Happy Hump-asana Day: Anjaneyasana / Low Lunge

Let’s not waste any time today, dear readers!

In the spirit of tight hamstrings [but really because I’m selfish and have been doing this pose every day], today’s Hump-asana pose is Anjaneyasana or Low Lunge.

Photo Credit: Yoga Journal

Now you might be wondering how this pose targets hamstrings at all. Well, it doesn’t [but it does]. See, as Sage Rountree explains, if you find yourself constantly struggling with tight hamstrings, it might not be your hamstrings at all – it might actually be your hip flexors. Instead of butchering the science behind why tight hip flexors cause that tight hamstring feeling [but really because I’m busy!], check out Sage’s comprehensive explanation here.

If you’re comfortable in low lunge and and ONLY if you feel it won’t compromise your knee, try this: Lunge in front of a wall so that you face away from it. Bend your rear knee and scootch [only the most technical of terms here at VY!] your rear leg back towards the wall, so that your knee is bent and your shin can rest against the wall.* Breathe into the hip flexor and quad of the rear leg. Read: 2-for1!

*Fold your mat or use a blanket under your rear knee for extra padding and support.

Feel the relief!

Happy Hump-asana Day, fellow yogis! Get your minds out of the gutter – Hump-asana Day, traditionally known as Wednesday or “Hump Day” in lamens/working-folk tongue, is a mid-week yogi treat. Hump-asana Day features a snippet of a pose worth spending some time exploring. And since they’re ALL worth exploring, we’ll never run out of poses for Hump-asana Day – rejoice!

Toxic Topic[als]

So you’re a vogue yogini – the “vogue” suggesting your penchant for all things fashionable and the “yogini” suggesting your ability to forsake most of those things. You bring last season’s clothes to a thrift store and donate well-worn items. You’ve pared down your closet and learned to live on less [less stilettos but more stretchy pants, that is]. At posh soirees you stick to sparkling water [ok, or maybe just a glass of pinot] and vegetarian lettuce wraps. You refuse the most decadent of treats during the holidays because you know the havoc that attractive red velvet cake will wreak on your insides, nevermind your bum. You buy a new vacuum cleaner with an EPA filter. You feel pretty clean, pretty “green,” and pretty non-toxic. Then, after a long day of green juice, asana, avoiding the sale at Nordstrom, and scrubbing your kitchen with some P & G Seventh Generation cleanser while chanting the mantra for purification, you get home and lather the highly-toxic Retinyl Palmitate into your largest organ – your skin. What? How? Who?  Me? That’s right – you. Have you heard of Pond’s Time Rewind Overnight Wrinkle Repair Cream? Givenchy No Surgetics Wrinkle Defy Correcting Cream? Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer Tinted Moisturizer? Laura Mercier Oil-Free Gel Cleanser?

Each of the products mentioned above are rated a 9 out of 10 in toxicity by the Environmental Working Group. And each product mentioned, along with 418 others, contain Retinyl Palmitate, a “known human reproductive toxicant,” and low doses of the ingredient have caused tumors in lab rats [and they test on animals – not awesome either]. That’s right, the chick at the Laura Mercier counter took your $35 and gave you a bottle of poison advertised as facial cleanser. Specifically, the product advertisement is as follows:

Laura Mercier Oil-Free Gel Cleanser is an oil-free gel containing coconut and oat cleansing agents that gently removes oil and impurities.

  • Marine derived exfoliants remove dead skin cells to help minimize the appearance of pores
  • Allantoin calms & soothes skin
  • Panthenol lightly moisturizes & Vitamins A & E protect the skin against free radicals
  • Avoid contact with the eyes

[Avoid contact with the eyes? Red flag!]

Nowhere does the product advertise its dangers [shocking].

Now, I am by no means a chemical or product expert [I barely passed science in college, after all] but I am a fan of not ingesting poison. Continue reading “Toxic Topic[als]”

The Ultimate Practice

Do you:

  • Think you have a stellar practice?
  • Spout off inspirational quotes about “right” living?
  • Laugh in the face of nay-sayers, your soul and psyche unmoved by outside forces?
  • Call the yamas your b*atches?

Well, how about testing out your practice?

Want to?

Yeah?

Ok . . .

Let’s do it.

But first, say hello to my little friend.

. . .

Photo Credit: city-data.com

[shrieks!]

[the hooooooorror!]

Enter Pete the palmetto bug. Rampant in the great state of Florida, these little guys – because nasty bugs are always male – rear their hideous heads tentacles anywhere and everywhere, especially in the summer months. You can clean incessantly, spray regularly [a poison which is welcome if it rids the house of critters], get a cat and/or dachshund [thanks for the suggestion, Elizabeth!], all to no avail. You will see one at some point. And he will run across your living room/kitchen/bathroom, taunting you and reminding you that living in the tropics does have its downsides.

I ran into this unpleasant house guest in the shower the other day. I gasped and dared not to move an inch lest I frighten him, spark him to scurry and lose sight of the bugger, only to discover his presence at a later date. Like, in my wine glass [aaaaand I just threw up a little bit in my mouth].

So what was a yogini to do? Why, beckon The Big Guy, of course! Continue reading “The Ultimate Practice”

Happy Hump-asana Day: Malasana / Garland Pose

Since there never seems to be enough time in the day, I’m a real fan of time-saving tricks and finding extra help anywhere I can, especially when it comes to house chores [although I think I just need to hire Rosie]…

[now that’s my kind of housework!]

If I have downtime at work, I make outlines for articles, grocery lists, to-dos. I chat on the phone during commutes (hands-free, of course) and use wait time at appointments to delve into my latest reads. When I’m stuck at home waiting for Stanley Steamer [hypothetically, though, because I don’t have carpets], I throw in an extra load of laundry. While incessant multi-tasking can be unhealthy for the most part, the fit-little-things-in-here-and-there works for me.

Recently, I’ve incorporated the philosophy into my practice and into my teaching. The other day, I had a [fairly obvious] revelation in the middle of standing forward fold: let gravity do some work! I said something like, “get a little help from your friend gravity here” – a cheesy attempt to pay homage to The WonderYears’ theme song and also a subconscious regurgitation of something my teacher has said. It was like Sir Isaac Newton stood before me revealing this awesome force I knew about but hadn’t articulated before [it was Newton, right?]. While you’re there in forward fold, use gravity to your advantage! Continue reading “Happy Hump-asana Day: Malasana / Garland Pose”

Happy (Tardy) Hump-asana Day: Breathe

Dear Hump-asana Day gods: Forgive me for doing your day a disservice and not even posting a Hump-asana.

It’s not like I forgot about you.

[promise]

And who says we can’t celebrate Hump-asana day on Thursday? Consider us fashionably late yogi socialites [and the fabulous are never on time, right?].

I knew you’d agree . . .

So let’s get down to business. As many wise teachers say, as long as you’re breathing, you’re doing yoga. As long as you’re present and cultivating awareness in your body, you’re doing yoga. So, today’s Hump-asana pose is not a physical pose at all, rather, today I ask you to engage in a mental, intention-based posture.

Today’s hump-asana: Breathe. It’s that simple.

Breathe through everything you do today. Whether on your mat, sitting in traffic, balancing your checkbook, or waiting in line for a latte – BREATHE. Pay attention to your breath. Listen to it. Be present. Be where you are. And smile – because you’re alive. The ultimate gift. The greatest blessing. You are alive and breathing. Celebrate! Toast to your life using your breath.

And as you breathe today, consider this: Continue reading “Happy (Tardy) Hump-asana Day: Breathe”

Plight of the RYT [Rookie Yoga Teacher] – Part I

My teaching schedule just went from 0 – 60 in 4.2 seconds [which even beats out the Maserati I have in my make believe life. Whoa].

Photo Credit: WheelsandMore

[Vroom]

Last week was insanity and also every new teacher’s dream. I took on a new class [enthusiasm beyond verbal expression permits] and also had the opportunity to sub a few classes for an injured teacher who also happens to be a good friend yoga sister. Throw in a request for a future private session and I was stoked. Then it hit me: I was teaching SIX classes in one week in addition to working. Anxiety set in. The “omg-how-will-I-handle-it-all-I’m-not-ready-for-this-but-I-am-so-ready-for-this” complex began. Was my body ready to teach so many classes in one week? When would I have my own practice? When would I plan my classes? When would I EAT?! [oh, the horror!].

The good news: I survived. The bad news: I realized that I am completely insane and also self-centered. That, or, perhaps experiencing the yoga teacher’s rite of passage. Only time will tell.

Following is a chronicle of the Plight of the R.Y.T. (Rookie Yoga Teacher), Week One:

Monday: Preparation day. Very enthusiastic. Practice, errands, mental pumping-up. Set alarm clock for day ahead. Sheer joy!

Tuesday: Alarm clock snafu. Wake 20 minutes before early-morning class. Yelling and cursing [very un-yoga-like] and general disgust towards self. No time to pack lunch. No time for bathroom coffee. Class #1: They are not jumping for joy at 6:50 a.m. They must hate me. I am not as good as the regular teacher. I didn’t challenge and/or nurture them enough. My hair looks stupid. Continue reading “Plight of the RYT [Rookie Yoga Teacher] – Part I”

Happy Hump-asana Day: Sukhasana / Easy Seated Pose

Happy Hump-asana Day, friends!

Yesterday was sheer madness: I taught at 7am, practiced at 9:30am, worked, then taught again at 6:30pm. WHEW! Today I’m practically running out the door again but couldn’t exit without leaving you with a Hump-asana [woot!].

Inspired by Spoiled Yogi‘s interview with Jody Greene, a San Francisco-based teacher, who said that one of his favorite poses is sukhasana because

When I practice, I set an intention to take care of my body so I can sit in peace. I practice from that place.

Sitting in peace – something we often forget to do while flowing through our practice and broadening our acro-yoga repertoire. So, today’s Hump-asana practice is Sukhasana or Easy Pose. Note: Just because it’s called “easy pose” and looks like this…

Photocredit: Yoga Journal

…doesn’t mean it’s easy! In fact, Sukhasana can be very challenging.

Find fantastic step-by-step instructions here.

Then, Scroll back up and read SY’s interview. It’s great. Srsly. Past that, have a beautiful, yoga-filled day and breathe!

P.S. My mantra today is BREATHE. What’s yours?

. . .

Happy Hump-asana Day, fellow yogis! Get your minds out of the gutter – Hump-asana Day, traditionally known as Wednesday or “Hump Day” in lamens/working-folk tongue, is a mid-week yogi treat. Hump-asana Day features a snippet of a pose worth spending some time exploring. And since they’re ALL worth exploring, we’ll never run out of poses for Hump-asana Day – rejoice!

Do What You Love to Do… [A Quote]

Do what you love to do, and do it so well that those who come to see you do it will bring others to watch you do it again and again.

— Mark Victor Hansen

This quote makes me smile – and also makes me think of my teacher and all of the wonderful teachers I’ve encountered on this path who do what they do so well, each in their own rite. And to all reading this, do what you love to do and do it like you have no other choice. Share your gifts and talents – share that thing that makes you “you.” Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire others without even realizing it! ♥

Happy Hump-asana Day: Supine Groin Stretch [Doesn’t that Sound Enticing?]

Happy Hump-asana Day, friends!

I’ve been a bit off the radar this week and will continue to be for the next few days thanks to some big life changes [I quit my big girl job, ‘member?]. Add a drastic schedule change, a few more teaching gigs, a visit from mom [she’ll be here tonight!], a magazine launch party, and a freakin’ partridge in a pear tree…

Photocredit: Cane News

…and I’m spent.

[Btw, does that partridge look a little trapped? À la Kate-Chopin-caged-bird-style? Not really a feel-good holiday image.]

Anyhoodle, here we are at Hump-asana Day with one of my most recent favorite postures: supine groin stretch (-asana?) [Sure, why not].

If you have super tight hips and/or inner groin, this baby’s for you. Luckily, it’s pretty simple:

  1. Lie on your back, shoulders away from the neck, legs outstretched in front of you, and pull your right knee into your chest.
  2. Breathe into the opening of the left groin and front body.

Stay right there if you want to, like so:

Aaaaaaaaah.....release.

This might be enough for you. If so, just stay here and breathe.

However, if you want to go a bit deeper, Continue reading “Happy Hump-asana Day: Supine Groin Stretch [Doesn’t that Sound Enticing?]”