Archives for posts with tag: Mendham

Today I took at Yoga class with John Levis at Ananda Yoga in Mendham, New Jersey. He is an Anusara Yoga Teacher. If you have never taken Anusara Yoga, I highly recommend it. It will advance your Yoga poses and help you in learning how to adjust your poses. And it’s just fun to try other styles of Yoga people are passionate about. Even if you find that you still prefer the style you normally do, I’m sure you will learn something from EVERY Yoga class you take.

During the class today, John spoke about (and I will do my best to be as eloquent explaining in my blog as he was explaining in person) how due to technology we are starting to, in a sense, lose connection with the earth or with basic life’s joys. At least that is how I understood what he was saying. He gave the example that he bought a pair of hiking boots that gave all this support, but they gave so much support he didn’t feel the earth and was almost tripping and falling during his hike. Then he tried his barefoot shoes and although they didn’t have all the cool technology and support as the boots, he was able to hike better because he could feel the earth. We have had our own feet since birth and we really are more stable with our natural feet (sometimes) then when wearing all these fancy shoes. Sometimes we think we need this and that and turns out WE JUST NEEDED THE MOST SIMPLEST OF THINGS.

That analogy he described made me think about something my Guru said to me that at least once a day (or week) I should walk barefoot outside. To not think about where I’m stepping because then I will take more notice of the little rocks or twigs giving me pain. If you walk barefoot and don’t think about it, you actually don’t notice the rocks or twigs as much. You’re more just enjoying the walk and nature and you’re inside your own head… which is something we strive for in Yoga, to be inside your mind and be yourself; Your true self. Once we can learn to let go of over thinking where our next step is, we can enjoy everything around us.

I also started to think about all the technology we have in everyday life with blackberry’s, iphones, ipads, laptops and so much else that I don’t even know about. I am a blackberry addict. I am better than I used to be, but still a pretty bad blackberry addict. If you think about how much we do not let our minds REST because we’re constantly staring at some type of computer or on the phone or texting, etc, etc. Way back when we didn’t have all of this technology it seemed people were happier when life was simpler. I think now our minds are moving so much that we are never letting our MINDS REST. It is not healthy to have our mind go go go all the time without letting it rest. We need to learn to force ourselves to let our minds rest. Even if for 5-10 minutes a day. Seems a simple task, but if you try it, I’m sure most of you will have a tough time releasing all the thoughts running through your mind. Basically, I’m talking about meditation. Just sitting quietly and letting go of all thoughts and bringing your focus to your breath and yourself. Maybe try just thinking about ONE happy vision when first trying to meditate.

This is where taking a Yoga class at a studio is beautiful. It forces you to let your MIND REST. You have 60-90 minutes of being selfish and focusing on yourself. Taking Yoga in a studio with others gives you the chance to just focus on your poses and inhales and exhales. You’re sharing energy and generating energy with others. That energy helps you to calm your mind. When you go into Savasanna (corpse pose), your mind is already calm and you can enjoy Savasanna that much more! Did you know in Savasanna you’re really MEDITATING? Some people are scared of meditating because they think they can never do it and end up getting frustrated with themselves. But Savasanna after a series of Yoga poses is meditating! Isn’t that beautiful!? (and kind of sneaky. haha)

I encourage all of you to try to commit to (at least) once a week to going to a Yoga class. Don’t worry about what others in the class are doing or if your poses are “proper”. Just let go and go inside yourself and FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHE. Breathe and envision the positive energy you’re creating during your Yoga practice. Hopefully you can start taking more Yoga classes and/or doing Yoga at home and/or meditating 5-10 minutes a day. (Did you know… it is more beneficial to do Yoga EVERY DAY for 15-30 minutes than once a week for 60-90 minutes?) That said, whatever you can fit into your schedule is better than nothing.

You’ll be pleasantly amazed how much calmer your mind feels and how less stressed or anxious you feel after bringing Yoga into your life. And try to put down the technology for a little each day! Maybe send someone a old-fashioned card or letter. Pick up the phone! Minimize texting and emails. OK, maybe that is too much all at once… Baby steps; do what you can little by little to improve your life.


Karin aka Shanti Om


This morning I planned to attend an Anusara Yoga class in Mendham, NJ. I arrived and after some time we all realized the instructor was late. After more time passed, we realized the instructor wasn’t coming. My friend informed the class I’m a Yoga instructor. The studio allowed me to teach a Vinyasa class. The class went WONDERFULLY (despite me teaching on a whim and the class expecting a different style). The students were very kind in trying a new style of yoga and turns out they loved it! Many students came to me after class to tell me how awesome and calm they felt. Although I didn’t get my personal class I initially came for, I was BEYOND thrilled how happy the students were.

This was a very good lesson learned for me to always keep an open mind, whether in Yoga class and in all aspects of life. The students were very used to a specific kind of yoga (Anusara) and I felt blessed and honored how open they kept their hearts and minds in trying the yoga I teach, Vinyasa/Hatha. I urge all of you to always keep an OPEN HEART and MIND in all Yoga classes you attend. All the many styles and teachers are wonderful in their own way and all different in some way. Embrace and enjoy the various styles and teachers. You may not “click” with all of them, but at least walk into your classes with an open mind. You never know how the outcome will be; You could end up loving a new style just as these students did this morning.

The other lesson I learned was from a teacher’s perspective; to teach what I know. My guru and other instructors have always told me this, but I don’t think I totally understood till this morning. I could have attempted teaching Anusara as I’ve taken the classes before, but I would not have been successful. Instead I followed my heart and taught what I knew… and the students loved it. As a teacher you may not always appeal to all students, but continue to teach FROM YOUR HEART and the style you know. Students will gravitate to you that are a good fit for your teaching style.


Shanti Om
aka Karin