Jul 28

August Yoga Gems * Dog Days Edition

Posted by Melanie in Yoga Gems

August brings the dog days of summer to the DC area. The heat and humidity along with the Congressional recess slows the city to a crawl. It seems like the only folks left in town are the tourists. So…while the August yoga gems may be few in quantity, they most certainly do not lack in quality. Enjoy the sultry pace of August, take some down time to rest and restore then hit your mat for a few of the following events and workshops.

Sun. 8.01.2010 3-5PM Cost: $35, Pure Prana, Alexandria, VA * Cool Down from the PittaYour Core, Yoga & Auyrveda

Sat. 8.07.2010 5-6:15 PM Cost: Free,  Circle Yoga, DC * Saturday Sangha

8.08-14.2010 Time: TBD Cost: $210, Yoga House DC, Yoga Week Intensive-a week of twice daily yoga, pranayama and meditation

Fri. 8.13.2010 7-8:30 PM Cost: Tranquil Space, DC * Hip Hop Yoga with DJ Ten

Fri 8.13.2010 8-10 PM Cost: $25 Quiet Mind Yoga, DC * Yoga & Writing

Sat. 8.14.2010 12:30-3:30 PM Cost: $45,Willow Street Yoga, Takoma Park * Healing Yoga and Ayurveda for Your Body Type

Sat. 8.14.2010 3-7PM Cost: $ 50/25,  Boundless Yoga, DC * Seeing Bodies

Sat. 8.14.2010 1-3 PM Cost: $35 Lil Omm, DC * Introduction to Kundalini

Sun. 8.22.2010 9:30AM-4:00PM Cost: $20, Past Tense Studio, DC $ Gimme A Break: Mini Yoga Retreat to Cunningham Falls State Park

Photo via Flickr by The Pack with a CC license.

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Jul 10

Yoga Getaway: Yoga By the Bay

Posted by Melanie in Yoga Getaway

I am excited to be heading home to San Francisco for eight days later today. Its a work trip, I’ll be attending a technology conference but I will have some down time for visiting friends, checking out yoga classes and such.  I plan to try a number of classes, studios and spots that I’ve never experienced before and will report here on how it goes.

So…here’s my list of intentions for the upcoming trip. If you know of any not to miss classes, tea shops or new restaurants, please, please leave a comment. I want to try:

Photo by Jeff Howard on Flickr via a cc license

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I’m enjoying a long weekend at my family’s lake house in northwest Connecticut. Its a heavenly rural retreat on a pond where I take walks on country roads past the apple and berry farms, kayak on the lake–in Connecticut they call it a pond– and I get to visit my favorite yoga studio and spa, Charym in Litchfield, CT.

If you ever find yourself in this part of the world I highly recommend a visit to Charym. The photo here is the barn structure that serves as the yoga studio. Inside the studio is stunning in its simple beauty. When I’m visiting, I am always sure to take one of Maureen’s yoga classes. She teaches a class that melds a number of yoga styles including vinyasa flow, kripalu and kundalini into a class called Bhakti flow. I mentioned in an earlier post that these classes are my absolute favorite and try as I might to replicate the Charym experience in DC, I’m really not able to do it. A fact that keeps me visiting Charym as often as I can get away.

This is the entrance to the yoga studio, it is a replica of a Bhutanese prayer temple. Georgeous.  At Charym no detail is too small. In the yoga studio, incense and essential oils waft in the air. Amazing playlists soothe and inspire and Maureen encourages her students to unwind the body by moving in non-linear ways and to bring a child-like sense of joy to movement. In addition to traditional asana we shake, jump and twirl. Savasana ends with the sounds of Maureen playing a large crystal singing bowl. You can’t help but leave class blissed out, a slightly different person than the one who walked in ninety minutes earlier.

Did I mention that I love. love. love this place? Oh yeah, there is a spa too. The spa is every bit as amazing as the yoga.  I can personally vouch for the facials and massages. You will feel truly cared for by all of the staff at Charym. Get up here.

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Jun 27

July Yoga Gems

Posted by Melanie in Events, Uncategorized, Yoga Gems

July brings a number of exciting yoga events to the DC metro. Citizen Effect’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge begins on July 1 and continues throughout the month with great deals from top DC yoga studios for all participants. Sierra Bender visits DC this month with a master class at The Studio DC. Check out the following picks for juicy yoga events in the capital region.

Sat. 7.3.2010 6PM Cost: Free, Quiet Mind Yoga, DC * Summer Satsang

Mon. 7.5.2010 7:30-8:30 PM Cost: Free, Radiance Yoga, Alexandria, VA * Book Club “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston

Mon. 7.5.2010 Noon-2PM Cost: Donation, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Body, Mind, and Consciousness: An Independence Day Workshop Benefiting Anahata Grace

Fri. 7.9.2010 8PM, Cost: $25, Quiet Mind Yoga, DC * A Midsummer’s Night Scheme

Fri. 7.9.2010 7PM Cost: Free, Studio Serenity, DC * Yoga Book Club “Dharma Punx” by Noah Levine
Thurs. 7.15.2010 7-8PM Cost: Free, Tranquil Space Yoga, DC * Yoga Book Group “The Not So Big Life” by Sarah Susanka

Sat. 7.17.2010 9AM-5PM Cost: The Studio DC * Master Class with Sierra Bender

Sat. 7.17.2010 7-9 PM Cost: $30/$35, Sacred Space Yoga, Rockville, MD * Call of the Dark Goddess-asana, chant, trance work

Sat. 7.17.2010 3-5PM Cost: $35, Tranquil Space, DC * Pranayama and Relaxation for Stress and Daily Living

Sat. 7.24.2010 10AM-1PM Cost: $40, Past Tense Studio, DC * Yoga & Kayaking

Sun. 7.25.2010 1-3PM, Cost: $10, Lil Omm Yoga, DC * Book Club “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin

Sat. 7.31.2010 1:30-4:30 PM Cost: $35, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Taming the Tiger, Calming the Monkeys, Being the Tortoise A Pranayama and Pratyahara Immersion

Sat. 7.31.2010 1:30-3:30PM, Cost: $30, Radiance Yoga, Alexandria, VA * Tending the Mind, Calming the Spirit

Photo courtesy of photofiend via Flickr with a cc license

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DC Dharma is  honored to be a sponsor of Citizen Effect’s 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  Citizen Effect is an amazing social philanthropy organization based here in DC. The yoga challenge is a partnership with many terrific DC yoga studios, Citizen Effect and the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project to fully fund a foster home for children in Cloetesville, South Africa.

Do you want to participate in the challenge?  Here’s what you need to do:

1. Register for $30 and pledge your fundraising goal.

2. Ask your friends and family to sponsor you—just $15 from 30 friends makes a big difference!

3. Participants benefit from free or discounted classes at DC’s top yoga studios.

4. Party time: Kick-off event on June 30th with free yoga in Meridian Hill Park & Celebratory Party at lululemon athletica Georgetown on August 5th.

5. 100% of the funds raised will go toward building and maintaining the foster home in Cloetesville, South Africa.

It proves to be a lot of fun, a great way to build the DC yoga community and a wonderful karma yoga experience. Even if you are not a DC local, you can still participate virtually, share your experiences here and do some good for kids in South Africa.

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I’m just home from yoga class tonight. I had not been to class with Gopi, one of my favorite DC area teachers, in quite some time. What I like best about Gopi’s classes is that she infuses her vinyasa flow classes with bits of yoga philosophy. Tonight’s class theme was transitions, both on the mat and off.

Gopi encouraged us to pay attention to the transition from one pose to the next. She urged us to move with intention and grace. Then she asked the class how do your transitions on the mat mirror the way in which you face transitions off the mat? The moment she posed the question I broke out into a broad smile and thought to myself, ah yes, I see…transitions. Yoga is so often therapy–but a heckofa lot cheaper–isn’t it?

How do you make transitions in your yoga practice? Do you close your eyes? Do you hesitate? In class tonight, I made this observation, I hurry through my transitions rushing to get from one posture to the next. My transitions in yoga class are generally not made consciously, seems I’m avoiding the awkward middle phase. Why yes Gopi, you are right, my transitions off the mat have tended to be rushed and unconscious too.

Transitions are uncomfortable. If you are like me, when in a transition you may feel aimless, unfocused even slightly unhinged. I am currently in transition in several aspects of my life and have been for several months. Recently, I’ve noticed myself feeling impatient. I just want to get this whole transition thing over with already. That’s my old pattern of dealing with transitions. I hesitate to begin a transition until the heat is so hot that I have to jump out of the fire. Then, I’m ready to jump anywhere just to get my bum out of the flames. Rinse. Repeat.

For the series of off the mat transitions that I currently find myself in I am valiantly trying to slow down, sit with the discomfort, attempt to understand it, maybe even befriend it and learn a little something while I’m at it. Then move with intention and grace and hopefully avoid the nasty bum scorching this time. While I feel frustrated that I don’t know where all this evolution is leading me, something is decidedly different this time around. I have a sense of faith that the not knowing is ok. That, even though I’m not sure where this path is leading me, simply staying on the path is what is important and that this time when I arrive at my destination I’ll know a whole lot more about how I got there and my bum will be blister-free.

At the end of savasana Gopi challenged us to think of ways we can align our inner and outer worlds. She encouraged us to bring more of authentic selves to every part of our lives. That is really the ultimate transition isn’t it? I think its just that kind of universal transition that I’ve embarked upon. This time, I’m going to slow down and enjoy the ride.

So readers, does this resonate with you? What do you notice about how you deal with transitions in class and in life? Please, leave a comment. Would love to have a discussion with you.

Photo courtesy of brungrrl via Flickr with a cc license

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Jun 09

Free Outdoor Yoga this Summer

Posted by Melanie in Events

This summer you can take your yoga outside at two locations in DC

Sundays in Columbia Heights’ Meridian Hill Park yogis can walk their down dog 5-6:30 PM in June, July in August. The classes are free and offered by instructors from various local studios.  Get the schedule here.  Note:  If it is raining, classes are canceled.

Wednesday evenings at 6:30 Lululemon hosts a free class in Dupont Circle. Get all the details here.

Be sure to bring your own mat to all events. See you at the park this summer.

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Earlier I posted about my favorite Hindu God Ganesha–in my favorite incarnation as the god of mischief.

Now I want to tell you about my new favorite goddess, Kali. She is the Hindu goddess associated with eternal energy and the destruction of ignorance. Kali helps those who strive for knowledge of God. She represents the inherent creative and destructive rhythms of the cosmos. At her essence, Kali represents transformation. Her name means “The Black One”. She is the consort of Shiva whom she is shown standing upon. This posture is said to signify Kali as Shiva’s shakti or life force.

Kali is represented as fearsome with wild black hair, black skin and red eyes. She sticks out her dark red tongue. Kali is most often depicted with four arms. In one hand she holds a sword, in another a trident, in the third a severed head and in the last hand she holds a bowl catching the blood of the severed head. Kali wears a necklace with fifty-two severed heads, one for each letter of the sankskrit alphabet. The only clothing she wears is a skirt made of dead men’s hands. Fierce indeed.

Because of Kali’s fierce appearance she can be misinterpreted as signifying death and destruction. In fact, Kali characterizes destruction or letting go of the past to make room for a more purposeful present and future. She stands for the concept of Mother Nature as not only a potent, destructive force but also a force that cleanses away the old to allow room for new, fertile ground.

Fierceness, destruction of ignorance, timelessness, goddess of transformations and new beginnings….Kali, its good to get to know you.

Do any of you have insights on Kali that I missed. I’m so intrigued to learn more.

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Jun 06

21.5.800 Yoga & Writing Challenge

Posted by Melanie in Uncategorized

This blog was living in my head for months before I sat down one afternoon and just started. Started without a plan, without really knowing what I was doing, where it was going, how it would work. I knew I had to just get started and I’d figure it out as I went along. I am so honored by all of the readers who stop by, many of you repeatedly.  I especially appreciate those of you who leave a comment since one of my goals for DC Dharma is to nurture a community.

Like so many things, this blog is like my life and like my yoga practice, a practice and  a path. My most recent return to yoga was rather like starting this blog, something I’d been living in my head, something I just jumped back into, I’m figuring out as I go along and something that I’m not entirely sure where it will lead.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how to nurture and grow what I’ve started here. In order to to do this, I need to nurture and grow my yoga practice at the same time. All while keeping up with my sometimes demanding day job.  So, what appeared in my twitterstream last week? An invitation to join Bindu Wiles in her 21.5.800 Project,  a 3 week yoga and writing challenge. Thanks universe. Many of my favorite bloggers are participating and I know I’ll discover even more blogging goodness.

My wish for the challenge is to focus my often scattered ideas and energy into results on the mat and on this blog, grow this budding community online and IRL. I’m looking forward to getting started and seeing what blooms.

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Jun 03

Virginia is for Yoga Lovers

Posted by Melanie in Events

Virginia Yoga Week Starts June 6

They say Virginia is for lovers. Next week Virginia is for yoga lovers. During Virginia Yoga Week June 6-13, Virginia studios and independent teachers are planning a week full of events to bring together the Virginia yoga community.

The NoVa kick-off event is Sunday June 6 from 10am to 4pm at Reston Town Center. A full day of events center around the theme: Love Your Body.

The week concludes with Yoga in the Fresh Air June 13 3-5pm in Old Town Alexandria. The event includes a yoga dance party DJed by DC Dharma twitter pal Jeffrey Platts

In between, participating studios will offer free and $5 yoga classes.  Be sure and check out Virginia Yoga week, tell us about what you tried in the comments.

Namaste.


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