Friday, November 30, 2018

Meditations for Vaginal Steaming

"Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort"  -  Deborah Day


Vaginal Steaming:

How it Works:

Vaginal steaming (V-Steam) is a global traditional practice, that has been used by women across the world for centuries to maintain optimal health and vitality.  Using a specific blend of herbs suited for clients needs, vaginal steaming nourishes and tonifies the vaginal and uterine tissues. The steam helps to improve circulation, and alleviate symptoms caused by, or related to, congestion in these tissues, boosting circulation to the pelvis,  increasing oxygenation, dilation of blood vessels, and a relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles that tend to cramp or spasm before or during menstruation.

What to Expect in a Namaste V Steam Session:


You’ll sit in a comfy chair, wearing a silk robe, wrapped in a blanket, and offered a cup of tea to sip on. As you begin to relax, the pleasant steam will travel into the body, usually feeling a gentle sensation and warming. Our Steam Specialist will quietly check in with you over the duration of the session, monitoring the steam temperature ensuring your comfort. During the steam it is your choice whether you read, journal, meditate, set intentions or simply sit back and enjoy. Once steam is done expect to take some time to ground and reintegrate yourself back into your day.

Benefits:

The benefits of steaming are tremendous: deep relaxation, increased vaginal nectar, heightened libido and sexual sensation, circulation improvement, decreased PMS Symptoms, skin beautification, tightened and lifted vaginal canal, and scar softening. Steaming is believed to be preventative of infections, offers menstrual support: regulates irregular periods, cramping eases fatigue, headaches, abdominal discomfort and nausea. Steaming enhances fertility by clearing cervical fluids, helps relax the vaginal canal and cervix and nourishes the and tonifies the uterine lining.

V-Steam Plans:
(1) To maintain healthy uterine care and a regulate the menstrual cycle, women are encouraged to steam once a week for three to six months to receive optimal benefits. Contraindications include if you are pregnant, after ovulation if you are trying to conceive, actively bleeding, if you have an infection, and if you have vaginal sores or blisters.
(2) Women are encouraged to steam three days in a row before menstrual cycle begins to prepare the uterus for the natural cleansing of the vagina and three days after menstrual cycle ends to ensure all old residue, clotting, and mucus are removed.

"Every woman who heals herself helps heal all the women who came before her and all those who come after her" - Christine Northrup

Guided Meditations 

"Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it’s about befriending who we are." Ani Pema Chodron

Breathing Technique 

Begin by getting comfortable in your seat.  Feel your feet touching the ground below you.  Feel the crown of your head reaching up to the sky.  Soften your shoulders down your back. Begin by just noticing your natural breathing cycle.  Notice where the breathe moves in the body and what sensations come to you as you begin to relax.  As your ready, start to deepen the breath. Take three short and deep inhales through the nose, and three short and deep exhales out of the mouth, releasing tension in the jaw and making any sounds that may feel necessary.   As you’re ready begin to take a deep inhale through the nose for a count of three, following with a slow exhale out the nose  for a count of three. With each inhale feel the energy move up from the earth, into the uterus, up through the belly, and the chest.  Each exhale feel the air move out the chest, belly, uterus, and redirecting the energy back down to the earth.   Inhale feel the energy expand the body.  Exhale feel a sense of release.  Repeat this breathing, taking deep inhales, and slow exhales for a count of three or longer. Be gentle with the body, mind, and spirit.  The mind has a tendency to get distracted. Just come back to the breath.  It will always be there for you to return to.  Rather than achieving a particular outcome, use this time to establish a loving relationship with your breath and your body.

Connecting 

Place one hand over your heart and the other hand over the front of your pelvic bowl, right below the navel.  Begin by noticing the breath moving to the pelvic bowl, expanding it like a balloon, and up to the heart space.  As you are ready imagine a cord of light connecting your heart center to your uterus.  With each inhale feel the energy from the uterus move up the right side of the body to the heart, sending the energy of wisdom to this space. With each exhale feel the energy of the heart move down the left side of the body, into the womb, sending loving energy to this part of the body.  Create a cycle of energy moving from the womb space to the heart and from the heart to the womb space.  Begin to notice the deep connection between these two places.  Begin to align these powerful centers of the body--the womb, the place of intuition and deep knowing, with the heart, the place of love, rhythm, and kindness.

Letting Go 

Settle into a comfortable position and bring your attention to the center of your pelvic bowl.  It may be helpful to place your hands on your lower belly.  Notice any sensations, feelings, or qualities regarding your pelvic energy.  Begin by visualizing the steam rising up into your pelvis bowl and beginning to cleanse and clear your pelvic energy, like water washing over you or sage smoke moving around you.  Choose the element you are drawn to and visualize the water or smoke moving in a circular pattern and clearing each part of your pelvic bowl.  If there is a place that feels blocked or stuck, spend extra time there breathing into that space. Do not try to push anything out, but allow the element of choice to gently remove the stagnant energy.   Invite the water to wash into the earth or the smoke to lift into the sky anything that is not serving your body or being.  There, in the earth or sky, this energy will be received and recycled; it is no longer needed in your life.  Continue until you feel a sense of peace and clarity in your pelvic bowl.  Picture your pelvic bowl as an altar space and imagine placing your offerings here.  Offerings may include expression of gratitude for this clearing, requests for support to make changes in your life or break old patterns, images of your creations, or whatever else comes from your spirit.  Rest in quiet reflection and pay attention to the words or visions that come to you.  Listen for the guidance or comfort that comes from this sacred place.

Blossoming 

Our wombs are the center place of our creative energy.  When we set our intentions and on what we would like to create our wombs are powerful places to envision that creative energy manifesting.  Begin by finding a comfortable position and focusing on the breathe. Bring the awareness to the pelvic bowl.  Visualize a seed right at the center of your uterus.  Allow this seed to be a representation of what you are creating in your life.  This could be an intention of more support in your life, this could be a seed of financial abundance, this could be calling in of a new partner or career path.  Whatever it is that you are working on in your life, allow this seed to be that visual representation.  As you visualize this seed, begin to allow the steam from the smoke to gently wrap around the seed, giving it the proper nutrients it needs to grow.  With each inhale bring in the energy that helps to cultivate your seed, perhaps that is patience, love, kindness, or any other elements that help this seed to grow.  With each exhale begin to visualize the seed sprouting.  First start by seeing the roots moving down towards the earth, connecting you to the source of all creation. Then start to visualize the stem reaching up, moving to the belly, and through the heart center.  Continue to nourish your seed with what it needs.  Start to visualize the blossoming of your seed, seeing a lotus flower blooming out the top of your head.  Bring yourself back to what the original intention of the seed is.  What would it look like for this seed to blossom? What does it feel like? Taste like? Smell like? Sound like?  See yourself as this blossoming flower.  Remember yourself as the seed.  And be patient with the process of growth in between. 

You can book a vaginal steam session with Namaste online at: www.namastestudios.la

- written by Shira Barlas

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Young Yogis: Help Students Begin Their Yoga Practice


Young Yogis: Help Students Begin Their Yoga Practice
By Olivia Martinez 

Last summer a friend and I decided to go on a 3 day yoga retreat in Mexico. Between the two of us, we had probably taken 5 classes total. So why did we fly 5 hours to do yoga? Well, the gourmet meals convinced her and the spa’s Margarita Massage hooked me. (#bestmassageieverhad). Yoga was just a side note. However, I ended up taking and LOVING every single class - the energizing morning classes and the restorative sunset ones as well. I was hooked after a couple days. I came back to L.A. and immediately joined Namaste. I fell more in love with yoga and found a new love for the studio and all the amazing teachers. Every class I take I learn something new and push myself to grow both physically and mentally.

It’s been a year now and I am still so grateful for this new part of my life. The next step in my yogi journey is to bring it with me to work. I teach 1st grade at Charles White Elementary in MacArthur Park. P.E. is part of our daily curriculum and I can’t wait to start teaching my students the basics of yoga. Not only do I see the physical benefits of yoga but the emotional ones as well. Giving students the tools and space to be mindful and present will last them a lifetime. 

As you can imagine, funding for public schools is limited and Donors Choose has been such a blessing for teachers who usually pay for many classroom supplies and “extras”. With Donors Choose people can select projects that they feel passionate about and help make them a reality for students and teachers. Please take a minute to check out my proposal “Young Yogis” and consider supporting my plan to bring a little Namaste to my classroom. While there, check out my other proposals and those of teachers around the country! And always feel free to share this with any of your generous friends and family. Thank you in advance and I’ll see you around the studio.  

Please visit HERE for more info and to donate! 
Photo via The New York Times.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What is Ashtanga Yoga?



What is Ashtanga Yoga?
by Chris Reed

Did you know that most modern vinyasa practices stem from the Ashtanga Yoga method? Developed by K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga is the sanskrit word meaning eight-limbs as mentioned in the yoga sutras of Patanjali. The practice incorporates breath, drishti or focus, and bandha in a fairly rigorous sequence of postures. Students usually practice the memorized sequence at their own pace in what is called "Mysore style" named after the city where Jois taught. Usually an Ashtanga practice begins with five repetitions of Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskara A and five repetitions of Surya Namaskara B, followed by a standing sequence. After this the practitioner begins one of six series and ends with the closing sequence.

Yoga Chikitsa (Yoga Therapy) or the Primary Series is the most common practiced sequence in Ashtanga yoga. Many students will spend up to a few years learning the entire sequence before moving on to second series. Postures are recommended to be held for at least five full deep breaths through the nose or whats also referred to as Ujjayi Pranayama. Where the practitioner focuses the eyes while is the posture is what is referred to as the drishti. There are few different key drishti's in the Ashtanga practice, mainly the nose, navel, between the eyebrows, thumbs hands and feet. The bandhas are energy locks within the body that we often hear teachers talk about in vinyasa classes. Ashtanga focuses on three main bandhas; the mula bandha or root lock at the pelvis floor. Uddiyana bandha is located at the abdomen 2 inches below the navel and the Jalandhara bandha is found by tucking the chin to the chest.

There are many different opinions and beliefs surrounding the "tradition" of Ashtanga Yoga. One school would say that you must "master" a posture before being given permission to move on to receive the benefit from the practice. I personally subscribe to my teacher's teacher Manju Jois (Pattabhi's son) and his more laid back approach of adjusting the practice to the practitioner. Having done a few workshops with Manju, I have experienced how this non-linear approach allows the student to complete a practice while being safe and not leave feeling completely defeated.

Join Chris for a Workshop: Balances, Bhandas, & Binds on Sunday, May 20th from 2pm-4pm at Namaste Highland Park. Sign up at namastestudios.la/workshops 
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Friday, May 4, 2018

Cookin' with Jazz - Rich and Creamy Horchata Muesli


Horchata Muesli 

When I first realized the next Breakfast on the Patio at Namaste falls on Cinco De Mayo, the first thing that came to my mind is Horchata. 

Horchata is a Mexican drink typically made from rice milk, cinnamon and vanilla, and is simply delicious. My husband requests Horchata frequently as he likes to add it to his iced coffee. The only thing I don't like about Horchata is the amount of sugar added, so I decided to sweeten mine with dates, and made it vegan by using almonds and coconut milk. It is time consuming, but is so worth it. The result is rich and full of flavor - making the muesli extra creamy. 

Vegan Horchata (serves 4-6) 


1 cup white rice
1/2 cup almonds
1 cinnamon stick
1 can whole fat coconut milk
4 dates
1tsp vanilla 
1 1/2 cups almond or coconut milk
dash of salt

Directions: 

1. Start by soaking the rice, almonds, and cinnamon stick in water overnight. Once done soaking, drain out the water, rinse through, and add the ingredients to a blender. Blend on high with the canned coconut milk until well blended and frothy. 

2. Pour mixture into a cheese cloth strainer, or nut milk bag, and squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible. 

3. Add the liquid back into the blender, and blend with dates, vanilla, almond or coconut milk, and a dash of salt! 

4. Store in the fridge for about 3-4 days. 

Horchata Muesli (serves 2) 
1 cup oats
3 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp flax seeds
2 tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp almond or coconut yogurt
2 - 2 1/2 cups Horchata

Directions: 

1. Add all the ingredients into a bowl, and mix together. If you notice it's a little dry, you may need to add more Horchata. Keep in the fridge overnight. Enjoy with added fruit, nuts, seeds, and extra Horchata! 


BREAKFAST ON THE PATIO
Join us for yoga, community, and nutritious food! 

Saturday, May 5th from 10:45 - 11:15am. 
Free to those who attend class before or after. 
Reserve your spot online here.




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