May 2023 bring you peace and happiness! Enjoy the New Year! Sandy Palmer, ERYT200, RYT500
New Year's Meditation
Here is a nice Yoga Nidra meditation to get you started. Click Here
Tuesday Meditation Group Meets at 6:45pm
Welcome 2023. It's time to set resolutions, or are they intentions? Actually it's a matter of semantics and personal perspectives. Setting intentions and making resolutions is a journey and much like taking a trip. You have an idea of the place you'd like to go to, so you obtain a map to help you get there. You look at the map and find an acceptable route. Along the way you might see a place you'd like to stop and visit or realize that there's a better or more interesting way to go. You set goals for accomplishing your journey. Perhaps they have to be tweaked to accommodate visiting new places or to meet changing needs. You may get to your original destination or find another, better place to be. If you are being mindful of your desires, it's all okay. Oh, and sometimes you're happy right where you are!
May 2023 bring you peace and happiness! Enjoy the New Year! Sandy Palmer, ERYT200, RYT500
Sankalpa is the Sanskrit term for intention. However, it goes a little bit deeper. Sometimes sankalpa is defined as your “reason to be.” It indicates your “heart's desire.” It can even be a wish. It comes from deep within yourself. Listening to your higher self can help you recognize and understand your sankalpa. Accomplishing your sankalpa brings a feeling of completeness. Practicing yoga and meditation can help you discover more about it. The meditation below can help you realize and understand your sankalpa. You can read this link for more information.
New Year's Meditation
Find a comfortable position. Invite relaxation into your body. Set your intention for meditating today (greeting the new year, exploring your sankalpa). Breathe deeply and slowly. If you need an anchor, know that you can come back to your breath. Feel it as it enters your nose. Feel it as you exhale. Allow thoughts to float by. Feel each place your body touches. Imagine a golden light running along your spine. Let this light fill your body. It becomes white and radiates around you. Now invite your higher self to join you. Perhaps you are sitting side by side in a beautiful space. Or perhaps you are only listening to thoughts. Begin to examine your hopes and wishes for the new year. How do you feel about yourself? How do you see yourself this year? Are there changes you'd like to make? You can weave these into resolutions or not. You can just ponder them, sort of like browsing in a library. When you feel like its time to come back (or when your timer goes off), become aware of your body, breathe and imagine the space around you. Let your eyelids softly open. Some tips: Be comfortable, be in a private space, take care of your bodily needs first, and set a timer.
Here is a nice Yoga Nidra meditation to get you started. Click Here
Tuesday Meditation Group Meets at 6:45pm
We've come to the end of 2022. It's been a rough year as far as weather, illness and war go. Hopefully 2023 will bring a turn around. It's important to take some time and care for yourself always and especially at this time of year. My mantra is take a deep breath and relax. Sometimes that's hard to remember. I've included a few ideas for pampering yourself in this letter.
Take Care of Yourself – Carve out some time each day to pamper yourself.
Take a few deep breaths, relax the muscles of your face. Beginning (low belly), middle (low chest), top (low throat), exhale – beginning(low throat), middle, bottom click on this link for more information - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg_93mxxCnQ
Pose for the month - Restorative Yoga
You will need a big pillow or bolster, a small pillow or a folded towel/yoga blanket, a blanket or a throw. Lay on your right side with your head on the small pillow. Put your right leg, knee is bent, on the big pillow. Try to get your entire leg supported by the pillow/bolster. Reach your left arm over your ear. Adjust your body so that it is comfortable. Relax. Try to stay in this pose for up to 5 minutes. Switch sides.
May Your Holidays Be Filled with Wonder and Happiness
May the New Year Bring Peace and Love
Namaste' Take a moment to pause and enjoy the moment. Ahh... Savor it. Many well known people (Leo Tolstoy, Emily Dickinson, Mother Teresa, George Harrison) have mentioned the power of the moment or the present. That's a nice thing about yoga. If you take it slow and pause to feel the effects; you are in the moment. Powerful stuff! I've been trying to add the pause in some of my classes. It helps you stay in the present and be aware of your own body. It also helps your nervous system integrate the effects of the pose.
It has been a crazy summer. My family visited for 2 weeks. We had fun in the river and making kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage) and dim sum (Japanese fried dumplings), a family tradition dating back to my childhood.
Another hot summer is just about past. Many of us have been seeking the coolness of being inside. Unfortunately, the war continues and politics are still messy. Yoga and meditation are nice refuges. Smiling and being mindful help as well.
We've been practicing “Super Brain Yoga” and "Mindfulness" in our class. I've included some examples and links to both subjects below. The poses have added a little diversity to our routines and helped us giggle just a little more.
Yoga, Meditation and the Brain
There's a lot of information out there about the brain. We learn more about it each day. As usual, some is accurate and some is merely opinion. It's hard to tell the difference. A lot of the information is based on anecdotal evidence and is controversial. More research is needed for sure. This is what we know. The brain is plastic and can change. Yoga stimulates the vagus nerve and helps with the uptake of certain neuro-chemicals that help us relax, focus, and feel good. Deep breathing moves us from the fight/flight area of the brain to the thinking area of the brain. Relaxation and focus help one with memory and make more intentional choices. I've been reading about “Super Brain Yoga.” There are some great videos on the subject on YouTube. We've been practicing some of the poses in class. Here are some links to some superbrain poses and meditation research.
Super Brain - A Simple Exercise to Boost Your Mental health
The promise of meditation for the heart and mind
Meditation in September - Tuesdays 6:40 - 7:00 PM
Meditation resumes in September. As an experiment, the group will meet on Tuesdays from 6:40 – 7:00 pm. Or as soon as we can get it together after yoga. That way, the nervous system is all ready for meditation.
Mindful Exercise for the Month
Take a short walk outside or inside. Be aware of how your legs are moving and your feet touching the floor. Do this for a minute or so. How does your body feel as you move? How do the bottoms of your feet feel?
For more about Mindfulness click
Here for the Mayo Clinic and Here for a Mindfulness website
Yoga Pose for the Month - Thoppukaranam
Also known as “Super Brain Yoga." It boosts electrical activity in your brain. The original pose was a dedication to Ganasha, the Indian God that removes blockages.
“Summertime and the living is easy.” It would be nice if that were true this summer. It's been strangely hot and very confusing. We're still struggling with Covid, war, gas prices, and politics. Yoga and meditation are such nice refuges from all of this. Taking a slow deep breath helps with calming and thinking when things get tough. Classes continue at my studio, on Zoom, and at the My People Senior Center. In my opinion live is the best way to take a yoga class, and there are plenty of opportunities all over Sevier County. As a matter of fact we could use a few more teachers to help with the load. I've added a chair class at the Senior Center. It's a lot of fun.
I've included a few cooling things in this news letter. A friend turned me onto mint tea. It's truly refreshing. The sistali breath is a cooling type of pranayama.
My family is visiting this summer, so I will not have class anywhere July 11 – July 15th. We will be enjoying some mint tea, Japanese dim sum, and Korean kimchi. I truly hope that you have a nice summer.
Fresh Mint Tea
Use 4 or 5 stalks of fresh mint to 2 cups of water.* Crush the mint by rolling between your palms or tearing the leaves. Put these in a teapot or a mason jar. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Let steep for 5 – 10 minutes. Serve hot or iced. Both ways are very refreshing. Can be both energizing and relaxing.
* You can make a larger amount, just adjust.
Also know as “the cooling breath”. It's helpful on a hot, summer day, during a hot flash or anytime you need to cool off (both physicall and emotionally). It's both cooling and soothing. It also reduces stress, calms anxiety and may even lower blood pressure. Curl your tongue or purse your lips, inhale through your mouth, close your mouth and exhale through your nose. Go slowly. Continue for a few minutes or up to 15 rounds. To learn more click here.
Also known as Reverse Warrior. We've been working on this in our classes. It's a good stretch for the intercostal muscles. This enhances respiration and feels good.
Yoga and meditation have been helpful in smoothing the edges of this cold and disturbing winter. I've included a few calming activities in this email. The meditation for peace can be used for personal peacefulness or broadened to include world peace. I have also added a page about meditation to the website. In the future it will include more tips and simple meditations. Deep breathing is always soothing and relaxing. It moves you from the fight/ flight area of your brain to the more rational thinking cortex. The ujjayi-breath included below is a calming breath that is also warming.
Yoga Teacher Training begins April 22. Please contact either Jamie or me if you are interested. Yes, it is a big commitment. You may not want to be a teacher, however this training will deepen your practice. You will learn much about yoga: its history, mechanics and philosophy. There are discounts and payment plans available.
Recently, my husband and I were able to drive to Florida and visit one of my best friends, other close friends, and our family while we watched our grandson play soccer. We had a lovely time. I would like to thank Jamie, Kappy and Jan for helping me keep the yoga classes going while I was gone. I'd also like to thank the women who take care of my house whenever I travel, Dona and Vicki S. Sandy Palmer, ERYT200, RYT500
Meditation for Peace
Find a comfortable position. Place one hand on your heart and one on your belly. Become aware of your breath. Let it deepen, becoming slow and even. Relax the muscles of your face and then each part of your body. Continue to be aware of your inhalations and exhalations. Be aware of your heartbeat, pay attention to it for a while. Move your focus to the area between your brows, your third eye. Invite peace and bliss to come to you. Allow light to begin to grow within your body. Let it emanate from your body and envelop you. Then let it spread out from you. You can simply continue to feel your heart and your breath. If there is a prayer or a mantra that you like and feel promotes peace, repeat it to yourself. When you are done, allow the light to fade. Slowly open your eyes and gently stretch. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti means Peace, peace, peace. Here are some links to mantras and prayers for peace: The Women's Meditation Network, Om Shanti, The Prayer of Saint Francis
Also called the Ocean Breath, this is a form of pranayama that is calming and warming. It is done during yoga practice and helps you synchronize your movement with your breathing. It's the feeling in your throat that you get when you make a “huh” sound. Only you are breathing in and out through your nose. It lowers blood pressure, helps with insomnia, and releases tension. Even though it is calming, we do turn it off for savasana. You can read more about it at this link. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/ujjayi-breathing
Live Yoga - To Go or Not to Go??? It's so easy and convenient to take a yoga class or course from the comfort of one's home. Definitely, Zoom and YouTube have been really helpful in keeping yoga classes going. It's important to take a live, in person class with a teacher present though. Yoga happens on several levels at one time. When we are together in person, I can judge the energetic and physical needs of the students present, thereby adjusting my plans for the class. I can see your body position much better. This helps me make corrections that can be critical to your comfort and safety. As a student, you can see me better too. We use almost all of our senses. I listen to your breath sounds (sighs and groans too). I can use touch to make gentle, often crucial adjustments. The yoga class sets apart a special time and space for community. The energy of being together is special all by itself. I'm grateful that we have online options. However, I am concerned about the quality of only meeting online. Please consider returning to an in-person class from time to time. There are many options open to you. My studio is open, and I teach at the My People Senior Center. Jamie teaches at the Sevierville Community Center. Kappy teaches at the Pigeon Forge Community Center. Karri teaches at the United Methodist Church in Seymour. Check the various websites for days and times.
Beginning April 2023
Yoga for Every Body Teacher Training
by Jamie Blessinger & Sandy Palmer
May 2022 bring you joy, happiness and a sense of wonder and awe! We enter the new year facing new challenges. Yoga and meditation can ease the way. It's important to have positive expectations and helpful to look for simple, hidden gifts (a smile, an unexpected flower blossom). It's more important than ever to be kind. Setting intentions helps create a clear and smooth path for your journey.
We are still meeting for yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays at my home studio and on Zoom from 5:30–6:30pm. Meditation meets on Mondays from 5:30-6:00pm. There are many opportunities for live yoga classes. I am teaching yoga at the My People Senior Activity Center in Sevierville, TN from 11 to noon on Mondays and Wednesdays. My friend, Jan, is starting a new yoga class focusing on strength and balance there on Thursdays from 11 to noon. Jamie teaches at the Sevierville Community Center. Kappy teaches at the Pigeon Forge Community Center. Karri teaches at the United Methodist Church in Seymour. Jamie and I plan to offer Yoga for Every Body Teacher Training this year. Please let one of us know if you are interested. Enjoy the New Year! Sandy Palmer, ERYT200, RYT500
What are your intentions for 2022? Different from resolutions, intentions are pliable and can be modified depending on your needs and circumstances. You can cultivate them just like a garden. A garden flourishes with time, attention and love. Sometimes you have to prune or move things around. Sometimes you add companion plants and decorations. Bees, butterflies, and birds are attracted to a thriving garden, enjoying and also caring for it. We set intentions before each yoga class. I set them each morning. Intentions help you focus on an unconscious level. Some intentions are general, for example; “I am enjoying class today” or “ I'm doing this for my good health.” Others are more specific, like “I'm working on achieving crow pose.” They can all grow and change. That's okay and appropriate. We are, after all, humans who grow and change in the journey of life. Some tips: Keep intentions open-ended so that you can change them as you need to, and keep them in the present tense and positive.
New Year's Meditation
Listening to My Heart's Desire for 2022 Start by relaxing. You can sit up or lie down. Set your intentions for meditating. Become aware of your breath, your inhalations - your exhalations. If it helps, practice a few rounds of the box breath. Tune into your body. Relax any tight or stiff spots. Now, invite peace and bliss into yourself. Listen to or feel your heartbeat. Is there something that your heart has to tell you about the coming year? Just listen, breathe and rest. Answers do not necessarily come during the meditation. You may have a flash of inspiration at another time (or not). Be prepared for mind chatter. It's normal. Just go back to listening to the body, practicing the box breath, or feeling your heart beat. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes and smile. Tips: When you're meditating, it's always a good idea to choose a time and place that's private where you will not be disturbed for the amount of time you plan to meditate. Take care of any bodily needs, like going to the bathroom and drinking some water before you start. Set a timer.
Focusing on the 5 senses is an easy way to be mindful. This is a fun and easy meditation that does not require a lot of silent concentration. It takes about 30 minutes. * It helps with developing the ability to focus.
First gather together a few items. 1. A candle or something to gaze at (ex. lava lamp) 2. A small piece of fruit, candy, or cookie. Sit comfortably somewhere private. Close your eyes if you'd like and just breathe. Set an intention for meditating. Be aware of your inhalations and your exhalations for a minute or so. Be ready to focus on each of the 5 senses for a minute or 2.
First focus on your sense of smell. What do you smell? The room, dinner, pets, outside, rain, your own body, perfume, hair, skin.
Now focus on your sense of touch. First be aware of your breath and how it feels coming in and out of your nose. Then what do you feel on skin – your clothes for instance, the air on your cheeks. Touch the things around you. What do you notice in the different textures? Notice where you're sitting - your sitting bones, maybe the bottoms of your feet.
Now focus on your sense of sight. This can be candle gazing or something in your room (an aquarium, a lava lamp). Let your vision blur and just gaze. It's okay if your lids droop.
Now focus on your sense of hearing. Listen to your space – the little sounds that houses make, indoor sounds like a clock ticking or pet sounds. Outside sounds like wind, rain, birds, and grass being mowed.
Now focus on your sense of taste. Put a small bite of food in your mouth. Hold it in you mouth, let it sit there. Is it sweet, sour, or bitter? Dry, wet, soft? Roll it around a little. Let it sit and dissolve a little. Chew and swallow.
Now just sit. You can return to focusing on your breath if you need to. Or focus on the area between your eye brows. Just for a few minutes. Then allow yourself to wake up to the time and space you are in. Always remember to consider your intentions for your meditation. Namaste'
*When you're meditating it's always a good idea to choose a time and place that's private where you will not be disturbed for the amount of time you plan to meditate. Take care of any bodily needs like going to the bathroom and drinking some water before you start
It's transition time again. The coolness of fall has been hinting at it's arrival. Sandhi is the Sanskit word for the place where two things meet. Kala Sandhi is about time. Kriya Sandhi is about changing activities. Transitions are necessary. Often they are difficult. They can be sweet. At the end of savasana (a kriya sandhi) you often hear me say, “Enjoy the transition.” There's a feeling of renewal. For a few moments you feel only this. You are experiencing the move from alpha brain wave activity (light meditation) to beta brain wave pattern (normal awake state). It's that time when you move from relaxation to awareness. Waking up and going to sleep are both examples of kriya sandhi while moving from summer to fall are forms kala sandhi.
I began teaching yoga at The Mountain View Chiropractic Clinic in Fall 2009, twelve years ago. It's been wonderful. The pandemic, along with some personal issues came along making it difficult to teach at the clinic for more than a year now. It's time to transition (kriya sandhi) to my own space. I will no longer hold classes at the clinic. Many thanks to Dr. Lisa Beighle who held space for Wise Mountain Yoga for all of these years and the past 18 months. She has always been a great friend to and supporter of yoga. Her kindness is much appreciated.
My home studio classes are open as as long as it is safe for us to gather and with guidelines. Monday meditation is now open to live students. You can also find me at the My People Senior Activity Center on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jamie teaches at the Sevierville Community Center and Kappy at the Pigeon Forge Community Center. Check their websites and calendars for times and guidelines. I will be teaching yoga at Parlounge this October in Florida.
Savasana - Final Relaxation Pose
Transition between practice and the real world – One of the most important poses of the class (Tadasana, Mountain is the other). It's also the hardest because it is hard to just lie still for 5 – 10 minutes. It's the time when your heart rate returns to normal. Your nervous system has a chance to come into balance, also allowing neural pathways and synapses to grow and connect. It gives your muscles and joints time to integrate the information received during the class. It's a reset button for your entire physical and mental body. If brain chatter happens, it's okay, just let it. Take a breath, relax and know that's normal for all of us. If you are uncomfortable, use props like pillows and blankets. Ask for guidance if necessary. Savasana is a pose just like any other pose and adjustments do need to be made. Your neck and often your back need to be supported. You should come out of savasana feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
“Skipping savasana is like mixing up the cake batter and not putting it in the oven.” Eoin Finn, Blissology Yoga
A nice way to start the morning
Your favorite pancake mix – boxed or homemade, 1/4 c pecans or walnuts, 1/4 c blueberries, 1 c shredded zucchini
Shred or grate the zucchini with a food processor or hand grater. If you do this the night before, it allows the juices to drain off. Squeeze the juices out of the shredded zucchini, and combine everything. Cook as you do pancakes. Leftovers can be frozen for later.
Meditation - Brings You Joy & Energy!
My studio is now open for Meditation on Monday Evenings
from 5:30 – 6 PM. It also meets on Zoom
We spend a few minutes discussing the method for the evening
10 – 15 minutes relaxing and being guided
5 – 10 minute of silent meditation
The same guidelines apply for meditation class apply for studio yoga
"Be aware of your breathing. Notice how this takes attention away from your thinking and creates space." Eckhart Tolle
August News Letter
Good news, I've finished the 300 Hour teacher training course that I needed to make me an RYT500, Registered Yoga Teacher 500 Hours. It has taken me a year of study to do so. This is why it's been a while since you've heard from me. The course was conducted over the internet and came from different places around the world. It's been very interesting.
Yes, my classes are still on Zoom. If you live locally there are two options for live classes with me. I have opened my home studio up during the Zoom classes. Also if you are 50 or older you can join me at the Senior Activity Center in Sevierville. Jamie Blessinger teaches at the Community Center in Sevierville and Kappy Lapides teaches at the one in Pigeon Forge. All of these locations have websites and Facebook pages where you can check out times, etc. Jamie has been taking a break from teaching on Zoom, and Kappy has starting helping out on Zoom from time to time. Jan Pitzer, a Master Gardner friend, helps me at the My People Senior Activity Center. Thanks to all three for their help over this summer. I've had a lot going on with family visiting and some other issues.
A Nice Wake-Up Routine
First take a deep breath and smile. Now rotate your ankles in both directions, just like we do in the beginning of most classes. Next rotate your wrists in both directions. It's a good idea to get the synovial fluid flowing around your joints for comfortable flexibility during the day. Then do little stretches just like we do when we come out of savasana. That way your brain and body are a little more prepared for the challenge of standing up.
A Way to Cool Off on a Hot Day - Sitali Breath
The heat has been record-breaking this summer. Here is a form of pranayama that is cooling and relaxing.
Sit comfortably in easy pose if possible, and take a few deep breaths
Purse your lips
Curl your tongue lengthwise (if you can). If you can't curl your tongue to the roof of your mouth, this is called sitkari breath
Inhale through the cone you have made with your tongue or through your teeth to the count of 4 or 5
Let the air go into your lungs as usual
Hold your breath for a few seconds
Exhale through your nose
Repeat several times
Note: that there are differing techniques for sitali breath. Be careful doing it in polluted areas. Avoid it if you suffer with blood serious pressure, gastric, or bronchial issues.
12 ½ cups water
6 juiced lemons (more or less to taste)
½ cup sugar or honey (more or less to taste)
4 bags of lavender tea
Make a simple syrup by combining ½ cup water, sugar/honey, lavender tea in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until sugar/honey has dissolved. Set aside to steep and cool. Remove tea bags.
Juice lemons. Combine remaining water, syrup, lemon juice. Chill. Serve over ice. Dress up with sprigs of lavender and or lemon slices.
Making a Vision Board
Every January I usually get together with some friends and create a vision board. It's a collage of what I would like to bring into my life. We have a good time with a pile of magazines and collage materials; chatting, laughing, and sharing our dreams for the upcoming year. There's always a tray of goodies and something nice to drink. This year may be a little different, however I still plan to create my vision board.
To create a vision board, gather photos and other collage materials. I use magazines, stickers, quotes, ribbon, fabric, and all sorts of fun things. You need a foundation like poster paper or a bulletin board to build your creation on. Sometimes I use even fabric and make it a wall hanging.
Before beginning take some time to reflect and meditate on your dreams and goals. What do you want to achieve in your life? It can be general and/or detailed. There can be practical elements as well as fanciful. You can always add to or modify it later. Once it's finished, put your board in a place where you can see it every day. Creating a vision board is setting intentions for the new year. It helps me explore and uncover ideas and dreams, allowing me to draw a road map with possible side trips and new adventures.
Materials & Supplies
A board: poster board, shelving paper, fabric, bulletin board, etc
adhesive: glue, glue sticks, etc Scissors
Markers, pens, sharpies, crayons, etc Pictures: photos, magazines, etc
Imagination You wildest dreams