Yoga for non-yoga people, Yoga to relieve stress

5 Reasons to not skip yoga this Super Bowl Sunday

Hey, is there something going on this Sunday. JUST KIDDING. I was born and raised in New England so you can imagine my friends and family “back home” are excited to see their team on the green (again) for the big game. I could take it or leave it, although as a family we usually have a fun dinner and watch at least the first half of the game and the halftime show. This year will be a bit different because I’ll be teaching a Hatha class in the afternoon. I’m a little worried attendance will be low, so I decided to put a list of reasons why we all should make time to get to a class this Sunday.

  1. More Nachos. Or pizza. Or wings. Pick your poison. Beer? Wine? Mountain Dew? Chubby Hubby? Generally you can expect to burn 200-500 calories in an hour of yoga, depending on your size, metabolism, and the type of yoga. According to one calorie calculator, I will burn at least 300 calories practicing this Sunday, and since I’m the teacher, I can plan some extra scorching poses (chair, anyone?) to up the burn. Whatever your caloric vice, making it to class will buy you at least a larger serving.
  2. Personal Space. A standard yoga mat is 24 inches wide and 68 inches long. If you own a deluxe mat, chances are, it is even larger than that. Add space to spread your arms wide, and it doesn’t matter how crowded the studio is that day, you will certainly have more space to yourself in class than you will on your couch when Uncle Leo and your husband’s golfing buddy show up for the game.
  3. Blood Pressure Control. Maybe you’re pulling for the Pats. Maybe you’re rooting for the Rams. Maybe you had to Google which teams are playing Super Bowl LIII (like me!). It could be a nail-biter of a game, or you might be stuck referee-ing the kids while everyone else is glued to the game. Whatever your role may be, science tells us you might be able to lower your blood pressure using tools you use in yoga class.
  4. Feel Good, Look Good. Get your sweat on, meditate a bit, and you know you’re going to feel amazing. Yoga days are good days. Whether you have a date to watch the game, or just imagine Todd Gurley or Tom Brady can see you through the TV, you probably want to feel and look good. Rock those yoga pants!
  5. It’s NOT The Game. Yoga is a reprieve from all the things. From groceries, from laundry, from the subway, from the internet… and from The Game. Football isn’t everyone’s thing. I have to admit I have only ever watched it tongue-in-cheek, though I have family, friends, and a spouse who really dig it. It’s OK to ignore or protest the sport. We all have our reasons, and they are all valid. Come to yoga. Hope to see you there!

Note: not my photo! Found it on Instagram and haven’t located original source.

Advertisements
Pondering, Yoga for non-yoga people, Yoga off the mat

Kids need yoga, but not like you think

This past week, I had the opportunity to teach a fourth-grade Girl Scouts troop about yoga. I received training in teaching children, but it’s not exactly my area. A lot of what I came across in researching “kid’s yoga” was for little kids, not pre-teens. Some websites recommended simple games with little to no asanas. Some books had lists of poses renamed into playful but rather silly names. I was beginning to doubt whether I’d done the right thing by agreeing to teach tweens, even as a one-time gig. I kept hearing my YTT teacher’s voice, “teach what you know.”

I know yoga, and I know tweens. I have a nine year-old daughter myself. It’s a tender period of adolescence. It finally dawned on me that kids need the concepts of yoga as much of not more than the physical activity. Honoring our bodies, honoring differences, breathing and visualization techniques to calm ourselves when stressed, “down time” when we are unplugged and not “working,” be it schoolwork or chores… sharing this with all people (all ages) is why I wanted to teach yoga in the first place!

So I let go of “planning” a sequence for the class and brought my yoga toolkit with me. I had three IKEA bags full of mats (mine and borrowed), blocks, and blankets. I brought my 3D printed moonlamp, as I knew the sun would be setting during the class. And I brought my knowledge of yoga, the yamas and niyamas, the sutras, and my general practice in my head.

When we arrived at our reserved room at the library, Dove helped me arrange the mats and blocks in a circle. As the rest of the girls arrived, I made it a point to connect with each of them. I let their energy and spirits lead me. I answered the question, “Is this a yoga pose?” with “It might be!” at least seven times. I also dispelled the rumor that the moon lamp was a “fortune-telling ball.” Nope. Just a lamp!

We had fun with a few partner poses. I led them through asanas with breath, like cat and cow. We did puppy pose with our tails in the air, then stretched and grew into downward facing dogs. I led them through a short guided meditation (“like a story”) in savasana. They LOVED it. The first thing out of one girl’s mouth after “Namaste” was “Can we do this again?” That particular student used her own money to buy two yoga mats the following day, so she could “teach her mom yoga.”

My goal = achieved.

Now my yoga teacher friends are asking, “Did you like teaching that age group?” YES. I did! “Will you be doing it again?” Yes. I’m not sure who, when, or where, but yes. If you have any leads, let me know!


My yoga teacher said..., My YTT, Yoga for non-yoga people, Yoga on The Farm

You are right where you need to be

When I decided I wanted to teach yoga, I was unsure what that would look like. I knew the population I wanted to reach: “non-yoga people.” People who might not set foot in a yoga studio, or those in recovery, those who need healing.

I am nearly finished with my 200 hour yoga training, and I keep hearing my mentor’s voice in my head: “You are right where you need to be. Always stay true to yourself, because there are people out there that need what you have to offer.”

I have a small group of loyal, dedicated students who have been with me on this journey. These include one who have offered me their land to practice and teach on, one who has pledged to be a student for life and thinks I should open my own studio, and one who admits to not liking group exercise classes at all but loving my yoga classes. They all keep coming back.

My exam to complete my 200 hour yoga teacher training is coming up on October 20, 2018. This has been a voyage unlike any other. I am eternally grateful for my teachers, my peers in training, and my students. I still don’t know exactly what me being a yoga teacher will look like, but I’m pretty sure I am right where I need to be.

About Savasana, Yoga for non-yoga people

More about Savasana

Since I wrote about savasana post savasana yesterday, I was in a place with strong feelings. 24 hours + another yoga class with savasana later, I have a few more thoughts and a major retraction. Today won’t be the day I write it all out because it’s Friday, we’re heading into a busy weekend, and I haven’t organized it all yet. But I’ll say that yesterday’s post About Savasana is now officially going to be the first in an About Savasana series. Tktktk. 

Beginner Yoga, On Aging, Yoga for non-yoga people

When you begin

  
You may not be able to touch your toes. 

You may not be able to breathe in and out without coughing. 

You may be embarrassed. Worried you don’t look right. Your mind may be scattered. You might feel as if you have made a mistake. Like you don’t belong. 

Today in a beginner class there was a man who must have been anything between fifty and seventy years old. He was unable to turn his head left or right without extreme effort. He could not lie flat on his back. He was groaning with almost every pose. 

But, he did amazing! He stuck with it. 

Two things made yoga success for him: he told the teacher it was his first time ever and what his physical limitations were, AND he approached the class with a sense of humor. 

When you begin, it is tempting to blend in with a class. Put your mat as far from the instructor as possible. You might compare yourself to the other students. 

Don’t. Yoga is not a competition. It is not a group activity. It is for you, to improve mobility, to improve your mood, for your body and mind. Yoga is your experience, and a good teacher and sense of humor will result in success for your first or thousandth class. 

Living with intention, Yoga for non-yoga people

Setting my Intentions: Bringing Yoga to Non-Yoga People

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’m OK with that. I’m trying to live in the present, offer what I can to my family and friends, to the universe, and finding peace in who I am. Some days I am more successful than others, and that’s OK too. My yoga mentor says, “Begin where you are.” And I am here. I’m setting my intentions on being who I want to be. I am setting my intentions on willpower, on focus, on love, on peace.

The longer I practice yoga, the more value I see in it as a lifestyle, and I want to help people who would not be drawn to a studio find yoga. I have discovered that I want to bring yoga to non-yoga people. To people suffering with thyroid issues, people battling rheumatoid arthritis, to fellow infertility warriors, addicts in recovery, children fighting socioeconomic oppression, to people who deem themselves too unfit to “do yoga,” to people struggling to keep their A1C down as they stave off or endure type II diabetes… you see where I’m going here.

So I’m writing these intentions down, putting them out to the universe. I’m in no rush, I’m taking it slow. I want to do this right. I’ve got a mentor, the will to do this, and the heart. In time, I will have the willpower and the skills. I’m so excited to be embarking on this journey. Thanks for reading.