Saturday, December 31, 2011

Begin again.....from the beginning (part 1)



My Christmas holiday was great. I got to spend quality time with friends/couples that I have not seen in a while: one on one over dinner versus the hectic open house party. These dinners were so meaningful and intimate that I would not trade them for anything. Yes, the holidays were blissful... until I got sick. Not a major illness (for a time I thought it was an allergy based on my symptoms) but it turned out to be some kind of cold that refused to respond to any kind of medication or tonic. I was already nursing two guys on crutches (my son and husband--long story), so I guess it should not have been a surprise that I was running down.
The greater surprise came when I tried to keep a regular schedule of teaching, practicing, and working out. I was about halfway through the bug when I went back into the gym to work out and could barely drag myself around. I actually had a sort of epiphany and realized that there will be tens of thousands of people who are going to feel out of energy, lack inspiration, and basically suck wind as they try to create a new lifestyle and intentions for the New Year. This realization came as a surprise because I know that once I am in shape, those thoughts of the struggle and despair fade quickly as I begin to live in an upward spiral and I no longer breathe in that plane of existence...that downer, lifeless feeling that just sucks and drains you. As a result of this, I felt like I may be out of touch with new students coming into my yoga classes next week who are adding yet another layer of change into their lives. These students may be trying to get back into cardiovascular shape, incorporate a holistic lifestyle change (yoga) AND try to change their diet all at the same time. I have been feeling inept during these days of trying to get back into my groove physically and mentally, but I decided to hold fast to the thoughts and feelings to help me help others in the coming weeks of “New Year frenzy”. I also reminded myself that the older I get, the harder it may be to bounce back; if I have difficulty bouncing then many more walking into my class may face the same situation. 
It has been a blessing being a sickie during the holidays; there’s nothing that I would change. My intention for 2012 is to help current and new students feel healthier, happier, and more at peace, not fit into some pair of jeans, become a yoga rock star, or reach some number on a scale. I am not insinuating that was my intention in the past, I just need to say it out loud because so many people really need to hear it- and believe in it!
Om Shanti Om friends

Friday, December 16, 2011

Love for the Teacher


I love that feeling I get when I read something that touches my heart. The words just click with me and makes me think “Wow, I mean really WOW!” The intention of the words just melt into my soul and the feeling stays with me for some time.  This feeling also makes me want to pay it forward- to pass this wonderful quote, poem, or passage on to others so they may share in the same splendor. So here it is, coming straight from a Christmas Card from one of my students:
“Christmas is
that deep feeling of peace 
that quiets all the noise, 
reminding us that love and gratitude
are what matter.”
I dedicate the second part of this passage to anyone who is a teacher. It does not matter what you teach, present or lecture, what matters is you possess the heart and loving kindness to share, advise and help others.
“You have a part in making
every season of the year
warm and wonderful...
and part of what makes 
Christmas so special is the chance it brings
to thank you.”
May you experience abundant love and joy this holiday season. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Juiced for the Holidays!


I have been stopping by an Organic Juice and Smoothie shop in East Memphis called The Cosmic Coconut, and I have to tell you I am hooked on fresh pressed juices combined in extraordinary ways.  These experiences got me curious and sent me on a mission to investigate juicing machines. After speaking with a couple of local retail sales associates (Dillards and Williams Sonoma), the Juicer appears to be a strong sell this holiday season in the Mid-South. 
I admit that I am not the juicing expert and would refer you to best-juicer-reviews.com for more technical reviews. However, the Juicers that I am posting cover broad price points, which makes it a bit easier to continue your search for the best Juicer for you.
Best Budget Juicer- $75
The Hamilton Beach Bigmouth 67650 is the top pick of Consumer Reports, Food and Wine Magazine, and consumerguide.com. The reviews state that this Juicer is easy to use and easy to clean. However, some reviews note that the pulp comes out wet- a sign of inefficient juicing. Additional comments were complaints about plastic parts breaking. 
Best Endorsed Juicer- $100
The Jack Lalanne Juicer is ranked the best Juicer in several polls. For one hundred dollars at your local department store, this may be a suitable purchase for someone primarily interested in juicing fruit. It can’t juice leafy greens (wheatgrass, spinach, etc.) and oxygen gets into the juice- meaning foam in the juice. Just like the Hamilton Juicer, the lower priced Juicers have complaints about plastic parts breaking. 
Most Efficient mid range Juicer -$149
The Breville JE98XL will press eight ounces of juice in five seconds. This Juicer has a wider mouth which equates to less time involved in chopping fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces in order to load them into the Juicer. Like other mid-range Juicers, the Breville does not do a great job of juicing leafy greens or wheatgrass. As a plus, this Juicer ranked very well with consumers on Amazon. 
Price is not a factor- $379.00
The Omega-VRT350 Juicer will do just about all that you desire, without the loud noise or the enzyme killing heat and little/no foam. Yes, this premier Juicer will juice your leafy greens and wheatgrass without a second thought. Some of the other noteworthy features are:
Easy to assemble, operate and clean
High juice yield ­ very dry pulp
Two juicing screens for firm and soft produce
**Per juicingperfection.com, this Juicer weighs 25 pounds and has an unheard of 10-year warranty.  Considering the size, this is a monster small appliance that will remain on top of your counter along side the stand up KitchenAid mixer.

If a Juicer is a top pick on your wish list, let Santa know ASAP. The local Williams Sonoma outlet is already sold out of Breville Juicers, and other well rated Juicers are becoming difficult to find in our area. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Get your winter boost!


I just received my December issue of Whole Living magazine in the mail and I am excited with all of this month’s healthy eating articles. I suppose you can say that I went a tad bit overboard when I decided to ‘combine a few of the articles together’ to form a quick and healthy breakfast/snack. 
First Ingredient: 1 cup Blueberries
So much has been written about the power of dark berries (cherries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.)  and that they are powerful anthocyanins that prevent collagen breakdown --- call them super antioxidants. Load up on these babies.
Second Ingredient: 1/2 cup Walnuts
The only nut that contains a large amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega 3 that is an awesome ‘memory food’. It also contains a derivative of Vitamin E. They are loaded with protein and help fill you up, it’s a great snack food. 
Third Ingredient: 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
Go the extra mile and freshly grate your cinnamon, it is an absolute treat. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a daily teaspoon of cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels-possibly helping control diabetes.
Fourth Ingredient: 1/2 teaspoon of Cocoa
Try purchasing an organic dark cocoa powder with 70% or higher natural cocoa. A powerful antioxidant, this food protects the skin from sun damage, something we still need to keep mind of in the winter months.  
To prepare:
Rinse blueberries and drain them. Chop or break apart walnuts so they will be a good bite size portion. In a small/medium bowl, blend the cinnamon and cocoa together. Pour walnuts in the bowl and then gently add the blueberries. Gently toss all of the ingredients together to coat and grab a spoon so you can enjoy and quick, yummy dish!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Girls Night Out At The Movies

Another great event going on in town is the biggest yoga party in Memphis, sponsored by LifeTime Fitness in Collierville. Grab some gal pals and head out to this festive event in the 'burbs on November 18th at 7pm. There is no admission fee, but donations will be accepted and presented to the Memphis Chapter of the Susan Komen Foundation.






Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mid South Yogis and Yoginis read up!

There are some wonderful events scheduled in our part of the country! I thought I would compile the calendar and forward them to the local kula as well as any other yoga lovers who might be passing through our area. Please post any other events that are coming up in Octoober and November in the comments section. 

Peace

 Yoga -Southern style!


Weekend Retreat at Grey Bear November 4-6
sponsored by Midtown Yoga
$395 (meals and lodging  included)
midtownyoga.com

Partner Yoga at Midtown Yoga
November 5th 2-4 pm $45
midtownyoga.com

Ayurvedic Winter Guidelines
hosted by Better Bodies Yoga
$20 in advance $25 at the door
betterbodiesyoga.com

Meditation Level One  6 week series 
October 12- November 16  $125
Wednesdays 7-8:30 pm
betterbodiesyoga.com

Activate Your Abundance Workshop
October 14-15  $35 for one $60 for two days
giveyogamemphis.com

Yoga By The Barn- Jimmie Miller
Half day retreats  right in Shelby County
visit www.yogabythebarn.com for upcoming schedule
e-mail tuxpan@aol.com

Yoga and Wine hosted by Jennifer Fields
Saturday, October 22 9:00am - 12:00pm
Old Millington Winery - 6748 Old Millington Road
Millington, TN 38053 www.yogalifeway.com
90 minutes of asana, meditation & pranayama (poses, quiet and breathing). Please bring a yoga mat. Then we'll go inside for light refreshments and wine tasting compliments of Old Millington Winery. Must be 21 years or older to taste the wine.
Cost: $10 per person (includes yoga, refreshments & wine tasting)


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Bubble Bubble, NO Toil and Trouble with Yoga



I really couldn’t believe my eyes when I ran across this EOB statement from my father’s health care provider. Yep, promoting yoga to reduce anxiety, improve strength and flexibility, and increase your muscle tone and circulation...and a number to call! You see, I don’t get too many medical bills at my house because we are pretty darn healthy, so if yoga has been promoted on health insurance statements and bills, it is news to me.  I use old remedies, holistic solutions and a lot of preventive health measures to keep us out of the doctor's office. My family has called me the ‘witch doctor” on several occasions, and I will likely be dubbed ‘the witch doctor grandma” by any future in-laws. 
If this yogi witch could cast any spells, I would take my craft and head north, circling my broom over those folks ‘on the hill’ in D.C. If the government wants to provide healthcare to it’s citizens, let’s get this thing right! Transforming myself into a fly on the wall, I would buzz around the hearings, casting spells of holistic health enlightenment. For instance: Let’s give reductions in premiums to those who are pursuing healthy ways to live and pre-tax flexible spending accounts for gym memberships, yoga and pilates studios, etc. More importantly, alternative medicine should be covered as a primary care provider medical visit. 
Then I would concoct a special brew (disguised as a swanky craft brew) and distilled spirits (Tennessee moonshine with a witchy twist) and serve it up at a tony D.C. party where the guest list includes all the lobbyists and executives from big pharma. The cocktails would render them all mute -unable to speak out, bribe, vote, etc., against these revolutionary acts until they are passed. After all, they are the biggest losers in America becoming healthy, relaxed, and happy. It wouldn’t be fair to leave big pharma in an eternal state of silence (although, it would be quite nice to get rid of all those TV ads), so the spell would be broken when each of the lobbyists and executives attend their first yoga class.
Hmmm...if the plan works, I would take on the ‘market’. Anyone have the address for United Healthcare?
Happy Fall Y’all!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Squiggle For Your Thoughts...

Never get tired of doing little things for others because sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their heart. - Baltao
*Tweeted by Freedom Yoga 8/18/11
Words that resonated with me when I read them 4 days ago, the quote made me think of two compassionate yogi tweeps and their short, but very uplifting tweets in the past weeks. Let me explain: recently, I received a bombshell of sad and painful news that clocked me with scud missile accuracy.  In turn, I had to communicate more sad and painful news to others and make some unpopular decisions.  During this raid of negative information, these two yogis seemed to have me in their crosshairs and delivered supportive tweets with precise timing to keep my head and heart above the smoke and shells. 
Additionally, my husband and extended family have supported me with their kind words and prayers to help me navigate through this difficult time. During one overwhelming moment, my husband suggested writing down everything I needed to do, research and call upon, to help me focus and lift some weight off of me at the same time.  Jokingly he said, “Can you write on the refrigerator with a dry erase marker?”  I whipped out a hot pink marker and drew a large squiggle on the ‘frige and stood there for a moment. “Uhh, I wouldn’t have tested that idea on the very front of the appliance, honey”, he said. I waited a few more moments and then wiped the squiggle off with my hand, “Voila!” I exclaimed. Since then, the side of the fridge has become my life-size dry erase board, an invaluable tool to get organized, categorized and time-lined. Even though I may be wiping off two items and adding three more to do’s, it has created a sense of calm and direction for myself. 
It may seem small or insignificant to some, but kind words, simple ideas, and keeping my energies and thoughts in supportive environments have kept me on a steady directed path, versus feeling like I am walking through a mine field. 
Like Baltao said- keep doing little things for others!

**** A ton of <3 goes out to @Freedomyoga @letigo8 @flyingyogini and @yoga_mydrishti

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer’s Spectacular Light



To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie -
True Poems flee.
~Emily Dickinson
It’s mysterious, glorious, and enchanting. Its constantly changing depth, hue, contrast and intensity creates a dazzling display of illumination and texture; the summer sky never repeats itself. It doesn’t matter if it’s dawn, mid-day, the glowing hours, or the inky twilight, the light show never ceases to stop us mid-sentence. Even though it is August, we have plenty of summer left down here in the South to admire the evolving canvas of the heavens.
Personally, I like (or at least try) to capture ordinary vistas in extraordinary circumstances, taking a common and familiar Kodak moment and giving it a twist. I was fortunate enough to snap some photos in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina two months ago. There were a couple of variables, some might call them annoying circumstances, that heightened my anticipation of getting some awesome shots: (a) wild fires in North Florida were blowing smoke up the coast (b) the reliable summer afternoon coastal showers bringing in amazing cloud formations. I was vacationing, so I was praying that I would be able to shoot some pictures at an agreeable time slot, getting up at crack-thirty was not on my agenda.
I shot the first image (right) from our villa’s balcony with my iPhone in the morning hours; you can see the haze in the low sky blurring Daufuskie Island. It’s not morning fog burning off but the smoke from the wild fires. Overall the image is somewhat predictable; I suspect hundreds of vacationers have the same photo of the harbor in their family albums from vacationing in these villas. Predictable and ordinary, except for the monster yachts that are docked in the marina!
Advance forward to the next day, late afternoon to be exact, and a summer shower had just passed over Hilton Head Island. I can remember that it was so silent when I took these photos- I think my husband and cousin were napping and my cousin’s wife was in the shower. While setting up my camera, I realized that I had an opportunity to add a couple more interesting elements to the landscape, but I had to be patient. 
My first shot (at top) is just capturing some interesting filtered light and remnants of storm clouds. In case you were wondering, I currently shoot with a Sony A55 SLT and had a 18-200mm lens on the camera for these photos. I need a couple of ‘landscape lenses’ but currently, I have some budgetary constraints!


While crouching on a chair on the balcony, I wait for the timing of the lighthouse beacon to face me and the wind to catch the flags on the lighthouse... it took some time. I think it took about thirty five minutes to pop off the next two shots, but oh, was it worth it! I now have some illuminated memories of vacationing with my husband and cousins that will last a lifetime!



Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I have been a knittin'






I’ve been a Knittin’
Yes, it’s true. I have been a knittin’ and a stitchin’... a knittin’ a stitchin and a cinchin’. For two straight weeks this yogi has been fabricating and corset-ing my body in Stott Pilates Intensive Mat teacher training, using my rectus, obliques and TVA’s (and many more muscles). Pilates is better known for toning and beautifying the body, but the real benefit is the rehabilitating, strengthening, and mobilizing of the spine, pelvis, and shoulders.
It’s tough implementing the five basic principles of Stott Pilates! Most people do not understand what the true “neutral spine” is, so they often over-exaggerate the natural curve of the spine on the mat and place the lumbar spine in a precarious position. Additionally, most people do not understand the “imprint” position of the pelvic tilt- to keep the pubis slightly higher than the ASIS joints. Instead, a student may plant their entire back into the mat instead, which is a counter-productive position. Using core muscles to hold these two pelvic positions is a hardworking foundation; and you haven’t even added an exercise yet!
Although it sounds like this part of the teacher training took my breath away, it was instead the Anatomy requirements that caused the heavy labored sigh. During the six month training program, trainees have an Anatomy component that is 50% of the final exam. The other 50% of the certification is a practical where the trainee does a postural analysis on a ‘student,’ discussing health concerns and goals, then teaches this ‘student’ a class that will address their postural and joint deficiencies; all of this happens right on the spot! You have to pass both the written and the practical exam to become a Stott certified teacher. The depth of Anatomy proficiency in this program falls in line with an ACE personal trainer certification exam and somewhat near the ACSM personal trainer certification. It’s tough stuff! How do I know? I investigated the ACE program and still have the hundreds of study flashcards; I also reviewed one of the ACSM manuals… wow, I mean, wow. As you might guess, the inevitable question arose: how does this Pilates training compare to my 200-RYT program?
 This blog ties into a fabulous blog posted by @Teachasana on July 22, 2011 titled “What should I look for in a teacher training program?” In that article, Yoga Alliance Affiliated RYT programs and Non-Yoga RYT programs were discussed and the point was well made. Even YA certified programs do not provide an equal training experience. Each YTT may ‘present’ the required material, One YTT may give you a few cookies on the particular subject (Chakras, for example), while another YTT hands you an entire cookie jar’s worth of Chakra study- asking you to create a 30 minute guided mediation using the Chakras as your focus in order to complete that module of study. I have witnessed these inequalities when taking advanced teacher training workshops. While completing a Yin Yoga teacher training last winter, the learning curves from approximately 10 different YTT’s were reflected in the kinds of asana and anatomy questions that were asked...and the expressions on some of the participant’s faces. There is no judging whatsoever going on here because I have sat on that mat before and I remember the feeling, I’m just expressing my understanding that there are swings in the content of teacher training programs. It would be quite difficult for a YTT program to be able to give trainees all that they desire, given other variable such as  price, geographic location, and duration of class time. That being said, I’m old school and I feel that trainees should not come out of their programs feeling disadvantaged or unprepared, especially in the areas of asana or anatomy, you are working with people’s bodies!
You are correct if you conclude that I am of the opinion that my YTT did not meet the ‘inquiring minds want to know’ disposition of my own brain!  Disappointed? A little, but seriously, no hard feelings exist- remember this is my opinion. I have a sleuthing, CSI type of mind and have already received additional anatomy training through the Cooper Institute in Dallas, Texas, where I received a group fitness leadership certification. Every yoga teacher or potential yoga teacher is different and so is their intention and focus. You have to be honest with your intent so you can find a welcoming home in your teacher training program. Me? I want to bring students to equanimity and, in my mind, knowing the body and the brain on a more intimate level may help me on that path.
While tossing this thought around, a couple of my own teacher training questions came to mind. Will this teacher training:
Assist your students in functional fitness?
Yes, so many of us love Vinyasa, but it isn’t the end all of yoga-and many can’t keep up with the flow.  Who are you planning on teaching? Would an Iyengar or Hatha teacher training be a better fit to the audience you may be teaching, one that focuses more on alignment and deep holds of postures?
Assist your students in an emotional perspective?
If you already know that you may be working with a significant number of students who are in counseling, recovery, or chronically ill, the YTT that enlists therapist and counselors and allows significant focus on meditation, journaling, pranayama and mindfulness may be the YTT for you.
Another idea is to review the required and recommended reading list for your potential YTT. The book list may help you determine if it is a balanced training program.  A fellow teacher acquaintance confided in me that her required reading list was “Light on Yoga” and “The Power of Now”, that’s it...you have to decide if that is enough for you. The education doesn’t stop when you receive that certificate. After you have graduated, you will have to complete continuing education courses to remain in good standing.  Several of my fellow teacher peers have been branching out in their CE studies to enhance their mind/body awareness through classes and workshops like Tai Chi, Qigong, belly dancing, Sanskrit study, Pilates, Ayurveda, and even college Anatomy. They all sound pretty fascinating to me, especially the belly dancing!  
Enjoy the anatomy image, this blog is starting to cut into my study time… back to knittin’ and the books!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Serendipity

All the stars lined up on this particular Savannah, Georgia night; a warm breeze was blowing in off the Atlantic, there was a glorious light display in the early evening sky, and a kula-type of energy swirled throughout the City Market District. My husband and I noticed a large crowd gathered at one end of City Market and decided to check out the scene, where there appeared to be a band playing. 
Not quite. It turned out to be a one man band on an acoustic guitar rocking the Market. His name is JamiSun, and he is one of the most authentic and talented musicians I have ever seen and heard. He shreds with the best, and he has such an eclectic influence: Rock, Blues, Classical Guitar, and his own special Mariachi spice.

By posting this blog, I hope this genuine artist will be booked in some great venue festival like South By Southwest or Coachella. In the words of Zac Brown, ‘He can tear the shit up!”  Click, enjoy and spread the music www.jamisun.com

  


  

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Field Day Yogi


It’s why I do it. It makes all the planning, reviewing and reflecting worth it. Ask just about any yoga teacher and they will agree that the affirmations from their students about their yoga ‘off the mat’ experiences just rocks them through to 
the dawn.
Typically, the insights that are shared pertain to pranayama; students will recount stories of sleepless nights and how the miracle practice of breath work lulled them back into a blissful slumber.  By focusing on their breath in times of stress, conflict and anxiety, students figure out which breathing practice to initiate to assist them in navigating intrepid waters of communication.  After hearing about these events, yogis return back to the mat with a rededication to the practice because they know it works for them... pharmaceuticals be damned! 
One of my students shared her most recent yoga moment and, I have to say, the experience she shared with me was, in a word, adorable!  “Betty” was participating in a team building event at work that included casual dress day, a picnic, and field day. After the employees dined together on the traditional outdoor barbeque fare, the employees were divided into teams for afternoon events. Each teammate was given a field event to participate in; some required speed and athleticism while others required skill and strategy. Betty was bestowed the egg and spoon race, in which she had to navigate an obstacle course while carrying an egg on a spoon and be the first one to the finish line with an unbroken egg to win the race. 
Betty described how she calmly assessed the course and remained focused as well as balanced by her core stability. Tuning out cheers and chatter, she devoured the field event without dropping the egg! Her co-workers praised her extraordinary effort in her race “You didn’t drop the egg... not even once! How did you do that?” they exclaimed. Betty responded, “I am quite certain my yoga practice is what affected my ability to perform so well.” She went on to say that it was her “balance, a focused gaze and a steady, calm approach” that she had cultivated in her yoga classes that really made the difference. She recited this story with the light and enthusiasm of a third grade student at field day; it was so endearing! I got a fabulous feeling that Betty had become a shining ambassador of yoga amongst her co-workers, and that they really got to know Betty on a more personal level.
Boom! There it is; that word, “shining,” a word that I am starting to hear more frequently in my yoga studies. Currently, I am reading “Yoga From The Inside Out” by Christina Sell. Christina is a certified Anusara yoga teacher from San Marcos, Texas who also teaches on Yogaglo. The Anusara style of yoga founded by John Friend, grounded in a Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness, is heart inspiring, heart opening and teaches you to shine your light. I am not able to intelligently speak any further about this style of yoga as I have taken only one Anusara inspired yoga class in real life (so I have stuck a single yogi toe into this path of yoga.) What I can say is, that after taking the Anusara inspired class and several Anusara Yogaglo classes, I felt luminous, like I had a power source of light and energy. I felt authentic and genuine in my practice and intention, right down to my cellular being - the same things that I was witnessing in Betty that day. It was a phenomenal moment to be basking in someone’s shining soul and observe that light beaming onto others as students gathered around her to hear her story.  
Since that day, I have caught myself closing out my classes with “Shine bright yogis”... I am really getting hooked on that mantra. Think of that mantra as if it were a chant; root and cheer yourself and your kula in the greatest event of all. Life. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Seeing My Practice Through a New Window


Well, I have been delinquent in my blogging, but I assure you that you did not want to hear about the past couple of weeks. Preparing for a yard sale in 105 degree heat, repeated drop-offs to donation centers and hazardous material hubs doesn’t make for fascinating conversation. That was all on behalf of a family member, and now I have another mess on my hands...my own yoga space.
Many of us yogis use the living room for our yoga practice. I like my space because there is plenty of light, some wall space (after removing some paintings) and the open floor sans the coffee table. I also have the bonus of the large screen TV on the wall where I can broadcast a fabulous @Yogaglo class or DVD should I not want to pursue my own creative flow. You can tell from the photo that this room is a disaster, just like every other room in my house because we are having the windows replaced and the house exterior repainted this week. Practicing under these circumstances will give me a different view of my yoga.



In order to roll out my mat, I have to take this little space along the two wing chairs and be surrounded by all the clutter. I don’t do well with clutter- it makes me feel overwhelmed and out of control. So for the next few days I will be diving into some serious
Pratyahara and Dharana so I can manage with all of the mess throughout the house. There will be little emphasis on inversions and arm balances and more focus on standing poses and some juicy Yin thrown in.  My practice time will be quite warm  (about 83-86 degrees) because there is no sense in having your air conditioner running in 98 degree weather when there are large gaping holes in your house. 
I am already breathing easier just thinking about the adjustments in my practice. Not to mention that I find it insanely humorous that my sister is coming in for a weekend visit this Thursday. I wonder how she is going to cope!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Are Tweenie Yoginis in Turmoil?

To be cool. To fit in. These thoughts run amok throughout the mind of a tween. Aye Hanuman, talk about a monkey mind! Recently, I have been witnessing some strife amongst my little tweenie yoginis that I teach. Usually, the energy from these kids is positive and encouraging to each other, but as my class grows in size, the diverse and unique personalities expand as well. Some of them are downright stinkers.

In a recent session, two new boys appeared to be interested in participating in class as they took off their shoes and sat down on a mat. But, as I began to talk about what we would be doing in class that evening, one of the boys spoke up and loudly said, “I don’t like this yoga stuff...I don’t want to do this”.  The second boy chimed in, “Yeah, I don’t like it either. What is the use of this yoga stuff anyway, to be peaceful and quiet?” I replied, “Yes, yoga can help you with chillin’ out and relaxing.” With a raised voice and squinty eyes, the second boy answered, “Well you ain’t gonna get any peace and quiet from over here!” He then said that he didn’t want to stay, so I allowed him to return to the Kiddy Corral. The first boy was slightly stunned-- and no longer had a partner in crime.

Another outburst: an eleven year old girl proclaimed that she did not like yoga either. I looked over to see a tween who was back for her second class. I replied, “Really? Well I am very thankful and proud of you for coming back again this week to give yoga another chance.” She dropped her head and stared at her lap. I saw a soft expression on her face but not quite a smile. I sensed that she felt good about being recognized after one class, so she became pro-yoga after that moment. I thought to myself, “What is going on? Why do the kids want to distance themselves from yoga?”

My class plan went out the door as I switched gears to try and respond to the situation brewing in class. I decided to make it a “feel good” class… who doesn’t like massages and feeling good? I pulled out the foam rollers, and the tweens gave themselves back and leg massages. We used the foam rollers with balance poses as well. They loved it!
After class, the eleven year old girl no longer had a tough expression on her face but was beaming. The first boy (the one without an accomplice) even confided in me that he “kinda liked the class, it was ok.”  I hope this child will apply some positive peer power on his friend who left, and encourage him to come back another day.

At the end of the class, my questions still were not answered. Has yoga become geeky or nerdy? Do only pansies do that stuff now? Are tweens being pressured by peers to reject yoga because it’s uncool with their age group (because their moms do it)? I am intrigued by my own ponderings on the subject and would appreciate  you posting your experiences and thoughts on tweenie yoginis.

Peace!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Love love Orange Cauliflower!

Whoda thunk... orange cauliflower? It is an amazing vegetable that you should try with this recipe I found from www.sundaynightdinner.com. Three out of four of my family members liked the dish (if my son had given it a thumbs up, I would have had to check his temperature).

Information for my local peeps: I found this vegetable in the organic section at Kroger-Exeter location in Germantown.


Cardamom Roasted Cauliflower Recipe
SND Note: We've added the salt before and after roasting. While it's easier to salt the vegetables before roasting, the salt draws out the moisture in the vegetables, which makes them harder to brown and caramelize. Salting the vegetables after roasting is the recommended approach.

Ingredients
  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for greasing sheet pan
  3 green cardamom pods
  1-2 dried red chilies or 1 fresh Thai chili (optional)
  1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
  1 head cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds) cored and broken into medium florets
  1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Directions
1.            Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a sheet pan or jellyroll pan with olive oil and set aside.
2.            Grind the cardamom pods, chilies, coriander, cumin and whole peppercorns in a coffee grinder or mini food processor until fine. Mix the spices with oil in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower florets and onions and toss to coat. Add additional oil if necessary.
3.            Transfer the vegetables to a baking pan, spread evenly. Roast until they're tender and the onions are caramelized, about 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Transfer to large bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss, adjust salt to taste and serve.
Makes 4 servings as a side dish
[Adapted from American Masala by Suvir Saran]

Monday, May 16, 2011

Grab a Tissue

Even though it was Memphis in May, it was a chilly afternoon in the Midsouth. The looming storm clouds cooperated and did not rain on Katie's day. I was inspired by the ceremony and wrote a poem in my fellow yogi teacher's honor...

(warning: I am not a poet)


Love’s Divine

A breathtaking vision
Perched atop a horse drawn carriage.
Tiara petite and veil complete,
Rivaling the Iconic Princess Kate
In grace, style, and beauty.

Your eyes met.
And, as you made your way
To the end of the path,
Your hearts embraced.

With a few deep, ethereal breaths,
Your jitters dispelled.
Then, the life force fell into a flowing, glowing
Stream of blushing light,
Awakening the inner beauty for all to witness.

Exchanging vows under the watchful eye
Of a grand Painted Lady.
With an enchanted, enamoured, unbroken gaze,
The power of the word
Transformed two compassionate spirits,
Uniting them in eternal love.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

That’s What the Coach Said...


What an epic moment! I see a tweet from a well-seasoned marathoner/triathlete about his blog post on finding yoga. I have known Kevin for many years (he married a pledge sister of mine), and yes, I have encouraged he and Karen to add yoga to their running recovery program. Like many competitive athletes, they have a very difficult time ‘slowing down’ to do yoga.
Kevin isn’t a weekend warrior. He is a RRCA running coach, Co-Host of Pure-Fit Radio and the National Coach for the Team McGraw Endurance Program. The TMF is a worthy foundation that enhances the quality of life of children and adults with brain tumors. The foundation also provides assistance to individuals with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. 

I am thrilled that Kevin will be able to share his yoga experience with his team and future clients, and hopefully they remain on the road and injury free. Learn more about the TMG foundation by visiting www.cantstopendurance.com, and read about Coach Kevin and his aha! yoga moment at http://bit.ly/kjrNC8.