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Why I practice yoga asana

Meghan Ganser

7/16/2018

It Feels Amazing

Feeling the fascia in my arms stretch by wiggling my fingers in Urdhva Hastasana feels amazing! Extending my back leg in Trikonasana and feeling my hip flexors stretch feels amazing! Lifting my heart and feeling my rhomboids engage in Tadasana feels amazing! The more I feel amazing, the more I feel amazing.

Self-Cultivation

The more I practice yoga the more interesting it becomes, and that is good way of seeing anything. I love it, and through a continued exploration and conversation with Asana, I have come to see the exquisite wisdom and perfection in nature and her imperfection. So I am nature, so it goes, and Swaha (“so be it”).

The Storytelling is Awesome

Some asana are named for a different character in Hindu mythology, so I get to study Hindu mythology. The stories, the lessons (some of which are pretty peculiar), and the decorum with which these stories are told all hold important aspects of nature and consciousness for the discovery. I hope to one day tell stories with such impact that your “why” for being inspired on your mat is rooted in your story, and it’s a great one.

Service

Behind every yoga teacher is a deep longing to contribute to the wellness and wholeness of all beings everywhere. We are people who study ourselves as means of understanding everyone else, and vice versa...and we want to help.

Personal Reasons Like C-PTSD

When I started practicing yoga, it was more of a way to make myself feel comfortable in a crowd (I naturally never had), to devote myself with something of purpose that I could not find enough reasons to quit, and to contribute to community at the studio. As time progressed, I noticed friends commenting about how “chill” or “grounded” they perceived me to be, and people came to me for perspective, and I generally felt more “in the flow” in everything I did- work, hobbies, relationships.

I can see now that Yoga Asana was helping me to regulate my own nervous system in a way I never had, to experience states of ease and well-being I had never before experienced. From a young age my social anxiety and blanket state of moderate depression limited my belief in myself, my ability to trust life, and my ability to stay present. I’m increasingly interested in the work being done around Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) and I personally know how profoundly yoga can help to rewire traumatized nervous system and primary stress response, for the better.

Boundaries

Sometimes I cannot stretch as far my teacher can stretch, and sometimes I can stretch farther. But I’ve learned when to stop, and when to go, and how to know the difference. Yoga taught me a healthy respect for boundaries, how to have them and be a loving person, and how to honor those of the people around me. I believe the best gift we can give one another is the gift of authenticity, and that starts with me, on my mat (so to speak).

The Power of Ritual

Some days I get chicken skin just rolling out my mat. I feel like a goddess, a beggar, a nun, a dancer and a temple devotee all rolled into one, and I look forward to the feeling of having dove deep into the conversation with engagement, sensation, challenge, presence. Even with no intention for practice, or even if just to rock out, or space out, or whatever- there’s a power to familiarity and consistency, that comes from making the choice to do it.

Why your yoga practice deepens at the studio

Meghan Ganser

7/8/2018

Ive recently crossed paths with a number of seasoned yogis who share their love for practicing at home to a video, or by themselves, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the power of a shared practice. Here are 5 reasons why practicing at a studio will deepen your practice:

1. You may not agree with the teacher

Lets just get this one out of the way first and foremost. Whether you're a regular or seasoned practitioner of yoga, or you haven't yet tried a single class, the reality is you won't vibe with every teacher, or his or her beliefs or angle. Which is great. Because, imagine a world in which we lovingly disagree, and hold respect for each other's view point and person regardless... Its good exercise, no pun intended.

2. Because community

When I trained Aikido, I often spent more time with my fellow aikidoka than with my own family, and we witnessed immense character growth for each other, regularly. We all get to have that sanctuary space where we can push, laugh, grieve, relax, and connect. In that we witness and support one another and our goals and wishes...and we collectively build a field of peaceful cooperation which the world needs most.

3. You will be challenged

On the days when your shame comes up, you are challenged to accept yourself. One the days when your tears come up, you are challenged to show your vulnerability. One the days when your light shines brightest, you are challenged to step into it fully. Every limit, boundary, expectation, edge...it all shows up on your mat eventually. You will be challenged myriad ways, and all the more when reflected in the eyes on others. Within this, we look for the asana or seat, which is sthira and sukha- steady and content, and we get to reflect that back to each other.

4. Entrainment

Like clocks on a wall which over time sync, we entrain to those we share practice with. Ever notice that when you practice regularly with the same group of people, there is a special synergy which makes the experience flow, and become more potent?  Meditators also notice that when performed together regularly, crime rates drop in surrounding areas.

5. Learning is half the battle

The other half is application, but without a good teacher to help you with your blind spots, how do we grow in earnest? We don't know what we don't know... until a seasoned and trustworthy teacher helps us to expand our scope of possibility. Studio teachers are dedicated to deepening their own awareness to the point of teaching regularly, and teaching is the best way to learn.



Kaua'i Pule O'o

Meghan Ganser

7/8/2018

Living or staying on Kaua'i opens awareness in ways many kama'aina and visitors regard as singular and remarkable, and have a hard time putting into words, myself included. One thing is certain: we are each deeply grateful for the blessing of caring for the land, people, spirits and integrity of such a special place. For my first blog for Ala Yoga, it is most appropriate to honor the gods of Kamawaelualani:


E ke akua

Mahalo no

Mahalo ia 'oe

No keia la

Amene


I am deeply grateful to serve the betterment of our personal and collective experience as a business steward in Lihue. My vision is for Ala Yoga to host life-affirming classes and events, in a safe and comfortable environment. My mission is to support authenticity, personally and collectively, as I believe it to be the cornerstone of happiness, wellness and synergy. A world free of shame and competition is one in which we all thrive, and to live it is to be an act of revolution.


I want to thank directly everyone in my Certified Tour Guide course at Kapiolani College, which ran from March to June 2018, most importantly Kumu Billie Terao. The space she chose to hold for our class to connect with one another as a primary goal above academic goals, was the most masterful teaching in the power of aloha. I hope to live this gift as makana, mahalo. To the students who so earnestly shared so many chicken skin moments, I already cried my gratitude and all, but wow, we set a good bar for laulima, mahalo.


It was once said, "Kaua'i pule O'o." Roughly translated, this might mean, "The prayer of Kaua'i is very powerful." Originally this pointed to a certain prayer Kaumuali'i's mother held, which was said to be the source of the powerful protection Kaua'i and Kaumuali'i were storied to hold. There is a rich history, both written and oral, of the mana here on Kaua'i which is ineffable, quiet and respected deeply. 


I believe it is integrity which generates power- our willingness to live authentically. This includes facing our fears, telling the stories of our ancestors, and protecting wildness. The preservation and protection of the feminine- all embodied things ('aina)- is a deep Hawaiian social value. To malama 'aina means to protect and care for everything that nourishes us, from land to air to one another. I hold Ala Yoga as a means of holding my kuleana (responsibility) to steward social safety and care for the feminine, and to hold space for caregivers to work peacefully. I chose to step into leadership here at Ala Yoga as a means of protecting the spiritual space of our community studio which already had been established by Jennie Peterson and Alex Smarev as a labor of love. My prayer is that all beings everywhere live happiness and peace, and I plant the seeds for that each day I live on wild Kaua'i, or Kamawaelualani our island was originally known, "the center of the center of the universe."


I hope you will find me on Kaua'i and connect, in my Skillful Flow Yoga classes, or as a hiking/ yoga tours guide here.