Archive for August, 2010

Aug 28

September Yoga Gems

Posted by Melanie in Events

We are slowly coming out of the August doldrums in DC. The mornings are a bit cooler, the days growing shorter.  On my regular run route, I’m noticing leaves that are beginning to turn.  Kids are back to school and fall will be arriving soon. As Washington slowly returns to life, yoga workshop schedules are beginning to ramp back up. This month MC Yogi will be in town, the DC Global Mala takes place and a number of great workshops are not to be missed.

Thu 9.9.2010 8:00 – 9:30 PM Cost: Donation, Studio Serenity, Adams Morgan, DC * Psychology of Karma w/Dhanurdhara Swami

Sat 9.11.2010 1:30 – 3:30 PM Cost: Donation, Quiet Mind Yoga, DC * The Non Dominant Side Experiment

9.12.2010 1:00 – 3:00 PM, Cost: Free, Lil Omm Yoga, DC * Introduction to Ayurveda – Motherhood and Ayurveda: Care for Self, Baby and Family based on Ancient Teachings

Thu 9.16.2010 7:45 – 9:15 PM Cost: Free, Circle Yoga, DC * Introduction to Yoga Workshop

Sat 9.18.2010 4:00 – 6:00 PM Cost: $35, Tranquil Space Yoga, DC * Cupcakes & Chakras

Sun 9.19.2010 1:00 – 2:30 PM Cost: Free, Circle Yoga, DC * What is Reiki? An Introduction

Thu 9.23.2010 6:30 – 8:30 PM, Cost $40/50, Tranquil Space Yoga, DC * Autumn Equinox with Live Sitar Under the Full Harvest Moon!

Sat 9.25.2010 1:30 – 4:00 PM Cost: $35, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Ganesh is Fresh with MC Yogi

Sun 9.26.2010 12:00 – 3:00 PM, Cost $35, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Jai Ma! with MC Yogi

Sun 9.26.2010 12:30 – 4:30 PM, DC Global Mala * Tickets and Info here

Sun 9.26.2010 1:30 – 3:30 PM Cost: Donation, Quiet Mind Yoga, DC * What Makes You Move? An introduction to the Musculoskeletal System

Photo by Old Sarge on Flickr via CC license

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So…its here..the movie version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s runaway best selling book opens today. I have a date this weekend with a group of girlfriends to go see it. I’ve downloaded the CD from itunes. As a yogi and a wanderluster, I’ll admit right up front, I’m an unabashed fan girl. This is my version of “Sex in the City” weekend.

As I anticipate seeing the movie, I am reflecting on the many, many discussions I’ve had about Elizabeth Gilbert’s story of travel and self-discovery since I first read the book several years ago.  Reactions vary from my own…”I LOVE it, I LOVE Elizabeth Gilbert, I want to hang out with her–I’m certain we’d be fast friends. I want to be the ashram’s key hostess. I want to go to Bali and laugh from my liver.” To…“I didn’t care for it,  Elizabeth Gilbert seems self indulgent, people just don’t leave their lives (or their husbands) like that”–to many variations in between.  I am struck by how intensely personal each reaction is.  It seems to me that each reaction is a mirror to where an individual is in their life–no single opinion is right or wrong–we are just where we are.But, if we pay attention to our reaction to the story–we can gain awareness. What makes you afraid? What makes you angry? What makes you laugh? Do you maybe feel jealous?

I’m writing this post while sitting in a cafe, Just now, I can hear two women discussing the book. They are both saying how unrealistic the story is–that most people can’t just drop out and travel around the globe for a year to find themselves.

It is true, Liz Gilbert had a book contract in hand before she set off on her year abroad. That’s a really nice thing to have. I get that we don’t all have book contracts or trust funds or whatever you think it would take to make a break for it like Liz.  I will tell you that I know more than one person who has done a similar thing. They made a decision that they wanted to take some time to travel and gain some breathing space–they planned for it financially and took some risks and some really wonderful things happened for them as a result. I’d say that, if you think you want to take off in this way, its important to really know your intention before you take off–because travel without an intention is just escape.

The truth is, I don’t think that we necessarily need a pot of gold to embrace the spirit of this story. To me, the larger theme of the book was just to listen to what your heart is telling you and move towards it, regardless of whether your family, your friends, your work colleagues or society thinks its the “right” thing to do. I think that anyone can take a journey like Liz’s even without getting on a plane, even without quitting your job and leaving your life behind. I think it may take longer and… c’mon…admit it…won’t be nearly as fun, but you can take a similar journey inward without actually going anywhere. With the intention to follow your gut and your heart… magic can happen…just like it did for Liz.

Please share with me your thoughts about the book, the movie or any old thing eat.pray.love related.

Update:  Saw the movie loved it, loved the meandering quality, beautiful cinematography. It made me want to reread the book because it reminded  me of pieces I had forgotten.

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Aug 07

How to Be Alone

Posted by Melanie in Atman: Self-Discovry

Happy beautiful Saturday.  I am posting this video gem everywhere I can. I’ve been a fan of singer/songwriter Tanya Davis for a while now, which makes this even more lovely. Enjoy. That’s it.

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I first started yoga nearly twenty years ago. I’ve posted about it here. Over the years yoga has become a true passion of mine. Like most things I’m passionate about…I try to get my friends and family to share it with me. I hear lots of reasons why folks are hesitant to practice yoga.

Yoga seems to have a mystique for the uninitiated. The following are common reasons I hear that people are hesitant to practice yoga. I hope I can bust a few of these myths and encourage a few of the yoga-shy to get on the mat.

I’m Too Big
Many people seem to think that you have to start out looking like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Anniston or [insert size 0 starlet here] to practice yoga. I am living proof that the average sized gal [or guy] can do yoga. I’m not gonna lie, its easier to get into some of the poses when you are not..ahem…in your own way. Be that as it may, lots of average and bigger than average sized folks practice yoga. What’s more, if you practice regularly you may achieve the “yoga butt” (keep on reading to learn more.) If you feel intimidated in class because of your size, you just haven’t yet found the right studio or instructor–try another class or if need be another studio–read reviews on yelp, blogs (like this one) etc.

I’m Too Old..Young..Middle-Aged
Yoga is not just for the twenty-somethings–again I know this from experience. I am not twenty-something. I’m not even thirty-something. Lots of people of every age practice yoga. At my favorite studio, six year olds and sixty year olds practice together. On twitter recently, an article was making the rounds about a ninety year old woman who began a yoga practice. Really….anyone at any age can begin a yoga practice and experience the benefits. Get over yourself and get on the mat.

I’m Not Flexible
Not yet maybe….but umm…that is kind of the point isn’t it? If you keep up with yoga I promise, even the tightest hamstrings and hips will loosen. The most important thing to remember in yoga class, after remembering to breathe, is that none of the the other students are paying attention to what you are doing–really. They are all too busy focusing on their own poses and remembering to breathe. As for the instructor, they are there to assist and guide you not judge you…promise. And like I said earlier, if you feel judged, you haven’t found the right instructor or studio…move on till you find a place that feels right for you.

I’m a Straight Guy
Yes its true, many studio classes are mostly full of women. Mostly women in tank tops and form fitting leggings. Straight guys, do you see my point? Now, I am not advocating lechery but I am saying guys shouldn’t let a mostly female crowd keep them from enjoying the health and wellness benefits of yoga.

I’m Not a Hippie..Vegan..WooWoo.. etc.
It is true that in some yoga classes there will be chanting, some studios burn incense some yogis are vegan but none of these things are strictly required. Again there are so many different styles of yoga and every studio has its own unique vibe. Each yoga teacher develops their own teaching style–certain schools or styles of yoga take on generally the same characteristics. Many classes are chanting free zones…others are nothing but Kirtan (that’s sanskrit for chanting.) My advice, try a little chanting, you may just find you like it, and vegan isn’t a virus–you won’t catch it unless you decide you want to.

I’m a Christian…Jew…Wiccan etc.
Yoga is not a religion…for me, I feel like my yoga practice is about the closest thing to a religion that I’ve really ever known. That said, anyone of any faith can practice yoga. One of the best thing about yoga is that it is accepting of all, come as you are.

Its too expensive
Its true that most studio classes in DC run close to $20 for a drop in class and a yoga outfit at Lululemon can approach $200. The good news is that yoga can be had even on a frugalista budget. Most DC studios offer donation based or deeply discounted classes a few times a week. Here in DC the summer weather offers yogis free outdoor yoga options. As for gear, all that you really need is something that you can move in comfortably. Most studios will even rent you a mat for about a buck.

What Else Ya Got?
So have I convinced you to give yoga a try?  What did I miss, any other yoga concerns that I haven’t covered? I’d hate to have anyone miss out on all of the wonderful benefits that yoga has to offer. C’mon get on a mat and give it a try.

Photo by kk+ via Flickr with a cc license

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Aug 03

Ayurveda: Yoga’s Sister Science

Posted by Melanie in Ayurveda

I have been doing a lot of reading lately on Ayurveda and I’m beginning to adopt diet and lifestyle changes based on my dosha or constitution. I am just beginning this journey and thought it would be fun to share what I’m learning and experiencing on the blog and welcome you to ask questions or share what you know in the comments. So let’s start today with a few Ayurveda basics.

Ayurveda, known as the “Science of Life”, is the sister science to yoga. It is an ancient Indian system of healing that takes a holistic appraisal of one’s physical constitution, emotional nature and spiritual outlook to recommend a set lifestyle practices—diet, exercise, self care, daily habits — unique to each individual’s constitution.

Ayurveda is based on the idea that we are all made up of a unique combination of the three energies or doshas. Your individual make-up is known as your prakriti or nature. The doshas are known as vata or air element, pitta or fire element and kapha or earth element. The dosha—or doshas that are most prevalent in your body will determine what steps you take to keep your doshas in balance thereby maintaining optimum wellness in mind and body.

So determining your dosha is fundamental to beginning your journey in ayurveda. There are a number of websites that offer quizzes that will help you determine your dosha.  You may want to try more than one just to compare results.

Here are a few of my favorite Ayurveda sites:

Hey MonicaB

Chopra Center

WhatsYourDosha

Next time, we’ll talk about the characteristics of each of the doshas.

If you have a favorite Ayurveda resource or know a great local practitioner won’t you please share them in the comments.

Photo by Prakhar on Flickr via CC license

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