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Looking Ahead
29 December 2016

Looking Ahead
29 December 2016

Looking Ahead

If you come regularly to my Sunday 9 am class, you know that I have been exploring mudra for the past couple of years. Not every week, but many of them, I spend a little time researching and experimenting with a mudra that feels particularly relevant, and I often use that as the starting point when building the vinyasa flow practice that will constitute most of the class. Simply put, mudras are gestures—usually of the hands—that evoke psychological and spiritual attitudes, each with its own specific quality or signature. Mudra holds endless fascination for me, as it invites a way "in" to self and into the more interior recesses of the physical practice. My exploration is just that: I'm hardly a scholar, but I find the practice powerful enough that I enjoy sharing it with students as we sit at the beginning of class and silently repeat a suggested mantra to accompany the mudra. This week, as I prepare for the New Year's Day class, I'm searching for that mudra that will allay in some way my fears about our political reality, and that will help guide my feelings around the coming new year. Is there a mudra to address anger, sorrow and helpless rage? I search for awhile but I am, I realize, going at this all wrong. Instead, I sit for a few minutes, get centered, and then open my primary resource (Mudras for Healing and Transformation—I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested) and it falls open lightly to Samputa Mudra, pictured above. I start to read and recognize that this is a Mudra I feel drawn to as we round the corner on 2016. This mudra will help me find my own intention or "Sankalpa" on New Year's Eve. With the right hand lightly cupped above the left, "samputa", which means "treasure chest", implies a protected space of value and truth. This mudra is designed to help us connect to our own inner voice of truth. As such, it is associated with Vishuddha Chakra—the throat chakra and the place of unfettered, fearless, true expression. It suggests too a kind of receiving of guidance for life's journey. A suggested mantra for this mudra is: Aligned with the voice of my inner being I communicate clearly and truthfully. I find when I sit for meditation and explore this mudra and mantra, that it does indeed satisfy a deep if fearful longing for the strength and courage to speak truth in the coming year, to not be silenced by what I feel to be truly sinister forces amassing in our capital, and even more, to speak up and out for people who are in danger because of the climate of hate slowly boiling to the surface. Over the next few days, I hope my own intention or Sankalpa for the new year will coalesce into a thought or phrase that I can include in the practice of Samputa Mudra. In my mind's eye, I see this intention as a beautiful and strong treasure cupped safely between my hands. When the time is right, my hands will open and send that intention out into the world, in flight like a brave and beautiful bird. Happy New Year to you all; may your year and your hearts be full of light, laughter and love. Leslie


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The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.

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Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent

People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.

Wear comfortable clothing

Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.

Practice on an empty stomach

If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.

No food or outside beverages inside the studio

If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.

Bring your own mat

Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.

Keep your eyes on your own practice

The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.

Be kind and loving to yourself

Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!

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Newcomers! 3 for $30

If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)

Single Class, $18

Drop in to any regular weekly class

Single Class, Student or Senior* Rate, $15

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

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Expires after one year

10-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $130

Expires after one year

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

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Expires after 6 months

5-Class Pass, Student or Senior* Rate, $70

Expires after 6 months.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

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Monthly, Auto-Renew with credit card, $99/mo

Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.

One month, unlimited, $150

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

One month, Student or Senior* rate, $140

Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.

*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+

3-Month Unlimited, $390

Unlimited yoga, 3 months

If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.

We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!

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