31 January 2008

Hopefully that's how heaven will smell

nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa, nag champa
nag champa

30 January 2008


My friend Madeline asked me to tell her about some yoga pants she might like, and well here they be...thought every lady would want to know.

Chaturanga pant, from Athleta

Good choice, feels good!

Almost never does someone do yoga and go, "damn, I wish I would not have done that, it sucked". But sometimes we do eat 7 no-bake cookies and go, "damn, I wish I didn't eat all those, I feel like shit" (last night).

Today I felt awful, I thought I was coming down with the dreaded "something", in fact it's be upon me for 3 days now and my antibodies are just chargin' at this sick-beast and most of the time, winning. But this morning I was sure it was ON, I was sure I HAD it. I went to work anyway, and thought I might make it to lunchtime and then go home, but I started feeling better. Now Wednesdays are extra special because my friend Lindsay teaches ashtanga at the *nice* studio in town. I was very sad to think I would have to miss it. Near 5pm, I was still not sure if I'd go, but Linds told me some good advice (we also work together, yes that's so cool!) and that was that I should come to class and just take it WAY easy and listen to my body...what a great idea, because I love the vibe that class gets going and it would be great just to be in it in any way, shape, or form.

something wonderful happened! I had one of my best feeling practices and I felt strong and healthy! I think it was the absence of any expectation, and also I kept this super calm sensation going by mega-focusing on my breath, the postures LITERALLY came last, as in they were a result of a calm mind and constant attention to pranayama. It's so freaking great when that happens.

29 January 2008

Surprisingly, I had a very good, solid practice today at the gym! Granted this gym is way nice (the Health and Fitness Center at WCC), there is a large room set aside for yoga and when there isn't a class being held in there (which is hardly ever) anyone can practice in there on their own (hardly anyone ever does). So I used to the room today to enjoy a solid 60 min. practice. When I was almost finished practicing, a woman who used to come to the studio where I used to teach and practice came in and did her quite solid ashtanga practice. It was so nice to be silent with only someone else's ujjayi breathing in the room. It helped my focus, I have to say. It was also nice to connect without speaking in a sense. After yoga I languished in the steam room, which is always such a luxury and makes me feel all noodley. Go WoYoPracMo!

I am the opposite of a monkey...

because I think my arms are too short. well, I KNOW my limbs are short, and this is pretty cool when I want to do say, Paschimottanasana, or even Utthita Hasta Padagustasana .

BUT, I think it may very well be that my arms are too short to perform the full expression of Tolasana.

It seems this way because no matter what I seem to do I cannot leave my hands TOTALLY flat on the ground, I am always on my fingers and balls of hands - sounds excruciating right? - well it nearly is. Maybe I am just not lifting through the bandhas enough, specifically mula bandha? Recently, I have discovered the difference it makes when you really engage your mula bandha when taking Bakasana - the effort is less and you just sort of hinge up there without feeling like your hips and butt weight a million pounds (hey, feeling lighter is always nice). So although I feel like I just might be physiologically incapable of Tolasana, I am guessing I am not. But man, when I am nearing the end of practice and perhaps feeling tired it sure is easier to think, "I can't do Tolasana because I am just not BUILT to", rather than, "girl, you ain't doing it 'cause you just can't do it yet!"

28 January 2008

World Yoga Practice Month - WoYoPracMo

February is Deepen YOUR Practice Month, and practice everyday. I think I'll go for it. I came across WoYoPracMo on accident and its quite cool! I joined up on the site, but I think I might do my blogging about the practicing here and paste it there? Dunno if that's possible since all this bloggy blog stuff is new to me. But yoga isn't, so I'm giving it a whirl!

Spin Yoga Class

Attention Ann Arbor-Ypsi Yogis and Cyclists!
I am co-teaching (I am teaching the yoga part) a Spin Yoga class in February at the Ypsi Studio, run by the lovely and vivacious Julia Collins. Spin Yoga is a wonderful balanced workout. You cycle for 45 min. then I teach a 45 min. post-spinning class aimed at all the major muscle groups used in cycling. Open to all levels.

February 17 1-2:30pm
To sign up just email Julia juliacollins@sbcglobal.net

27 January 2008

Effort to Ease

"Perfection in an asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached"
Yoga Sutra 2:47

So far I have REALLY perfected Savasana. All the rest...well, practice and all is coming.
But, what if it never does? That's okay too. This practice has no end point, we might say that samadhi is it, but samadhi can be but a moment and then we are back in the practice, practicing. I say, thank heavens, because it's like when I am doing anything I love, I don't want it to end. Say, I make a batch of vegan cupcakes; I want to eat them all, and then I don't want to eat them all because then they will be gone. I want them to last and last yet I want experience them. I can't have all this. But with yoga I can have all this. I can practice again and again and I can have this practice for all time, there is not danger of an end. How cool!

Yoga Music

Some of us like to practice to music and some of us don't. Personally, I love it and I am a self-described 'yoga music geek', as in, I listen to it in the car and while at work, not just while practicing. The thing about yoga music is it can slip into some really wanky, new agey, downright cheesetastic flavor. So here's a list of the yoga music I have found that I love that isn't too cheesey. That being said, I may have slipped so far into my affinity of for yoga music that I might (gasp!) not be as discerning about what's cheesy and what's not anymore. But still, these are nice, I swear!

Wah! Savasana
Wah! CD Krishna
Ben Leinbach - The Spirit of Yoga
Chinmaya Dunster - On Sacred Ground
Ty Burhoe - Invocation
Craig Pruess - Language of Love
Yoga Mela - An Eastern Vibrational Experience
Tina Malia & Shimshai - Jaya Bhagavan
Maharishi Gandharva - The Eternal Music of Nature

ALSO, this site www.whiteswanmusic.com/ is a super cool resource for all this kinda of music...

25 January 2008

Thai Massage Workshop

My friend Lindsay and I are teaching a Thai Massage Workshop in February at A2 Yoga in Ann Arbor.
We're not certain of the date exactly, most likely Feb. 15th. It's a partner workshop, but you don't need to bring a lovah, a friend is just fine. A couple years ago Linds and I attended a yoga workshop on Valentine's Day and we thought it was just a partner yoga thing, but it was a really a 'bring your sweetie" thing. Didn't really matter, Linds is pretty sweet! More information to come and also check out Lindsay's site at Ann Arbor Yogi.

Thai massage is sometimes called "passive yoga" or "lazy man's yoga".
It is done on a padded floor surface with the recipient wearing yoga clothing and bare feet. The practitioner will massage, stretch, and move your body through beneficial yoga postures as you breathe and relax. Wonderful for yogis or anyone in need of stress and tight muscle relief.

The Checkout Lane

Sometimes I say I want to "checkout", and by checkout I mean, not drive my ass to my office job 5 days a week, not fill my gas tank up with gazzzzoline, not shop at Target, all that rhetorical ballyhoo I throw around. Chad and I talk about it a lot as do Lindsay and I. It's not that I hate my life, or hate people or even my job for that matter. But there's an inherent dissatisfaction with doing work that sits you at a desk all day long (like duh, this isn't new or anything), and I feel it especially because what I would love to do is spend my days at a yoga studio or at least in an environment that fosters holistic health, say, oh...a nice commune in Hawaii?? I think, "oh it would be sooo much easier to live the life I want to live if the weather were nicer, or I didn't have to work in an office, or if I could just do yoga all day long", but really, this life IS my yoga.

My daily life gives me an opportunity to practice yoga all the time (we're not talking asanas , more like Bhakti yoga or even sometimes Jnana yoga for instance). Say this morning, while driving to work - there's a ton of construction near my job right now and getting to work sometimes entails navigating Bobcats and cement mixers both of which have a propensity of move very slowly. I get behind one and am of course, irritated.

Why though? Am I in a hurry to get to this desk I hate sitting at? No. Is someone clocking me in? No. So what's the rush? Why the irritation? OR, also this morning this sloppy chick in a raggedy SUV totally cut me off, and I was really ticked, and then something amazing happened. Ok, not amazing, but let's say...pretty neat, something pretty neat happened; she moved back into her lane and then I was next to her, I looked over at her and she looked puffy and haggard and instead of being mad at her, I felt ACTUAL compassion! Not *sad* for her, but real compassion! And then I thought - "Yay! I'm GETTING it!"

Intention and Intent to Sleep

Probably going to format this blog in the same way that I have yoga conversations, or well, most conversations with my friend Lindsay. It's the only way I can keep myself from sounding like a weenjob.

So last night I decided I would ONCE AGAIN set my intention to do my ashtanga practice in the morning. The only time I ever succeeded in doing this was when I was in yoga teacher training at the Shala. Up at 5:30, at the studio at 6am, practice and then the 1/2 hour commute to work, somehow I managed this, in the dead of winter. But somehow I can't manage to peel myself from the Tempurpedic merely to head to the very next ROOM. Lame! I was all about it, alarm set, excited even! I even set the heat program to go up at 6am so the cold barrier would be eliminated, one less excuse. But nah, sleeping is so so sweet. And I am a professional sleeper. So despite my good idea, good intentions and even a solid at home practice I couldn't do it. Do I try tomorrow - oh no, no no no, tomorrow is Saturday - sacred sleeping day. I can however practice when I do finally get up. And there, there it is. I'll do that. And sure, I have a regular practice that comes later in the day, but for reason I feel like there is some added benefit to practicing first thing in the morning (nevermind my body feels like it's been on this earth for 85 years first thing in the morning). Is that the key, to work out those kinks earlier in the day than later?I realize what's most important is THAT I practice, but still, doubt and questions creep in.