Archive for July, 2011

I gravitated to home practice out of necessity and will. Necessity due to the constraints of time equals if I want to take a class today I am going to have to tack on additional driving and preparation time and I don’t have that time. Will due to equaling I am not always getting what I need in class and need to refine my practice.

Setting up a home practice involves, first of all, well putting a mat down on the floor. The next hurdle is what do I do? This is the most perplexing issue for people comtemplating a home practice. Luckily there are a lot of options. You can practice your favorite studio class. If you can’t remember the poses or sequence of your favorite class, you can always buy a dvd or find an online streamed class. There are many options and this at least gives you a structure.

You can always start with sun salutations. That is a normal yoga warm up and a lot of times it will lead you into following your intuition. For me, a few sun sals move me into a place where I can access my intuition. Maybe I decide to focus on balance poses. One day last week I did almost all inversions. Of course, this method will be harder for a new practitioner, but you can always start somewhere. Just sitting on your mat might lead you into some nice hip stretches or core work.

My main problem at home is FOCUS. I don’t have a lot of focus to begin with. Also, I am a NOTORIOUS muli-tasker so a lot of times I find that my practice at home can involve laundry, cooking dinner, vacuuming the hall, wiping a floor, and weeding the garden too on really unfocused days. Luckily I RECOGNIZE when I start losing focus and then I resort to dvds. I have a large library of great dvds from all my favorite master teachers. Even if I never get a chance to go to a training or workshop with teachers I admire, I can get a little taste of it at home.

Even though a lot of people have no interest in home practice, I usually get a lot of questions on students immersed in daily practice who have an occasion where they can’t get to studio, like a vacation or a business trip. You can always use google to see if there is a studio you can visit. I have found this to be a lot of fun and usually going to a new studio is a great learning experience. Also since the yoga community is always so warm and welcoming I always feel at home in a studio when I am away from home.

But remember, if you are going somewhere with no studio, mats are mobile. Take one with you and destress in meditation or do some sun sals on the beach or in your hotel room just to get into your breath and body. Follow your intuition and see what happens. You might access your great internal teacher – YOU.


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This was the apex pose in Noah Maze’s class on Friday and I did it for the first time. The key was in the preparation. I had the similar experience with Noah that I had the first time I took a workshop with Steve Emmerman and Talya Ring from Turbodog and they talked me into Eka Pada Koundinyasana, which was successful. I wasn’t even that strong in Bakasana and here I am in a harder arm balance.

It made me believe that anyone that can do Bakasana can learn any arm balance based on their level of practice and flexibility but Vismamitrasana was really fooling me.
So breaking it down it basically is a side plank, a deep hamstring openener, and a deep spiraling of the spine. Add in some shoulder flexibility. All of those things are really strong points in my practice.

So the key from Noah’s class is the set up. He had us a do an exercise in the sequencing class on poses to build into a balance pose and then he incorporated it later in his class. Sneaky of him. I like. While I was brainstorming to figure out the poses that warm up to the standing balance poses I was pretty spot on with what he did in his class, but didn’t realize that was a pose that also built into Visma. Genius! It worked for me.

So I tried in my Saturday am class and a lot of students were successful or very close to it. Most important I hope they were closer than they thought they would get. That is key. It isn’t important to get in the pose, but to find the point of struggle in the practice, whatever it is, where everything stops. Then you have to stop and look at what your mind and heart are sayng. Of course if you say I CAN’T, YOU WON’T. You figure out what you CAN do RIGHT now, then you proceed. That is the success of yoga. Finding the moment of success, struggle, epiphany, anguish and stop and LOOK at it. It just is. Then ask where do I go from here. What are my choices.

Today I am practicing at home and working on deep hip openers for the theme NEXT week. I will continue to work on Visma and other stuff this coming week.

I have to go can my beans now. Happy Sunday!

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Find the nearest tree and work the Core today.

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It is not even August but the canning will commence tomorrow. Sigh. I love the results but this is a lot of rewarding work. It is one of those duties that you fulfill and it manifests as something worthwhile and tangible. You can hold it in your hand as the veritable fruits of your labor. Last year I filled up my pantry and everyone was impressed with it.

I think canning makes a lot of sense and for a lot of people in my age group it brings a lot of memories back to childhood when moms and grandmas canned their own jams, beans, pickles, etc. My husband lived on a farm so it was a way of life.

Although I do not NEED to grow my own food it brings it closer to home and let’s face it, good food it not cheap. Neither is gardening. But I am sure I am saving money. The best thing about it is that is so nourshing to open something in the dead of winter and be able to recall the freshness of newly picked produce. It is delicious. It is so much better than anything I buy at the store.

I don’t have time to hang around the farmer’s market but that is a good source of fresh local produce. It is usually expensive. In a few weeks we will go and pick the organic berries that make up my raspberry jam. I never buy jam from the store. I rarely buy tomatos any more. I am eating them fresh this time of the year, and will use them in stews and soups etc the rest of the year. Store bought tomatos, well, they SUCK.

I went to Moksha yesterday and took an amazing 2.5 hour Anusara class with Noah Maze. I can’t move my arms today from all the side planks and variations. Loved it. He got me into poses I have struggled with and it is his sequencing and prep. He preps you and sequences you for your level. Amazing teacher. I will definitely be exploring more Anusara workshops.

I am tired today so going to rest and then out for dinner.

More yoga tomorrow on the blog.

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Tomorrow I won’t be posting because I teach my early 8:30 am Rockstar Intermediate Class and then I am off to Moksha Yoga in Chicago for a workshop (spending spree in the boutique) with Noah Maze. I am going ALONE. I think I will take pics of said Rockstar class tomorrow for the blog.

I love going to Moksha for workshops. They have the best. Every weekend there is a great workshop. I would go all the time if I lived there and would be a workshop junky. Here is the link to their events/workshops:


They also have the BEST retail. I always buy yoga clothes there. They have brands outside of the normal Lululemon/Hardtail/Alo. They usually carry a known line there but there are always several others that I am not familiar with. I bought the coolest pants and top a few years ago with huge elephants (Ganesh) on them that I wear for pajamas.

It is also a chance for me to go where I can just engage fully in practice and learning. So it definitely takes me out of my box.

This am I started with a long session on the elliptical on the gym. The gym was packed this morning at five am. I suppose it is because it is too hot to go outside although I do see runners, walkers, and bikers out super early before it gets way to bad.

This weekend I will probably be canning beans and will provide pictures. There are way too many out there for John and I to eat so I will send him out there to pick and then I will can, which is great to do when you have the air conditioner on. Not so great if it is hot and you don’t. We will also have a trillion tomatos this year. During the hot spell we water every night but pretty soon dinner will be cukes and tomatos with balsamic and something grilled, burned, and dragged over the grill. I love end of summmer with harvesting but it is also a lot of work.

The results are amazing. I love the end of the season fully stocked pantry with pickles, beans, tomatos, jams, and carrots for the winter.

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These shoes remind me of ballroom dancing shoes. I knew there was a way I could incorporate my ever expanding dancing skills into yoga. I could brand it into BallGaRoom Dancing. YoBallroom Dancing. Any ideas? I can’t do the bind to get into this pose and I wish I had worked on it during all of those hundreds of Bikram classes I did. I could have practiced the bind in what Bikram refers to as Tadasana instead of folding my hands in Namaskar. Probably would have gotten yelled at though since it isn’t proper Bikram.

As I have stated, lotus type of hip rotations are a struggle for me. Practicing these types of movements standing as well as sitting are a great way to practice and expand the whole area of flexibility into the hip joint. I love standing pigeons and they are much harder than the normal one laying on the floor.

I have students who can get into this pose with no problem. They can bind and are flexible in the hip rotators AND the hamstrings. So this is a BIG opener pose. It is very Ashtanga Primary Series, which I love. I couldn’t do it when I practiced only Ashtanga either.

The SHOES though take it to a new level…..allowing you to stretch a little higher in the hamstrings and really releasing the low back. Very pretty in the heels! Don’t try this at home!

My practice was very basic Tias Little today, which is very Ashtanga/Iyengar based and always makes me more mindful about standing poses we do every day. It is very easy just to move through them not staying conscious to what the pose really is doing. Standing poses root you into the lower chakras AND open the hips, inner leg, and outer leg TIGHT fascia, which really helps to open you when you get to the seated poses.

I am signing up for a weekend with Tias in November which is a weekend of Anatomy of the Chakras. Can’t wait.

No heels in class this week!

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I am going to part of this workshop at Moksha on Friday. There are two sections, one on Anusara sequencing and a long vinyasa class. My interest has been tweaked lately in Anusara and although I doubt I will attend the long training, I am hoping to get the flavor of it from this workshop. Who knows. Maybe I will get hooked into the whole thing. Anusara training is extensive and takes a long time and I am almost up for a challenge.

Sequencing is always interesting to me anyways because it is the fun part of teaching. I love coming up with new themes and new teaching methods. I think it is VITAL for teachers of yoga to continue to train after their 200 hour. There are so mnay great teachers out there and I have worked with a lot of varieties of yoga and teachers.

Someone asked me a few weeks ago what ‘style’ I teach. I couldn’t even give an answer. After the Forrest Advanced training I was teaching very Forrest styled classes, but now I would not say most of my classes are Forrest. They have elements of Forrest, but I guess the best answer is Mutt Yoga.

Devising your own ‘style’ would take years and it would probably be very organic for a long time. I probably like the kind of yoga class Tias Little teaches but I haven’t taken enough of his training to really be able to translate it into my classes. I have somewhat but will be doing more later. I am taking some more training with him in December and next April. I will probably eventually have done all of his training.

Last night I practiced ball room dancing yoga. Ha ha. My husband and I take lessons. We are actually getting pretty good. It was so AWKWARD and CLUNKY at first. I have pictures of our teachers, Pam and Bojan at Fred Astaire above.

Pam is the blonde in the pic with her partner and Bojan is dancing with the chick in the yellow dress. Isn’t Pam GORGEOUS with her partner/fiance. They are really great teachers. Bojan dances SO light. He has taught my husband a lot about leading and he likes yoga too.

Anyway ballroom dancing has retaught me how it is for beginners in yoga but like anything else it takes practice. Yoga is still my first love though but I sure would love to learn some hip hop dancing moves too.

See ya on the dance floor.

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