Saturday, December 22, 2012

Family Yoga after Dark - Special Havdalah Event 1/26/13

Oh please do come!!! Only $5 per family. A short end-of-Sabbath Havdalah service (10 minutes at most) followed by 45 wonderful minutes of Family Yoga with special guided meditation/story for the younger ibes during savasana. Hot cocoa and snacks provided. Bring your mat and prepare to have fun. No prior yoga experience needed, nor is being Jewish a requirement -open to all!!

Register here : http://www.tiferethisrael.com/familyyoga/

Health

There is nothing like illness to make you appreciate wellness. Back pain or not when this flu bug passes I will be embracing the ability to practice with renewed (mindful) vigor.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mommy and Me Yoga at Jungle Gym and Cafe

I am pleased and grateful to let you know that I am officially on the schedule at the Jungle Gym and Cafe in El Cajon, teaching Mommy and Me Yoga every other Wednesday morning at 10:15 AM starting January 2, 2013. Classes are free with admission (awesome!) and welcome moms with any age children - infants to elementary school. I welcome prenatal and recent postnatal moms as well (provided your doctor is ok with you doing a gentle practice and you are not experiencing any complications from pregnancy/birth). Contact me with any questions. Mats will be provided if you don't have your own - come move, groove and soothe with your little ones and me!

Teaching at HAPA Yoga Friday 12/21/12 - Yoga Basics

HAPA Yoga

Check out this great new studio in Mission Valley - they run some fantastic multi-class passes, have great drop-in rate discounts for teachers/military, AND CHILD CARE!!!

And, tomorrow morning at 9AM yours truly will be subbing the Yoga Basics class. Come with your beginners mind no matter what your level of experience!

P.S. E-mail me for information about getting a free first class

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mindfulness is the Heart of Yoga -

Thoughtful article on listening to your body, removing ego, being mindful, and above all safe in your practice:

http://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/908

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yoga Wish Clouds - great inexpensive calming tool

I can thank my son for inspiring this texture based experiment - and resurrecting sweet memories of rubbing the fur of a stuffed animal to help sooth me as a child

My usual cuddle animals were on hiatus for preschool yoga this week (had to restuff a handful that I never finished) and so in order to create calming sensory attention focus, I came up with the idea of lavender scented cotton balls. A few drops of organic lavender essential oil into the bag and Voila - a "gift" for the little ones to keep.

During savasana with lullaby music playing, I placed into each child's hand one small "cloud."

I had them lay on their backs, sides or tummies (whatever was comfortable) and in a whispering voice I asked to just pay attention to the cloud, and see how it felt to hold it, maybe rub it on the face or belly, or even hold it to the nose to see what it smelled like.

I then went around and softly gave each child either a foot press, noodle leg treatment or back rub and relished their reactions.

I kid you not this was the quietest quiet time to date with all the children, ages two to five, in classes of seven to fourteen kids.

Once I had touched each child I talked them through a big body stretch and a slow recovery to sitting, still being veeeerrrry quiet.

Then I asked them to place the puff on their forehead and think a happy thought or wish or secret. After that, we placed the puff between our hands in cupped Anjali mudra (palms together) and presented our wishes to out hearts and wished one another namaste.

Final instruction was to take the wish cloud and place it in a pocket to keep and remember whenever they felt sad or mad-to use the soft puff on a hand or cheek to help be calm, or if it was hard to sleep at night.

This can be used as a go-to calming technique in any home at minimal expense - a parent can use a tiny drop of vanilla extract if lavender isn't available.

Note: I would avoid alcohol based perfumes - unless they are singular scents and used in minis Ike quantities. Scent should be very subtle. Also note that some people do not like the texture of "cotton wool" so gauge reactions and use a small piece of velour remnant or other lightweight dry soft fabric.

Experiment and enjoy!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Free Kids Yoga Information - poses and more!

Yoga Kids is a great outfit started by Marsha Wenig and then offer a number of great workshops, seminars, training materials and full kids yoga certifications. I have attended a few of their programs including Tools for School, a Taste of Yoga Kids and Yoga for Teens, plus had two seminars with Ms. Wenig herself at the Midwest YJ Conference in 2010.

If a seminar/conference isn't available in your area (or even if it is), they have a great free service accessible only via e-mail signup, called Pose of the Week.

If you're curious about how to break down yoga for kids, or just want to work with your little one on some poses and come from a place of child-centered understanding, this little e-mail list is more than worth the time to sign up (and would be worth money but they graciously offer it for free!)

http://yogakids.com/about-pose-of-the-week.htm

New Studio In Town - HAPA Yoga

In the spirit of supporting local business, women-owned business, and YOGA businesses, I wanted to let you all know about a lovely new studio in east Mission Valley called HAPA Yoga. One of the best parts of this new studio is that they offer child care all day. HAPA stands in part for HAPPY PARENT and I am part of that group now!

They are running a few specials but the best for trying them out is their(wait for it...wait for it...) FIRST CLASS FREE!!!! If your offspring is with you, pay just $6 to have them entertained by some very sweet staff members that will even change a diaper for you.

Classes offered include warm and hot yoga, vinyasa, pilates, TRX, Yin, prenatal and more - their schedule is FULL and they have two class rooms for practice meaning there is always something good going on. They even have KIDS yoga classes! They have a complete locker room with showers so you don't have to go back to work (or home, or out) sweaty.

I took the TRX training class with the straps and was deliciously sore for days. Today I dropped in to the 80 degree class and followed it with a hour of Yin inspired practice and felt FABULOUS!

There is also a terrific Groupon out now for them that offers $29 for 10 classes, $39 for 10 classes with childcare, or 20 classes for just $52 (new students only). If the Groupon expired before you can grab one, they do have a $20 first week special.

Then, after your first package, you can pick up their awesome unlimited monthly deal for $125 ($145 with childcare) or just a single, five or 10-class pass. They even have a student discount.

Location is in the same strip mall as Tuesday Morning just a few doors down from the new Karma Boutique, and a ubiquitous (but convenient) Starbucks.

Check them out here - their website is fresh, upbeat, and easy to navigate, and they even have a mobile compatible format (bonus!).

Hand Stuffed Kids Eye Pillow Pets just $15 each

These "pets" are great calm creators at the end just about every kids yoga class. These cuddly animals with chenille are made of cotton and have been (unstuffed with their original cotton batting and then) hand stuffed with a personal blend of rice, flax seed, chamomile and lavender flowers and some essential oils.

Place them over the eyes, on the belly or even just lovingly hugged while soft music plays, I find no child can resist the tactile joy of a warm furry friend.

Instead of just keeping them in my secret suitcase of tricks for just MY yoga classes, I decided to start crafting on a larger scale. I'd love to create one of these precious items for your favorite little (or not so little) one for just $15 each; leave me a comment or email jackie(dot)gadd(at)gmail(dot)com I'll contact you with ordering information.

Please note that some do have plastic eyes or buttons, so if these are for someone three or younger, let me know and I'll source one that just has fabric features. Also, though originally a stuffed plush, once they are stuffed with yummy eye pillow innards they are no longer machine washable (spot clean only). The scent from the organic herbs and oils is very mild, but if it dissipates too much over time, you can always refresh with a drop or two of your favorite scent.

Those without plastic parts can be placed in the microwave for a few seconds to warm up for any tummy aches or sore muscles, and all can be placed in the freezer as a super forehead cooler for a fever, or relief on a warm day!

Styles and colors vary but they are all about 10 inches by 4 inches by 4 inches, and weigh between 8 and 10 ounces. They are designed floppy for maximum comfort and "flexibility."

Friday, November 30, 2012

Definition of Joy

When you see your preschool students randomly and each one always asks "Yoga today??????" and breaks out a tree pose.

Friday, November 23, 2012

yoga on catalina...and an exploration meditation

http://www.supersaas.com/schedule/YogaOneLove/Fitness

I am skipping the chance for an asana class to rest and recoup after two very active days of moving meditations - one on foot and on on electro-bike. But here are some of the visual effects that captured my attention

meditation labyrinth outside the botanic garden

Old horse hitching ring at summit of trail

Valley down to the West side coastline, from summit of garden to sky trail

Avalon as seen from mt Ada - socked in with fog

east coast skyline, from airport road

mule deer, dusk, wrigley botanic qgarden

Bison on the road to the airport in the sky

Pet bunny wandering the well-vegetated grounds outside out cottage set into the hill


Sunday, November 18, 2012

class cancelled tuesday 11/20

Due to a schedule and badly needed holiday family vacation class this tuesday at Tifereth Israel will not be held. We will do a makeup class at the end of the 10-week session at the convenience of the reserving students. A new 8-week session will start in January so please consider joining me and the regulars! All levels/ages/abilities welcome-now for pre and post natal too :)

Happy and Mindful Holiday to all -

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Injuries, research, physical therapy, and teaching (and a little rambling)

I have a lot to cover on this post and I apologize for my blog absence. I am struggling with a low back injury (and consequential pain all the way up my spine) and how to modify my physical yoga practice and teaching to keep me healthy and continue to do what I love... teach.

I have been under the care of two physical therapists that were treating different problems but with similar therapies. One expressed that I had some SI joint issues, and had me doing some nifty exercises to strengthen the core and stabilize the SI joint (hips). She also advised to forgo vinyasa-style yoga as the SI joint problems are MOBILITY issues... the dysfunction was happening when I moved (from neutral or extension to flexion). Hence, not doing fast forward folds was the way to go.  

One exercise worked the outer hip flexor (abductor) of the dysfunctional side well, and another worked, alternately, the adductors (inner thighs) and then abductors (outer). The interesting part her is that when I first did the inner thigh work, I felt a small but releasing pop in my pubic area, which was the pubic symphasis (the joint at the front of the pelvis where the two halves meet, created your public "bone") realigning.  

A few others were meant to help strengthen the core but required twisting on my back with legs bent. At first this was a good exercise, and made me feel capable. But now, six weeks later, any twisting is out of the question. The problem has increased rather than decreased, perhaps in part to my resistance to 'slow down' and in part my carelessness in doing exercerbating tasks like putting Eli into his car seat, bending forward to reach into the fridge or laundry, or even turning the wrong way in the shower to wash (no joke).  

I went to the HMO-based PT and was working on the strict diagnosis from the radiologist of spondylolysis (a defect or break in the pars or one of the bony processes along the side of a vertabrae) and grade 1 spondylisthesis (shifting of position of the affected vertabrae). These symptoms can exist in someone and they might NEVER know it. Pain is one indicator of a problem, that could mean some nerve (and there are many radiating here) is being irritated. Another indicator would be weakness in the lower limbs, bowel/UT issues, backache, numbness, etc. Ever since I moved to CA I have had discomfort in my low back that I thought was just a chronic issue that was alleviated with regular yoga and chiropractic visits.  

But now I'm coming to think that THAT was the first indication that something was amiss with my L5-S1 joint (the connection between the lowest lumbar vertabrae and upper sacral one). And then more recently, when extending my spine deeply in up-dog (urdvha muka savanasana) or even warrior 1 (virabhadrasana 1) I would get this sudden and disconcerting weakness in my legs.  

In any event, this summer I went to an SI joint workshop, and while trying to get deep into a twist, something popped. Maybe it was the last straw, or maybe it just took me to a place so deep (with incorrect pelvic positioning) that I FINALLY felt the defect in all it's irritating glory.  

Note: If you have SI or low back issues, when twisting, it is recommended to LET THE HIPS MOVE WITH THE SPINE..in other words, DO NOT fix the hips and try to twist the spine away from them. That lumbar/sacral area only allows 5 degrees of axial rotation, so forcing it can punish the SI joint, making it flex rather than stabilize, and/or overtax the thoracic and other lumbar vertabral joints, creating more problems.  

So I have been doing some reading about the spine, and trying so hard to NOT further compromise my life line during my practice and teaching. It's so important for me to be a good example of yoga, which would include demonstrating poses accurately...and yet I cease to follow my own advice when I take chances with my own health and stability by overdoing it. I need to continue to develop my teaching skills to create a learning environment where I can TALK to what needs to be done, use my hands to help students align properly, and create SPACE for the motion of breath which EXCLUDES putting yourself into postures that cause PAIN. I have to think of myself not so much as a teacher than as a facilitator...one who is ALSO a student that needs to be mindful. Today I am going to see a rheumatologist who I hope will offer me advice on what is really wrong, what I can do to help heal, and maybe an MRI too so I can SEE what is going on.  

I hope that I do not disappoint my students by being restricted in my own movements. I want to offer then a good yogic experience even if I can't throw down with a Parsvottanasana that embodies strength and grace and looks like a page from Yoga Journal. So much of that is letting go of ego, I know, but also from wanting to feel capable, healthy and secure in my own body.  

I know this process is helping me to truly practice yoga off the mat..and that is what makes me a better facilitator because I can exemplify the yogic skills gained that have nothing to do with asana - things like removing dukha (bad space) and filling up with sukha (good space)...like regulating the flows of apana (downward/outward energy) and prana (upward/inward energy), and ultimately, calming the mind to free it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

More About Me

I have been a yoga enthusiast and practitioner for over eight years, and went into the practice to help heal my body during a time physical and emotional illness. For me, practicing and teaching yoga is a lifestyle and lifetime commitment to bring the joy of yoga to every person that I can.

For children my style incorporates music, books, and crafts into yoga-oriented play, where I help them learn how to energize and calm with breath. For adults I utilize an eclectic hatha yoga blend of styles, from Iyengar and Anusara to Restorative and Vinyasa, to exercise the body and help calm the mind. An emphasis on yogic breathing with instruction in pranayama techniques, discussion of pose alignment for best practice, and plenty of time in savasana round out the class experience.

I have accreditation in children’s yoga, am finishing my 200-hour RYT certification from Himalayan tradition-based Yoga Well Center of San Diego, and have a formal certification in prenatal yoga (RPYT). My personal experience with injury and illness have helped me to understand the needs of students that may hesitate to do yoga due to condition, injury, flexibility, or age. Because I firmly believe that yoga is for EVERY body, I strive to design classes to suit all students’ needs, and offer modifications for EVERY ability level.

Whether you are experienced in yoga, or never owned a mat, I welcome you into my class and pledge to provide a yoga experience that will help you be more present, more confident, and more healthy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Yoga at the Allied Gardens SDPL branch

http://www.facebook.com/events/154090101397932/ Please note that they will only be able to accomodate 18 people per class. Class attendance is first come, first served. Join us Wednesday evenings 6:30-7:30 for "Hatha Yoga for Adults." Aryn Rannazzisi leads a gentle paced class combining breath work and postures (asanas) to promote strengh, flexibility and balance. This all-level class will include inversions, backbends and sun salutations. Please bring a mat or large towel and a hand towel or strap to class. *Brought to you by the Friends of the Benjamin Branch Library*

About Yoga

The beauty of yoga is that people come to practice for many reasons – stretching, strengthening, flexibility – but always gain so much more. From the first practice, you can experience energetic, muscular, mental and emotional shifts. Yoga affects these deeper levels because it brings new awareness of the body. It brings breath and consciousness to all the muscles and tissues; from the very beginning you become more in tune with what your body needs on and off the mat.

Everyone can do yoga, no matter what the fitness level, size, shape, or age or ability. I firmly believe and teach that “Yoga is for every body!”

FREE San Diego Library Classes - in partnership with Yoga Vista Studio


Library
FREE Yoga Class
Day/Time
Dates
Encinitas Branch
San Diego County Library 540 Cornish Drive
Encinitas,CA 92024
760-753-7376
Contact - Patricia Williams Encinitas Branch Librarian - 760-634-6453
Toddler Yoga
2012
2nd & 4th Mondays 

Ages 18 mos - 2 yrs
12:30 PM - 12:55 PM
Ages 3 yrs - 4 yrs
1:00 PM - 1:30 PM
2012
May 14
Jun 11 & 25
Jul 9 & 23
No classes in Aug
Sep 10 & 24
Oct 8 & 22
Nov 12 & 26
No classes in Dec
Encinitas Branch
San Diego County Library 540 Cornish Drive
Encinitas,CA 92024
760-753-7376
Contact - Jacqueline Encinitas Branch Librarian - 760-634-6454
Gentle Yoga
Bring a yoga mat and towel.

Bi-Monthly
Thursdays
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
2012 May 10 and 24
Jun 7 and 21
NOTE CHANGE!
Jul 5 (2-3pm) and Jul 23 (3-4pm)
Aug 9 & 23
Sept 13 & 27
Oct 25
Nov 8 (Closed on Nov 22)
Dec 13 & 27 
La Jolla Branch
San Diego Public Library
La Jolla/Riford Library
7555 Draper Ave
La Jolla, CA 92037-4802
858-552-1657
Contact - Laurie - lbailey@sandiego.gov
Baby & Me Yoga - Ages4 weeks to crawling - 10:30-10:55 am
Mommy & Me Yoga - Ages 3-4 yrs - 11:00 - 11:25 am
Fourth Friday of every Month - 10:30 and 11:00


2012
May 25
Jun 22
Jul 27
Aug 24
Sept 28
Oct 26
Nov 30
Dec 21 
2013
Jan 25
Febr 22
Mission Valley Branch
San Diego Public Library
2123 Fenton Parkway
San Diego, CA 92108
(858)573-5007
Kids Yoga
Kids Ages 2-3
Mondays - (1:30 PM - 1:55 PM)
Kids Ages 4-5
Mondays - (2:00 PM - 2:30 PM)
Starting June 2012 - NEW day 1st & 3rd Mondays
2012
May 9 & 23
Jun 4 & 18
Jul 2 & 16
Aug 6 & 20
Sep 17
Oct 1 & 15
Nov 5 & 19
Dec 3 & 17 
2013
Jan 7
Feb 4
Mar 4 and 18
Pacific Beach Branch
San Diego Public Library
4275 Cass St
San Diego, CA92109-4005
(858) 581-9934
Contact -Michelle -clarkm@sandiego.gov
Toddler Yoga - Ages 18mos - 5 yrs

1st & 3d Thursdays of every month
11:00 am-11:25 Yoga for babies crawling to 24 months (5 minute break)
11:30-11:55 Yoga for ages 2-4
2012 - 
Oct 4 & 18 - 11:15-11:45
Nov 1 & 15 - Double classes! Dec 6 & 20 - Double classes!

Rancho Penasquitos Branch
San Diego Public Library
13330 Salmon River Road
San Diego, CA 92129-2641
(858) 538-8159
Contact: Mr. Lucero - (858)538-8159
Hatha Yoga
Fridays from 1:00 - 2:00 pm

2012
Every Friday
San Marcos Branch
San Diego Public Library
2 Civic Center Drive
San Marco, CA 92069
(760) 891-3100
Contact: Margo Smart
Yoga Classes 

2012
Teen Yoga - Wed, Nov 7 - 5:30-6:30
Baby & Me Yoga - Tues, Nov 27 - 11am

Vista Branch
San Diego County Library
700 Eucalyptus Ave
Vista, CA 92084
(760) 643-5100
Chair Yoga
2008 - Won a National Award for Innovative Library Programs – Food for Thought
Bi-Monthly - Thursdays 11-12:00 PM
Opposite ThursdaysChair Yoga at the Yoga Vista Studio
2012
Jun 14 & 28
Jul 12 & 26
Aug 9, 23 & 30
Sep 13 & 27
Oct 11 & 25
Nov 8, 29 (No class on Nov 22)
Dec 13 & 27
2012
Jun 7 & 21
Jul 5 & 19
Aug 2 & 16
Sep 6 & 20
Oct 4
Oct 19 (Friday) Nov 1 & 15 Dec 6 & 20


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Organic Kids Clothing - lovely brand SPEESEES closing shop

Since I like to tout great deals and things that are good for you, especially when it pertains to your children, and promote small business, I thought I'd let you know about a terrific sale at a shop called "speesees" that is closing it's doors so the proprietor can move on to exciting new adventures.

I received a gift card from this place when Eli was born and the sweet graphics, organic fabrics and affordable prices quickly made it a favorite to window shop as well as actually buy.


I'm on their site right now trying to resist the impulse to stock up for every potential baby boy and girl that I might befriend in the future....

If you need a holiday or birthday (or no special occasion) gift, I highly recommend checking out the site. You can read about the owner's journey here http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/215756/f2aabf78a9/ARCHIVE#like.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm crafting a post about yoga for your back (aka how not to hurt yourself!) to be posted soon, and also wanted to remind you that I'm teaching every Monday night at FitzeeFoods (free!) and every Tuesday night at Tifereth Israel ($12/drop in) - both classes are open and designed for EVERY BODY!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

free yoga Monday Wednesday Thursday at #FitzeeFoods

I know I post about free yoga around town but I must remind y'all that fitzee has a great free class schedule - check out fitzeefoods.com fit detail, but I know they added Thursday nights in addition ti Monday and Wednesday and the have some special noon and Saturday classes as well! While you're there pick up a great wrap, salad, or a var for a quickie snack!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hapa Yoga -First Class Free

A new local studio Hapa yoga offers the first class free to all new students. This Thursday from 2-3 pm YogaWell teacher/mentor/ SHELBY LAFRINERE, E-RYT is teaching a Recovery class (think yin/restorative/gentle)... check out www.hapayoga.com for details!!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To flow or not to flow? Tips for better alignment

Whenever I attend a vinyasa style class where there is (more or less) continuous dance-like movement, resonant music, lilting vocal instructions of a master teacher filtering through the spaces between the students like the tide on a pebbled beach, I almost always get caught up in the flow.

And therin lies the problem. When it's all about the flow, I find, that something gets lost. Of course, yoga is not a static practice, as each posture (asana, or 'way of being') can be constantly tweaked, adjusted, enhanced and explored. A prescribed way of warming up the body is via the movement of Suryanamaskara, which translates to the words Sun Salute. If we start to (absent-mindedly) flow from one (complex) move to another without taking into consideration alignment, and properly controlling our movements with the appropriately activated muscles we cause ourselves injuries both subtle and gross.

Ever watch a professional ballerina lifting a leg to vertical, slowly and deliberately, and think "wow, how can they do that?" Notice how they are not "flinging" a leg into the air. Even if the move is swift, it's not careless; it's a controlled, whole-body activity coordinating balance, strength, muscle memory, timing, patience, and some nature-given ability.

Yet how often in a yoga class will (you) move from forward fold to anjaneyasana (lunge) by throwing a leg back then use momentum to flair the arms up and end up curving the lumbar spine without engaging the abs and obliques and lifting out of the torso, then dropping the arms down, flinging the other leg back (or worse yet throwing it like pendulum up into the air for a forced one-legged plank), locking the elbows then falling down chaturanga dandasana (lowered plank), and finally with a grunt push yourself back into down-dog, overarching the low back, pulling the shoulders out of the sockets, and straining the neck?

I realize I went on at length above, but perhaps you recognize even one flow-error you commit at any time. I know I have.

When the alignment of at the very least the foundation (the feet, or when they are on the ground, the hands) is compromised for the sake of speed (or inexperience, or exhaustion, or ego), these moves can have any number of negative results, from simple "bad habit reinforcement" to joint problems. Knee injuries, back injuries, neck injuries, wrist injuries....I hear people complain about these all the time and try very hard to reinforce PROPER form for both asana and movement between them.

A teacher worth their weight will, esp. upon seeing a student commit one of these 'errors,' take the time to instruct how to prevent injury. If you find yourself hurting in a pose or especially AFTER class having joint issues, talk to the instructor ahead of time and get some modifications and try to be more mindful of how you are moving.

A few tips for a healthier downward dog:
  • Make sure your feet are not too close (or too far) away from your hands. Try a couple different positions and see what works. When "flowing" you often don't think about this but perhaps your stance is too far...or too narrow. Take your time to adjust as you need; there is no perfect flow and feet and hands glued to one position for all asana is not realistic or healthyl.
  • Keep the humerous bones (upper arm bones) in the shoulder socket by engagins the muscles around the shoulder. Don't try to separate the arms from the torso to get more length. The shoulder muscles have to open...work slowly to 'melt' the heart down through the shoulders with the shoulder blades staying on the back AND moving down towards the hips, not towards the ears.
  • Roll the triceps (muscle on the underside of the upper arm) under and in towards you face. If you hyperextend your elbows (they bend past the 180 degree mark when you arms is straight) maintain a SLIGHT microbend in the elbow and be very aware of engaging all muscles in your arm.
  • Press your fingertips in the ground as if you are pushing your hand down on a gas pedal - this keeps the arm muscles engaged. This also prevents some wear and tear on your wrists, which should not be bearing all the weight of your upper body.
  • Push back with your arms - you should not look like you are in a hunched plank pose. You're trying to get towards an inverted V with hips high (or even a lower slope from wrists to tail, then tail to heels). Push the mat away from you a LOT.
  • Don't tilt your sit bones up at the expense of your low back; your hamstrings have to open to get those moving back so bend your knees for a while first. Check in a mirror or have someone watch you; if your low back is scooping so that you have a big arch above your hips, engage your core front and back muscles to even this out and make a long line from your shoulders to your tail. Try to internally rotate your inner thighs as if you were pushing a block or tennis ball behind you (and up)
  • If the upper back is arching, knit the muscles of the front ribs together to bring the ribcage in line.
  • Release the neck. Allow the gaze to be down, and back towards your feet, perhaps even "up" toward your belly.
  • If you hyperextend the knees (they bend obliquely backwards) do not lock them out even if your heels reach the ground. Again, microbend them and keep the quads (upper legs) engaged.
  • Imagine the body is rolling over the large upper bones of the legs (femur)...the hip sockets sliding around and over the top of the ball of this joing. Again, the hamstrings have to open, so bend the knees. Try to lift the toes (toward your face).
  • BREATHE!
I'll add more posts specficially about these types of adjustments and awareness as it comes up, esp. in classes.

Free Yoga at Mission Valley Library, Tuesdays 6-7pm

You heard me right ;) Taught by Anne Joseph and assisted by YogaWell YTTs...tonight, specifically, ME!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rock the Vinyasa - free yoga class this AM in Liberty Station

Sorry about the last minute post but if you're following this blog then come on down to Liberty Station at NTC park across from Ace Hardware for a free fabulous class with master teacher Jen Peters: http://www.facebook.com/#!/events/428188667228007/

Monday, September 10, 2012

September October Fitzee Schedule - and Calendar Update

Just wanted to put this in it's own post: I"m guest teaching at Fitzee Foods in Liberty Station, Point Loma on the following days:
Wed. 9/5
Monday 9/10
Wednesday 9/19 CHANGE OF DATE
Monday 9/24 CHANGE OF DATE
Monday 10/1
Monday 10/8
Monday 10/15
Monday 10/22

I'm working on a way to display my teaching calendar schedule on a link here... hang tight and let me know if you have any questions.

UPDATE: My schedule via Google Calendar is avaiable at the bottom of each blog page - YAY!

Short Term Mat Bag Offer - just $3 from YouSwoop

Unpaid Product Endorsement: Just wanted you to know if you were looking for a really good bargain on a mat bag, there is a limited supply available here from one of those fun "deals via email" companies called YouSwoop.

https://www.youswoop.com/Deal/13131/-3-yoga-mat-backpack/True

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Yoga Birthday Party - How To!

Last weekend I was the keynote entertainment at the birthday party of a young lady who was turning six. She and six of her friends were treated, on a VERY warm Sunday afternoon to two hours of yoga and yoga -oriented crafts that I'll detail here.

NOTE: Feel free to use my ideas...or of course, bring B'yomYoga to YOUR next kids event (or adults for that matter). Crafts can be creating custom-scented lotions like below, felt lotuses (one i can't wait to try), pipe-cleaner creations, yog-art (foam door hangers, picture frames, visors etc.), or we can even come up with something even more unique. Pricing varies according to the craft but in general a party of 10 kids for 2 hours would run about $200 (I bring the mats and all yoga tools including craft items).

Advanced prep for lotion craft

Purchased the lotion tubes with caps and apothecary bottles with dropper lids from a company in LA for a decent price well in advance).

Bought large bottles of unscented, non-animal tested lotion (this time it was St. Ives brand) and filled each of the lotion bottles about 2/3 full (while using the spillage to REALLY moisturize my arms and legs LOL).

Selected 15 different essential oils, perfumes, oil blends, etc. from my personal stock. Using perfume base  I bought from Body Time in Berkeley http://www.bodytime.com/ (though I think witch hazel might suffice) I filled the apothecary bottles most of the way full, then added two to three droppers full of any one of the oils/perfumes to provide a good dilute product. It was infinitely easier to add this to the oils rather than allow young ones to try to shake out droplets or accidently overpour a strong essential oil.

Day of event

With mats, stuffed animal eye pillows, Hoberman Sphere, kids playlist on my ipod and craft gear in tow, I headed off to the party site.

The hostess mom cleared a living room space for us and had a table set up and ready to go when I arrived.

I started by handing out the lotion bottles and a bag of foam letter stickers and asking each girl to find her initial then place them somewhere on the bottle (but not on the cap) so we could easily identify them later on.

I then passed around a handful of the dropper bottles and we talked about what each smelled like, what colors did they make us think of, what did they remind us of, etc.  To keep things simple I chose just a few I thought would be appealing to six-year olds, and also  passed around a small cup of coffee beans to cleanse their nasal palates in between scents. Some of their cute comments:
  • Sweet Orange: "fruity" "sweet"
  • Eucalyptus: "minty" "strong" "trees"
  • Holiday (a blend from ?): "cookies" "spicy" "perfume"
  • Dewberry (a scent from The Body Shop): "fruity", "a really really nice perfume on someone"
  • Amber: (an oil blend I've had for years that I picked up at Whole Foods): everyone agreed this was "green and soapy clean" smelling
With a former party of 10 year olds I allowed them to carefully drop in their own scents, cautioning that more than 2 droppers were made the scent TOO strong. With 4-6 year olds, this task was best left to defter hands so I asked them one by one to hand me their bottles and let me know what scent or scents they liked. Most chose the Sweet Orange, some mixed that with the Amber, and on really wanted the Holiday. They were all so excited I couldn't help but smile as they kept opening and closing their bottle caps sniffing eagerly.

Then we gathered into a circle in the living room, held our bottles tight, and SHOOK THEM UP ALL OVER THE PLACE - over our heads, between our knees, to the left, to the right, in circles... ...this was our yoga warm up to get the wiggles out after they sat for 20 minutes discussing perfumes!

After this we put the lotions aside, and brought out the mats. I arranged the multiple colors of mats in a star patter, the inner edges of the mat overlapping due to space constraints and told the girls to choose a spot but not to worry about where they were because we were going to move around. A few protests about colors and neighbors but eventually we settled in, and took seat.

Hoberman Sphere Breathing Exercises
I started with the pranayama exercises, showing them how to do the in-thru-your-nose-out-thru-your-nose yogic breath, and then used the "breathing ball" aka Hoberman Sphere to demonstrate how the lungs inflate then deflate. They were completely absorbed in the lesson, and with quiet attentiveness they even took my suggestions to try to move the body very little, just the lungs, cultivating awareness of our breath while limited physical movement. Each girl then had a chance to lead the class in a few rounds of breathing, opening and closing the ball all on her own, while singing (if she so chose) the breathing chant. Most took me up on the offer, some just wanted to use the ball, and other politely passed altogether.

After our nice warm up we moved on to making "yoga birthday cake," an activity with spine exercises that engages the kids creativity as they come up with ingredients to mix into the "bowl" (legs in wide baddhakonasana). The best part is asking them to balance on their seats while holding their feat and moving them in circles like they are blending with a mixer, and of course showing them how to "lick the spatula" by bringing their foot close to their heads!

After we put the cake in the "oven" (we get back to the metaphor later) I introduced them to the FIVE WARRIOR PRINCESSES. Working slowly and showing them the basic body positioning I walked them through:
  • Virabhadrasana 1: Princess #1 who faces forward ready to meet challenges strongly
  • Virabhadrasana 2: Princess #2 who faces sideways like a surfer, guiding the others and ready to share love
  • Virabhadrasana 3: Princess #3 who can fly above all looking for those that need peace
  • Reverse Warrior: Princess #4 who raises her front arm as if holding a glorious trophy, proud of her accomplishments:
  • Humble Warrior: Princess #5 who knows to acknowledge the gifts of others, is proud of her self but not boastful, and thanks others for their help.
We reviewed each on on the left and right sides of our bodies, and even tried some modifications like trying it on our knees or even on our bellies (for a fun version of V3). Then each girl got to pick her favorite and describe how it made her feel, then we'd all do that pose with her. The choices were varied, with two really liking the humble version because it gave them "a really good stretch" in the arms, and some liked V2 because we would do surfer arms and lean into the circle, then out of the circle like riding waves.

All throughout, whenever they complained of being too hot I would whip out my handy eucalyptus scented water in a spray bottle and mist it over the willing yoginis (taking special note to ask them to close their eyes so it wouldn't sting). This has been a FAVORITE part of all my kids yoga classes this summer. I just filled a 12 oz. bottle with filtered water, put in 10 drops of eucalyptus oil (and a few of orange too I think), shook and give them a gentle spritz! We also took plenty of water breaks.

One girl, younger than the rest, asked if it was okay if she sat out (I believe she was overwhelmed with the activity) and though she didn't physically participate, she sad quietly and watched the entire class (and even enjoyed the misting spray!).

Once the princesses (imaginary and literal) were exercised, we sat back down and "DING" the "cake" was done. A few quick abdominal exercises to pretend to pull the racks out of the oven with our feet, and then we shared the cake on our own belly picnic tables (Reverse table tap). I worked up a sweat crab-walking around the room sharing my cake with the group!

Savahhhhhhsana!

And finally, as one little girl kept asking (when is the rest time?), we worked our way towards savasana. I handed out my special rice/flax/lavender/chamomile stuffed animals and asked the girls to lay down as quietly as they could, resting their eyes and their legs and their hands. I read a a quick relaxation excerpt from a kids yoga book, and noticing they were fidgety, wrapped up quickly. Back to seated pose we went, then a sweet Namaste and it was back to our craft. The girls were sweet enough to help me roll up the mats (albeit less tidily than I needed to fit it all back into my suitcase but still, the effort was heartfelt and heartily acknowledged)

On the table I had placed two portioned plates of sea creature foam stickers, glitter square stickers, metallic butterfly and ice cream stickers, foam letters, paint pens, glitter glue pens, puffy paints and glitter paint. And some very special crystal stickers in the shape of (of course) princess crowns, hearts, and more.

My only request was that they didn't use more than 2 of the crystal stickers so that there were enough to go around. I also advised them on techniques for holding their bottles to ensure they didn't end up smearing the paint or simply covering their fingers in glitter! Other than that, their job was to just be creative and decorate their bottle in any way they wanted! They all did such a good job, deftly applying the stickers and paints and glues to create personal works of art. They were very excited to have their OWN lotion too!
The yoga entertainment portion of the party complete, the girls settled in to sing Happy Birthday, inhale some homemade chocolate cupcakes courtesy of the hosting mom, and on to the best part (for the guest of honor): OPENING PRESENTS. She did holler a quick "LOVE YOU" over the din of squeals and oohs and ahhs as I walked out the door, and I left with a smile on my face (and sweat on my brow), and love in my heart.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Introduction to Yoga (classes)

If you're new to yoga I highly recommend setting yourself up with a good introductory or basics class at a local studio. For less than $20 you can dramatically affect your competency and learning curve with an instructor that knows how to teach the basics and helps you create a solid foundation for yoga.

Your BEST option of course would be to schedule a private lesson (or two or three) with a recommended instructor to REALLY get your feet wet properly as well as start understanding the prescriptive ability - in other words, create a practice that is personal and theraputic for you, just you.

A centrally located studio, Ginseng Yoga, offers monthly introduction to yoga classes on the first Saturday of each month (first class if free) from 12-1 pm. They also have a number of "beginner" classes during the week that can be a welcome refresher even if you've practiced yoga for a while: Monday at 4:30pm is Yoga Basics, Tuesday at 6pm is Fundamentals, and Saturday at 11:30am their signature style, Deep Yoga. Check it out: http://ginsengsandiego.com/newtoyoga.php.

Another studio this time in downtown Cortez Hill, The Little Yoga Studio, holds special Absolute Beginner's Workshops a few times year. For $25 you get a two-hour session with studio owner Maria Camacho that breaks it all down for you, making yoga that much more approachable, enjoyable and fulfilling. Upcoming workshops are scheduled for September 9, 2012, March 10, 2013 and April 21, 2013 from 1-3pm. http://www.thelittleyogastudiosd.com/events.html

Of course you can always join me at Fitzee Foods this September and October (schedule here) for free community yoga for everyone. I have an eclectic style in which I tend to break down each pose into it's different mechanical components to help you better understand what goes where and why, and I offer modifications for all levels, from beginner on up. They have classes 7-8pm every Monday and Wednesday, and I'll be guest teaching the following days:  9/5, 9/10, 9/17, 9/26, 10/1, 1/8, 10/15 and 10/22

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Yoga for Hope

City of Hope has a phenomenal event called Yoga for Hope this Saturday August 11 at the Bayfront Hilton, 8 am to 12 pm.

http://nationalevents.cityofhope.org/site/TR?fr_id=1580&pg=entry

I wish I could attend -if you go comment here and let me know how it was!!!

In celebration I'm pleased to promote that all community class donations at The Little Yoga Studio (http://thelittleyogastudiosd.com/)
this week will be routed to this amazing organization. Wonderfulness!!

Rainy morning suburban gurus

Today was my first official teaching class at the Northbrook Yoga Center (NbYC) and I was presented with two terrific students: a woman and her 12-year old son.

I asked them about their yoga experience, and the sweet mom said, almost apologetically, that her practice had been erratic but she had been doing yoga for many years. When I presented the question to the boy, inquiring as to what he liked, or wanted to work on, and he shyly offered (and with zero flippancy) "whatever works today." The mom added that he had spent most of the previous summer practicing yoga to videos. This took me by joyful surprise.

I wanted to create a class that challenged the preteen, but not overwhelm him, and yet still be a class at a level that would (could) engage his mom. I wanted to open up the ideas of really noticing the intrinsic parts of your body doing yoga rather than just getting to any specific posture like a test of physical strength or acrobatics.

So on this rainy day, I found myself working with their positive, deliberate, and amazingly calm energy, and guided the three of us through grounding, heart-opening, calming, and core-strenghtening postures. The room was wonderfully warm and we were able to do long pose holds with controlled transitions, and generate ample heat for sweat while still keeping our breathing even.

The young man not only followed along gracefully, but had a focus and attention parallel to, equal with, and an honest mirror of his mother. It was again surprising, and motivating, and inspiring at all once. When someone speaks the adage "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" it's often in negative context, but in this case, it is surely a compliment wide and sincere.

Their peace with the practice - as a male and a female, a mom and a son, a young person and an older -brought to me a sense of gratitude that I hope I was able to appropriately express to them both.  Today Namaste is a thanking of these unexpected gurus...any of those that help you to shine your own light a little brighter.

(I look forward to another chance to practice with them!)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

8/9 Class at Northbrook Yoga Center (Northbrook. IL)

The Northbrook Yoga Center has invited me to teach this Thursday 8/9 in their 10:45 slot. I am SO EXCITED!

I first visited this studio in April when I came in town for 7 days and went in 5 times in that short week! I loved the variety of class, the quantity (a VERY full schedule...wow) and the locale (a bit over a mile walk from my parents' house). I'm back in my hometown (Chicago) this summer for three weeks and signed up for a 14-class series to continue my yogic journey. They have Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin, Kundalini and even Family yoga - a great variety for a small studio.

NBYC does a monthly donation based class and I asked them if they would be into the idea of having me come teach now that I'm nearing the end of my 200 hour taining, so that I could raise a little more money for MS.

The stars aligned and they said YES. I'm on for this Thursday morning and gratefully Nana and Papa will watch the little bunny Eli whilst I partake! I have my basic eclectic Hatha style in which I sprinkle pieces of pranayama, Vinyasa for warmup, some Kundalini for energy building, iyengar to bring consciousness to alignment, and even  some Yin before savasana so I hope the NBYC regulars enjoy!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sacroiliac Joint - what to do when this hurts

Here are a couple of articles based on information from Judith Lasater (from whom I took a seminar at the most recent YJ Conference on just this issue).

It's not always intuitive on how to prevent or care for SI injuries or pain in yoga, In fact often we'll hear gross adjustment cues like "Tuck the Tailbone" but this isn't always the best instruction. Examine your own practice and explore this information - see if it assists in relieving (or preventing further exacerbation of) pain in this sensitive locale.

http://www.yogajournal.com/health/562
http://www.bayoga.org/2006/01/mysterious-sacroiliac-joint-judith.html
http://thejoyofyoga.blogspot.com/2010/03/yoga-for-sacroiliac-si-joint-pain.html

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Last day to get awesome special class pricing at the Little Yoga Studio

Maria Camacho's sweet practice spot The Little Yoga Studio at 8th and Beech downtown (corner of Cortez Hill) is updating their class pricing and today is the last day to pick up a package at the "old" rates of $15 for drop-in (and better rates for packages).  The new rates increase drop-ins by a dollar. Check their website for more info.

They also have an auto-pay promo that gives you unlimited yoga for two months at $85/month (AWESOME DEAL) (requires 4 month commitment).

Also, though I am thoroughly committed to the YogaWell.com teacher training program, TLYS does have it's own YTT intenstive. Check their website for info.

50% off mats at YogaAccessories.com

I really like the variety of stuff at this "little" site and they run some great BoGo and % off deals as well. Need a new mat? This is the place to try one!

http://www.yogaaccessories.com/?gclid=CNvq-7nqxLECFUkbQgodDgIAPA

Free Yoga at the SD Museum of Art

http://thehookup.flavorpill.com/artofyoga2012_sd_landing/

Cultural groove site Flavorpill is hooking up with Naked Juice to present the Art of Yoga at the gorgeous San Diego Museum of Art on Wednesday, August 8th, and they'd love for you to join them.

RSVP for your spot at the event, which features instructor Katie Brauer, a live DJ set by Mental Physix, and free Naked® Pure Coconut Water. The first 100 event entrants score a free yoga mat, but they promise that everyone will leave reinvigorated, replenished, and refreshed. Doors open at 6pm, class starts at 6:30pm.

Page asks for a promo code but I don't know about one - so try to sign up anyway :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What's your favorite yoga class (or, moving slow doesn't come easy so I tried it)

Why? Now, what is your least favorite yoga class? Why?

I have been told and am slowing learning this: that things which you find most difficult or not desirable might be what you should explore! Trying to embrace this lesson, I brought to my yoga class this morning the ideas of moving slowly, cultivating a place of quiet, of silence...a meditative space...and one infused with non-judgement.

I am not a power vinyasa girl, but i do like to move, to challenge myself, and keep my mind busy. So practicing meditation does not come naturally for me...and therefore all the more reason to 'talk myself through it' as part of an experiment in Community Yoga this morning.

We started with a discussion of OM - what it means, what it is...what you can do with it, and what it can do for you. From there we moved to chanting OM - and new yoga people being shy, of course, i was the sole voice resonating the AUM sound - and I was happy to share my sound with the group and help them experience it.

And then, pranayama - practicing extending breath counts, evening the inhale and exhale, slowing them down consciously, and really really really going within. I found myself incredibly wrapped up in the explanation and the experience, taking my breath to a resonant cadence in an effort to embody and exemplify it for the group. And they returned the favor by emanating a wonderful sense of serenity, of being "in the moment," of trusting the experience! It was wonderful.

We started our asana practice with moving the spine in 6 directions, deep and slow, concentrating on the breath, and the range of motion of our bodies - not trying to force into a picture of a pose, but just going with what our bodies and breath were comfortable.

A little more breath work (breath of fire) while doing a low navasana (boat pose) to build some heat, then up slowly for some standing poses. We did some very slow transitions into balance poses...again, savoring the experience of it by letting the breath guide us - paying attention to which parts of our bodies we automatically allowed to become inactive and encouraging them to join the pose.

Deep Yin-style lunges helped open our hips, and then we worked our hamstrings in intense side-stretch (pyramid or parsvottanasana). From there we alternated chair pose to forward folds.

Back at the ground we sunk deeply into a savasana, communing with nature. The challenge was to be able to allow the thoughts to disperse with all the sensory distractions of being outside. We concluded savasana with a quick reading from the chapter on Pure Potentiality from Chopra's "Seven Spiritual Laws" book, and then returned to lengthening our breath counts to awaken us from our rest. 

I always like to invite comments about the experience of the class - to help me hone my teaching skills but also create and atmosphere of openness, of equality, of discourse... hearing that people were enjoying the process of noticing new things in their bodies, and even finding themselves able to really slow down and ENJOY a slow class made me feel...aglow!

So teaching this class was a particular challenge for me, working on suspending unnecessary humor, being very mindful of each soul in attendance, keeping the rhythm steady, but slow, and concentrating on the moment to moment experience rather than worrying and rushing from vinyasa to vinyasa. i found myself loving this experience more than I ever would have expected, and I gratefully thank those that came to share it with me!

Namaste!

Jackie

Friday, July 20, 2012

Yoga Consumerism - where I tell you about stuff that I like and/or wish I could own

After prowling the Yoga Journal Marketplace many times last weekend I have finally decided to sit down and sent out some positive vibe on products that I either bought or wanted to buy (but didn't have the budget) or just though were really cool and wanted to get the word out.

The complete list of vendors is here: http://www.yjevents.com/sd/marketplace.php

Companies I would be remiss to not mention first and foremost:
Things I purchased and want to proudly tout:
  • BackJoy - ergonomic seats to help restore your lumbar curve, take pressure off your spine and assist healthy posture. I bought TWO - one for me and one for my dad! 
  • Aura Cacia - I bought a bevvy of essential oil blends AND some pure cocoa butter (amazing - amazing - amazing) from this group and have been using them daily on myself and Eli ! Will be using grapefruit oil in my kids spritzer bottle next week in class - they should LOVE it! Oh, they did give me a mat spray and a box of aromatherapy recipe cards...so generous! 
  • Sustain Community Acupuncture
  • Got my first formal ayurvedic analysis and am going back for the full monty (so to speak) next week. Am so curious about which dosha is dominant (can you say Vata Pitta) and which ones are out of whack (can you say Vatta Pitta). 
  • BAL YOGA FOR KIDS - their DVD with sing-along CD and book is a wonderful addition to my personal and professional library! Going to break it out for Eli this weekend when I need to clean the house. It can also serve as a great last minute yoga class when the teacher is out, or before rest time at preschool. Features REAL KIDS. Sylvia and Glenda are women with extensive teaching experience and truly believe, as I do, in the power of yoga for children. 
Samples I received, LOVED and wanted to pimp:
  • YogaPaws LLC - I received a sample set of the hand and foot 'paws' about 2 years ago at an NGY/Chopra Center family class. They are a terrific replacement for a travel mat. And now they are IMPROVED so that they fit better, the sticky material on the palms and feet allows better traction and the finger and toe dividers are more comfy. Check them out! 
  • Organic Valley - who now has 100% grass fed milk. I am usually quite lactose intolerant (that darn lactose!) but a few samples of this delicious, creamy, sweet, delicious (yes, used that adjective twice!) elixir had my taste buds singing and NO ill effects on my belly! The 2% even had little bits of cream still in it - HEAVEN! 
  • NRGmatrix - a great nutritive drink mix that I would love to use daily - had a vanilla/orange flavor, sweetened with stevia (yay) and vitamin rich! Will be bringing this to the attention of the MS society to see if we can get a sponsorhip or gift-in-kind arrangement! 
  • Pure Inventions - This was pure tea heaven for my mouth - and their product poster were gorgeous! I almost spent the farm on these little bottles of delish elixir but held back - I have to use all the potions I already have before i indulge in new ones! Concentrates with antioxidants, no caffeine, pure fruit flavors and all the good stuff you want in a water additive without the sugar, cloying flavors or artificial chemicals. 
  • Manduka - awesome mats (though pricey)...received a free sample of mat spray and it's so yummy - just about finished off the bottle from last year!  I also somehow landed a manduka/lululemon PRO mat last year at the Midwest Conference and it is a coveting and prized practice possession. i was suppose to go online and give my feedback but I wasn't able to find the right link then -so I'll tell you here: two sided mat, one slippery-er but absorbent and the other quite sticky...very heavy (like 7 lbs) but super well padded and a great feel on your hands and feet...makes you feel like a yoga PRO! Funky smell when first unpacking that dissipated within weeks. Not sure I'd pay the 60-80 bucks retail for it but it was a really really really really nice gift (and appreciated because i only had one of those cheap flimsy easily torn foam ones with me at the time).
And now, things I thought were totally cool, but didn't (couldn't afford to) buy, but promised vendors I'd promote:
  • Infinity Strap - unique strap design to eliminate fumbling with clasps, D-rings or the dreaded - too long/too short syndrome. Figure 8 design comes in a couple of different materials and size to assist in strengthening and aligning your poses. Great idea, IMHO. 
  • Kosha - totally cool mat covers that are like little sleeping bags with detachable carrying bags. Keeps your mat clean (you wash the COVER not the mat). Lovely woman named Ashley was charming and upbeat and talked about how she and her twin sister Alysha put their heart and soul into creating this cool yoga 'gadget.' And the graphic design work is adorable (she did give me a spiffy carry bag made from leftover cover materials that is my new favorite for farmer's markets...so in all truth it's not a TOTALLY unpaid product endorsement) 
  • High Chi - Energy infused jewelry - okay I was skeptical but i did try their electromagnetic energized plate gadget and it totally made my badly sprained toe feel a HEAP better. And their stuff is GORGEOUS. And I really did feel a weird radiant warmth emanating from the stones - I kid you not. A bit pricey for my wallet but I coveted with my eyes! 
  • sukhasana - the coolest looking chair for your 'office' ever - one day...one day... 
  • KiraGrace - yoga clothes that were truly stylish and different, without being overboard frilly, skimpy, homogeneous or "there is no way i can do a handstand in that sensationalized training bra." The fabrics were substantial, and styles were well crafted. The selection showed a variety of fits that would work for the well endowed (yay) as well as the leaner of frame. I've run into issues trying to find yoga clothes that fit, support, move, breath, wash well, and last... Everyone has their own favorite brands but I find some companies WAY to expensive, or  other products too cheaply  made. Or if I love a particular style of top or bottom, the next season it's GONE. The conference was lululemon infused (don't get me wrong, their stuff is nice and the company is community supportive), but it was nice to see a smaller company coming out of the gate - I hope they do well. 
In other local news:
From YogaKids, who was (were?) not at the conference but from whom I receive emails regularly AND have from whom I have taken a number of workshops: Ms. Carolyn Clarke has just published her first kid's relaxation book. Carolyn has a sweet style that translates to her book - check it out: http://www.imaginationsforkids.com/book/

Thoughtful video about the benefits of yoga

https://fbcdn-video-a.akamaihd.net/cfs-ak-ash4/v/609101/202/3900381502244_31134.mp4?oh=c162c37b7feeae08e1f3a489359071d4&oe=50099220&__gda__=1342804512_89e567bf60d917804da086fc85077724

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The 5 Benefits of Yoga

The 5 Benefits of Yoga (full credit to the Hippie Yogini at YogaAccessories.com)

http://www.yogaaccessories.com/Yoga-Benefits-articles_ep_158.html

Yoga has been around for centuries and not until recently has yoga become wildly popular and one would even say trendy. People who practice yoga regularly are often in fabulous shape which seems to be what has caused the trend. Yoga is so much more than that! Yoga is an ancient practice that connects the mind, body, and spirit through breath, meditation, and body poses. There are so many health benefits connected to practicing yoga and here are our top five.
  • Body Awareness Practicing yoga will help you gain an increased awareness of your own temple which is your body. You will become aware of how strong you are! This will increase how comfortable you are in your own skin leading to more self-confidence.
  • Stress Reduction Yoga emphasizes living in the present taking focus away from the stresses in your life. The meditation aspect of yoga helps to reduce stress.
  • Increased Energy When you start to get into better shape from doing yoga, you will notice that you have a lot more energy in and out of class.
  • Memory When you improve the blood circulation to the brain and improve your focus the direct result is a better memory.
  • Body Strength With yoga you will learn how to develop a strong inner core which will result in better posture and overall body strength. A strong core is very important to prevent injuries.
There are so many amazing yoga classes, props and accessories available today making yoga much more accessible to everyone. Now let's get practicing!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Community Yoga at TLYS 7/11 through 9/19

From The Little Yoga Studio, downtown at Ash and 8th:

"We welcome our Spring Teacher Training Graduates Lisa Allen, Sarah Grote, Dorothy Guthrie, Yee Ree Kim, Kara Thayer and Ana Velez! Starting this Wednesday July 11, these inspiring new teachers will join our Fall Graduates teaching the $5 community classes offered also on Fridays at 9:30 am and 6:45 pm. This Wednesday class will be on the schedule from July 11 through September 19. We will suspend this class during our Fall 200-hr Teacher Training program."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More Free Classes - Lululemon downtown, Bliss Yogi and more

Lululemon features The Little Yoga Studio
Every Saturday in July, a teacher/student from The Little Yoga Studio will lead a free class at the Lululemon at 675 G Street at 9:30 AM. I have personnally have practiced at TLYS and adore their owner Maria C. who couldn't be nicer. Her business has really taken off and it's great the Lululemon is giving them a chance to shine!

Schedule:
July 7 - Shauna MacKay* ( $10 donation for City of Hope)
July 14 - Sarah Lieber
July 21 - Melissa Bagnell
July 28 - Sarah Layne

Satsang: Yamas and Niyamas at Bliss Yogi
Monday July 30, 7:15pm-8:45pm
Golden Hill Recreation Center Community Center Clubhouse

Thousands of years old, the Yamas and Niyamas are two basic principles of yoga. Together they offer a code of how to live. We'll be reading an article on the Yamas and Niyamas and discuss the practicality of implementation and practice of them in our daily lives. Open to everyOne. Donations greatly appreciated.














Monday, June 25, 2012

Yoga Education Society - GREAT RESOURCE

I highly encourage anyone and everyone interested in San Diego yoga classes to add themselves to the mailing list for the Yoga Education Society. Their intention is to connect and grow the San Diego yoga community. A volunteer/non-profit group, they are a great resource for students and teachers alike. A membership costs only $25 and gets you discounts for workshops (AND the big YJ conference here this month) as well as listings in their directories if you're a teacher. Highly Recommend (like like like!)

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=fmu7quhab&v=001xE0bk2lrgCrTzBggGxabIoYaNuBk2RCsJPscKCNDBdoIQ1rk7P-VTFuSCp9Cfy-nLwgviyThw3vV-SMQ3rWKz0SX_8fA9q6glO8KcvQjALNVYsIGG_exBe-Cp5wVMzW7A4q957NA8mxnYQ-jYjoTcw%3D%3D

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tantrums and Deep Breaths, or "How I Barely Passed The Toddler Test"

The other day my 2 year, 9 month old boy had what I have written about on Facebook and reported to friends as an EPIC tantrum.

We met a friend in Old Town for some nice walking around time, hoping the boys would find the big park and shops interesting, and then we'd eat some quesadillas and enjoy some music and dancing.

Eli however had different plans. From the moment I picked him up from school he had his emotional "gain" turned to 99% and his volume matching. Ever red light elicited a "I wanna GO mommy!" from him, and every attempt I made to converse or sing was met with a screaming "NO!"

We met our friends at the transit station where we watched trolleys and Coaster trains stop and start. Undaunted, Eli (who usually LOVES to just watch them) insisted that he wanted to see OTHER trains. We walked the length of the station then finally convinced him that we were going to have FUN walking in the park.

He wanted to walk down the transit station stairs, versus simply crossing the street to the park and decided THIS was as vital as breathing. Every attempt I made to talk to him, to get him to take a deep breath, to relax, to reason with him was met with a "BUT MOMMY NOOOOO I WANT TO GO THAT WAY!"

Finally we made our way to the park. As we meandered left, Eli decided he wanted to wander right. We'd go right, then he'd run across the grass left. My friend's sweet young boy placidly watched Eli winding up for what would turn out to be the mother of all fits, and I tried to calmly reason (HA) with him, also trying to NOT be embarrassed that I had this emotional firework of a child on this particular day (which of course implied I was a horrible permissive and negligent parent).

We found the toy store in the mercado and I had to convince Eli that it was something he'd want to see. He did fairly well sharing the small train display toys they had set up, and after 15 minutes we decided it was time to (he was getting more ornery so I thought he MUST be hungry).

The shop worker was on board with our cues, telling the boys to park the trains in the shed so they could sleep, and that the store was going to close.

And then....as sure as I type this...it began. I saw it happening. Eli's body was leaving, but his mind was not going to let it go. He stomped NO, hung on the door jamb, and then starting the HOWLING. We didn't get 10 feet out the door when the screaming NO NO NO NO began. I spoke calmly to him, trying to redirect the negative energy saying we were going to get a quesadilla (one of his favorites) with our friends, and milk or juice, at the restaurant. But "NO I WANT TO GO TO THE THOMAS STORE" was all he could say. Over and over and over.

I had him park his but on (near) a park bench, and told him we needed to talk a few deep breaths. I was proud of myself for just keeping it cool and steady. Normally this works, but not today. The tears were flowing, the nose was running, the drool was ..um...drooling and he was not to be soothed. I thought maybe I would just model deep breaths and he'd catch on. More "NO!" and now the piercing screams. Old Town tourists were a mix of laughing, staring, ignoring, and in one case VIDEO-TAPING (WTF?) the scene. The Mexican dancers and music distracted him for a moment, and then he continued.

I said "Eli, if you stop crying we can stay and play with your friend. If you don't we have to leave." Eli said "NO NONONONON I WANT....(train store, thomas, etc.). I looked helplessly at my friend and her bewildered son, and said "We have to go." She nodded in understanding.

I picked up Eli and thankfully he was no longer thrashing (so I didn't have to worry about dropping him.Strangely enough he was okay with being carried, but the screaming NO and piercing animal-like screams kept coming, all through the park, out the pathway in, down the transit stairs, through the tunnel where the busker was busking (I mouthed "Sorry" as we walked by...), up the stairs, across the station, into the far parking lot and all the way to the car. His tune had changed to "I WANT TO SEE MY FRIEND" rather than "TRAINS" so he did at least understand the basic situation.

I opened the car door as he continued as his face was wet, red, and still scrunched in anger, and then he SPIT. Poorly, towards the car, and all over himself, but still, he SPIT. Twice. I was mad, but then I laughed when I saw the spittle all over his face. I told him, "Ok, now when we get home you have to get in your jammas and go to bed. We do not spit and we talked about the screaming already. You know why we left."

No attempt at deep breathing helped him but I said "Well I"M going to take some to make ME feel better." And they did. (for everything except the pain in my bladder because I had to go the whole time he was throwing his fit and carrying his 30+ pounds a couple of blocks didn't help).

I snapped him into his car seat and somehow through the screaming was able to find my way out of the parking lot and back onto the freeway (after texting my friend I"M SO SORRY).

Now he asked for his comfort - a drink (milk, juice, water, etc.). And I had NOTHING to offer him (was going to fill up his cup at the restaurant). I calmly said "Honey, we don't have anything in the car but as SOON as we get home you can have milk." Something clicked, because then he started to repeat "Mommy, when I get home I can have my milk?" He stuck with THAT phrase and alternated it with "Mommy, tomorrow I can see my friend?"...

My concern at this point was so much more about his obsessive screaming and repetition of phrases than being embarrassed or angry. In fact, I wasn't angry at all - I just felt BAD he worked himself up SO much and was SO insistent on staying mad that there was NOTHING I could do.

Once we got home, I gave him a glass of milk (chocolate soy), which is DOWNED in short order, and a pile of pretzels, which he practically inhaled. (hunger was part of the cause, no doubt).

I said "when you are done with your snack we are going to talk" to which he responded "No, no talk." I laughed and said "OH YES."

Which we did. And surprisingly, when I asked him "Do you know why we left the park" he said "I was screaming"...that alone gave me back my hope that behind the fury was still my sweet boy. We chatted more, recapping the events and trying to take a positive spin, and the night went on. He actually had a HORRIBLE night sleeping (up every 2 hours to drink another glass of "milk") but on Tuesday my easy going kid was BACK.

At the very least, I maintained a calm demeanor and did NOT get angry at him - I had a yoga moment of severe empathy for the frustrated toddler (in all of us) and somehow, somehow, it all came back to 'normal'...