Sat., 7/25: outdoor yoga returns, Zoom meditation continues

Looking for a way to support your health on Sat., July 25? We are pleased to be able to offer two options on Saturday morning: both yoga and meditation!

9 a.m. Basics yoga with Heather. Weather permitting, this class will meet on the lawn at the airport! Bring your own mat and water; wear a mask and sunscreen. (Although there is shade available, we cannot promise shade to all attendees since we don’t know how many folks will show up.)

Mask policy: please wear your mask until you settle on your mat and again when you leave your mat at the end of class.

Contact-less check-in: if you have not yet had a chance to complete our online waiver form, please do so before you arrive—or scan the QR code that Heather will have available to do so on site. If you have already completed the form for a previous class, you are set!

To keep up with announcements or to ask questions about the class, please check its event page on Facebook.

11 a.m. Monthly Meditation with Alice. Alice continues to host the monthly meditation sessions using the Zoom platform, and you can join that meeting directly by clicking here. As always, we welcome both new and experienced meditators to this gathering, which includes time both for brief meditations and conversation.

For more information or to ask questions, please check the event page on Facebook.

We hope to see you—either in person or on Zoom—on Saturday!

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Pop-up Meditation: Join Alice for “letting go” on Tues., 7/14, 5 p.m.

Join Alice Simpson for a pop-up, mid-month meditation offering: a 70-minute class on Tuesday, July 14, at 5 p.m. central time.

Alice notes:

We will discuss the meaning of Letting Go/Letting Be and explore how to practice this essential mindful attitude in our daily lives. We will meditate together using single focus awareness and open monitoring techniques.

Join Zoom Meeting using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4904234439

Or, if you prefer, use the meeting ID: 490 423 4439 (password: Shine).

To ask questions or set a reminder for yourself (by indicating “interested” or “going”), please see the session’s Facebook event page.

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Help us pick the book for the Sept. book club meeting!

After two lively discussions about The Four Agreements, we are ready to look ahead to our next 4yoga Book Club meeting! That meeting will be hosted by Alice and held on Sun., Sept. 20, 2020, at 1 p.m., so mark your calendars now for a chance to gather and discuss a text with other members of our community!

To choose a book, we reviewed lists generated by former attendees and organizers and solicited additional nominations on our Facebook page. We have narrowed those options down to three possibilities and now would like your input on which book we should choose for September.

Please take a look at the options below and, when you are ready to vote, complete this one-question survey. (Note: if you have ideas for books to consider for future meetings, please add those to the survey, as well.)

  1. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. Goodreads says, “Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.” Book is available on Amazon hard copy or Kindle.
  2. The Law of Divine Compensation: On Work, Money and Miracles by Marianne Williamson, Goodreads notes, “ A guru to anyone interested in spirituality, Williamson’s words ring with power and truth as she assures us that, with faith in God’s promise of prosperity for all, we need never fear the future.” Available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.
  3. The Issue at Hand: Essays on Buddhist Mindfulness Practices by Gil Fronsdal. As noted by Goodreads, “An inspiring and very accessible compilation of essays and edited talks on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. Gil brings the practice of mindfulness not only to formal meditation but to all the varying aspects of everyday life.” Free copies available online at www.insightmeditationcenter.org as PDF file and as individual chapters.

We look forward to seeing which book emerges as our September selection!

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Inaugural outdoor class: join us on Sat., 7/11, 9 a.m.

We are excited to present our first 4yoga outdoor event on Sat., July 11, at 9 a.m. We will meet at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport, in the lawn areas near the parking lot, for this socially distanced practice. Come join us for a Basics or a Chair class!

Although RSVPs are not necessary, if you use Facebook, it will help us plan if you respond on the event page there. If you have any questions, please post them to the event page or drop us an email.

What we will provide:

  • teachers (Heather, Beshka, Frances, and Angie)
  • different levels of classes (currently Basics and Chair)
  • marked space for your mat
  • opportunity to chat after class while physically distanced

What you should bring or wear:

  • mat
  • props you have and typically use
  • bottle of water
  • sunscreen
  • mask (please wear until you place your mat and settle there)

For contact-less check-in, please complete our new online waiver, which is available here.

We offer this class as a service to our community; therefore, there is no fee. If you wish to make a donation, we will gratefully accept it.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday morning!

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Training Thursday: Cre leads teacher workshop, “Yoga Means Union”

Although the pandemic not only postponed our original meeting date but also revised our mode of delivery, 4yoga teachers gathered on Zoom on Saturday, June 27, for our second professional-development meeting of the year.

Using a combination of presenting, reflective writing, and discussion, Cre Dye reminded us that we are all storytellers who have the ability to change our narratives.  She led us through an exploration of our generational stories and a consideration of how we can revise them as we recognize and respond to the stress and trauma affecting BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.

When asked about her takeaways from the workshop, Heather Kessler replied, “Cre brought new and much needed insight to a tough topic that needs to be addressed. Her knowledge and real-life experience really helped to give me an understanding of how we can begin to look at racial inequality with a new perspective and create positive change.”

Leslie Weigel noted, “I valued the guided introspection that Cre led, helping me to see how I am anchored into my past, yet realizing that I am free to break away from the contracts of the past and ‘put down what is not mine to carry’.”  Carmen Herrera agreed about connecting the past, the present, and the future together:  she indicated that the session provided a “much needed reminder to STAY aware that our actions/decisions, our thoughts and emotions impact beyond just us in the present ‘now’, but also affects ‘our’ collective being for generations to come… just like the previous generations affect us now.”

Sydni Elhubishi remembered a point that also stood out to other participants: “You’re not responsible for your first thought, but you are responsible for your second thought and your first action.”  In fact, Leslie called this idea the point “that has stuck with me most firmly since the class”—”while my first thought/my reaction to a situation or person may emerge from my past, from my cultural history, my second thought and my (first) action is MY responsibility and I can change those thoughts and actions.”

Carmen and Sydni both remarked on the ways that the workshop can lead us to action.  In Carmen’s words, “We can create safe spaces that welcome discussion and awareness of racism and other types of hurtful, aggressive social behaviours.”  Sydni reflected, “We have to continue to have compassion for all, and let that compassion (and other emotions) lead us to action.“

We all appreciate Cre sharing her time and expertise with our teaching community! 

Teachers at June Workshop
Clockwise from upper left: Sydni Elhubishi, Cre Dye, Leslie Weigel, Carmen Herrera, Deb Logan, Heather Kessler
Center: Angie Jones
June 27, 2020

About our quarterly teacher workshops:  we host workshops to provide opportunities for teachers to spend time together and to learn from and with each other.  As a bonus, when the teacher organizing the workshop is a Yoga Alliance continuing education provider, the events also provide, at no cost, continuing education hours to teachers who participate!  To retain registration with Yoga Alliance, all teachers complete at least 30 continuing education hours every three years, demonstrating their commitment to ongoing learning.

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Another chance to chat with Angie on Zoom: Thurs., 7/9, 11 a.m.

Looking for a way to connect with other members of our community? Curious about the plans for Saturday’s outdoor, in-person, socially distanced practice?

Then grab a cup of coffee—or your favorite morning beverage—and join Angie’s Zoom meeting on Thurs., July 9, 11–11:40 a.m.

See the meeting information below, and just drop us an email or a Facebook message if you are new to Zoom and we can help you get more familiar with it before the chat.

Follow this link to find the Zoom meeting.

Or, if you prefer to use the meeting ID, here it is: 747 4115 1129.

(Should you need a password, we made it easy: 4yoga.)

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July (2020) offerings: remote yoga and meditation classes + in-person, outdoor event

As we extend our pause from in-studio classes, we also reflect on the space that this change in schedule provides in our daily lives.  And we invite you, too, to consider what opportunities this space has created or is still creating for you:  to develop your personal yoga, meditation, or pranayama practice? to take classes or workshops with teachers beyond our geographic region? to care for yourself, your family, and your friends in new ways? to listen to, learn from, and stand with members of our community?

In July, our classes and events will occur on Saturdays:  we will host three streamed yoga classes; one outdoor, in-person yoga event; and a Zoom meditation session.  See details below.

Saturday Basics classes, 9–10:10 a.m. (streaming on Facebook Live unless otherwise noted)

  • July 4:  Leslie
  • July 11:  Heather and friends.  Join us for this special yoga event:  an outdoor, socially distanced Saturday-morning practice!  No RSVP necessary—we will have multiple teachers available to distribute students into small groups.  Please watch our Facebook page and website for more details about location and procedures.
  • July 18:  Angie
  • July 25:  Heather

Monthly Meditation (hosted by Alice on Zoom)

  • Sat., July 25, 11 a.m.  Please respond to our Facebook event to keep up with information, receive reminders, and access the link to the Zoom meeting.

In addition to supporting our studio offerings, several of our teachers will provide chances to practice with them independently.  Some of them are continuing with their existing schedules; others expect to provide additional, pop-up offerings as the month progresses.  Please reach out to them directly to learn more.

We look forward to connecting with you—whether remotely or in person—in July!

Marquee at the Capitol
June 18, 2020
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Training Thursday: 7 members of 4yoga community complete MBSR training through WKU

During June, seven members of our 4yoga community who also work for WKU took advantage of a free, four-week series of meetings to learn about and practice Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).  Dr. Masami Matsuyuki, staff psychologist at the WKU Counseling Center, has offered several of these trainings for students, faculty, and staff, but this was the first one delivered via Zoom, which allowed her to accept more participants.  In fact, it attracted as many as 37 students to its weekly, 90-minute meetings!

Each week’s session included a mix of activities:  discussion and presentation of content from our reading, introduction of different meditation techniques, practice of those meditation techniques, and conversation about what we were learning and what challenges we were facing.  Members of the 4yoga community who participated were Thea Browder, Claus Ernst, Angie Jones, Laura McGee, Alice Simpson, Roxanne Spencer, and Uta Ziegler.  

Although several of us are regular participants in Alice’s monthly meditation sessions, we appreciated the opportunities to meet weekly and to expand our experiences with a new group of meditators.  Laura notes, “I had learned about MBSR through the Mindful Magazine that I receive. When I read that WKU was offering a compact version, it seemed like the perfect thing to add to my toolbox of ways to manage stress and anxiety in the age of COVID. I especially enjoyed the guided meditations that were part of every session. Masami Matsuyuki did a wonderful job with those.”

During the series, we appreciated reading or re-reading Jon Kabat-Zinn’s classic text, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Roxanne, who was taking the class for the second time, found the book, “so manageable. The information was presented in easily assimilated ideas and suggestions. I can see why it has been a go-to title for Americans interested in meditation.”

During the series, we appreciated reading or re-reading Jon Kabat-Zinn’s classic text, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Roxanne, who was taking the class for the second time, found the book, “so manageable. The information was presented in easily assimilated ideas and suggestions. I can see why it has been a go-to title for Americans interested in meditation.”

Alice asserted, “this book should be in everyone’s library” and shared a photograph of one of her favorite passages.  Alice also noted, “the practice of mindfulness and ‘letting go’ has been transformational for me. When we can choose to detach and let go of things that may be unpleasant or painful, we find peace of mind. Developing and working the mindful muscle, as Dr. Matsuyuki repeated in the MBSR workshop, is a path to self-awareness and a journey to a more satisfying life.”

Angie’s dog Molly models the book
One of Alice’s favorite passages.

We also practiced applying mindfulness not only to our formal meditation practice but also to our daily lives.  Uta indicated, “One of the things I know I will take away from this is to pick one or two activities per day to do them mindfully. I picked brushing my teeth and I learned my mind is all over the place—more than during ‘formal’ meditation.  I think [this experience] will help my meditation practice—particularly moving mindfulness more into my daily life.”  Laura concurred, “I find that I am approaching everyday tasks with a bit more mindfulness.”

If you would like to explore or reconnect with meditation, particularly with MBSR techniques, please join Alice for the monthly sessions that she leads.  Roxanne “looks forward to each month’s meditation group, where we learn so much and have a chance to practice different forms of meditation for personal growth.”  These sessions typically occur on the last Saturday of the month at 11 a.m., and we welcome both new and experienced meditators.   For details about each month’s meeting, see the online calendar or the appropriate month’s Facebook event page (here is July’s event).

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Training Thursday: Carmen learns EmPower Method with Shanda Packard

We apologize for falling behind on our Training Thursday posts, but we are pleased now to share this report on a session that Carmen Herrera completed on April 25.  This two-hour Zoom training was offered by Shanda Packard, whom many of you know through Harmony Therapeutic Yoga here in Bowling Green. Shanda provided this event via her Yoga Think Tank for Foundations Yoga and Therapy in Madison, New Jersey.  

Carmen noted that the training provided additional tools to help her customize her classes to meet the needs of the students who attend: “Teaching this way allows each person to adjust according to their unique physical needs.”  One point emphasized in the session is helping practitioners find an evenly distributed stance and, from that anchor, maintain their base of support, recognize their center of gravity, and move carefully through their range of motion.  Carmen specifically called attention to a concept from Amy Mathews and Leslie Kaminoff—to teach with “a little bit of movement in a lot of places” rather than a lot of movement in only a few places, which can lead to repetitive stress injuries.

To help students move in healthy ways, both in yoga class and in life, this workshop encouraged teachers to adopt an inquisitive approach to their instruction, one focused on helping students explore the sensations in their own bodies rather than telling students what they should be feeling.

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Come chat with Angie on Zoom: Mon., 6/22, 11 a.m.

Angie is missing all the chances to connect with folks before, during, and after our yoga classes, so she’s set up a Zoom meeting for Mon., June 22, at 11 a.m., and is inviting everyone interested to stop in and chat.

See the meeting info below, and drop us an email or a Facebook message if you are new to using Zoom and we can help you connect.

Follow this link to find the Zoom meeting directly.

Or use this meeting ID, if that’s your preferred method: 796 8324 3096.

(If you need a password, it’s pretty easy: 4yoga.)

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