Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking Back at 2009 and Ahead to 2010

I hope everyone had a great holiday! As we are winding down the end of 2009, it's time for me to reflect on the things that happened throughout the year and make a new plan of attack for the next.

This year was really hard for me because I had to stop dancing because of the cysts in my ankle. It has been a really rough time mentally for me since I love dancing so much, but going to yoga has helped me at least stay in shape while I cannot dance. Come to think of it, yoga has also helped me grow in many other ways. I have learned so much about my body and breathing because I have been going to yoga. When I do finally get back to dance class, I feel like I know a lot more about balance and the way my muscles work. I guess sometimes things happen for a reason? Maybe my body was telling me to slow down and pay more attention to it? I went from rehearsing 3-4 times a week, and traveling and performing on weekends, to just yoga. 2009 was my "slow down" year I guess.

In the new year, I plan on trying many other types of Yoga. I am signed up for a year of Bikram, and while it has helped me get flexibility back into my ankle, I feel like I need a more well-rounded type of yoga in 2010. I need to work my arms more and challenge myself with postures I have never tried before. My new favorite studio, Samadhi Yoga Studio will be seeing a lot more of me in 2010!

Since I can't take ballet or modern dance classes anymore because my left foot won't point, I have decided I am going to take break-dancing classes! I figure since I can't dance on my feet anymore, it is time to dance on my hands. Plus, I figure break-dancing is probably a lot like Yoga, with all the hand-balancing freezes and all...but I will keep you posted on that, he he he. I am a dancer at heart, what can I say? :)

Another major thing I need to work on in 2010 is ROAD RAGE! I never had it before this past year, but for some reason I developed this need to yell at other cars when I drive. It's really doing a number on me and I feel like I have anxiety every time I get into my car. I need to learn to breathe more when I drive, and to not go driving around thinking I am the best driver in the world anymore! I also need to stop taking things so personally when I am driving. Not everyone is out to smash into me...at least I hope not!

All in all, I am looking forward to 2010! It's always nice to feel like you have a nice clean slate to work with. What are some of the things you are looking forward to?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

He Made it Through His First Yoga Class!

Last night, Nathan had his first Yoga class! We took an Open Level class at Samadhi Yoga Studios in Manchester, CT.

It was the perfect class for a beginner. The temperature in the room was up a little, but not so much it was like a Bikram of Power Yoga class. And we both knew Nick, the Instructor, so it made Nate feel more comfortable :) Nate has also been hearing me throw around terms like "Downward Dog" and "Savasana" for almost two years now, so he was familiar with some of the postures already, although he admitted later he was watching me the whole time.

After class, we went to a Mexican Restaurant, and I asked him a few questions about how he liked the class. Here's what he had to say:

What was the hardest part of class?
The hardest part of class was breathing normally.

Did you find that not being flexible kept you from doing anything in class?

What was your favorite part of class?
The ab work.

What was your least favorite part of the class?
*he paused and thought for almost 2 minutes...then we moved on*

All in all, Nate said Yoga had met his expectations and he will definitely be back...if Nick is the teacher :) Maybe once he takes a few more classes, he will be brave enough to try *gasp* a DIFFERENT teacher, but until then, we are planning on taking Nick's Hot Power Class next!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beginner Yogis - and Saying No to Holiday Stress!

I finally convinced my other half that going to a Yoga class would give his aching muscles a stretch. He is always sore when he comes home from work, and since we are both heading toward our *gasp* 30's, we are starting to notice our bodies becoming ornery with us every so often. After having him read my last blog post (I Am Not Flexible Enough for Yoga), he has decided to finally go to a Yoga Class and see what it is all about.

Tonight he will be joining me in an Open Level Class at Samadhi Yoga Studio in Manchester, CT. I will keep you posted on how the class goes!

I have also been cleaning my apartment like a mad woman to prepare for the Yoga Party I am having on Thursday. A bunch of friends and friends of friends will be over our place for a Yoga Class! Some of our guests have never taken Yoga before either, so it should be a fun time! We are going to lay down Yoga Mat remnants from YogaDirect all over the floor in our dance room and living-room to accommodate all of the guests!

Here's a photo of our tiny Christmas Tree :) I have always had a fake one growing up, but Nate convinced me we should get a real one this year - and it smells so good!
My Christmas Tree

The holiday season can get pretty stressful, and it is sometimes hard to remember how to relax and let things wash over you. I know for myself, things have gotten a little hectic lately. It is important to continue doing things for yourself that make you happy, and remember that this is the season to celebrate each other and give thanks.

Here are some of the wonderful suggestions my Facebook friends gave when I asked them about some of the ways they relieve stress during the holidays:

Do Secret Santa with your family - that way you only have to buy one gift and you can make it really special and unique to that person. Avoids shopping stress :) x
-Rosanna G.

Pilates, Tai Chi, NLP is also fun
-Peter C.

Chardonnay. Riding my bike or taking a walk. Playing with the dogs.
-Loretta T. W.

Become Grinch
-Sandra L. P.

Loretta is right biking is great, and also check out Bach Sheep May Safely Graze, also Brandenberg Concerto and Mozart 40th Symphony strong hard driving and positive, full of life force energy! Always reminds me of horses racing down a country road.
-Dave D.

-Stephanie M J.

There is a Korean martial art breathing exercise called Neh Gung. I start my mornings at the office doing at least 2 different versions for about 10 minutes. I find it keeps me better centered.
-Wayne B.

Take a candlelight bubble bath with instrumental music and a good book.
-Jessaca G.

Well, if you can just HIDE, that would be your best bet. but if you MUST, wine works well also. And if you can hide and drink wine, you will have the best holidays EVER! LOL
-Shelly T.

Walks at night with my dog through my neighborhood and enjoying the Christmas decorations. It reminds me of the magic feeling the holiday gave me as a child and I love the cold weather.
-Cathy R.

A good 5-10 mile run, nothing clears my head and gets me high like that!
-Kate M. S.

Take time to breathe deeply and remember and focus on the symbols and myths behind the season, both in the pre-Christian, returning of the light and Sacred Earth concepts and in the original Christmas message of the enlightened Christ consciousness, peace, compassion and good will to other members of the human family.
-Lisa M.

Knitting...books on cd..,:-)
-Bee Kind

Learning, living and practicing the word "no" and being okay with it!
-Deb G. P.

-Angela M.

Go for a tattoo!
-Gabor W.

17 comments and no one mentioned... *ahem* ...intimacy?
-Jarrod H.

Go with the flow.
-Stan D.

Drink lots of water, try to take time for yourself for at least an hour a day around troubling family patterns, do yoga even if you don't want to, and do your best to be nice and feel grateful even if you don't want to.
It could be worse. Practice random acts of kindness!

-Brian C.

I think the best thing is to not stray from your typical healthy habits; regular workouts and light, healthy eating. it'll not only manage the stress, but will also help curb the sugar cravings and prevent butt-load. and lots of laughs with people you really like! :)
-Joanne C.

Beginning the day with a warm Abhyanga (self-massage) is my favorite all time stress buster.
-Jackie P.

Hot baths...spending time with people you love and who love you back, cookies :o) Wine :o) Breathing nice and deep :o)
-Sarah S.

Sex =)
-Rachel G. S.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I Am Not Flexible Enough For Yoga

I have been trying to get one of my good friends to take a Yoga class. She is always complaining she hates going to the gym, and how being slumped at her computer desk all day has ruined her posture. I have been telling her that Yoga may be the answer for her, but in reply, my friend INSISTS she would not be good at Yoga because she isn't flexible enough.

After battling her back and forth by telling her that is the exact reason why she SHOULD try Yoga, she was still shying away from my suggestions. So, I decided to ask my Facebook and Twitter friends what they would tell someone when they say they aren't flexible enough for yoga.

I received so many responses from my question that I decided to share them in my blog. Perhaps they will help others who have the same excuse for not trying yoga. Oh, and after my friend read all these great responses and suggestions, she DID finally decide to try yoga for the first time...and wouldn't you know, she LOVED it! She hasn't been to another class since then, but hopefully the seed has been planted hehehe.

What Do You Say to Someone Who Says,
"I Am Not Flexible Enough for Yoga"?

That's why you do yoga
-Jolie C.

Yoga isn't about how bendy you can be. It's about being conscious of your body and self awareness!
-Tess D.

I think I'd say what one of my wise teachers told me, that 'Its not about touching your toes, but about what you learn about yourself on the way down.' :)
-Joanne C.

I am in the same boat, because sadly I am about as flexible as firewood. :( Tell the person to start out by taking a couple one on one or privates for the personal attention. After two or three privates with a good teacher, they'll have given you the tools to START loosening up. Once you start to see things happening you can gain your own momentum from there. I hope that makes sense.
-Gabor W.

That if you can have intercourse you are flexible enough for yoga? grin~
-Kryssie L.

Yoga can help you become flexible as well as build strength, stamina and stability.
-Yoga Sessions

That's like saying that you can't go grocery shopping because you don't have anything in your cupboards. Flexibility is a product of yoga, not a prerequisite.
-Kellie C.

It's your mind that's not flexible
-Sandra L.

I say: Then you're expecting too much! Change your expectation, and then you're literally flexible!
-Jessaca G.

When people say this or "Well i would do yoga but i need more than a stretch session to exercise", I die a little inside. I am working on an article entitled "The myth of Flexibility & Yoga" for my blog right now!!
-Nicole B.

I get this sooo much! I always say that yoga isn't about putting your foot behind your head. It's ultimately about awareness. It's a path to learning patience, discipline, happiness.. It's the way it makes you feel. It's a way of life! (Then they look around uncomfortably and think I'm crazy, but regardless, it leaves them wondering!)
-Jennifer F.

That is like saying your teeth are too dirty to be brushed.".....no i don't really say that. I would love to tell them that they are just chicken or that they probably have a ton of excuses for doing things that are good for them. And aren't they tired of their same old excuse- it is so boring to hear about why they cant take care of themselves but these days I just listen and move on to the person who really wants to do yoga-newcomer or experienced. I would much rather share my passion for yoga with someone who is ready for it.
-Anne F.

Saying "Oh, I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible" is like saying "Oh, I can't have that glass of water, I'm thirsty" or "My hair is too long, I can't get a haircut" or "I'm hungry, I better not eat"....I could go on and on but I think ya'll get the point.
-Daniel R.

I say that it is those of us who are the least flexible that benefit the most. I find that it's those parts of the body that are the least open that hold the most information, all the stuff that inquiry minds want to know.
-Sonya C.

It's flexibility of mind, not body
-Rudy M.

...you don't have to be flexible, you just can't be uptight!
-"Anna G.

Probably the same thing I tell them when I hear "I'm too old for martial arts".
-Wayne B.

Yoga is not about how much of a bendy you are, instead it's about being conscience of your own body's capabilities and limitations. Like you said Anna, "you just can't be uptight"! I love it!!!!!
-Georgina M.

It's like saying "I cant eat I'm too hungry"
-Matthew F.

That's why you have breath.
-Stephanie J.

I tell students it's a benefit of yoga, not a requirement.
-Jody R.

Yoga class is not a place to show off how flexible you are, it is a place to GAIN flexibility.
-Kat R.

I would humbly correct them that They are always flexible for "yoga" its just that their Bodies needs some time to perform some of the "Asnas"!....
-Yoga Guru Ravisanan

That's exactly why they should do yoga

I tell 'em no such thing... and not a competition

Begin them with some pranayama...

That ANYONE can find a starting point, even those with physical limits - that Yoga is about progress rather than perfection.

I would tell them to use their strength to overcome that limitation. Most people who aren't flexible are strong and vice versa.

I swear every studio that has a FAQs page says "The 'not flexible' person is the ideal candidate for it." So how bout that?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Great Holiday Gifts for Yogis of Any Age

I went to my first Bikram Yoga class after the holidays and it absolutely felt great! I feel like I successfully purged my body of the holiday weekend :)

It's the holiday season at YogaDirect.com and we have a TON of new items, and even a great contest to help celebrate the end of a great year. If you have Yogis on your holiday shopping list, here's a few items that make them smile...

What to buy the new Yogi?

If you are purchasing a gift for the beginner Yogi, a Yoga Kit will be a great gift for them. Or, if they already own the basics, consider giving them a Yoga Mat bag, like our new black Drawstring Yoga Mat Bag, or our beautiful Guatemalan Yoga Mat Bag. Both are beautiful and roomy, and allow enough space inside for your Yoga Mat, keys, license, and more!
Guatemalan Yoga Mat Bag from YogaDirect.com

What to buy the Eco-Friendly Yogi?

Yogis for the environment will love receiving our Water Week 5-pack of BPA-free water bottles. This great 5 pack of colorful water bottles is a great way to keep them hydrated all week. Because they can re-use the bottles, you will be helping them reduce the over 25 million plastic bottles that are thrown out every day!
Water Week water Bottles from YogaDirect.com

Eco-friendly Yogis will also love this "I am not a paper cup" Reusable Porcelain Mug for their coffee and tea! It looks just like a regular paper cup, but it's made of porcelain, and it even has a removable silicone lid!
I Am Not a Paper Cup Porcelain Mug from YogaDirect.com

What to buy the Homeopathic Yogi?

This type of Yogi loves naturopathic remedies, and will absolutely adore this Ceramic Neti Pot as a holiday gift! Using a Neti Pot daily is very easy and can be incorporated into your friend's morning routine as a great first defense against colds, flu, and seasonal allergies!
Ceramic Neti Pot from YogaDirect.com

What to buy the Stylish Yogi?

For the Yogi who is into fashion, why not buy them a great Yoga T-Shirt to wear? Our fun Yoga T-Shirts are perfect to wear in or out of class, and are the softest shirts you will ever feel!
Yoga T-Shirts from YogaDirect.com

What to buy a Yogi children?

Kids absolutely love these fun Children's Yoga Mats, designed exclusively for YogaDirect.com! They come in three bright colors and designs and are the perfect tool for getting children excited about Yoga.
Kids Yoga Mats from YogaDirect.com

What to buy the Bikram or Hot Yoga lover?

For the Hot Yoga Yogi, I suggest getting them one of our innovative Microban Yoga Mats. Microban Yoga Mats feature a Microban® zinc based antimicrobial technology that helps to protect mats against bacteria and fungus that can cause stains and odors! I use mine in Bikarm Yoga all the time & haven't noticed the "sweat" smell on my mat that I used to notice after class!
Microban Yoga Mat from YogaDirect

What to give to your Restorative Yogi fan?

Restorative Yoga is a very relaxing form of Yoga and involves some pretty awesome props! These Yogis would love receiving our bright new 100% Cotton Handmade Yoga Blankets or even our new Silk Neck Pillows. Not only are these two gifts great for Yoga, they also accent a home beautifully.
Silk Neck Pillows from YogaDirect.com

What to buy the Yogi that has EVERYTHING?

If your giving gifts to Yogis in this category, they have probably been taking Yoga for a long time, and most likely have a vast collection of props at their disposal. However, these beautiful gifts will certainly put a smile on any Yogi's face! Our Yoga Posture T-light Candle Holders are perfect for lighting up any room, and make a great addition to any home yoga sanctuary.
Yoga Posture T-Light Candles from YogaDirect.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving Thanks to Yoga This Thanksgiving

Though we should feel thankful for our gifts all year round, it is nice that we have Thanksgiving every year as a day where everyone in the country devotes to being humble. This year I have been grateful for many things in my life, and on the top of the list is my health. I know that Yoga has played a big role in maintaining my good health, so this Thanksgiving I will be celebrating Yoga!

Have a happy and safe holiday, Yogis and Yoginis!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lakeville Life Time Fitness Thanksgiving Turkey Jam

My good friend Deb Preachuk is having another exciting Yoga event next Thursday (Thanksgiving!) at Lakeville Time Life Fitness in Lakeville, Minnesota called Thanksgiving Day Turkey Jam! The event is from 8:30am-10:00am and involves 3 different classes to kick your butt before you stuff your faces full of Thanksgiving dinner :)

Included with the Step, Mixx, and Fluid Strength classes that morning, Deb will be giving out prizes from YogaDirect.com, HotHead Headbands, and Annie Fink Designs.

Here is the information from Deb's Facebook event page:

Fabulous News! This just in: I will be teaching a 30 minute Fluid Strength section along with two other amazing instructors Thanksgiving morning at the Thanksgiving Turkey Jam at Lakeville Life Time Fitness.

This is a workout not to be missed!

Who? Mary (Step), Nicole (The Mixx) & Deb (Fluid Strength)

What? 30 minutes each of Step, The Mixx & Fluid Strength.

Where? Lakeville Life Time Fitness - Studio 1

When? 8:30 - 10:00am Thanksgiving Day (Thursday November 26th)

Why? You're kidding, right? Why not! Amazing instructors, fun atmosphere, door prizes, and a healthy way to get rid of all that stress that comes with visiting family and making a fancy meal...

You're all invited to join Mary, Nicole and Deb for a 90 minute, not to be missed, Thanksgiving Day Turkey Jam workout. Come and get your GROOVEMENT on! Toss the bird in the oven, grab your gear, get to the studio as fast as you can. Come to play and sweat it all out before the day's feasting and celebrations begin. Looking forward to seeing you in the studio!

To RSVP your planned attendance to this event please visit: /http://schedule.lifetimefitness.com/schedules/club/164/dept/22/

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So Close...But So Far Away!

Well, tomorrow is my last day in Vegas before we go back home. We have been so busy with the conference that I haven't been able to catch a Bikram class :( It is really inspiring to see all the teachers in training going to class every morning when we are on our way to the conference. Perhaps I will come back here one season and take the Bikram Teacher Training myself!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Wouldn't You Know...BIKRAM IS HERE!!!

My boss and I are in Las Vegas this week for a Conference and we are staying at the Hilton. We were just wandering around downstairs and I see this sign for Bikram Yoga Gift Shop.


So I go in and there's all these cool Yoga things and I am looking around and discover there's a Bikram Yoga teacher training session going on right now in this very hotel! Hahaha, what luck!

I am sure there's no open classes to take, but I am definitely going to be on the lookout for Bikram himself. I would love to get my photo taken with him heheh.

I will keep you posted!

One Last Hike Before Winter

It was abnormally warm in Connecticut this weekend, so Nathan and I took a hike in Farmington, CT. It felt so good to be outside, and it wasn't that cold at all. We used some trees to do some stretches :)

stretching with trees

I will be in Las Vegas all week at a conference. Since I have no money to gamble, I am bringing my Travel Yoga Mat so I can do some Yoga in my hotel room :) See ya next week!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Techno Hot Power Yoga Classes

I took a two hour Hot Power Yoga class at Samadhi Yoga Studios in South Windsor on Friday. The class was taught by my new friend Alysse, and two live DJ's (my husband, DJ Originate, and Yoga instructor Nick Ricciardi) accompanied the class. It was quite an experience!

I had never been to this studio, or even to a Hot Power Yoga class before, so I was excited and nervous about the class. Especially since I hadn't stepped into an actual yoga class in over a month! As soon as I walked into the studio I could hear the boom of the bass from the music. As a big fan of Drum & Bass, Dubstep, and Electronic Music, I couldn't wait to get into the class!

I laid down my mat in the middle of the room. There were about 16 people in the class, and we were all different ages. I was glad to see such a diverse group of people. But then again, Yogis are pretty much always open for new things!

After setting the initial intention for the class, Alysse began leading us through Sun Salutations and the pulse of the music became louder. I do have to say that I LOVED having techno music blasting during the class! I am not sure if it is just because I am used to being driven by music because I am a dancer, or because it was helping me get through the millions of Chaturangas I struggled through (something Bikram students like myself are NOT used to!!!), but it was great! It was also comforting to occasionally look up at the two DJ's and see that they were both totally into the music and the energy of the room as well.

The two hour class flew by, and was full of flowing postures, balancing postures, and many breathing exercises. It was actually the toughest class I have ever taken - even more so than any Bikram class, if you can believe that! I definitely need more Hot Power Yoga classes in the future, at least to build my arms strength. My arms are STILL sore from all the Chaturangas, and it is 4 days later!

At the end of class, when we came back from Savasana, we sat up and faced Alysse and the two DJ's beside her, who were all seated in cross-legged positions with their palms up in front of us like they were thanking us for the class and the energy we had shared with them.

I didn't get to talk to any of the class members about their experience, but I did talk with my husband after. It was great to see him looking so happy after class. He has NEVER been to a Yoga class before, so I was eager to hear what he thought about the class. From the look on his face, I could tell that he may have gotten some of the benefits of doing Yoga just by being in that hot room with all of us practicing in front of him.

He told me that he felt he was feeding off our energy during the class. His song selections were chosen based on what postures we were doing. He said that when we began flowing, he would pump the bass up a bit more, and when we were still, he changed to play more smooth songs. Nate used to DJ our dance rehearsals sometimes and has become really aware of how to play off his audience, so I was really excited to hear how that translated into DJ'ing for a Yoga class.

Nate and I spoke to Alysse and Nick after class and we all agreed that perhaps a "TechnoYoga" class would be a good idea to add to the class schedule at the studio. Though the mixture of Yoga and Electronic music is not something you'd think that would blend together that well, it surely was an experience we'd like to explore again!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yoga with Live DJ's and BPA-Free Water Bottles

I am really excited about tomorrow because I am taking a 2 hour long hot Power Yoga class at Samadhi Yoga Studios in South Windsor from 6-8pm. I am especially excited because my man Nathan (aka DJ Originate) and his friend Nick Ricciardi will be spinning live sets during the class! It should be a really fun time. I met the instructor, Alysse Melville, last night because she and Nick came over our apartment to practice, and she is awesome!

I am pretty sure the class is still open, so if you are in the area, you should come and join!

Also, if you have been following me on Facebook or Twitter, you have been reading about BPA, one of the harsh chemicals found in certain #3 and #7 plastics, and now in some canned goods. BPA has been linked to causing cancer and other problems, and Connecticut has been the first state to actually ban the chemical from being used in products. The ban won't go into effect until 2011, but in the meantime, it is best advised to look for BPA free products.

At YogaDirect.com, we carry a set of 5 BPA-Free, re-usable water bottles called Water Week. When we first had them in stock, they sold out like hot cakes! But I am happy to announce that they will be back in stock again by tomorrow (10/30/09). I am definitely getting my own this time! There's 5 in the pack, and they suggest you fill them all up at the beginning of the week, and take one to work with you every day to promote staying hydrated! They are also really bright and cheerful looking :) And for only $21.99 for all 5 bottles, it's a steal! Check 'em out:

Water Week BPA-Free Bottles from YogaDirect.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Achilles Heel is a Group of Cysts in My Ankle...

On Mondays I take a 3 hour modern dance class at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT. I am a 2006 alumni of the dance department there, and they always bring in such great guest teachers, so I am happy to be able to continue my dance education there. However, dancing these days has been a bit of a struggle for me since I had my ankle injury back in early June. I have been able to get it back to a place where I can safely dance on it, but lately it has been starting to act up again.

It is not even really an injury, per se. After an MRI, the doctor was able to tell that I didn't tear a tendon like he had originally thought. Instead, he found a group of cysts that were wedged above my calcaneous (heel bone) that were preventing me from pointing my left foot. My doctor believes that in June when I did a "tombe', pas de bourree'", a very simple ballet combination, I must have popped one of the cysts, which sent synovial fluid all over my ankle, causing my muscles to swell and a whole lot of pain. I was put in an orthopedic boot for about 3 weeks, and after that, my doctor told me my ballet days were over.

Pretty devastated by my doctor's "death sentence," I asked him if Yoga would still be ok. He advised I only do gentle forms of Yoga. He also told me that if I were to have the cysts removed, they would grow back. He also told me the MRI showed I had a small piece of bone just hanging out in my heel, which is most likely the reason why the cysts formed - to cushion this bone piece. The doctor told me if they removed the bone piece, it may cause other problems in my ankle and foot and the best thing to do is just leave it all in there and kiss dancing goodbye.

This was not acceptable to me. I have always danced, even before I knew what dancing was, I was a bouncing, grooving kid! It was something that just came naturally, and it is not something I can just stop. Mind you, this doctor is not a sports medicine doctor, and I think I definitely should get a second opinion, but money is tight right now, so I just have to wait.

In the meantime I listened to my doctor's advice for a while and only did gentle yoga. Over time, my ankle started to feel much better and I started attending Bikram Yoga classes again. The heated room and the stretching felt like it was helping my ankle even more, and that is why I started dance classes again. Unfortunately, as the doctor warned, the dancing has put my ankle under stress and my recovery has been pushed back a bit.

I had spoken to my Monday night dance instructor about my injury and she told me to take it easy. However, I was still planning on performing in the informal dance concert in December, which would mark the end of the classes for the year. I was especially excited to be performing in one particular guest artist's piece. The guest artist's name is Matt Westerby, and his style of modern dance is very familiar to my body and I picked up all the moves immediately, as if I had performed the piece before. I practiced the piece at home as well, because I didn't want to fall behind or not be warmed up enough because of my ankle.

The great disappointment came this past Monday when I showed up to class. My teacher pulled me aside and told me that instead of performing Matt Westerby's piece in the concert, I would be understudying instead. I almost died. Even though I understand she was pulling me out for the safety of my injured ankle, I was just so upset that I wasn't able to do anything about it. I flopped through that class, not really absorbing any more of the choreography because I knew it would be all for nothing.

Toward the end of class I ended up sitting down. I sat out partly because my ankle was in a lot of pain because of the strenuous choreography, and also because I felt like crying. Knowing in my heart that I cannot dance is killing me. I feel like someone is keeping my from breathing.

If any of you can offer me any advice, or if yourself or someone you know has a similar problem, I would love to hear from you. I am planning on taking a real break from dance classes and just focusing on Yoga until I feel much better, but I am worried that because I have cysts in my ankle that won't go away, I will never be fully healed enough to dance again. That just breaks my heart.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Private Yoga Class Tonight!

I have not been into an actual Yoga class in over 2 weeks (shame on me!). I have been doing stretches and postures (and Mudras - my new obsession) on my own, but I haven't had the discipline of being in a class in a while. So tonight, my good friend Amy is coming over to give me a private class. I hope she doesn't make fun of me too badly - I am a little out of the loop! :)

She teaches Vinyasa, which will be good for my muscles right now. I had a 3 hour modern dance class on Monday and I am STILL sore from it. Amy, if you are reading this now, please be gentle!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Recycling Your Yoga Mat

We all know that Yoga Mats don't last forever. Instead of just throwing them away, there's a number of ways you can recycle your old mats.

Here's a list of ways Nathan and I have re-used our old Yoga Mats:

1. Take them camping and use them as pads underneath your sleeping bags. It makes sleeping on bumpy terrain more comfy! Plus, it may prompt a random Yoga session in the woods!

2. Nathan cut a square off an old Yoga Mat and used it as a pad underneath our cutting board. Now the board stays put on the counter when we use it.

3. We cut small circles off an old Yoga mat and placed them underneath the legs of all the beds, chairs, and dressers in our apartment so we could stop scratching our hardwood floors.

4. Nathan cut large squares out of an old Yoga mat and we now use them as decorative pops of color underneath the wine glasses in our bar.

5. Though I still haven't done this (I need a glue gun!), you can turn your old Yoga Mats into Flip Flops!

6. Our downstairs neighbor gets mad when we walk around the house in shoes (he is a bit of an ornery man!), so we laid down a Maendy Mat on the hardwood floor of one of our highest traffic areas, and since then the complains from downstairs have stopped - and it is hard not to do some Yoga on it every time we pass through the room!

7. We constructed a "cat house" out of an old box for our cat, and put a piece of Yoga mat in the bottom of it, so Beeboo can have a nice comfy place to hang out!

8. Nate is a DJ, and since we live in an apartment, the noise from his spinning records would sometimes get to be a little much for the guy downstairs. So we cut out speaker sized squares of yoga mat and placed them underneath the speakers. This made the sound less unbearable for our neighbors!

I also posted the question of how people recycle their Yoga Mats on Facebook, and here's the great suggestions people made:

www.recycleyourmat.com or i know someone looking for mats for a transitional shelter.
-N. Adler

Humane Society,can also use them! ;)
-S. M. Springer

recycleyourmat.com or your local woman's shelter!!
-J. F. Miletic

-K. K. Luber

you could cut it in smaller rectangles for extra cushion under the knees or hips.
-L. T. Warren

J. R. Morgan says use it as stair runners. i had a yoga teacher who gave us jam and wrapped each jar with a piece of mat then cut strips and made bows from the same. you could chuck the jar at a wall and it wouldn't break. I've also used them in the barn for horses to stand on. i'm writin a book on this with Bhujangasana (N. Adler)!
-J. Morgan

I folded one to add cushion to a dog crate - then put blankies on top of that.
-M. Bloom

Anyone have any more ideas? Fee free to post them in a comment below!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Is Your Yoga Studio the Best of 2009?

Since our Yoga Month essay contest went so well last month, YogaDirect.com has decided to announce another contest!

Is your Yoga Studio one that stands above the rest? Here's your chance to tell others how much you appreciate all they do in the yoga community and beyond! Nominate your studio as the Best of 2009!

To nominate your studio, please send us:
- General information about the studio, how long you have been taking class there, and any other information you feel is pertinent.
- A blurb about why you believe your Yoga Studio stands out from the rest.
- Photos, Videos, Articles, and other media to help us decide if your studio is the best of 2009!

You can either send your studio's information, blurb, and photos by email to YogaMaendy, or you can mail them to this address:

206 Murphy Road
Hartford, CT 06114
C/O YogaMaendy - Contest

The winning studio will receive a year's supply of Charter Oak Yoga Mat Cleaner (24 bottles), and the lucky Yogi who submitted the entry will win a $25.00 Gift Certificate to YogaDirect.com!

The winners will also be posted in this blog for everyone to read and share.

Contest ends Friday, December 18, 2009. Mailed entries should be post-marked no later than December 18, 2009 for consideration. Winners will be notified the week of January 4, 2010! If you have any questions, feel free to email YogaMaendy. Contest is open to Yoga Studios in the USA only. Good luck!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Even Gumby Does Yoga!

Today is turning out to be a fun Friday! Recently, one of my friends and I were discussing Halloween costumes, and we came across this funny Gumby Costume from PrankPlace.com. We thought it would be funny to do Yoga in the Gumby costume. I contacted the company, and sure enough they sent us one, and it arrived today!

Below, you'll see just some of the fun we had with the Gumby Costume:

Thanks again to PrankPlace.com for sending us this funny costume! Maybe I will wear it to class next week - haha!

Day #4 Of Yoga in My Pajamas...

Yesterday I had absolutely nothing to do when I got home from work. It was a nice change from the running around I had been doing the past few days. So I made some spaghetti and sat down with Nathan and we enjoyed dinner together.

A few hours after dinner, I decided instead of doing a Yoga DVD, I was going to just go through every Yoga pose I knew, one at a time. I started off by doing just some Sun Salutations to warm up. Then I did all of the Bikram Yoga postures first. Since I had been going to class for over 3 years now, I know them in order pretty well. It was really different to do them in a non-heated room. I started off by doing all of the postures two times, like a regular Bikram class, but when I got to Trikonasana, I switched to only doing one set. It wasn't because I was lazy, I just didn't want to be doing Yoga all night long...I know a lot of postures!

When I was done with the Bikram series, I stood back up and began doing Warrior series. I was amazed to see how stretched and open I was. I guess Bikram really does do a great job of stretching all of your muscles!

At the end, I tried some inverted postures. I began with my new favorite: Crow. After a few tries, I managed to stay in the posture for about 3 minutes before my arms started shaking. I then did a supported handstand. I first tried it without the wall, and kept losing my balance, so I did it up against the wall and stayed in the posture for about 5 minutes. My cat kept coming over to my upside down face & brushing up against me like he was saying, "Why are you upside down?" When I was done with the supported headstand, I tried the tripod version. I am just starting to do this headstand, so I am not very good at it. After trying many times, I decided to just lay in savasana instead. I was pretty worn out at that point, as I had been doing postures for over two hours! Man, what a home class!

Tonight I am going to do either a Yoga DVD or see what FitTV has to offer. Or maybe I will take YogaToday's free class again, since it was such a good one on Monday. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day #3 Of Yoga in My Pajamas...

Yesterday was another long day, but it was more fun than Monday because I got to take a Zumba class with a bunch of friends. We went out for pizza afterwards, and I didn't get home until 10pm. When I got home, I sat down on the couch and passed out! So unfortunately, I didn't get any Yoga in yesterday at all. Unless of course you count my couch nap as an extended savasana.

It felt good to just pass out though...

Tonight I am back in full force with yoga in my pajamas. I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day #2 Of Yoga in My Pajamas...

Last night didn't go as well as I had planned. The HypnoYogaOnline.com class didn't run, so I was left to come up with something fast. So I did 10 Sun Salutations, and then layed with my legs up the wall for a good 15 minutes. While it wasn't a full class, it did feel invigorating, and since I skipped savasana on Monday night, it felt good to relax with my legs up the wall!

Tonight, I am taking a Zumba Class at 7:30pm and then I am going out to dinner with friends. When I get home (late!!!) I am going to do a FitTV Yoga class...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day #1 Of Yoga in My Pajamas...

Mondays are my long days. I am at work from 8:30am-5pm, and then I drive straight to class where I dance for 3 hours. I don't usually get home before 10pm on Monday nights, and I am usually too pooped to do anything else when I get home.

However, last night was my first night of a week full of Yoga in my Pajamas! So at 10:30pm I logged on to YogaToday.com to take the free class they offer. I was pretty exhausted when I started the class, but just kind of told myself to hush up and began the class.

I did the class in my bedroom, and instead of using a yoga mat, I just put those sticky Yoga socks on my feet. Unfortunately at the first downward dog, I realized that I probably should have laid out my mat because my hands were sliding out from underneath me!

Things were going great, until about a quarter of the way into the class, my cat decided he was going to attack my toes while I was in Warrior 2! So I had to come out of the pose, shoo my cat out of the room and close the door. No more distractions...

The instructor of the video was really good! I found that even though she wasn't in the room with me, her instructions were very clear and I was able to make the needed adjustments to my body in each pose. I even did some postures I have never done before, but they didn't hurt me and the instructor was very clear, so I am confident I did them as best as I could.

The only part of class that was lacking for me was the savasana at the end. We did some breathing exercises at the end of class, but then it was over - no relaxation. I guess that was up to me, but of course I didn't do it.

So far, I am really enjoying doing Yoga in my PJ's. Yoga Today's online class was not only informative, but it was pretty fun! I'd recommend the class to anyone who just doesn't feel like they can get out of the house to take a regular yoga class.

Tonight's class - a LIVE interactive Yoga class with Page Turner at Hypno Yoga Online. I probably won't be able to wear my pajamas for this one - everyone will be able to see me!

Monday, October 5, 2009

All This Week I'll Be Doing Yoga in My PJ's

Recently, my friends and I were having a discussion about the differences between doing yoga in your own home, using a yoga DVD or taking an online class, and taking it in a studio with other people. Since I am used to taking yoga in a studio with others around, I thought this week it may be nice to try taking class at home this week, and write about how I felt about it.

My friends and I agreed that sometimes you just need the energy of the other people in the class to stay motivated, but I would like to see how I motivated I feel after a week of taking yoga by myself in my living-room.

Tonight I have a 3 hour dance class, so I will be home at about 9:30pm tonight. Before I go to bed I will be taking the "Return to Center" free class from YogaToday.com. Check back later, as I will be updating with my thoughts!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How Has Yoga Changed My Life?

Since September was National Yoga Month, YogaDirect.com planned a number of events, contests and specials that Yogis could participate in to help spread the word about Yoga to others. One of the special events we planned was an essay contest, and we urged Yogis to submit short essays to us about how Yoga has changed their lives.

Over the course of the month we received many inspirational essays from Yogis all over the US and Canada, and I had the pleasure of reading them all. Some of them brought me to tears, but most of all I was astounded by the many different paths all these Yogis took to get to such a wonderful end - being full of Yoga Spirit!

All of the essays and writers deserve recognition, but I chose the following essay as the winner of a $30.00 Gift Certificate to YogaDirect.com. I chose this particular essay because I believe that sharing her story will help inspire others. Congratulations to K. C. James of Elkridge, Maryland! Here is her essay:

Hello, I am excited to share how yoga has changed my life! In June of 2006, I retired from a position with the Maryland Jockey Club, Inc. after 19 and 1/2 years of employment to achieve my next goal in life, which was to be a personal trainer.

Prior to going with the Jockey Club, I was a certified Aerobic teacher, and worked as a fitness councilor, and service coordinator in a woman's health club. When word was passed through the grape vine that the changes in management were coming, and possibly that the club was going to close, I new that I had to find another job.

Even though my position was wonderful with The MJC, I always new that one day I would return to a career in fitness.

I had received my Group Exercise teaching certification with the YMCA of Howard County MD, and was on my way to my next training and certifications, when I hurt my back.

That whole summer I was in excruciating pain, but beside the physical pain that I was feeling, my hopes of being a personal trainer was fading away. The certification courses were passing me by, due to the fact I could not participate in the classes. I was devastated!

I received a call at the end of August from Amy, the Director of Health and Wellness from the YMCA letting me know that the center was going to start yoga classes. I had never taken a class, and honestly, didn't think that it was for me.

I walked in to my first class that September, and with yoga and some PT, my back healed. Being able to do yoga was so surprising to me, especially because I am legally blind, and can only see light and shadows. I learned by feeling the poses in my body and by having the teachers align my body properly. After a few weeks, I was able to do a beginner class with out any issues!

I had paid one of the teachers to come to my house, and help me with my alignment. This gave me even more confidence, and I made a comment that I would love to be a teacher. After speaking to one of the other teachers, they both encouraged me to pursue my goal!

They both recommended me to the Yoga Center of Columbia, in Columbia MD. This was a little intimidating to me. I explored the requirements, and realized that I may not be able to do this,, because the required reading was not on audio format!

When I spoke to the director of teacher training, he was not sure that I was going to be able to do this. I stated the fact that I have been taking yoga classes for the last year, and have had a prayer/ meditation program in my life for over 20 years, and that I had had a disciplined work out routine.

He was very encouraged that this may be a possibility, but that I would have to meet the owner Kathy Donnelly and take a class with her. I did all that was required of me and was excepted. I found a non profit to record the books for me, and my fitness back ground helped out with the anatomy portion of the program.

Because of the wonderful teachers, and my wonderful group of students who helped me when ever I needed help, I graduated in October of 08 as a certified Hatha Yoga Teacher; RYT at the 200 hour level. Since then, I have started my own business Yoga One On One, LLC., and will open my home studio next Monday, Sept. 14.

Even though my goals of a personal trainer didn't happen, I took a different path, and life has brought me to where I truly was meant to be! Don't ever give up on your dreams, you may just have to open your eyes, ears and your heart a little wider to see, hear and feel the way!

Thank you for this opportunity!


I would also like to share some inspirational quotes from other submitted essays that stood out to me. Read below...

"At one of the classes that I attend, I remember my teacher speaking to my peers and I about how the lure of yoga has uncovered an odd pattern in newcomers to the practice, especially those coming from highly stressful environments: people have an increasingly (and alarmingly) hard time sitting (or standing, for that matter) still. Our North American work ethic has immersed us in a high speed, ever-elusive pursuit for success, one that inexorably leaves us vibrating with the reverberating echoes of the day’s battles. As yoga has begun to be marketed as a sensible salve to our harrowing daily goings-on, people from business backgrounds have found themselves in the unfamiliar environs of a yoga class. The constraining suits replaced by comfortable threads, the faxes and Blackberries replaced by spongy mats and supporting blocks, these people have found themselves destabilized by the lack of white noise, or more importantly, by the presence of undiluted silence. The process of stripping away society’s conditioning has often proved to be too great a feat for some, resulting in the identification of yoga as “too freaky”, “too quiet”, or most laughably, “too easy”. There now exists a movement of millions attempting to relate to life’s most basic principles, and in that same effort to relate comes the realization that we rarely end up where we originally envisioned ourselves…and so the quest begins…to come back to ourselves…and to our selves."
-B. Levinson, Centre Luna Yoga in Montreal, Quebec

"As a 63 year old mother of two adult children and the grandmother of 6, I discovered yoga. I have worked most of my life as a nurse and never had the time or desire to exercise. A friend and I took a beginner's "Gentle Yoga" class through a retired teachers' center. This was the beginning of a passion I NEVER thought I would have about anything physical. Yoga is not only physically challenging but mentally and emotionally therapeutic. Although I am unable to do some intermediate and most advanced poses, I feel at ease with what I can do. That's the beauty of yoga. Everyone's practice is personal and unique."
-M. Pertofsky

"Without realizing what was happening, I began to look forward to every class. I started noticing changes about myself and not just physically. I was standing taller, smiling more, replacing the negative chatter in my brain with positive self-affirmations. Now you might say, “Was it the yoga that helped or did you just readjust your mindset?” it is like which came first…the chicken or the egg? Does it really matter? Yes, ultimately I had to be the one to make some major mental adjustments, but yoga was the instrument that opened the doors for me."
-S. Stevens

"Then one day I walked past a yoga class at the heath club and thought maybe I should try that. Later my office moved across the hall from a yoga studio and I was able to take a class a lunch time. I really did not like it at first and I struggled a bit, but after every class I noticed my back felt better and better. I signed up for the group class and the health club, continued my lunch time yoga and ditched my personal trainer. A year later not only did I find relief from my back pain but I had started to lose weight and become more fit. Eventually I lost 45 going from 195 to 150 pounds and unanticipated benefit. I also noticed that after doing yoga I was not only physically energized but more spiritually aware and open to of life around me, another unanticipated benefit. So yoga radically changed my life not only did a find relief from my back pain and a form of physical exercise that works for me but I discovered a path to being more present to others and the world around me."
-A. Daley, Wholly Yoga

"Being the fitness fanatic that I am, it changed my life by adding a different type of movement but I also experienced a personality change that I wasn’t expecting. A spiritual change if you will.

As time went on, I learned more and completed my certifications and immediately begin teaching. My clientele for this type of class was different from my other classes. The teaching techniques were also different. I started meeting a different type of person than the ones I was used to teaching. "

-L. Warren

"Yoga has impacted my life in several ways. I started to attend yoga class twice a week starting last November when I lost my job. I had done yoga occasionally prior to this but I had mostly gone to the gym for weight training and cardio. I have notice since starting yoga that I have am better at coping with the stress of losing my job. Normally I would be much more stressed out without the yoga. The meditative quality and focus has helped me learn to stay calm and centered. I love my yoga class and teacher and have learned so much from her. Not only am I more calm, I have learned to not be in such a rush to get things done. I now know how to slow down when I need to and resume my activities when I need to."
-C. Brady

"I started taking yoga/Pilates when I had conceived my third child and didn't know it. I confirmed the joyous news approximately 3 months later amd beomg everything was going great, I decided to continue until I had a need to stop... Well, I took classes 3 days a week up til 2 days before I had my son (and would have been there that day had I not went into labor!) I attribute having Elijah in a drug free homebirth due to the works I had acquired throughout my classes! Since his birth a little over 2 years ago, I have lost 72 pounds! And since Nov. of 2008 I have been a certified Pilates instuctor and practicing my art with others 7 classes per week. I am so very blessed having this in my life and truely love sharing with others all that this "way of life" has to offer!

Connecting the Mind...To the Body...Through the Breath! IT IS THE KEY!

-T. Mason


Thanks again to all! This Yoga Month has been quite a special month for us at YogaDirect.com, and I feel that with all of the positive energy we received from our customers and friends, we surely spread our love for Yoga to the world! Namaste!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Yoga and Ethics

Being a Yoga student has taught me a lot about centering myself and my thoughts, and has led me to focus on being open minded and disciplined. If you radiate love, then love with be sent back unto you. I believe that Yogis are truly special people who share and help others in the community.

With that being said, unfortunately every so often there comes a time when certain individuals who claim to live a "Yoga Lifestyle" turn out to be posers (pun intended).

A good customer and friend of ours at YogaDirect.com, has recently seen a severe drop in sales of a Yoga Mat she created. She later discovered that one of the Yoga companies she had been selling her mats to actually stole her design and began selling these mats under their own name at a cheaper price.

I understand that while she hadn't copyrighted the Mandala Yoga Mat she created, it doesn't make it right for this large Yoga Company to take her business away. She has tried contacting this company to get some sort of answers, but of course they are ignoring her. They obviously know what they did was wrong, but to them, money is more important than being ethical.

To learn more about this story, please read the The Mandala Yoga Mat Blog and considering purchasing one of these innovative circular mats to support small, ethical businesses.

I just have one word to say to the online Yoga company who has done so much harm: Karma.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Meet One of Minnesota's Most Inspirational Instructors - Deb Preachuk!

Every so often I like to highlight Yoga and Pilates instructors that have made a huge impact in their community, and this time I'd like to recognize Deb Preachuk!

Deb Preachuk

Deb Preachuk is the owner of Pilates Integration Mind.Body.Spirit. and Pain Free Posture in Minnesota. With over 20 years of mind/body, group fitness and personal training experience, Deb’s passion is helping students restore optimal health and function to their bodies at any age.

Her teaching passion is working with chronic pain, injuries and special populations, specializing in restorative Pilates and posture alignment therapy.

A former Instructor Trainer for The Pink Ribbon Program teaching post-rehabilitative breast cancer exercise, Deb has recently spent a great deal of time volunteer teaching for breast and lung cancer survivors. Her most recent pursuit is writing a feature article on Pilates for Golfers in the Minnesota Tee Times, and accepting a position with the Dakota County Technical College as an Adjunct Instructor, teaching the American Council on Exercise Group Fitness Theory and Practical course this fall.

Here are some photos from the Minnesota Tee Times "Pilates for Golfers" article:

Pilates For Golfers

In addition to private instruction at her Lakeville, MN studio, Deb regularly teaches mind/body and group fitness classes for Life Time Fitness (Eagan, Lakeville, Savage and 98th Street) where she is an accredited 5-Star Instructor.

This past year, YogaDirect helped Deb and her studio celebrate National Pilates Day by sending out Yoga Balls, straps, and more as gifts to participants in her event.

Keep up the good work, Deb, and thanks again for all that you do!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thanks for Celebrating Yoga Month with YogaDirect.com!

Thanks to all who came to Elizabeth Park yesterday to celebrate Yoga Month with us! It was a gorgeous day, and Amy Merli taught an awesome Yoga class! Hopefully we will have another yoga event soon since everyone had so much fun!

Amy Merli teaching class in Elizabeth Park

Amy Merli teaching class in Elizabeth Park

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Free Yoga and Min Zin in the Park!

Don't forget - it's this Sunday!!!

YogaDirect is sponsoring a Free Yoga Event at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, CT this Sunday, September 20, 2009.

Come join us in the park from 1:00pm-3:00pm with Instructors Amy Merli and Michael Fuchs for a Free Vinyasa Yoga Class and Min Zin Workshop!

For more information, see my last post, or visit YogaDirect.com

The weather is supposed to be beautiful, so grab a friend and come meet us there!

Photo by SRC-Imaging.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Today Begins Yoga Month!

It's finally here - September! And that means there's a WHOLE lot going on in the Yoga world, and especially at YogaDirect.com!

If you have already signed up for our newsletter you already found out about the great deals, contests and events we have lined up for the month. But if you haven't heard yet, here's the scoop:


YogaDirect is sponsoring a Free Yoga Event at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford, CT on Sunday, September 20, 2009. Come join us in the park from 1:00pm-3:00pm with Instructors Amy Merli and Michael Fuchs for a Free Yoga Class and Min Zin Workshop!

For more information, email me, the Event Organizer, at mgiordano@yogadirect.com


Free Yoga Class 1:00 - 2:00pm
Taught by Amy Merli

Free Min Zin Workshop 2:00 - 3:00pm
Taught by Michael Fuchs


Amy Merli
Amy Merli is a 200 hour trained Yoga Instructor specializing in Vinyasa Power based Yoga and is also a ACE and NASM Certified Personal trainer who works 1 on 1 with clients. You can learn more about Amy by visiting her website at www.AmyMerli.com.

Michael Fuchs
Mike Fuchs has practiced and taught various Asian meditative, martial, and energetic arts for over 23 years and has been published in magazines as diverse as 'Massage magazine' and 'Tai Chi' magazine. For more information about Michael, visit www.ReikiButterfly.com.




Has Yoga changed your life? We'd like to hear about it!
Write us a short essay about how Yoga has impacted your life, and email it to me or mail it to us at:

206 Murphy Road
Hartford, CT 06114
C/O Maendy - Yoga Month Contest

Each writer will be entered for a chance to win a $30.00 Gift Certificate for YogaDirect.com!

Submissions must be post marked no later than September 25, 2009, and the winner will be announced September 30, 2009. This contest is open to both experienced and new Yoga Students and Instructors, Please keep essays under 3,000 characters, and feel free to include photos!




In honor of Yoga Month, many local Yoga studios are offering one free week of Yoga for the month of September!

Yoga Month

To find out which studios are participating in your area:
-Visit YogaMonth.org and search participating studios
-Sign up and print out the Yoga Month Card
-Enjoy a free week of Yoga any time during the month at the
participating location most convenient to you!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hurricane Waters Inspire Yoga

Yesterday, Nathan and I went to Misquamicut Beach for what we thought was going to be a nice sunny day of, well, beaching it up in the sun! However, when we got there, we remembered there was a hurricane out at sea, and it made the waves HUMONGOUS! We still ended up going in the water, though many were too scared to face the waves, but we joined the bunches of surfers who were in all their glory at Misquamicut Beach, Rhode Island.
Nathan braving the waves
This is Nathan braving the waves!

We found a nice rock where I could do some Yoga, of course. The sound of the waves crashing was very inspiring.

Balancing Stick Pose

Later, we took our bikes out and rode them all along Watch Hill and stayed out pretty late. The mist from the ocean was so refreshing as we rode. Here's a photo of Nathan with his bike. He loves this photo! Hahaha
Nathan and his bike

Before we left, we went to some of the calmer areas of water and we met this swan, who was VERY friendly!
Friendly Rhode Island Swan

The mist coming off the water and the sun setting was so beautiful. It was a BIG difference from seeing and hearing the crashing waters on the ocean side.
So peaceful

And of course I got inspired to do some more Yoga ;)
Dancer pose by the sailboats

We ended up biking about 8 miles, it was a good time. Sometimes I wish weekends were longer...hope you all had a great one!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bikram Yoga with Cysts in Your Ankle

Last night I went to Bikram Yoga for the first time in a month! I had been away so long because my ankle injury back at the end of July. My ankle is feeling about 95% better, but I still can't point my left foot because of where the 3 cysts are located.

While I had a REALLY great Bikram class (with the best final Savasana I have EVER had!), there's 2 postures that my ankle will not let me do. One is Supta Vajrasana, which I normally couldn't do that well anyway, but the one that surprised me was Dandayamana Bibhaktapada Janushirasana. It only but when we faced the left side, but I never realized how much your ankle plays a role in that posture.

All in all, my ankle did feel better after the class, and the swelling went down quite a bit, so I am sure Bikram class is going to help my ankle more than hurt it, but it just sucks to know that I am starting at square one with the flexibility in my ankle again. All that hard work...

I guess that is why they call it a yoga practice...and not a perfect! ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Future of Yoga is Online

I am very pleased to announce that YogaDirect opened another location in the UK! We are still solely an online retailer, so there's no retail stores yet, but we now have a warehouse and a group of great customer service representatives over in the UK! The website, located at www.YogaDirect.co.uk, hasn't even been live for a month yet, but we are already seeing success! Go visit the site and check it out!

Also, if you aren't already following YogaDirect Lady (me!!!) on Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace, you should sign on and be my friend! I know that Myspace isn't all the rage anymore, but I am noticing a growing community of Yogis on many social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and it is very exciting. Through these sites, I have learned a lot about other Yogis philosophies, new postures, different opinions about classes, and more. I have also met a lot of great online buddies who all share a passion for Yoga.

Recently, I met a Yoga Instructor named Page Turner on Facebook. She teaches online Yoga classes on her website www.HypnoYogaOnline.com, and she offered I test out a class. I was very excited to try it out, since I am kind of a web geek and am into trying new things. Unfortunately, the class is still being tested for technical difficulties, but I got a good sense of what a class would be like.

When I connected to the class with my web cam, it was really exciting to see Page (who was in Costa Rica) and the other student in class, Christine (from Texas) on my computer screen with me. It was like we were in my living room taking a Yoga class like normal! Sure, Christine had her dog walking in and out of the video screen occasionally, and I had to fidget with my screen dimmer every so often, it was really great to feel a connection through Yoga with these two people who were in different parts of the world. I cannot think of anything more zen than that!


Though the connection was a little rough for the class, I'd recommended everyone give online Yoga a try. Online Yoga classes like these will be a great way for large groups of people to maybe experience classes from instructors they couldn't normally take class from because they lived too far away. While there's still some kinks to be worked out as far as the small size of the instructor on the screen, and connection problems, it is a great way for the teacher and student to interact remotely, and both can easily benefit from the experience.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Get Ready for National Yoga Month at YogaDirect.com!

If you haven't heard, National Yoga Month is next month, and I am busy getting YogaDirect.com ready for the big events! I can't leak out what special things we are doing on the website and in the community just yet, but I can tell you that I am very excited!

If you haven't heard about National Yoga Month, here is a blurb about it from their website (www.YogaMonth.org):

Get One Week Free Yoga during National Yoga Month 09.2009 www.yogamonth.org

September is National Yoga Month

Join us in educating, inspiring and building awareness of the positive impacts of yoga on health.

In 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services designated September as National Yoga Month. That same year, thousands of yoga and health enthusiasts participated in a 10 City Yoga Health Festival Tour featuring yoga classes, lectures, music, entertainment, exhibits.

This year, people across the country will participate in free events and activities, designed to build awareness of the mind and body benefits of yoga practice. In nearly every city, hundreds of yoga studios, teachers, individuals and event organizers will create National Yoga Month events.

Whether you’re trying it for the first time or are an experienced yogi looking to deepen your practice, there’s never been a more opportune time to practice yoga. The economy and job loss are always on our minds these days, causing anxiety and fear. But yoga provides an accessible way to manage stress for anyone.

Yoga is one of the oldest known sciences in the world and is widely acknowledged as a highly effective complementary alternative medicine. So, as we all explore ways to take better care of ourselves and even reduce health care costs, it gives us a proven way to do so.

The best reason yet to participate in National Yoga Month? It’s free – something you don’t hear a lot these days. Just follow these steps to enjoy one free week of yoga in September:

1. Visit yogamonth.org to find participating studios and teachers
2. Print out the Yoga Month Card
3. Redeem it at the participating location most convenient to you

The Yoga Month campaign is produced and administered by the Yoga Health Foundation. The foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization registered in the State of California. All funds benefit the national awareness campaign and yoga health education.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Meet Some Connecticut Yoga Instructors!

I would like to introduce you to three of my very good friends who all live and teach Pilates and Yoga in Connecticut!


Amy Merli

Amy Merli is a professional performer who is based in Hartford CT. She currently performs and choreographs for CONNetic Dance a Contemporary Ballet company in Hartford CT. She is a 200 hour trained yoga instructor specializing in Vinyasa Power based Yoga and is also a ACE and NASM Certified Personal trainer who works 1 on 1 with clients. Along with her fitness expertise, Amy is a model with experience with dance, yoga and fashion modeling. You can learn more about Amy by visiting her website at www.AmyMerli.com


Emily Lutin

Emily Lutin, owner of The Movementality, believes in making Yoga accessible to all. She specializes in private yoga instruction for individuals, small groups, and special events. Emily works to increase your self-awareness by focusing on the connection between mind, body, and spirit.

With a holistic approach to life, Emily also runs an organizational business called Square One Organization. Here, she focuses on helping you make room for changes in your life, both literally and figuratively.

Her holistic goal is to help others live a self-aware, clutter-free life. Creating space for clarity, ease and enjoyment in every moment.


Kelly Scallion

Kelly Scallion is a STOTT Pilates Instructor trained in Level 1+2 Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrels. Kelly also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance and Theatre from Manhattanville College, 2006.

Kelly has a deep kinesthetic understanding of the body and the ways it can move because of her many years of Modern Dance training. Kelly is a challenging and energetic instructor who prides herself in helping clients to reach their individual potential, while understanding their personal needs and goals.

You can learn more about Kelly, and her Pilates studio by visiting her website, Pure Body Pilates.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Took a Trapeze Class in Boston!

I went to the foot doctor on Friday to find out the results of the MRI they took of my ankle. It turns out that I hadn't torn a tendon in my ankle, as the doctor originally thought. The MRI showed that I have 3 cysts in my ankle, above my heel bone. He also mentioned about the random marble-sized bone I have hanging out in my ankle as well, and he thinks I may have ruptured one of the cysts, and the synovial fluid from the cyst caused inflammation and pain. He recommended I keep the orthopedic boot on for another two weeks. I think I am going to try to get a second opinion because I think I need a sports medicine doctor, as this guy told me I'd never be able to point my toe again and my dancing days are over.

Anyways, in spite of my ankle problems, I went to Boston yesterday with my fiance and some friends and we all took a trapeze class at TSNY Beantown! It was the perfect activity for me, since you don't put weight on your feet when you are flying in the air, so I knew my ankle wouldn't be harmed! I was very nervous at first, just waiting on the 23 foot tall platform before my first try at the trapeze. Though they showed us what we would be doing in the air while we were still on the ground, I still felt jittery and unprepared when I had my hands on the trapeze.

When you are standing on the platform, they strap you in, you chalk up your hands, and then the instructor tells you to put your toes on the edge, lean forward with your hips, shoulders back, and as they hold on to you, you slowly grab on to the trapeze one hand at a time. Then they say, "Ready," which means you bend your knees. And the next cue they give you is to JUMP!

Immediately you are swinging into the air, and a great rush of adrenaline overtakes you. But, this is a class, and the instructor is calling you on the microphone, instructing you exactly when you should tuck your knees in, and up into a knee hang.

Being upside down in a knee hang on a swinging trapeze is so much fun! They tell you to reach your arms back and arch your back as much as you can when you learn knee hang, so you'll be ready later for a catch. Below is an image from the TSNY website, showing a knee hang (this is not me :)

Knee Hang

Then, once you get a good knee hang, the instructor tell you when to come back up and hold on with your hands to swing normally again. At the end, the instructor tells you how to prep for a back-flip dismount, which seems crazy and impossible when you watch it, but when you actually try it, comes really naturally. And then you land gracefully on the nets below.

After I practiced the knee hang and back-flip a few times, the instructors taught us a new trick - the SPLIT. Yes, the name is very intimidating, and so is the move. The image below is from the TSNY Beantown website, and it shows a girl doing a split trick on the trapeze. Basically, you are holding a split upside down. It was probably the hardest trick I learned that day!

The Split

I tried the Split two times, before they stopped us to teach us one last trick - THE CATCH! One of the instructors went up and began hanging on a trapeze next to the one we had been using. Before we got up, we were told to start the catch from a knee hang position. The only difference was that this time, if we chickened out at the platform and did not jump when instructed, the timing of the catch would be messed up and it wouldn't work right. I was incredibly nervous about messing up the catch because I didn't want to mess up the instructor as well, so I was very proud of myself that I successfully did the catch 2 times before the class was over. Here's a photo from the TSNY Beantown website showing a catch from a knee hang.

A Catch

The Trapeze Class was two hours of fun - and I feel like I did something that really tested my limits. I would recommend that if you are near a trapeze school, you should definitely check it out! They have locations in Washington DC, NYC, Boston, and more! I am really sore today, though...and so is my fiance, who is not really used to physical activity like that. He ended up taking the day off today to rest his aching muscles!

Last week at YogaDirect.com we added two new items that are selling like hot cakes! One is the beautiful
Guatemalan Yoga Mat Bag, pictured below...

Guiatemalan Yoga Mat Bag

Guatemalan Yoga Mat Bag measures 30" long and 11.5" wide, has a reinforced strap, and is padded on the inside to keep your belongings safe and cushioned. The bag has one large drawstring opening that fits a yoga mat inside, and the outside of the bag has a zipper enclosed opening that is large enough to fit your wallet, keys, or even a yoga strap. And at only $29.99, it is a super deal!

We also have new Wooden Yoga Blocks, pictured below...

Wood Yoga Blocks

These new Wood Yoga Blocks are strong enough to support your full weight, and smooth to the touch, making them comfortable against your skin. Made from the finest pine wood in New Zealand, these blocks come in two different sizes: 3" x 5.7 " x 9" wooden block or the 4" x 5.7 " x 9" wooden block.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This Orthopedic Boot...

I haven't officially been to a Yoga Class in over two weeks now. My body feels so blah! I am still wearing my orthopedic boot, and though my ankle feels like it is still getting better, I am not sure it is quite there yet. I want to take the boot off, but walking up and down stairs hurts, and so do jumping, pointing my foot and moving my foot inward. Also, when I try to point my foot, a strange hole becomes present on the topside of my foot close to my ankle. It makes me feel like the tendon is no longer attached to whatever it is supposed to be attached to. My MRI is tonight, so that will tell the doctor exactly what is wrong, and I have my follow-up with the doctor on Friday and then I will know if I can go back to Yoga class anytime soon.

I have been still practicing my head stands! I am getting really good - I almost don't need the wall anymore! At least I can still do some Yoga even though I can't move my ankle!

My Headstand

Monday, July 27, 2009

Yoga in a Canoe at Twin Lakes

This weekend was so rejuvenating! I had to rethink my plans because I am unfortunately wearing a giant orthopedic boot on my left foot. I went to the doctor on Friday and he told me it looks like I had partially torn a tendon in my left ankle (I hurt it while dancing...). I am having an MRI this week so they can see if anything else is going on in my ankle, but for the next two weeks, I am stuck wearing the boot. Dancing is out of the question, the doctor said, but gentle Yoga is ok. He also advised me not to put weight on my left foot, like in balancing postures, so I unfortunately have to take some time off from Bikram Yoga.

So I had to plan activities that didn't put stress on my ankle. My fiance Nathan, and I decided to spend an entire day fishing in a little motorboat yesterday. That way I could sit and relax, and I could rest my ankle and still have fun - great idea! It was my first time out in a boat all day, and I had no idea how cramped I would feel, just sitting there rocking in the boat, waiting for fish to bite.

I occasionally felt the urge to stretch, and I ended up doing several Yoga poses right in the boat! My hamstrings and back were the most sore, so I did a few back bends and wheels, using the seats in the boat as places to put my hands and feet. It was a rush to feel the boat rocking gently as I breathed into the back bend - really relaxing. I sat on a seat and did long butterfly stretches, I did child's pose, upward facing dog, downward facing dog, and Nathan tried to be funny and do a toe stand (Bikram Yoga) on the floor of the boat, but of course the rocking didn't really help :)

Maybe it was all the Yoga in the boat that helped us catch 10 fish!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Had a Yoga Photo Shoot with SRC-Imaging.com

I had a Yoga photo shoot with SRC-Imaging.com on Monday! I'd like to share some of the great photos with you!

YogaMaendy by SRC-Imaging.com

YogaMaendy by SRC-Imaging.com

YogaMaendy by SRC-Imaging.com

I have been taking it a little easy this week because I injured my left ankle at the Siren Festival this past weekend. I think I damaged a tendon or something because I can't point my left foot anymore. The swelling is finally starting to go down, but the loss of flexibility in my ankle is really bugging me. This is the same ankle I always have troubles with. I made an appointment to see a foot doctor this Friday, so I will keep you posted about the results.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bikram Yoga...and Clenching My Teeth

Does anyone else notice they hold a lot of tension in their jaw when they are in Bikram Yoga class? Lately in class I have been noticing that while I try to stay calm in class by breathing in and out of my nose, I am clenching my teeth like I am fighting not to even open my mouth.

I grind my teeth in my sleep, so I guess I already have a lot of tension in my jaw to begin with. How can I help myself loosen my jaw while I practice Yoga without switching to mouth breathing?

Yesterday in class I tried to tell myself to loosen up my jaw, but I couldn't find the place. Any ideas???

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hot Yoga Vs. Bikram Yoga

I usually go to Bikram Yoga Classes (at Bikram Yoga Farmington...come and say hello some time!!!), but tonight at the Fuller Movement Center, they are having a free introductory "Hot Yoga" class, and I am going to take it. I am not sure how much different it will be from Bikram Yoga, but I will surely keep you posted.

My friend Katie (who dances with me in Soma Dance Company) will be taking her first EVER Hot Yoga class (never taken Bikram either...) so I will be sure to tell you know she liked it too!



We went to the Hot Yoga Class last night! Myself, my dancer friend Katie, and 2 of my YogaDirect co-workers, Tom and Colleen went as well. None of us have been to a "Hot Yoga" class, but Colleen and I had been to Bikram Yoga before and were anxious to see what the differences were between the two styles of Yoga in a heated room. Here's the differences we noticed:

The Atmosphere:

Bikram Yoga Class is strict. As soon as you walk into class, you begin your meditation. You only use energy to move and talking is not allowed in the room.

Hot Yoga on the other hand, was a bit more lenient when it came to class etiquette. Everyone was smiling and the room felt more relaxed. There was (rock!) music playing and no one got yelled at for talking.

The Heat

Bikram Yoga- Walking into a Bikram Yoga class is like walking into a wall of heat. There is no escaping it and you just have to learn to deal with it ASAP.

Hot Yoga- The heat was less intense, and it felt more dry. It really wasn't unbearable at all, except Tom was right next to one of the heaters and remarked that at times he couldn't take the heat anymore and wanted to leave the room!

The First Pose

Bikram Yoga begins each class with the breathing exercises. They are supposed to warm you up from the inside out and set your breathing pattern for the whole class.

Hot Yoga class began in Child's Pose, and the instructor, Adrienne talked us through bringing air into our lungs like bringing gas into a car's gas tank. Then slowly, she had us pressing down into the floor using our energy, and before we knew it we were in Sun Salutation headquarters.


Bikram Yoga class makes me sweat from the moment I walk into the room until I get home and into the shower. When i leave Bikram class I am completely COVERED in sweat, and so is my towel, and my Yoga Mat.

Hot Yoga class didn't have me sweating until the 2nd set of Warriors, and from then on I sweat a lot! The only thing I didn't like about sweating in this particular class was that we did so many inverted postures that sweat kept dripping in my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it. At the end, I left pretty sweaty, but not as bad as if I had been in a Bikram Yoga Class.

The Postures

Bikram Yoga has the same 26 postures in the same order every single class. There's no surprises and I know exactly what pose is coming next and how to prepare myself for it.

Hot Yoga class was much different. The teacher's style had a flow to it, and she took us through Sun Salutations, Warriors, and even inverted postures at a fast speed. Tom and Colleen agreed they thought the class was a little fast paced. Katie and I struggled a bit with the fast paced class as well, but I think it was Adrienne's dialogue through the postures kept me going. I think also because Katie and I are dancers we understood the flow of the postures and caught on faster. I did like that we did all sorts of postures that were different from the ones I am used to in Bikram because it is good to change it up!

The Dialogue

Bikram Yoga has a set "script" the instructors recite. I have been going to class so long I can even sometimes recite it in my head with them. Every so often the instructor may break free of their script and give the class a some little tidbits about life, stretching, or the benefits of the posture, but usually the dialogue in class stays basically the same.

Hot Yoga class conversation was more open. Adrienne explained postures, talked about chakras, said some funny jokes, remarked about the music that was playing, and more while we went through the asanas. It was more relaxed, which led my mind to wander a bit more than if I were just to be left to focus on silence and breathing. While the talking surely helped me stay in many of the hard postures without realizing it, it sometimes it made me chuckle and lose my concentration. I'm not saying that it is bad to have fun in Yoga class, but I just wasn't used to it.

The End of Class

Bikram Yoga Class end the way it begins - with a breathing exercise. After, you are instructed to lay down in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for at least 3 minutes to let all the Yoga you just did just kind of settle in your body. I usually struggle to relax myself after such a tough class, and am not sure if I have ever had enough discipline to remain in Savasana for more than the 3 minutes.

Hot Yoga Class ended with Savasana as well, but I found my body wanting to relax more after this class. I am not sure if it was the difference in heat or the postures we did, but I do believe I could have laid in Savasana after that class forever!

So here's the lowdown:
If you are looking for an intense yoga class where you can practice in heat, meditate inwardly with minimum help from the instructor, you'd be best taking a Bikram Yoga Class. However, if you are into practicing Hatha yoga postures that flow in a heated room filled with music and an instructor that interacts with the class, you should take a Hot Yoga class.

All in all, I think I enjoy both. It is nice to go regularly to Bikram Yoga class, and then to every so often go to a Hot Yoga class. If you want to go to a really great Hot Yoga Class, take Adrienne's class at the Fuller Movement Center! I know I will be back :)