Dear Body…

Dear Body…

I was just about to write a facebook status that would be something like this: Dear Body, I love you…but…stop doing blah blah blah – whatever is annoying me right now – blah blah blah. Instead, I stopped myself, and headed over here to write this simple blog post/message to my body. Dear Body, I love you....
Gratitude

Gratitude

Ah Thanksgiving…whether it’s an occasion to spend time with family and friends or just an excuse to eat your weight in stuffing, this holiday is a great opportunity to cultivate gratitude. We should probably be cultivating gratitude all the time, but it doesn’t hurt to have a reminder.  I know I have a lot to be thankful for, and I’m guessing you do too.  As a yoga teacher though, I would like to add one more thing to your list. This Thanksgiving, I invite you to take a moment to be thankful to your body.  Your body as it is today. Not how it was, not how it will be, but your body in its current form.  Whatever feelings you may have toward your body – I’m asking you to put them aside, at least for this one day, and be grateful.   Grateful that you are alive.  That you breathe, that you move, that you love.  Give thanks to your body: a support, a trusted friend – that carries you through life every single day. Your body isn’t perfect – what does that even mean?  Nothing is perfect – and I’m not sure that perfection is even something we should strive for.  I’m not perfect, but my body doesn’t reject me because of it.  How can I, then, reject my body for not meeting some unattainable and likely meaningless measure? Thanksgiving Day Short Meditation and Yoga Practice: Sit in a comfortable position for around 5 minutes (longer if you like).  As you inhale repeat to yourself, “I support my body.” As you exhale, repeat “I am grateful to...
Tips for yoga teachers working with students of size

Tips for yoga teachers working with students of size

Since I am wrapping up my last plus size series today, I thought it was worth posting some tips and ideas for the yoga teachers who are hopefully inheriting my students for the time being. Here’s the thing – you don’t need to be a larger yoga teacher to teacher larger-bodied students.  None of my yoga teachers have been anything but thin (which is a whole ‘nother issue but not one for this post) and yet here I am, a large-bodied devoted yoga student of 10 years and a yoga teacher. I find the idea that you can only teach people who’ve had the same experience as you perplexing.  I have no trouble teaching smaller students.  And yet, when I signed on to teach the plus size series, I was told (conspiratorially, I might add) that the last teacher was…shhhhh…skinny.  That’s why, they explained, the class failed. I think it’s more than clear that while the teacher’s thinness might have been an issue, it couldn’t have been the sole reason for the non-success of the class.  I do think that having experience with the issues the your students are facing is helpful, but not necessary, to being a good teacher.  In the end it comes down to understanding and respect.  My yoga teachers successfully taught me because while they didn’t necessarily relate to my experience, they respected it.  They trusted me enough to know when I said I wasn’t going to do something, there was a reason.  They knew when to gently push me to re-evaluate my perceptions, but didn’t insult my intelligence in the process. I do think some teachers...
Rock you like a hurricane

Rock you like a hurricane

Stay safe, east coasters!  I’ll be hunkered down with the boyfriend and the cats for the duration. The worst thing for me during these storms is cabin fever.  I get this insane urge to go outside (usually for coffee) at really inappropriate times.  This time, when that happens, I’m going to do some yoga and see if that helps get rid of any excess nervous energy. If you have power, there are tons of resources out there to help you practice at home.  Podcasts are great and there are tons of free ones available.  Google free yoga podcast and enjoy.  You can also check out sites like yogavibes.com, myyogaonline.com or yogaglo.com if you prefer having video.  I find that even if I don’t exactly follow the podcast (you can’t make me, ha!) that it helps having a guide. This is also a great time to develop your own home practice.  You can check out my own home practice round up or any of the Sequence Wednesday posts for inspiration.  If you are a list person (hi! great club, right?) then make a list of your favorite poses so you have a reminder handy in the moment.  A home practice does not have to look like a class and if you want to hang out in supta badakonasa the whole time, no one is stopping you! If your power goes out, light some candles and try meditating or practicing in your yoga mood lighting.  If you are cold because your heat is electric, try my tips for staying warm and if you are panicky, try some restorative poses to calm...
Bummer

Bummer

If you saw or check out my post What’s in a name? you know that enrollment in my “plus size” yoga class series is down…The yoga director and I came up with some ideas to try to market the class but, unfortunately, the owners of the studio didn’t go for it.  Sadly that means that the studio is replacing my class with a Yin Yoga class. While I have nothing against Yin Yoga – I think it’s a great practice, though not one I do or teach – it’s nothing like what I was offering.   I think it’s a real shame that there is one less studio and one less class offering a class for those who don’t feel comfortable in general classes, but still want an active practice. In the wise words of my students: bummer.  Yeah… Honestly, I’m not so upset to lose a class – I know there will be other opportunities for me, but I do feel as though I’ve failed my students and the demographic the class served.  Though I understand the studio needs to make money, I’m sad that they gave up on the class so easily, without trying to market it more aggressively.  And most of all, I’m wondering what the barriers are to getting students in these classes and how to break them down. *I’m not discounting my own culpability here – my teaching might just suck.  Or maybe I didn’t offer what students wanted.  But for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that I was a decent teacher and that students liked the class (I have no reason...
Keeping warm

Keeping warm

Hi Everyone, I wanted to let you know that I have not dropped off the face of the earth!  More awesome yoga hacks, sequences and goodies are coming your way once we get some more photos taken and I get a little more organized. In the meantime, if you live in the northern hemisphere location that has seasons, you may have noticed that it’s getting colder!  I love the advent of sweaters, blankets and extra snuggles with my sweetie and cats, but I do seem to always underestimate how cold it is outside or in my office, when blankets and snuggles are unavailable.  Luckily, there are a few yoga tricks I can employ to help keep myself warm.  Yoga is very good at regulating various body systems including temperature. 1. Ujjayi breathing. Ujjayi (victorious in Sanskrit) breath is used in vigorous practices like astanga vinyasa yoga to build heat.   Though I’m not a fan of excessive heat in my own yoga practice, I will employ the method if I need to keep warm!  It works well and fast – and you can do it almost anywhere.  You talk deep inhales and exhales through your nose, making a sound like the ocean (or Darth Vader if you prefer).  The sound is created though a slight constriction in the back of the throat.  You can breathe out through your mouth at first to get the hang of the sound, but eventually you want breathe in and out of the nose exclusively. 2. Backbends Backbends tend to be heating poses and can help get your blood flowing and keep you warm in...