes and microRNA-29c expression. Notably, it activates telomerase, linked with cellular longevity, and promotes nitric oxide synthetase and neuroprotective gene expression, implying benefits for ocular health. In addition, yoga fosters DNA repair and cellular integrity maintenance by increasing oxoguanine glycosylase one protein and p53 gene expression.”[5]

What this means is that yoga helps your body to repair itself neurologically; in the brain neurological complexes that are required for sleep and the immune response and the body’s response to invasive micro-organisms. Eyes are generally thought of as a part of the brain; it is very interesting to see that this somewhat vulnerable area of the human body is augmented with inversions such as downward dog.

This 30 minute yoga class will get you relaxed and focused. The sequence is very balanced, in my opinion. Hold poses for longer! Experiment with your bodies endurance! And also be gentle and take it easy when you feel like you should.

Asanas and descriptions, some modifications

the yoga I practice is purely physical. Sometimes I end a class with a reading or something I am thinking, but I try to keep my teaching neutral.

  1. Tadasana – standing with intention in the feet
  2. Step back lunge
  3. Lizard Low Lunge
  4. Plank
  5. Chaturanga – specifics about alignment
  6. Half Lift – more alignment
  7. Forward Fold – release your neck and jaw and head
  8. Chair Pose – stabilize
  9. Warrior 3
  10. Lunging
  11. Pyrmaid Pose
  12. Triangle Pose
  13. Dragonfly Twist (make sure you get this on the second side!!)
  14. Standing splits
  15. Goddess Pose
  16. Meditation
  17. Savasana

References:

  1. Science Direct – Yogic meditation improves objective and subjective sleep quality of healthcare professionals
  2. De Gruyter – Using the Biopsychosocial Model to Understand the Health Benefits of Yoga
  3. National Library of Medicine – Sleep, Cognition, and Yoga
  4. MDPI – (Medical Yoga Therapy – read this!!!)
  5. International Journal of Yoga – Beyond the Mat: Exploring the Potential Clinical Benefits of Yoga on Epigenetics and Gene Expression

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Elliot Telford Yoga – Yin Yoga Meditation Video #1

take a load off your mind and meditate more

I recorded a little video before my class this Wednesday about what I do when I meditate. Meditating is a great way to clear the mind and relax the body; it can be a great way to take a quick break from work.

I am excited to share more content like this for a few reasons:

  • Videos are cool; I am looking for collaborators; please!
  • Breath expansion into the body is the primary goal of yoga; meditation should help this
  • Yoga practice and meditation practice are the same thing in many ways
  • Being present to your breath is what yoga is all about
  • Yoga should be fun and short meditations can be effective
  • You want to enjoy yoga; a minute or two is great. I know I look serious but that’s just cause I’m alone in a yoga studio taking videos of myself and that is kinda weird to be totally honest with you.
  • I’m performing pranayama breathing through my nose the whole time in the video; follow along

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What to Expect in Your First Yoga Class

3 hard and fast rules for doing yoga in public

Everyone should try yoga.

Public classes are fun and a cool way to meet new; healthy people.

Yes, you have to take your shoes off.

The First Time

So you’ve decided to take the leap: you’re going to your first real life studio yoga class.

Oooooh how exciting. You have finally devoted some time to your mental health. You researched a little about meditation and the body-mind thing and you’re going to take it a step further. Destiny, your girlfriend has been telling you to do yoga for at least a decade and you are finally giving in; plus your back is killing you and you need to relax from your boss’ bullshit temper tantrum last week. Maybe you’ve done some stretching and yoga videos online and you are ready to get into your first ever yoga studio class. This is a special time. Savor it.

Real life studio yoga is amazing; there are some very special humans that get into yoga; it’s an art form that is unparalleled in its humanism.

I started practicing yoga with my mom when I was 20. I think I only went once or twice on a Saturday morning with her to East Wind in Roseville (hot yoga, but not Bikram, what a jerk!) and it was one of the hardest workouts I have ever done. I got hooked after about 3 months because of the mental clarity it provided and also the physical aspect of losing weight and also developing abdominals muscles; which I had always lacked due to my passionate love for pizza and ice cream.

#1: Get comfortable

Actually, this is kind of a big deal. Relax. Go to the bathroom before your class starts, probably go to the bathroom at home first. Pass the gas outside. I remember going to the bathroom every morning at 4am in India before my practice. Yoga can kinda reset your circadian rhythm somehow. Your body has internal timings that usually know when you are about to exercise; which is a fun part of yoga. Learn your body!

It’s easy to let out a squeaker; it’s not a big deal, we’ve all been there. My back makes weird fart sounds on my mat all the time and I just laugh about it to myself. However, if you feel like your fart might smell, like bad; as they often do; then you should go to the bathroom and let loose. Try not to stink up the yoga room.

#2: Don’t be Creepy

This is probably geared more towards guys; but hey girls can be creepos too! Try not to be weird, especially around attractive people; they won’t like you as much. Your yoga teacher is a person too; try to value their time also. Nobody really wants to be judged superficially, everyone wants more aquaintances and wants to be loved; be good with people. Try not to stare at the beautiful girls butt that is right in front of your face; unless of course, it’s your wife or girlfriend! Then, with their permission, stare away! But generally staring at other people is not ok, especially in yoga. Focus on your own body; love your self. Spending time with your mind is also a benefit.

#3: Have Fun and Meet Some Cool People

Generally people that practice yoga are not assholes. They are nice! It can be superficial; but I believe it is the instructor’s job to ask people to dive deeper. People are always nicer after the yoga class; it is essentially a dose of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin; the whole kit and kaboodle. So afterwards you will likely be more social. Try not to overdo it and overshare. Yoga increases self-awareness, or self-consciousness and makes for a generally fun and sometimes transcendent studio environment. I’ve had several classes that are like a zoo, an insane asylum, and a massive party simultaneously. It is up to you to help create the atmosphere of a yoga class, so create your experience in it!

More Tips for Hot Yoga

  1. Dress to sweat; sweats are fine, but also shorts for a hot room are nice. Don’t be weird about taking off your shirt; it’s fine guys.
  2. drink water BEFORE yoga; hot yoga generally requires increased salt and electrolyte intake; Liquid IV is pretty cool.
  3. don’t eat much heavy food; tea is fine; an apple is also usually fine. Orange chicken will not be fine(I actually love orange chicken keep it away!).
  4. breath deeply through your nose. Close your eyes. Feel your body. Heal it.
  5. Invite a friend! Yoga is an awesome bonding experience

Conclusion: In short get ready for an exercise class that is also mental; just be how you are regularly and you’ll probably have fun! Unless you hate exercise, then you might hate it! Some people hate spinach; it’s a crazy world we live in.

If you need a mat, get a manduka PRO. 10 years and running for my mat and its like new still.

What to Expect in Your First Yoga Class Read More »

Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Workshop

I am honored to present you with my upcoming workshop series on Ashtanga Yoga. You can sign-up on the events page here.

Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Poster
Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Poster

You can also sign-up on Facebook, if you so desire. Drop-ins are welcome, but you will be missing out on additional information on the series and future events.

Practice the Primary Series by yourself, wherever you want.

The idea behind the workshop is to bring yoga home with you. The primary series could be thousands of years old, no one truly knows. But the grandfather of modern yoga Krishnamacharya expounded this method to BKS Iyengar and Patthabhi Jois in Mysore, India when they were teenagers. This method has evolved to become what we know today as Ashtanga yoga.

Youtube reference video of the Primary Series

Ashtanga Yoga with Elliot Workshop Read More »

Taking Time off Landscaping to Recharge

The summer months are getting hotter and hotter in Northern California with increased risk of fire and smoke from the lack of proper management from the California Bureau of land management, which is obviously very inefficient (as evidenced from the record setting fires from the past 5 years).

This makes landscaping and fence building very difficult, and sometimes completely impossible because of hazardous smoke conditions. However, I was able to finish a few more fences before the fire season got under way with the record setting Dixie fire (the second largest in California’s history).

Finished Fences before Fire Season

I have been getting more skilled at decorative fencing and have gotten a lot more tools in my belt (including a chop-saw, a table saw, and a paint sprayer) since I first started doing big fences at the beginning of the year. I typically remove all old concrete and prefer new construction rather than repair. Dealing with other individuals work is typically very difficult as people tend to cut corners when constructing fences. I am very proud of all the work I have done and I think my customers are very satisfied with the level of quality and of service that I provide. I also paint now as you can see below!

The bottom 4 pictures are of a cattle fence repair that I did out in the hillsides. The customer wanted to save money (which I never recommend with construction because you get what you pay for) so I did my best to find less expensive wood and keep the costs down. Overall I think it turned out great!

After 3 months of Grinding in the heat, my back was in bad shape.

So I took some time off landscaping to refocus on my yoga practice. It was an excellent start to the year, but now its time to wind down and enjoy all of the progress that I’ve made this year and to get more efficient with my business!

My yoga practice has progressed a lot recently, I’ve restarted my work on the primary series and will be offering a new workshop on September 4th for the Yoga Chikitsa. I am also starting a new Hot Yoga class in Auburn today, at 7pm. I’m really looking forward to it!

Taking Time off Landscaping to Recharge Read More »

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