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!)

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 sure as I type 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 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'...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Yoga on the Beach (and a note about Pre-natal yoga)

Melissa Booker of Becalmed Yoga is offering donation-based Sunset Beach Yoga classes Thursdays 5:30pm-~6:45pm June 14th through September on Coronado Beach adjacent to dog beach. Meet at the northwest beach entrance, near the Navy Base (where the fire rings and bathroom are), off Ocean Blvd. We usually practice to the side of the lifeguard tower.

The classes are an eclectic asana (posture) and pranayama (breath work) practice geared toward the beach atmosphere and including poses in the shallow water. Open to all levels that can practice without the need for a wall or props. Bring a towel, a water bottle, clothing layers, and sunscreen.

Why do yoga on the beach? As Melissa says "Because yoga on the beach is amazing… Because your breath is a wave… Because practice outdoors feeds an intrinsic need… Because sun, sand, and water dissolve resistance, ego, boundaries, and level the PLAYING field"

If you are interested in her fantastic Pre-Natal training, please check out the contact information at this link:

Yoga Crafts

Yoga Craft #5 (I'll recap on 1-4 later). What you see are the fixin's for making kid's eye pillows. I picked up inexpensive kids-size socks at a local clearance store for a few dollars for six pairs are perfect for this. Kids can decorate two each and you only need to stuff one (the other is a spare cover if the first gets dirty).

Note: you can always have older kids bring in their own clean sock(s) - toddler size are TOO small.

I picked up two packs of differently colored fabric markers (each $7 at Joannes crafts minus a coupon), handed them to the kids and gave them 20 minutes to get creative. While they worked we talked about "who we are," and "what we are good at," which are two of the three questions we'd discuss in family yoga at the Chopra Center (Saturday is Dharma Day and we discuss these two questions followed by "what is our purpose" but that's a little advanced for four year olds!).

I used foamies letters to mark the initials of the kids on their socks (clever, I know!) and took them home.

Because the sock fabric is an open weave, I needed to have some sort of lining in which to put the eye pillow "guts." I thought about just using some old sheets and sewing rectangles but I didn't have time, though I will try this later this summer and let you know if I survived using my 30-year old sewing machine.

Lo and behold, I had leftover cotton voile pouches in which some crinkle curtains were packaged from Cost Plus. I knew I'd have a use for them sooner or later as I couldn't bear throwing away perfectly good fabric.

I then took inexpensive rice (big bulk package you see at right in the plastic pouch) and put 6 or so cups worth in a big pyrex bowl. Then in I sprinkled 1/4 cup of lavender flowers and 1/4 cup of chamomile flower. I picked mine up from an online store, and it was organic plus a good size package - shop around for your best deal but I recommend organic as these are going to be over kids' eyes. I have some lavender growing in my garden and have been harvesting and home drying the flower stalks so that is always an option. Rosemary will work really well too and that stuff grows like a weed! Just make sure it's dried.

You can also add in flax seed but since it's pricey, I left it out for this simple craft. When making eye pillows for my own classes (that I am not giving away), I'd put in about 1/3 volume flax seed. The seeds hold the heat or cold well if you are going to use the pillow as a thermal pad.

To bump up the scent I sprinkled in about 10 drops of lavender essential oil (with that much rice the scent won't be intense). Then I stirred to distribute the oils and flowers.

Note: I queried the kids first to make sure no one was allergic to lavender or chamomile. One child was, so his pillow insides were made separately, and I used a great essential oil that is called Mind Calm made from lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary.

I put my hand fully into once voile pouch, held open a sock and slid it in to the bottom. I rolled back the necks of both layers, and started spooning in the rice mixture.
I only put in enought to fill below the heel of the sock, and then took out one or two scoops. Holding the neck closed, I place the sock flat and patted it down, making sure it expanded to a nice size and was still flexible, not compacted like a sandbag.

Then out came my (seldom used) hot glue gun. With the outer sock still rolled back, I placed a bead of hot glue inside the neck of the voile bag, then knotted the bag around the glue, pulling it taut. I squirted glue into the folds of the knot and inside the neck of it to ensure that if the kidlets ever got the idea to undo the bag, they wouldn't be able to (saving moms a lot of cleanup).

Then I put the package aside to let the glue cool. Once cooled, I unrolled the sock neck over the bag, and TADA we have homemade eye pillows!

I rolled up their extra socks and stuffed them into the next of the completed one and will be handing them back today at savasana - Can't wait to see them use their new BYOM eye pillows!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Yoga Journal Conference in San Diego, July 12-16

Practicing yoga with a high profile teacher or even at a local studio can start to wear a hole in your pocketbook; this I completely understand. So when great free (or almost free) classes come to my attention, I want to bring them to your attention.

This July, San Diego is host to the big Yoga Journal Conference at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina (near the airport); four days of fabulous training (that do come at a price). However, there is a nice selection of free open-to-all classes and demonstrations throughout that weekend that might tempt you to head down to the city. Please note that parking can be pricey down towards the event location so consider carpooling, biking, or sharing a taxi.

I bit the bullet at signed up for the full weekend conference (but not the Friday/Monday intensives). I also have my favorite special events identified as well (noted below with a "!"). Let me know if you might be at any of the classes - would love to share some practice time with you.

Morning Meditation with Bhava Ram
Deep Yoga Inner Peace meditation with guided visualization, pranayama, and chanting to live music from Bhava Ram.
Open to all.

Happy Hour and Demo with Cameron Shayne
Join Budokon Yoga's creator Cameron Shayne for a demonstration from one of yoga's modern master teachers. Cameron is world-renowned for his ability to defy gravity while transitioning from asana to asana. After his demo, join Cameron for a question-and-answer session regarding the ancient and undeniable relationship between yoga and martial arts.
Wine and light hors d'oeuvres will be served.
Open to all in the Sangha Space in the Yoga Marketplace.

Morning Meditation with Renee Fussner
Open to all.

Community Class with Sheri Colosimo
Power Vinyasa
Ready to sweat? CorePower Yoga is a rigorous yoga class with demanding strength postures that will have you moving, breathing, and sweating! True to its name, CorePower Yoga focuses on building and engaging your core strength to support you in more advanced postures. Come and connect with the San Diego community and learn how a CorePower Yoga class strengthens, balances, detoxifies, and exhilarates the body and mind.
Open to all.
Panel Discussion: Empower Your Practice and Your Life with Tantra Yoga 

Tantra is a multilayered approach to practice aimed at harnessing the energy at the heart of life. Tantric practices help us tune in to and channel the energy of Source, so that it empowers our practice, illuminates the mind, and gives a blissful sweetness to daily life. Join us as four expert teachers—Sally KemptonGary KraftsowSianna Sherman, and Rod Stryker— discuss some of the many intriguing and useful aspects of Tantric philosophy and practice.
Open to All.

Capoeira Demonstration
Capoeira is an electrifying art form that combines Martial Art, Dance, Acrobactics, and Drumming.
Open to all in the Sangha Space in the Yoga Marketplace.

Balance, Spirit, and Aroma: Blending Essential Oils with Yoga
Enhance your practice and create balance in your life through the use of essential oils. Charlynn Avery, aromatherapist and educator for Aura Cacia, is delighted to share an informative and meditative class that joins yoga with aromatherapy. Learn how essential oils can help bring balance to the chakras, the importance of purity and sustainability, and practical recipes to add to your yoga practice. She will also incorporate a guided aroma-meditation for the group. The first 50 people will receive a goody bag filled with Aura Cacia products.
Open to all.

Kids Yoga for Ages 5-10
Children ages 5 through 10 are invited to join in as Shana Meyerson and Terri Rucker of mini yogis yoga for kids lead an engaging practice, incorporating traditional meditation, breath, and asana into a nontraditional and incredibly fun format.
Terri Rucker has been teaching yoga for youth since 2004 and is a certified mini yogis instructor. Terri focuses on new ways to move and breathe with songs, games, the Asana Alphabet, and animal poses. These classes create an excellent opportunity for children of all ages to develop physical awareness, mental focus, relaxation, and patience.
Shana Meyerson founded mini yogis yoga for kids in March 2002. A pioneer in the children’s yoga community, Shana has taught teachers all over the world how to teach children in a fun, safe, and mindful way. Her intuitive and integrative approach to teaching allows her to positively change the lives of both typically developing and special needs children.
Open to all kids ages 5-10.

Create a Life You Love
Lead and organized by Lululemon Athletica. "Goal setting" is a powerful tool, but without a meaningful vision to live into, goals alone can become a checklist at their best, and stale or "hollow" at their worst. Spend some time with us looking into the future in order to set your personal vision; one that is grounded in your passions and unique gifts, gets you excited (maybe even nervous?), and leaves a legacy you love.
Open to all.

Asana Demo by Brent Kessel: Highlights from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Series of Ashtanga
Join Brent Kessel on a tour through the grounding and gravity-defying practice of Ashtanga Yoga. A yogi by dawn and financial planner by day, Brent has dedicated himself to yoga since 1989 and progressed to the fifth series of Ashtanga under Chuck Miller and Pattabhi Jois. We are honored to have him share his practice through this demo with us for the first time.
Open to all in the Sangha Space in the Yoga Marketplace.

Arc of Ascent: An Evening of Kirtan with Dave Stringer
Yoga doesn't ask us to believe; it asks us to inquire and to practice, examining our experience until we can witness the truth in the book of our own heart. The call-and-response form of mantra chanting known as kirtan is a consciousness-transforming practice. The form is simple: a lead group calls out the melodies. The crowd responds, clapping and dancing as the rhythms of tablas, finger cymbals, harmonium, tamboura, electric bass, guitar, and trumpet build and accelerate. The mantras quiet the mind, and the music frees the heart. Ecstasy is both the process and the product.
There will be chairs available. If you'd like to sit on the floor, please bring something to sit on.
$15 for conference attendees
$25 for general public

Morning Meditation with Sally Kempton
Open to all.

Community Class with Alexandria Crow 
Come experience a well-rounded, fun vinyasa flow class focused on detailed alignment leading to some great arm balances, inversions, and backbends. Build knowledge of alignment principles within the Sun Salutations and standing poses that can be applied to more complex poses. Increase awareness of your body's capabilities—and use that knowledge to move your physical practice forward.
Open to all.

The Essence of Yoga: Bringing the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga into Your Practice
Learn how to incorporate the principles of the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga to create success and abundance in your asana practice and your daily life. Through the practice of yoga and applying the principles of nature, you are open to more creative potential, capacity for love and compassion, and ability to find success in all areas of your life. Whether you are a newcomer to yoga or an experienced practitioner, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga is a portal to yoga's deeper spiritual dimension and a beautiful step to a happier, more harmonious, and more abundant life.
Lecture. Open to all.

YogaWorks Teacher Training Info Session with Kori Strobl
Come get a taste of a YogaWorks teacher training! We'll do a brief asana warm-up and then move into YogaWorks’ signature "posture labs," breaking down a pose very specifically so that you develop a deeper understanding of the pose and its proper alignment. You'll get a glimpse into the curriculum of a YogaWorks teacher training and get all your questions about the YogaWorks program answered.
Open to all.

Hindu and Buddhist Deities: The Power of Their Archetypes in Yoga 
Using statues to illustrate, Manoj Chalam will relate the symbolism of Hindu and Buddhist deities to archetypes within us. Through their myths, we'll uncover hidden symbolisms and learn the four ways to work with them as part of a nondualistic Tantric yogic practice. Discover how knowing and working with your archetypes can profoundly shift you, especially during moments of life transitions, and how these ancient teachings have practical relevance to your life, bringing peace of mind and uncovering our underlying common spirit.
Open to all.

Relax with Singing Bowls
Enjoy the blissful relaxation and soothing vibrations of Tibetan bowls played in person by Damien Rose. The bowls can bring a deep, meditative quality to one's yoga practice. His CD Liquid Bells has garnered the respect of several revered yogis and musicians such as Deva Premal and Shiva Rea. You are invited to listen, meditate, or practice yoga. Please join us for as little as 10 minutes or stay for the whole hour.
Open to all.

Closing Savasana with David Swenson
Savasana is much more than a deep sleep: it's an opportunity to let go of fatigue, assimilate the benefits from your yoga practice, and adopt a state of profound meditation. You'll be guided through a simple inward journey designed to show you how to relax, release, and unwind while drinking deep from the internal glow of prana after a weekend of yoga immersion. All levels welcome-including Savasana snorers!
Open to all.

More Donation-Based Classes (closer to 92101)

A wise woman that graduated from the Yoga Well YTT program (where I am currently working on my certification) teaches some terrific classes that are closer to the west side of SD than I am. Her name is Hayley Sher and she's in Italy for the next two weeks (beginning of June), but after that if you're in that area, check her out !

blog and class schedule: