LIVING YOGA OFF THE MAT WITH SEVA: IN SERVICE OF OUR OCEANS

Guest blog post written by Ashok Deniz with contributions from Amanda Alls, Chris McKenna, Kimberley Schulz, Christine Hennes and Samantha Young - all trainees from Rachel’s 200-hour Spring Yoga Teacher Training at Trilogy Sanctuary.  

Guest blog post written by Ashok Deniz with contributions from Amanda Alls, Chris McKenna, Kimberley Schulz, Christine Hennes and Samantha Young - all trainees from Rachel’s 200-hour Spring Yoga Teacher Training at Trilogy Sanctuary.  

Earlier this spring, our spring yoga teacher training gathered at their local beach to participate in “Seva,” the Sanskrit word for “selfless service.” Equipped with gloves, bags (thank you Surfrider Foundation for inspiration and materials!) and lots of love, they began to collect discarded trash to help create a better environment for the community. The process inspired many interesting conversations (including some with curious onlookers) and meditations, some of which are shared below.

“THE CONCEPT OF SEVA IS DEEPLY INTERWOVEN IN THE TAPESTRY OF YOGIC PHILOSOPHY”

Seva is work performed without any thought of reward, and giving with no need to receive, solely for the sake of everyone involved. Blessed action, some might call it. As Rachel taught, the concept of Seva is deeply interwoven in the tapestry of yogic philosophy. A recurring theme of the yoga sutras is that of universal interconnectedness, which naturally leads to the idea of selfless service. The concept is also one of the central tenets of the classic text, the Bhagavad Gita. In a scene that plays out on what might be considered the battlefield of personal growth, Krishna counsels Arjuna that action be performed entirely without regard to the fruits of the action. The Gita also links this idea with the Yoga of Love (Bhakti yoga) and Karma Yoga, where life is lived to its fullest with a deep sense of love and surrender. Devotion and selfless service are also central messages of other philosophies. Martin Luther King himself stated that “service is the greatest form of spiritual practice.”

The gorgeous La Jolla oceanic context of the Seva was close to heart for many in the Vasantha YTT cohort. One noted that “I know for me, nature has always served as external connective tissue between head and heart, a fulcrum of balance in my life. It is my church, my place of surrender. I have always been drawn to it, learning early on growing up in Hawaii that the ocean is a life source and as such how important it is to care for it. The ocean provides us so many things. Along with sustaining our global ecosystems, she teaches how to dissolve into something complete and greater than anything we as humans can comprehend.”

The beach clean-up was therefore an ideal Seva opportunity for the tribe. Comments from tribe members included, “I am consistently striving to be environmentally aware, particularly regarding my consumption and generation of waste. I do this not for me but with the knowledge of the ocean as the sustainer of all things and with hope that some effort will benefit our mother, the Earth. Seeing trash at the beach and in the ocean to the degree that it exists is incredibly overwhelming and devastating.” and “Participating in seva, for the earth very generally and for the ocean more specifically, is in my opinion the least we can do. We owe it to her.”

“THE CONNECTIONS OF PEOPLE’S DAILY LIVES TO THESE INTRUSIONS AND ENORMOUS NEGATIVE IMPACT FOR THE OCEAN AND THE ENTIRE GLOBAL ECOSYSTEM BECAME MUCH MORE APPARENT”

As they picked up trash, the tribe became more aware of the broad extent of the problem. While it is usually obvious that there are sometimes large pieces of trash on the beach, it was the huge number of tiny pieces of plastic (microplastic) that was particularly eye opening and time-consuming to clean up. The connections of people’s daily lives to these intrusions and enormous negative impact for the ocean and the entire global ecosystem became much more apparent. As the tribe worked, some onlookers asked about what they were doing and thanked them for their efforts. Clearly, the Seva activity had increased awareness of the trash issue and need for action beyond tribe members alone.

“THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR PLANET IS THE BELIEF THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL SAVE IT”

At the end of the Seva, Rachel and the tribe formed an unbroken circle, sharing their thoughts and inspirations from the afternoon. As always inspirational, Rachel shared a very apt quote by Robert Swan "The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it", a vital call to continuing action. While tribe members felt proud that they had played a small part in helping with the beach trash problem, there was the general feeling that the impact of the activity had been far greater. The actions of the tribe and beachgoers, intentional and unintentional, have the potential to trickle down into day-to-day lives, adding to a community of people that are conscious of how they can help protect our planet. In a broader yogic context, sentiments included, “This opportunity not only improved the physical environment of the beach, it created a unique lesson on what yoga really is. It's not merely asana and OM mats, it's the ability to embody service in our actions and through our practice.” and “The experience made me realize that seva needs to be a part of my life--not just once in a while, but routinely, consistently. It's as much a part of living a good life as any other.” And last but certainly not least, “Thank you so much amazing Rachel for organizing and inspiring us with this humbling and remarkable experience!”

Thank you to the San Diego chapter of Surfrider Foundation for providing tools for our beach clean-up. Your dedication to spreading awareness and facilitating events within the community is a valuable and necessary resource that benefits our local beach communities and global preservation of our planet's oceans - learn more about the Surfrider Foundation.

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge of Yoga beyond asana to cultivate a more yogic approach towards life, then learn more about Rachel and her upcoming 200-hour yoga teacher training this fall.

Goddess Smoothie Recipe

Goddess Smoothie ingredients

1 Banana
1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
1.5 TB Peanut Butter
1 TB Hemp Seeds
1 TB Goji Berries
8 OZ Almond Milk

Besides being so tasty, why do we love the Goddess Smoothie so much? The Goddess is packed with super healthy ingredients! Blueberries are the most nutrient-dense foods on earth and contain large levels of antioxidants. Gogi Berries increase ratings for energy levels and athletic performance. Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein!

Boom - three reasons to make this yummy and healthy smoothie. Create, snap a photo, and post on social media - we would love to see your Goddess creation! Use the hashtag #LoveTrilogy so we can find you! If you need to taste a smoothie for inspiration then come visit our vegan cafe this month in downtown La Jolla!  
 

About Time: Top 10 Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

ABOUT TIME "SAN DIEGO’S BEST VEGAN EATS" BY GERRY WARREN

acai_bowl_san_diego

I had never been to Trilogy, but had heard it was all about healthy food and atmosphere. It’s located on the rooftop of a downtown La Jolla building, so it’s kind of hard to spot as firs. But once you see the sign you figure out how to take the elevator to the top floor. Trilogy Sanctuary is decorated to the nines – reminiscent of a sanctuary, of sorts. Bright and beautiful plants all over the place – and an invigorating smell that stay with you when you leave.

I decided on the buckwheat pancakes, and I couldn’t believe how good they were. Super creamy and flavorful, with an avocado and cheesy sauce. My friend had the breakfast crepes, and wouldn’t stop talking about how delicious they were. I tried them and couldn’t have agreed more. The good part was that because the portions were so big, she couldn’t finish her crepes — so I was gifted them. Amazing! But overall they had a nice menu that I can’t wait to try more of. And the staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. I’ll definitely be going back there soon.

We enjoyed making this list. But we enjoyed eating the food even more. We hope this helps those living in San Diego, as well as those looking to visit. 

June Recipe of the Month: Tropical Pitaya Smoothie

For a refreshing and nourishing snack that is the perfect smoothie to have before or after yoga!

acai_smoothie_san_diego

Tropical Pitaya Smoothie
Blend the Following Indgriedients: 

  • 8oz coconut water
  • 1 pack of organic pitaya 
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic pineapple
  • 1/2 cup frozen organic mango 
  • 1 TB coconut butter
  • Sprinkle of dried coconut flakes to top!

Pineapple, mango and pitaya offer natural fruit sugars for a great boost of energy, the coconut butter contains MCT's which actually aid in fat burn and provide a sustained release of energy during your workout. Coconut water contains trace minerals and electrolytes which are essential for the body pre and post your yoga class or work out! Visit our organic + vegan cafe in the heart of San Diego to sample all our smoothies! 

Pauline Villanueva - Trilogy Sanctuary Yoga Teacher Highlight

Pauline is one of our yoga teachers here at Trilogy. She teaches the 7am Power Hour bright and early on Tuesdays and Thursdays! Let's get to know her a bit better...  

san-diego-yoga-pauline

How and where did your yoga journey begin?

I first stumbled onto yoga at a charity yoga event in 2013 to benefit the New Children's Museum. I wasn't there for the yoga--I was actually there to hopefully network with other attorneys! Little did I know that that one event would change so much. I've been hooked ever since. 

When not teaching yoga, how do you spend your time?

Working at my grown-up job as an attorney, reading, drinking craft beer, and playing with cats. Also probably napping.

What quote inspires your life and practice?

"Ego says, 'Once everything falls into place, I'll feel peace.' Spirit says, 'Find your peace, and then everything will fall into place.'"

san-diego-yoga-la-jolla

What words do you have to offer for new yogis?

Remember that yoga isn't about the crazy ridiculous Instagram poses--it's about finding your practice and your peace. It's a constant journey and everyone has their own path. That being said, don't be afraid to try things! Our bodies are so much stronger and smarter than we realize most of the time and they'll tell us what we need to know. Trust yourself and your body. 

What is one of the things you are most grateful for?

One of the things I'm endlessly grateful for is that my life didn't go the way I thought it would. I'm grateful for all the twists and turns of the past several years that allowed me to realize that the only thing I can control is myself and how I respond to things. But I am also the one who controls my own happiness. It has been a very liberating lesson and one I keep learning.

yoga-beach-san-diego

Pauline's yoga teacher bio:

Pauline first stumbled upon yoga in 2013, during a fundraising event for the New Children's Museum downtown, and immediately got hooked. Since then, yoga has been a passion which has changed her life. She completed her 200-hour teacher training in April of 2016. Her focus is on the accessibility and sustainability of a yoga practice, as well as exploring new things and having fun! She hopes to share her experience with others, in the hopes that they will find their own path and discover the same benefits from yoga. Off the mat, Pauline is an attorney who enjoys reading, drinking craft beer, and hanging with her cats. 

yoga-class-san-diego-trilogy

Our power hour classes are held in our infrared heated Moon Room, learn more about infrared yoga HERE.

We offer infrared and aerial yoga classes throughout the day, everyday! Take a look at our schedule to see all of our classes. 

 

 

Yoga to Benefit the Body

There is no doubt that practicing yoga improves your strength and flexibility (which has a plethora of benefits in itself), but it has even MORE amazing effects on the physical body! Here are 5 benefits for your physical body that result from practicing yoga... 

Perfects your Posture

Yoga teaches you to be mindful of your body and how you hold yourself. Small correction in how you hold you head, shoulders and hips can create huge improvements on posture. Also building strength in the spine and back allows you to sit up straight, with more ease, rather than slumping or hunching forward. Good posture over time prevents may injuries and degenerative diseases.

Protects your Spine

Spinal disks—the shock absorbers between the vertebrae that can herniate and compress nerves—crave movement. That’s the only way they get their nutrients. If you’ve got a well-balanced asana practice with plenty of backbends, forward bends, and inversions in the aerial hammock you’ll help keep your disks supple. Inversions in the hammock with minimal pressure on the joints help to decompress the spine and neck relieving back pain and helping to heal injuries.

Betters your Bone Heath

It’s well documented that weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and helps ward off osteoporosis. Many postures in aerial yoga require that you lift your own weight. And some, like inverted pencil pose, help strengthen the arm bones, which are particularly vulnerable to osteoporotic fractures. In an unpublished study conducted at California State University, Los Angeles, yoga practice increased bone density in the vertebrae. Yoga’s ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol may help keep calcium in the bones.

Prevents Cartilage and Joint Breakdown

Each time you practice yoga, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually wear out, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads. Aerial Yoga is especially good for the joints as with the aid of gravity, much less pressure is applied on joints like the knees over time.

IMG_3850.jpg

Releases Tension in Your Limbs

Do you ever notice yourself holding the telephone or a steering wheel with a death grip or scrunching your face when staring at a computer screen? These unconscious habits can lead to chronic tension, muscle fatigue, and soreness in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, and face, which can increase stress and worsen your mood. As you practice yoga, you begin to notice where you hold tension: It might be in your tongue, your eyes, or the muscles of your face and neck. If you simply tune in, you may be able to release some tension in the tongue and eyes. With bigger muscles like the quadriceps, trapezius, and buttocks, it may take years of practice to learn how to relax them.

At Trilogy we practice yoga on the mat and in the sky! We have yoga and aerial classes everyday of the week! Take a look at our SCHEDULE to sign up... First time practicing with us? We offer a $39 for two weeks of unlimited yoga

 

References: 

http://totalhealthyoga.blogspot.com http://www.energycenter.com http://kineticvigilantes.com http://www.lostartofhandbalancing.com http://www.evolutionhealth.com http://sitincomfort.com http://www.livestrong.com http://www.yogajournal.com http://www.rebekahleach.com

My Relationship with Aerial, by Britt Johnson

Trilogy aerial yoga teacher training teacher, Brittany Johnson, shares how she found aerial and how it has changed her life...

I met Aerial about 8 years ago. Aerial didn't even know I existed, but I knew Aerial did.  We certainly had things in common, but I never thought we would develop such a long lasting relationship. 

Aerial has hurt, belittled, humbled and insulted me, but also, inspired, fulfilled and encouraged me.  But our relationship isn't as crazy as it sounds.  Aerial is a metaphor for my life.  

My life was ready for something new when Aerial and I first met.  I was ready to dedicate time and work into accomplishing ONE THING:  to get a photo of myself doing the splits in the air.  Could I do the splits?  No.  Could I do a pull up?  No.  Did I have an excellent camera?  No.  But ALL of these things were possible.  

It started with classes, then meeting friends, then training with my new friends.  Over time, Aerial began to give me bigger ideas and dreams.  

The goal of doing the splits in the air was still the number one priority, but what was happening was self-discovery.  Self-expression and therapy in the air.  I loved the challenge of balancing strength and grace while silently moving to my story.  I was able to release energy I didn't even know I had.  And along the way,  I gained the opportunity to perform and travel... AND get amazing pictures of me doing the splits in the air:-)

A few years later, the conversation I was having in the air started to fade.  The soul of Aerial and I became silent, and it made me question more than my craft.  It was time to evolve.  

Aerial didn't leave my life,  we simply took a break so we could keep each other healthy.  During my break, I started to find the more therapeutic side of using a hammock and quickly found Aerial Yoga.  After a yoga certification and finding a safe place to train, the path naturally formed.  I found expression, physical therapy and peace of mind AT THE SAME TIME using Aerial Yoga techniques!  It has been rewarding to combine all the knowledge I've absorbed over these last 8 years. 

 Aerial and I started a new version of ourselves, and I was able to dedicate time with new friends Hannahsita and Leila.  Together we dedicated time, knowledge, sweat and some secrets to create an Aerial Yoga manual we all believed in.  

 I'm thankful to Trilogy Sanctuary for encouraging and hosting my relationship with Aerial.  

Britt will be leading Trilogy's Spring Aerial Yoga Teacher Training along with Leila and Hannahsita. Learn more and apply soon because training begins April 27th!

Using the Hindu Trinity to Inspire Balance

By Rachel Lubich.

When our lives are in balance we feel a sense of harmony within our body, mind and spirit, as well as, the world around us. This harmony can be observed by the divine timing and cosmic ordering of opportunities which unfold for us at the right moment once we are ready for them.

Recently, I’ve been looking to the Hindu trinity of Gods to inspire balance in my life. In case you aren't familiar with them, allow me to introduce Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is the creator, Shiva is the destroyer, Vishnu is the sustainer, and together they create harmony within the natural cycle which sustains life in this world. Let’s take a closer look at their individual qualities in order to extract the wisdom they embody so we may apply their teachings to achieve a more balanced effort in life.

Shiva, the Destroyer

First, we employ the wisdom of Shiva, the destroyer. Destruction, in this sense, is not an act of violence or an attempt to dismantle our life. Instead, it’s the ability to recognize the impermanence of certain aspects of our life in order to let go and move on from them. Shiva’s power of destruction is a necessary action in order to make room for new opportunities and maintain the energy required to pursue new ideas. We see the benefits of destruction when certain wildfires create space for new seedlings to take root and develop into the next generation of growth in the forests. Our ability for growth is often hindered by our inflated sense of unlimited capacity; growth can only be achieved when we are able to let go to make room for the new. Once we've identified what we can let go of, we have room for the creation of new projects and space to dance into new growth.

Brahma, the Creator

Within the Hindu trinity, Brahma symbolizes creation. This is our call to recognize our potential to create, whether it be through a new professional project or as simple as choosing a new-to-you hobby to stoke this flame of creativity. Are you able to point to something in your life that requires this act of creation? Maybe you’re creating new life with a pregnancy, you’ve chosen to knit yarn into a blanket, or beautifully transfer paint across a canvas to express yourself in the form of art. Without creation in our lives, we may become dull or uninspired. Creation stimulates pathways through our mind which inspire new ideas and allow us to recognize our innate ability to provide for ourselves.

 

vishnu-9.jpg

Vishnu, the Sustainer

Vishnu represents the sustainer, maintaining order in all which already exists. Daily rituals are a good example of ways we are able to sustain ourselves. Whether it’s practicing yoga or enjoying your morning cup of coffee, devotion to our own unique set of daily rituals aid in maintaining optimal health in body, mind and spirit. Recognize which aspects of your life require a certain amount of effort in order to be maintained, but do not hesitate to also recognize when those areas need the revitalizing power of Brahma or the fire of Shiva in order to enact change and progress.

When observed independently, we learn of the strength and wisdom embodied within each figure; when viewed together, we are able to observe the balance each provides to the flow of life as a whole. Consider checking in with yourself to employ the wisdom of balance the Hindu trinity exemplifies. With honest inquiry, you may find you’re already in a state of balance or it may reinspire action toward a new direction in your life!

Written by Rachel Lubich

Learn more about Hindu philosophy in our upcoming teacher training at Trilogy Sanctuary - Still time to sign up! Starts April 1st 2017