Off the Mat: A Deeper Look Into Yoga Practices with Scheri Goff
What images or thoughts come to mind when you hear the word yoga? Deep stretching? Maybe uncomfortable poses and overpriced activewear?
What images or thoughts come to mind when you hear the word yoga? Deep stretching? Maybe uncomfortable poses and overpriced activewear? Scheri Goff joins us on this episode of Adventures with Spirit to talk about how the practice of yoga goes much deeper than the westernized, business model it’s widely accepted as today.
This episode, we discuss:
[3:55] Basic beliefs about yoga
Andrea’s first belief around yoga was that it would hurt. She imagined frigid poses and instructors coming around to push you into the right pose, but her experience was much more relaxed. It was an experience of releasing emotions that had been stuck in her body, and weeks of connecting to herself through yoga and her other spiritual practices.
[6:00] What yoga is really all about
Explaining yoga in its entirety can be like trying to explain love: Everyone’s perception is going to be a bit different. Some people have had a bad experience with yoga in the past, whether it was a demanding teacher or just feeling uncomfortable, and now feel like yoga just isn’t for them. But yoga isn’t just about how far you can stretch or making sure you sit completely still. Yoga is a spiritual practice that can help you gain access to parts of your mind and help you see everything more clearly.
[7:07] Why yoga is so much more than just an exercise class
As yoga was adopted by the West, it began to be billed as a form of exercise, taking place inside high-end studios. While stretching and lengthening the muscles is one benefit of yoga, there are five main branches to a yoga practice that will become tools for living your life.
[9:56] The 5 main parts of a yoga practice
There are five branches of yoga that can be used to help you understand yourself more fully: Deep abdominal breathing, rest, proper nutrition, meditation and positive thinking, and movement, also referred to as Asana. The proper rest, nutrition, and movement will vary depending on what works best for you! These are simple but effective practices that you can work into your daily life.
[18:23] How Scheri got started with practicing yoga
Scheri started her yoga journey over 25 years ago, in a military gym with an instructor who taught very intense breathing exercises. These techniques sparked an interest in Scheri to continue her practice, and she began the path of self study, reading Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. The philosophy behind the book was that as divinity resides within us, we are our own greatest teachers.
[20:19] How Scheri deepened her yoga practice beyond just taking classes
After establishing a regular yoga practice you may ask yourself how you can make it something a bit more expansive. For Scheri, she expanded her understanding and practice of yoga by reading and then getting involved in traditional Shivananda, Hatha style yoga, where she was taught basic Indian traditions. She then attended the Himalayan Institute, experimenting with different classes and expanding her knowledge. It became a discipline, infused with how she exists within the world.
[28:23] Using breathing as a tool
Breathing and meditation can be used as masterful tools to help ground you in life and in your practice, allowing you to find balance and remove fluctuations in your mind. It’s a simple practice to implement, and it’s the foundation to everything we do in our lives.
[30:03] Abdominal breathing walkthrough
If you’ve ever wondered what a breathing exercise would look like, Scheri took us on an incredible walkthrough:
The first thing you’ll want to do is find a comfortable seat. People often think they have to go to a special place in the house, light candles or incense, and have a special cushion, but this can take place anywhere you’re comfortable. Scheri sometimes starts her breathing practice in the morning when she first sits up in bed.
Next, allow yourself to take this pause to reset. Sit up tall, but not so rigid that you lose the natural curve of your spine. Pay attention to how your body feels, sitting comfortably. It doesn’t matter if your legs are crossed or uncrossed, as long as you’re comfortable enough to find peace in this moment. Relax your shoulders down, continuing to check in with the rest of your body. Relax your jaw, forehead, and you can even close your eyes, depending on your location. If you’re in a public space, like stopped in a parking lot, you can simply allow your gaze to soften so you can tune into your breath. Keeping your mouth closed, inhale through your nose to the count of 6, pause at the top, and then exhale through your nose for another six count.
Continue gently inhaling and exhaling in the same pattern, feeling your belly expand when you inhale. When you practice this type of breathing, you’re dropping into your parasympathetic nervous system, which includes your rest and digestion. This type of breathing is called diaphragmatic breathing, and helps to send our body the message that we’re safe and that we can relax.
[39:32] How you can work with Scheri beyond yoga
Scheri offers private zoom classes for individuals or groups, meditation courses, family constellations and more. Family constellation work is a tool she uses to remove any kind of weight or obstacles you may be carrying, that are inhibiting your ability to live the greatest version of your life. You can read more about how to work with Scheri by visiting her website at https://www.manastudio108.com.
[43:42] Scheri’s final piece of advice for listeners
When we asked Scheri what message she wanted to share with you all, she left us with a beautiful reminder that we are all divinely connected and that divinity is within each and every one of us.
Connect with Scheri Goff:
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