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Archive for July, 2008

Yesterday Liza likened her and I to “good cop, bad cop” on this site…guess which one I am.  My new annoyance of the day- yoga studios that call you to remind you to come back to the studio.  Like I need yoga telemarketers…  YogaWorks did it today at 4:30 while I was at work.  Unnecessary!  Enough said.

On a more positive note!

I have a weird thing for Irish music (which all started with my dad seeing Riverdance, a subsequent roadtrip through Ireland, and me, the little blond Jewish girl enrolling in Irish dance classes).  Isauro played some great Irish music in class this morning (Some Like it Hot), which I majorly dug.  2 points Isauro.

-Britt

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Image from Kristintracy, Flickr

A while back I mentioned that I had to write an essay for my teacher training class–

“What is yoga?”

I also told you that I’d share my response with the Om La La crowd.

Well, it’s a work in progress but I’m all for sharing in the midst of my editorial exploration and would love the feedback. Now, now– don’t be shy. We both know that you’re a curious, opinionated and yoga-minded folk– otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. So please, leave your insights, ideas, critiques and complements here!

After all, that’s what makes a blog a blog right!?

-Eliza

What is yoga? Take 1:

Yoga is a personal experience– it’s different for everyone. For me, yoga is ardha chandrasana (half moon) – at once an exercise in balance, strength, coordination, breath, focus and opening up. When I am in ardha chandrasana my mind is elated but still – at the intersection of calm and energetic. As many of us know “yoga” is often translated as “unite” – and that’s exactly what it stands for.

Yoga is both poise and patience. It is care and respect for yourself and for others. Yoga is finding your edge. Yoga is being open minded and accepting. Yoga is challenging and awe inspiring. It is commitment and down right determination and perseverance.

Yoga at its core is your teacher- a lifelong practice, a relationship you nurture and grow.

And finally, yoga is not taking yourself too seriously, having fun, and most importantly, letting go!

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Uh…I feel bad doing this, because I feel that I keep bashing yoga instructors, but- eh, I’m doing it.

This Saturday morning I went up to Some Like It Hot for their 11:45 vinyasa class that I usually go to. Isauro Fernandez, who usually teaches this class, was not there, and his substitute was the studio’s owner, Yola Romeo. I was a little bummed, because I was excited to just sweat and move, which is always guaranteed with Isauro, but went into class with an open mind.

We started in frog pose (for those of you who have been wondering, I nixed the 30 day frog pose challenge- I decided pain sucks). I must mention 2 things a) I’m a runner and b) I have this mysterious hip/back injury that acts up from time to time and makes me writhe in excruciating pain. To start a class in frog is my hell and to hold it for 5+ minutes is essentially the worse layer of Dante’s Inferno multiplied by 347 gajillion. But- open mind, I threw my ass up in the air and sank into my iron-clad, locked hips. Yola, noticing my hips were no where near touching the ground, came over to me and told me to move my hips wider. “They don’t go wider,” I gasped through my tears of pain. “I’m looking at your body and they do go wider, ” she told me. Oh sage and all-knowing Yola…thank you for your words or wisdom. Believe me, they didn’t go wider. She brought us through a series of poses (no flow) and corrected us, which was actually nice. I don’t love pain-stakingly long explanation of poses, but every once in a while (even if it isn’t by choice), its a good thing to do. And don’t get me wrong- this was hard and I felt it the next day. As much as I like to move in yoga, I realize that holding postures longer can be great and strength building. So all was well. Until lizard pose.

As you can see, this is a difficult pose for people with tight hips. I for one, cannot put my arms down flat like this nice lady above- my arms are straight in this pose. Yola would not have this. I told her I had a hip injury. My injury is somewhat complicated, no one really knows what it is and I’ve had the problem for years. But I didn’t feel the need to explain the logistics in front of the entire class- I know what is right for my body. But she continued to press me about it and came to her own conclusion about what my problem was in 20 seconds after years of doctors checking me out. For the rest of class, she kept on me constantly, telling me to lift my shirt in front of the mirror, that I was doing postures incorrectly, etc, etc. And with this majorly, self-righteous attitutude. Just what I wanted on a hot Saturday morning.

There was 1 guy in class, who Yola yoga-molested for the entire hour and a half. She laid on top of him, held his pelvis, and caressed his legs non-stop. At one point, while she was “adjusting” him, a woman in the back of class yelled out, “can we switch poses yet?” Yola had left us in some pose for an inordinate amount of time while she got her freak on.

Her speech at the end of class bordered on insanity…she talked about one thing, then another, none of which had any relation about it each other. She even mentioned at one point that there were a lot of people who came to her studio that had a lot of money and they were certainly not happy people. As if that is necessarily related… Though my mind may have not been all that open, hers was most definitely not and made for a VERY unpleasant class.

-Britt

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“Yoga doesn’t want to change you. Yoga just wants you to be happy.”

Hello Om La La readers! I’d like to announce that I am going to start posting a Monday yoga quote each week to get you all off to a good start! Today’s quote comes from Jacqui Bonwell’s Sunday class from Prana Power Yoga in Newton, MA.

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I found this great article from back in 2007 from Time Magazine.  It’s pretty hilarious.  Skip the Botox. Try Facial Yoga by Kate Stinchfield. “Based on the premise that facial muscles, like any other muscle, need exercise to stay toned, enthusiasts of facial yoga say the regular practice of making kissy faces or wagging one’s tongue can reduce worry lines and wrinkles — and even create a little peace within.” Try out facial yoga in New York with Annelise Hagen author of The Yoga Face: Eliminate Wrinkles with the Ultimate Natural Facelift. Someone please try this and let us know what you think!  If anything, you’ll surely get a kick out of making a “smiling fish” in front of the mirror. Annelise is not alone, Leta Koontz holds Fresh Face Yoga workshops at her Pittsburgh studio.

Annelise Hagen website here: Yoga Face

Leta Koontz teaches here: Schoolhouse Yoga

-Eliza

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In today’s NYTimes- “Ms. Wheelock, who is a registered yoga instructor and also teaches blind and visually impaired children in New York City, has taught in studios in the past and now gives private lessons in homes. The Sunday classes started last year when she decided she wanted to practice yoga on the beach.”

“There’s such peace and serenity from the sound of the ocean. Just being at the beach, I feel a spiritual connection.” -Alice Quinn, Rockville Centre

Read full article here: On the Beach, the Yoga Poses Really Flow by Linda Saslow

-Eliza

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If you’re a fan of yoga podcasts as mentioned in my last post- check out this website aliveyoga.com which offers downloadable classes recorded live from the likes of Ana Forrest and Beryl Bender Birch from Ashtanga to Vinyasa.

-Eliza

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