Why 108?

10707013_924351350912559_1751746405_nEver done 108 sun salutations during a yoga class? Or wondered why there are traditionally 108 beads on a mala?The number 108 is auspicious and spiritually significant in many traditions. Here’s a few reasons why the number is so magical…

Heart Chakra: Chakras are the intersections of energy lines in the body, and there are said to be a total of 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. One of them, sushumna leads to the crown chakra, and is said to be the path to self-realization.

Upanishads: It is believed that there are 108 Upanishads, texts of wisdom from the ancient sages.

Desires: There are said to 108 earthly desires.

Time: Some say there are 108 feelings, 36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and the 36 related to the future.

Planets and Houses: In astrology, there are 12 houses and 9 planets. 12 times 9 equals 108.

Goddess names: There are said to be 108 Indian goddess names.

Sun and Earth: The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance from the Sun to the Earth is 108 times the diameter of the Sun.

Sanskrit alphabet: There are 54 letters in the Sanskrit alphabet. Each has masculine and feminine, shiva and shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

Chemistry: Interestingly, there are about 115 elements known on the periodic table of the elements. Most of those, around or higher than the number 100 only exist in the laboratory, and some for only thousandths of a second. The number that naturally exist on Earth is around 100.

Astrology: There are 12 constellations, and 9 arc segments called namshas or chandrakalas. 9 times 12 equals 108. Chandra is moon, and kalas are the divisions within a whole.

Breath: Tantra estimates the average number of breaths per day at 21,600, of which 10,800 are solar energy, and 10,800 are lunar energy. Multiplying 108 by 100 is 10,800. Multiplying 2 x 10,800 equals 21,600.

 

4 Natural Ways to Boost your Energy

923815_953524334663153_482527648_nWe’ve all experienced that point in the day when you just want to crawl under cozy blankets or at least have a quick cat nap, but a million errands have your name written all over them. I love naps so I’ll totally get 6 or less hours of sleep and mid day I’m paying for it if I don’t get a nap in. When I feel my body wanting to shut down here are my four favorite things to do to rev up my engine and finish my day strong:

1. Find a hydration station. Most of the time when you feel low on energy it’s because you’re dehydrated. Next time you’re feeling low energy before you grab a cappuccino, drink a quart of water. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you feel. Another great way to make sure your energy is always up throughout the day is to schedule your water breaks. That’s right! Put them in your phone like appointments every 4 hours and you’ll stay well hydrated throughout your day. I like setting my water breaks for 8am 12am 4pm 8pm and I always have the most energy and look my best when I’m well hydrated.

2. Grab Fast Fruits. Let’s say you’ve hit your water breaks but you just haven’t had time to get a good meal in and the energy tank is on empty. The second best thing to rev up your energy is fruit. If you’re a little emotional and feel low there’s nothing like the color, smell, and juiciness of fruit to boost you back to your bright and beautiful self. I love tangerines, pineapple, and bananas. Try keeping a fruit bag in the car of apples, oranges and bananas or store strawberries, pineapple, or watermelon in the fridge for a fast energy boost.

3. Dance. I know you think I’m joking but it’s one of my favorite ways to boost my energy. When I’m in the car all by myself and the traffic isn’t moving I just turn my music up and sing out loud to my favorite artist. If you’re in the office try going over to your co-worker and starting the electric slide (If you don’t know how to do the electric side please stop life now and learn…you’ll thank me later.) Dancing increases circulation and if you’re not that good your laughter will boost your energy as well so you have a win win situation.

 4. Workout in the morning. Studies have shown that working out in the morning burns more calories and increases your heart rate for the rest of the day. You can toss in your favorite workout video, go for a walk around the neighborhood or hit the gym. No matter what you choose you’ll have more energy for the rest of your day if you warm up your engine in the morning.

MG_0024column-150x150Koya Webb is an internationally recognized holistic health and wellness coach, author, motivational speaker, and professional fitness model who is helping revolutionize raw/vegan cuisine, yoga and the holistic living landscape.

Website: www.koyawebb.com 

Instagram: @koyawebb

Facebook: Koya Webb

Finding Bliss in Bali, Kundalini Style

wanderlustmalaI just recently was lucky enough to travel to Bali with my boyfriend for three weeks. In answer to your question, yes it was as dreamy as it sounds. Prior to jetting off, my mind was filled with the thoughts of beaches, pristine rice fields and breezy afternoons spent meditating (think, Julia Roberts, Eat Pray Love). Bali most certainly did not disappoint and I know with certainty that it is a place I will have to visit again in my life.

In my research leading up to the trip, it became clear that checking out a yoga class while in Bali was a must. Bali is the home to many renowned yoga teachers, schools and retreats. My boyfriend and I splurged and spent two nights at the gorgeous, Desa Seni Eco Village. Desa Seni is a popular spot for tourists and locals to enjoy organic meals, relax in authentic Balinese cottages and of course, practice yoga.

I carefully studied the yoga schedule, and decided to try a class I was not as familiar with. While home in Vancouver, I love a sweaty Vinyasa Flow or Hot class. I have only practiced Kundalini once, so decided Bali would be the place I would learn more about this form of yoga. Despite being intimidated by a sea of experienced yogis, I joined them for Kundalini on a beautiful Bali morning.

desaseni1Before entering into practice, our instructor gave us a brief introduction to Kundalini. This tiny, tanned, glowing yogi explained that Kundalini practice involves repeated movements and chants with the intention of awakening and strengthening the spiritual and physical body. She said that “if you aren’t feeling some sort of discomfort during your practice, you are probably doing something wrong.”

This discomfort kicked in almost immediately as I bumbled through chants (note to self: learn Sanskrit) and felt my arms nearly light on fire as we moved them up and down, in circles and every other which way for minutes on end. In addition to warning us of the potential for pain, our instructor explained that some people claim to experience a unique sense of euphoria during and after Kundalini practice.

As we moved towards the end of class, something funny happened. While chanting (I learned to fake it) and pushing my body through repetitive, taxing motions, I felt an energy buzzing through myself and the yogis around me. The more I leaned into the discomfort, the more exhilarated I felt after the posture was over. I left that class feeling amazing and alive.

desaseni4The post-Kundalini bliss lasted a few days and over that time I began to think about the parallels between this practice of yoga and travel itself. Like Kundalini, travel involves discomfort, uncertainty and sometimes pain. I experienced mind-numbing jet lag, was pummelled by a wave while relaxing on the beach and learned the hard way that my stomach and Indonesian pizza are not friends.

But, as I worked through these travel woes I also felt near perfect moments like watching the sunset on Lombok (an island off Bali), swimming in a pool, in our private pool with my lovely man and seeing countless Balinese people greet me with some of the most genuine smiles I’ve ever seen. These moments and my post-Kundalini endorphins would not have felt the same without enduring some discomfort beforehand.

These feelings of bliss may not always require some prior struggle, but in my experience they often do. Whether it is in travel, your yoga practice, or life in general, the good can sometimes come with some struggle. I wore my Wanderlust Mala, throughout my trip in Bali. Whenever I look at it, I am reminded of this beautiful contradiction. You don’t need to travel to Bali to experience this. Embrace the discomfort of a new job, yoga class (I highly recommend Kundalini!), or whatever feels foreign or scary to you. I guarantee you will get a least a little bliss out of it.

Liz works in Digital Engagement at lululemon athletica.  Books are her one true love, with Pinterest as a close second. Expressing her thoughts and wisdom through writing is what lights her up. Her goal is to one day work as a freelance writer. See what she is up to on Instagram, @lady__lizz. ?

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How to Establish a Home Yoga Practice

yoga1 - Version 2What is a home yoga practice? Basically, it is committing to practicing yoga outside of the studio, i.e. on your own. One of the ‘hazards’ of being a yoga instructor is that I make it to class on my own way less than I did before simply out of lack of time. It is tough! Getting my butt to class has been a personal struggle since my teaching journey began, however it is imperative for my craft that I continue in progressing my own skills. Hence, the necessity of a home practice. Likewise, even if you are not an instructor and instead are a regular at the local yoga studio, establishing a routine at home will develop your practice faster and fulfill you on a deeper level than without one.

 One of the greatest complications in developing a home practice is the problem of distractions. I have three boys aged 7, 10 and almost 12, and believe me when I say that my house is crowded, chaotic, rambunctious, disruptive, frenzied and so un-like a yoga studio. From the outside it seems impossible place to find peace at home, let alone practice yoga. But I do it. I do it because it helps me as a woman, a mother and a wife. Sometimes I am on my mat 30 minutes, sometimes it’s five. But getting there restores a sense of determination when I need it, energy when I require it, and peace when I crave it. Some days I work on advanced postures I am trying to learn, some days I do repetitive Sun Salutations and other days I literally only lay in child’s pose. The goal is to get there. Here’s a short list of things I do that may help you create a home practice of your own.

1. Leave your mat out. I personally leave my mat out in the middle of the living room floor (unless my in laws are coming over). The boys walk all over it, my dog likes to nap on it for some reason and sometimes it gets pretty dirty. But leaving it out reminds me to get there. Leaving it out also gently reassures me that it is there for me when I need it. All which help me practice more often out of sheer frequency. Out of sight out of mind unfortunately rings true.. so keep your mat out!

2. Own headphones. Invest in a good pair! If you are a mommy, you know there are days that the noise decibel level inside is too much to bear and there are days your stress level can be at its peak. This is the time to plug in your headphones, put on a song that speaks to you (for me that is Jimi Hendrix, ‘Red House’), and do a few sun salutations. Maybe just breathe and sit in child’s pose. No matter what is going on around you, headphones will help you tune out the noise and take a few moments to yourself to center and recharge. You will feel better after a few minutes, I promise!

3. Ignore everything else going on. Barring an accident that draws blood, the kids will survive without your attention for ten minutes. The laundry, dishes, or checking Facebook can wait, you can DVR or pause the television, and your bedtime can be postponed a half hour. See suggestion #2 above (headphones), tune out the rest and focus on giving your practice your full attention. I use this tactic when I need a few minutes (a mommy time out if you will), and now when I am on the mat, my boys know that I will not answer any questions for the most part. It is my time.

4. Don’t worry about a plan. There are days I get on my mat and I stay in down dog for a long time before I decide where to go next. Other days, I am able to move between several poses without thinking, and even other days the creative juices are flowing and I am able to make up a series to teach for my next class. The point to remember is that it doesn’t matter. You don’t need a plan at all! That being said, if you are a person that needs structure, then start with a specific set of poses or try a internet class. I often take a class on YogaGlo to revive when I need to find new inspirations. Finding your way and doing it is more important than what you do.

 5. Establish a routine time, or don’t. What I mean by this is take into consideration the type of person you are when developing your home practice. Are you the type of person that if you set an alarm you are more likely to follow through, or are you a person that is better if you leisurely find your way to the mat during the week. For me, I practice whenever the mood strikes me, and since I keep my mat out, I can fold a few shirts in a load of laundry, turn around and practice five kick ups, and then finish folding the laundry and somehow it just works for me. For someone else, they may never make it to the mat unless they designate a specific time for it. So know yourself, and plan accordingly.

 6. Practice with the Seasons. Think outside the box! Is the sun shining? Move outside! Take a few vinyasas in the grass and get a tan while holding warrior 2!  Snowing perhaps? Practice by the fireplace! (not too close of course!) Full moon? Bring out your cushion and meditate on the back porch. Connecting the time of year, time of day and weather to your practice can help you feel a deeper connection to yourself. Plus it is fun and mixes it up! No one said you have to do yoga exactly the same way every time! You can also for the most part do yoga anywhere! Next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store- smile and practice tree pose. Forget the rules!

 7. Meditate. Yoga is not just about the asanas. The physical aspect is only one part of it. There actually is something called the ‘8 limbs of yoga’ which if you delve into yoga more deeply you can learn about, but getting back to the point, taking time to give your mind a break is a highly effective means to centering yourself as a person, and can enhance your yoga practice infinitely.

 8. Be patient with yourself. We all have jobs, long lists of responsibilities and different hats to wear. It is tough to make time for yourself and your practice in some part, because it can seem that you are being selfish to put aside all the things that need to be done to play on the mat. However, believe me when I tell you that your ‘self’ needs it! All of those things on the ‘to do’ list will still be there, the difference is, you will be better equipped to handle them.

I don’t always get on my mat.. but when I do, I always feel better. Stay thirsty my friends! 😉

IMG_8831Tiffani Shipman graduated from University of Oklahoma with degrees in Psychology and Sociology, received her RYT200 through Tiffany Cruikshank Yoga Medicine, and is currently studying Acupuncture, Holistic Therapy and Sports Medicine. She is a contributor to Misfit Yoga and Wellness and you can also find her blog, yoga schedule and more at www.tiffanishipman.com When she isn’t studying her craft or teaching yoga, you’ll find her playing practical jokes on her friends and family, restoring old cars, baking cupcakes, hula hooping, or enjoying a beer in the backyard. She resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband and three boys.

6 Mantras to Repeat when you Need to Let Go

10706747_768029876587892_254045983_nIn the past few years I have had the really rad experience of becoming a yoga teacher. I have gone from chugging 5 diet sodas a day to chugging my veggies each morning. I have learned Sanskrit words for poses and been to a few chanting festivals. Kirtans, tattoos, loving soul sisters walking the same walk, mala beads, out of body experiences, meditation, opening a studio and been in step with LOVE (always).

Here’s what I’ve learned through all my readings, teacher trainings, workshops and teaching/practicing from the mat: we are all on a similar journey. Our paths may not be the same and our lives will look entirely different, but deep inside we are all walking the same walk. It’s a simple mantra that puts itself on replay whenever we need it most: more love, less bullshit. It’s as simple as that.

All of us are looking to let go and release that which no longer serves us in order to step into our path, into greatness and into a deeper connection of love. Today I want to share with you 8 mantras for letting go in order to help you let go and step into that greatness.

1. Ishvara Pranidhana – This mantra is my FAVORITE. As one of the yoga sutras, this is my constant connection to the divine (and my tattoo). Ishvara means divine, God, universe, higher power. It is blind faith, surrender and trust that no matter where we are right now, it is exactly where we are supposed to be. It’s a love and an acceptance. It’s the truest amount of trust you can put into yourself and the universe. Repeat this mantra as you count your rudruksha beads or place it as your intention at the beginning of a Prana Flow class.

2. Om Shanti – Om Shanti is more than one of those yogic greetings that you see at the bottom of every yoga teachers email, it’s an intense and beautiful mantra with a meaning of peace. I often tell my students that om “simply means creation” but it is so much deeper than that. It may even stem from the big bang theory when the world exploded into itself and was created the vibration of OM. It is the all encompassing idea that we are all connected. Shanti means peace and in combining these two words together we are able to wish for peace and love to all beings. By wishing peace for all you are including yourself and allowing anything that no longer serves you to leave you immediately. Chant this with your favorite incense as you relax before bed.

3. Om Gum Ganapateyi Namaha – This mantras translation is to release obstacles. It is a call or a devotion to Ganesha, one of the most popular deities. Ganesha is the remover of obstacles and by using this mantra in your meditation, it is helping you to let go of that which is blocking your path. And do you want to know something extra tricky? Sometimes Ganesha PUTS the obstacles there for us to maneuver around, the idea that wherever we are is EXACTLY where we are supposed to be is always present. Sometimes we need to work around things and learn the lesson before we can fully move on into grace.

4. Lokah Samasta Sucinho Bavantu – May all beings be peaceful and free. This mantra allows us to release jealousy, anger and any negative feelings to make way for peace for all. Chant this whenever you need a boost. Sometimes chanting for not only ourselves, but for others can give us the lightest of intentions and the biggest opening in our hearts.

5. Om Shrim Maha Laksmeyi Namaha – Lakshmi is the goddess of good fortune and wealth. This chant is for abundance, so if you’re needing to let go or release any money blocks this would be the perfect mantra for you. I often grab my citrine quartz as I chant this mantra and begin to release anything that is blocking me from receiving abundance.

6. Om Namah Shivia – I honor the divinity within me. This mantra is one of the simplest and yet most complex of mantras. It allows you the opportunity to accept yourself where you are today. It allows you to let go into the knowing that you are enough, you are perfect and you are divine. Honor and love yourself, always.

This week I hope you hold onto one of these mantras that resonates with your spirit. As with all things boho babe and yogi lifestyle, you get to choose which one you’re connected to and hold onto it for as long as you need. Whenever you need a refresher, come back here and check these mantras out to infuse your malas with more love.

1157699_383157768473367_247012539_n-199x300-150x150Jenny Ravikumar is the owner and a yoga instructor at Barefoot Yoga Shala.

Twitter: @Jennyravikumar
Instagram: @Jennyravikumar

What’s my Purpose? 5 Ways to Align with your Destiny

photoAh, it’s that big question that enters our mind at some point in life! What’s my purpose here on this planet, why am I here, what am I supposed to do, and where do I find the answers? Never fear, fear will only take you further from your true calling! Many things in life seem daunting and overwhelming. Particularly trying to figure out what it is that were meant to truly do or be. However, part of our task while were here is to seek the answers, explore life and all its many facets. So how do we begin the journey and discover our purpose rather thansulking in the shadows? Here are 5 suggestions for you to connect to your callingand align with your destiny.

1. In stillness we receive. Take some time to become quiet whether it be through meditation, sitting in nature, or simply lying down and breathing in deeply until a feeling of deep calm washes over your entire being. These are the moments when we can truly and deeply connect to what our deepest desires are and to hear ourselves clearly. When we remove all the extraneous noise, we can hear our true nature calling us into action!

2. When your out and about exploring life, when your interacting with others, when your alone and have a complete and total feeling of contentment. Pay attention to these moments. Most likely your sensing something deeper than you realize. These moments are like tiny seeds being planted for future growth. All of the tiny little moments that take your breath away, send shivers through your body, make your heart skip a beat, and remind you that life is magical. You are aligning with your destiny in these moments

3. Getting very clear on your vision. Something that makes your heart sing, that you have a deep passion for, and that you truly without a doubt whole heartedly believe in!

4. Know that your right where you need to be for the lessons to come through. Most likely what your experiencing is something that you will be teaching and sharing in the future. Obstacles are meant to teach us, to build us, and to show us how to be more fluid in life. All of these lessons are meant to be lived in order for you to understand them and connect to what your purpose is.

5. Allow yourself to evolve, to be of service without any expectations from anyone, align with your higher self through service and be love! When you know what your life’s work is you’ll have a feeling of alignment with self and others. You will fall completely and madly in love with what you do and this will ripple out into the world! You will know 100% what your purpose is because it will show up as a calling or highest purpose. Everyone of us has a higher purpose or calling in life. And everyone has a beautiful talent or service to share with the world. You will know when the heart sings loudly and all else will make way for your destiny to unfold and be revealed! Enjoy the ride!

Costa Rica - 11Angel Lucia ERYT500, CHHC, RYS200, LMT
I have been teaching yoga and guiding students deeper into their own mysteries for the past 17. I run a successful yoga studio where coaching clients on holistic health and nutrition, training and mentoring teachers, and leading worldwide yoga retreats and workshops absolutely tickles my soul. Also an avid meditator, spirit junkie, and lover of hanging out deep in the woods and quietly listening to the sounds around. When I’m not in my studio I can be found strolling in nature, or relaxing with my best friend (hubby), dog, and cat! Oh yeah, and I love really good organic dark chocolate with sea salt, hanging with great friends, and Sunday bloody mary’s….just in case you were wondering! Lets surf life’s waves together! Connect with me!

Website: www.angelluciayoga.com
Facebook: AngelLuciaYoga
Instagram: @yogalovevibes

7 Great Reasons to Do Yoga in the Comfort of your Home

10635954_814680641906049_4928240045228069362_nAlthough in-studio yoga classes are a must, there are several benefits to practicing every day at home, too. Why go the online yoga route? Check out seven reasons that are sure to get you inspired!

1. You can practice whenever you want, wherever you want. One of the advantages of using a platform like My Virtual Yoga for your practice is the flexibility it offers. Whether before work, during baby’s nap or right after dinner, you’re just a few clicks away from indulging in a bit of well-deserved yoga.

PSST: For those of you who are constantly travelling, know that online yoga can be done in a hotel room before a business meeting or right after a long flight. We love how yoga can be adapted to your busy lifestyle!

2. You’ll find a variety of styles in one spot. You like variety, and making new discoveries—we totally get that. Hatha on Tuesdays, Vinyasa on Wednesdays and Yin on Thursdays: anything is possible! With an online platform, you can easily switch up your practice. It’s simple!

3. It’s an excellent way of complementing your in-studio practice. Most of us have a favourite studio: a place where we gather with others who are passionate about yoga, too. This weekly meeting is necessary so your teacher can correct you, but online yoga allow you to really develop your practice and better integrate what you’ve learned in the studio. 1+1 = 2!

4. There’s something new every week. Are you always on the lookout for what’s new… just like us? Online yoga practice is a great way to test-drive new ways of learning, new techniques and new themes. It means allowing yourself to be in tune with what’s new and have fun, too. Oh, look: there’s something new to try!

5. You can take your favourite teacher with you everywhere you go. So you’ve fallen under the spell of a specific teacher who offers AMAZING CLASSES that seem perfectly adapted to your needs. With online yoga videos, you don’t need to wait for a specific time every week to take your teacher’s class: whether on your iPad at the cottage or on the TV in your basement, your teacher is waiting!

6. It’s a question of comfort. The weather will never make you miss your class, nor will you be able to make excuses for not wanting to leave your OH SO COMFY home. Yup: as far as yoga is concerned, you’ll never be able to use excuses like there being too much traffic, or the metro being late. From now on, it’s all about comfort… and nothing else.

7. There is a yoga class for all levels. Does your beau want to try yoga? No problem: there are videos for every level: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The yoga  videos are adapted to your body and what you’ve learned so far.

Namaste!

My Virtual Yoga

Sign up for My Virtual Yoga using this promo code and get a free one-month subscription: tinydevotions

Happy yoga-ing!

How Do I Know My Mala Beads Are Working?

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Contentment: The Yoga of Success with Quiet Earth Yoga.

Eka Pada Raja KapotasanaWhen I began my yoga journey over a decade ago, I was terrified to walk into a studio. I was a shy, awkward kid, and here I was, on a college campus in Los Angeles, where everyone just exuded grace and bright shiny sunlight. I wanted that; Sun Salutations seemed like a good place to start…

Of course, I struggled through my first class, but realized (and this was a revelation) that no one had been staring at me in my running shorts on my borrowed mat. No one even cared. They were so involved in their own journey that I might as well not have been in the room.

It was the biggest relief of my life; I was hooked.

Fast-forward through a bit of the now-typical, Western yoga journey: more classes, better mats, yoga teacher training. But when I began teaching? Suddenly, I was thrust back into that awkward adolescence. Sure, this was yoga, but now everyone was looking at me. Because they had to. I was in charge.

Those first few classes were…awkward (but they always are—which is what I tell my teacher training students). But you get over it. Why? Because your students are absorbed in their own journey. Yours is just the voice guiding them down the path.

And this is the point: the journey is the path; it is your yoga.

I’m an Ashtangi, which means that there’s a lot of discipline in my practice—I practice six days a week, two hours a day. When you spend that much time in your body, you begin to journey beyond it. You have to.

Why? Well, there are some bloody difficult poses in the Ashtanga series; they test your limits—body, mind, and spirit. The ego will elbow in there, get all huffy and frustrated, demanding that you balance in Pincha Mayurasana (Forearm Stand) right now. Or, better yet, yesterday.

I didn’t know that voice was ruling my life and my practice until I turned back to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, which, when you hit the roadblock of frustration, injury, and ego, will be a lifesaver. For now, let me say this: I realized I was putting more effort into my excuses and my frustrations than I was into my practice.

This is the idea of Santosa, or contentment. Contentment is where you live, because where else on earth could you be?? Believing there is a purpose in this struggle—not random punishment or failure—is empowering. I was given this struggle because I’m strong enough to learn from it. Almost anyone can eventually balance on their head, but can you learn from the struggle? Can you apply those lessons off the mat? Can you see that your choices have led you exactly where you are right now?

Those past, ‘ill-informed’ decisions are the greatest gifts you’ll ever receive, because once you internalize them, you’re done. You’ll never make that mistake again.

You are the architect of your life. Live abundantly. Design wildly.

Supta VirasanaFind more of Quiet Earth Yoga here:
Twitter: @QuietEarthYoga
Facebook: @QuietEarthYoga
Web: www.quietearthyoga.com