yogi-writer entrepreneur Sandy Pradas: can you say vacation?

Yoga Teacher, Entrepreneur, Writer
YOGA STYLE Kripalu

Sandy’s a yogi who loves sharing this incredible path with others. Yoga has changed her life, helping her to be more open, loving, and at peace with what is. Sandy wants everyone to be able to experience that. She teaches local classes and workshops, plus organizes unique yoga vacations in Costa Rica, Italy, and Spain. She’s also working on a yoga CD that she hopes will be completed this year. Her projects and blog are at Joyful Heart Yoga.

What’s in a name? Why is yours Joyful Heart Yoga?
When I first started practicing yoga, I had gone through a very tough year: a divorce, a car accident, a sports injury, my dog died, etc. I was exhausted and didn’t feel like myself at all. I felt like my soul packed up and left, and I was afraid I’d never get my old personality back. Through yoga I became connected and whole again–and joyful!

Your classes focus on Kripalu Yoga. How does this style differ from others?
We do the same asanas as the other styles, but there’s always a deep, inner focus and awareness, so it ultimately becomes a meditation in motion. There’s an emphasis on the flow of Prana, and as we practice we notice our internal reactions: physical, emotional, energetic, and psychological.

For example, if we’re in a difficult pose, are we trying to distract ourselves by engaging in mental chatter or zoning out? Are we tensing the body in an effort not to feel? Because this behavior carries over to our lives off the mat, we use the opportunity in class to practice being present with “what is”. We use our skills to be with all of the sensations, emotions, etc. By choosing to be fully awake, alive, and aware rather than numbing out, our life experiences can be more rich and meaningful–even those experiences that we’d rather not have.

A lot of people think Kripalu is only a gentle, or easy, style, but that’s not true. We can work very hard.

Stress Busters
AT WORK If you’re sitting at a desk all day, it’s very important to take frequent, short stretching breaks. Do some neck rolls, and use the back of the chair to help you get into a twist. Get up and walk around a little. Our bodies are not made for sitting for hours on end.

If interactions with co-workers get tense, remember to take a deep breath before you speak. It can save you from reacting from the ego and saying something you’d later regret, and it can be very surprising how much insight you can gain within the space of that one deep breath. You can get a whole new perspective.

AT HOME I love warm baths with epsom salts and essential oils. If I want to sleep well, I’ll use ylang ylang. If I want to feel refreshed, I’ll use grapefruit. If I’m agitated, I’ll use clary sage. I remember visiting a bath shop once, and the owner told me that if everyone took warm baths, there’d be no war!

I’m also very big on pranayama. If I feel stressed, I drop everything, sit down and do some deep breathing.

Sandy’s Top 3 Inspirational Media
1. 108 Sacred Names of Mother Divine (Sacred Chants of Devi)
2. Donna Farhi’s Yoga Mind, Body, and Spirit
3. Donna Farhi’s Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living

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Who Inspires You?
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Mar 20, 2009 · Comment (1)
 

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Wonderful article. I've been lucky to be part of Sandy's Kripalu classes for the last 5 years and they have changed my life! I had a joyful, easy home-birth with our second child, due to preparation through Bradley classes (with our first child) and thanks to my years of Kripalu yoga practice with Sandy. I found that going into my physical experience and being OK with whatever that experience may be moment to moment, riding the energy of the sensations, and following my breath through each cycle was easy in labor & home delivery due to my yoga practice. I'd recommend Kripalu classes to anyone – and especially to pregnant women and new mommies!

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