Monday, November 29, 2010

Great reads....

While cruising by some of the blogs that I read, I came upon this website and I love the content: The Magazine of Yoga. This will definitely be a new resource.

I was reading a posting (an interview with Linda-Sama Karl, whose blog I love) that resonated with me, especially the part about SLOWING down a yoga practice. This is so true: slowing down is far more of a challenge than constantly moving and flowing. There is a time and a place for both practices but at times, slowing down and just BEING is what we need in this time of constant MOVEMENT. Especially when we are always so connected to our various devices: computer, phone, etc... And I get caught up in that web as well.

And this next one was delivered to my e-mail inbox this morning and it, too, resonated with me! The Daily Downward Dog's posting about the holiday season is a must read. She talks about using the "Messages of Light" cards (on my Wish List) by Mario Duguay. The following quote was on one of the cards and I will be shamelessly adopting this mantra, which is important at any time of the year and in any situation:

"Attain Serenity

I no longer let myself be swept into the turmoil of my mind and emotions.

From now on I let go of all stress, tension, and worry so I may attain harmony and serenity.

I will do one thing at a time and savor each moment. "

Namaste and thanks for dropping by...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga - #7

Well, that break from my Top 10 list was a little longer than I thought it would be BUT sometimes it takes time to rest and rejuvenate... hence reason #7

7. Learning to Listen to Your Inner Teacher

Sometimes it takes me a while to tune into my inner teacher, to listen to my inner voice. That voice can be the chatter I hear but can also be my body talking to me. That talk can be as simple as a twinge here and there or the ahhhh feeling as I settle into a pose. It gets better as I get older (gosh I HOPE so) but as in most everything in life... it is a process with ups and downs and turn-arounds!

I teach my yoga students, and indeed my language and computer students (my other jobs), to trust their own instincts. Most often, once we have learned something, it is tucked away in that lovely brain of ours SOMEwhere. With yoga, I believe we create the necessary muscle memory and our bodies remember the poses, instinctively knowing what is right. Whenever we practice, we need to listen to those signals that are right there in front of us. Knowing when to push a little more, when to step back, ease off a pose... that is listening to ourselves and respecting our inner teacher. Sometimes our mind needs to step back a bit and let our bodies ease into a pose such as when we are trying out a new pose, for example the first time we fly in Crow or take that leap of faith in Handstand or allow our hearts to soar in Wheel.

The same thing can be said for listening to our inner voice as we travel through our days... we all know that feeling that comes over us when something "just doesn't feel right". Conversly that feeling we enjoy as KNOW that we are doing something that is SO RIGHT for us or when we meet people or see places that just resonate with us in ways that are often difficult to articulate. Learning to understand that voice and distinguishing the real message from the hidden message we can tune into that inner teacher.

Namaste and Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010


There is something amazing about twists. Any kind of twist. We are all drawn to them in some form or another. I see people standing in line at the grocery gently moving themselves into twists, I notice my students as they warm up before class doing reclined twists, using breath to ease into them... and as I work on my computer and need a break, I am instantly drawn to a seated twist.

There is a reason for that. I was just re-reading Julie Gudmestad's Yoga Journal article on twists and she mentions how there are physiological benefits as well as structural and focus benefits to twists. She goes on to remind us that B.K.S Iyengar (there is a reason I am drawn to Iyengar... that's another posting for the future!) described twists as a "squeeze and soak"action... our organs are compressed while we twist thereby releasing blood filled with toxins and then as we release the twist, freshly oxygenated blood rushes in.... ahhhh, I can feel it now! And I know that for me just changing my orientation can be of benefit.... sitting at our desks, in a car or an airplane we are facing forward. Twists enable us to see around us. I always find my mood elevated as I relax into a twist. Afterwards things just seem a little more in perspective.

As we twist, we visualize our spine unfurling from the base and reaching upwards towards the crown of the head. Using our abdominal and spinal muscles to deepen the twist we can settle in an enjoy the pose. And then as we release, we feel our bodies smile....

Go on, do a twist!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Phillip Askew & Lydia Walker - Variations On Surya Namaskara (Music by Jonah Rank)

The beauty in this piece is amazing! Anyone who practices yoga and/or dances will appreciate the whole piece.... The music is so perfectly attuned to the performers and makes you hold your breath as you watch.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What's your favorite Yoga pose? What pose(s) do you avoid??

Taking a break from the Top 10 List. This topic has been percolating in my mind for the past several weeks...

What is your go-to yoga pose... the one that makes you feel good, the one that you can just settle into and know your body and mind will be at one? And on the flip side: what pose(s) do you seem to avoid? Come on, I KNOW I avoid some poses! And those are the poses that I know I need... because when I come into them, the feeling both in my body and in my mind tells me so,

As if to show me that this is the right posting for the day, I stumbled upon the following in Yoga Journal's blogs today... Read on my friends:

5 Ways to Embrace a Pose You Loathe - Yoga Blog Yoga Journal

And the more I search the Internet, the more I find things about favourite yoga poses.

On About. com: Show your Favorite Yoga Poses

And on FitSugar I found this: Readers Name Their Top 5 Yoga Poses

On Gaiam Life I read about what your favourite Yoga Pose says about you... hmmm.

Just discovered this blog and here's what Jehara had to say: 13 Favorite Yoga Poses

I really DO have some poses that I relish sinking into, settling into... Either for the relaxation or for the way my mood just soars.

Reverse Warrior AKA Exalted Warrior. This one is amazing. Everyone always looks wonderful as I scan the room when I teach a class! I also love the way I feel as I do this pose and afterwards I feel energized and happy.

Reclined Pigeon... ahhhh, need I say more? Some days it is more of a challenge to find that comfort in the hip area, but I KNOW I need this pose and that just feels right.

When I am tired and need to re-energize, I love Legs up the Wall pose... just allowing my body to settle into the floor, to feel my hips and spine release and sense the ease of blood flow in my legs.... Think I'll stop typing now and practice some yoga!

There are more... and I'll add them to my Poses Of the Moment as I find the time.

Oh, yeah, on the FLIP side... what pose(s) do I avoid? Welllll, anyone that knows me knows I am not so crazy about arm balances, although when I succeed I LOVE them. So I suppose you could say I have a LOVE/HATE relationship to Crane pose! Here is a great link to some arm balances in Yoga Journal... I now have this on my To-Do list for December...

Arm Balance Poses - Yoga Journal

Stay tuned and Thank You for reading....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Diane Hudock - Ahmanda Yoga Flow

Just watched this and it is more poetry in motion! It is Diane Hudock's Ahmanda Flow. Seeing that I am just home from a trip and don't feel like doing too much, today will be VISUALIZATION yoga.... ahhhh.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga - #6

Why do I practice yoga? Sometimes life is beautifully serendipitous.... The subject of the Yoga Journal Daily Insight newsletter I received today is: Bring Balance Home... and one of the articles posted is entitled: Why Do We Practice?, written by Richard Rosen. Click on the link to read the whole piece. What really stood out to me right now was:

"... Sri Aurobindo, the great 20th-century Indian sage and progenitor of Integral Yoga, reminds us, "All life is yoga." ..."

The article goes on to say how Yoga is woven through our lives... We could seclude ourselves and ponder life but we need to LIVE and part of that is dealing with everything that life has to offer: family, friends, jobs, problems.... etc. It is in HOW we take yoga OFF the mat and into our lives that our practice becomes whole and part of our lives. Each breath and each movement becomes asana, or as I sometimes refer to it, a dance.

So reason number 6 is:

Because Life IS Yoga.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Phillip Askew - New York City Vinyasa

Wow, just watched this video of Phillip Askew on another blog called (I love this name!) Devil Wears Prana and had to repost! SO so beautiful and INSPIRING! Watch and enjoy....

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga - #5

Reading some of my online newsletters I came up with the next in the line of Top 10:

5. Clarity

I have been reading Deepak Chopra's Rules for Timeless Living on He wrote one bit that resonated with me not for the obvious reason but I'll explain that after giving you the bit to read...

“I'm reminded of a therapist I know who gets patients whose lives seem out of control. He surprises them by saying, "Go home and clean your house. Make your bed every morning. Watch the sunrise for five minutes. Don't skip breakfast for a week. Watch the sunset for five minutes when you get home from work. Then come back and we'll discuss what's bothering you." He wants to see if they are capable of solving the simple disorderliness in someones awareness before addressing deeper psychological issues. Even a basic change can subtly re-tune the body.”

So in that vein, I thought of yoga, how we adjust, and re-tune our minds and our bodies as we practice and if we are lucky, that amazing bit of clarity and focus returns to us. We take the time as we practice yoga to listen to our bodies, listen to our minds, tune into the world around us...

Namaste.... the light in me honours the light in you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga - #4

Today's reason came to me as I was teaching a class...

4. Learning to embrace the Present Moment

There are certainly days when being in the present is a challenge. As a society, we are always racing, always planning... or alternately looking at the past, perhaps in ways that aren't so productive. I notice it in the way that we walk, head thrust forward, charging ahead, or at times closing the chest, protecting ourselves from the onslaught.

As I was teaching on Saturday morning, I found myself momentarily lost, not queuing the pose correctly... already on the next one, and my breathing (always my barometer) was ragged and shallow. And so I came back to my breath, back to centre and admitted it to my class, telling them that we all have to occasionally bring (drag?) ourselves back to the present moment. A laugh, a knowing gaze from some of them and I was back in the moment.

And that reminds us that we need that yoga community to help keep us in the present moment!

Namaste. I am enjoying this journey through my Top 10 List...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga - #3

Now that I am thinking about my Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga I am SURE the list will be longer than 10 but number 3 came to me like a bolt of lightening last night:

3. Physical Benefits!

In my book, this one is the no brainer. Google it and you will be inundated with Top 10 lists. Yoga Alliance lists its own 10 Reasons to Try Yoga and the top 2 are:

Stress Relief &
Pain Relief!

Need I say more? Yes, I do... after that Yoga Alliance lists:

Better Breathing &

I won't go on any more today but you get the drift. The only question left is:

WHY NOT practice?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga - #2

Number 2 came to me today as I thought about my 2 classes yesterday:

2. Yoga Community

I practice yoga because of the wonderful yoga community that I am fortunate to be a part of. The yoga community is not only my physical one here in my home-town, but also out in cyber-space and in print.

Here, each class that I participate in, whether as a teacher or a student gives me SO much. The energy in the room is always different and somehow, someway what I need seems to make its way into my heart.... Some days it is physical, some days it is emotional. But it is never dull!

The many daily & weekly newsletters that I receive are full of interesting material... sometimes things I have experienced, sometimes things I need or want to learn. But always welcome in my in-box.

And I LOVE my monthly Yoga Journal for its articles and photos.... not to mention the online content! LOVE those videos.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Practice Yoga - #1

Starting today, I am compiling a Top 10 list & will add to it as I think of things...

1. Because I Can:

I can practice yoga, run, play, work, live.... And I do practice yoga for me but also for those who cannot. I honour them as I honour myself. I seek to do this in all that I do.

On my run this morning.... just as I was feeling that I wanted to quit... this is the song that played on my iPod:

I Run For Life by Melissa Etheridge

It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Everyday that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast
If you ask her why she is still running
She'll tell you it makes her complete

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me, my friend
I run for life

It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul
And now I'm still learning the lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for us all

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister, your daughter, your wife
For you and me my friend
I run for life

I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life


Makes you think, doesn't it?