Rox Does Yoga

Yoga, Wellness, and Life

Glennon Melton’s Beautiful Heart June 28, 2013

Filed under: yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 1:06 pm
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I recently read a couple of absolutely beautiful blog posts and wanted to share them with you:

A Mountain I’m Willing to Die On

I Love Gay People and I Love Christians. I Choose All.

These two posts by Glennon Melton made me so happy. I wish that all Christians had an attitude like hers. This is the sort of Christianity that I talk about and wish for here on the yoga blog, and the sort of loving kindness and openness that I think the yogic scriptures advocate.  A lot of people are saying nasty things about gay people in the name of Christianity, especially this week in light of the recent SCOTUS rulings, instead of remembering that Jesus said to love everyone. Thank you, Mrs. Melton, for sharing your heart with us, and thank you for being a voice of Christian love and acceptance. I’m not a Christian, but I’d be proud to be your friend.

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Yoga and Brain Stimulation June 27, 2013

Filed under: yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:48 pm
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Here’s the latest yoga news from the science world: A 20-Minute Bout of Yoga Stimulates Brain Function Immediately After. Researchers found that a single 20-minute session (“bout”? who wrote that headline?!) of hatha yoga improved participants’ speed and accuracy on cognitive function tests – basically, it improved their memory and their ability to stay focused on a task and to take in, retain, and use new information. The subjects who did yoga performed better than subjects who walked or jogged on a treadmill, indicating that the results aren’t just a reflection of burning energy to improve focus, or of exercise being good for the mind: it was the yoga itself that improved mental function. Yoga’s breathing and meditative exercises calm the body, allowing the mind to focus, and apparently this effect applies beyond the mat and into activities after the yoga practice is over. The lead author theorized a few possible explanations for the results, including enhanced self-awareness and reduced anxiety and stress. Conclusion: yoga makes you smarter!

 

Notes from YogaMomLand June 20, 2013

Filed under: yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:02 pm
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So I’ve been trying to get up early to squeeze in a short yoga practice first thing in the morning, and it’s been going surprisingly well. One day last week, though, F had to provide assistance to get me out of bed, so he invented the Yoga Gnome, a tiny friend who waits for me on my mat in the morning, brimming with anticipation. Imagine Yoga Gnome’s excitement when he hears my footsteps on the stairs! I kind of love this idea, and at least it got me moving. I’m pretty sure Yoga Gnome could visit your house, too, if you needed him.

This week, it’s been easy to get up on time because YB has been waking up unnaturally early. She’ll wake up hungry and then her cough will keep her up (or she’ll cough herself awake and then realize she’s hungry, I’m not sure which), and then it’s light outside, and since it’s within an hour or so of her usual wake-up time, she’s just up then. On Monday morning I tried to get her back down with no luck, but she was mellow and happy, so I did some sun salutations there in her room so I wouldn’t miss my practice entirely. She watched from her crib and laughed. Then she pooped, which I’m taking as a sign of approval.

I did notice one nice new thing about my yoga practice these days. My hips and calves are still tight, but suddenly I have a lot more arm strength than I used to, and my plank pose and chaturanga are possibly the easiest they’ve ever been. Relatedly, YB’s up to around 23 pounds. Who needs to lift weights when there’s a toddler around?

In other news, today is my and F’s third wedding anniversary. It’s been a busy three years: yoga teacher training, homeownership, parenthood, promotions and new jobs. Through it all, he’s been the best partner I could possibly imagine. Happy anniversary, sweetie.

 

books: Step-by-Step Yoga for Pregnancy, by Wendy Teasdill June 18, 2013

Filed under: books,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 1:04 pm
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Step-By-Step Yoga for Pregnancy by Wendy TeasdillStep-by-Step Yoga for Pregnancy is an excellent guide to all aspects of prenatal yoga, from physical postures to pranayama and meditation. Teasdill discusses the implications of pregnancy on yoga practice at each step of the way; she makes the poses fresh for those already familiar with yoga, and her warm tone is encouraging for  new beginners without being overwhelming. This nicely illustrated book is appropriate for new students as well as experienced practitioners.

In chapter 1, Teasdill begins with an overview of how the body changes during pregnancy and how yoga can facilitate good health; chapter 2 discusses some yoga basics and describes how yoga can be beneficial in everyday life. Chapters 3-5 detail the physical asanas appropriate for each trimester, with drawings and descriptions of how and why to do each posture. Teasdill links the asanas in several sequences to accommodate different times of day or energy levels. As the pregnancy progresses, Teasdill focuses the chapter on a different aspect of yoga practice: pranayama in the first trimester (chapter 3), asanas in the second trimester (chapter 4), and meditation in the third trimester (chapter 5). She finishes the book with chapters 6 and 7, discussing labor and birth and life after the birth, respectively, including yoga postures to help heal the body after childbirth.

Teasdill explains clearly which poses are safe to do at which stage of pregnancy and offers plenty of options for modification or support with props like chairs and bean bags. For the spiritual side of prenatal yoga, Teasdill includes several nice guided meditations to foster relaxation and connection to the growing baby. Yoga teachers will find this book an excellent reference, and expectant mothers will appreciate Teasdill’s expertise, guidance, and sensitivity.

 

Yoga in the News: Yogi Protesters in Turkey June 13, 2013

Filed under: yoga — R. H. Ward @ 12:58 pm
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My husband F sent me this link: Turkish Protesters Hold Mass Yoga Demo. I’m not really aware of the full extent of what’s going on in Turkey right now, besides just a general sense of “bad shit is happening” (busy full-time job plus busy toddler at home doesn’t exactly foster much knowledge of current events – I knew that a building fell down in Philly only because I was two blocks away from it at the time), but I thought the video was cool. I am glad to see that, in the midst of what’s going on in Turkey, some people are finding a little peace and maybe making some spectators smile.

 

Starting Over Again, Again June 11, 2013

Filed under: reflections,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 3:20 pm
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A few items of interest today:

  • At a church picnic this weekend, a friend asked me about my yoga practice, and I had to admit it’s been nonexistent. We didn’t get to continue the conversation because we were both holding squirming babies (one of whom was desperately trying to hug the other, who was kind of uncertain about the whole thing – guess which one was YB? My child is aggressively snuggly!), but it made me think that that’s not what I want to have to say at parties.
  • My husband F has made a new resolution to get up early to write first thing in the morning – not just “if YB sleeps well, then I’ll get up early”, but “I’ll always get up early unless YB has a terrible night.” It’s a key distinction for him – the first has him getting up early only when it feels convenient (which is never), while the second has him getting up early by default. This morning YB helped out with the new resolution by needing a bottle at 4:30, so once she went back down F got a lot done.
  • Last night after dinner I was waving my arms around to make YB laugh and ended up doing some half sun salutes, which she totally loved. It worked best when, after reaching up, I brought my arms down in front of me instead of out to the side and wiggled my fingers in her face. She also liked the peekaboo aspect of the halfway up between the forward bends.

I’m taking each of these as a sign that it’s time to start rebuilding my yoga practice (yet again!). I can get up early with F in the mornings and show some spousal solidarity, and YB may be at a point where she’s receptive to sharing my practice. It’s past time to make that happen – I’ve always wanted yoga to be a natural part of her life. So today I got 15 minutes of asana practice in before breakfast. I felt great afterwards and was dancing in the kitchen as we got breakfast ready (much to the annoyance of poor F, who’d been up since 4:30), and I’ve been feeling good all day. It’s a start!

 

Links: a minister responds to a “concerned Christian neighbor” about interfaith dialogue June 6, 2013

Filed under: yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 1:29 pm
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I love this open letter from the pastor of Fairview Community Church describing the reasons behind a planned interfaith dialogue between her church’s community and a Wiccan. I love Rev. Halverson’s desire to learn from our differences and to find the places where our faiths intersect, and I love that she responded to the concerned neighbor who wrote to her in such a public and affirming way. I love it when I get to say “Hooray for Christianity!”