“Everyday I will fulfill the potential of my being.”
“Everyday I will fulfill the potential of my being.”
As a mother of two children under 10 I’m constantly running them from event to event. Wether it’s for their minds, or their bodies they always have a bag to keep their necessary contents together. As for me I keep my necessary contents for Yoga everywhere. The back of my car holds blocks with a mat….the television stand is where I toss my eye pillow and elastic band….the hall closet stores towels just incase I need to dab the sweat off after my practice….any drawer I can find will hold CDs for my yoga listening….lastly, if my water bottle can’t be found, usually it is located with one of my children. And yes, they have their own, but I guess water taste better out of mine. So, it got me thinking….this yoga momma needs a yoga bag!
I made a trip to Target to replace my well-worn and well-used yoga mat. While I was browsing through the selections my eyes fell upon the bag I just admitted to myself that I needed. It was just hanging there all alone….the last one. The perfect one for me! I absolutely love this bag, and it holds all of my yoga props. As well as, items I might need for teaching classes, or my personal self. I highly recommend that if a yoga practice is becoming a part of your weekly life that you get a bag to keep all your items together. It will give you a sense of organization, a sense of preparedness, and a sense that your practice is an important part of your life. Not just a hobby that you scatter throughout your car trunk, television stand, and hall closet.
Contents in my Gaiam Yoga Bag:
Yoga CD…get your groove on
Candle…set the mood
Gaiam Yoga Mat (actually stores under bag…really cool)
Two Yoga Blocks (they’re in there behind CD :))…modify when you need it
Elastic Band by Body Sport…increase your flexibility and strength
Towel…slippery when sweaty
Water Bottle…stay hydrated
Eye Pillow…relax, let go, unwind
Kashi Bar…refuel after your practice
Want more information? Visit: www.Gaiam.com/Yoga
(I make no profit from you visiting this sight…just sharing ideas.)
There’s nothing I enjoy more than a chewy snack. It’s even better when a little gets stuck to your teeth….. creating the perfect opportunity to make a silly face while trying to un-lodge it with your tongue. Oh, you know what I’m speaking of, because we have all been there at least once, or twice. There are many goodies that can create this exact possibility, but today I’m enjoying the chewy goodness of Ginger Chews made by the Ginger People company. Not only is this a fun little bite to eat, but it has many health benefits too. Ginger is believed to stimulate digestion, naturally freshen breathe, relieve nausea, sooth cold symptoms and relieve headaches.
I buy my Ginger Chews in bulk at Whole Foods. I like to set them out in a pretty bowl for everyone to enjoy. The great thing is that 1-2 can really settle a sweet tooth, while entertaining the mouth with its spicy, sweet, chewy goodness. If you haven’t had them before, I truly recommend giving them a try. Want to learn more? I got my information about the benefits of ginger from http://hubpages.com/hub/Ginger-The-Benefits-How-to-Use
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
I spent my afternoon with an iced latte and my laptop. I was seeking yoga forums and other yoga blogs. I visited http://www.downdogsandcats.com a post titled: Who You Will Not Find On The Front Of Yoga Journal… really caught my eye. She was speaking to the fact that the image of yoga should not be limited to the very thin, very toned, and very bendable person alone. Even so, there doesn’t seem to be an abundance of yoga magazines, yoga clothing lines, or yoga materials in general that represent the non-traditional image of a yogi.
In fact, I spent sometime looking for a image of what I refered to as a “Chubby Yogi” …..the only thing that appeared were babies and puppies. That alone makes a statement that in our society chubby is only cute when it’s linked to the first stages of life.
I personally appreciated this article, because I’m not the ideal image of a yogi, and yet I teach yoga. There are times when not measuring up to the expectation of what a yogi “should” look like can be intimidating, but at this point I feel I have so many other things to offer my students. I have my passion, my knowledge (that is always growing), my energy, my presence, and my genuine concern that the practice we share in together has some meaning for all involved.
I feel good about that, very good about that, but I do wonder sometimes if my yoga career will be limited by my appearance? Will some students decided not to attend my classes, because I don’t have toned arms? Will the ideal image of yogi not re-attend my class, because my butt looks big in Downdog? I don’t know, but I don’t hold any grudge for the students who decide not to participate in a practice with me. If my image doesn’t inspire them, encourage them to begin, or even continue with their practice….I completely respect their view.
However, from my experience I know that you don’t have to be a size 2 to impart knowledge, have a positive impact on others, or feel fantastic in Half-Moon Pose. So, for now I’ll proudly carry the title of Chubby Yogi. This is who I am in the present. I’m not sure who I’ll be in the future. Yet, I’m confident that I’ll always believe that yoga is a practice sized for one and all….toned and chubby alike!
What do you think…..would you feel comfortable developing your practice with a teacher that wasn’t reflective of the images on Yoga Journal?
It’s so hot that not even the community pool is helping me cool off!!! Due to such intense heat this week I’ve been mindful in my classes to slow the practice. Also, just for fun I have added some cooling Asanas, along with cooling Pranayama. It seems from my informal poll it has helped about 65% of the class. Here’s what we have been doing….
Uttanasana – Standing Forward Fold
Coming from Mountain Pose feel yourself rooted in all four corners of the feet. Allow the sitting bones to be heavy, as you bend your knees folding forward from the hips. Bring your hands to rest upon blocks on their highest position. Checking form to ensure blocks are aligned with shoulders. Let the crown of the head hang towards the earth, release the jaw, relax the face and allow the breath to flow unrestricted. After several rounds of breathe, slowly roll up with shoulders and head coming up last. Take a moment to notice the effect of this pose.
Paschimottanasana – Seated Forward Fold
Come to the floor. Extend the legs from their hip sockets. Gently rock side to side seeking even weight on the sitting bones. Take moment and notice the position of the knees. Have the knees facing upward towards the sky, and allow there to be a subtle inward rotation of the inner thighs. Feel a line of energy from the sitting bones down through the heels…toes reaching towards the face. Feel a second line of energy from the sitting bones up through the crown of the head. Folding from the hips bow the heart towards the legs keeping a long spine and neck. Soften the face and allow the breath to flow. Return to a seated position and enjoy the effects of this pose.
Also known as a Lunar breath which translates into cooling. Bring the index and middle finger of the right hand to rest on your forehead. Allow the ring finger and pinkie to rest on the left check. I find curling these two fingers to rest on the face is most comfortable. Gently seal the right nostril with the right thumb. Slowly begin to inhale and exhale through the left nostril. Complete several rounds of breath. Take a moment and notice how you feel.
This by far is the most fun breath to teach. If you can curl your tongue by folding the sides towards one another you’re already a rock star. If you weren’t blessed with this genetic gift…no worries I’ve got options. Simply take the tip of your tongue and place it on the roof of your mouth. Once you’ve got it in position, pucker your lips as if you’re drinking from a glass bottle. Ready? Simply inhale and exhale while holding the tongue and lips in place. Imagine if you’re drawing air in from a straw and then release it. Complete several rounds. Then release the tongue and lips. Enjoy the sensations that this breath creates.
Now, there are no guarantees that these techniques will completely beat the summer heat. However, it will give you a moment to unplug…maybe try something new…and help to cultivate a greater appreciation for your body and for yourself.
I could write a nice little e-book sharing with you all of the times I passed up an opportunity because the moment wasn’t perfect in my mind. If the chance for a new experience was going to interrupt my perfectly planned schedule for the day….it wasn’t going to happen. For example, if my day was already earmarked for cleaning house, paying bills and sorting laundry….there was no way I was going to participate in an impromptu playdate with the kids. I would truly pull out my calendar and pencil it in for another day.
Now, don’t misunderstand there’s nothing wrong with having a plan and an expectation. I think implementing this approach can lead to wonderful success. However, if this style of planning rules every moment in life it could also lead to stiff boredom. It also helps to create a safe haven not allowing one to reach out beyond comfortable boundaries. If we’re not going past boundaries are we truly growing? No! We have to step out and discovery the options that aren’t highlighted on our calendar. This is where living life begins. Heck, it’s how we know we’re alive! Take a moment and think about the last time you felt butterflies in your stomach, or maybe an extra flutter in your heart. If you moved past those feelings, and lived that moment. How did you feel afterwards?
My moment was teaching yoga for the very first time. In my class I had 24 students. Forget butterflies and an extra flutter in my heart. It was more like giant moths and feeling like I needed an oxygen tank. But, I was the instructor and the students were waiting to be lead in a yoga practice. I had my perfect notes, I had the perfect music, and I had practiced this sequence many of times.
Even though I planned for perfection it didn’t happen. I forgot the sequence. The music didn’t translate as well in a class setting. And worse yet, I didn’t have enough material for the 75 minute class. Perfection absconded with my safe boundaries. I was left with only me, and I discovered that was just fine. I stayed calm, slowed the pace, and I pulled from past yoga classes I had taken to round out the remainder of our practice.
As I look back on this experience I believe it was indeed the plan. Not created by me, but by the universe. It’s a reminder that if we’re willing to stray from our safe zone once in a while we’ll have an opportunity to discover the greatness that already lies within. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride for myself. I also learned I could share yoga with others. This doesn’t mean I no longer prepare for classes…it just means I know each class doesn’t need to be perfect to have a purpose for my students, or for myself.