October 13, 2016

A Message Regarding Yoga And Limber Tree To You REAL People Out There

Mary McInnis Meyer

There is no mainstream demand [for yoga]. It is way too misunderstood. The closest thing to a mainstream demand for yoga is actually a mainstream demand for a misconception of yoga: that it's a bliss-out for young, skinny, flexy, women.

This misconception leaves out about 99% of the population. My goal is and always has been to share the true essence of what yoga is--and to let you REAL PEOPLE know that it can be life changing. It can change the way you view the world and your perception of the world's response to you. It is not just about the poses or being flexible. It is not fitness.

The misconception tends to cause individuals to undervalue the service being offered. No one bats an eye at $100 per month for their cell phone bill, but with yoga, that's unheard of! "How can I pay $100 per month for YOGA, when I can go to the gym for $40?!"

I have worked so hard to offer a peaceful and safe place for people to discover their practice every time they come to their mats. I have strived daily to create and maintain a consistent schedule with a large variety of (amazing) teachers that is workable for everyone--with at least 4 classes per day, 7 days a week. And then, there is the expectation of making the class styles work for everyone's needs--gentle, yet challenging; physical, yet spiritual, peaceful, yet interesting. Sometimes--actually almost always--this seems impossible.

SO often I want to give up and move on to an easier job. One that easily pays the bills...but my passion keeps me moving forward with the yoga studio--because I do see it making differences in people's lives--and I made commitments to this place, the people that are a part of it, and the new REAL people that have yet to discover what yoga truly will bring to them.

So, how do I get this message out to you REAL people more effectively, so you can discover the complete amazing experience of what yoga (and mindfulness, and meditation, and breathing practices, etc) brings into your life? How do I get to more of you REAL people, who just want to learn how you can live based on what's important and with more joy?

I believe this is accomplished by continuing to spread the authenticity of yoga gracefully and patiently through the medium of Limber Tree. How much are you willing to pay to have a cell phone or a car every month? How much are you willing to pay to obtain an education about a lifelong practice that will facilitate peace and well-being into your life? Meditate on THAT for awhile. 🙂

So HERE is Limber Tree's paradigm that makes us different than the gyms and many other studios out there:

1. Our mission is to teach you the entire full-faceted system of yoga that can serve every kind of individual.

2. We will strive to include as many resources as we can that will teach you the value of this yoga system, and make it clear.

Above all else, LOVE resonates throughout Limber Tree. That is at its very foundation and it permeates all other elements of the space and the practices held within the space.

Thank you for reading this! I will see you REAL people at the studio~

Namaste'

Sharli

October 4, 2016

That moment of Quiet

There are days where we cannot find that moment of quiet.

I don't mean that moment of quiet where there isn't any noise. I mean that moment where the mind is completely purified of the control from the outside world. That moment where any negative thought, any confusing image, and any unwelcome energy is blocked by the power of the stillness we have created from inside of ourselves.

There is absolutely nothing better than that moment because we feel powerful but humble, calm but alive, and most of all, we feel grounded and at ease with who we are. But there are times where our minds refuse to accept the quiet. Instead, it chooses to continue thinking the negative thoughts. It focuses on the past and the times we can't change or repeat. Even when we decide to jump on our mats, the place where we allow ourselves to find that moment of quiet, the mind decides it isn't ready to silence itself. It's absolutely frustrating. That's not the point of why we do what we do. After all, isn't that what our practice is all about? Doesn't it give us a path to find peace within ourselves, even if it is just for an hour? A few minutes?

As with most good habits, it takes time, practice, and several failures to really master a technique. There are good days and there are bad ones. Even the most zenned out person has days where they feel like they can't keep their thoughts under control.

I noticed my thoughts drifting a few times during a power flow with Sean (now one of my favorite classes at Limber Tree). He described our minds as the observers of our thoughts, not participants. We were to watch our thoughts drift by as we flowed through our early morning; not grabbing at them, not watching just one or pushing one away from us, but just noticing that they were there.

I liked that analogy more than I could say at the time. My mind had been weighted down with too many things. I wasn't stressed out about any particular one but I couldn't seem to free myself from them. With each pose and move I thought of something different. I would lose balance or strength because my focus was muddled with one too many things. I kept thinking about watching my thoughts go by instead of jumping at them. Sean, our instructor for the morning, kept reminding us to not grab, just watch. It took me nearly until the end of the hour but I finally managed to feel like I was just watching. It took an effort that I hadn't ever exerted before.

Throughout the rest of my week I really focused on being an observer of my own thoughts when I was on and off the mat. I understood which of them mattered and which of them didn't. I noticed that I could disregard a few while truly putting time into others. When I felt distracted and not in control, I took a few steps back and watched instead of intervened.

An annoying (but also hilarious) example of this happened to me a few days ago. I was cooking, which is somewhat of a yogaesque part of my day, and I stopped caring about what I was cooking. I started to focus on a few bad things that had happened in my day and I became distracted from something that was for ME. It was my time to find my moment of quiet and my thoughts were ruining it! Long story short, I cooked the veggies terribly and my meal definitely wasn't as good as it could have been.

Just like my dinner, our days can either be the best they can be or we miss the mark by just a few, all because we let our thoughts and how much energy we put into them determine everything else about us. Of course there will be times of complete chaos that we have to pay attention to but when we give an hour or two a day (or even an hour a week) to ourselves we need to take advantage of what stillness we can get. In order to better the world and those around us, we first have to be our best selves. By feeling pressure of the thoughts we carry during an hour of "me time", we can't feel as rejuvenated and calm as we could.

So take the time to find moments of quiet whether you are on the mat or off. Let yourself observe, not grab, and allow your mind to feel stillness. Your mind, body, and soul deserve it!

September 6, 2016

Limber Tree & The Mind

"I WANT YOU TO OPERATE FROM A SOURCE INSIDE OF YOURSELF TODAY. MAYBE IT'S FORGIVENESS, COMPASSION, DETERMINATION. MAYBE YOU ARE FORGIVING OTHERS, MAYBE YOURSELF. IT MIGHT BE SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. WHATEVER IT IS, OPERATE FROM THAT AS WE FLOW IN CLASS TODAY."

During a class of Breathe and Flow Yoga with Sharli the other morning, we started by sitting on our mats and listening to those wise words. She prepared us for what we were about to do for the next hour. She simply told us to check into our minds and relay that into our actions during the hour we had in the studio. Before we even noticed our breath, we noticed our thoughts.

Sharli Kiner, owner and an instructor of Limber Tree, created the studio's foundation on just that: mentality. The mind. What we can accomplish, explore, understand, and create with what is inside of us. Yoga stems from the mind and the spirit. It acts as the narrator of the story of what our bodies can do. We tell it to move, this way and that, and we are then able to push through the boundaries we put in place for ourselves. At Limber Tree, it all starts with the minds that walk through the door. Every individual has a different story, a different body, and a different soul that is unique. The personal journey that we all are on in yoga is completely different from the person next to us. Sharli has been on her journey for over ten years and is still learning, discovering, and mastering every single day.

Sharli began practicing yoga at the YMCA as a trial run to get in a workout, to deal with some physical pain, and to connect with her own mind. Yoga quickly turned into something that would change her life from there on out as she learned more about herself.

"I started yoga as a way to cope with some sciatic nerve pain and like anyone else, I was dealing with other challenges. Before I found out that yoga was going to be way I managed things, I turned to substances that created an imbalance in my life. I was using these things as a way to hide. I didn't want to explore why because it was a scary place to go. I was in a haze and I realized that the choices I was making weren't serving me. They were blocking a need to grow in my body and mind. Yoga helped me to maneuver out of those tendencies and into a place where I could continuously grow."

Her instructor at the YMCA was an inspiration to Sharli. She carried herself with the calmness and grace that she radiated. Sharli wanted to match that inner harmony within her own mind. Though the actual movement of yoga was something that she loved, the peace that her instructor taught was what stood out to her the most. As Sharli's practice became a more vital part of her life, she began to understand the benefits of yoga and how it would help her and others. The gym, however, didn't hold that "rolling out the mat" feeling that Sharli enjoyed most. The place that she imagined didn't exist in Billings, Montana quite yet.

"The YMCA did an amazing job with their yoga. They got me really into it and helped me a ton. I just knew that the energy I was looking for didn't exist at the gym. I love energetic spaces. I think practicing in a place of peace is really important." She smiled. "So I created this! It's a space where people can freely experience yoga."

Sharli took advantage of the idea that Billings needed a peaceful space where the mind could be free from the distractions of a gym and the concepts of a workout. The focus of Limber Tree was tied to the mind, the body, and the spirit. She wanted to combine them into one being during our practice. Yoga allows us to understand all three and become aware of each one. Once we start to learn our bodies and who we are as a complete being, we start to become more aware of our movements. When we move we can tune into the capabilities we have and the way we are built inside and out. We can tap into ourselves and see what we can do rather than honing in on just the body.

"Nothing is more important than the other. I think of it as a trinity: mind, body, and spirit. It all connects with one another but some only focus on the physical part of it. The ego gets in the way of the growth of the mind which can hinder the physical growth in the end. It's all intertwined. However, I think the physical benefit is just a bonus. It really does start with the mind."

We tend to put our mind second to our bodies when it comes to an activity. That's because anything that involves movement obviously involves our bodies. The word 'yoga' is said and we often picture someone in a pose. Of course, we use our minds for most everything we do. Yoga just gives us the time and place to give everything about ourselves what it needs with an emphasis on balancing 'the trinity'. Without the mind, we don't know our bodies. That can hold us back when we don't challenge ourselves enough but we might cross a line that we didn't know was even there. If we aren't acquainted with all aspects of ourselves, how are we supposed to know what we can and can't do? More often than not, the mind is what we focus on the least. Sharli learned this when she pushed herself a little too far during her practice.

"I injured myself. I pushed my body too far. Why was I wanting so much to get into these poses that weren't good for my body? Well, I figured out I wanted to impress people. Once I figured that out, I needed to know why I felt the need to do that. It all just leads to figuring out who you are physically and on the inside."

The power that our thoughts have over us is dramatic. In yoga, when we step onto our mats with a clouded mind, we can't seem to find balance or focus. A handstand will seem impossible if our thoughts tell us that it is out of reach. The same goes for our bodies. If we aren't aware of the parameters of what our bodies can accomplish than we can end up not reaching our full potential or in Sharli's case, injuring ourselves.

"It wasn't about the things I was doing with my body. It was about learning my body more than anything else. It was a good thing that I injured myself. It didn't feel good at the time but it allowed me to learn more."

This is what Limber Tree is made of. The practice of yoga allows us to delve deeper into ourselves so we can push, calm our body and mind, breathe, feel the burn, release, grab on, be amazed and excited, absorb what we feel, undergo discomfort, play. All of it. Limber Tree was created for people to learn and start a journey unique to themselves starting with the mind.

"EVERY SINGLE TIME I TEACH A CLASS I'M REMINDED WHY I CREATED THIS PLACE AND WHY IT NEEDS TO BE HERE. IF I CAN JUST CHANGE ONE PERSON'S DAY THEN IT'S WORTH IT. IF LIMBER TREE CAN BETTER SOMEONE FROM THE INSIDE IT WILL CHANGE HOW THEY PERCEIVE EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE OUTSIDE."