by Nicole Becker, founder/owner
It was the last straw. I realized I had my mission...
In 2004 I completed a year-long intensive Yoga teacher training. I had been studying and practicing Yoga for 10 years already and was participating in Master Classes just for Yoga teachers. In these mastery sessions we practiced all sorts of intense complicated "advanced" postures.
One session, the teacher had us practicing fore-arm balance (scorpion pose/Vrischikasana). I had trouble doing this pose without the support of the wall and I remember my teacher admonishing me that "If you want to be a teacher you have to be able to do this pose away from the wall".
That sentence was the final straw. I thought to myself, "What a load of crap!" I couldn't have disagreed more! I was fortunate to have had a lot of wise teachers and beautiful examples of real Yogis in my life and the assumptions behind that one sentence infuriated me! Right then the dream of my own Yoga studio began. I wanted to create a place where that type of systemic pressure toward superficial achievement of postures was non-existent.
In my teaching experience hardly anyone can safely do "advanced" postures anyway! Besides which, "advanced" postures do not make you a better person! I've met plenty of jerks who can get their leg behind their head! It is depth of presence in any moment that makes for an advanced practice.
Most people are just normal everyday people with busy lives and lots of aches and pains and only 1 or 2 times a week to dedicate to a movement practice. Most people are interested in feeling better in the body but also want to feel connected to their inner wisdom and deeper truths.
But most popular Yoga is taught with the implicit assumption that how you get better at Yoga is by being able to "do the postures" in a specific way and that everything else is just a modification until you "get it right". This - topped with contradictory platitudes of "just be okay with where you are now" plus "practice hard, find your edge, you can get good at it if you try more" - is a violence to our psyche that I cannot get on board with!
So, I created Ojas Yoga Center as a sanctuary for yoga students who are tired of superficial Yoga. At OYC, we teach Yoga that meets you where you're at and nourishes you body, heart, and soul.
OYC is for students who want to feel like they can show up any day, week or month and not have to be "in shape for Yoga" and they will not feel pressured to perform poses in a way that might hurt them.
OYC is for students who have big hearts and big lives that want to be met with depth and authentic practices that enrich their lives.
On October 23rd, it will be 10 years since Ojas Yoga Center first opened it's doors. Although our doors may not be opened in the physical location for some time to come, our virtual doors and our hearts are wide open to you just as you are. We look forward to practicing with you soon!
To our teachers, our teachers' teachers, our inner teacher, each other, and the whole world family - we bow.
With Love + Ojas,
COMING SOON 'NOURISHING OJAS' 8 WEEK ONLINE COURSE
with Nicole Becker
Cultivate vitality and joy with this 8-week healing journey. Find grace through the struggle and build resilience on every level with this rich series of writings, video practices, and journaling. Click here to learn more
by Nicole Becker
The Powerful Healing Tool that gets Overlooked...
No matter the form of your suffering - physical injury, emotional or mental anguish, or spiritual questions, the first thing to try is REST.
Over the years I've worked with thousands of people on a huge spectrum of issues. And the one thing that people consistently overlook is the therapeutic power of rest.
I've had people come to me with frozen shoulders, sciatica, displaced vertebrae, torn knees, headaches, insomnia, depression, grief, you name it. By the time people are exploring Yoga as therapy, they've been to the doctor, the physical therapist, and the psychologist. None of whom suggested or discussed the possibility of just resting.
Why not REST FIRST?
Few think to try rest first because we are convinced that we must DO SOMETHING in order to FIX the problem. Since rest is technically "DOING NOTHING", we overlook or dismiss the idea entirely.
But my own personal experience with my body/life, and results with countless students is that slowing down, stopping, and resting is exactly the SOMETHING that is required.
REST AS FIRST AID
We all know the drill: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. That is certainly great in an acute first aid situation like a sprained ankle. But I'm talking about after that. How thoroughly are you going to rest that ankle before you get back up on it? How soon are you going to be trying to "get back to normal" - potentially sooner than you should because you have to?
I've helped several people heal from shoulder injuries just with the simple suggestion to put the arm in a sling for as much of the day as possible for 2-3 weeks. The healing was profound and much more significant than the weeks and months of physical therapy they had already tried.
DEEP REST for DEEP WELLNESS
But beyond first aid, our issues are much more deeply ingrained. For mental, emotional and spiritual health, we need a whole spectrum of rest from regular sleep to regular breaks from work, and a lifestyle that supports deep, consistent, regularly scheduled, conscious and complete relaxation. That means yes to the nap, yes to the lounging around, yes to saying no to whatever is taxing you, yes to the vacation!
And this of course means:
Yes to Yoga and Meditation!
All of our Ojas Yoga classes are designed to nourish, rather than deplete you. But the absolutely most restful is Restorative Yoga. This class is the antidote to exhaustion, overwhelm, 2020 malaise and great for anyone who needs some extra TLC! Do you know someone like that? Bring a friend! WEDNESDAYS 8-9 PM (recording sent to all registered).
And be sure to check out this new course!
Ojas is the Sanskrit word for the physicalized essence of vitality and resilience.
On October 23rd I will launch my new 8-week Course:
"Nourishing Ojas: Essential Practices for Vitality and Joy".
This self-paced journey is designed to empower you to reclaim, protect and refine your vitality. Click here to get on the list for updates!
Author, Nicole Becker
Yoga Therapist, Retreat Leader, and Heart of Yoga Teacher, Nicole Becker offers yoga and self-care insights and tips.