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, 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

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: or i know someone looking for mats for a transitional shelter.
-N. Adler

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

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 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 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 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 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 Check back later, as I will be updating with my thoughts!