“It is not near…

“It is not nearly so important how well a message is received as well it is sent.

You cannot take responsibility for how well another accepts your truth; you can only ensure how well it is communicated. And by how well, I don’t mean how clearly; I mean how lovingly, how compassionately, how sensitively, how courageously, and how completely.”
Neale Donald Walsch

Quote | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Powder Is Your Friend

If you’re getting ready for a video shoot, whether you’re a woman or a man, always remember to apply powder to your face before the camera starts recording. Watch the video to find out why this is so important. And go to ImageOnCamera.com for more helpful tips! Like us on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter!

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Show Us Something

If you’re going to make a video, show your audience something worthwhile that can’t be explained in an article. For more videos and helpful articles, visit Image On Camera at ImageOnCamera.com or find us on Face Book, Twitter, & LinkedIn.

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Transformation at the Yellow Barn – Day 10

This blog is the tenth in a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary (Anandasagar) Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.

By Polly Meyer

ImageToday was the tenth and final day of our Ten-Day Transformation Yoga at the Yellow Barn. It was honestly one of the hardest things I ever put myself through, and it required being more disciplined than I ever thought myself capable of possessing. It was hard for all of us who participated. The instructor, Gary Anandasgar, promised that we would get out of this practice what we put into it. If we did the work, we would be transformed on many different levels. The man delivered on his promises.

The yoga Gary brought us through opened our minds and bodies, removing some of the binds that blocked our potential. The 10-day practice made us confront our limits in order to transcend them. It gave us a deeper self-understanding that brought newness and interest to the way we perceived things. The poses and pranayamas involved constant honing and refining which gave us a glimpse of our true essence. We were our own sculptors, bringing out the true form in the stone as we carefully and mindfully chipped away the unwanted and unneeded rock and grit. It gave us vitality and a sense of grace and well-being. Personally, I began to trust more in my higher self.

Our bodies developed a greater flexibility. Gary constantly reminded us that the essence of our poses was not to attain how they looked in books, but to be aware of how we worked with our limits. It wasn’t important how far we got into a pose, but how we approached the yogic process. We were instructed not to view the pose as an end to be achieved, but to view it as a tool to explore and open our bodies. Ironically, instead of using the body to assume the pose, we used our pose to open our bodies. Progress and opening came more naturally at the end than it did in the early days of our Transformation Yoga.  I learned to play the edge of pain – in fact, I think we all did. Finding that place in the pose where we weren’t afraid, but near where the fear comes in when the pose becomes intense. We would hold the pose, deepen our breath, trust the intelligence of our bodies, and wait for the relaxation to come and open us.

We discovered the balance between control and surrender, between pushing and relaxing, channeling our energy and letting it go. Before this Yoga Transformation class, it was my tendency to push in yoga. Now I learned the importance of letting go, relaxing, and enjoying the surrender. It gave me room to focus on the way I moved, held my body, what I was thinking, and how I focused. The essence of this class was to transform. So we focused our attention – attention to our breath, our body’s messages, where to focus our energy, and even to the quality of our attention. These were essential to what we achieved as a group in our last class together. Our breath got us out of our minds and into our bodies, bringing a grace and sensuality to poses that would have been impossible if our minds were in control. On this last day we remained in each pose for 27 minutes. My mind is still boggled by it.

The pranayamas generated an uncommon energy within us. We captured it, changed it, created more of it, and moved it through our bodies. We had great energy, yet we were very focused and calm. This in itself is noteworthy.

And I don’t know how to explain this really, but I feel like this yoga unhooked me from a few things I was holding onto emotionally. I’m not talking about a release, but an un-hook. Its like the process of confronting and nudging my body’s limits and blocks opened my mind. The transformation not only moved me from some things I didn’t like about myself, but also from pleasures and habits I was attached to – like sleeping in late. I am struck by how much I enjoy watching the night turn into day. I don’t think I’ll continue to get up before dawn, but I have no desire at all to sleep in as late as I was accustomed to.

This last day of our Transformation Yoga made me savor each pose, each pranayama, each soul in the room, each candle lit, each tingling sensation, each shared experience, each empowering moment. I already feel the absence of its presence, knowing that we won’t meet in this sacred space tomorrow at dawn.  The Yellow Barn is truly one of the very best Yoga Centers in the Twin Cities. And it was an honor to travel on this remarkable journey with the courageous souls in this small class. Through Gary’s teachings, it gave me a deeper awareness of my own participation in the evolutionary process of myself.

Posted in change, comfort zone, courage, enlarge, Gary Anandasagar Majchrza, Heart Chakra, living large, polly meyer, spirit, Transformational Yoga, wisdom, woman, Woman of Substance, Yellow Barn, Yoga, Yom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Transformation at the Yellow Barn – Day 9

This blog is the ninth of a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary (Anandasagar) Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.

By Polly Meyer

ImageNine days deep into transformation yoga and Gary, our instructor, is compassionately reminding us to trust our bodies as we go deep into the poses, and that there is a wisdom found in focusing on our breathing. Part of our Transformation Yoga at the Yellow Barn includes a sharing time at the end of each intense practice. And our small group has been sharing some interesting things! Little did we know that the pranayamas along with the intense poses would heal our bodies, tap into our awareness, create an unbelievable inner calm, and birth incredible visions.

In nine short days we’ve experienced transformation in varied and specific ways. One yogi shared how physical sensations came back into her face where only numbness was felt before from dental surgery done years earlier. Another shared how a muscle that was limited after being cut and stitched together is now operating at almost full capacity. The apparition of a bear appeared to two different yogis during a practice. We’ve had healing revelations concerning painful experiences, seen apparitions of people we knew but who had passed away, and a couple of us had visions of ducks and egrets that came to offer unique perspectives on how we view situations. Almost all of us have had loved ones comment on our deeper level of peacefulness.

Its not easy to explain these experiences to people outside of the class. When I try, it seems like I begin every sentence with, “I know this sounds bat-shit crazy, but…”

One thing I know for sure is that the whole experience of Yoga Transformation has had profound effects on all of us in the class. Our Spirits have been enlarged.

Posted in change, courage, Heart Chakra, polly meyer, spirit, Transformational Yoga, wisdom, woman, Yahm, Yaum, Yellow Barn, Yoga, Yom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Transformation at the Yellow Barn – Day 8

This blog is the eighth in a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary (Anandasagar) Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.

By Polly Meyer

ImageOur Transformation Yoga transforms us through chaotic movements, deep poses, breathing exercises, profound relaxation, focused minds, and free movement dancing.  The order we practice in is always the same and there is great wisdom in the order. The process brings us through many deaths and resurrections in each practice. With each practice we transform. All of us are participating in this program are transforming in one way or another. We have all shared about the new connectedness we have with visions, our bodies, minds, emotions and Spirits.

Our last shavanasa brings us into free movement dancing. Each day, our instructor uses an eclectic blend of music, some with words some without, to allow organic and spontaneous movements to rise and express itself through us. There is no judgment here. It’s a safe space for expression and free exploration. The music and dance reconnects us with our innate state of joyous well-being. Our minds are clear, free, and positive. Our bodies feel supple, energized, and powerful. Our dance is an empowering journey to self-acceptance and transformation. We play in the music. It awakens each chakra and liberates our creative life force. We dance as an outlet for beautiful physical expression and to connect to our inner joy and true essence. We are joined as Spirits as we dance and share in this sacred journey of self-discovery, revolution and healing.

Posted in beautiful, change, comfort zone, courage, enlarge, Free Form Dancing, Gary Anandasagar Majchrza, Heart Chakra, living large, polly meyer, spirit, Transformational Yoga, wisdom, woman, Woman of Substance, Yellow Barn, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Transformation at the Yellow Barn – Day 7

This blog is the seventh in a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary Anandasagar Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.

By Polly Meyer

ImageThe 10-Day Yoga of Transformation is being taught at the Yellow Barn. It’s a unique style of yoga. And the Yellow Barn is a unique yoga studio. The yogis in this class meet before dawn in a space provided by Deb Fee, the founder of the Yellow Barn. Deb dedicated this space to be a place of inspiration, learning and challenge. The atmosphere is welcoming and Deb is always there to greet you with her warm smile. Deb and her daughters are a significant part of our morning assembly. Our group is small and the experiences of those in the class are an integral part of own journey. I’ve come to rely on the strength and vulnerabilities of the other yogis in this class. The absence of even one person is felt when we come to our mats in the morning. I must say, its been an honor and a blessing to walk this transformative path with them. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life.

As we prepare to go into the Plough Pose, Gary sets the timer and reminds us to breathe in and out of our heart space meditating on Yaum. To be honest, this pose has been a challenge to everyone in the class. But each day, a yogi or two will share what they learn in this transformative pose and it gives hope to the rest of us who still struggle with it. My legs reach towards the ceiling and begin to slowly fold over my body. My muscles usually resist. This time, however, I set an intention in my yoga to surrender to the pose. I want to learn what the pose is trying to teach me. I want to trust that its okay to explore what is in this pose without being laser focused what’s not working. This time I open my heart and go into it unafraid. I feel the initial resistance in my muscles right away, only this time I ask my body to show me how to relax my muscles. I breathe into my Heart Chakra and meditate on Yaum. Instead of focusing on the pain, I accept it this time and become present with the sensations in my joints, soft tissues, breath, and mind to try to make choices within the context of this pose. And then the craziest thing happens. My muscles relax and the pain floats away. It doesn’t just go away, it floats.

This gives me courage to go deeper into the pose. No pain. Just sensations. I cycle my mind through every aspect of what I’m currently aware of, and become both a participant and an observer to my practice. I notice that I am smiling – In the Plough Pose! I continue breathing into my Heart Chakra and meditate on Yaum. I become keenly aware of where all the parts of my body are in this moment and continue to sink deeper into the pose with my knees by my ears and feet far behind my head and resting on the floor.

My intention is to be more trusting in the pose. Now I can work on being more trusting in the world, too.

Gary Anandasagar Majchrzak began practicing yoga in 1989 in Los Angeles, California. Since then, he studied numerous forms of yoga under many renowned teachers throughout the United States. Gary founded the highly acclaimed yoga school, 7Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona, AZ. He’s traveled to ashrams in India five times and immersed himself in Ayurveda, Transformation and Meditation courses. He specializes in teaching 10 and 21-Day Courses of the Yoga of Transformation, a transformative yoga he studied in Nepal.

Posted in change, comfort zone, courage, Heart Chakra, polly meyer, spirit, Transformational Yoga, wisdom, woman, Yahm, Yaum, Yellow Barn, Yoga, Yom | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Transformation at the Yellow Barn – Day 6

This blog is the sixth in a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary (Anandasagar) Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.

One of my favorite passages on pain is what Kahlil Gibran writes in his classic, “The Prophet”: “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”

ImageEach day In Transformation Yoga I approach my mat with the intention to learn from my practice. My mind rarely wanders for the three hours I’m there due to the intensity of what I’m doing. I think that is true for all of the yogis whom I practice with at the Yellow Barn. Our poses and pranayamas require concentrated focus to push us past what we believed to be our physical and mental capacity.  At times, it seems like we hold the poses for an eternity and every muscle is quivering in agony. But we stay in the pose. We face the pain and gradually we release anything that doesn’t serve us. We face the pain to learn from it. We face the pain to heal ourselves. We face the pain to empower ourselves. I believe I can speak for the other yogis and say that we have all found pain to be a great teacher during our practice.

Our Yoga Instructor is Gary Anandasagar, and he wrote an eloquent and thoughtful article on the importance of pain, its purpose, and its blessing. Here is a passage from that article.

The fear that we attach to pain, is when the mind gets involved.

But pure pain, bare pain can be observed objectively or subjectively,

however you want to look at it.

The mind and body are interrelated and mind can distort just simple

pain by attaching fear to it.

Then we have lost our power of discernment.

Pain doesn’t mean anything is wrong.

In fact pain is never wrong, pain means pay attention, and take

action if necessary.

But mostly pain needs to be witnessed.

Pain is valuable.

But one wants to suffer.

And mostly, no one wants to see others suffer.

But what gives you the right to try to take someone else’s pain

away from them?

Pain is the journey to healing.

After the pain is joy.

I have seen countless examples of people who have gone through

an asana for a length of time, staying in the pose and going

through all kinds of changes, moaning, groaning, crying, shouting,

screaming, feeling excruciating pain and when the time is up and

they are told to release the pose, after spending all this time in

PAIN, they start laughing!…laughing? Smiling, making their way

into shavasana with joy, feeling bliss, more relieved.

Why?

Because they have finally passed through the pain that was stuck in

their bodies.

The finally let go of the trauma, the emotional blocks, the mental habits,

the energy was released and allowed to flow again and it feels GOOD.

You have healed yourself, because no one else can.

Pain is the journey to healing.

 

Posted in change, comfort zone, courage, Heart Chakra, living large, polly meyer, spirit, Transformational Yoga, wisdom, woman, Woman of Substance, Yellow Barn, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Transformation at the Yellow Barn – Day 5

This blog is the fifth in a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary (Anandasagar) Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.

ImageBeautiful yoga studios matter. The amount of light in a room and the use of natural earth elements like wooden floors and candles, soothe the mind, energize the spirit and encourages an open heart. Yes, yoga is really about inner reflection, but when a space feels sacred, so does your practice.

Today, we focus on the Heart Chakra. We inhale and exhale with the mantra, Yahm. The sound of this word is delightful to my ears. It sounds like “Yum.” As in, when a warm chocolate brownie is set before you, and without thought you freely and naturally release the word, “YUM!”

Yum means scrumptious and delectable, and in itself is an expression of love. It feels so right to meditate on this word to open up my heart. The Yahm sound is primal and each expression literally vibrates through my chest and into my back. I concentrate on the expansion of my heart and remain open to its surprises and varied expressions as the meditation goes deeper. I focus on Yahm and I hold my pose while it mingles with my thoughts, gives birth to visions, and dances with my emotions. My ribs expand and energy flows effortlessly in and around my spine. I notice that I’m feeling joyful which I find surprising. Joyful at 5AM is something I never experienced before.

Posted in beautiful, change, courage, enlarge, Heart Chakra, living large, polly meyer, spirit, Transformational Yoga, wisdom, woman, woman's worth, Yellow Barn, Yoga, Yom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Yoga of Transformation at the Yellow Barn – Day 4

This blog is the fourth in a series that invites you to experience the Yellow Barn’s 10-day Yoga of Transformation, guided by Gary (Anandasagar) Majchrzak, a nationally renowned yoga teacher and instructor.

By Polly Meyer

ImageThe studio in the Yellow Barn has beautiful old hardwood flooring. The grain and the complexity of knots and nail holes add to the rich character of the wood in this space. When I lay my hand on the floor, I can still feel the energy coming from this rich piece of earth; and I feel grounded when I stand on it with my bare feet. The flooring has small gaps here and there, and once in a while I’ll unknowingly lay my yoga mat on a plank that sticks up higher than the others, making Chivasana a little uncomfortable. So I’ll adjust my mat an inch or two and all is well.  Life is like that. And so is our yoga practice.

Our practice is immersed in deep and focused breathing. We breathe in and out through the nose to create space in our minds and bodies. We load our blood with oxygen to open, nourish and restore ourselves to wholeness. We breathe into our Chakras – that’s pronounced CHakra with a CH, not SHakra. And we move our breath energy up our spines, over our heads and into the Third Eye. Our breath is the ultimate healing force in our bodies. It circulates the oxygen through our lungs, arteries and veins clearing out toxins and restores us to perfection.

My favorite practice is the Nadi Shodhana, which is designed to purify our bodies, stimulate our right and left brains, and bring balance to our breathing by alternating the breath through both nostrils. This breathing technique significantly and positively affects my mood during our yoga practice. The thumb and ring finger alternately close and open the nostrils as we deeply inhale, hold and exhale our breath.

I like it because the technique has a calming affect. That is, unless you have a stuffy nose or swollen sinuses. In this case, you’ll feel like you’re suffocating as you struggle with great effort to pull in that life-giving breath. One of the yogis had us laughing as she lightheartedly shared how her nostril was so blocked that she thought she was going to die because she couldn’t get any air in. Gary instructs us to accept where we’re at in the practice and to not force the breath in or out. It’s meant to be calming, so we learn to adjust the technique to get the breath in as best we can. One of the yogis was so blocked that her only resource was to imagine the air alternating between her nostrils. And for me, that was the coolest thing. I mean, it wasn’t perfect, but she accepted her limitations in the moment and adapted herself to reap the benefits.

Embracing imperfections is what yoga, life, and old hardwood floors are all about.

Posted in change, courage, living large, polly meyer, spirit, Transformational Yoga, wisdom, woman, Woman of Substance, Yellow Barn, Yoga | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment