All posts filed under: Yoga

Ditch the Sugar, Lose the Weight

  Pour some sugar on me… But not on my food. No way, no ma’am, no thank you. I not-so-secretly adore sugary things. Actually, I love salty foods. Fatty foods. Fried foods. If it is dyed an obnoxious color, I’ll probably like that too. (Those chewy Swedish fish make my day. Some part of my brain knows it’s not a real food, that fish are neither chewy nor bright red nor sweet, but I become 100% committed to devouring the entire box the second they’re in my hands.) I use so much salt on my food, it looks like a literal snow blizzard has descended upon my plate. But out of all my vices, I think my sweet tooth is the worst. Scratch that, it’s not a sweet tooth, but teeth. Like, a mouth full of ’em. I’m pretty sure my body is out to get me. When science is finally confessing sugar is silently killing us and likens it to a hyper addictive drug, what’s a girl to do? Find ways to cut sugar out …

Review: Best Yoga Books (for yoga addicts like you)

I collect two things in life: books and music. And according to my bank account, I apparently go a little overboard with my obsession for both. I am unrepentant. I am without question a book fanatic/literarazzi/reader-of-all-the-things. I don’t know about you, but any location that houses books in a happy place: libraries, used bookstores, Barnes and Noble, that random pop up store down the street, etc etc etc. I’m not kidding when I say I read at least a book or two a week. I will happily turn down social engagements to snuggle up with a my fat cat and a book. HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH—called my sofaaaaaaaa. Anyway, now that we all know the real reason I’m sometimes a terrible friend (those books aren’t gonna read themselves, people), I wanted to share with you several that I’ve found really beneficial to my yoga practice. Inspirational and philosophical books are pretty easy to come across, but books with a technical focus are often difficult to find. I’ve curated several gems along the way, and they’ve made …

Is Yoga Enough of a Workout?

And there it is. The question I get asked all the time: IS YOGA ENOUGH: to stay fit, to lose weight, to keep the weight off. When a person says they do yoga, that’s a pretty broad spectrum statement. There are a million different types of yoga, and I don’t think one is better than another, so long as it benefits the body and the soul. Most gyms in the States have an increasing demand for yoga-fusion classes: cycle-meets-mat, barre-meets-yogini, weights-meets-flow…you get the idea. I’m sure what I’m about to say is an annoying purist statement, but I’mma gonna say it: those hybrids of yoga are not yoga. They’re called a workout routine. Yoga is a discipline with strong spiritual roots and those who are faithful yoga practitioners reap crazy health benefits, but true yogis don’t do yoga to get fit. That’s a side benefit, and a great one. BUT let’s face it, most people find their way to the mat because they want to get lean and limber. Nothing wrong with that. Fitness might bring us to our mat, …

Natural Cleaner for Yoga Mats + Gym Equipment

Just when you thought it was safe to watch documentaries, you come across The Human Experiment and life is over as you knew it. Nightmares for DAYS, people. Damn it, Netflix, why do you do me like that? The basic synopsis of The Human Experiment is that we’re all going to die. Well, ok, more specifically, we are experiencing a chemical overload via the things we use daily, ranging from food to products. Households cleaning items are rarely tested for long term effects on animals, and what data we do is not looking good. After watching that documentary my first instinct was to pack up, pulling a Walden, and getting my Henry David Thoreau-self outta here! But here’s the thing: I absolutely refuse to live my life in fear of all of the non-holistic things that go bump in the night. There’s a big difference between making smart, well-informed changes that positively impact your life verses being controlled by information that terrifies you. The point of educating ourselves about natural alternatives is to simplify, empower and protect our …

How to Have a Dynamic Yoga Practice

Yoga is an investment. Like money, we don’t want our practice to be a proverbial credit card, where we’re charging skills and tricks that our body actually can’t afford for us to do. We also don’t want to needlessly hoard our energy, so we must learn to invest ourselves and our energy wisely. As with most things in life, you’ll get out of yoga whatever you invest in it. This makes me oh so happy! Hooray! A predicted outcome: work hard, enjoy the results! On the other hand, this makes me feel RIDICULOUSLY GRUMPY: wait, what? Sooo…no coasting? Not even a little cheating?! DAMNIT! I guess I’ll have to rely on good old fashioned hard work when it comes to my practice. Oh, joy. But all good things are worth the effort, and yoga is at the top of that list. Because yoga allows for many modifications and no one is shouting at you to run harder, climb higher, pump heavier, the degree of intensity is a highly personal and regulated primarily by the individual. Pros: you …

Yoga Injuries: Now What?

When you end up with a yoga related injury, it’s a little…disillusioning to say the least. But the truth is, it’s not yoga. It’s the way yoga is being practiced. Pain is the body’s way of telling us we’re not properly aligned. Yoga does exactly what it’s supposed to: teach us where our bodies need to heal and how to heal. The key is to just listen.  Yoga is therapeutic. It’s known for it’s almost magical healing properties. It’s basically like the fountain of youth. So when you end up with a yoga related injury, it’s a little…disillusioning to say the least. It’s like finding out Santa doesn’t exist and Rudolph doesn’t even have a red nose all in one day. I mean, it’s actually just a bit offensive. You’re supposed to heal me, yoga! Not hurt me! How dare you! But the truth is, it’s not yoga. It’s the way yoga is being practiced. Pain is the body’s way of telling us we’re not properly aligned. Yoga does exactly what it’s supposed to: teach …

Review of the Dharma Wheel

Yoga falls into that rare exercise category of “no equipment needed.” Other than a mat, all that’s needed is you, yourself, and your open heart. Maybe it’s our complex day to day lives that push us towards making everything more complicated than it needs to be, but sometimes yoga just seems…too simple. Surely I need more gadgets, gizmos a plenty, and at bare minimum some whozits and whatzits galore. (AND YES. I so just referenced The Little Mermaid, thank you fellow nerds and red haired children alike for knowing that.) Back to the point at hand: yoga. I find myself looking for ways to “add on” to my yoga practice. Aren’t there props that I need? Shouldn’t I be investing in more training apps that I may or may not use? I really will do a handstand better if I buy super expensive pants…right? Part of me still feels disbelief at how simple yoga is, and yet how transfiguring it’s proven to be for millions of people, including myself. Now, when I see the random belles …

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 …

Beating the Yoga Blues

Yoga is a journey that has it’s peaks and valleys, to be sure. Sometimes, we leave a practice feeling on top of the world. In fact, yoga is famous for the euphoric high that comes after a ridiculously grueling session. Maybe science hasn’t nailed down exactly why yoga is so magically healing and emotionally satisfying, but any regular to yoga will swear by its powers. Speaking of science, we do know that yoga, which incorporates tons of back bends and twists, causes the body to release a high level of neurotransmitters like serotonin (which is directly responsible for happy feelings). The spine of course is connected to the brain, and both are big control centers for neuro activity and hormonal releases. While yoga usually leaves us feeling oh so blissful, sometimes it also stirs up deep emotions and can leave us feeling like we’ve been hit by a Mack truck. It’s not uncommon to feel emotionally drained after a big influx of neurotransmitters, hormones, twists and bends…but it seems hard to shake at times. From a …

Review: Cody App & Kino MacGregor’s Handstand Series

Kino MacGregor is truly a yoga sensation; perhaps it’s more accurate to call her a yoga rock star, because she’s mastered the art of garnishing fame and marketing yoga. She uses this skill to spread the message of Ashtanga, and she has an incredible gift for explaining how to do yoga. Her teaching abilities parallel her own practice, because she herself is a committed yoga practitioner. In addition to being an insanely talented 4th Series Ashtangi, she’s also one of the few certified teachers sanctioned by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois himself. I’ve had the incredible opportunity to train with Kino extensively via several yoga intensives, and most recently a 100 hour Ashtanga course. In the words of Shakespeare, though she be but little, she is fierce. Seriously, training with Kino is a butt kicking experience, but it transforms your practice. There are endless ways to learn from her. And learn we certainly can, because she clearly breaks down not just how to master poses, but all the steps along the way. Kino has teamed up with Cody App to provide detailed, step …