Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

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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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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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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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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May 20

June Yoga Gems

Posted by Melanie in Events, Yoga Gems

Once again there are a number of great yoga events in the DC metro area coming up in June. Even better, many of the events listed this month are free. I only regret having to pick between all the great events that fall on the same day.  If you attend an event that you really enjoy, I invite you to review it in the comments, send me an email or DM me on twitter and share your experience. Perhaps you can write a guest post and we can better share all the yoga goodness going on in our community. Have a great June and hope to see you at one or more of the events below. Please let me know if you plan to attend an event–it would be lovely to meet IRL (in real life.)

Fri. 6.4.2010 Cost: Free, Studio Serenity, DC * Yoga Book Club “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle

Sat. 6.5.2010 5:00-7:00 AM, Cost: Free, Radiance Yoga, Alexandria, VA * Morning Sadhana

Sat. 6.5.2010  6:30-9:30 PM Cost: Free, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Mix and Meditate Party

Sat. 6.12.2010 1-3:30 PM Cost: $25/30, Past Tense Yoga, DC * Yoga & Biking in Rock Creek Park

Sat. 6.12.2010 7:30-9:30 PM Cost: $20/25, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Kirtan with David Newman

6.18-20.2010 Time TBD Cost $150/3 sessions, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Yoga and Ayurveda with Maria Garre

Fri. 6.18.2010 9:45-11:55 PM Cost: $25, Flow Yoga Center, DC * Yoga Trance Dance

Fri. 6.18.2010 7:00-8:30 PM Cost: $20/25, Tranquil Space Yoga, DC * Hip Hop Yoga with DJ marq few

Sat. 6.19.2010 6:00-7:30 PM Cost: $15, Circle Yoga, DC * Monthly Drumming Circle

Sat. 6.19.2010 2:00-5:00 PM Cost: $40/45, Sacred Space Yoga, Rockville, MD* Tantra: The Fire in the Soul with Brendan Feeley

Sun. 6.20.2010 2:00-4:30 PM Cost: $40, Willow Street Yoga, Silver Spring, MD * Sequencing Your Home Practice

Sun. 6.20.2010 1:00-3:00PM Cost: $10, Lil Omm Yoga, DC * Summer Reading & Seva Group with Carolyn Butcher– “The Not So Big Life” by Sarah Susanka All class fees donated to Citizen Effect

Sun. 6.20.2010 Noon-2:00 PM Cost: $30/35, Sacred Space Yoga * Walt Whitman as Trantric Philosopher–Yoga Flow & Poetry at Seneca State Park

Sat/Sun 6.19-20.2010 2:00-4:30 PM Cost: $70, Shakti Mind Body Studio, DC * Anatomy  and Physiology for Yogis

Fri. 6.25.2010 Studio Serenity, Cost: Free, DC * Movie Night “Shortcut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela”

Photo Credit: Madaboutasia via Flickr

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May 07

Digital Yogi

Posted by Melanie in Yoga Gems

In my day job I lobby on technology issues. On the job I do a lot of reading and talking about technology.  While not a true techie myself, I spend a good deal of time with techies. In this post, my two worlds collide as I share my favorite yoga iphone apps with you. I know that detachment is something many yogis strive for on the road to enlightenment. I confess however…that I love my iphone more than anyone should love an inanimate object. I use my phone for nearly everything…yoga included. I am utterly attached to my iphone. But then…yoga is a practice, right?

The app I use most is MindBody Yoga.  This is a free app that consolidates yoga class schedules for the studios near you–wherever you happen to be. Using GPS the app locates yoga classes near you at the time you pick.  For a yoga gypsy like me, I use MindBody Yoga to find a class at the many studios here in DC.  I also use MindBody when I’m traveling to find a convenient class to drop into.  This app is a must for all digital yogis.

Authenic Yoga is another of my favorites.  This app from Deepak Chopra and Strala Yoga’s Tara Stiles combines basic pose instruction, routines for all level of yogi and yoga philosophy and meditation practices from Depak Chopra. This is an all around app lets me get in a yoga practice at home or in a hotel room on the road. No excuse not to practice or take time for meditation daily.  The app is $2.99–on the pricier end for yoga apps but I do highly recommend it.

Bowls…is a unique fun app that I really enjoy. You can play several Tibetan singing bowls by tracing the bowl rim with your finger. You can also play symbols and chimes.  Its useful for meditation practice, or just a relaxing way to spend some idle time.This app is $1.99

Yoga Quiz Cards allows you to learn the English and Sanskrit names for yoga poses and quiz yourself flash card style. At $1.99 its a great deal for educational fun.

All apps can be found in the itunes store.

Please share with me your favorite apps and let me know what you think about these.

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Apr 13

Confessions of a Yoga Gypsy

Posted by Melanie in Community

My yoga practice has been a circuitous, meandering path. I took my first yoga class sometime in 1990. I was a law student in San Francisco and my yoga of choice at the time was ashtanga. Hot, sweaty, cardio-pumping ashtanga yoga. No chanting, no oms, no incense for me. I wanted a structured sequence of poses so I knew what was coming next and at the end of class I felt like I had a workout. Anything the slightest bit “woo-woo” would cause me and my yoga buddy to snicker from the back of the room.

Over the past twenty-plus years I have drifted away and come back to yoga many times. I feel certain that this time, I’m back for good. Like most things in life, my yoga choices today are much different than they were all those years ago. Today, I look for an unstructured freer formed flowing class that engages all of my senses. Today, I like all the bells and whistles, the aroma of incense, an engaging playlist, inspiring thoughts from the instructor and if there is tea after class… all the better. Sometimes the asanas are just something I’m willing to endure in order to experience all the other goodies.

The good news is that I found the studio of my dreams and a teacher who inspired my most recent and fervent commitment to yoga. The bad news is that studio is a six hour drive away in Connecticut.  I will wax poetic on my studio love in another post. The point is, that I figured that with a few trial classes, I’d soon find a new yoga home and move right in.

It hasn’t exactly happened that way.  Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of wonderful yoga studios in the DC area.  The yoga scene in the nation’s capital has grown impressively since I moved here in 2002. You can really find nearly anything you are looking for in yoga here. But…like a gypsy, I’m unable to call just one studio my home.

I follow instructors from studio to studio, I roam around curious about what cool workshop is being offered where. Is it that I have commitment issues? I don’t think so,  I discovered that I was not going to find an exact replacement for my Connecticut studio. Just like people, studios and communities are unique and special. Instead in my wanderings I seek to find bits and pieces of what I love up north in each of the classes that I take here. I’m recreating some of what I’m searching for in my evolving home practice. My ultimate goal is to someday become a teacher myself and create my own version of what it is I’m looking for.

The happy upshot of all of my roaming is DC Dharma. I wanted a space to share my discoveries and learning and hopefully grow and enhance the metro DC yoga community in the process. But sometimes I question whether the yoga gypsy lifestyle is the best path. Does my inability to choose, one studio, one teacher limit my growth as a yogi?

What about you? What has been your yogic path? Where do you consider yogic bliss and where did you find it?  Please share in the comments.
Namaste.

Photo via Pringle Hill on Flickr

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