You are worth your time

Let’s face it: We CAN’T MAKE TIME. One of our biggest challenges in prioritizing self-care is ‘making’ the time. Something else is NOT getting your attention during yoga or other self-care. It’s fair to say though, that when we are taking care of ourselves and feeling our best, our work and other aspects of our lives share the benefit.
Yoga is the ultimate self care, because it’s designed to strengthen, relieve and revive: Body, mind and spirit.
I want to share  a few tips for either starting or reviving your yoga practice at home. Practicing at home is the perfect compliment to attending regular classes, boosting flexibility, strength, and other personal goals through a consistent effort.
#1 Prepare a space. You don’t have to have or create a ‘yoga room’, but at least have a cleared corner in a bedroom or living space that is cozy. Choose to make it more inviting with decorations, or simply leave it uncluttered and easy to dive into and move around.
#2 Set a timer. Don’t set your goal for a full hour at first. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and commit to moving, stretching or sitting and breathing for 15 min. THEN you can clean, cook dinner, or make breakfast without worrying about ‘what you’re not getting done’. 
#3 Train your family (and pets?) to respect this space. This is what I tell my 5 year old son: “I am going to do yoga now. What are you going to do to stay busy while I do yoga?” I am not available while on my mat: Not for phone calls, snacks or anything else besides a fire alarm. After a while, your family may welcome this time, particularly when your’e feeling exasperated or overwhelmed. (As in, “Mom, maybe you should do some yoga…” )
#4 Just move. It’s great if you can remember a few favorite yoga poses, but at first, just move. Take 3-5 minutes to center, and start to move. Yoga will happenYoga may also choose to use a video or stream a practice from YouTube, just be prepared to adapt the poses, and try to choose a video that matches your level of practice and energy level. For instance, if you’re seeking relaxation, stay away from a “vinyasa” style or “power” practice. 
#5 Prepare to accept setbacks. Don’t turn your yoga (or lack thereof) into punishment. If you set a goal for 15 minutes on weekdays, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen every day this week. Re-assess, revisit steps 1-4, and start again. It’s a PRACTICE, and practice creates presence, not perfection. 
Hope to see you on the mat! Audra

On Yoga with an Injury…


Life is what happens while you’re making other plans, right? So, you planned to go to your regular yoga class tomorrow, but slipped and fell today on the ice today. Should you still go?

I get questions like these often, whether it’s a recent fall or something more serious. Is doing yoga while injured good for us? First, let’s consider the injury:

Doctors orders: Did you see a doctor? If so, do what the doctor, NOT your yoga teacher, recommends first. (If a physician told you to rest, then REST.)

Chronic or acute: Did you experience injury from a particular event and can pinpoint the site (fell and bent wrist back for example), or is it a nagging injury they recurs? (“Oh my old aching back” and so on…)

Many chronic issues can be alleviated by a consistent, mindful yoga practice. BUT, there are many different ‘kinds’ of yoga, so choose wisely. An intense practice with a lot of up and down transitions may not be the best thing for an arthritic knee, and a deep, Yin-style practice might aggravate an area already under strain. Remember, each posture in each class is a choice, and you must always advocate for your own best interest. That may mean going against the tide of sun salutations, or maybe even getting up and leaving the class.

Acute problems- sorry to tell you- will probably heal faster with rest. Last week, a participant asked me how to stretch an obscure muscle that she felt she had pulled, feeling a ‘pop’ while exercising. In this kind of situation, without implying any diagnosis, my advice is that the best activity might be: Leaving that area alone to heal. Inflammation from a sprain or ‘pulled’ muscle might be aggravated by stretching the site of injury, lengthening the recovery. (Of course, there are recovery options that don’t include ‘activity’: Hydration, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, etc.)

That said, a gentle, restorative style yoga practice with an emphasis on healing breathing and avoiding the injury site might be just the ticket to staying loose, mindful, and calm while recovering.

This brief summary is, by no means, all inclusive, but here are two important ‘take away’ points to help you decide whether or not to hobble to your next yoga class:

Listen to your own intuition. Don’t worry about feeling like you’ll let your yoga teacher down if you miss class because of a slip on the ice. Our interest is in having you come to class and feel safe. Protecting an injury and feeling uncertain as to whether you should even BE THERE is counterproductive to yoga.

Yoga instructors are not physicians. Some do have more extensive training, or are also “Yoga Therapists” (or doctors for that matter) who are more equipped to deal with and offer help for an injury. Otherwise, yoga teachers are able to be helpful in discussing your injury or rehabilitation in the context of yoga, but certainly cannot design your recovery plan or make a diagnosis.

What ever you decide, DO keep sharing information with your instructor. They may have modifications to offer or alternative poses that have similar benefits. Hopefully, we are all healthy and injury-free to fully experience the benefits of a yoga practice. But if not, I hope this helps you decide whether to get back on the mat, or stay in bed! Namaste.

Winds of Change


As the Chinook winds bring a winter thaw, Sun River Yoga will be experiencing yoga schedule  changes in response to some life changes.

New out-of-town obligations for our household have resulted in a conflict with our Tuesday night Slow Flow Yoga class.

As such, Slow Flow Yoga class will change to 545pm on MONDAYS, beginning next week, Jan. 23.

Even in our small community, it is difficult to choose a day/time for ONE class to meet everyone’s schedule needs. However, I am optimistic that as attendance and interest grows, we will be able to add another class in the future.

I am also passionate about wellness and making it accessible in rural areas, and I will continue to work to assess and serve the needs of the Sun River Valley community.

Namaste, Audra

December Yoga


Okay, you’re busy during the holidays, but even Santa can make the time!

Community Center Yoga this month:

Tuesdays, 9am: Gentle Yoga. With limited up and down transitions, this is focused on gentle strengthening, maintaining mobility, and breath work. $7 to drop in, or $20/4 classes. Suitable for beginners and beyond.

Tuesdays, 6pm: Slow Flow Yoga. This class focuses on building strength, increasing flexibility, and relieving the effects of day-to-day life, and ‘flows’ at a pace that emphasizes safe alignment. Suitable for all levels. $10 to drop in or $30 for 4 classes.


Yoga Workshops

If you are interested in hosting or arranging a workshop for friends, staff or for your community, please contact me to schedule! Classes for be tailored to meet the needs of each group, from deep relaxation to deeper alignment work.

November News

The winds of change bring us to the month of November, and a welcome vacation for our family. Between a short family trip and Election Day, the November schedule will see some changes. I am also instructing at The Peak Athletic Club part-time in Great Falls, so please check the schedule if you’re passing through!

I love leading yoga classes and sincerely hope to continue to learn and share with this community. I am also hoping to grow the class attendance at the community center, so if you have anyone to share class information with, please do! Namaste.

Nov. 1: Classes as usual. Gentle practice at 9am, Slow Flow at 6pm.

Nov. 8: CHANGED- Gentle practice at 9am on MONDAY THE 7TH. No evening practice this week. 

Nov. 15: NO CLASSES.

Nov. 22: Classes as usual. Gentle practice at 9am, Slow Flow at 6pm.

Nov. 29: Classes as usual. Gentle practice at 9am, Slow Flow at 6pm.



Rolling into October

Gentle Yoga: Tuesdays at 9am. ****Tues. Oct. 11 cancelled for community flu shots. The fee is $7 to drop in, or $20 for 4 classes. This class will continue month to month unless a scheduling conflict occurs.

September Only

Yoga Basics continues: Sept. 25, Oct. 2 from 3pm-430pm. Attend the next two for $25! (Materials and props, mats provided). Suitable for all levels, emphasis on beginning or ‘new-beginners’.

Starting in October

Slow Flow Yoga: Tuesdays at 6pm. This class incorporates movement, strength and flowing sequences at a pace that emphasizes functional alignment. Each month, we will focus on a different ‘theme’: core strength, shoulder safety, etc. Suitable for all levels. Class fee is $10 or 4 for $30.

October’s theme: Core strength. From our core, or manipura chakra, comes our will power, motivation, and confidence.