Bend Over Backwards For MS Vinyasa Class

Come support Bend Over Backwards for MS! Be part of one day of my 108 days of yoga! Body worker and Yoga teacher, Rachel Berger Horcher is generously leading this 1-hour, all-level vinyasa class you won’t want to miss.

Sunday, January 18, 11:30am-12:30pm

Intense Conditioning-Homewood

18033 Dixie Hwy, Homewood, Illinois 60430

Suggested Donation is $10. All donations will go to the National MS Society.  Space is limited, but you can reserve your spot by making your class donation online at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/goto/108daysofyogaMS typing “Bend Over Vinyasa” in the message line. 

For more details visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/755704061151401/

And With That, It’s 2015

As 2014 comes to an end, and with the change of the day we’ll enter a new year, I feel the impulse to reflect, resolve, change. Cramped by the busyness of my everyday, I find myself stressing to find time to take advantage of this opportunity to reset and contemplate the changing of years. So, I think I’ll take my lead from my most coveted lessons from my yoga practice which is not to force change but rather to just observe and be open to what is there. I hope to move into 2015 with mindful openness, embrace the year with fullness, and breath through tight and challenging moments. However you choose to embrace the change, I wish you happiness, patience, and ease.  Happy New Year!

To donate to and learn more about #BendOverBackwardsMS, visit http://www.nationalmssociety.org/goto/108daysofyogams.  Help fight MS!

Day 1– And we’re off

I just shared this email with the teammates joining me in Bend Over Backwards MS, but I thought I should also share it with my viewers.  However you practice yoga, and how often you practice is up to you and for you.  Here are some suggestions though if you’re feeling stuck.

It’s Day 1… And we’re off!  Thank you, again, for committing to 108 days of yoga and fighting against MS!  As we begin this journey I’d like to remind you of some easy ways to get your 108 days started.

-Start By Observing:Do some slow sun saltuations and just see where your body is at.  Does one side feel different than the other?  Are some parts of your sun salute easier than others?  Just observe

-Start With Community: Hit up a new or old favotire class.  Or come join me, I’ll be at Bloom Yoga Studio kicking it off in their 4pm Class with Jessie Novak

-Start With A Goal:What do you hope to get out of your yoga practice?  Is there a post you’ve always wanted to get into?  You have 108 day to safely work towards that goal.  What do you need to do to set up for that goal?  Today is a great day to start opening yourself up to that potential of reaching your goal.

-Start With Your Breath: Breathing is the most important thing we can do in life.  So it makes great sense to spend ten minutes focusing on your breath.

-Start With Music: Putting on music that I love is a great way to motivate me through a home practice.  Let the music guide you through your poses.

However you practice yoga today, enjoy it!  and be sure to share it on our facebook page or in your social media using #bendoverbackwardsMS and #108daysofyogaMS.

Much love and gratitude!

Rachel

Kicking-off!

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As we begin our journey through 108 days of yoga, it’s every bit as important to be intentional about day 1 as it is for any day along the line. Part of the reason I chose to do a fundraiser over the course of time was to make sure I honored myself and my practice each and everyday.

Finding the best way to start can be as unique to you as the way each person’s yoga practice will unfold.  But if you’re looking for some ideas, here are some great ways to kick off your 108-day practice.

  1. Invite a friend over and do 18 Sun Salutations. 18×6 is 108, what a great number to start your practice with!
  2. Do an online video! Yogaglo.com is one of my favorites, but doyogawithme.com is also great and completely free!
  3. Start with svavasana! Take five minutes to just relax completely. This is a wonderful way to set your body up for 108 days of attention. Do a body scan and just notice what your body feels like.
  4. Seek comfort in a favorite studio! I’ll be attending class at my neighborhood studio, Bloom Yoga Studio in Chicago. I have been attending this studio since my diagnosis in 2006. It is where I will be throwing a 108th practice celebration on March 7 and it is the perfect place to kick this off.

Whereever you start, I do hope you will join me! Make sure to share your practice on social media using #BendOverBackwardsMS and #108DaysOfYogaMS.

Relaxing through jaw clenching poses

Do you hate yoga? I did. I’m a competitive person and found myself gritting through yoga classes at my gym to complement my triathlon training. I found it ironic that my teacher was reminding me to relax my jaw, as it seemed clenching my teeth was the only way I was going to bare another second of holding warrior one. But several classes, studios, and teachers later, I found my perspective changing.

Shortly after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, I found myself disappointed in my body, greatly discouraged, and unknowingly attending a class that would forever change my yoga practice, as well as the way I face my life with MS. While holding a simple forward bend, the teacher asked us to notice how our body felt without judging. Woa. No judgment?! With a body that just completely let me down, I was queen of judging myself. If this practice was going to relieve me of my own judgment, it was going to be harder than expected, but well worth it. And then his next words “You may notice that your body is resisting more than it did in your last practice, or it’s allowing you to bend further than you once could. Use this information (here it comes again) not to judge, rather to observe where you are today and breath into that space.” And that was it- my great epiphany at the age of 25. I was not going to be able to control what MS did to me each day or how I might feel, but I still could do my best with what was going on—no judgment. As I hung over my legs, I took a deep breath and started my new yoga practice.

As I continue to grow with yoga, I keep meeting teachers who share words that resonate with me, shape the way I move and think on and off my mat, and guide my evolving practice. Sometimes it is just the right cue to tweak my warrior one into a place where I can relax my jaw, sometimes it’s a lesson I can take with me off my mat. In any case, I invite you to attend a class, find a teacher who can gift you some words, and help shape your practice to serve the healthiest you.