Thursday, May 17, 2018

Twisting Safely in Yoga

By Janine L. Agoglia

Twists are a movement inherent in daily life, whether you are reaching for something, driving or getting out of bed. But twisting while practicing yoga can be problematic if you are doing it incorrectly. Repeating an incorrect movement can lead to injury and is something about which people with lower back conditions and pain need to stay aware. Use extreme caution with conditions such as osteoporosis, spinal stenosis or herniated lumbar discs. If you have any questions about whether twisting is safe for your body, consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner.

When it comes to the yoga asana practice, there are many opportunities for twists done sitting, standing, balancing and reclining. They are all different, but have one thing in common: the core. A proper twist is done by keeping the spine perpendicular to the pelvis and rotating the rib cage. Problems come when there is side bending or the pelvis moves with the rib cage. If the pelvis comes "along for the ride" in a twisting pose, it can create problems at the sacroilliac joint (SI Joint) which leads to lower back pain. Knowing how to twist properly can be the difference between a beneficial pose and a damaging one.

Twisting should always start with a stable pelvis, no matter what position you are in. If you are seated, make sure you feel both "sit bones" on the floor and that they have equal weight. From there make sure the pelvis is vertical and then the spine can be more vertical. If your hamstrings are tight, this may prevent you from being able to get your pelvis vertical and you may need to bend your knees (if your leg or legs are extended). Once your spine is vertical, rotate your rib cage in one direction. Be sure to use your core muscles (your obliques) to rotate, rather than forcing yourself around with your arms. Let your gaze follow your twist (if twisting to the right, gaze over your right shoulder).


With reclining twists, many instructors cue to move your pelvis an inch or so to one side then twist in
the other direction. I don't like this cue because it is too easy to over or under adjust. Instead, I recommend lying on one side with your knees pulled toward your chest; your pelvis should be perpendicular to the floor in this position. Keep the hips stacked and rotate the rib cage like you did when you were seated. If your shoulder doesn't reach the floor, rest it on a block or blanket to remove the strain. Again, your gaze should follow the twist.


Revolved lunges can be the most problematic, since it is very easy to get disoriented in terms of alignment. They are great poses, but it is very easy to twist from the pelvis instead of the ribs. Start with a stable lunge, where the front knee is directly over the front ankle creating a perpendicular line with the shin. The other knee is either on the floor or off, but both hips should face straight ahead. Tip the pelvis forward, lengthening into a flat back. Keep the pelvis still and rotate the rib cage. The opposite elbow might find the front knee, but shouldn't at the expense of your spine or pelvis. If bringing the elbow to the knee creates pain or misalignment, just bring your hand to the floor or block to the inside of the front foot (if the right leg is forward, your left hand comes to the left of the right foot). There should be equal space between the base of the ribs and hips on the right and left sides of the waist. The tendency is to shorten the side of the leg that is forward rather than rotate the spine and ribs. Try to keep the spine straight as you twist. Noticing what the front knee is doing can often help you determine the pelvis position. If the front knee is leaning to the left or right, chances are you are not keeping your pelvis "square" and are turning it as you twist.

Twisting properly may take some practice, but a little bit of mindfulness is always better than injury.

Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she stumbled upon Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life, on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.

In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.

To contact Janine, please email acuyogamama@hotmail.com or visit her website, www.acuyogamama.com.





Monday, January 29, 2018

Ageless Grace: Fun for Mind and Body!

By Amy Podolsky

I hadn't read Tuesday's memo. 

Freezing temps?  Black ice warnings?  Totally oblivious. As always, I ran out the front door in typical hurried fashion, only to find myself sliding uncontrollably toward the three steps leading down to the driveway (Did I mention I was wearing rain boots with little traction? Oy...). In that terrifying split second, I simultaneously screamed (probably obscenities, I'll admit), flailed my arms around, and noticed the "stop-making-a-scene-you're-embarrassing-me" look on my fourteen year-old's face. I could just hear my dad's voice: "Slow down or you'll crack your head open!" And then suddenly, inexplicably, I managed to catch myself and regain balance, just before hitting the ground. I made it cautiously down the steps, where I then skate-walked over to my car, and practically hurled myself across the hood as if hugging a long lost relative. I was safe.

Cut to: Ten minutes later. I've dropped my son off at school, regular, rhythmic breathing has returned, and I think my sympathetic nervous system has finally realized we are no longer in a fight or flight situation. Phew! As I drove along, wallowing in what-ifs (I could have broken a bone!  Or gotten a concussion!  Or broken a bone and gotten a concussion!), it suddenly dawned on me: AGELESS GRACE. I'm ok, because of AGELESS GRACE!  

Come again? 

Well, I've been practicing the Ageless Grace Brain Health Fitness program for ten minutes a day, most days, for the better part of three years. And this program, by design, is based on the cutting edge science of Neuroplasticity - the ability of the brain and central nervous system to change its form and function over the course of a lifetime, specifically when activated by movement involving play (think of how you used to play as a kid), and by challenging the brain to do something it doesn't already know how to do.  So? What's all that got to do with my Tuesday tale of woe? Everything, really. By practicing Ageless Grace's 21 simple tools for lifelong comfort and ease each day, I've been increasing my brain and body's ability to respond, react and recover (the 3R's).  Simply put, my reaction time is quicker than it used to be, my balance is better, and I can recover from "the unexpected" more easily. Pretty cool, huh? Especially when you consider that all I've been doing is listening to great music while moving my body and having fun, in the comfort of my own home, for ten minutes a day. There are many more benefits of practicing Ageless Grace, and I look forward to sharing them with you. 



Join me for an Ageless Grace Workshop on Saturday, February 3, at Lumina Mind Body Studios, Wayland Campus! 

This program is for EVERYBODY!  (No previous experience required - just come as you are!) "It's never too late to begin, and it's never too early to start."  






Amy Podolsky is a Certified Ageless Grace® Trainer and Educator, as well as a Nia Black Belt Instructor. She is at her best when sharing the joy of movement with others. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Reflections of a Yoga Instructor: Gratitude

By Janine L. Agoglia

For the 30 days of November, Lumina Mind Body Studios has been practicing #30daysofgratitude by reading quotes about gratitude in class and posting them on our facebook page to share with all who want to practice with us. It has been an amazing journey with very positive results.

I have been practicing yoga since 1995 and teaching since 1998. I developed a personal practice (where I didn't go to someone else's class) about 10 years after I started teaching and it was at that point that I really got to delve into the deeper offerings of yoga practice. I never had a daily practice, but I did have one that worked for me and would live my yoga even when I wasn't practicing asana.

When Laury Hammel (one of the owners of the Longfellow Health Club, the umbrella under which Lumina resides) suggested that we do 30 days of gratitude at Lumina, I thought that was a great idea, but I never imagined the impact it would have on me.

I got to work, and like anyone researching anything these days, I asked Professor Google for ideas. She supplied me with myriad quotes about gratitude by people ranging from Zig Ziglar to Alice Walker to Elie Weisel and many others. I created graphics with photos of some of our instructors (a sample shown below) to create a community feel to our expressions of gratitude. The more I designed, the more excited and full I felt. The more I wanted to share this idea with everyone around me. And then the campaign began.

What I started to notice is that I looked forward to sharing these quotes with the larger community. I would read the quotes in my yoga classes and weave them into my teaching. It set a different tone for my classes and for Savasana than I usually set, one of open-heartedness and love that sprung right out of being grateful. It was not something I planned, it happened very organically, evolving from each day's quote. Now that the 30 days has come to an end, it leaves me a bit sad and yearning to continue this practice of gratitude in my life. I have joined a gratitude circle and have started 40 days of gratitude where each day I write something for which I am grateful.

I have noticed that I am happier and more content in my life. That even when things are going wrong, or I am frustrated or sad, finding gratitude can help bring me back to center, and manage my feeling a bit better. I am spending more time feeling good within myself. I am generally an optimistic person, but I find I am even sunnier in my disposition. I have read that having a positive outlook on life can lead to a longer lifespan. This gratitude practice is something that I think will support me in that endeavor.

I am grateful for so many things in my life:


  • I am grateful that I have jobs that don't feel like work.
  • I am grateful for my yoga students and my acupuncture patients, all of whom trust me to guide them to feeling better in their life.
  • I am grateful that I have children and family that I love (even though they can sometimes be challenging).
  • I am grateful to have a support network of people that I can count on when I need them.
  • I am grateful for the quiet time at home when the kids have gone off to school and I don't yet have to leave for work. 
  • I am grateful for my morning tea. 
  • I am grateful for when the warm sun shines on my face. 

I could go on and on. Every moment that I am grateful, my heart opens just a little bit more.

For what are you grateful?





For all 30 (plus 1 bonus) gratitude quotes, visit www.facebook.com/luminamindbody/

Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she stumbled upon Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life, on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.

In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.

To contact Janine, please email acuyogamama@hotmail.com or visit her website, www.acuyogamama.com.



Monday, October 23, 2017

What is Thai Yoga Massage?

By Elizabeth Levens

I first experienced Thai Yoga Massage at my yoga teacher training at Frog Lotus Yoga. My trainer studied Thai Yoga Massage extensively in Thailand for several years. She frequently incorporated elements of Thai Yoga Massage in her hands on assists and offered sessions during free time at training. I was quick to sign up for a session, thinking it would be a great way to combine both yoga and massage. After the first session, I experienced immediate relief from neck and wrist pain, as well as more range of motion in my entire body. I also had more energy. I eagerly scheduled additional sessions.

Having many musician and athlete friends who could benefit from this healing practice, I was inspired to become a Thai Massage practitioner. Since my yoga teacher training, I have taken several Thai Massage workshops, and completed a comprehensive training last year at Frog Lotus.


Thai Yoga Massage sessions combine assisted gentle yoga postures, and massage work. Many describe Thai Massage as “lazy man’s yoga,” because of the relaxing nature of the assisted stretches. In contrast to traditional Swedish massage, Thai Massage sessions are performed on a mat, with no oils or lotions, with the receiver wearing normal yoga clothes. Techniques include compression strokes, reflexology, energy line work, and techniques which boost circulation. Thai Massage sessions focus on the entire body, rather than isolating specific problem spots, adopting an Eastern medical approach, which views the mind, body, and spirit as connected. All types of massage and reflexology have been shown to have multiple health benefits, including reduction of pain and stress, improved circulation and nerve function, and increased lymph flow.

In Thailand, massage is viewed as a medical treatment. Thai medicine acknowledges four major branches: manipulation, medicine, diet, and spiritual ceremonies, where massage falls under the manipulation category. The roots of Thai Massage are in Ayurvedic medicine. During ancient times, missionaries and travelers along the Silk Road brought Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Buddhism, and other traditions to Thailand. They also passed on the teachings of Dr. Jivaka Kumarbhacca, who is considered the Father of Thai Medicine. Dr. Jivaka, an Indian Ayurvedic doctor, was a skilled brain surgeon who treated Buddha and invented Thai practices of herbalism, massage, and acupressure. These massage practices were passed on through word of mouth for many generations, and were eventually recorded on palm leaves. In the nineteenth century, King Rama III carved the texts into epigraphs at the Wat Pho temple in Bangkok.


Thai Massage treatments are focused on opening up the ten major sen lines, or energy lines. These lines are invisible, and do not have an exact anatomical base. They are all connected with various orifices in the body. Opening up the sen lines restores energy to the entire body, facilitating healing. Thai Massage views pain as a reflection of imbalance. Thai massage restores balance, improves range of motion, decreases stiffness and pain, and provides healing to the internal organs. Thai Massage is appropriate for all ages and flexibility levels, and can be offered as full Thai Yoga Massage sessions, or incorporated into hands on assisting in yoga sessions.

The Restorative Yoga with Thai Massage workshop will combine relaxing, supported restorative yoga postures with Thai Massage, working the entire body. I am honored to offer this relaxing and incredibly healing modality, and plan to continue my studies in Thai Massage, hopefully in Thailand in the future.

Elizabeth Levens began practicing yoga in high school to relieve neck and back pain from practicing violin several hours each day. She soon discovered that yoga not only improved back and neck pain, but offered a unique ability to combine a physical workout with mental benefits, including relaxation, clarity, and inner guidance. After practicing for several years, she was eager to share these benefits with others and completed a 200-hour Hatha and Vinyasa residential yoga teacher training at Frog Lotus Yoga. Since her 200-hour training, she has completed hands on assisting training at Down Under Yoga, and Thai Massage training through the Triple Gem School of Thai Massage. A professional violinist, she has a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Boston University and Master of Music from University of South Florida. She has a large private violin studio, teaches fourth grade orchestra, and performs in several orchestras in the Boston area. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, playing with her dogs, kayaking, and pursuing graduate work in occupational therapy.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Is Your Down Dog Still a Puppy?

By Nathan Schechter, ERYT-200 hour, YACEOP, ACSM CPT, CST

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." ~BF Skinner




When I was a child and took home my first puppy, he was so small we had to put him in a shoe box. The whol family stared at him for hours. Because he was new, we paid great attention to the details, giving him all the things that he needed to grow into a happy, healthy dog: chewing toys, the right food, even a flea collar. Over time, our dog lost that special "puppy" status, and we might have paid a little less attention to him than we used to, but he was still loved, and graduated from a helpless pup, to a full-fledged participant of the household.

When you first learned Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana) do you remember how awkward it felt? Maybe your wrists hurt, or perhaps you couldn't figure out how to get your hips up and back. Maybe you could only stay in the pose for a few seconds. At this stage you may have relied on your teacher to guide you with cues-- those short, pithy instructions, like "draw the front of your thighs toward the wall behind you" -- to learn how to allow your body to take on this new shape. You may have had to spend a lot of time working on the posture until it felt comfortable. It is how we all got started. But for many students who are not new to yoga practice, the days of learning Downward Dog are long gone.

When something is new we often DO need to pay a lot of attention to the details. But later on, this same type of focus prevents us from moving to the next phase.

Are you paying a lot of attention to the letters and punctuation in this article? At one phase in your learning, you needed to spend a lot of time tracing letters, and learning how to use punctuation. Now, however, when you want to read something, you ignore those same details because you are intuitively using them to accomplish something larger: understand meaning.

This is part of what B.F. Skinner meant when he said: "Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."

In fact, the poet E. E. Cummings used punctuation incorrectly. On purpose! Yet no one supposes that Cummings just didn’t understand punctuation. In fact, he understood it so well, that he started playing with it, and breaking the rules.

While focusing on the details of Downward Dog can be very rewarding – and particularly helpful if you are still struggling with the posture - it’s equally important to understand what the pose is about in a larger context.

Down Dog is like a period. It is a foundational pose that is often used for transitions to other movements. In flowing styles of yoga (called Vinyasa), Down Dog is one part of a larger series of movements called Sun Salutation. I won’t go into a full description here of what a Sun Salutation is, but think of it as a dynamic warm-up and strength building exercise that often occurs within a flowing yoga class.

Because Downward Dog is part of this larger whole (the Sun Salutation), at a certain point it becomes less important to focus solely on down dog, and more important to use it for what it is intended: 1) To rest, and 2) to prepare for moving somewhere else.

Many beginning students often focus on whether their feet should touch the floor, or if they are doing the pose “right” (In “Light on Yoga” by BKS Iyengar, a famous yoga teacher, his head and feet touch the floor). Students often internalize an image of a very flexible person who does the posture. Maybe like the photo below.


But if you understand the role Down Dog plays, you might see it could look quite different. You could: keep your heels off the floor, turn out your heels, bend your knees, lift an arm. This wouldn’t be “correct” alignment, but it might make sense depending on the larger context. In fact, you could even replace Down Dog with another pose altogether, like using a semi-colon instead of a comma.

This photo shows what is sometimes called a “Hindu Squat.” It too is a foundational pose, although it has different properties than Downward Dog. Try this exercise: Starting in Down Dog walk your hands back to your feet to wind up in Hindu Squat. Now do the reverse. Walk from Hindu Squat back to Down Dog.

Can you begin to see new possibilities for your practice? Both down dog and the squat offer you a stable base from which to move to another posture. The poses are different. Hindu Squat puts your head above your heart. Downward dog puts your head below your heart. The squat activates your hips differently than the dog. But like the semi-colon and the comma, both can act in similar ways.

Now you are focusing on the “function” of the posture, rather than simply the details. Your Down Dog has moved past the “puppy” phase and takes less of your attention; you understand not only the details, but the larger context.

As you begin to grasp the idea of the purpose of the pose, you become freed up to adapt it to your own particular body and use it in new ways. This gets you deeper into the whole purpose of yoga, which is to connect you to your unique body, and help you make observations about its uniqueness within the observational field of your own mind.

Again, I won’t go into great detail here, but if you want to look at another example of moving beyond the details, try taking a look at this article by yoga teacher, Donna Farhi, which talks about experimenting, with not only Down Dog, but the whole Sun Salutation. (“Variations on Sun Salutes: Moving Outside the Square. March 27, 2015)

As your practice grows, you may find that you can put less attention on individual cues (which may still be in one corner of your mind), and pay more attention to what you are seeking to accomplish overall in your mind and body. This is where you begin to knock on the door of what, to me, makes practices like yoga really interesting.

Yoga is one kind of mind body education, but done well it begins to show you larger possibilities. For your Dog to no longer be a puppy, it may mean that you stop giving it the same amount of detailed attention, but that doesn’t mean you stop loving it, or can never give it attention. It just means that now your Dog has taken its rightful place in a family of poses that are aimed, not at constant cue repetition, but more as one road of learning about the dance of mind and body in movement.

Nathan Schechter started practicing yoga in 1997 at Patricia Walden’s yoga studio in Somerville, MA. There he met the bass player of the Bare Naked Ladies who introduced him to Baptiste Power Yoga in 2000. He began teaching after being certified at Frog Lotus Yoga in 2005.
Nathan has learned a great deal from many yoga styles – Iyengar, Vinayasa, Anusara, Bikram, Ashtanga – and hundreds of yoga teachers, both well known nationally (Barbara Benagh, David Williams, Richard Freeman, Annie Pace, Sarah Powers) and local to New England. He has sought out other disciplines with a focus on how the brain-mind-body work together in subtle ways. He has traveled to work with gifted teachers, trainers and health professionals from the United States, Europe and China.
Drawing insights from Qigong, Tai Chi, Craniosacral Therapy (Upledger Institute, 2014), Alexander, Feldenkrais, and Personal Training methods (American College of Sports Medicine Certification, 2014), and observing the high caliber of learning and skill development of those who used diverse approaches, Nathan recently started a company to educate and train others working with the body and mind.
The group yoga class Nathan will teach is a heated power vinyasa template which includes techniques from Qigong and other disciplines. Sometimes small “break out” moments are used to capture some of the flavor, and benefits, of the more in-depth learning he shares in 12 week courses, and 1:1 work.

If you would like to learn more, you can reach Nathan at the newmindbodyliteracy@gmail.com


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Musings of a Yoga Teacher: On Control

By Janine L. Agoglia

Control. It means different things to different people. It has both positive and negative connotations and can be underused or abused.

When it comes to the practice of yoga, you are learning to control your body and mind, but there is a balance to be found. Too much control and you create rigidity; too little control and you lose stability. Finding the right amount of control is part of the practice.

At first you must take things slowly. When learning to control the body, in a 1 legged balance for example, you move slowly to tune into what the body is doing. If you move too fast, you will fall over because you lack control. If you start screaming at yourself in your mind, grasping for control, most likely you will fall over because your mind is causing your body to be tense and unyielding. When you take control of your body in a mindful way, you become very present. You can tune into the subtle shifts of weight on your foot and leg that allow you to balance without falling over. You can more easily adapt to the subtle shifts like the branches of a willow tree, bending but not breaking. Your mind is calm and quiet, but you are completely aware of what is happening in your foot, the muscles of your leg and any other body part that is involved. You are placing your body into a position intentionally. You are assuming control, rather than grasping desperately for it. Like anything in life, it takes practice, moving away from old habits and into new ones.

Control of the mind can be a similar endeavor, and they are most definitely connected. Anxiety often makes us grasp for control in our lives, making us emotionally rigid. Things have to be done a certain way or everything will fall apart (or maybe some other similar story). Assuming control over our minds takes practice. At first we observe. We notice what is happening, the stories we are telling ourselves, maybe even what is true and what is only a held belief. We come into the present moment. But then our mind wanders away to other things-- to our to do list, to the argument we had with our spouse, to that thing that happened that time with that person-- some distraction creeps up and takes our attention. So we come back to this moment, the only moment over which we truly have control.

The past already happened, there is no changing that; the future may or may not ever happen, no matter how hard we plan. We can prepare for it, but we still have no real control over it. The present is the only place where we can create action and therefore do something to make a change. So we cultivate our ability to be in this moment. We lose it and come back. Over and over. The longer you spend in the present, the more control you can have over your body and mind.

By noticing our stories, our tendencies, our "stuff," we can choose to change or stay the same. But at that point we have choice, which equals control.

None of this is easy, it takes time and dedication. But the best part is, there is no finish line, it is the journey that matters. Take your time, go slow and enjoy the adventure.

Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she stumbled upon Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life, on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.

In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.

To contact Janine, please email acuyogamama@hotmail.com or visit her website, www.acuyogamama.com.






Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Savasana: The Space Between the Thoughts

By Janine L. Agoglia

Savasana (Corpse Pose) is the most important pose in the entire asana practice. To find out why I think so, click here.

This post is more about the "what" rather than the "why" of Savasana. The process starts by lying down and stilling the body. When the body stops moving, the mind starts to slow down. If you are constantly moving and fidgeting physically, the mind will be in a constant state of reaction; this is the conditioning for stress and discomfort. When the body is still, you have a chance at stilling the mind. Slowing down gets us out of fight or flight and allows us to find peace and contentment. Space.

Initially, you will notice your mind flooding with thoughts, both related to the moment and not. The mind likes to travel to the past and the future, but here you are trying to stay in the present. It may be uncomfortable to be still. It may be uncomfortable notice what comes up--feelings, sensations, emotions. It might be difficult to detach from your thoughts, afterall, we spend the first part of our lives in school learning how to actively, consciously think and analyze. Savasana is about not thinking; instead you are witnessing what is happening in the present moment. Thinking involves effort whereas noticing, or witnessing is like watching your thoughts on a movie screen in front of you. There is separation between the thought and the noticer, room to slow down and breathe. Space.

At first this is an impossible task. Thoughts come at us a mile a minute, sometimes several thoughts pile up and happen simultaneously. Savasana is the practice of noticing: noticing your thoughts without actively thinking. Noticing what is happening in the mind without judgement or analysis. Noticing our habit of creating noise in our head when there doesn't need to be any. Once you've noticed, you can make a different choice. You can choose to "turn the volume down" so that the only thing left is sensation. When you stop "talking," quiet is much easier to find. You may notice that the words are insistent, just keep turning down the volume in your mind. Space.

At some point you may notice moments of no words. Of course once you notice them, the words come flooding back in as you try to grasp the silence. Eventually you will learn to be with those moments and not grab onto them, but rather sit with them. Experiencing the space between the noticer and the thought. Allowing it to be there rather than forcing it to be there. When you "declutter" the mind, it creates room for your own internal wisdom to rise to the surface. You already hold all of the answers to your questions, you just need space to hear them. It is in that space that self-exploration and growth happen.

Practice Savasana every time you practice asana and notice how it affects you, off the mat and in your life.

Janine L. Agoglia has been teaching Vinyasa yoga since 1998. Her yoga journey started in 1995 with Iyengar Yoga and she stumbled upon Vinyasa yoga in 1997. The combination of breath with proper body alignment is what fuels Janine's practice and the classes that she teaches. She believes that yoga should be safe as well as challenging, creative and fun. She always emphasizes proper alignment within the flow, as well as focus, breath and humor to help students find the balance between strength and ease. Deepening one’s physical awareness helps one strengthen his/her spiritual awareness and mind-body connection. Janine loves being able to help people deepen their own practices, finding yoga in everyday life, on and off the mat. Her DVD, “Vinyasa Yoga for Regular People” is available for purchase at the front desk at Lumina Mind Body Studios in Wayland, MA.

In addition to being the Co-Director of Yoga and teaching yoga classes at Lumina Mind Body Studios Janine is also a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist who practices at Integrative Therapeutics in Natick, MA.

To contact Janine, please email acuyogamama@hotmail.com or visit her website, www.acuyogamama.com.