All posts filed under: the yoga life

Love Nature More: Outdoor Yoga

“Nature is my religion. The trees my churches, the mountains my cathedrals.” One of the many amazing things about living in the heart of Washington, DC is that there are ample parks and locations dedicated to preserving and enjoying nature. My friends who aren’t from DC often think of here are a crowded city, but it’s actually incredibly scenic and gorgeous, and beautiful blend of stunning landscapes and architect woven together. I’ve never been one to really try the outdoor yoga thing. I saw way more disadvantages than advantages: people staring at you like you’re some kind of hippie-dippie weirdo, the distraction of what’s going on around your practice, the discomfort that can come with bugs and grass and sun and wind and whatever. Still, I felt the urge to get outdoors and soak up some bright greens and blues of nature, and it revolutionized my practice. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly without fear for newer and richer experiences.”  It was such an …

(Guest Post) My Beautiful Journey: the Healing Power of Yoga

The Yoga Community is truly an amazing source of inspiration and encouragement. Over and over, I see how people’s lives have been changed for the better by yoga. It’s not specifically the asanas that bring the change, but the healing mentality that comes with the asanas. Yoga allows us to find great inner peace, and a connection to God by clearing a path through our minds and chipping away the parts of us that keep us from fully realizing healing. There are so many powerful stories out there, and I was really moved by my friend KaSandra’s story. She’s an incredibly beautiful, insanely talented yogini. Her body is enviably fit and strong, and can do poses that most people would only dream of trying. To see her now, you would never know that this lovely woman has been through hell and back, and that she nearly killed herself through a severe eating disorder. You wouldn’t guess this, because she brings such strength, soul and the message of grace to her practice today. She is one …

Organic Foods: Spurge vs Save and How to Choose

By this point, the average health conscious person is aware organic living is the way to go. We know we’re supposed to avoid artificial ingredients that make food more like a science experiment than a nutritious source. GMO’s are also rightfully getting more and more attention as consumers are slowly but surely being alerted to the hazards of consuming these science experiments. Whenever possible, as much as possible, we want to eat organic food so we can safely avoid pesticides and genetically radically altered food. But let’s be real, it can really break the bank to eat healthy. I hear this from many of my married friends with children, and I sympathize. My husband and I pay a ridiculous amount of money on groceries, and that’s even with meal planning and budgeting. We also save money by eating out less, so it evens out a bit. Food should be safe to eat, but the simple truth is that most FDA approved foods aren’t healthy. In fact, they’re dangerous to consume. In particular, GMO foods are …

Training with Kino: Fearless Backbends

Backbends: that part of a yoga class that makes most yogis inwardly groan. Most of us are perfectly content to skip all and any camel like poses. And count us out entirely when it comes to Urdva Dhanurasana. There’s actually a scientific and emotional base for most people’s dislike of backbends. Yoga poses release a cascade of neurotransmitters (they cause those feel good emotions or the shock of adrenaline that gets your heart pumping like crazy) that usually leave us feeling euphoric after a yoga class. Backbends aren’t always so kind to us. The spine is massive network of neuroreceptors and neurotransmitters. Needless to say, getting the spine involved in a big way can release a tidal wave of emotions that can flood us with notsohappy emotions. We usually like to back away from these overwhelming experiences, so we avoid getting deep into our backbends. Kino actually explained that these emotional blues are unavoidable in yoga, and hitting that wall is usually when people quit yoga. Introspection and discomfort isn’t usually what we sign up for when we …

Training with Kino: Primary Series

I’ve heard Ashtanga described in more ways than any other type of yoga practice, and usually with some pretty strong emotions; usually people are fanatics about it, but I’ve also heard people speak about it with hostility. The descriptions vary widely: it’s way too athletic, the yoga for young boys, the most liberating emotional experience, too redundant, powerfully meditative. Ashtanga yoga is, in fact a fire-driven and highly athletic practice. This much is true. And a yogi does follow a specific flow that is designed to get the practitioner deeper and deeper into poses without tearing muscles or pulling limbs out of socket. In this pic, you can see Kino helping me get deeper in this asana. It’s sums up a great deal of what Ashtanga is all about: finding the fullest expression of each asana so that we may experience the great peace that accompanies this journey. Noted as one of the most challenging forms of yoga, Ashtanga often attracts highly driven, Pitta (fire) personality types; True, Ashtanga provide a playing field where a yogi …

Fake It Till You Make It: Becoming a Morning Person

Full confession: I despise, hate and otherwise abhor waking up early. It’s not my thing, and I blame the fact that I’ve worked night shift for years as an ICU nurse and also my persistent childhood habit of refusing to go to bed due to my intense fear of missing out. I’m still convinced that the moment I go to bed, the world gets so much more interesting and everyone is having fun but me. No one can really disprove this belief, so it reigns on. In addition, the second my head hits the pillow, I suddenly become responsible and instantly remember about 50 tasks that I need to do. I’m sure you’ve heard some of the conventional “here’s how to wake up like a normal working adult” so I’m sharing a few of my personal tips that I like to call: “Wake Up & Get Yo’Self Outta Bed NOW!” 1. Get to bed early like your mom used to try to make you do: Seriously. No one wants to even broach the prospect of …

Training with Kino: Secrets of the Sun Salutations

I recently came back from several long, but amazing days of training with Kino MacGregor. It was beyond incredible, and I am so humbled and grateful for every opportunity to deepen my practice. In addition to attending workshops with her this month, as I’ll have the oppotunity to train with her in April and May before I fly out to London in September for the 100 hour Ashtanga course with her husband and her. Kino is one of my personal role models, not because she’s crazy talented, an amazing business woman, and beautiful person, but because she has passionately dedicated herself to learning and sharing the message of yoga. The greatest blessing of training with her is without a doubt being able to learn more about the heart of yoga. I adore Kino; I mean, she’s my women crush any day, not just Wednesday! But I don’t want to “train with Kino”, as amazing as she is. I want to sit at the feet of someone who is a vessel for yoga and learn as much as I …

Being Still and Finding Peace

This weekend I’ve had amazing training sessions with Kino MacGregor in Montclair, New Jersey. I woke up today at 3am enveloped in great peace. There is so much goodness and grace to give and receive, and I am so grateful for my portion. I got out of bed and took a walk around early dawn, and the stillness and beauty around me absolutely spoke to my heart. God is in the quiet and in the calm. We find our Light and our peace when we simply open our hearts and listen to the still, small voice that speaks through ordinary, simple means. Too often, we pass by our opportunity to connect with the Great Peace that can be ours, because we get caught up in the search for the spectacular, the wonderful, the impressive. But perhaps being still and equanimous requires the greatest strength of all, because God is in the stillness. Shavasana remains one of my more challenging asanas, because it’s difficult to neither be in the past nor the future, but simply balanced …

Happiness Starts Here

Ask anyone what the secret to being happy is, and they’ll throw out at least a dozen responses: Be true to you. Love yourself first. Do what you love. Love others. Choose to be happy (a difficult feat for those suffering under the staggering weight of depression). While most of us have a pretty good cognitive grasp on how to be happy, the practicality of the matter is a whole different issue. But ultimately, regardless of our efforts, the motive behind what we say, do, and even think plays a powerful role in our happiness. One of the things that I love about yoga is that it burns away many of the distractions and mentalities that bar us from a sense of peace and happiness. The spiritual side of yoga teaches us to shrug off the weight of things that slow us down, and how to tap into a sense of true joy. If yoga has taught me anything, it’s shown me how to connect to God and my great potential to be happy. What …

The Quest for the Perfect Mat

Some girls obsess over finding the perfect shoe. It’s been ingrained in women since the dawn of time…or the telling of Cinderella at very least! But for the average yoga practitioner, finding the perfect yoga mat is like a search for the Holy Grail. We research, discuss, evaluate, analyze and generally lust over any and all mats that seem like they can help our journey onward. And trust, when it comes to our mats, Goldilocks has nothing on how picky we are. It must be slip free, grip tight, cushy but not too comfy, and of course relatively easy to carry around. There’s good reason for our mat love. In yoga we believe all the energy from our sessions gets stored into our mats. Whether or not that’s true, any yoga practitioner will swear by our personal mats and our attachment issues we develop for them. Finding the right mat can truly help your practice, so I’m taking the guesswork out of finding the right fit for you by reviewing different yoga mats I’ve tried …