As many of you already know, our lovely Edna Barr is off to Bali until July. We are in capable yoga-hands until then, but we'll still miss her terribly.
Edna is the instructor who first introduced me to yoga. I mean, real yoga. Before that, I had done a few classes at 24 Hour, spent most of the time breathing and maaaaaaybe doing a sun salutation or two, but nothing that actually got me to sweat. Or focus. Or take yoga seriously.
Then I came to Edna's class. And in less than ten minutes, she had me sweating and shaking so hard in my low plank that I spent half the class in child's pose. During the last part of class, while we were doing backbends, I was flailing around, fingers grazing my calves, trying to get into camel pose. She came over, grabbed my hips, and said, "You've got plenty of space. Fire it up, Mama."
And then my hands were on my feet. Solidly, soundly, somehow, on my feet.
That's just the first in what turned out to be a long line of moments where Edna got me to do things I didn't realize I could do. All the teachers at Yoga Belly have done this: realized things about their students that we didn't know ourselves. But Edna was my first. As Will would say, after that, I was no longer a "yoga virgin."
It's such a strange feeling!
So, what about you? What's your favorite Edna-moment? Or a time where an instructor got you to do things you didn't think you could do?
"Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot." ~D.H. Lawrence
Happy Passover to everyone around the world celebrating freedom, new life, and the courage to take control of their destinies.
Even if you've never hunted for the afikoman or choked down maror, I invite you to think about all the ways that you are, and are not, free. What is in your way? What can you do about it? What is stopping your loved ones, your state, your country, the world?
What is worth fighting for? What is worth letting go?
When I was little, fidgeting was generally frowned upon, but according to an article in the New York Times yesterday, it might just be good for you.
We've all met people who, no matter how much they reduce their calorie intake, or increase their calorie output, cannot seem to lose weight. And, on the flip side, we all know people who can pretty much eat what they want, and as much as they want of it, and not gain anything. In 1999, Dr. James Levine asked the question we've all asked for years: Why do some people who consume the same amount of food as others gain more weight?
I don't want to give anything away, but the results are fascinating. The answer has to do with sitting, fidgeting, and magic underwear. Go read the article.
"This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don't like something, change it. If you don't like your job, quit. If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop. They will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing, life is simple. All emotions are beautiful. When you eat, appreciate every last bite. Open your mind, arms and heart, to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often. Getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating. Life is short. Live your dream and share your passion."
--The Holstee Manifesto, 2009.
Order the poster here
Edna OWNED us Wednesday nooner's and our creeping, sassy hips. We were practicing dancer's pose, a pose I had always attempted with my torso tilted forward, leg kicked up behind me. I was in good company, too, there were a lot of tipping dancers in class that day.
But Edna would have none of it. She told us to make fists and smash our hips down to keep them square. And we had to do a backbend instead of just kicking up our legs. Which was way, way harder.
If anyone wants the step-by-step guide, here it is on Yoga Journal
It's Thursday. Which means it's almost Friday. And yesterday Asya and I met for happy hour instead of going to Will's class, which I was trying to justify, when I came across this poem by the Indian master-poet, Ghalib. I think he'd understand...
For Tomorrow's Sake, Don't Skimp With Me On Wine Today
Translated by Agha Shahid Ali
For tomorrow's sake, don't skimp with me on wine today.
A stingy portion implies a suspicion of heaven's abundance.
The horse of life is galloping; we'll never know the stopping place.
Our hands are not touching the reins, nor our feet the stirrups.
I keep a certain distance from the reality of things.
It's the same distance between me and utter confusion.
The scene, the one looking, and the ability to see are all the same.
If that is so, why am I confused about what is in front of me?
The greatness of a river depends on its magnificent face.
If we break it into bubbles and drops and waves, we are lost.
She is not free from her ways to increase her beauty.
The mirror she sees is on the inside of her veil.
What we think is obvious is so far beyond our comprehension.
We are still dreaming even when we dream we are awake.
From the smell of my friend's friend I get the smell of my friend.
Listen, Ghalib, you are busy worshiping God's friend.
I don't know about you guys, but sometimes it seems like yoga works just about every muscle I have... except my butt. And when you've got a little junk in the trunk (ahem, as I do), you want to make sure you don't overlook that muscle group too often.
So, in gleeful anticipation of summer, here are some yoga poses that can help tone that region! Enjoy. http://goo.gl/aSG5C
"Who wears short shorts?"
In a few weeks, you bet I will!
Image courtesy of fitsugar.com
It's party time at Yoga Belly!! Come join us for our very first Yoga Belly After Dark event featuring karaoke night for all you kara-yogis. Thousands of songs to choose from: Britney to The Beatles, Madonna to Michael Jackson, Elvis to Eminem!! No experience necessary because at Yoga Belly we're not here to judge, we're here to celebrate and to have a good time. Yoga Belly will provide snacks and song lists, you bring a friend and your drink of choice. Party starts at 6:30pm and goes til 9pm.
Image courtesy of indiaspearl.com
You don't need to tell me: whether it's a crazy day at work, a tiff with my honey, or the 800 loads of laundry piled up in my hallway, it's not unheard of for me to come to class frazzled and winded, sprinting in at the last second, noting the irony of stressing about being late to yoga class. I laugh at myself for being such a 21st century yogi, and wonder if I'd be better off taking a leisurely stroll and smelling the flowers, or reading a book in the park, or taking my precious hour and getting a pedicure. But I always end up craving yoga. Maybe because, after who-knows-how-many-stressful-starts, I have yet to feel worse after an hour on my mat. In fact, so far, I have always felt better. Every. Single. Time.
Sure, it's anecdotal. But now Dr. Amy Weintraub seconds the motion. And she has like, research on the subject. Just about all exercise is good for preventing and relieving depression, but in a recent study at Boston University and Harvard Medical School, yoga was found to be more beneficial than walking. And Dr. Weintraub sees it as a viable alternative to medication in many patients. Read the full article here: http://goo.gl/NP8ed and see a preview of Dr. Weintraub's book here: http://goo.gl/H6VCU