Momaste

Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved. – Erich Fromm
I am currently enjoying the gift of living in a three-generation household, alongside my husband Tom, my daughter Kylie, and my mom. It brings about many challenges, but there is also something so special about it.

My mother gets to witness me being a mother, and my daughter gets to witness me being a daughter.

This is a sacred chain in which we all learn from one another on a daily basis how to love more deeply, give more selflessly, and honor our needs as a collective and as individuals.
It has shined a whole new light on what it means to give a “Mother’s Love”. It is no different than a daughter’s love, or a teacher’s love… But it is perhaps the purest. It is unconditional, un-programmed, and unpretentious… And it is the ultimate yoga practice.
May your Mother’s Day be restful, insightful, and full of Love.

Here’s to all the moms!

If you are in San Diego, please join me for my annual Momaste Meditation Hike with Beaming Del Mar!

Balancing the Chakras : A Simple Guide

Meditations, Mantras and Movement to Keep Your Chakras In Balance

What sets Yoga apart from other calisthenic routines?

The ancient yogis knew of something beyond the outer shell of movement- something deeper than muscles and bones- yet something just as important to shaping our physical health.

What they looked at and sought to keep healthy through their physical routine was the Chakra System.

So, what’s a… Chakra??

A Chakra (literally Wheel in Sanskrit) is an energy center or wheel of energetic movement in the body. It is part of the body’s subtle anatomy; and though subtle, has major effects on the gross, physical body and mind.

There are 7 major Chakras, which run along and align the spinal column, ranging from the base of the pelvic floor to the crown of the head.

Each of these 7 Chakras has a specific energetic and emotional quality, associated color, sound, and deeper meaning.

Often when we feel out of balance- angry, saddened, over-whelmed, exhausted- it is a sign that our deeper, more subtle self is in need of some serious restoration. Therefore, a great way to target the root of our imbalances is to look at the Chakras, and bring them back into balance first.

Below, you’ll find a simple guide to the Chakras, and how to bring them back into balance:

MULADHARA (ROOT CHAKRA):

Location: At the base of the spinal column, centered in the Pelvic Floor / Energetic Qualities: Stability, Security, Safety, Fear & Fearlessness / When you’re out of balance: You may feel unsafe and fear-laden

Bring back into balance with:

Meditation: Lying on your back, with your hands on your low belly, imagine red light charging through your spine down to the base, igniting new life and energy with each breath.

Mantra: “I fearlessly take on the challenges of life. Trusting my inner-guide, I face the unknown with love.”

Movement: Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose). This posture requires strength, poise, and confidence. Open your heart wide and feel the power of your lower body. Breathe deeply all the way into the Pelvic Floor.

 

SVADISTHANA (SACRAL CHAKRA):

Location: Just above the pubic bone, below the naval / Energetic Qualities: Creativity, Sexual Energy, Personal Expression / When you’re out of balance: You may feel “stuck” or uninspired

Bring back into balance with:

Meditation: Practice simple seated meditation, follow your breath and soothe your mind into stillness. Creativity is the product of a clear mind. Sometimes just finding some peace and quiet is all you need.

Mantra: “I am available for creativity to flow through me with abundance and ease. I reflect the creation of all life, and recognize the gift of creation within me.”

Movement: Virabhadrasana (Warrior Pose). This posture requires strength and ease, and challenges the muscles of the pelvic floor and abdomen to maintain a long, supple spine. It sparks awareness and stillness. Root firmly, and maintain a soft gaze.

 

MANIPURA (SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA):

Location: At the Solar Plexus, between the naval and the breast bone / Energetic Qualities: Personal Power, Will, Decision Making / When you’re out of balance: You may feel uncertain, weary, uneasy about a decision

Bring back into balance with:

Meditation: Practice Kapalabhati Breath (Skull Shining Breath). Breathe in deeply through the nose into the belly, let out quick exhalations through the nose, as the navel “snaps” back toward the spine. Before trying this on your own, ask a teacher for proper instruction and safety guides!

Mantra: Simply state, “I am” with each inhalation. With each exhalation, bring your awareness to your physical presence, stating “here”.

Movement: Plank Pose. Yes, a simple posture to refine your core muscles and define the strength of your abdomen. Gently draw your navel toward the spine, reaching through your crown, broadening across your chest, and pressing out through your heels.

 

ANAHATA (HEART CHAKRA):

Location: At the heart center / Energetic Qualities: Loving-Kindess, Acceptance of Self and Others, Compassion / When you’re out of balance: You may feel unloved or unloving, disconnected, impatient

Bring back into balance with:

Meditation: Simple sitting, with hands on your heart. Breathe into your heart space, filling it up with air and letting it flow out. Practice until you feel your chest and shoulders softened and available to move freely.

Mantra: Loving-Kindness “May my heart be filled with loving kindness, may I be well, may I be peaceful and at ease, may I be happy”

Movement: Ustrasana (Camel Pose). This backbend opens the heart, strengthens the back muscles and invites you to breathe into the chest and ribs. Keep the neck and throat soft, and use the stability and strength of your legs to ground.

 

VISHUDDHA (THROAT CHAKRA):

Location: In the throat / Energetic Qualities: Verbal Expression, Speaking our Highest Truth, Communication / When you’re out of balance: You may feel unable to say what you need to, afraid to share your truth

Bring back into balance with:

Meditation: Recite “AUM” with clarity, taking equal time to pronounce each sound “A-U-M”. Don’t be afraid to make noise! The point is to hear yourself, and to get past the discomfort of opening up.

Mantra: “I speak my truth with confidence and clarity. I listen deeply to myself and to others, and communicate with ease.”

Movement: Matsyasana (Fish Pose). Try this assisted with two blocks, one underneath the scapula, and one supporting the head. Lengthen through your toes, and allow your throat space to open as you relax the face and breathe.

 

AJNA (THIRD EYE CHAKRA): 

Location: Just at the Pineal Gland (Third Eye), set between the brow bones / Energetic Qualities: Insight and Intuition / When you’re out of balance: You may feel lost or untrusting of yourself

Bring back into balance with:

Meditation: With eyes closed, bring your inner awareness to the place between your brow. Keep your inner gaze alive and bright, as practice maintaining focus on this area.

Mantra: “I am connected, at peace, and present.”

Movement: Balasana (Child’s Pose). Allow your head to rest fully, either on the floor, or on a bolster or block. Soften the muscles of the face, and allow the gently pressure of the position bring your awareness to your third eye.

 

SAHASWARA (CROWN CHAKRA):

Location: At the crown of the head, rising up like a “Thousand Petal Lotus Flower” / Energetic Qualities: Trust in your Highest Self, Connection to Self, to all things, and ultimately to the Essence of your True Nature / When you’re out of balance: You may feel lonely, unsupported or irrelevant

Bring back into balance with:

Meditation: Practice inhaling and exhaling bright white light in through your crown. Inhale, white light filters in the body all the way down the spine. Exhale, white light leaves through the crown, shooting back out and creating a field around you.

Mantra: “AUM. I am one with all that is.”

Movement: Sirsasana (Headstand). Please consult a yoga instructor before attempting this posture. Grow through the spine, reach the tail and the toes upward. Use your foundation wisely, planting the forearms/hands firmly into the earth. Breathe deeply into the body, and keep a soft gaze.

 

 

Happy Balancing, Yogis!

With Love + Namaste,

Stacy

 

 

Yoga Progressions & Regressions

Yoga Is For Every Body

How to create All-Levels Yoga Classes that offer an inclusive practice environment, so that the beginner feels safe and the advanced student feels challenged… the secret is mastering Yoga Progressions & Regressions.

In my time as a yoga practitioner and teacher, one thing I’ve noticed is this… that no yoga class is attended by an exclusive type of “Yogi”. There is no such thing as One Practice Fits All, or one body type that comes to practice. Physical ability, knowledge of the practice, and style of training differ person to person– and it’s likely that if you’re teaching today, you’re getting students of all different levels attending your classes.

So, as yoga teachers, how can we make ourselves available to each student that joins us?

In my experience, it’s been learning how to master the progressions and regressions of each pose. In doing so, I’ve been able to meet the needs of “all-level” Vinyasa classes, while maintaining the pace and rhythm of the class-flow.

Everyone gets what they need, and the room becomes an inclusive place for practice.

Seems easy enough… but how do we teach progressions and regressions throughout class, without “disrupting the flow” of practice?

Here are a few key notes that have helped me to do just this:

  • In class, I always demonstrate two to three variations of a posture. It is an effective way to meet the needs of all levels in attendance- beginning students will usually stick with the more simple variation, while advanced students will be instructed to enter more complex poses safely, from the foundation.
  • During pre-class announcements, communicate that because there are various levels in the class, each student should be mindful of one’s own body and to choose a level that fits one’s current physical ability. There is no “right” or “wrong” expression of the pose- only “safe” or “unsafe” for each body. Encourage students to make use of props to support their practice (blocks to provide greater stability in balance poses, straps to extend the reach of arms in forward folds, etc.).
  • Encourage students to find & apply for themselves Sthira Sukham Asanam (Sutra 2:46), or a balance steadiness and comfort in each pose. Pushing past edges is imperative to growth, but we don’t want to do so in a way that damages the body or mind. Move in a way that promotes staying clear, conscious and compassionate about what is happening physically- and on every level of your being.

The following is an example of a safe and effective way to teach the progression of a posture:

Garudasana (Eagle Pose)

Notice that the posture moves from its most simple variation, to most complex. Even if the student chooses to take the most complex variation, have them move progressively through the steps, so that they better understand the basic mechanics and foundation of the pose.

Step One: Stand with feet crossed, side by side. The opposite arm of the “top leg” will cross underneath. If students have tight shoulders, and the forearm bind is not accessible, have them hold around the outer shoulders and draw the elbows away from the heart.

Step Two: Press into the feet firmly so the legs feel a gentle “squeezing” action, lift from the pelvic floor and lengthen the spine. Focus the Gaze toward the thumbs, as you spread across the collar bones and hug in the frontal rib cage.

Step Three: Should you choose to balance on one leg, come to a cross legged “sitting” position. First the foot can act as a kickstand on the opposite side. Perhaps the outer foot can make contact with the base leg’s outer calf. Be mindful of the base knee- it shouldn’t wobble to either side.

Step Four: If you’re able to balance here with ease, and your mobility allows, try the full bind of the foot behind the calf of the base leg. The same actions as in Step Two should still apply!

If anywhere along the line of progression you feel any pain, severe discomfort in body, challenge maintaining breath or balance, simply regress back to a more foundational variation of the pose… and as always, remember to breathe. 

And Remember! Progressions in practice don’t necessarily have to do with how deep you can get into a posture, or whether or not you can stick a handstand, or sit in padmasana (lotus pose). The physical practice of yoga is about challenging our minds and thoughts, so that we may better understand what is going on mentally and spiritually. The body is doorway to our deeper selves, and when we learn to listen to the body, we will make progress naturally. 

With Love,

Stacy McCarthy

@YogaNamaStacy

 

Ageless Yoga in Business?

Does Ageless Yoga have a place in business?

YOGASMOGA teaches us that YES!! It absolutely does.

When YOGASMOGA asked me to be their first featured Smogi, I was absolutely honored! A company is only as good as their practices, and this one really takes the ageless practice of yoga to heart.

One way YOGASMOGA is living their yoga is by practicing Satya – or Truthfulness – in their marketing and management, in the making of their products, and in how they treat their employees. They honestly depict models (no photoshop!) no matter they’re age, body type or color, they use all natural dyes and fairly traded materials in all of their clothing and accessories, their clothing is made 100% in USA, and they give generously to their employees so that they can make an honest living. Not a bad business model… It’s one that many would say isn’t sustainable, but I think they’ve found the opposite. It, indeed, is  sustainable to live your practice-  it’s ageless, too.

With age, certain things come into clear perspective. Like our responsibility to care for this Earth, our duty to protect resources for later generations, and our purpose to preserve the natural beauty that we are so blessed to dwell in and be supported by. Without this planet, there is no us! Making informed decisions about what you wear is one huge way to contribute to the wellbeing of the planet. I’m committed to wearing cruelty-free, organically produced, fairly traded clothing- especially when it comes to what I wear on my mat. What is the point of the practice if I’m not truly incorporating it into my life?

This ageless practice of yoga deserves respect in all areas of our lives. Ageless Yoga is how we show up to our mats, how we choose what goes on our plates, and how we choose what covers our bodies. 

San Diego Yogis of all ages, I hope you join me for an in-store class at YOGASMOGA La Jolla on Saturday, July 8th at 10am! Come to do your practice, to mingle, to shop, and to keep yourself feeling ageless for ages. 

With Love + Namaste,

Stacy

@yoganamastacy

For more YOGASMOGA go to @YOGASMOGA on Instagram!

DIY Home Retreat Pt. 2 – Mind

Namaste yogis,
Here’s Part 2 of my DIY Home Yoga Retreat Series, tailored specifically to calm the mind and put you in ease and awareness of your mental functions.
If you put Part 1 to practice, you may notice some similarities in this week’s schedule. While it may seem counterintuitive to help the mind by moving the body and eating well, it was no mystery to the ancient Yogis that our minds and bodies are innately connected. What we do physically will affect our psychology, and vice versa.
This week’s retreat will emphasize HOW we do the things we do- as this shines light on the quality of our mental health.
It is said that the quality of your thoughts will shape the quality of your life.
Today, as you engage with your mind on a more intimate level, be present to observe your thoughts. Notice when you feel challenged and when you flow with ease. Notice when you become distracted. Notice when you’re “in it”. Notice all of these things with the intention of just noticing. Write it down as you go, and take time to reflect afterwards in order to implement the changes you wish to see made. Remember that it’s hard to know how the paint will dry when it’s still wet…
Whether you follow the program exactly, or just use this information as a guide to create your own path to successful health, I hope you find this newsletter both useful and inspiring.
Because each of our needs are a little different, the following schedule will be structured around the phases of your day, rather than by an exact time-table. Do your best to wake up early and take the entire day to nurture yourself- as if you were at a secluded resort with nowhere else to be. If any of the following recommendations do not suit you, then kindly skip over them, and do what you need. Remember this is YOUR time to relax, rejuvenate, revitalize and heal your mind.
Happy Retreating!!
Stacy

What’s Your Story?

Last month at A Day of Namaste, I had my hubby, Tom McCarthy present one of his most popular talks, “The Most Powerful STORY Ever Told” to the sold out crowd. He spoke about the incredible power our stories exert over our lives. At the end of the day, all we really are are the stories we continue to tell ourselves. Our stories can deliver us to our dreams or deprive us of success and happiness.
No matter what happened last year, theoretically every person and everyone starts the year with a clean slate and unlimited potential to create breakthrough results. Unfortunately, for most people, that’s not the way it usually works out. I’m not saying people don’t try hard or that they don’t want to get better. Of course they do! The problem is they go into the new year with a ball and chain around their neck. That ball and chain is their OLD STORY.
 As human beings we are creatures of habit and one of the most powerful habits we have is clinging to our OLD STORY of who we are, what we are good at, what we aren’t very good at and what we are capable of. Your OLD STORY has been phenomenal at getting you to exactly where you are today and it will do an even better job at keeping you there. The problem is, most high achievers don’t want to stay where they are today, they want to become an even better version of themselves. This is where your OLD STORY falls short. It can’t get you to an even better version of yourself. To do that, you need an UPGRADED STORY.
One of the reasons our STORIES are so powerful is because they literally determine what opportunities we see or don’t see. You don’t see with your eyes. You actually see with your brain. A professor in the UK did a great study where he put a 20 pound note on the sidewalk and then asked people who were getting ready to walk down the sidewalk if they considered themselves lucky or not. Inevitably, people who did not consider themselves lucky walked right past the “free money” without even noticing it, while almost all of the people who considered themselves lucky spotted it.
 Another example of how powerful our STORIES can be comes from studying people who want to lose weight. Some people are able to lose weight permanently while others lose weight temporarily while they are on a diet, but then end up gaining it all back. What’s the difference between these two groups. It’s not willpower. It’s their STORIES. The person who loses weight permanently does so not just by dieting, but by creating a NEW STORY that changes the way they think about food. They think differently about what kind of foods they like to eat and how much they like to eat. They don’t have to constantly exert willpower to eat healthy. Eating healthy is who they are!
 Here’s 3 tips for creating your powerful STORY for 2017:
1. Upgrade Your STORY. Look at your old story and determine which parts you want to keep (it’s perfectly fine to keep parts of your OLD STORY) and what needs an upgrade. Be ambitious with your upgrade. Go for it! I’ve helped plenty of organizations go from worst to first. Put your UPGRADED STORY in writing.
2. Condition Your UPGRADED STORY. Your UPGRADED STORY needs momentum to take hold. To create momentum, design rituals that you will do every day to condition your new STORY. Remember, your OLD Story will be calling you every day and asking you to come back. Rituals will lessen your OLD STORY’s ability to pull you back in.
3. Act On Your UPGRADED STORY. Your STORY sets you up for action, but it’s still up to you to act on your story. Gritty action (action that is challenging and tough) is best to help you create the momentum you need to make your STORY come to life.
Tom said the most powerful STORY ever told is whatever STORY you tell yourself of who you are and what you’re capable of. It can be incredibly powerful in a positive way or it can be incredibly powerful in a negative way. Either way, your STORY will condition your brain, determine what opportunities you see and dictate your performance.
You won’t want to miss what Tom talks about at  A Day of Namaste on Saturday, May 20th. Learn more here.

Turning Morning Habits Into Healthy Rituals

Every New Year, my yoga classes become overcrowded with new members who have made new resolutions to lose weight and transform their lives- but less than 3 percent will actually make this reality sustainable. When the New Year’s buzz dissipates, the commitment to these resolutions will typically follow suit; and every year, I find that this cycle repeats itself over and over. Sound familiar? I have a solution. 1474927712078-ughrzxykbgg-81c56b0e5cd7fa575bf7b46fee2827ae
The most sustainable way I have found to create healthy habits is to turn your habits into rituals.  Habits are just actions that we do over and over again until they are so engrained, we don’t even think about it anymore. Instead of thoughtlessly, repeating habits, create rituals that are more mindful and meaningful to the end goal you want to achieve.
You can then take your rituals and create a creed in which you live by. It’s the sum total of all the daily rituals we do that becomes who we are physically, mentally, financially and spiritually.
The single most powerful time of the day to honor my rituals is morning. Daybreak is a remarkably abundant time, ripe with consciousness, creativity insight and tranquility.
Here is how I tap into the magic of morning. It is a personalized version of powerful Ayurveda practices called Dinachariya, a word from the ancient Rig Veda text meaning, “all intelligence awakens with morning”.
Start with Gratitude – Immediately after waking, before you’ve left your bed, say a prayer of thank you. With gratitude in your heart, then form an intention, or sankalpa, related to your day.
Bed Yoga – Practice 3 very simple stretches of your choice without getting out of bed.
Drink Warm Water with Lemon – Prepare a warm glass of water and add a squirt of lemon.
Nauli-Kria – then personal waste removal…aka bowel movement.
Tongue-Scraping – Add tongue-scraping to your tooth-brushing routine. After brushing as usual, use a metal tongue scraper or the back of a spoon to remove toxins, bacteria, and other debris from the tongue. Scraping the tongue also stimulates the digestive system and can reduce bad breath.
Oil Massage (Abhyangha) – Massage Organic Coconut or Sesame oil for 10-20 minutes on your entire body no time just apply oil and shower, but avoid washing off the oil.
Asana, Pranayama and Meditation –How will you greet the rising sun? I include Sun Salutations.
 Breakfast – Big, green smoothie, a Beaming protein bite and a cup of tea.
Walk in nature with my dog 🙂
I get up at 6am and my morning rituals take about 90 minutes. This ritual adds such a powerful, positive, upward spiraling energy to my life. It shapes the trajectory of my entire day. I can’t imagine not giving myself this morning gift.
To learn more about creating rituals that will guarantee your success in mastering the Big Three – How you eat, How you move and How you think, join me for A Day of Namaste. We’ll enjoy a single day Lifestyle Cleanse from Beaming, practice yoga, create mindfully and learn how to incorporate our creative sides into our daily routines- so we can craft the lives we want to live.

Hands On Love

Many years ago, I became inspired to teach yoga adjustments to others when a student came to me after class to tell me how much she enjoyed my teaching. Her deep gratitude enlightened me when she said, “Stacy, I live alone and sometimes you’re the only one who touches me for weeks at a time.” It was then I realized the transformative power of a safe, effective yoga adjustment. I came to the conclusion it is really a form of hands-on- love assisting psychologically and spiritually by creating connection. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way writing about a Valentine’s Day, romantic connection, quite the contrary. I’m writing about a connection that fosters trust, creates a gateway to really understand a pose, and dissolves self-imposed boundaries within a yoga practice.dvd-cat-book-600

One of the greatest opportunities yoga has to offer is the lesson of strength and surrender in a posture, combined with breath and focus. Sometimes a verbal cue just won’t hit the mark that a skillful adjustment can provide.

I’ve seen some amazing transformations. Students with hips that feel like cement in Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose) or Upavistha Konasana (wide angle seated forward bend) find space and ease with the right adjustment. Students who thought they would never rise up into a full backbend (Urdhva Dhanurasana), asking me to take a picture so they can show their friends their breakthrough. The Type A, go-getter who could never relax in savasana (corpse pose) gets a full assist from feet, to hips, to shoulders and can finally completely let go and find the first deep relaxation they’ve ever experienced in this pose.

Whether you are an inspired student or a teacher, we are all here to connect. Giving and receiving the perfect adjustment is probably the best way to do that physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It can be the first step to a real understanding of yoga and a catalyst for connection that many students long for much more than mastering a handstand.

If you’d like to transform your practice, sharpen your skills and make a connection, register now for my immersion Adjust Me Puhleeze! Early Bird ends, Wednesday February 17th. Registration includes my book and digital videos to take home with you.

Core Essentials in Yoga & Life

Feel like you need a breakthrough in moving your yoga practice or life to the next level?
Awakening your core is the key to untapped strength, unlocking your hips & inversions.
We can so easily be knocked off balance by reaching outside ourselves to fulfill the needs of others. In our yoga practice, strengthening our core connects us with balance, stamina, strength, energy & power within – yet we get off our mat and begin grasping for balance by managing our time or juggling priorities. Reconnect with your core & flourish in your yoga practice & in life.
The Core Essentials Workshop is designed to:
* Ignite the Power in Your Core
* Move Beyond Limitations
* Find True Balance from within
* Align with what works for you
* Command Your Energy & presence
* Cultivate the benefits of Yoga with Core Life Practices
This workshop is lead by myself & Cindy Silbert, Author & Transformational Guide.
Date: Saturday, November 21st
Time: 2:30 -4:30pm
Cost: $39 Sign up before November 16th
$49 After November 16th
Email us at Stacy@yoganamastacy.com or Cindy@BringUtoLife.com for more information.