Rox Does Yoga

Yoga, Wellness, and Life

Yoga Goals for 2014 December 31, 2013

Filed under: checking in,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 10:38 am
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Happy New Year! It’s the time of year when we set new goals and make new resolutions, which, if you’re a regular reader, you know is a favorite topic of mine. Right now I’m so busy between work and toddler-chasing that I don’t think I can set any strenuous goals. However, I do need to follow up on my yoga goals and make some plans, since I have some requirements to meet in order to keep my Yoga Alliance registration current.

First, I need to log ten contact hours of training, in a room with a qualified instructor, before December 2014. Back in August I started thinking about this, but unfortunately the workshops Amy had planned to teach for the fall didn’t pan out, so there went a big chunk of the training hours I’d planned on. I’ll need to do some serious investigating, and soon, to get this done by the end of the year. Amy is still hoping to teach the winter workshop series, so I’ll sign up for that if she gets enough students. I’m also going to look into workshops at Maha Yoga downtown (why did I not know about this place? 17th and Sansom isn’t too far to go for a class on my lunch break, and it looks like they have a variety of workshops for continuing ed!), at Dhyana Yoga downtown, and at Artisan Yoga in Wayne, PA (not too far from me, and I like the idea of the “yoga lab” and dissecting a pose – although I know I can’t do the flying split which is the next one they have scheduled, I want to keep an eye on them and see what they offer next time!). I found these options in less than 15 minutes of searching – Maha was actually the first thing that popped up when I searched “yoga workshop near philadelphia” – so there has to be more out there!

One other idea I’d had (which I think I got from Darshana Communications, actually) was to do a CPR training at a local hospital – they run those sorts of trainings often, and while I hope I would never have to use it, it would definitely be a good tool to have under my belt. I need to check and find out for sure if CPR training would count for my training hours (I would think it would, possibly under the “Techniques Training and Practice” or “Anatomy and Physiology” categories). I want to look into meditation classes, too, but I feel like it wouldn’t be right to take meditation classes now when I have so little time for practice at home. On the other hand, maybe taking a class would be a good idea to get me back into actually doing it? We’ll see.

I also have to log 45 teaching hours before December 2014 – the good news is that I’m at 39 hours now, so I just have to teach six more classes in 2014 to make that goal. That shouldn’t be much of a problem, although I do want to get more students into my class at Wellness on Park.

The other change I want to make this year is with regard to my blogging schedule. I love writing here, and the opportunity it affords me to look at yoga and other topics from a new perspective, but with my work schedule and the baby I have to recognize that I just haven’t been posting as often as I used to. I haven’t kept a Tuesday-Thursday schedule in a while. Instead of beating myself up about that, I’m going to acknowledge the limitations I’m currently working with and change my goal. I’m going to aim to post weekly, but will only hold myself to posting twice a month. If I can do better than twice a month, I will, but I think two solid, thoughtful posts in a month should be doable.

Here’s to accomplishing some yoga goals in 2014!

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Holiday Yoga Class Sequence and Playlist December 27, 2013

Filed under: music,yoga — R. H. Ward @ 11:37 am
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Hey there, friends and fans of yoga. With all the holiday cheer going around lately, I haven’t had much time for blogging. So here’s a quick update:

My holiday themed yoga class on December 17 went wonderfully well! My Tuesday night class has not been particularly populous since I started teaching it in October, so I was hoping I might get five or six people – about that many had emailed to say they were coming. And then on the 17th, it was snowy and slushy and cold, and I worried no one would feel like going out. Well, my five or six people showed up, and then a few more people arrived, and then there were five more people coming up the stairs, and we packed the room! It turns out that the yoga studio at Wellness on Park can fit about 14 people (15 if the last person is Donna and she squeezes herself into the corner by the door without a mat), and sadly we even had to turn away a few latecomers. It was fantastic! We had a great friendly group that included three mother-daughter sets, which I absolutely loved. The class was a lot of fun to teach and everyone seemed to enjoy the holiday energy.

Here’s the sequence I taught (I had planned on a few more things but I had to adapt and think on my feet since some things, like legs up the wall, were obviously not going to work with the number of people we had in the room):

Warm Up

  • Child’s pose
  • Cat/cow
  • Thread the needle
  • Downward dog
  • standing forward fold
  • mountain pose

Sun Salutations

  • 5 half sun salutes
  • 2 salutes with lunges
  • 2 full salutes

Standing Sequence

  • warrior 1
  • warrior 2
  • triangle pose
  • revolved triangle
  • extended side angle
  • revolved side angle
  • pyramid/head-to-knee pose
  • prasarita
  • Repeat sequence on the other side

Balance!

  • tree pose
  • quad stretch
  • dancer pose
  • repeat balance sequence on the other side

Cool Down: Seated

  • Garland pose/squat
  • Staff pose
  • Seated forward fold
  • Upward plank
  • Janu sirsasana
  • Janu sirsasana with a twist

Cool Down: Reclining

  • happy baby
  • bridge pose
  • reclining twist
  • savasana
  • Brief meditation

I tried to focus on heart-opening poses and on centering and balance poses. When it’s cold out, we tend to round the shoulders and hunch down into ourselves just when we most need to open the heart; I wanted to include an element of centering and balance because the holiday season is tough on the body and drains energy, even if we love all the celebration. I wanted people to feel relaxed and refreshed and ready to tackle all the gift wrapping and caroling and parties to come.

And here’s the playlist for the class’s music. A few of these songs I might cut for future classes – “The Winter Solstice” by Sufjan Stevens in particular didn’t work for me – but overall I was really happy with the effect.

Song Title Artist
all that I want The Weepies
Maybe This Christmas Ron Sexsmith
Wintersong Sarah McLachlan
What A Year For A New Year Dan Wilson
anorak christmas Sally Shapiro
The Winter Solstice Sufjan Stevens
Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas eels
Christmas with the Snow Marah
Holiday Vampire Weekend
The Christmas Song The Raveonettes
Hey Guys! It’s Christmas Time! Sufjan Stevens
Christmastime Smashing Pumpkins
12.23.95 Jimmy Eat World
Snow Loreena McKennitt
Snowman Suddenly, Tammy!
The Peace Carol John Denver & The Muppets
Sweet Secret Peace Neil Finn
Song For A Winter’s Night Sarah McLachlan
Christmas In The Room Sufjan Stevens
The Atheist Christmas Carol Vienna Teng
Hilli Amiina

I hope all of you are having a wonderful holiday, no matter how you celebrate.

 

Things to Do in Life December 16, 2013

Filed under: reflections,yoga lifestyle — R. H. Ward @ 11:30 am
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I was, just a few moments ago in the ladies room and as I often do, pondering the Things I Want to Teach My Daughter. You know, the things that if somehow she grows up without ever learning them properly I’ll feel like I completely failed at being her mom no matter how awesome she otherwise is; the things that, if she grows up knowing them, I hope will enable her to get a head start on doing a better job of life than her mom has after spending 30+ years figuring them out. So I thought I’d share. I hereby present you with a brief list of The Things I Consider Important to Do in Life (Some of Which May Overlap):

  • Love wholeheartedly and unashamedly. (This goes for loving humans, other creatures, events [like parties or Christmas], and activities [like painting or dancing or using your EZ Pass to go through the tollbooth or wearing your yellow raincoat on rainy days]. It even goes for things [like your yellow raincoat or your favorite shirt or the art bought on your honeymoon], although loving living things should always come first.) Be full of love.
  • Be kind and compassionate to all creatures, including yourself.
  • Find the work that’s yours to do in the world, and do it the very best you can.
  • Leave the world a better place than you found it.
  • Understand that you are whole and complete and wonderful just as you are right now; never stop striving to educate yourself and become a better person.
  • Have a sense of humor, particularly about all of the above.
  • The world is beautiful; be present in it and enjoy the hell out of it.

I’m probably missing some obvious things here – it’s only seven bullet points as compared to all of life, after all, and I already realize I left out gratitude but seven bullet points seems much stronger than eight, and if you’re loving and compassionate and present in the world then hopefully you are also grateful – but I feel like this covers most of the bases pretty well.

My further thought is that, while all of these points can be applied on a lifetime scale, which may be the obvious way to use them, they perhaps would be most useful when applied on a daily basis. Did you leave the world a better place than you found it today? Yes, I put up my holiday decorations and cleaned out the sink. Did you work hard, did you try to improve yourself? Yes, but I was tired and skipped my yoga practice, so maybe I can do more there tomorrow. Did you love wholeheartedly today? Were you kind and compassionate today? Well, maybe I yelled at someone this morning, so I will try to make it up to him or to pay it forward with extra love tomorrow. Did you taste your good food, appreciate the feeling of the child in your arms, and notice how blue the sky was? Yes. Yes I did. 

What are your top things to do in life?

 

Special Holiday Yoga Class on Tuesday 12/17 December 9, 2013

Filed under: yoga — R. H. Ward @ 7:39 pm
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On Tuesday December 17th, I’ll be offering a special seasonal all-levels yoga class at Wellness on Park! Some people love the holidays, while others may feel alone or just hate all the fuss. Whichever you are, we can all use a little extra care at this time of year. On 12/17 we’ll focus on heart-opening poses and centering poses to get us in balance and prepared for the season, with some eclectic holiday tunes to keep us moving. Only $10!

Also, NO CLASS tomorrow (Tuesday 12/10) and no class on Tuesday December 24 and Tuesday December 31. Happy holidays!