Wednesday, January 30, 2013 My New Blog

If you enjoy this blog, try my new blog at:

This blog is trying to help us learn that our yoga practice should help us live better for life, not just for the moments we are practicing. How do we look inside ourselves and create a "Body,Mind,and Spirit" that will take us gracefully through life.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Final Class

Hi Class,

Our subject tonight is back to alignment. We align ourselves in many ways. What our Yoga practice begs of us is to be aware of how we are aligning in everyday life. We can practice this on our mats. Using our mat as our private stage, and look at what preparations we do for each pose and/or each Yoga practice. It is interesting how our Yoga practice really does mirror our lives.

How do you prepare (align) yourself for your yoga practice? your day? your life?

The 3 A's

Attitude: Spirit - Inner Self- Heart
(Divine Knowledge - Iccha)

The power of the heart (spirit) as the force behind every action or expression in an Hatha Yoga practice. (In Life.)

Alignment: Mind - Intellect - Awareness
(Divine Knowledge - Jnana)

The mindful awareness of how various parts of ourselves are integrated and interconnected.

Action: Body - Physical - Action
(Divine Action - Kriya)

The use of tangible action to express our attitude through the alignment of the body.

With these tools, the 3 A's, we want to be able to learn to align ourselves so well, that no matter what it is we are doing, we stop repeating the things that cause us and others suffering, practice Ahimsa (Non-Harming), and have joy. If you don't have a sense of a smile in your heart and soul, how can you realign in order to make that happen?

See you in class,

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Guest House by Rumi

I was reminded this week of a wonderful prose by Rumi. A reminder that we may all need, especially during the rough times in our lives. Somethings in life come to us because of others choices, some come to us because of our own choices. What we are reminded of in this writing, is that they do come. The interesting thing that our practice of Yoga and its philosophies try to get us to do is to be aware, and then choose to "act" rather than to "react." This is a very hard thing to do, especially when emotions, old and new, are brought into the mix.

In our Hatha Yoga Practice (the physical practice of Yoga postures)we see our reactive tendencies on all three levels of our being. If we pay attention, we see that through out our practice we go through a variety of sensations: physical, emotional, and spiritual. What our practice is really begging us to do is to pay attention and to choose our actions, instead of staying in the mode of reacting. Which do we choose? Action or Reaction? It is a very interesting view if we can step back, as though we are watching ourselves from a distance, and see ourselves as we truly are. In this way we can learn some very valuable things about ourselves, and with this new knowledge, learn to stop the pattern of reacting, and choose our actions. This can help us avoid more of the bumps in life, and with that, possibly our "Guest House" visitors will be more pleasant.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

- Rumi -

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Class #3 - Saucha/Purity

Hi class,

This week we will learn about the discipline Saucha (Purity/Cleanliness)

Saucha - Purity and cleanliness of mind, body, spirit, and environment. We practice this discipline by continually asking ourselves if we are cleansing or soiling our body, mind, spirit, or environment.

We cleanse and are non-harming by making:
- Better food choices
- Better use of our breath (pranayama – extension and
regulation of the breath)
- Choosing asanas (postures) and/or modifications that are
beneficial to us at the present moment.
- Better choice of activities
- Better choice of those we associate with
- Better organized and clean personal space
- Better choices about our 'SELF', mind/body/spirit
- Better choices about our environment at every level

Saucha: Purity

"Purity of the body is essential for well being.
While good habits like bathing purify the external
body. Asana (Yoga postures) and
Pranayama (yoga breathing practices) cleanse it internally.
The practice of Asanas (yoga postures) tones the
entire body and removes toxins and impurities
caused by over-indulgence. Pranayama cleanses
and aerates the lungs, oxygenates the blood,
and purifies the nerves. Cleansing of the mind
through Svadhyaya (self-study) helps to keep the mind clear
from disturbing emotions like hatred, delusion, and pride.

With concentration, one obtains mastery over
the senses. This internal cleansing brings
radiance and joy. It banishes mental pain,
dejection, sorrow, and despair and brings
benevolence. When one is benevolent, one
sees the virtues in others and not merely
their faults. The respect which one shows
others makes him self respecting and able to
fight their own sorrows and differences.
This makes one ready to enter the temple of
body and see their real self in the mirror
of their mind.

Besides purity of the body, thought,
and word, pure food is also necessary. It
should be eaten to promote health, strength,
energy, and life. It should be simple,
nourishing, juicy, and soothing. Men are the
only creatures that eat when not hungry and
generally live to eat rather than eat to live.
If we eat for flavors of the tongue, we over-eat
and so suffer from digestive disorders which
throw our systems out of gear. The yogi
(a student of yoga), believes in harmony,
so they try to eat for the sake of sustaining
health and life. They try not to eat too much
or too little. They look upon their body as
the rest-house of their spirit, and guard
themselves against over-indulgence."

"Remember, if you do not take care
of your body, where will you live?"

(taken from B.K.S. Iyengar, 'Light on Yoga)

In our asana practice we strive to bring purity
and strength by practicing the asanas. We treat
our bodies with repect by keeping in tuned to
what it needs.

This week see how you can use the practice of Saucha to bring a better respect to your whole self: Mind/Body/Spirit. See how you eat, what you eat, and where you eat can have an effect on your energy, health, and even your attitude. Another aspect to pay attention to is your activities. How does what you do make you feel. Movies and TV you watch, parties you attend, people you associate with in all aspects of your life.

I’m not asking you to change anything, just pay attention. Slow down enough that you learn something about yourself (Svadhyaya: self-study). Write about your experience.

'Be sober and temperate; you will be healthy.
Bask in the sun; Spend time in the open air.
The sun and the open air are your good doctor.
Let your food be simple.
Never eat too much, but don't eat too little.
Take sufficient exercise.
Become your own physician.
~Swami Sivananda~

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Intermeditate Class #2

Hi Class,

In tonight's class we will be weaving the Yoga disciplines of Brahmacharya (Moderation), and Samtosha (Contentment), a Niyama.

The practices in yoga beg us to make every effort to study for ourselves. To research, experiment, to look into what has come before us, and be willing to change wrong ideas when we find they are incorrect. Just because it is in writing, or someone we deem more prestigious than ourselves says something, does not make it so.

A teaching of Budda states:

“Believe nothing … merely because you have been told it… Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But, whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of All beings -- that doctrine believe and cling to and take as your guide?”

“Your work is to discover your world, and then with all your heart, give yourself to it.”

Yoga and its disciplines were originally designed for and by the monks. As Yoga has evolved to be useful to the masses, adaptations on the practices and meanings have been made to fit into the lives of ordinary people with everyday lives. Originally this discipline meant to practice celibacy. As we know, if this were practiced by all, there would be no You or I. So, this next discipline, Brahmacharya, a Yama (Social Discipline), in particular, presented a need for a variation for the masses.

Self-Study (Svadhyaya)

A new young monk arrives at the monastery and, as with all new monks, he is assigned to help the other monks in copying the old cannons and lows of the Church by hand. He notices, howerver, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.

So the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up. In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk says, "We have been copying from the copies for centrueis, but you make a good point my son." So he goes down into the dark cves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn't been opened for hundreds of years.

Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot. The young monk gets worried and goes downsstairs tolook for him. He sees the abbot banging his head against the wall, wailing "We forgot the 'R'! We forgot the 'R'! His forehead is bloody and bruised: he is crying uncontrollably.

The young monk rushes to the old abbot, asking, "What's wrong, Father?"

In a choking voice, the old abbot replies, "The word is celebrate! The word is celebrate!"

Making the effort to study for ourselves. Research, experiment, look into what has come before us, and be willing to change wrong ideas when we find they are incorrect. Just because it is in writing, or someone more prestegous than ourselves says something, does not make it so.

Budda states:

“Believe nothing … merely because you have been told it… Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But, whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of All

beings -- that doctrine believe and cling to and take as your guide?”

“Your work is to discover your world, and then with all your heart, give yourself to it.”


Having moderation in all things. Controlling our passions and desires for pleasure: addictions to food, spending, work, drugs (especially caffeine, the most commonly over used drug), sex, etc. Being moderate also in moderation. Allow for joy to be present in life while cultivating a vigilant practice of Ahimsa(non-harming), toward yourself or others in your search for joy and happiness. Never let the need for any type of pleasure be in such excess that in controls you, instead of you controlling it. Keep alignment and balance in your life, stay connected with your Highest Self: mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Samtosha: (Contentment)

Equanimity, peace, tranquility, and acceptance of the way things are in the present, right here, right now. Cultivating a sense of joy in just being alive, an awareness and an appreciation of the moment, and not feeling bad for what isn't, but being able to truly enjoy what is. Samtosha is the ability to be honest ( Satya: truthfulness) with where you are right now, and be okay with your 'self,' and then growing and learning from that place. Samtosha does not mean 'putting up with' but rather, 'working from.' The yogi (a student of yoga) feels the lack of nothing, truly enjoying that which they have. Constant comparison with others creates discord and a lack of appreciation for what one has and who one is. So, see what you have, work to acquire what you NEED, and then be content. Set the goal to "Live Simply, so that others may simply live." (because) “The more we have, the more we have to manage.”

In our ansana practice we use Samtosha and Bramacharya to see where we are each day. To use our energy for the best good of all. We look to bring balance into our life through our Asana practice. We become aware of who we are and where we are each time we come to our mat, and then work from that place. We learn to recognize changes and to accept those changes as part of life and our learning process. We learn to stop comparing ourselves to others, to lose the desire to be better than someone else in order to feel content with ourselves and with who we are. We become and appreciate our 'self' and begin to recognize our 'True Self.' Our mat is the stage we practice playing out life and its outcomes in order to then step off our mats and into life with better awareness.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Web of Life

“Humankind has not woven the web of life, we are but one thread within it. What ever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”

Chief Seattle

Some possible things to journal about:

What does this philosophy mean to you?

How have you effected the 'Web of Life' thus far?

What effect would you like to have on it in the future?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Syllabus Summer 2010

Hi Class,

Our first class is June 29, 2010. *** The first class will go the full time, and will give important instruction for the rest of the session, as each class will build on the prior class.

Pasted below is the the Yoga class syllabus. The ESSF department has made a standard form, which is part of every class's syllabus which clarifies University Requirements for acquiring Credit. All that I have added is the Class Description and the Class Objectives. This class is a Credit/No Credit graded Class. No Letter grade is given for any fitness class.

For this class, you are required to have a written component. I require a journal entry to be written based on the topics we discuss in class and that we incorporate into our Yoga Practice. This does not need to be long, but I do want some thought put into your writings. I put our discussion topics, and all class communication on my blog at: Some of the weekly topics will include some questions at the end that are there to stimulate your thinking. They do not need to be answered, but you might choose to do so. Some times there will not be any questions listed on the weekly philosophies. I would like you to still respond with your feelings about the subject matter. There are no right or wrong ways to write your feelings and opinions. Your entries only require you to write what you feel, and learn about during your own 'Self study' (Svadhyaya).

The syllabus below is for the yoga courses that I teach. I Teach an Ashtanga Influenced Active Flow Yoga Style. Each class will include some restorative elements at the end of class. You don't need to be able to become a human pretzel in these classes. There are always modifications for every pose. Please be willing to ask for guidance, make modifications when needed, and embrace your challenges.

This e-mail as well as other information important to these classes will be placed on my blog at: Check the blog weekly as it will help you keep up with the information that you will need in order to fulfill the written component of this class.

If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant and do not already practice yoga, you need to take a Prenatal Yoga class first. If you have already taken a prenatal class, please bring a note from your DR. okaying your participation, and talk to me before class.

If you are taking this class non-credit, you are not required to adhere to the requirements in the syllabus.

See you Tuesday,
Vicki Yost


Intermediate - ESSF 1058
Beginning Yoga - ESSF 1057
Days and Times: Tuesdays 6-8 PM
Instructor: Vicki Yost
Contact Info:

Course Description:

This class is a Flow/Vinyasa Yoga style: connecting the movement of the body with the movement of the breath. In this class the student will learn and practice the elements and postures of Hatha Yoga in a vinyasa style format (the practice of linking together movement with breath). This style is a very energizing and cleansing style of yoga. It combines flexibility, strength training, balance and endurance, while learning classical postures and breathing techniques. Each class will build upon the class before it. Classes will include yoga history, theory, and philosophy.

Course Objectives:

To gain knowledge of what the Practice of Yoga actually is. To gain knowledge of Hatha Yoga postures; to gain a better mind/body connection. To build strength, stamina, balance, and core stability. To learn to correct muscle and flexibility imbalances. To improve mental focus, physical posture and body awareness. To gain a good general knowledge of yoga. To, Above All, learn to fully breath and to be fully present.

Course Requirements:

The requirements of the student include attending each day of class in appropriate, loose fitting clothing with appropriate foot attire that will be discussed in class the first week. It is recommended that each student brings in a full water bottle to class each day to prevent overheating, dehydration, and promote health. Each student must also document their attendance on the roll sheet provided by the instructor. Failure to do so will result in a recorded absence for that class. Students will be required to adhere to the University of Utah?s Behavior Code. CLASS WILL NOT END UNTIL ALL EQUIPMENT HAS BEEN PUT AWAY PROPERLY.

Grading Policy:

As per Exercise and Sport Science departmental policy, each student must attend 80% of the total number of classes to earn credit for this course. This attendance is documented each day in class. Any student taking this course for credit must also complete and turn in a written assignment. Details and instructions for this assignment will be provided by the instructor during class. Attendance is crucial to receive this information. For students taking the course for non-credit, record of attendance and submittance of the assignment given in class is not necessary.

Written Assignment:

The Written Assignment will require the student to submit weekly journal entries during the session. The Journal Entries should consist of the student expressing, in writing, their own thoughts and philosophies as they pertain to the yoga philosophies that will be posed to them in class each week. There is no wrong way to express these personal thoughts.

If a student misses a class, they are still required to submit an entry for that week, discussing their view or personal philosophy on the week's subject. Journal Entries need to be "DETAILED and WELL THOUGHT OUT." To get credit for the written assignments journal need to be submitted with your full name included.


Being 10 minutes late to class equates to one tardy. Two tardies equals one absence.


The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the instructor and to the Center for Disability Services (CDS), 162 Olpin Union bldg., 581-5020 to make arrangements for accommodations. CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations.

Student Code:

Students Rights and Responsibilities is provided in detail on the University of Utah web page

Special Dates:

Holidays: Refer to Academic Calendar

Due date of assignment: A journal is the written requirement due the last day of

Last day to add class: refer to Academic Calendar

Last day to drop class: refer to Academic Calendar