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Yoga

Your Instructor, Stephie Wharam 

Stephie teaches a flow-like class with an emphasis on turning inward to find your true potential and inner peace. She has been practicing yoga for nearly a decade and teaching for 4 years. She is a 200-hour certified instructor after receiving her training at Om On Yoga, a Yoga Alliance accredited yoga school. Since then she has been influenced by teachers outside of her school including Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl), Swami Satchidananda, Gabby Bernstein, Yogi “J” Miles, and Deepak Chopra. Her classes link breath with flowing movement and a focus on calming the plethora of thoughts that clog the mind to help bring peace from the chaos of life.

When Stephie was a child she suffered from depression and anxiety. For many years she struggled to find relief without taking medications that would leave her feeling numb and with no life purpose. Since then, her passion has become to show people how to find MORE on the mat; to help people heal from life’s traumas, depression, and anxiety, to feel less broken, and to realize their potential. She wants people to see that they can create peace and happiness in their lives. She discovered yoga in 2009 when she was trying to get out of an abusive relationship and has used yoga to turn inward and practice self-love to find a compassionate path to healing. Her goal is to welcome everyone to “Step Onto her Mat” so they too can find wellness through peaceful practice.

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My style of yoga tends to be more on the “vinyasa” style, as in linking breath with movement. Yoga philosophy, or the 8 Limbs of Yoga, is also interwoven throughout the class to give a full mind, body, and spirit experience.

The focus on my yoga classes is on the breath, proper alignment in poses, and body awareness. We will use these to synergistically bring the body to a state of homeostasis.

Why is the breath important? Our breath is vital for living. We yogis call it a vital life energy or force. With proper breathing we bring oxygen and blood through the body and to the brain. Today many people have developed habits of improper breathing; chest breathing, short or shallow breathing. We may think that since breathing is automatic (autonomic) that we cannot breathe improperly, but we can. Some people have physical reasons that they are unable to take proper breath. The primary muscles for breathing are the respiratory diaphragm, the internal and external intercostals. The accessory muscles for breathing are the internal and external obliques and the rectus abdominus. Lastly, a few other important muscles for breathing are the chest, back, neck, and hip flexors. If you or someone that you know has some impairment in one or more of these areas I bet you can imagine that breathing may be inadequate. Others have other factors, such as stress, that can change the way they breathe. Often we hold our breath without even noticing it. Do you find yourself sighing often during the day, you make ask yourself why. Could you be breathing improperly? Perhaps! Additionally, the way we breathe has an effect on our Sympathetic Nervous System; our flight or fight response (stress response) or our Parasympathetic Nervous System; our relax response. The systems have a direct effect on our entire body as a whole. So, in yoga we will work on the breath to work on the body. “Whenever I am blue I breathe.” ~Unknown

Why is proper alignment in the yoga postures (asanas) important? We want to honor our body that is what we come to yoga for, right? (Or at least part of the reason.) In order to do so we need to ensure that we are getting the most out of our practice and not causing more harm than good. If we do not properly align our bodies then we are not honoring what our body is meant to do. With proper alignment the yoga asanas will help to stretch, relax, and release muscles. Muscle and muscle tissue move, stabilize, and transport vital substances throughout the body. Yoga also helps support the skeletal system. Bone tissue becomes stronger with exercise and we need this because we begin to lose bone tissue with age. The muscular skeletal system plays a big role in our bodies and will reap the benefits of a regular yoga practice.

In yoga we can use the tools of proper breathing and proper alignment to bring our bodies back to a state of homeostasis or balance. We can use these tools to relieve stress, return bodily functions back to normal, and ensure that the body is functioning as a whole as it is intended to do. These are just a few quick points on the big benefits of yoga. Please contact me for information on lessons and let’s work on your body. “Listen to your body whisper or you will hear it scream.” ~Unknown

Additional, helpful links:

A mini yoga lesson within the site. The introduction is thorough, but each page there after is only a few sentences each. For those interested, the links are as follows:
1. What is Yoga-http://stepontomymat.com/what-is-yoga/
2. Yamas-http://stepontomymat.com/yamas/
3. Niyamas-http://stepontomymat.com/niyamas/
4. Asanas-http://stepontomymat.com/asanas/
5. Pranayama-http://stepontomymat.com/pranayama/
6. Pratyahara-http://stepontomymat.com/pratyahara/
7. Dharana-http://stepontomymat.com/dharana/
8. Dhyana-http://stepontomymat.com/dhyana/
9. Samadhi-http://stepontomymat.com/samadhi/

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