Tag Archives: yoga practice

How Did You Get into Yoga? An Interview with Tara Stiles

Screen shot 2013-11-06 at 11.17.28 PMFor three weeks now, Tara Stiles has been hosting our 21-day yoga challenge on Intent.com with Sports Club LA. Over the past few weeks we’ve shared blogs to motivate people to start a yoga practice or deepen the one they are already in. Now that we are winding down the challenge we sat down with Tara to find out why she does yoga, what people can get out of challenges likes these, and what the next steps are after it is done.

If you happen to be in the Bay area you can see Tara and Mallika Chopra speaking at Studio 1 for the Sports Club LA Strala Strong event tomorrow, Nov. 8. More information is available here. You can also follow @SportsClub_LA for updates on the event.

Intent: What is your advice for anyone interested in getting into yoga but isn’t familiar with this world? Where do they start? How do they find a style that fits them?

Tara: The first thing to know is you’re already great how you are. A regular practice will keep you connected to feeling great, being healthy, strong, and open. Don’t worry about touching your toes, or doing a headstand, the goal is to connect with yourself and feel great. I created loads of videos on YouTube for first timers, so you can practice in the comfort of your home, whenever is easy for you. Start with 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 minutes before bed the first week and see how that feels. If you are looking for a particular style or studio, good to ask friends what they like. If you check out a class and it’s not for you, don’t be discouraged, try something different. There are loads of variety these days. Main thing is to stay connected to you, follow how you feel, and don’t push or force anything. Have fun and let me know if you have questions or need tips. I’m here for you!

Intent: You practice Strala yoga in your own studio in New York, which is sort of your own creation. What does Strala mean and what drew you to that particular style of yoga? 

Tara: Strala means to radiate light in Swedish, which is something I learned after thinking I invented the word by combining strength, balance, and awareness. Strala is a movement based system of yoga that lets people feel into the full range of their selves. The result is a feeling of permission and freedom. We focus on moving over posing, and help people find their way into their own bodies, with a calm ease carried through easy and challenging things alike. It’s a ton of fun, and people call Strala, a Yoga Party.

Intent: For the past few weeks we’ve been doing a yoga challenge on Intent.com, combining making intents with starting or moving your practice to the next level, how important do you think having intents is to a solid yoga practice? 

Tara: We have intents whether we are aware of them or not. With yoga maybe we practice to de-stress, to get more flexible, for our fitness, emotional wellbeing, or so many reasons combined. Becoming aware of our intents is a powerful practice to focus on where we are directing our energy. With intents we become productive. What isn’t necessary can roll right off of us.

Intent: You set a lot of intents for this challenge, how do you personally decide what your intent will be each day? 

Tara:Like most things, I follow my intuition. Each day is different and I’d like to cultivate different things in the day. I decide on the intent depending on what I would like to accomplish each day.

Intent: What do you feel is the main take away from challenges like these? What good do you think they can do?

Tara: Setting intents for 21 days in a row begins a habit of awareness of our habits. It’s a commitment to positive change in our lives.

Intent: For those that used the challenge to start getting into yoga – what should they do now that it’s over? What’s your advice for staying motivated to stick with it? 

Tara: Keep going. Find ways of practicing that are interesting and exciting to you. If you’re a morning person, practice when you wake up. If you have a lot of energy at night, do your yoga at night. Make your routine work for you, not what you think it should look like.

Intent: Some of us can’t be in San Francisco for your talk at the SCLA conference – can you give us a sneak peak of what it’s going to be about?

Tara: Super excited about SF, and very excited for Mallika’s meditation. The class I lead will be energetic and fun, and of course, move with ease. I’m leading a 2 day Strala Intensive all weekend where I train instructors how to lead Strala. It’s also open to anyone who wants to dive into the methodology. I lead these trainings at all the SCLA around the US and it’s been an exciting adventure. Strala will be on the schedule in all the clubs 1st Quarter of 2014.

Help support Tara and the Intent community by joining the 21 Day Yoga Challenge sponsored by Sports Club LA! For 21 Days Tara is posting intents to encourage you to start or deepen your practice and to help you better connect your mind and body with the world around you. You can support or adopt Tara’s intent. Or you can set your own intent! Just add them to the yoga category and let’s support each other! 

*Images from TaraStiles.com

A Letter To My Disenchanted Yoga Student

Ambassador Meghan CurrieI saw a student out in public today. It always throws me for a moment when I see someone outside the studio, seeing them in “real life.” In our quick chat it came up that she’s been disenchanted with yoga lately. This is someone who has been known to say yoga is her religion, which of course I completely understand. Deep in the most internal cell in the marrow on my bones, I understand. But I could see it on her face, the confusion, frustration, and even a hint of sorrow.

Part of this practice is one of self-discovery. Last year, maybe longer, I was going through a phase where I thought “this sucks…all this uncovering, unshielding, digging into truth, who wants to face this junk.” I really thought I was better off living in my naivety and blinded to the truth of who I am and how I want to live. It was painful to feel my fear about breaking through the shields I used to fight through life from behind.

This practice puts you in the spotlight. You can prance and dance around the stage but the light chases you. It shadows you until you either slink back into the darkness, hoping nobody will notice, or decide to embrace the message. Step into the light, it coaxes you.

It is at these crossroads in the practice that we decide for ourselves how the rest of life devoted to our own truth will play out. When I think of all the times (yes, there have been several in the last 15+ years) I have fallen out of love with yoga, I look at each one as fondly as a relationship that didn’t work out, and that I am better and stronger to have lived through. Each time I come through, I leave something about the practice behind that was making my spirit heavy. It could be anything from elements of a style of yoga that didn’t feed me, a teacher, my own internal dialog to a pose that challenges me or simply the frequency in which I practice. Just like I don’t live anyone else’s dogma, I don’t live anyone else’s yoga.

When I can leave something behind, oh the beautiful truth that is ushered in is always worth the wait. My breakthrough, your breakthrough, could be to viscerally feel that there is so much more to this practice than what we do on the mat. Sure, on paper, in words, we know. But to feel the beauty that this practice is so much more than a handstand, so much more than a downward facing dog, so much more than savasana…that is a gift in itself, to feel without moving. Because in all truth, there might be a day when we can’t move, and stillness is all we have. Stillness, and our practice.

This is also when the practice becomes yours. Not mine, not your mentor’s, not the yogi’s next to you…yours. This is when you start to see that just like there is no one religion for all of us, there is no one yoga for all of us. The only yoga that is for all of us is the one in which we breathe, move and create a vibration that inspires people to move closer to truth. Everything else is for you to define.

This is also when you step away for a moment, and see your own self in all your unique glory. This is when you give gratitude to the group you are in for honoring you, carrying you when you needed it, and supporting you as you find your way. We are rooting for you. I am rooting for you. As my friend also with us on this path says…your soul is rooting for you.

Disenchanted friends, near or far, whether we know each other or not, stick with it. Know that in this place of struggle and confusion lives a gift. This is your chance to step into your own light and define what this practice looks like for you. It is quite an exciting time if we choose to see it as such.

“Shakti Rising”: Empowering Women From the Inside Out

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.34.07 PMI recently had the unique and almost otherworldly experience of stepping into the world of Shakti Rising; a nonprofit social change organization that takes a holistic approach to empowering women and girls from the inside out, with the vision that healthy, empowered women are the potential change-makers in their families, social circles, and communities. They distinguish an empowered female leader from a powerful female leader, a concept I found fascinating.

During the hours I spent at Shakti Rising when I attended their community “Garden Day,” I interacted with a number of women; some of which were on a transformational journey, some of which were there to volunteer, and some of which led the program. The sense of community and support was palpable among everyone, even though many of us had just met.

The women live together in a large home, taking classes, facing their personal demons or difficulties daily, and learning to live in community. As I worked alongside these women, saw how they interacted, and enjoyed a delicious lunch with them, I started to put my finger on what was unique about this place, apart from its holistic, inside-out approach to healing and growing.

It was the energetic space and how open, inviting, and accepting it seemed to be.

The benefits of this unique model, where women live and work side by side, became obvious to me as I witnessed the support they all received from each other. It was a refreshing change from most modern day living arrangements, where single women often live alone, only meeting other women in passing, when meeting up with friends, or in a competitive work environment. The benefit these women receive from living in community became quickly apparent. As one woman said, when commenting on how much she enjoyed preparing the food with other women, “We were not meant to cook alone.”

Shakti is a Hindu goddess representing divine, manifesting, feminine energy. She takes many names and forms, sometimes representing a motherly, fertile form, and other times is described as a fierce warrior. As such, the name “Shakti Rising” really hit home when I realized the underlying intention of the organization to empower women to rise up into their whole, complete, empowered being and then send that complete, integrated, whole-hearted woman into the world to empower, inspire, and lead others without needing to overpower others to do so.

In part, their description reads:

Our way is to walk our talk, organically closing the gap between principle and practice. We do this by welcoming change, valuing friendships, taking risks, and creating lives with fun, passion and laughter. We practice presence, gratitude and forgiveness. We delight in relationships that are long term and mutually beneficial.

We are woven together by what we value: authenticity, faith, courage, integrity, commitment and service. We believe in the power of our real life choices, knowing that mundane actions can have the most far-reaching implications. We are dedicated to sustainability and the pursuit of social and environmental change. Our lifestyle embraces the needs of the present and the legacy of the future.

Shakti Rising has several locations, including the Bay Area, San Diego, New Mexico, and Kauai. Their current goal is to reach 1,000 monthly donors in support of the education and leadership services of Shakti Feminine University. They also welcome energetic support and volunteerism, as they are largely a word-of-mouth organization.

My visit to the world of Shakti Rising sprung out of an interest to be of service to other women. I thought my contribution would be through teaching yoga. After experiencing the Shakti Rising community personally and getting to know the women and some of their individual stories, I realized that this was an opportunity to take my yoga off my mat.

Practicing yoga doesn’t always mean bending over backwards physically. Sometimes it means bending over backwards to help someone else plant a seed. Instead of supporting someone in an arm-balancing pose, sometimes we support them as they learn to trust themselves fully in the real world. We all hold space for introspection and transformation when we attend a yoga class, but it’s also entirely possible to create a sacred space in our communities where transformation, conversation, healing, and growing are possible and welcomed.

As women, we are all in a position to shift the paradigm of being a powerful woman to being an empowered woman. The difference is that one power comes from outside of us and the other comes from within. Our young women are our future leaders, and they are following our example.

The Kaiut Method: Yoga For People Who Hate Yoga (Part 2)

Screen Shot 2013-06-13 at 5.52.17 PMClick here for part 1!

By Kiri Westby, with Ed and Deb Shapiro, who all attended the yoga class described here.

We got through maybe five or six positions in each hour-long class, most of which were on the floor and required very little effort or exertion. I found that I could stay in a pose for 5-10 minutes comfortably, or at times uncomfortably. Some positions I never wanted to get out of they felt so good…like scratching an internal itch that had been plaguing me for years. And here, perhaps, is where meditation training comes in. There is a lot of time to just relax deeply into the positions and work with what comes up, uncovering the emotional and mental component behind our physical discomforts.

I left feeling completely rejuvenated, a sense of freedom returning to places I didn’t know were long shackled. In fact, I came for one class and ended up staying all day, coming back the next day and the final day, all while telling everyone around me how good I was feeling.

Francisco expanded:

Most yoga methods coerce the body into the same positions over and again, working our joints and stretching our bodies to conform. And for some people this feels good and they get more limber repeating a specific set of poses. They learn to fit the mold and whip their bodies into extraordinary shapes. But students may be injuring themselves through repetitive motions that are not serving them nor working on the places they have blockages.

Francisco asks each student, “Okay, so this part is working well for you, but what is not right in your body? For example, how is your big toe?” and everyone, no matter how much yoga they’ve practiced, has something that is not working so well physically. “When I move a leg, I am not just moving bone and muscle, but cartilage, soft tissue, veins, vessels, lymphatic systems, and other subtle structures in our body. We need to move the body in the most intelligent way, not the toughest or most intense way; we have to gently work with our entire bodies rather than stressing some parts while ignoring others.”

Luciana explained further:

What is complicated is that this approach to doing yoga requires that the teacher be there with you the entire time, supporting you. It’s not the type of yoga that can be put on video and applied to everyone universally. Each class, each body, is unique. That’s a huge shift for many people. They are approaching their bodies from a completely new and different perspective for the first time.

“I prefer people to be without distractions so that they can go deep inside and listen to their bodies,” Francisco adds. “I don’t see myself doing a major DVD or trying to build a yoga empire with this style, but rather working with individuals as I can make profound differences with a small group of people, rather than short-term effects on a lot of people.”

After taking Kaiut yoga classes, Ed said, “I feel so free, like I’m in Samadhi, incredibly joyful and liberated. The more my body is opening and I work through lifelong obstructions, the more that translates into my mind and I experience so much joy.” To which Francisco said, “Well, that’s great! But for me it is simpler than that. We are working with the very specific blockages in each person’s body and asking their minds to accept and work with whatever arises. If there is joy or ecstasy afterwards that’s just an added bonus. It could be anger or frustration that arise, and that is OK too.”

If you’re like me and yoga has never really been your cup of chai, but you’d like to try Kaiut Yoga for yourself and find our what all the buzz is about (especially if you’re suffering from chronic pain or injury), Francisco and Luciana will be in Boulder, Colorado teaching from July 15-21st, 2013.

I know I will be there! In fact, my entire body has been craving it since January.

* * *

Join our Be The Change Meditate e-Conference that will uplift and inspire you. 30 eclectic meditation teachers, including Marianne Williamson, Congressman Tim Ryan, author of Mindful Nation, Sharon Salzberg, Robert Thurman, Gangaji, Joan Borysenko, Seane Corn, neuroscientist Richie Davidson who proves how meditation affects the brain, Roshi Joan Halifax, Tara Stiles, and us, Ed and Deb Shapiro, authors of the conference companion book, BE THE CHANGE: How Meditation Can Transform You and The World. Expect your life to never be the same again!

For more information: www.edanddebshapiro.com

A Modern Yoga Philosophy for an Awakened Heart and an Embodied Mind

AHEMI recently read Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind (A.H.E.M.) by Julian Walker. It’s an expanded version of the manual Walker and Hala Khouri use in their yoga teacher training by the same name.

Having just recently finished yoga teacher training myself and keen to learn more about leading people through an experience of yoga and not just yoga poses, I knew this book was for me. While an understanding of anatomy and alignment are foundational cornerstones for teaching yoga safely, I wanted to learn about the sometimes intangible and energetic experience we can tap into through our yoga practice.

Having felt this in my own body through yoga, I wanted to know how to make this accessible to my students. I was particularly interested in how to weave the holistic form of therapy known as somatic psychology into a yoga class. Yoga by its very nature connects, honors and respects the mind, body, and spirit. Balancing this mind-body-spirit approach with the fascinating and respected field of neuroscience was sure to be a powerful combination.

A.H.E.M. almost seems to come to life, with its asana and pranayama practices sprinkled throughout, as well as the introspective questions and suggested writing practices. It felt like I was stepping into the book more than just reading it. As I read and practiced the movements or contemplated the questions from both the perspective of a teacher and a student, I could feel an inner shift happen.

A.H.E.M. spells out a modern yoga philosophy that is not bound by the yoga sutras while staying true to the heart of yoga. The mind, body, and spirit are all players in this approach to modern yoga, and all are honored and embraced.

In the exchange below Walker answers a few of my questions on his background, experience, and unique approach to yoga.


Monique: Julian, how long have you been teaching yoga and what experience do you have in the fields of neuroscience, neurobiology, and somatic psychology?

Julian: I have been teaching yoga since 1993. I came to the USA alone as an immigrant/refugee when I was 19 from South Africa and have largely educated myself whilst initially working minimum wage jobs. I have been fascinated with finding ways to understand and experience the relationships between spirituality, psychology, and science both in my own process and practice and in the work I have created to share with my students and bodywork clients over the years.

My initial deep yoga training (5 years as a student and 11 years teaching at her school) was with Ana Forrest, who has pioneered work in yoga and psychology. I went to a massage school called the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing, and have studied with various mentors along the way. Mostly I have studied the history and theory of body-based psychology as well as the burgeoning field of neuroscience through extensive reading and immersing myself in lectures online.

392244_326277700735072_451275225_n-194x300Monique: I found your section on the chakras especially interesting. You refer to them as “embodied and psychological experiences that most likely have their basis in our neurobiology.” For those of us unfamiliar with neurobiology, can you expand briefly on how mind­-body energy might have its roots in the nervous system?

Julian: Ah, great question! I think an elegant way to describe my theory here is that subjective experience – consciousness and our feeling of energy – are all expressions of our biology. For example, when we feel scared we know that there is adrenaline and cortisol coursing through our bodies, our heart rate is elevated and blood is rushing into our large fight-or-flight muscles.

Likewise, when in deep states of meditation there is a correlation between the quieting down of brain areas that track the boundaries of our bodies and location in time and space on the one hand, and a beautiful experiential sense of being at one with all things as we rest in the eternal void, on the other.

I became fascinated with how the chakras correlate with key nerve plexi (bundles of nerves that branch off the spinal cord to communicate with muscles, organs and glands) and with how we experience life through our bodies. For me, the chakras are a kind of map of how the mind lives in the body; and the nervous system (as well as the endocrine system, which secretes our powerful hormones and neurotransmitters) is a key component of this.

What if the chakras are a heightened awareness of our capacity to experience the neuro-endocrine system from the inside? What if our lived emotional experience is a whole body phenomenon involving the brain, nervous system and musculature?

Monique: Throughout A.H.E.M. you refer to both “mindfulness” and “embodiment.” I’ve seen the two placed into separate categories, and I wonder if you can comment on whether you see them as separate processes or if they can coexist and/or contribute to each other?

Julian: When I talk about embodiment, I am referring to a sense of being really aware of our bodies. Feeling grounded, empowered and in touch with our emotions and sensations, are all aspects of body awareness. We come to this awareness of the body via mindful attention. In essence, it is a brain function we can train ourselves to access more deeply. If our mindfulness does not include embodiment, then we feel like a floating head! Ungrounded, disempowered, out of touch. If our embodiment does not include mindfulness we can be reactive, impulsive or negatively self-indulgent.

With yoga, we can use mindfulness to facilitate a more integrated sense of being alive in our bodies and in touch with our emotional and intuitive wisdom

Monique: In another of your published writings you say, in reference to modern yoga, “We get to define what yoga means for us in the 21st century. This is Enlightenment 2.0.” Where do you see A.H.E.M. fitting into the dynamic picture of modern yoga as it continues to evolve?

Julian: Looking at the history of yoga, it has always been in a dynamic process of evolution. Always influencing and being influenced by the various cultures with which it has come into contact. Yoga is deeply concerned with psychology, science and ethics, and our human understanding of these fields keeps evolving. For me, any field of knowledge, practice and inquiry has to be open to the progress of human understanding.

We maintain yoga as a living tradition that serves our current needs and reflects our current knowledge when we keep it open. I see yoga more as a methodology, a mode of inquiry, than as a dogmatic belief system set in stone. For me, whatever is really true about what yoga is and what yoga does for human beings can only be more deeply revealed by looking at it through the lens of science, philosophy and psychology. It is an exciting process!

My book is the culmination of 20 years reflecting on the relationships between ancient and modern, spiritual and psychological, experiential and scientific. It is an expression of what I have found and how I teach and offers teachers and students a modern and integrated way to think about and experience yoga. I hope it can be of service.

Photo credit: Julian Walker

Wordplay Wednesday: Shivasana

Cool wood floors
The heat held inside me
My body is heavy
The room vibrates
From chanting
Life to all
Love to all
Peace to all
But I don’t join in
My throat contracts
I feel a deep drive to open
My mouth and my heart
And sing
Each time the mantra repeats
It penetrates deeper within
My mind wanders
I question
Why I’m scared to let go
What I’m trying to hold onto
I don’t even know
My mind wanders
I remember
An old friend of mine
Who said I just wasn’t a joiner
I laughed at the time
Because she was right
But I feel myself turning a corner
I’m less interested now
In playing it cool
Or trying so hard to control
I want to join in
And risk looking stupid
I don’t want to be scared anymore
I open my mouth and I sing
The tightness in my throat
Begins to release
My entire body tingles
I sing
Tears streak my cheeks
Life to all
Love to all
Peace to all
Life to all
Love to all
Even me

Note: I wrote this poem in 2007, after a yoga class:) 

Ego-less Yoga: An Interview with Moby on His Practice

“I get a lot more work done and I’m a lot happier with the work when I’m healthy as opposed to sick and hungover.”

Wise words. It may go against the ‘starving artist’ motif, but take it from internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter, Moby, who is certainly no stranger to success. Practicing a healthy lifestyle pays off in more ways than one. Eleven albums, fifteen awards (including two VMAs), and collaborations with the likes of Bono and David Bowie constitute a highly successful electronic music career. In addition to the millions of records he’s sold around the world, Moby practices yoga, keeps to a vegan diet, and lobbies for animal rights.

Moby features in the latest interview session on The Chopra Well’s URBAN YOGIS discussing yoga and the role lifestyle plays in a successful artistic career. You’ll see him in conversation here with Eddie Stern, who hosts the rest of the series. But as it turns out, these two have been friends for 25+ years! It was Eddie who first introduced Moby to yoga, and here they are years later chilling in ‘happy baby’ pose from the balcony of Moby’s Los Angeles home.

Moby has an interesting take on yoga and healthy living, somewhat different than what many say about their practice. Take a look and let us know what you think. One thing he said that stood out to us was, “I decided about six months ago that I never want to be good at yoga.” Being “good” for him implies a competitive spirit, comparing his own ability to some standard. Rather, Moby says, he wants to focus on enjoying himself, reaping the short and long-term benefits, and working toward greater flexibility and spiritual awareness. That’s when yoga becomes a ‘practice’ rather than an accessory.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and catch our daily, inspiring videos as soon as they’re published!

Today’s Featured Yoga Blog By Stephanie Snyder: The Importance Of Yoga And Intention In Your Daily Life

By Stephanie Snyder

What is the importance of yoga and intention in my daily life? It has changed quite a bit over the years. In the beginning of my yoga career, I was young, wild, and lost. I’m talking about self-destructive behavior that truly almost cost me my life. I remember in one of my early experiences with yoga, I was in Savasana and I had one fleeting moment of calm. I remember thinking “this must be what peace feels like,” and then of course it disappeared back into the fog of my usual mental clutter. But I believe it was in that Savasana that I recognized something about my real Self, something almost unidentifiable and also profoundly transformative. I was hooked.

In the early years of my practice, yoga became the anchor in a crazy tumultuous sea of change. Yoga saw me through pulling my life together and very slowly healing hurts from long times past and the damages that I lived with everyday. My intention back then was just to get to one class a day because I knew that when I did, yoga and everything else became much more manageable.
Over time and through a lot of hard work, my life started to clean up and clear up, and I got a lot of clarity that came through the practice. I became a dedicated daily practitioner and a very serious student of yoga. I began not only to find refuge in the physical practice, but also through study of the texts like the Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, and especially the Upanishads. My intention slowly evolved from just getting to a class into integrating the philosophy into a method of self-discovery. I became intent on using the very clear and simple ethics of the yamas and niyamas for example as a tool of navigation. Slowly, heavy turned to light, and I guess from there I never looked back.
These days, after many years with the practice as part of my daily life and having the great privilege of teaching yoga, it still continues to evolve everyday. Every day I get on my mat and let the practice come through. Some days it’s easy and light, and some days it’s rigorous and challenging.
 I used to think that I HAD to do a certain number of sun salutes, HAD to do standing poses, HAD to do backbends, etc. for it to ‘count’ as a real practice. I now know that I don’t serve the practice. Over time I have learned that practice serves me so that I can serve others.
My intention is always to be of service, to practice my yoga in line at the DMV, while driving, while interacting with my four-year–old son. I’m not perfect and I let acceptance of that be part of my practice, too. Yoga supports every aspect of a happy and healthy life, and I wish that for everyone everywhere.
Stephanie is the creator of the Yoga Journal DVD, Yoga for Strength and Toning and she is known for her inspirational teaching style.  Stephanie teaches workshops and public classes at Yoga Tree in San Francisco where she has been a primary member of the Yoga Teacher Training faculty since 2004. Stephanie teaches workshops and retreats internationally, is a Yoga Journal Conference presenter, and was the only single instructor to receive the SF Chronicle TOP 5 in Yoga for the Bay Area 2009.  Stephanie is also thrilled to sit on the Board of Directors for Headstand, a non-profit organization dedicated to integrating Yoga into the curriculum at schools that serve at-risk youth in the Bay Area and around the country. To learn more, visit www.stephaniesnyder.com


Today’s Featured Yoga Blog By Eva Barash: Daily Practice

Daily Practice By Eva Barash

I was just in Costa Rica, visiting my parents, and not doing quite as much yoga as I had intended.  My father on the other hand, who has done yoga only when I’ve cornered him in the living room with a mat and asked very nicely, practiced a morning exercise routine that has hardly varied since before I was born.  Everyday he either ran on the beach (at home it was the road) or bounced up and down for an hour on the little blue elliptical machine out back. 

My daily routine was to lug my amazingly heavy baby boy out to say good morning to his grandpa.  One morning my dad said to us, “I don’t know if I do this every morning because I want to, or because it’s just what I do.” 

“Oh, what wise words!”  I thought and said as much to my dad, who smiled and nodded, but didn’t stop bouncing for a moment.  I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for people who do not  a lick of “yoga” as we imagine it, but practice it anyhow, by simply having a practice;  an everyday sort of practice.

Asana means pose held steady; it means doing the same thing for a long time.  You breath, watch, and experience time.  You don’t run from time, or try to change it.  You might wonder, why on earth am I doing this?, but you keep doing it as you wonder.  All of this is yoga.  My yoga lately revolves around diapers, stories and bath-time.  It is a very simple, clear, practice.  It is one I don’t expect ever to perfect, but I’ll keep doing it anyway.

About Eva Barash

I am the owner/director/teacher/mama-in-general of Living Room Yoga, the yoga studio in your living room.  I teach privately in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and develop podcasts and yoga DVDs for those who live too far away for me to reach in person.  I aim to make yoga accessible for everyone, and to not be too serious about what doesn’t matter(perfection), and very serious about what does(practice!)  I can be reached @ www.livingroomyoga.com

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Adrianne Lacy

Yoga Classes Online – YogaToday.com – Great Resource!

I love yoga.  I love going to my local yoga studio.  I am not sure why it is so hard for me to get my butt out the door and into the yoga studio!  But it is a challenge.  I don’t have any problem going to CrossFit classes.  It is a strange phenomenon!

I was talking to a friend about this and she has the same issue.  She told me she now does yoga classes at home in her living room using YogaToday.com.  She said that the classes are great and there were many to choose from, plus the yearly membership is only $85.95 which is less than a 1 month membership at most yoga studios.  They also offer 1 free class per week to non-members. It all sounded great to me!

I signed up for the 2 week free-trial and did a few classes in the comfort of my living room.  I couldn’t believe the huge selection of classes!  You can choose classes based on skill level, instructor, and focus.  The videos are high quality and the streaming works perfectly.

I signed up for a year membership and will combine my home practice with my visits to my favourite yoga studio.  For me, it is the perfect combo!  Plus I can take YogaToday.com with me when I am traveling.

If you want to try yoga at home, check out their 2 week free-trial and see how you like it!

To your health,

Kim Duess
You Be Healthy

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