30 FREE yoga classes? How do I sign up?

Yoga Farm is proud to present our new offering, featuring 15 weekly classes from 10 different teachers. After years of dreaming and much hard work, we have put together a schedule of wellness classes that you will absolutely love.

New classes start this week at Yoga Farm

We have classes in the morning, we have classes in the evening.
We have yoga that is gentle, we have yoga that is vigorous.
We offer non-yoga practices like Qi Gong and the MELT method.
Our new Friday evening Meditation Happy Hour will get your weekend started on the right foot.

As part of our mission, to bring the benefits of yoga to as many people as possible, we are creating a special promotion so that you can try out all of our classes.

While the launch promotion is over, our ongoing offer for new students is a fantastic deal. You can take all the classes you like for 10 days for just $20. Bring cash or check for $20 to the first class you’d like to try and we’ll register you on the spot. Then, you can sample all of our classes and see which is a match for you!

free yogaFrom September 13-26, all of our classes were completely free.  We may do something like this again, so signup for our mailing list (2-3 X per month) to be the first to know about our promotions and special offers.

Take a look at our online calendar and reservation system, and plan for the classes you’d like to attend. Add them to your calendar and come on over. Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes early for your first class.

Your Grand Opening has arrived, today!

Yoga-Farm-ddietz-2015-3
Yoga Farm’s wellness center, viewed from the gorge the runs next to it

A week ago, the ‘Grand Opening’ of our wellness center occurred, with over 150 neighbors, friends, yogis and the curious stopped out to witness the unveiling of the Yoga Farm’s transformation this spring.

This occasion, for me, was momentous.  (Dictionary.com – adjective – 1. of great or far-reaching importance or consequence)

While I appreciate all of the appreciation, the smiles, delightful food, and inspirational music, it was momentous for me because I saw all of these friends on the threshold of their Grand Opening.

When we are in union with the Supreme Being (God / Divine / Light), or the ultimate principle (limitless joy without beginning, ending, or cause), all of life happens as an endless flow of aligned moments, able to be seen in a larger context.

This may seem abstract, unobtainable even; however millions of people have found that yoga offers a path from confusion to clarity, from restlessness to peace, from darkness to light, from fear of death to remembrance of immortality, from the unreal to the real. (The Matrix Soundtrack – Om Asatoma Sadgamaya)

nature-yoga-quotes-2All of life happens in the now, in the present, and yoga can be your faithful companion, a guide, a signpost, to your real, vulnerable, vibrant, unique, delicious life.

Many of the people I saw at our Grand Opening are in their Grand Opening, the beginning of life awake, conscious, born-again into the eternal now and full of potential.

At Yoga Farm, we have created a welcoming environment for those new to the path, ready to step into the embodiment of who-you-really-are. Won’t you take your first step with us?

Thanks to local photographer Dave Dietz, you can see this, in these many pairs of eyes.

Take a further read: What makes the holistic yoga taught at Yoga Farm different?

Contact us if you’d like to try a class for free!

Opportunity for YOU to co-create community, health and light – a Center for the highest good

yogafarmlogowithvisionFor as long as I can remember, I’ve longed to be part of a community of people living and learning together.

When I moved onto this farm in 2002, I believed that this land was given to us to steward for the good of all.  However the time wasn’t right and I wasn’t ready to live into the vision I was given by my Creator.

3D model of the under-construction yoga barn
3D model of the under-construction yoga barn

Now, I am living my vision: helping people of all Faiths on their path to peace of mind, ease of body and joy of Spirit, by offering group classes and private yoga therapy sessions.  My training and passion is in the scientific path of yoga.  Yoga is a broad word, inclusive of many practices and techniques that assist people in recovering their nature: joy, peace, freedom, kindness, passion and vibrant health.

This past weekend, a group of friends showed up to help me with final preparations for the new space for yoga, in a barn that was born before your Grandfather took his first breath.  Today, four eager contractors started laying floor and setting walls, so the big bold space can be insulated, have a bathroom, kitchen, loft for rest and conversation, and amazing windows overlooking a gorge and waterfall.

Yoga jam space under construction
Yoga practice space under construction

I feel deeply honored to be the steward carrying this dream into reality.  One step at a time: I ready my heart, my body, my spirit and support your heart, your body, and your spirit. I am Gleefully tracking the unfolding merging of all of us into wholeness, family and love: One community, one Spirit, breathing together, growing together, learning together, and healing together.

I’m giving this dream of a yoga and meditation center in a stunning natural setting my all: all my heart, all my mind, all my body, and all my savings are being utilized.

Today, I offer YOU an opportunity to contribute financially to this project, $ that will be put to the highest good.  As this space is for community, it will also come to life by community.   The space is too big for just my yoga practice, and the budget, while being kept reasonable, is also too big for what I’ve saved up.

Won’t you give from your heart today?  This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for, along with me.  Give me a call, text, or email to let me know you are in, so I can confidently push ahead with the electric, insulation, bathroom, and windows. Love and Blessings to you on this auspicious spring day.

607-280-2010  info@YogaFarm.us

Or, jump in now with a donation

p.s. If you strongly resonate with this vision, I am carefully recruiting a Board of Directors and Yoga Teachers of many branches of yoga to fill out the Yoga Farm schedule for summer and fall.  Volunteer opportunities also exist in many areas of farm and center operations if that is the way you’d like to give back to your brothers and sisters.

Wearing the world lightly – you can start today!

A student at Yoga Farm recently offered a testimonial that my classes here help her ‘Wear the world lightly’.  I’ve been thinking about this statement and the inspiration I feel hearing about this benefit. happinessFrom the outside, yoga looks like something done on a mat, in a room with lots of people, involving moving, breathing, stretching, perhaps sweating, often by young-and-fit people.  After some time of practicing this science, many people find something much more valuable resulting from persistent practice:  We wear the world lightly. The Yoga Sutras, an ancient description of the process and outcomes of yoga and meditation, suggests that one of the core benefits of regular meditation practice is contentment.   Here is a quote from Yoga Journal:

Santosha: Contentment

In nearly every translation of Yoga Sutra II.42, santosha is interpreted as the greatest happiness, the underlying joy that cannot be shaken by life’s tough moments, by injustice, hardship, bad luck. “Contentment is really about accepting life as it is,” says Bell. “It’s not about creating perfection. Life will throw whatever it wants at you, and you ultimately have little control. Be welcoming of what you get.”

Wisdom is choosing to cease wanting our situation to be different, accepting things as-they-are.  To know when to work and apply effort, and when to accept-what-is. serenity_prayerI’m reminded of the serenity prayer, attributed to Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), here as published in 1940:

“God, give me Grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

So if you find yourself wishing things were different, with a mind full of complaints, or a body that has persistent aches and pains, or believing family and worldly responsibilities are too much, please know that there is a path to lightness, to freedom through yoga. For me, serenity started on the yoga mat and meditation cushion, years ago. I’ve learned that Grace, Courage and Wisdom can be cultivated, gently, one day at a time. It is possible to learn to wear the world lightly, by choosing when to engage, and knowing when to accept.  You can start this journey with me, growing your seeds of wellness in body and mind at Yoga Farm, starting this week. Our classes are holistic and designed to help all people: young and old, large and small, new and experienced.

How does yoga lead to Freedom? And what’s Love got to do with it?

helomynameisyogaYoga is a path that can lead us to complete personal freedom and unconditional love.  But how?  Is freedom found in doing some poses or sitting and watching the mind whirl in meditation?  And what is freedom really?

free·dom – ˈfrēdəm –noun
  1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.

We are influenced in our actions, thoughts and words by a lifetime of conditioning, beliefs, and habits.  We act as we are supposed to, think they way we always have, and speak words we think come from us.  But as we watch our thoughts and behaviors we realize we are not acting from complete freedom.

Universally, we yearn for so much more, to love without restraint, to speak what is true, to act in accordance with what is best for all, and to have some control over the mind, our greatest ally and fiercest critic.

Bear with me here, I’m going to pull out some scripture.  If you wish, you can replace ‘Lord your God’ in this verse with your word for the Divine, the ineffable, the Spirit-that-moves-in-all-things or with anything else you sense you’d like to love more fully.

In Luke 10 verse 27 in the NIV version of the Bible, Jesus states:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”

In order to Love this fully, we need to be free, without hindrance or restraint in action, word, or thought, don’t you agree? Otherwise our love will be something less than ‘with all…‘.  But how? What does yoga have to do with this?  Is it truly possible to love God, nature, our partner, children, parents, friends with all of our heart and soul and strength and mind?

In the Yoga Sutras, we are given guidelines for yoga practice. Some of them teach us to withdraw the senses into the body, to learn focus our concentration so that we can bring our ‘all‘ to a single effort or feeling or action or yoga pose.  There is a sanskrit term, sthira, commonly translated as ‘steady, comfortable’, but also representing the ideas of vigilance, fortitude, staying present with our experience.  In the practice of yoga, we are given many opportunities to cultivate steadiness.  We practice holding a steady posture, steady breath, steady gaze, and ready smile.

yoga-freedom-indra-deviWhen we keep the body, breath, eyes and expression steady, the mind will also become steady.  They are linked.  Yoga sometimes is translated ‘to yoke’, and when we yoke our attention to the body and breath, the mind comes into the present. It’s like the mind doesn’t want to be left out, and if the body and breath and eyes are held in the present the mind will come along for the experience, instead of being so quick to rush to other sensations outside the body or thoughts of past or future.

The Yoga Sutras are an ancient practice manual collected around 400 years before Christ.  Yoga Sutra 1.13 states: “Effort towards steadiness of mind is practice”.  So we show up for our yoga and meditation every day, applying discipline to our efforts.  After some time of mindful practice: minutes, days, months, or years; our senses will turn inward.  Yoga Sutra 1.29 states: “From this practice, all the obstacles disappear and simultaneously dawns knowledge of the inner self.”

When we practice steadiness of mind, knowledge of the inner self dawns.  With knowledge of the inner self we can listen and operate from the path of the heart, from our soul.  Then we gain the ability to love with all of us, with complete freedom!  Loving our work, our spouse, our God, loving what-is, even if painful, with all of us, becomes possible when we practice yoga and begin to release years of conditioning.

You can start today!  Wherever you are, check out any of the thousands of online resources, or come to the Yoga Farm, and learn with us.  Or start today, with five minutes a day, every day, of quiet meditation, watching the breath, just being you.

Thinking of trying yoga? Here are some of the benefits of regular yoga practice

If you are new to yoga and are thinking of giving it a try, then allow me to give you a brief introduction to the benefits of yoga.  According to a recent study by Yoga Journal – more than 20 million Americans practice yoga.  Wow!  You are in good company.

Almost half of that number identified themselves as beginners, and the top reasons cited for practicing yoga were: flexibility, general conditioning, stress relief, improve health, and physical fitness.

If you talk to seasoned practitioners, the list of attributed benefits  gets much longer.  Here are some evidence-based claims to what yoga can do for you:

Benefits of Regular Yoga Practice
Benefits of Regular Yoga Practice
  • Yoga teaches the frantic mind to settle and find peace
  • Yoga helps the body to heal itself by building physical confidence and emotional well-being
  • Yoga removes scattered energy and replaces depleted energy
  • Yoga keeps the body including its internal systems toned and in good working order
  • Yoga helps to slow down, center, and get the most out of each day
  • Yoga stretches and strengthens muscles, opens joints, and loosens connective tissue
  • Yoga helps us learn to tune out the distractions of life
  • Yoga teaches us to listen to how we feel – physically, emotionally and mentally
  • Yoga develops concentration
  • Yoga helps us experience self-fulfillment and joy
  • Yoga is a great stress-buster
  • Yoga increases disease resistance
  • Yoga meditation calms the racing thoughts and helps us master our own mind
  • Yoga teaches us how to react to our circumstances with precision and thoughtfulness
  • Yoga promotes whole body fitness
  • Yoga works all muscles in the body – not just a few isolated groups
  • Yoga generates internal healing power
  • Yoga aids circulation, digestion, respiration and reproduction
  • Yoga tones our organs, improves posture, frees breathing and detoxifies the body

OK whew I’ll stop before I starting making outrageous claims.  This is a subjective list, from personal experience, research, and publications.  Your results may vary.

At The Yoga Farm – we specialize in introducing people to yoga.  We LOVE introducing people to yoga.  We take a gentle, easy, measured approach and help people grasp the basics of yoga in styles and pace that match their body types, age and fitness before moving on to more challenging physical yoga or more disciplined meditation yoga.

If you are getting on in years, have back, neck or hip pain, are carrying a few extra pounds, haven’t exercised in quite some time, or just like to take the easy road to wellness, take a peek at our Easy, Light and Fun Yoga.

If you are fit, full of energy, and looking for a workout, try our Energizing Flow Yoga.

For those people with special needs, chronic physical issues, or who don’t wish to be in a (small) group class, you can sign up for our Private Yoga Therapy Sessions for one-on-one time.

Why not give it a try?  You might just like it here.

And though I walk through the valley of the shadow of life…

Lately I have been unwinding some long-held pain, darkness, suffering, and feeling them vividly as I let them go.  I realize it may be popular in some circles, including among practitioners of yoga, to be and to project that ‘it’s all good’.  I’ve spent many years hoping to, pretending to, looking like, ‘It’s all good’.  And, I truly am ‘all good’, but not in the way I thought.

Living a life in a good way, in a good light, necessitates that we also are willing to embrace the part of life that is hidden away in shadows, for with light comes shadows, and the brighter the light the darker are the shadows.   Some of us have shadows from sexual or physical abuse in our personal history; some of us have gone many rounds with addictions: to food, sex, alcohol, pot, hard drugs, painkillers, love, etc.  Most of us have had and have lost romantic relationships, and are rebuilding our self-esteem and self-love.   We sometimes create shame and fear and confusion from our experiences.  All of these experiences and many more can create darkness, shadows, fear in our lives that in turn can create problems for us.

shadowsFor each of us, as we proceed down the path of life, there comes a time when these shadows act like a tether, holding us back from our true joyous nature, holding us back from serving others, holding us back from being our best. As long as we ignore or repress our personal struggles, challenges and setbacks, they will lie there, festering, patiently waiting for a chance to reveal the lesson that they have for us, again and again, until we ‘get it’.

Recently, I’ve seen some of those items in the list above come to the surface for me, and while it felt pretty terrible, or terrifying, at the time, I’m here to share that it is WORTH IT, and to reveal the trigger that opened those caskets of old, putrefying dark areas of my life for permanent resolution.

For me, my recent healing process actually began years ago with a willingness, eagerness perhaps, to clear myself, to prepare and offer myself to a life of service.  This sounded kind of grand, romantic even.  I pictured the service work of Saints like Mother Theresa: happy helped people, no smell, no death, no suffering.  So I smiled broadly and signed up: ‘Use me – let me be the light’ I whispered in numerous prayers to my maker.

I’ve spent years in partial-healing cycles now: emerging like a butterfly from a chrysalis, seeing the sunlight and pretty flowers, saying ‘hi’ to people in my vicinity, only to have my unresolved shadows creep in and sabotage my initiatives.  I would then back away, perhaps indulge in a vice or distraction for a day or a week or longer; retreat back to the cocoon, hide, sleep.  Time would pass, and again I’d feel the urge to emerge, to reach out for my potential, offer to serve, and the miracle would happen again, on cue: I am transformed!  Each time, however, unaddressed shadows would eventually overshadow or undermine my good efforts and positive thinking.

2014-02-26-ThePowerOfIntentionIn fall 2014, I engaged a life coach, who helped me to find and firm my intention.  This made all the different for me and my repetitive cycles of pleasure and pain.  An intention is like the tip of an arrow, fired truly towards a target, opening the way for what follows.  Knowing my intention for my inner life and outer work gave me a focus, helped spur me into massive action, and, unbeknownst to me at the time, triggered my walk through the valley of the shadow of life.

See, we can’t fly when tethered, and if we don’t free ourselves from what is holding us back, we will just cruise around in circles, thinking we are getting somewhere because we are in motion, in flight.

With the help of my coach (ask me if you want to know who can help you in this way), my intention evolved, shifted, as I learned the art of listening to my heart.  Part of my intention is ‘lightheartedness’.  You know, that joy that children have?  That you have experienced?  A warm spring day, a kiss from a loved one, spontaneous laughter for no reason at all?  I decided that I’d like to be clear of seriousness, of frowning for no good reason, of being weighed down by all my ‘shoulds’ and by criticisms of others that jump unbidden to mind, by my stories, by my beliefs as life trudges along.  Why am I trudging when I know I can fly?

As it turns out, the Universe, God, Divine, Goddess, the un-namable and un-knowable Force of life, actively supports our heart’s true intentions.  It’s uncanny, how we can track the influence of people, nature, animals, and dreams when we know what we really want.  (hint – learn about symbolic tracking).  And, in order for me to feel this natural, easy, lightheartedness, which I determined I WANTED, I had to take a walk through the valley of the shadow of life, embrace my past, look into my hidden beliefs, and accept all of myself.

handsbutterflyThe darkest part of night is just before dawn, and with a quality called Faith (noun – complete trust or confidence in someone or something) ready to carry me through till the dawn of my intentional way of being in life, I finally faced my fears.  I walked through my own shadows; I embraced my addictions as my finest teachers; I danced with the darkness, I humbly requested understanding.

I accepted that I created these situations; that I called in these lessons so that I could have the opportunity to learn this lesson, right now.  I firmed my resolve to stay in it until the light returned. I prayed, I practiced my mindfulness techniques, meditation and yoga.  There were times that tested me, and I cried tears of frustration and futility.  I felt like the weakest most useless part of Creation.  I reached out to friends, to family.  I was heard, and seen.  I surrendered completely.   I accepted myself just as I am, including all my darkness, shadows, questionable deeds and addictive tendencies.  I didn’t die, my friends didn’t desert me, I didn’t fall into a spiral of depression, and I didn’t hide in alcohol or drugs.

Then, the butterfly that is my true nature emerged, untethered, flew upward toward the sun, faithfully casting a shadow over the land I travelled, and now I fly FREE.  Won’t you embrace all of you and join me in the sky, flying free as is meant to be?  The air is great and the view can’t be beat.

— ChrisAnanda 1/1/15

Lansing Star News: Yoga Farm Brings Yoga To Everyone Else

The name of one of the beginner classes is telling: ‘Easy, Light and Fun Yoga’.  The class aims to make yoga accessible to anyone. Yoga Farm owner Christopher Grant says that yoga can be accessible to anyone, which he calls ‘yoga for everyone else.’  He says that his down to earth style brings yoga to people who wouldn’t normally practice it.

“It’s a simplified version of effective practices,” he says.  “It’s actually very effective.  It’s not impossible postures and hard work for two hours.  We open the body and clear out stale energy, then let the body settle and have a short meditation.  People go away with big smiles on their faces.  You don’t have to be a flexible twenty-something for most of the classes I offer here.  Most of the yoga is very simple.  It’s really quite fun.”

Read entire article at Lansing Star website

 

 

Yoga Farm Feedback

We are constantly striving to improve our yoga classes and private yoga sessions  If you have been here for a session, please offer your feedback so we can be the best we can be. If you’d like to suggest other types of classes or class times that you would participate in, please let us know below.  Thank you 🙂

NEWS: Lansing Yoga Farm Offers Gentler Practice

ithaca.comlogo

By Chris Hooker  Originally Posted: Saturday, November 29, 2014

His new studio, Yoga Farm, which has been up and running full-time for the last two weeks, is quite literally a yoga studio on a farm. Located at 404 Conlon Road in Lansing, the rebooted Indian chimney and alpaca farm is home to the small barn-turned-studio where Grant teaches 11 classes a week. Many of those classes are built around the idea of “yoga for everyone.”

Lansing_Yoga_Farm_Offers_Gentler_Practice_-_Ithaca_Times___NewsGrant said that when he first got started in studying yoga, he saw that there wasn’t a lot of it offered for the first timers.

“I was doing business and doing jobs, and I noticed that people are increasingly stressed out, fatigued and weary,” said Grant. “I started tying that together and realized that with all the studying that I’ve done, I could put together an offering for the average person. So what came through for me about four years ago, when I first started teaching, was the idea of yoga for everyone else.”

Grant says that what sets his studio a part is the intimacy of it. Class sizes are capped at 10 people, meaning that each student gets individual attention and personalized motions.

“It’s designed for people who are not very flexible, not very fit,” said Grant. “People who don’t have a lot of experience. But fundamentally, it’s all the same. The emphasis is on people who really need this, who aren’t practicing. A lot of yoga studios are aiming for the flexible 20-somethings who love yoga. But this, my passion, is to bring it to people who just don’t have access to that.”

Grant said he has been studying yoga for about 20 years and first got into it because he was looking for something that would help him “control the mind.” “I felt a little bit crazy, a little bit cuckoo in the head,” he said. “So I started down this path.”

He turned the little barn on his farm into a studio in July, offering one class. But then, two weeks ago, he decided to go for it. Now, he’s a one third yoga teacher, one third yoga promoter, and one third farmer.

His studio offers evening classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, and morning classes Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Six of those are the beginner classes, and the rest range from intense power yoga to relaxed yoga for recovery, a style that is designed towards those going through treatment for addiction.

“My unique proposition here is that I’ve brought a form of yoga that is more accessible and easier for people,” said Grant. “I’ve created a class structure that targets middle aged or older, people who are overweight. A lot of people come to me with injuries. … There are a lot of people who could receive the benefits of yoga who aren’t able to do a high intensity fitness style yoga. I call one of the classes Easy, Light and Fun yoga. It’s very simple and an introduction to basic yoga. We stretch, we open up the body, we loosen up the neck and shoulders, we shake the stress out. A little meditation to calm the mind and people walk away with a gentle smile on their face.”

With offering a variety of classes, Grant says the goal is to have people move up into higher ranges of difficulty if possible. But he also knows that some people aren’t physically capable of doing that, which is another part of the plan at Yoga Farm.

If someone can run, dance, and shimmy around, they can move forward,” said Grant. “But then there is a woman who comes to class regularly, who is 75 years old. She’s had two hip replacements. She’s not going to move into power yoga. She’s just not. But this is a place where she can come and I can adjust and modify everything for her ability. It’s about acceptance, and letting people accept their body the way it is. If you are 70 years old, injured, and sick, you aren’t going return to the vibrancy of your youth. It’s more about acceptance, having patience with yourself, and moving into a place where you can be okay with what’s coming up against you.”

For more information on Yoga Farm, included a class schedule and pricing options, visit www.yogafarm.us.