I’m loving this roundup of information from HuffPo on how yoga improves health and well-being. Click on the infographic for more information!
How Yoga Changes Your Body October 31, 2013
WTH, Toys R Us? October 28, 2013
So there I was on Sunday evening, relaxing and watching a little TV with my husband, when this commercial comes on:
At the beginning of the commercial, there’s no indication of what exactly this is an ad for. Based on the setup, I thought this guy was taking a busful of children to a forest someplace, where, although they didn’t know it yet, they would learn about how wonderful nature is and it would be the best field trip ever. I believed him. I got a little excited for the heartwarming goodness that was sure to follow.
And then they went to Toys R Us. Cue scenes of running up and down the aisles in a frenzy of joyous commercialism. I was furious and horrified, and I obviously still can’t stop thinking about it.
Raz Godelnik, who wrote about this commercial for TriplePundit.com, agrees with me:
I find this ad irritating because it tries to communicate a message that is inherently unsustainable to both children and their parents. To children it says that true happiness lies in buying new toys and the subtext is that their wishes should be focused on asking their parents for new toys. To parents, it says that if they want to make their children happy they should buy them toys because this is what they wish for. This ad perpetuates everything that is wrong with the current unsustainable economy – from the notion that more stuff means more happiness to the idea that the holidays are about shopping to the idea that learning about and interacting with the environment is tedious and unimportant. I was even more irritated that this ad portrays a field trip to the forest as a boring experience for children that has nothing to do with fun or joy.
Here’s the thing, Toys R Us. Forests are way, way more fun than whatever you’ve got. Forests are fun for everyone, and if kids start liking forests when they’re kids, they can keep on liking forests for their whole lives, unlike Barbies and Elmos and whatever else you’re showing in this commercial that I refuse to rewatch and break my heart over again. Forests are not just about “what kind of leaf is this, oh it’s not an oak it’s a maple”. Forests are about growing and listening and being quiet, and forests let you learn about something much larger than yourself. My one-year-old knows that outside is way better than inside, and I’m going to do everything I can to help her keep that worldview.
Body Image, Body Love, Part 2 October 22, 2013
I recently saw some articles responding to this photo by Maria Kang. If you google “Maria Kang What’s Your Excuse” you’ll see quite a few articles on the subject, but here are the two I read:
I really like the first article by Jule Ann because she doesn’t lecture Maria Kang and finds a way to turn off blaming and really think about how she views her body, and she comes to some positive conclusions. And I like the second article because the writer looks at the issue from several different angles. I like her application of the “no excuses” concept to other things like tuba playing and her analysis of how the body image issue is different, is internalized, is something we are made to feel guilty about. And I like her recognition that Kang’s photo was posted for a specific community and has been taken out of context and applied to a wider audience.
Overall, I think the dust-up over this photo points to a lot of different issues, but here’s what I want to highlight: Maria Kang is a mom and is beautiful and she makes fitness a priority in her life, and that’s fine. Jule Ann is a mom and is beautiful and doesn’t make fitness a priority right now, and that’s also fine. Different things work for different people, and no one way is applicable to every person.
Links: How to Meditate Daily October 8, 2013
A few weeks back, a friend of mine shared this link: How to Meditate Daily. My friend was excited to find instructions for meditation that didn’t make it sound overly complicated. This is what I keep trying to tell people about meditation – it’s not complicated! Also, if you think thoughts while you’re meditating, you are not doing it wrong! Thoughts happen. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just sit and breathe.
(Just a reminder: yoga class tonight! 7:30 pm, Wellness on Park, hope to see you there!)
vinyasa class sequence October 4, 2013
My first class at Wellness on Park on Tuesday was a lot of fun! My favorite massage therapist Sarah and her lovely daughter came out to share their practice with me. They both really seemed to enjoy the class (and Sarah wrote such a kind note on her Facebook page!). It was also great getting to know the new studio space! Next time I’ll remember to bring my own music. 🙂
My class on Tuesdays is an all-levels vinyasa class. Before I started going to East Eagle, vinyasa was the main form of yoga I practiced, but since starting my teacher training, I’ve stuck pretty strongly with a classical hatha practice. I feel a little rusty in my vinyasa practice – I don’t feel like I can freestyle it the way I can with hatha – so I’m going to try to make a plan or road map for class every week. This week’s class ended up being, basically, a hatha class with a bunch of vinyasas thrown in, which was perfect for the students I had. Here’s the sequence we did:
- childs pose
- tabletop balance
- down dog
- fwd fold
- 2-4 half salutes
- one full salute, low lunges
- one full salute, high lunges
- 2 standard sun salutes
- forward fold/gorilla pose
- warrior 1
- warrior 2
- warriors other side
- revolved triangle
- triangles other side
balance: tree pose
- upward plank
- forward fold
- upward table
- seated twist
- knees to chest
I’ll probably riff off this basic outline for a while until I get a bit more confidence with vinyasa style. I’m hoping to get to a vinyasa class in my area sometime soon to experience a class from another teacher’s perspective; I’m also going to do some more research over the next few weeks to explore more sequencing possibilities.
Resources for further reference:
- I haven’t had time yet to read the entirety of this longish article about sequencing, but based on the first few paragraphs it looks to be pretty thoughtful, so I’m linking it here to remind me to come back to it later!
- I thought this article, about sequencing a vinyasa class around a central “peak” pose, was really interesting. This is something I want to think about for future classes!
- I thought this was a really cool way to think about sequencing a vinyasa class: Vinyasa Yoga Sequence: Cresting the Wave. I really want to print this out, practice it a few times, and play with it.
Come out to my Tuesday night class and see what I come up with next time!
Ashtanga time! October 1, 2013
Saturday was supposed to be the first of the series of three workshops on hands-on adjustments that I signed up for. Unfortunately, the workshop was postponed indefinitely due to lack of enrollment. The instructor, Amy Nobles Dolan, offered me a complimentary ashtanga class as a consolation, and I’m so glad I went.
My first yoga class in NC, over ten years ago, was a power yoga class, and after moving to Boston I took a hatha class, but the first yoga class that stuck with me in a long-term way was ashtanga vinyasa with Gene. I took Gene’s class Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunchtime at the Harvard athletic center for two years, and often it’s still Gene’s voice I hear in my head cuing poses. Gene was fascinating – a wiry little Italian guy, 63 years old when I knew him, and a great teacher on both a physical and a spiritual level. I was one student in a room of 25 or more, so while he knew my name as one of his regulars, I doubt he’d remember me now, but I’ve always remembered him fondly. He’s the one who introduced me to the concept that yoga can improve wellness for older people, for one thing – he also taught at retirement communities. That idea really stuck with me and is one of the reasons why I wanted to become a yoga teacher myself.
Gene had been teaching yoga for years and was incredibly knowledgeable, and he liked to mix up his classes with different poses and exercises, always challenging us. Later on, I learned more about different types of yoga and found out that ashtanga has a set series of postures, and I wondered how close my experience with Gene was to the usual ashtanga class. As it turns out, my yoga practice actually has a strong solid ashtanga foundation because of Gene. I haven’t had a real ashtanga class since leaving Boston in 2006, and this class on Saturday felt fantastic, like an old friend – the sequencing of poses and emphasis in each pose were all familiar. I think Gene and Amy would get along well! In that sense alone, it was awesome to go to an ashtanga class, change up my usual practice, and challenge myself.
As a learning experience, the class was so great. Amy is an RYT-500 and it shows, she really knows her stuff. At EEY, N & J don’t choose to emphasize hands-on adjustments, so it’s been a while since I’ve had much adjustment. It’s Amy’s philosophy to make hands-on adjustments a part of her class, and with only two other students, I really benefited. Her adjustments were strong, supportive, and helpful, and gave me new perspective on poses I’ve been practicing for years. Even more, knowing my interest in adjustments, Amy always explained what she was doing so I could understand the action of the pose and why the adjustment helped that action, and she also gave me tips on how to apply the adjustment as a teacher to my own students. It was a LOT to digest, and I think I’m going to be thinking about this for a while. I can’t wait until we can reschedule the workshop, and until then, I’ll look forward to getting back to Amy’s class sometime soon!
In other news, while playing with YB last night I wanted to stretch out and took a downward dog. She loved it and crawled underneath me, and when I chaturanga’ed down to her, she laughed and crawled out and climbed on my back. I never think to practice yoga around her because I take it so seriously, but moments like this remind me that yoga can be playful and fun. I need to do this more often!
And in OTHER other news, I have my first class at Wellness on Park tonight! 7:30 pm, all-levels vinyasa. Wish me luck!