Power Yoga Playlist – “Brand New Day”

Chinese New Year

Today is Chinese New Years and one of the traditions leading up to the New Year is to clean the house and cut your hair as an act of getting rid of any misfortune from the previous year and to prepare for good luck to arrive.  On New Years Day, new clothes and shoes are worn to symbolize a fresh start and red envelopes are given to children to symbolize good fortune.

Although I celebrate Chinese New Years and participate in many of these traditions, I also believe that we are given opportunities to make a “fresh start” everyday.  We are not, and should not, be limited to an entire year of good luck or bad luck.  Instead, I believe we have the power to turn a bad situation into a good one, a tough day into a smooth one, and a sad heart into a happy heart.

“We as human beings have the amazing capacity to be reborn at breakfast everyday and say, “This is a new day.””

~ Jack Kornfield

Every time we step into a yoga class and settle into that first pose, whether it’s child’s pose, mountain pose, supine pose, or a seated pose, the only task you have for those first few moments is to begin breathing.  Not just regular breathing, but ujjayi breathing, the controlled, deliberate, and slow inhale and exhale through your nose that creates such a deep sound in the back of your throat, that it sounds like an ocean.  The breath we use in yoga is so powerful that our exhale can literally force all that stuff weighing heavy on our hearts or clouding our minds, away, if not at least for the entire yoga class, but also perhaps enough to help you walk out of class with a lightness, a freshness, or perhaps a glow of positive energy to help you re-face your challenges with a little more patience and perspective.

I wish you and your loved ones health, wealth, happiness, and good fortune this Chinese New Year of the Horse, and I hope your practice on the mat will help you see everyday as a brand new start!

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Power Yoga Playlist – “Brand New Day”

Introduction / Pose Breakdown / Breathwork:

Silence

Sun Salutations A & B:

1) “Brand New Day,” by Joshua Radin, 3:31

2) “Silenced By the Night,” by Keane, 3:17

Standing Work Series:

3) “We Found Love,” by Boyce Avenue, 3:38

4) “Beautiful,” by Christina Aguilera, 3:59

5) “Slow and Steady,” by Of Monsters and Men, 5:02

6) “Happy,” by Leona Lewis, 4:02

7) “The Light,” by Sara Bareilles, 4:23

8) “All This Time,” by OneRepublic, 4:02

Core Work:

9) “The Luckiest,” by Ben Folds, 4:22

10) “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” by Katharine McPhee, 3:31

Backbending / Deep Stretching:

11) “Shine,” by Hannah Georgas, 3:18

12) “Be Still,” by The Fray, 2:49

Savasana:

13) “Rose,” by Ludovico Einaudi, 4:17

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“Write it on your heart that everyday is the best day in the year.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy New Year 2014: Being Present

Be-Present

Last week I took a yoga class from a teacher I met for the first time.  During class, she had us do a pose, and then proceeded to give more “advanced” options.  This is a pretty normal teaching practice to provide students modifications, however, what stuck with me was what she said, “Don’t feel like you always need to push yourself to the harder pose to be happier.  If you do that in life, then you’ll never be happy because you’re always looking for the next best thing.”

As 2014 begins today, this is one resolution I would like to share with you: being present.  On the yoga mat, I am the one still learning to not get upset at myself if I fall out of a balance pose.  Off the yoga mat, I am guilty of always looking a few steps ahead, towards that next life event, that next achievement, or that next adventure.  True, that’s not always a bad thing to dream bigger and be excited for something in the future.  However, it’s not a good thing when that becomes your sole focus, or maybe obsession, and you lose sight of the present moment and all that is good going on right now.  It’s not a good thing when you rely on accomplishments and prizes to determine your happiness.

Be present.  How, is the harder question, one that I don’t have an answer to.  But at least I know that trying to be present every moment is a purposeful path to follow.  A path that I believe will lead to unwavering happiness and more joy.  My hope for you in 2014 is also to find a way to appreciate the present moment in everything you do, and to be able to look at yourself – all the good and all the bad – and see acceptance and love.  May 2014 bless you and your families!

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“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

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“We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce

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“Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

~ Carl Bard