Anatomical Empowerment

Yoga for Anatomical Empowerment Workshop

On January 27th, 2018 from 2-4 PM I’ll be offering a workshop entitled Yoga for Anatomical Empowerment at Wild Ginger Apothecary's Studio.  When I first chose the title for this workshop, I liked it because it had some oomph, it’s a series of strong words that (hopefully) invoke curiosity -- it has for me, at least!

In considering more deeply what I meant by this phrase, I’ve delved into a deeper analysis of what EMPOWERMENT really means. This is one of those buzzwords, especially in feminist and other alternative circles, that gets thrown around without a lot of definition.

So the analysis begins with what is POWER? According to Starhawk, a leader in contemporary discussions about power, there are three types of power : power-over -- linked to domination and control, power-from-within -- empowerment, and power-with -- the influence we wield among equals (from The Empowerment Manual). Power has been coveted, shared, stolen, abused and upheld in countless ways throughout history, taking each of these different forms across contexts, and having become a bit of dirty word. But power is just a kind of energy, able to be wielded for good, evil and everything in between.

The power I’m interested in talking about here is power-from-within, which yields a sense of being EMPOWERED. To me, this means having the confidence and agency to act based on your own needs, desires, ambitions and preferences. Power is taken away from us when we are unable to act in our own best interest - empowerment is having the courage to act.

Power comes from many different sources, but the sources I hope to share in this workshop are information and awareness. I believe that much of the power of yoga comes from this source - the more deeply present and aware we are, the more consciously we can move through our lives, the more we can connect to a sense of confidence and agency.

There are many layers of awareness, perhaps best seen through the koshas, or the framework for layers of self laid out by ancient yogis. We can be aware of our physical body, breath body, mental/emotional body, wisdom body and bliss body -- the more tuned in we are to each of these layers, the more presence we cultivate.

In this workshop, we will focus primarily on the physical body, anna maya kosha, a layer of self many of us in our culture have lost connection to. As our jobs keep us sitting down for hours at a time, the pressures of our work keep us in our head, we often overlook the POWER that can come from awareness and information offered by our bodies.

Not only will we examine our physical movement patterns, and what a personalized yoga practice might look like for each student, we will delve in to how to feels to listen so deeply to our bodies, we gain a deep sense of empowerment. Our bodies are a treasure trove of information and guidance, available at any and every moment. Come connect to your anatomy through this practice, and cultivate your internal sources of power.

Leah Van Winkle is a Sarasota native, back for the winter from her home in Kentucky to share all that she has learned with the local yoga community! She has trained extensively in various styles of yoga at Kripalu Center in MA, The Om Place in Winchester, KY, and with teachers such as Doug Keller and Tom Myers, most of this training with a heavy focus on anatomy and the subtle details of alignment. Leah is also a professional Thai Bodyworker, trained with renowned teachers like Michael Sitzer, Noam Tyroler, and soon to train in the Soma Veda Lineage. Besides yoga, Leah loves outdoor adventure, delicious, nourishing food (especially ferments!), and learning as much as she can about whatever she can. Feel free to reach out with questions and clarifications about any of these offerings!

Stress and Relaxation

stress relaxation

We’ve all heard it a million times, chronic stress is unhealthy -- weight gain, inflammation, low energy, illness, and countless more symptoms are attributed to staying in a constantly hyper aroused, high cortisol state. The ill effects of our overbooked lives are no secret -- the phrase chronic stress is thrown around so often, the meaning is almost gone!

What do you think, feel or notice when the concept comes up - do you KNOW if you are chronically stressed? Do you feel able to do something about it? Do you know what stress feels like in your body? In your heart and mind? Does thinking about stress give you more stress?

What about relaxation? Do you have a clear idea of what relaxation FEELS like in your body, heart and mind? Can you imagine or feel that sense of release that comes when you let go of tension? What is the quality of thought or emotion when you’re in a relaxed state? How do you interact with the people around you? What is your relationship to creativity and expression?

Take a few moments to pause where you are, sit up tall and take a few deep breaths.What’s present for you here? Explore more deeply, and begin to notice the difference between stress and ease :

-Draw your shoulders up by your ears on an inhale, release all tension on the exhale
-Make fists with the hands on an inhale, release all tension on the exhale
-Draw navel toward spine, creating tension in the belly on an inhale, release all tension on the exhale
-Move through any other parts of your body you suspect may hold stress, inhaling to exacerbate and deeply experience that stress, exhaling to completely release

Pause for a few moments to feel the difference in your body, heart and mind -- are you surprised to notice that some part of your body was holding or gripping under your conscious awareness? What do you notice about your ability to be present after finding some release? What do you notice about the quality of thought and emotion now?

Decreasing stress levels doesn’t have to mean changing everything about your lifestyle -- it can be as simple as starting to notice the difference between stress and ease. Take a few seconds throughout the day to pause and notice where you’re holding tension in your body, to take a few deep breaths, and to let it all go. In those seconds, choose how you want to show up to your day - with presence, ease, kindness or whatever else.

The more often you experience a state of relaxation, the more deeply it gets patterned into your neurology, the more easily you will be able to tap into that feeling, no matter what you’re doing or where you are.

Of course, there are practices that can help cultivate that state -- regularly attending yoga classes, especially restorative and frequent massage can help make ease your default state.

Join Leah Van Winkle RYT-500 on January 20th from 2-4 PM at Wild Ginger Studio + Lounge for a Restorative Thai Mini Yoga Retreat, where you’ll learn to the difference between stress and ease, and drop deeply into states of surrender.

Leah Van Winkle is a Sarasota native, back for the winter from her home in Kentucky to share all that she has learned with the local yoga community! She has trained extensively in various styles of yoga at Kripalu Center in MA, The Om Place in Winchester, KY, and with teachers such as Doug Keller and Tom Myers, most of this training with a heavy focus on anatomy and the subtle details of alignment. Leah is also a professional Thai Bodyworker, trained with renowned teachers like Michael Sitzer, Noam Tyroler, and soon to train in the Soma Veda Lineage. Besides yoga, Leah loves outdoor adventure, delicious, nourishing food (especially ferments!), and learning as much as she can about whatever she can. Feel free to reach out with questions and clarifications about any of these offerings!

Leah Van Winkle Restorative Thai Yoga Sarasota Florida

Buti Yoga in Sarasota

Buti Yoga is officially in Sarasota at Wild Ginger Apothecary with instructor Leila Carlson.

Buti Yoga workouts transform your BODY + SOUL with cardio-intensive bursts of tribal dance, primal movement + conditioning woven into a dynamic yoga practice. 

Buti is an Indian Marathi word that means "a cure that has been hidden or kept secret." We believe EVERY woman has the power to transform and heal her body from within. Buti Yoga focuses on activating the Spiral Structure of the core to engage the deep abdominal muscles and stimulate the endocrine system.

We're thrilled to welcome Leila and Buti Yoga to Wild Ginger.  Join her for weekly Buti Yoga classes - including Mommy & Me offerings!  Class schedule available below.