Pregnancy. Respect.

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Pregnancy is an intense experience for a woman to go through.

Being pregnant is so personal and a woman’s body goes through so many changes, and many of which are uncomfortable. Depending on the way a pregnancy is going along, depending on a woman’s state of mind, career, work, relationship, you name it, can all change the way a woman handles her pregnant body mind and spirit. Some women naturally enjoy and celebrate pregnancy while others find it very hard to go through.

I think it is so important to hold space for women no matter what their take on their pregnant state is, or how each day presents itself.

Women need support.

I have a few viewpoints on pregnancy. I have taught prenatal yoga since 2005. As a pregnant yogi, I have experienced 2 miscarriages before giving birth to my 2 sons who were conceived naturally, while my sister was pregnant by insemination, lost twins in her 5th month of pregnancy and later gave birth to her two children.

I have watched so many friends trying to get pregnant, some who were ultimately unable to get pregnant, unable to find the right partner, some who tried, age up then finally got pregnant and some who gave up their unborn babies because the time was so wrong, who felt guilty, some who felt deeply isolated throughout their pregnancy and birth and who felt really lonely because families and friends were not near, friends who have miscarried and even one beloved soul sister who got pregnant from an affair during her marriage where she was suffering from neglect and an emotionally unavailable partner. There are also friends who have no interest in having children but are often pressured to explain why or encouraged to - “why not, you should do it!”.

No one knows what a woman goes through during these private journeys. So many women suffer quietly because being pregnant and having a baby is supposed to be the most beautiful time of life (and it for sure can be - but it doesn’t always feel ok).. No one knows exactly what a woman is working through or sitting with but the woman herself. Many are juggling another small child, or two, are older as I was, or working their tails off, this is real life stuff. Then there are those who have a very easy situation and are in the best place in their lives to have an enjoyable experience. I also have noticed a lot of comparison among pregnant women and mothers.

I have watched students who were tall with such tiny bellies who didn’t look very pregnant for much of their pregnancy and some who were short, fuller figured and who carried a lot of amniotic fluid, making their bellies appear quite full.

Pregnant women come in all shapes and sizes, and to be honest for what we go through might not be so zen or yogi like. But the truth is, it is a sensitive time that can really be challenging for most women. Watching your body change is a necessary phase which for some, isn’t such a big deal while for others, makes them feel very vulnerable and sensitive (never overly sensitive - this is impossible, we feel what we feel and there is no rule book or measuring stick for our feelings). .

Women feel better connected, relaxed and supported during pregnancy with yoga and mindfulness practices.

I was a regularly practicing yogini through my first and less so thorugh my second and I can tell you that being on the mat regularly with my first made a difference in my comfort levels overall, especially on an emotional level.

I also worked way too hard on the mat during my first pregnancy, which gave me 4 finger separation (diastase, when belly muscles separate) and my pelvic floor after birth was very weak. The recovery period after 2 cesareans was quite hard for me as in my shoes, I was working quite a lot. It made my recovery longer. I didn not have the support or knowledge I needed at the time and this is what made me fall in love with teaching pregnant moms. To help others to get what they need and to share knowledge that can make all the difference in a woman’s prenatal (ad post natal) experience. This is close to y heart.

Over the years, I have enjoyed pouring all the goodness of the practices into the women I have worked with. It has been a lovely experience providing a safe haven for respite for woman traveling through the journey of pregnancy and beyond. Teaching yoga to moms to be, I must admit, are my all time favorite classes to teach.

I see prenatal yoga from all sides. Having had the experience of being a pregnant woman now with 2 children of my own, teaching prenatal yoga to beautiful moms and now training yoga teachers to share yoga, mindfulness and ceremony from a place of thorough understanding and love, is a unique place to be.

I am looking forward to sharing all I can in our Prenatal Yoga for Wellness YTT soon, which covers practical aspects of teaching prenatal yoga. This is an honest course which teaches ceremony, celebration, and how to effectively hold space for women in all ways, no matter what their pregnant experience brings to the table. You will learn yoga, pranayama and mindfulness techniques that help women through pregnancy with tools for physical aches and pains as well as emotional and mental balancing.

We will stay focused on compassion, teaching them about healthy boundaries, life change acceptance, self care and appreciation, self understanding. Compassion is at the very heart of this nurturing course.

Most mothers sacrifice more than they will ever speak of. If we can better nurture and support the mothers of our world, the whole world benefits.

Even if you have never been pregnant, can’t or don’t want to get pregnant, but are a yoga teacher or wanting to be supportive of pregnant women, or to learn about prenatal yoga for yourself, you are army welcomed to come.

You can fine information on my 20 Hour Prenatal Yoga for Wellness Teacher Training Course, to be held at Jiva Yoga Saigon in September in the link below.

http://bit.ly/JivaYogaSaigon_Prenatal

Namaste,

Suzanne

It's Ok to Let Go

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And often better to.

Do you know how and when it might be the right time to let go? Here is a hint. Anytime you are in a situation that is not healthy for you. Boundaries are a game changer. And detachment is a powerful practice.

How easily can you switch gears when you realize it’s time to? How to free yourself from much of your own suffering? It can be learned. Habits can be set in and that’s what I have learned in regards to my own mind. I have trained to learn this. When I find my head is in a negative place, same rules apply. Notice, and let go. Can’t let go, take a better look. Get right and practice. Detachment is the practice. Letting go is the practice. Filling up on optimism is the practice. Even pessimists and the most challenged can be trained if there is a will, I have seen it time and time again. I know for fact with gentle, whole hearted continuous self inquiry we can learn this process which can be done anytime of the day, all throughout the day as needed. It works.

Every one of us gets stressed. Every one of us wins and loses. We just can’t always win, and we are all the same. We naturally feel great when life is easy and are often riddled with worry and stress when times are hard.

Get to know yourself and pay attention. Wasting energy on what doesn’t serve peace in your life and mind are not going to make you a more peaceful person. I have wasted energy and still do sometimes but am always practicing and making a bee line for anything that can be cleared as often as possible. It is a habit.

Life is so beautiful but can be so challenging too, and having hardships can teach us so much about ourselves and about the value of peace and harmony. Conquering stress and making it through hard things, possibly even being pushed to the limit can show us how strong we really are and how much we are capable of. We might even come out winning more due to the strength we build during difficult times. This would be ideal and this is the way towards making peace, healing ourselves, healing our minds.

One great strength is the ability to let go. To walk away. To know when to shut the door and to move ahead.

If you want to engage in and learn some of the practices I have used to heal myself and recover from crisis and illness, I would love to share with you. I have been practicing and teaching these tools for many years even prior to this traumatic experience and unusually extended period of crisis and I am so thankful for the knowledge of how to heal myself well and really thrive again.

Here I am, feeling on top of the world again most of the time where statistics show the majority of parents who experience what I have been through never truly recover. These practices work. Not one day goes by that I don’t want to get up and live, create and love deeply.. How?

Self Inquiry, Philosophy, Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama (breath). The practices I share as a yoga teacher have saved my own life. I have not only survived, but feel settled as a person at my core with an ongoing positive attitude, living in a state of grace and gratitude every day. The practices I have built and cultivated over so many years are what have always save me and are what take me back to a balanced place in my mind. I have been practicing self inquiry (Svadyaya, “Study of Self) since 1983 and teaching this since 2003. I have seen so many students work themselves out with a little guidance and focused study, until this practice becomes second hand nature.

I have been sharing my work and research for so many years and it feels even more important to me now to assist students in healing and becoming empowered once and for all. Mental health is everything. Deal with your mind and your body will heal too, if this is an area of discomfort and concern for you. It is all connected (or disconnected and needs to be connected).

I am running The Self Settlement Course again at the end of August. I first began running this program in 2010. This course has hit so many nails on the head for my students over the years. If you are in need of healing time, just curious or dissatisfied and ready to deal with your life and your mind, come. I haven’t run this course for 2 years due to life’s circumstances and am happy to be able to get back to doing this work.

Getting control of your own mind is meaningful, a lot cheaper than therapy and so empowering. Not that therapy is a bad idea in heavy times (I have supplemented with talk therapy over the last 2 years). But ultimately, all understanding can only come from our own minds and habitually practicing self acceptance and self understanding is such a solid way to live (realizing when treating ourselves harshly, recognizing quickly, staying aware and being able to shift thoughts and feelings quickly).

It’s easier to do than you might think and these are very important habits for building for your mental health.

https://www.suzannevian.com/the-self-settlement-course

More Power to You.

Namaste,

Suzanne

Memberships & Studio Offerings

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Dear community,

This blog post is to bring up topics surrounding the number of weekly yoga classes we offer at Jiva and pricing for yoga classes in general and more specifically at Jiva Yoga Saigon.

 In our studio, our schedule works really well for some, and not so well for others. Most of us teaching at Jiva guard our personal time and are parents, so we spend most evenings with our families. We have added a few evening classes which will be starting in September (and may offer more later if there is sufficient interest).

Bigger, more commercial studios (like Yoga Works LA or Yoga Pod on Thao Dien) catering to larger groups of students, running several classes a day, can financially operate while charging less. It is great there are these options out there.

LA / NYC / San Francisco drop-ins run around 20 -25 USD.

The average drop in for more upscale studios in Thao Dien run 13 USD a class (300,000 VND and ours are 350,000 VND).  Our drop ins are 15 USD.

We have done the market research (thanks Sabrina!) and while we are not the cheapest place to practice yoga in An Phu, we aren’t so far out.  Our 10 - class pass works out to just over 12 USD for one yoga session. This feels reasonable and we think worth it.

We have a warm community of students and teachers who often know each other by name.

If you are into design and or Iyengar Yoga, we have the most beautiful yoga walls ever. The studio is super nice and was designed by Danish architect Fong Chan Zeuthen of Kaze Interior Designs.

In case you or others want to come by to take a class, if weekday mornings don't work for you but you want to come check us out, starting this September there will be a Monday 5pm class, Friday night 7:30pm Restorative session, as always there is a 10am Saturday sesh and a 3pm Sunday Restorative class starting next month, as well. Yum.

All this being said, one of our main focuses is on training yoga teachers and we were just voted one of 6 Top Yoga Teacher Trainings in all of Asia by Do You Yoga. Watch out for in depth write ups coming soon on Do You, pertaining to our training program. These articles will be coming straight from a student’s perspective We really love what we do! and look forward to hearing what it is like to take part in one of our yoga teacher trainings!

So there is a long history behind Jiva. Our studio used to be called Saigon Yoga and was founded by yours truly in 2003 when I relocated from Southern California to beautiful Vietnam. I set up Vietnam’s first international standard yoga studio. My focus from day one was always on quality and am still referred to as “The Pioneer of Yoga in Vietnam”. It was The Word Magazine or Asia Life Magazine that came up w that one, I don’t remember which but it was slim pickings on the yoga scene here back then!

Yoga s exploding in Vietnam! I have enjoyed watching yoga in Vietnam develop over the last 16 years. There are so many choices there are out there now in great local and expat teachers in the country, with so many studios around.

I recommend checking out different venues, teachers and styles to see what feels best to you and at a budget that suits. There are plenty of choices now so…happy yoga- ing wherever your heart takes you, Saigon Yogis!!!

All my best and lots of love from Jiva Yoga Saigon.

Yoga and Mindfulness, a Way of Life

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To live a lifestyle as we do as yogis ...

…living "the good life", we embrace practices which are so freeing and enjoyable. Some of you may be new to yoga ad to yoga philosophy while others have more or in-depth understanding. To me, yoga philosophy is important and something worth learning more about. 



One of my favorite philosophy practices is called "Santosha". 



In my own experience over many years what I have found is this simple practice brings instant peace. Run it through your intellect heart and life if you will. Transcend the idea or habit of just stretching and strengthening your body on the mat. We can stretch and strengthen our minds, and when we gently work on our inner selves by regularly studying yoga philosophy (and surrounding ourselves with others doing the same), life is filled with more wisdom and magic. 


SO WHAT IS SANTOSHA?

Santosha, sometimes spelled Santosa, is a combination word in Sanskrit, derived from Saṃ (सं, सम्) and Tosha (तोष, तुष्, tuṣh). SaM, means "completely", "altogether" or "entirely", and Tosha, "contentment", "satisfaction", "acceptance", "being comfortable". Combined, the word Santosha means "completely content with, or satisfied with, accepting and comfortable". 

Santosha is referred to as contentment, accepting one's circumstances or the lack of Trsna (तृष्णा, craving) and desiring beyond that which is necessary for one's life. Santosha is as an attitude of contentment, one of understanding and accepting oneself and one's environment and circumstances as they are, a positive spiritual state necessary for optimism and effort to change the future. Santosha is inner contentment, a state of inner peace, contentment as the inner state where, exists a joyful and satisfied mind regardless of one's environment, whether one meets with pleasure or pain, profit or loss, fame or contempt, success or failure, sympathy or hatred. 


I hope you enjoyed reading this and that you will give this helpful practice some attention.

Wishing our community well as we all continue learning these wholesome practices that uplift our interactions, living spaces, environments, families and the world at large. May all be well! 

Love and light, 
Suzanne

Stronger Every day

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The thing I remember most about my teacher training was the feeling of strength and steadiness I felt in myself from training my body and mind day in and out.

The amount of personal growth I experienced changed my life forever and even to this day I see the benefits of that incredible month spent immersed in practice.

It is a huge honor to lead trainees through this journey into the self. It is a beautiful transformation to witness as students explore, heal what needs to be healed and shed old ways of thinking, only to develop new habits and patterns on all levels. They are literally glowing.

I also learn so much from each trainee that crosses my path, as every person is so different and coming to this will knowledge of their own which they share during our time together. Every person who comes brings their own wisdom. It is truly awe inspiring.

I want to thank those who have the courage to step on this path. The effect we are having as yogis globally is for real. We are striving for peace, compassion and understanding. We CAN and we ARE making this world a better place and there is no denying this movement which was once considered a "trend”.

Yoga and meditation are overtaking this world. Because practice makes us feel better, healthier and sane.

What an exciting time to be a yoga teacher.

Wishing everyone well on this incredible journey through life!

Namaste, Suzanne

To find out about our upcoming trainings go to http://bit.ly/JivaYogaSaigon_200hrYTT

12 Reasons to join Jiva Yoga Saigon’s Teacher Training

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Take our Yoga Teacher Training & Give Back to YOURSELF 

1.   Get a handle on your mind.

The most important element in life satisfaction is our mental state. Our training focuses on cultivating a healthy mental state and positive attitude.

 

2.   Get a handle on your body.

Get into the best health you can be in by focusing fully on your body and your physical strength, as you iron out your stuck spots in your body on all levels and in all systems of your body, every single day for 3 weeks.

 

3.   More Self Love & Patience.

Love yourself exactly where you are at. This training focuses on self love, body love, life love, self awareness & self compassion. Find your peace and self love at the deepest core of your being. When you really have this emanating from within, you will be filled with the best vibes and love and light for your students should you choose to teach other people. Good vibes are contagious. Be the change.

 

4.   Establish a daily mindfulness practice.

You won’t get away from this one in our training! This is a huge piece of our training. You will meditate. Every. Single. Day. And you will feel incredible for it. Meditating isn’t all the rage for nothing. It works. It makes us calm and strong.

5.   Understand your asana practice once and for all.

You will gain a SOLID understanding of yoga asana. What works for you, what works for others you teach, how to approach your own practice in an effective way with the highest attention to integrity and presence in each pose.  

6.   Get certified by a school who demands your best.

We take training our students seriously. We have a versted interest in your development and success, you are not a number to us, we want to see you shine and teach well, with confidence. This is not the easiest training although it is within reach to any committed student who comes with an open mind and whole - heartedly to our training. We support every one of our students to the best of our ability.

 

7.   Practical health knowledge – for healing thyself or others.

Over dozens of previous trainings, we have skill. We are a well - established school, founded in 2003 and we have combed over subjects that we feel get the job done for healing bodies and minds efficiently. This course is highly experiential and practical. We cover basic Ayurveda, basic massage, and everything yoga and pranayama related which helps to bring a students body and mind into better balance. In our 200 Hour teacher training, we keep our training simple, deep and thorough. Everyone needs solid ground to build on.

 

8.   Get a handle on your breath.

We have seen countless students who have not mastered their breath! This is a no go in our course. You will master your breath. You will go deep into pranayama and never be the same breather after successfully graduating from this course.

 

9.  Come as you are.

This course is for all students of all abilities who are willing to do the work with a good attitude towards growing and learning. We love our students. We feel everyone can gain from our training experience.

 

10.  Get certified, spread the goodness.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be certified by our school and can be certified by the Worldwide Yoga Alliance, should you choose to. Our biggest concern is your credibility as a teacher and that you are as confident as possible by the time you set out to teach. This of course is as much on you as it is on us, but we do everything in our power to give every student what they need. Many of our students come for personal growth but many have gone on to become successful teachers and servants to humanity.

11. Have a flexible career you can grow anywhere you go.

A career in yoga teaching gives you a beautiful way to earn a living anywhere you live, and to be able to work a schedule that fits into your life.

12. Because you are the best investment you can ever make.

Happiness and freedom of mind are priceless. This course stirs the pot, clears and shoots trainees out into the world feeling stronger and more clear than ever. This training has been developed over many years and just keeps getting better. Our focus is 500% on your personal and professional development.

Wishing you well on your journey & hope to see you in our upcoming Yoga Teacher Training Course.

Jiva Yoga Saigon

 

 

Money in the Bank

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No, not denero. $$$

Every time you get on your mat.

Even time you take a deep breath on purpose.

Every time you sit and quiet your head.

It is like money in the bank.

You NEVER know when you will need to draw on those reserves.

Practice with devotion.

You might need it more than you know one day.

Namaste.

Ohhh Child 😜

Walk in the Rays of the Beautiful Sun

Let nothing stop you from making the most of your world and your

Consider your hardships badges of honor. Let’s grow strong and more beautiful through the tough stuff.

Keep Your Dreams Alive. Make it Happen.

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This beautiful shrine is where local Japanese go to wish for success.

Surrounded by the sea on all four sides, Japan has received many benefits from the sea throughout its history. Japanese people have had a deep faith God, and have prayed for safe fishing and big catches at the shrines.

The "Motosumi Inari Shrine" in Nagato, Yamaguchi is one of such shrines.

Legend says in 1955, a white fox appeared beside a local fisherman named Hitoshi Okumura one night, leaving an oracle. Okumura was told to hold a religioius ceremony for the Shinto spirit as a thank you for their long history of success in fishing, and so he decided to build the shrine.

In addition to prosperity in business, big catches, and safety on the sea, people come to the shrine to pray for many things like good relationships, child blessings, warding off evil and bringing in good luck, wealth, traffic safety, academic success, and wish fulfillment.

Speaking on dreams and success, I woke up this morning with a wish for prosperity and for the sake of fun and pleasure. Not of a place of lack but for what is possible to create and experience in life. Life is beautiful, it is a gift and the world is magnificent.

Yesterday my 11 year old son asked me “why are people and the world so weird?”

Our kids are exposed to a lot of things as they progress along and as a mothers, we can not stop our children’s minds from being influenced. However, we do have the ability to come right in the other side of his mind to challenge, question, inspire and influence.

All I had to say was…

“Let other people be weird and let the world be crazy, we can’t stop this. Let’s be the good ones.”

Keep your side of the street clean. Keep your life clear. Keep your own mind beautiful and that is all you need to focus on. Let the rest of the world be and do as it will. But do good things. Let’s be good human beings and enjoy life.”

His dream right now is to go to Japan (and have a TV lol but this is a conscious choice I have made in not having one in our house! It has been the BEST decision. He is creating and doing amazing things).

Feeling so blessed to have come this far and excited about how far we can go.

Optimism and focus can squash whatever stands in the way. If we can conquer our minds, we are well on our way!

Love and light from crazy Saigon!

Suzanne

5 Benefits of Kids Yoga

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Do yoga with the kids in your life :) It is SO good for them!

1. Increases flexibility and balance

Yoga poses have been shown to build muscle, increase flexibility, and develop balance. Poses are done sitting, standing, or lying down and each pose is designed to focus on strengthening the body in various ways. Variations on yoga poses have been adapted for use in many other physical activities and can be seen anywhere from warm-ups before a sports game to ballet choreography.

2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Yoga blends physical activity with breath work and guided mindful activities to help children separate themselves from feeling stressed or anxious. Deep breathing exercises send signals to the brain telling it to relax. Yoga focuses on the present moment and encourages children to leave their thoughts and worries behind. With a relaxed body and mind children are better able to cope with their emotions, i.e. frustration, patience, sad, angry, excited.

3. Helps to develop concentration and focus

When practicing poses in yoga children must clear their minds and focus on moving their bodies into the pose or through a sequence of poses. Children’s yoga classes often incorporate mindful games, which allows them to build on their focus in a fun and entertaining way. A regular yoga practice will help translate focus from the movements in yoga practice to schoolwork and other activities the child is involved in. Sessions scaffold from the first to the last class, building repetition, patterns, and memory.

4. Creates a Strong Mind-Body Connection

In yoga, kids are encouraged to tune in to their bodies and notice how they really feel in each present moment. They build this connection through simple movements like wiggling their toes. They will learn how their body, mind, and breath all work together to make them feel like their best self both on and off the yoga mat.

5. Encourages a Sense of Self, Community, and Teamwork

Kids yoga activities can be done as individuals or as group exercises. Through yoga they are taught to focus on themselves personally as well as how they contribute to the success of a group or community through partner poses and group poses. Through these activities they build confidence with their practice and who they are as a person. Each child is taught to have an “I can” attitude with poses, and are taught to not give up even if a pose does not come to them easily.

Namaste,

Suzanne

How to Get Grounded. For Kids.

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6 Simple Ways to Feel Healthy on the Inside.

I recently had the privilege of teaching at ABC school in District 7, Phu My Huong. I was so impressed with these kids and their level of honesty, kindness, engagement and mental focus. That class inspired this post by what I see can most benefit our youth making their way through school.

Take Deep Breaths

One hand on belly, one on heart. Breathe in slowly, breathe out slowly. You can calm yourself down anytime by taking 10 slow deep breaths and reminding yourself how important you are in the world. Even if you don't always feel like it, you are important. 

Do Something Nice

Doing something kind for a friend, a family member or a stranger can lift your mood instantly and take the focus off of your troubles. It is a fast way to feel good.

And while you are at it, what can you do that is nice for yourself? What could it be?

Ease Your Neck & Back

Lie on your back and neck may feel achey or tight. 

Lay on your back. Put your feet firm on the floor. Lift your butt up and take your hands under your body, clasped. Push your hips up and take deep breaths. This will feel really good to your back and neck.

Then twist your knees to one side, breathe for a bit & do the other side - same same :)

Reach Out

Everyone has bad days. It can help to speak to a friend or an adult who you trust when you are feeling blue. You don't have to deal with everything all on your own.

If you are feeling down, reach out your hand and you will be surprised at how much people care for you.

ve your back. No one needs friends who aren't supportive. We need friends who stand up for us and who are there for us.

Your People Matter

Surround yourself with solid people who have your back. No one needs friends who are.

It's better to be alone than to be surrounded by meanies. YouIt’s Ok can let go of people who are dangerous to your heart and mind and then build your friend circle up again with people who are kind.

Be kind to yourself and to others.

It’s Ok to Say No

Healthy boundaries make us feel better. If you are tired, rest. If you are not sure about something, you can slow down. If you aren't into something or someone, it's ok to step back. It's ok to say no thank you. Keep your boundaries. Take care of you 

Because YOU MATTER.

May all be emotionally and mentally well. I hope this helps a kid or two.

Love and light,
Suz