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