Get Your Flow On to Relax

Most of us don’t know how to relax naturally, and it’s something we have to actually practice. In other words, down-regulating the stress response is an acquired capacity. It’s like a muscle: you have to build it over time in order for it to be strong.

During Ann’s Gentle Flow and Slow Flow yoga classes, we practice safe and flowing breath-connected movement, repeating patterns so you can shut your mind off and calm your nervous system down. 

Once we’ve moved the spine in all directions, worked all the major muscle groups, and hopefully lubricated all or most of the joints in the body, we practice “actively relaxing” to stimulate the PNS or parasympathetic nervous system; also known as the “Rest, Digest and Heal” response. 

Why do it? Because great things happen when we are para-sympathetically dominant. Our breath is full, slow, and deep. The digestive system works well. The body can focus on repair, including reduction of inflammation, tissue repair, and hormone production. Subjectively, people feel fully present and alive. Many report feeling a pleasant softness and warmth, perhaps even throughout their bodies. 

Go with the Flow! with Ann this week:

Gentle Flow Yoga – Wednesday at 9:30am YouTube Live

Outdoor Slow Flow Yoga – Thursday at 6pm – Swarthmore

Outdoor Slow Flow Yoga – Saturday at 9:30am – Swarthmore

If you’re practicing at home, please bring pillows, blankets, whatever you have for the best experience during our final relaxation pose. If you’re practicing outdoors, don’t worry, we’ll still make it work!

“The posture of yoga is steady and easy. It is realized by relaxing one’s effort and resting like the cosmic serpent on the waters of infinity.” -Patanjali, Yoga Sutras

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Going with the Flow

One of my very best traits as a human is the ability to harmonize with others (vocally and otherwise!) However, recently I’ve begun to realize that inner harmony is an even greater skill, and definitely one needing honing in me. Balancing my own inner energies requires the skill of awareness on a deep, deep level. Learning to heed the need for rest, and recognize when something is not good for me are two biggies. 

Letting go of the need to do everything, be everywhere at once, and get it all done requires constant effort (or ease, actually.) And then there is cultivating the ability to ask for what I need from others, clearly and compassionately. Setting boundaries has never been easy for me, but now that I realize their importance I’m getting better at it.

When I’m harmonizing on the inside, not pushing myself through pain or low energy to try and “get it all done,” my emotions are calmer and my mind is also more tranquil. It’s then that the harmony of being with others and really listening (without interrupting) – and connecting with that divine flow of life energy that surrounds us every single minute becomes an absolute joy. 

Achieving this state of inner and outer harmony is only possible for me through a very regimented self-care routine. If I stick with my routine, I can really GO WITH THE FLOW so much better. And the type of yoga that is best for me is actually NOT the vigorous vinyasa that I used to do, but a more gentle type that helps me cultivate this constant awareness both on and off the mat. And that’s what I like to teach, too.

I think that’s the great journey of our lives: getting to know and heal ourselves, learning to listen, and striving for balance every single day – both within ourselves and with others around us.

Written by Ann

Yoga for Healthy Aging

Swarthmore Public Library – February 5th 2-3pm – FREE – Join us for a combined lecture and movement session, safe for all bodies. REGISTER HERE.

Age is not a disease. It’s a state to which we aspire. Yet slow-moving age-related changes such as loss of muscle mass, kyphotic posture, and lack of flexibility can leave us feeling frail, off balance, and unable to live as independently.

photo by Ben Zuckerman

Often the very thing that many of these age-related changes react positively to is activity – and the RIGHT activity. And when we make lifestyle changes to counteract the effects of aging, it helps us find a sense of control over what may seem like an overwhelming decline. Yoga is one such activity, found to counteract many age-related changes that reduce your health span.

Whether you’re looking to strengthen bones + muscles or improve flexibility and balance, there is a safe yoga practice for every level of fitness and mobility. While we may not have control over certain aspects of the aging process, we do have control over our lifestyle and activity levels. Beyond the physical postures, the mind/body connection created during yoga helps foster awareness and acceptance towards our aging bodies so we can practice safely and with compassion towards ourselves. 

Ann and her grandmother, Ellie

About the instructor: Ann Grace MacMullan, E-RYT 200, has been teaching yoga to older bodies for almost 5 years. Her oldest student was her grandmother – at age 98, she was one of the most active participants of her chair yoga class! She now teaches a range of ages and mobility levels in her Gentle Yoga, Chair Yoga, and Balance classes in the Wallingford-Swarthmore community.

Student Spotlight: Carol

We feel really strongly that yoga is for everybody, and yet the images of people doing yoga don’t tend to represent our own bodies or those we teach. So we decided to start a new blog series highlighting our own students, in an effort to shine light on regular people doing yoga and what that might look like. Plus, we wanted to learn more about our wonderful students outside of the classroom! Our first spotlight is on Carol, who was kind enough to come into our home so that we could get to know her a little better. Carol is so motivated and consistent in her practice, she inspires all of us to show up!

C is for Carol and Consistency

  • Name: Carol
  • Age: 68
  • How Long Practicing Yoga: 4 years consistently, 20 years sporadically
  • Favorite Pose: So many feel good!
  • Most Challenging Pose: Boat Pose
  • Sun Sign: Pisces
  • Pets: 2 cats, Diva and Misty
  • Favorite Sweet Treat: Dried Fruit
Carol holds her plank pose for 2 minutes every day!

I first met Carol L. in the fall of 2017 while teaching a Hatha Yoga series run by the Wallingford-Swarthmore Community Classes organization. Since then, she has attended roughly 115 yoga classes with me and a few workshops!!

“Compared to most other exercises, yoga is the best for allowing you to move at your own pace and accepting your limitations. It gives the best benefits without stressing joints and muscles. And it helps with self acceptance.”

-Carol L.

Carol gets to the mat about 5 hours a week and on top of that, logs a lot of miles on her treadmill for cardio.

“Yoga just makes me happy. Even thinking about doing yoga makes me happy. I’m more flexible, stronger and my balance has improved. I also have reduced much of my stiffness and back pain. I experience sciatica much less often, and when it does come on, it lasts a much shorter time.   My balance has improved.

-Carol L.

See you soon on the mat, Carol! Stay tuned for more Student Spotlights!

Gentle Yoga – New Series

Gentle Yoga: “Gentle” refers to an attitude of taking exquisite care of ourselves in each moment throughout our classes. We’ll explore a variety of reclining, seated and standing postures and the transitions between those poses, adapted to your level. In addition, we’ll learn more about the limbs of yoga beyond the physical postures, such as meditation and breath-work And we’ll be adding more anatomy to our classes during the months of May and June!

These sessions are accessible for all ages and levels, and blocks and straps are provided to help deepen and achieve poses. Bring your own mat (or borrow one, supplies limited.) Classes meet at Wallingford Presbyterian Church, an exceptional venue with hardwood floors and stained glass windows, and a feeling of sanctuary for all kinds. Class size limited to 35. Either sign up for all 5 sessions, or drop in for $15 to one.

Gentle Yoga Tuesdays -May 7th – June 11th (no class on May 28th) 9-10am / $50 for 5 sessions

$50.00

Gentle Yoga II Thursdays – May 9th -June 6th – 9-10am / $50 for 5 sessions

$50.00

Payment Options:

  • Pay through PayPal or credit card (buttons above):
  • Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145
  • I also accept and prefer Venmo (User: @Ann-MacMullan)

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (EYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

“I have been a grateful student in Ann’s yoga classes for a couple of years. As an older yoga practitioner who has worked with other teachers in the past, I have especially appreciated her non-judgmental and very encouraging approach. Her classes offer increasing challenges for students to stretch their bodies and their repertoire of yoga poses, but always in a compassionate, supportive, and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, her subtle humor and intention to connect personally with her students makes practicing yoga just plain fun. As Ann expands her teaching opportunities, I hope to follow her for as long as I can move my body!” -Judy S.

Be Present: The Gift of Yoga

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Prepare for the holidays by wrapping yourself in the grace and joy of yoga. Our lighthearted yoga sequence is safe for all levels, even total beginners and kids! Combat the winter blues and stress of the holidays by meeting yourself fully on the merry mat. Light refreshments and community connection to follow. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to ABC Strath Haven. Admission is free for ABC students, staff, and host families! Bring your own mat, some extra mats provided.

Saturday December 15th 10:00am – 11:30am Wallingford Presbyterian Church-110 E Brookhaven Rd-$30

In this special winter session, held in Fellowship Hall, we’ll:

  • Practice simple breathing techniques for taming stress and building energy.
  • Fuse breath with movement to achieve a state of balance.
  • Explore the process of staying present during a variety of reclining, seated, and standing postures. Play with the pulse of movement within yoga poses and enjoy extended transitions between poses.
  • Delve into how to navigate moments of resistance we might experience during a yoga class, and find ways to move through potential distractedness, judgment, new physical sensations, or anxiety.
  • Be encouraged to listen to our own needs by turning down the noise of the mind and accepting whatever thought or feeling is in the foreground.

After our yoga practice, feel free to stay and connect with fellow members of the community and enjoy some light refreshments and music. Class size is limited to 35.

To register, email info@teamsunwellness.com and secure your spot. When you pre-register, you’ll have the chance to enter our raffle to win a free spot in your choice of the group sessions scheduled for January! For more information on when those classes meet check out our Wellness Offerings. Two winners will be announced after class. If you have already registered for a group class and you win, you’ll be refunded.

Payment Options:
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card (button below):
  • Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

Gift of Yoga Workshop

50% will be donated to ABC House Strath Haven

$30.00

annAbout the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore and a Strath Haven HS alum, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance.
“Ann is an excellent teacher who knows yoga. More importantly, she is attuned to the abilities of her students. She adapts the practice so that we can safely participate and gain from the experience. It is a true gift.” – Amy S.
About ABC Strath Haven: The mission of A Better Chance Strath Haven is to provide a supportive, nurturing environment for promising, motivated students of color from underserved communities to help them develop personally and academically as they prepare for college. 

Gentle Yoga Winter Session

In our Gentle Flow class, we connect the breath with movement during accessible yoga sequences designed to create balance between mind, body, and spirit. We’ll explore a variety of reclining, seated and standing postures (asana) and the transitions between those poses, adapted to your level. In addition, we’ll learn more about the limbs of yoga beyond asana or the physical postures, such as meditation (dhyana) and breath-work (pranayama.) Props like blocks and straps are sometimes used to help safely attain or deepen a pose. Blocks and straps are provided. Class size limited to 35.

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 1.51.38 PMNo matter your level of experience, you can improve your balance, increase flexibility and strength, all while reducing stress.  All levels welcome!

Tuesdays:  January 8th to February 12th – 9:30am-10:30am
Wallingford Presbyterian Church – Fellowship Hall
110 E Brookhaven Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086
  • 1 Drop in Session = $12
  • 6 sessions = $60
Payment Options:
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card (buttons below):
  • Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

 

WINTER GENTLE YOGA – 6 SESSIONS

$60.00

WINTER GENTLE YOGA – 1 SESSION

$12.00

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

“I have been a grateful student in Ann’s yoga classes for a couple of years. As an older yoga practitioner who has worked with other teachers in the past, I have especially appreciated her non-judgmental and very encouraging approach. Her classes offer increasing challenges for students to stretch their bodies and their repertoire of yoga poses, but always in a compassionate, supportive, and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, her subtle humor and intention to connect personally with her students makes practicing yoga just plain fun. As Ann expands her teaching opportunities, I hope to follow her for as long as I can move my body!” -Judy S.

Post Thanksgiving Gentle Flow

Join us at 12:00pm on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for an all levels Gentle Flow class! We’ll  breathe, stretch, and move to restore precious vitality. This class is safe for all levels: whether you’re a total beginner, haven’t gotten to the mat in a while, or have a regular practice. Show up in whatever state you are in, and be guided through an accessible fun sequence designed to connect mind, body, and spirit.  Blocks and straps are provided, and some extra mats are available as well. $10 to drop in or use your existing class card.

Saturday November 24th – 12:00pm-1:00pm
Wallingford Presbyterian Church – Fellowship Hall
110 E Brookhaven Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086
  • Drop in for $10!
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card using the buttons below
  • Or arrive and pay with Cash

 

Post Thanksgiving Gentle Flow Yoga Class

$10.00

Ann_Jump!About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

“I have been a grateful student in Ann’s yoga classes for a couple of years. I have especially appreciated her non-judgmental and very encouraging approach. Her classes offer increasing challenges for students to stretch their bodies and their repertoire of yoga poses, but always in a compassionate, supportive, and peaceful atmosphere. In addition, her subtle humor and intention to connect personally with her students makes practicing yoga just plain fun. As Ann expands her teaching opportunities, I hope to follow her for as long as I can move my body!” -Judy S.

*Affordable yoga in a supportive community environment*

Saturday Gentle Flow Yoga

In our Gentle Flow class, we connect the breath with movement during accessible yoga sequences designed to create balance between mind, body, and spirit. We’ll explore a variety of reclining, seated and standing postures (asana) and the transitions between those poses, adapted to your level. In addition, we’ll learn more about the limbs of yoga beyond asana or the physical postures, such as meditation (dhyana) and breath-work (pranayama.) Props like blocks and straps are sometimes used to help safely attain or deepen a pose. Blocks and straps are provided. Class size limited to 35.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 4.24.57 PMNo matter your level of experience, you can improve your balance, increase flexibility and strength, all while reducing stress. You may even experience that blissful wholeness after being on the mat for an hour (we sometimes jokingly call this “yoga brain;” a state which explains and excuses any forgetful behavior.) All levels welcome!

Saturdays:  September 29th – November 17th – 9:30am-10:30am
Wallingford Presbyterian Church – Fellowship Hall
110 E Brookhaven Rd, Wallingford, PA 19086
  • 1 Drop in Session = $12
  • 4 Sessions = $40 (come to any 4 of the Saturdays)
  • 8 Sessions = $70 (come to all of the Saturdays)
Payment Options:
  • Pay through PayPal or credit card (buttons below):
  • Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

FALL GENTLE FLOW YOGA – 8 SESSIONS

$70.00

FALL GENTLE FLOW YOGA – 4 SESSIONS

$40.00

FALL GENTLE FLOW YOGA – 1 SESSION

$12.00

CHECK OUT OUR CLASS CARD FALL BUNDLE DEALS! 

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.

“Ann is an excellent yoga instructor and mindfulness mentor. After years of disappointing yoga experiences, Ann has renewed my enthusiasm for the practice of yoga. Her attention to my form and posture is encouraging and instructive. I like her meditative and reassuring instructions during our yoga practice.” -Robyn L.

Gentle Yoga – Summer Class

Create balance between mind, body, and spirit by connecting the breath with slow movement during gentle reclining, seated and standing postures. Calm the mind and focus inward with guided breathing and meditation techniques. Great for increasing flexibility, improving strength and balance, and reducing stress. Bring a yoga mat and an extra large towel. Blocks and straps provided. All levels welcome!

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Tuesdays:  July 10th – August 21st – 9:30am-10:30am 
Swarthmore United Methodist Church – new location!
129 Park Avenue Swarthmore PA 19081 right next to Library
1 Drop in Session = $15 (new option!)
3 Sessions = $30 (come to any 3 of the Tuesdays)
7 Sessions = $60 (come to all of the Tuesdays)
Payment Options:
Pay through PayPal or credit card (buttons below):
Send a check: Ann MacMullan / 1809 S. Bancroft St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

GENTLE YOGA – 1 SESSION – SUMMER

$15.00

GENTLE YOGA – 3 SESSIONS – SUMMER

$30.00

GENTLE YOGA – 7 SESSIONS – SUMMER

$60.00

About the Instructor: Ann MacMullan Jeans, a native of Swarthmore, is a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) and teaches in the Philadelphia area with her company Team Sun Wellness. Ann believes in the healing power of yoga and meditation for everyone, no matter what age, level of fitness, or life circumstance. For more information, email Ann at info@teamsunwellness.com.