Yogi Life with Yoga Teacher and Coach Maddy Jones!

October 8, 2020: In this episode Yoga Teacher and Coach Maddy Jones takes us into a deep mindfulness guided meditation, tells us about her journey to becoming a certified Yoga teacher in Thailand and also how we can learn to properly breathe each and every moment!!

ZACH: Hello 

MADDY: Hi 

ZACH: Hey Maddy it’s Zach, how are you doing?

MADDY: I’m doing well. How are you?

ZACH: I’m doing well, how’s your day going so far?

MADDY: I’m doing well I just trained some clients, and then myself and now I’m talking to you so it’s a pretty good day 

ZACH: I’m happy to have you on the podcast, thanks so much for stopping by. So just to tell everyone what you do. You’re a Yoga Teacher, Meditation Facilitator and Pranayama Teacher. Tell us a little more about that.

MADDY:  Yeah for Yoga I’m a Vinyasa alignment focussed Yoga Teacher. I did my 200-hour teacher training in Thailand a little over two years ago and so I really loved travelling there being able to learn more Eastern style of Yoga and I also learned Pranayama while there and meditation. So Pranayama for anyone that’s not familiar, it is breathwork. Beathwork is a really great way to bring more vitality and energy into your body. There’s breathwork for literally anything, if you need to relax and calm your insomnia and go to bed at night or if you want to wake yourself up in the morning or if you’re hot and you need to cool your body down, there’s even a Pranayam for that. So it’s a great way to connect with yourself but also to silent the mind chatter which so many of us have, incessant mind chatter. When you’re able to just focus on your breath you’re able to fully still that mind chatter which helps people then go into meditation even deeper cuz you’ve already handled the mind chatter. So I find when you pair Pranayama with meditation it really helps you get into a deep meditative state. 

ZACH: I love that, there’s so many things I want to ask you about everything but my first question is what’s the difference between Eastern Yoga and Western Yoga?

MADDY:  So I feel like Western Yoga has taken out a lot of the Yoga portion of it and it’s become just a work out. A lot of people when they think of Yoga they think of either crazy postures people are holding or just stretching. Whereas Yoga is so much more than that and I think the philosophy behind Yoga is so much more life-changing then just posture will be for someone. A lot of western styles of Yoga have lost the breath, whereas breath is so essential to Yoga and being able to connect with your breath and flow with your breath.  I’ll be in a class sometimes out here and someone will be like ok inhale, exhale!… and I’m like well that wasn’t even enough time to take in a full breath.  Or they don’t even focus on breath when they start the class at all. For everyone that takes my classes they know the first five minutes are dedicated to long slow deep breathing, settling into yourself, into your body, into the space. So a lot of western yoga has lost that.

ZACH:  Yeah, it’s funny, I’ve been doing yoga now for 2 maybe 3 years, really inconsistent though, but more so over the last 2 to 3 months I’ve been going at least twice a week sometimes 3 times a week. And even though I’m there an hour and I’m hitting all the poses and I”m sweating through my t-shirt. I’m not really focusing on my breath and I think that’s something I should be more conscious and aware of. 

MADDY: Yes definitely. Out of all the different Yoga practices the one thing that’s similar in all of them is breath. So it’s sad that we’ve lost that out here and so I try to bring that to all my classes because when you’re able to focus on your breath (and also the style I teach is alignment focus). When you’re focused on what every single muscle is doing whether lengthening it or strengthening it and you’re flowing with your breath. It’s hard to be thinking about anything else, it’s quite impossible actually because you are so connected with what you are doing in the now and that’s what makes the physical practice so much more powerful and that’s why people have that piece. If you don’t have all that, you might be just doing this pose, that pose, this pose and your mind is going all over the place and you’re like WOW this is hard and I’m sweating all over the place and my thoughts are all over the place in my head.

ZACH: Let me ask you a question. What do you think is the biggest benefit of Yoga and how do you think it can help and add to people’s quality of life?

MADDY:  I think that Yoga is most beneficial in helping to calm the chattering monkey mind that we all have and thus being able to find more harmony and peace within yourself and within the world.

ZACH: It’s kind of just like mediation.

MADDY:  Yes, mediation is one of the limbs on the 8 limbs path of Yoga. So it’s all a part of Yoga. 

ZACH:  Tell me more about the 8 limbs of Yoga.

MADDY:  Yes. Have you heard of the Yoga Sutras?

ZACH: I’ve heard of it but I don’t know anything about it.

MADDY:  The Yoga Sutra is a sacred ancient text. It gives us guidelines on how to live our lives. Sutras are threads that are time-tested truths. They are one liners that are without explanation and full of wisdom which is left without explanation so that way the individual can discover this for themself. I do like B.K.S. Iyengar’s translation of the Yoga Sutras. You could dive a little bit deeper into it and understand a little bit better with his thoughts on things. The Yoga Sutras detail out the 8 limb paths of Yoga. The first step is Yama. Which are moral restraints. The second step is Niyama which is natural observances. The third step is Asana. The moment, the postures the physical practice, which most people jump straight to Asana before learning any of the Yama’s or Niyamas. After Asana, you could get into Pranayama which is your breathwork. After Pranayama there is Pratyahara which is the withdrawal of the senses.  Next is Dharana, which is the sixth step in the 8 limbs which is concentration, which then takes you to Dhyana which is meditation. This is why I call myself a mediation facilitator. Because you can’t just teach mediation. It’s a state of being. So I can use my visualization or whatever I’m working with, mantra, to bring them into Dharana or concentration and then hopefully that will facilitate them to get into that state of meditation. And ultimately the final limb on the 8 limbs of Yoga is Samadhi which is union.  

ZACH: Wow, you know a lot about this!  So do you meditate outside of your Yoga practice?

MADDY: Yes. I’m a daily meditator for myself. I like to always start my morning with meditation and end my day with meditation. But different meditations. I like to use Yoga to help me relax and fall asleep at night. And then will often do a silent mediation or a gratitude meditation or a loving kindness meditation in the morning, depending on what I’m needing. Sometimes I’ll vary it but those are my most common ones.

ZACH: Can you walk me through one of those meditations?

MADDY:  Yes. A loving kindness meditation is really helpful for people especially if they are really struggling with a difficult person or a difficult time in their life. And it’s practicing sending loving kindness to first, someone that you love. So you would bring someone into the room, envision them in the room in as much detail as possible.  And you would wish them well. For example:

“May you be happy”

“May you be peaceful”

“May you be safe and protected”

“May you be well in mind and body”

And you’ll continue to repeat these well wishes for this person.

Then you‘ll bring to mind someone of neutral feelings maybe it’s the Barista that you always get your coffee from in the morning or whoever bags your groceries, someone you don’t necessarily have a good relationship with but you don’t have a bad relationship with 

And you also will repeat these loving-kindness wishes.

“May you be happy”

“May you be peaceful” 

“May you be safe and protected”

“May you be well in mind and body”

And then it gets more challenging. You bring someone to mind someone that you have a little bit of hardship with, uncomfortable feelings for and maybe some hatred or resentment. You bring this person into your mind and you also will wish them these well wishings. 

“May you be happy”

“May you be peaceful” 

“May you be safe and protected”

“May you be well in mind and body”

This is always more challenging for people which is why we start with the other ones first. From there you can really get people to release that tension and hatred for that person. And realize that everyone is just trying to do the best that they can and maybe you don’t see eye to eye and we’re not connecting and not flowing, but how can you not wish the best for someone? And it can really help with those negative feelings.  I also always have my students wish themselves these well wishings. We forget to take care of ourselves. We always wish these great things for others but we can be so nasty to ourselves. And finally wish it for all beings so going across everyone.  So that’s a really powerful, beautiful one that I think is really helpful during these times.  

ZACH: Ya, that sounds so great. I’m actually, I feel much more calm just listening to you say that, seriously for real.

MADDY:  I have that written, a little note hanging from my car so I can see it as a daily reminder. 

ZACH: So tell me more about your coaching.

MADDY:  Right now I’m doing one-on-one Life Coaching for people, to sort of put it all under one term.  I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist so I do offer the training aspect of things and General Nutrition guidance. I also provide Yoga and Spirituality Coaching which will include learning about the 8 limb paths. My first couple weeks with my clients they dive deep into the Yamas and the Niyamas and learn how to incorporate these into their lives and this really creates an awesome mindset shift. Most of them are telling me, they are like I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. It feels so good, I’m so connected. It’s from these different mindset shifts.

After we’ve gone through the Yama’s and Niyama’s and they’ve developed an understanding of these, then I’ll begin to get them into the physical or Asana practice of Yoga so whether they’re advanced and they want to deepen their practice or they’re brand new and they just want to learn the basics. I’ll take them to wherever they need. After Asana practice then I will get them into the Pranayama practice or breath work and so I can start giving them the tools that they could use on a separate basis where they can use this breath for this or this breath for that. But then I also provide classes they could take. Anywhere from fifteen, 10 minute short ones to a longer 30 minute, 45 minute, hour-long classes based on what they want. And then lastly also will incorporate meditations, focussing on what they need specifically in meditation and offering services to them facilitating a space for them to find meditation and teaching them the tools. That’s what I think is really important and what I tell my clients all the time. If I’m doing my job right I should coach myself out of a job! So everything I share with them I teach them the why behind it so that way they’re empowered to take this as a life skill forever. And of course so many of my clients stay with me for much longer, they love me and want to keep working with me. But my goal is that they can do it on their own and that they feel like I actually have this lifestyle now.  For myself in my own journey I feel like all of those things are what I needed to get to where I am today. For me growing up I was like I want to just be able to do it all for people. I had some people like my sister, she was like, yeah do it!  But then had other people say just focus on one thing, be really good and one thing. And I’m like, what if I’m good at all the things? So I’m grateful I get to provide it all in one package for people to really transform people’s lives on a really deep multifaceted level.

ZACH: Absolutely.. Wow that’s incredible information, seems like you’re helping a lot of people. So let me ask you this. Someone who is brand new to Yoga, brand new to meditation, where should they start.

MADDY: If you’re brand new to Yoga and to meditation. I recommend you start with just your breath. And it can even just be one deep breath in. And just see if you can just focus on your inhale, feel it in your nose, feel it expand your belly, up into your heart center, all the way up into your collar bone, pause for a moment and allow your body to then gently release the air relax your shoulders, empty your chest, empty your belly….. And that just one breath is meditation.

ZACH: WOW! All of that in one breath?

MADDY: Yes!

ZACH: Can we do a short guided meditation right now? Can you guide me through a guided meditation on this podcast?

MADDY: Yes, definitely. Did you want just a breath meditation? Or?

ZACH: Yes, let’s do a breath meditation like you just described. Cause I was doing that as you were saying it and I didn’t realize how much goes into one breath. 

MADDY: Yeah, right? Yes it’s really powerful and I realized a lot of people do not know how to breathe. And a big problem with society today is a lot of people are either chronically hyperventilating so they are taking a million breaths in a minute or they are chronically not breathing so they are constantly holding their breath and not breathing. And both of these things are not good and cause so many health issues.  So if there is one thing that I would teach people it’s breath and how to breath. So how long would you like.

ZACH: Do like a 5 minute meditation.

MADDY: Find a comfortable seat if you’re seated in a chair make sure your feet are on the floor. Lengthen your spine up towards the sky. 

Tuck your chin so your neck could be just as long as the rest of your spine is. 

Relax your shoulders down your back. 

Pull your lowest ribs in. 

Relax your palms face down on your knees or thighs if you would like to keep your energy in for yourself. 

Palms facing up if you’d like to receive some more sun energy. 

Allow your eyes to close or you could just simply soften your gaze down to the floor if that makes you feel more comfortable. 

Without trying to change anything just observe how your natural breath is. Is it short and shallow? Is it long and deep? No need to judge anything just simply observe how your breath is right now. 

Now begin to deepen your breath in through your nose, expand your belly, expand your heart space, get more air into your collarbones, exhale, drop your shoulders and your chest and your low belly. 

Inhale belly, chest, collarbones. 

Exhale shoulders, chest, low tummy. 

Take a full breath in. Feel your rib cage expand from top to bottom, side to side, front to back. 

Exhale, feel your rib cage pull back into your core center. 

Continue to deepen your breath but at the rhythm of your own pace to fill up your own lung capacity. See if you could slow the rhythm of your breath down as if there’s no rush to get to the top of your breath or back down to the bottom. 

Savour your breath as it rises up your spinal column. 

Cherish your breath as it gently falls back down. 

With each exhale allow yourself to find deeper relaxation, observe if you’re holding any tension in your body, allow it to relax, soften your forehead. 

Let your third eye center and temples melt free of tension. 

Relax the muscles that control the actions of your eyes. 

Let your cheeks fall heavy down the sides of your face. Jaw unclenched. Lip’s softly parted. Let your tongue rest in the bottom of your mouth. 

Keep the height of your spine as you allow your shoulders to relax. Your arms feel heavy and soft. Let your sit bones connect you right where you are. Continue to breathe in and breathe out deeply.

And repeat…. 

ZACH: MADDY thank you so much. That was so great I enjoyed that so much.. Wow. That was so great. 

MADDY: As you can see and hopefully those listening that may have followed along just five minutes can create such a shift. So often we think we have to do do do so much. We have to remember that we’re human beings not human doings. So just taking a moment just five minutes even just a minute to just breathe can really make a difference in your day.

ZACH: Absolutely. I feel like every time I drop into a good meditation when it’s over my priorities and like what’s important really comes to the surface like I’m so busy doing all these micro tasks all day and then after I meditated I’m like wait a second what’s really important is calling my Mom right now. What’s really important is like you know feeling good or things like that instead of like all these crazy things on my to do list. 

MADDY: It’s so true…. We can get stuck into the grind in life and forget about the things that really matter. So it’s good to check in and remind ourselves of that, it’s beautiful.

ZACH: Well MADDY you know it’s been great having you on the podcast, do you want to tell everyone where they can find you and if they’re interested in hiring you as their coach.

MADDY: Yeah, they can follow me on Instagram @coachMADDYjones and you could fill out the 15 minute free value call on my Instagram bio or you can just shoot me a DM or an email but preferably at DM and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours 

ZACH: Yes everyone go to MADDY’s Instagram @coachmaddyjones shoot her a DM ask her anything and everything about yoga, meditation and she will definitely help you out.

MADDY:  Thank you awesome 

ZACH: MADDY do you have anything else before we wrap up today?

MADDY: No, not that I can think of. Do you have any other questions? 

ZACH: I mean I have a bunch of other questions but I’m going to give you a call either after this or later this week because I want to see if there’s any other collaborations we can do together.

MADDY: Yes that sounds amazing I would definitely like to collaborate again. Thank you for this. It’s been a pleasure. 

ZACH: Thank you so much I’m glad you had a good time and I’m looking forward to talking to you again. 

MADDY: Awesome ZACH, have a great rest of your day.

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