Thursday, October 31, 2013

Yoga gear- for women

*I want to place a small disclaimer here:  I am a woman, so everything I write comes from that perspective.  I do not claim to know the male perspective on anything.*

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Things I learned from class this week: 10/22/13

1.  Mercury in Retrograde can be a good thing.  Especially when you use it as a focus in your practice.
2.  Having a different spot in class is weird. ( I arrived later than usual and normally prefer a spot near the wall for my glasses and in case I lose my balance).
3.  It is really hard to focus when you are next to someone who talks the whole way through.
4.  I can actually do a side plank pretty well.
5.  Flipping  the Dog or Wild Thing is actually pretty cool.
6.  I really need to do a reclined twist more often.  It feels so good.
7.  Back bends are still really good after sitting all day at a desk.
8.  I want to do yoga at work during my breaks.
9.  I shop for better food after yoga.
10. I am still excited t do the YTT.

Love and light my friends,

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Yesterday I posted a little about the Yoga Anatomy workshop I attended yesterday.  One of the issues I currently have and was brought up during the workshop was sciatica.  Sciatica is a numbing or painful feeling down one or both legs when the sciatic nerve is irritated in some way.  It can also present as pain in the lower back or rear.  Most of the time it is when a disk in the back is forced out of alignment and then presses on one of the nerves.

In our natural state, our lumbar spine should curve slightly forward.  This gives us that sway in our back, down to our rear.  For those of us that have a desk job, it is easy for us to lose our proper posture, which not only gives us that slump, but forces our lumbar region to curve out toward the back.  Doing this forces the connective tissue around our spine to work harder, but also allows for any of the disks to slip a little.  When this happens, we end up with some malady and usually pain.

Sadly for me, it is the sciatica, so this has helped me to work on that.  One suggestion I got was to sit less.  Of course that would be lovely, but my desk is not set up to stand, so I will need to get up more often and stretch a little.  Aside from that, I should work on poses that force the lumbar spine into the natural resting position a little bit more, such as backbends including Locust and Bridge.  They are a great counter to sitting with the huge curve in my spine all day.  I can also do poses such as Tadasana or various lunges that force my body to stack properly.

I find that when it flares up, I have difficulty with any forward folds or even Downward dog, so I tend to just back up on those and not force them as much as some of the others.  I also find that twists are good as they are taking the focus off the lower back and placing them on the upper back.

Love and Light,


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Yoga Anatomy: Spine and Core

This is the third anatomy workshop I have been to at the studio.  I love delving deeper into yoga and anatomy is a great way to do that for me.  I didn't do so well in my anatomy class in college, but having practical applications makes it so much easier.

We learned the bones, muscles, and some connecting tissue surrounding the spine.  We learned what truly comprises the core muscles, the spinal extensors, and we also looked at the diaphram, pelvic floor and Bandhas a little.  Finally, we learned some poses that would target the different muscles for strengthening and stretching.

We worked with partners some, and even though I went to class as a student instead of an instructor, we were all given the chance to give assists in each of the poses.  Since I am planning to do the YTT soon, it was a great opportunity for me to see how comfortable I can be while assisting someone, and see the response I get back.

I already knew I need to work my core more, but I now know a few more things I can do to change things up a bit.  I mentioned earlier that I love Wheel of Karma, so I will continue with that one.  Another great one to do, while not a yoga pose, is Mountain Climbers.  This will also enable me to build more strength so I can eventually work my way into a headstand or handstand.  Also, there was another suggestion I want to try, which is Dolphin Plank Pushup.  You move from Dolphin to a plank on your forearms.

Additionally, I need to work on some twists a little bit more to work the Latissimus Dorsi.  That would be the muscle I feel aching the next day after we do any twists.  This one, too, will build stability for the inversions that I am working toward.

Finally, I need to work on back bends and more back strengtheners.  I can do Bridge fairly well, and I already like Locust with my arms back to my sides.  They suggested swimming, which is lifting alternating legs and arms, so they are not the same side lifting at one time.  Also, I am still unable to do Wheel, but my partner gave me a modification that made it easier and closer to possible for me to do.  She suggested putting blocks up against the wall, and putting my hands on those blocks to give my chest and head a little more lift.  I still could not do the complete Wheel, but it was much closer.

All in all, it was a really three hours spent at the studio.  I learned quite a lot about the anatomy used for poses, and which poses to use to work the anatomy.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Things I learned from class this week: 10/15/13

1. Cresent Moon is another great hip opener.  It really feels great after sitting in a chair all day.
2. For core work, I really love Wheel of Karma.  Those lower abs may hate it, but I love it.
3. It's ok to do a modified pose if I am having a bad day, or there are just too many things going on in one pose.
4. I am not the only one trying to figure out what we are doing next.
5. I should really work on twists and back bends a little more.
6. I still really want to do the YTT soon, so I can learn more about the other limbs of yoga.
7. I really like how my instructor teaches.  I should take more mental notes on that.
8. I love Savasana at the end.  It's relaxing and calming after some of my straining in some poses.

Namaste my friends,


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Learning about myself- wanting to fit in

I read an interesting article on Elephant Journal today about our secret battles.  The author wants to create a "cult of reality" where we are more honest with each other.  I typically am pretty honest with people, but thought I would write a few things that maybe people don't know yet because the topic never came up.

When I was growing up, I was bullied.  A lot of people think everyone is bullied when they are younger, but it was pretty bad for me.  So bad that my mom wished she would have known the extent so she could have pulled me out of some classes.  I internalize so much, and make everything out to be my fault.  I am trying to teach myself to realize that the world does not revolve around me, so obviously everything isn't my fault.  It's not easy.

Consequently, I desperately wanted people to like me when I was in school, but never could make it work.  I tried so hard to be lked.  It wasn't until high school that I met people who were more like me.  I made it into the IB Program, so most of the other students were intellectuals like me.  We thought the same and felt the same, more or less.  There was still the pecking order, there were still people who were wildly popular.  For once, I wasn't trying to fit in.  The program was a lot of hard work, but I found myself for the first time.  I decided I wanted to go for a Chemistry degree in college, and become a chemist.

When I entered college, I was so scared.  It was a new experience, but the only thing that was different was the school.  I lived with my parents because we couldn't afford much more, but we managed to make it work.  I spent five years there, and working at Michael's Arts and Crafts, graduating without any student loans.  I really found myself more in college.  I still found people who were like me, and I was really quite happy.  I even met my husband through a group on campus, though he wasn't a student.

Shortly after graduation, I found a temp job for an FDA trial.  It was a great experience that told me I could learn anything, and I love working in the lab.  Unfortunately, it didn't last long and I went back to school for my Master's in Forensics with an emphasis in Toxicology.  My true dream is to work in a crime lab or for a Coroner somewhere.  While I worked on that degree I worked at a local hospital in Medical Records.  Never a glamorous job by any means, but it helped us keep our house while I went back to school.

Over $40,000 in student loans, and no real job prospects, I am still working at the hospital.  Last year we had our 10 year high school reunion.  It was strange to think that ten years had passed, and yet, I felt like I hadn't gone anywhere.  My husband tried to point out that I have two degrees, which is more than a fair number of people have.  But to me, what good is a degree that I am not using, when my goal is to be in a lab?  I keep applying for jobs, and hoping for the best.

So what have I learned about myself you might ask?  I have learned that I throw myself into my work to avoid being alone.  My husband has a schedule that conflicts a little with mine, so I spend a lot of time alone, though it is getting easier.  I still want to be perfect and have people like me.  It is always hard when people seem to hate me for nothing.  So this is just one thing I am working on.

It is really hard to post this.  Even now I am thinking to my self that no one could possibly want to read this.  I am just some random person on the internet whining about my childhood.  But then, I am trying to let those insecurities go, so I will post this anyway.  If nothing else, face fear head on, right?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Glow in the dark yoga

Last night I went to a new event at the yoga studio I attend.  It was called Yoga Glow.  They set everything up in a dark room with a couple black lights and a lot of glow sticks.  There was just enough light to be able to not hit my neighbors. It was so much fun!

It was easier to focus on my flow and my balance.  I managed to maintain my balance for many of the more difficult poses.  I even managed to come up into crescent lunge from low lunge without falling over.

We did a couple of community poses, like tree with our arms extended, and moving from one-legged tadasana to to airplane with our arms linked.  I have never done that before with others, and it was really nice.

All in all, it was empowering and uplifting.  Being alone, and together, in the dark, focusing on ourselves.



Thursday, October 10, 2013

Heart and chest openers

Last week I wrote about carrying emotion and stress in the hips and the poses I found most useful to open the hips more.  I worked those poses most days within the last week, and during class this week, I felt so much better.  My pigeon wasn't as excruciating as it was earlier.

This week, I determined that I need to work on my heart, chest and shoulders more.  I bellydance, and find that my chest and shoulders are tight, probably from working at a desk so much.  This does not mean that I will let my hips go, though.

I mentioned in my last post that Camel is really great.  I plan to work on that more and see if I am able to get down to my feet, instead of resting my hands on my lower back.  We also did Dancer in class, and I found that one works my hips, my shoulders/chest, and my balance.  So I plan to use that one more in my home practice.  Finally, in looking through a few different chest openers, I found One-Legged King Pigeon II.  I really think this one will help me with my hips, as well as my shoulders.

I'm really looking forward to adding these few poses to my practice at home.  I felt like I was in a rut for so long, and now I have found something else to try.  Maybe I will create some routines that I can alternate.  Do one routine one day and a different one the next day.

Love and light,


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vinyasa flow from last night

I typically try to go to class on Tuesday nights, as my husband is working, and I am trying to be more active after work.  I have a desk job, and I am so busy sometimes that I don't even realize what time it is, and I have been sitting that whole time.  That's probably another reason why I have tight hips at times.

The class last night was fabulous like always.  The instructor guided us through a couple different flows.  I was able to move between a few balance strengthening poses.  We worked on Camel even, for a heart opener.  I am not able to make it down to my feet with my hands yet, I just keep them on my lower back.  But I am working on it, and it felt so good.

I even spoke to the instructor about the yoga teacher training, and she encouraged me to do it.  I mentioned a few of my fears, and she told me not to worry about it.  I feel even better about my decision to do this.  I want to share how I feel about yoga with everyone.

As I walked out of class, I felt so much more rejuvenated.  I felt strong, and amazed at what my body has accomplished.  I also feel confident that I am heading in the right direction for my heart.

Namaste my friends,


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I am not a morning person

When some people think of people who do yoga, they think of people getting up before the sun to do it.  The studio I go to offers many early morning classes, and not as many after about 8.  But I am not a morning person.  My family will tell you just how much I hate mornings, and how I have always hated them.

I tried getting up earlier to do yoga before going to work.  It didn't work so well.  I think part of that has to do with my hypothyroidism.  See, I have to take my pill on an empty stomach, with a little water.  I have to wait a half an hour to an hour before I can eat.  So I tried doing yoga on an empty stomach, and that just made me feel sick.  To do that early in the morning on a full stomach, I would have to get up two to three hours earlier than I already do, so I might as well not sleep at all.

But you know what?  That is what yoga is about.  Listening to my body, figuring out what works for me.  I like to exercise at night because it makes me tired.  I can still do the most energetic yoga sequence and still be ready for bed an hour later.

I liked laying in bed this morning and watching the beautiful sunrise.  I salute the sun in a different way.

Love and light to you all,


Monday, October 7, 2013

Going Pink

This month, as many of you know, is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  I received an email earlier from Manduka stating that they are donating some of  the proceeds to from their pink items.  If you are interested in either a Pink mat, or are ready for a new one and would like to help out, you can go to this link to shop.



Friday, October 4, 2013

It is called practice for a reason

I read an interesting article the other day.  It was about things that students would like to tell their yoga teachers, but probably never will.  Some of them were spot on, and things I would probably say.  Things like "you always encourage me to do my best" and "this is the best part of my day."

One caught me off guard.  It was something like "I heard what you sad about feeling fat after class when you were talking to another teacher and it negated everything you said in class about loving ourselves."  Mind you, I don't think this is exact, and I don't remember where the article came from, so cannot link to it.

What I want to say about this is that we are all working on ourselves.  We got to yoga class, or meditation, for guidance and some sense of community, but it is our own journey.  We all have days that feel rough, and we all have those days where everything is going according to plan.  The idea is to not let those bad days get us down.  Just because that instructor said he or she feels fat today, does not mean that he or she is not trying to combat that feeling and realize that it is just today.  Tomorrow is another day, and you never know what it will bring.

Sometimes talking to others about our feelings is a way of connecting.  It is not always complaining, but being real with someone you care about.    We are humans and we are all trying our best to be better than we were yesterday.  It is a process.  So the next time you hear something like that, realize that the person saying that is simply trying to be better too.



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Some of my inspiration

I have wanted to become a yoga instructor for a few years now.  I want to share something with others, that I have found so useful for me.  Yoga builds strength and stamina, and you don't need much to be able to do it.  You don't need to go to class often if you don't want.  I only suggest you go to class to learn the asanas (poses) so you don't hurt yourself.  After that, you can go anywhere at anytime to practice.

I know you may have seen a version of this video on Facebook, but I want to share it here, as it is really inspirational for me.  I don't assume that I will be the best instructor out there, espcially right off the bat.  However, I will be the best instructor I know how to be, and hopefully some of my students will get something useful from this video.

Love and light,