Yoga Belly Blog

Committed to delivering the 𝖌𝖓𝖆𝖗𝖑𝖎𝖊𝖘𝖙 yoga experience.


Monday Manifesto: Joy

April 16, 2012 / Aaron


10 Questions with Mary Lynn Fitton

April 12, 2012 / Aaron

YB Family,

Do you ever look at someone and know in your heart that that person helped shape the course of your life? When I think of Mary Lynn Fitton and look at my life today I see the influence of her lifestyle and her character on my existence. We are definitely not the same person, I detox to retox and Mary Lynn lives her life in service to her family and her community. (I’m more than 99% sure that this is not how Mary Lynn views her life knowing her, but it’s my pedestal and I have placed her there so it’s my version of the story). Mary Lynn introduced me to Yoga and Meditation and the concept of building a daily practice of kindness for others. I wasn’t where I am now in my life and didn’t have much of a viewpoint outside of my own wants and desires at the time. I’ve always been the kind of person that was good to my friends but at that time in my life if you weren’t a friend then I would most likely turn my razor sharp wit on you at any given moment. There was much more going on in my life than just attending yoga classes at the time and I didn’t get into a regular practice until a little later but this year of my life that we shared help set me on a path to forgiveness and healing. Mary Lynn went on to start the Art of Yoga Project and you all know where William and I ended up but I never forgot the poems, the insights, the playfulness and the inspiration that she brought to my life. We see each other occasionally at parties and we always stop and try to catch up with each other and every time our eyes meet it brings a smile to my soul knowing what an impact that a good yoga teacher can have on the people that really need it. It is truly my heart’s desire to provide a place of sanctuary for you here at Yoga Belly where you can find that connection to your true self and take a break from the daily grind of life. If you are inclined to do so this weekend, please join William and I for a Master Class Saturday April 14th at 2:00pm as we pay tribute to someone that we hold near and dear to our hearts. Class is donation based and all moneys will go to the Art of Yoga Project.

Much Love,
Aaron

P.S. We asked Mary Lynn a few questions so that you can get a chance to get to know her a little better

1. If I had never taken your yoga class before, what can I expect from your class?

A good work-out mixed with a bit of spirited fun and self-inquiry.

2. Any personal heroes?

My mom, My siblings, my husband, my two kids (jack and ellie) and DEFINITELY the girls with whom we work at The Art of Yoga Project

3. What's your favorite comfort food?

Uncle Eddie's Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

4. What inspired you to want to teach yoga?

The profound healing it brought to my own life.

5. What are you currently working on in your own personal practice?

Regular meditation and pranayama

6. If you're not doing yoga, what is your go to physical activity?

Walking my mutt, Waverley, all over town pretty much. I play tennis and ski, both infrequently and terribly.

7. Any thoughts on yoga being dangerous or bad for your body?

You can certainly hurt yourself in yoga. But the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. Stay very connected to your body, listen to its messages and respond accordingly. Practice self-awareness, be vigilant about linking your breath to your practice, stay out of your ego (as much as possible) and you will reduce your risk of injury considerably.

8. 3 words that describe you.

Mischievous, Energetic, Intense

9. If you can have dinner with any 3 people alive or dead, who would they be?

This is super hard--I'd say Mary Oliver (the poet), my late grandmother Elizabeth Winger, and Rachel Lloyd (founder of GEMS www.gems-girls.org)

10. You stub your toe on the coffee table.... You scream out: _?!@#!!___ Goddamnit! or worse. (My kids are trying to get me to say "Snap!")


Like a Virgin, Trying Power Yoga for the Very First Time with Mary Lynn Fitton

April 11, 2012 / William

Circa 2005. My hubby Aaron and I just moved from Hayward (East Bay) to Palo Alto. We spent the first two weeks in our new neighborhood trying fancy restaurants downtown, enjoying the best desserts---mostly gelato---and just taking to our new home. We trekked all over town looking for new experiences and that's when we picked up a schedule for classes at YogaSource.  One thing had lead to another and BAM! there we were part of YogaSource's check in team.  Aaron and I have dabbled in Bikram before but the class we volunteered for was called Power Yoga.  Yeah, it sounded intimidating but we thought: How hard can it be?  And lucky for us, we got to meet for the first time the very kind and down to earth Mary Lynn Fitton.

Mary Lynn  was also debuting the same night we joined YogaSource.  Friendly and warm, she assured us we would do fine in class.  As class got started, Mary Lynn softly introduced herself  then asked every student in the room to say his/her name, and when we finished with introduction, she opened up a little book and read a poem.  Mary Lynn then asked everyone to stand on the top of the mat, close our eyes, and begin to deepen the breath.  So this is power yoga?

A few breaths later, Mary Lynn softly asked to gently open the eyes, inhale those arms up, come to a forward fold, come up for a flat back, step back to plank, take a vinyasa (vinya what??), and for the next 90 minutes we kept moving! She put us in twists, binds, leg lifts, headlocks... Okay maybe not a headlock, but holy sh@t man, WTF was happening?  Soon my clothes were soaked in sweat.  I was drenched in the first 25 minutes of class.  I have never seen my ankles sweat like that before.  I remember thinking to myself, what kind of yoga is this?  How did this petite unassuming woman lead me into the most awkward challenging poses?  But I wasn't trippin---even though I was a hot mess on the outside, I was feeling good on the inside!!

And before you know it I was shirtless laying on my back and resting as Mary Lynn offered up final sivasana.  Holy cow man, finally a break!  I closed my eyes and felt my body feeling tingly all over.  We all made our way back up to a seated pose.  I found it challenging to listen to the faint voice speaking in the room.  I heard the word Namaste, and everyone said it altogether.  I opened my eyes and I just sat there still dripping sweat, feeling euphoric.  I did not wanna get up, I was too busy enjoying my buzz.  Thank you for sharing your practice, said Mary Lynn... I will be here every Wednesday.

I came home after class,  had a late dinner, and slept like a baby.  This would become our Wednesday ritual for about a year.  And Mary Lynn would become part of our lives forever.

 

Please join us for a one night only as Mary Lynn Fitton unleashes power yoga at Yoga Belly this Saturday at 2pm.  This is a donation-based class where all proceeds go to The Art of Yoga Project.


Team Spike Silent Charity Auction May 12th 7:30pm-9:30pm

April 9, 2012 / Aaron

I had the opportunity to sit down with my friend Jeff Swan from Team Spike last week to find out a little more about him and what he and Team Spike do to raise money to fight cancer. I’ve known Jeff since the 90’s and we have worked together on and off through-out our corporate careers. This is the first time that we will combine resources for a great cause. Yoga Belly will for the first time host this year’s Team Spike charity Silent Auction. This is the big yearly fundraising event that they put together to raise money for the LIVESTRONG foundation.

1. What’s your history with riding?
How far should I go back? As a kid with a BMX bike we used to make ramps in the street and jump things (including fire and other kids). I used to pretend I was Evel Knievel and even painted my football helmet to match. Fast forward a few years and I got my first Mtn Bike when I was 24 and would ride all the local trails with my friends and dog – Spike. In July of 2001, my dad said he was going to do a 100k charity road ride and wanted to know if I wanted to do it also. At the time I’ve never gone farther than 20 miles but I couldn’t let my 65yr dad “out ride” me so I said sure. I had my buddy take me out on same road rides and thought I was ready to go. The ride was September 16, 2001 and turned out to be days after 9/11. That first Surf City Aids ride turned into something much bigger and I was hooked on the road. BTW – I started shaving my legs a month before the ride and joking to Sherilyn that I was a “roadie” and had to do it and that I would stop after the ride but I guess I’m addicted now since my legs have been smooth for the last 11 years

2. Any personal heroes?
Heroes is probably a strong word but I would say Lance Armstrong was one of them. I used to follow his cycling career before he had cancer and won the Tour de France and was quite shocked when I heard he had cancer. I guess as you get older, Sporting Heroes tend to fade since they come and go in the sporting world. My parents are also people that I look up to and respect. My mom has always supported everything I do and even as a 44yr old, she still comes out to the big bike races or hockey games to watch. I have nothing but respect for my dad. 77 yrs old and still out running and going to the gym

3. Have you had an opportunity to meet Lance?
Yes – in 2008, the LiveStrong challenge came to San Jose and we won the best jersey design contest. By doing so, our entire team was invited on stage and was presented an award by Lance

4. What inspired you to want to combine your love of riding and fundraising for LIVESTRONG?
I’ve always followed lance Armstrong as a cyclist and since he came back from cancer in 2008, I always wanted to ride in his Ride for the Roses ride in Austin. In 2004, Ryan, Michelle, Sherilyn and I just got back from France (following the tour de France, eating and drinking way too much wine) and I happened to say to Sherilyn that I always wanted to do the ride for the roses. She tells me about 10 minutes later – “Done”. She had gone online and booked the trip. All we had to do was raise the minimum amount to do the ride (I think it was $500 back then). Once we got to Austin and experienced it the first time, we were hooked. You would be out on the 5k walk on Saturday and see all the kids that had “I’m a Survivor” on them and your heart would break. Then on the ride you would see everyone that was a Survivor, Riding in Honor of someone or the worst, Riding in Memory of someone. I’ll never forget that first year when tandem bicycle went by me with a rider on the front and a picture of his wife on the back seat
with a sign saying he was riding in Memory of his wife. It just seemed like a perfect fit – I hated Cancer and loved riding my bike

5. How did you form Team Spike to benefit LIVESTRONG?
Our first year that we attended the Ride for the Roses was in 2004 in Austin, TX. The ride was later named the LiveStrong challenge a few years later. That first year it was just Sherilyn and I but we had such a good time that when we got back I told my dad that he needed to go with us the following year. The following year we signed up again and since there were 3 of us, we decided we needed to be a “team”. I tossed around different team names like the Swan Trio but since Sherilyn’s last name wasn’t Swan, that wasn’t going to work. I then decided to name the team after my dog Spike that had just died of cancer a few years earlier. The team name is actually from a video that my dad had made me years ago while he had Spike at his house and he named the video Spike The Wonder Dog – it seemed like a perfect team name for the 3 of us. So in 2005 and 2006 we were Team Spike the Wonder Dog and raised over $5,000. We thought we were pretty cool and we were. In 2007 I had some cycling friends that were going to do the Livestrong challenge in Austin and I talked them into joining our little team. I also decided to make some cheap jersey’s since we were a much bigger team of 8 riders now. Turns out, one of my riding friends was a graphic artist and helped me design a real jersey. The Team Spike jersey was born and all our riding friends at home like it so much they wanted one too. Team Spike is now over 60 riders strong and in the US, Japan and South Africa. We have also raised over $200,000 since that first year Sherilyn and I went Austin.

6. How often do you ride in races?
By races I assume you really mean charity rides. I now only do the Livestrong challenge and try to do the Santa Cruz Mtn Challenge. We also have a group of riders that does the Tour de Cure every year that supports the American Diabetes Association. Real Races = 5 – 10 a year.

7 Are you currently training for anything?
If you ask my wife I’m always training for something but yes, right now I’m training for the Sea Otter Classic Mtn Bike (MTB) race on 4/22/12 and then a 24 hour MTB race at Laguna Seca as part of a 5-man team June 9-10. I also race in a local MTB series that goes through the middle of July.

8. If you're not cycling, what is your go to physical activity?
Ice Hockey is my second passion

9. Have you tried yoga?
Aaron took me to planet granite for my first ever yoga class and I’ve done “gym yoga” (which I’m told is not real yoga)

10. We’ve known each other for a while, how did we meet?
We met at the wonderful world of Sykes Enterprises. You were this shy kid and I said “hey, you look like you need a friend”. Pretty much from that day on I haven’t been able to get you to shut up

11. What’s our song?
Savage Garden – I knew I loved you OR is it Shania Twain/Bryan White duet – from this moment on
(I have to interject and say that Jeff and I have shared a cube wall on more than one occasion in our corporate careers, many private jokes and only one call to the HR hotline. We are now 3 cubes away so he currently enjoys coming to scare me over the wall. It makes me jump every time he prairie dogs his head over the wall and yells )

12. What are 3 words that describe you?
Short fun-size

13. If you can have dinner with any 3 people alive or dead, who would they be?
Jesus would have to by number one (as long as he speaks English or there’s a translator) I think it would be really interesting to talk to my ancestors and find out the history of how I came to be – great great great grandfather: why did you go to America? Really smart people like Einstein would be OUT since I wouldn’t be able to understand them anyway.I might have to put Bob Roll on that list too and listen to him tell cycling stories

14. You stub your toe on the coffee table.... You scream out:
Fuck!
15. What's your favorite comfort food?
3 dishes my mom makes – chicken fried steak, tacos and ground beef oriental (I always try to get her to make all 3 for my bday even though they don’t really go together)
For more information regarding the event you can go to www.spikethewonderdog.com or purchase tickets through Yoga Belly at http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=11869&stype=-8&sTG=23&sVT=9&sView=day&sTrn=100000088
Even you cant attend the auction, please feel free to make a donation by purchasing tickets or in the studio.


Monday Manifesto: Decide

April 9, 2012 / Aaron

 

Done and done, kids.


Geek Meditation

April 5, 2012 / Aaron

For you geeks out there in Silicon Valley. This cracks me up. Whatever works for you, works for you. Maybe power yoga is more like "Force Refresh". Please debate.

[caption id="attachment_940" align="alignnone" width="601" caption="Geek Meditation Session"]Geek Meditation Session[/caption]

 


Monday Manifesto: Change

April 2, 2012 / Aaron


Monday Manifesto: Everything I Am

March 26, 2012 / Aaron


Whoops

March 23, 2012 / Aaron

I thought that I'd be posting today about my private lesson, but sadly, I forgot I had a meeting this morning so I had to reschedule. Doh.

Life happens, I guess. So as a consolation prize, here's a cool video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rUcIzvb1SLU

Well, not strictly yoga. But still. People are amazing.

Private-Lesson-Post coming soon! xoxo


Girl Chat with Linda McGrath

March 20, 2012 / William

In just 11 days, my lovely friend and Power Goddess Linda McGrath will lead a special power yoga class to raise awareness (and hopefully some money) for Insight World Aid (IWA), a non-profit of the insight meditation communty that provides volunteer aid to impoverished communities world-wide. IWA was initiated by members of the Insight Meditation Center of Redwood City in order to provide opportunities to practice compassionate action.

Linda's class will also kick off a series of workshops in the next few month, a series which we call "Tributes." With Tributes, we are presenting teachers who have paved the way for us as students, teachers, and studio owners.

For now, let me share with you a little Q&A I had with Linda... Linda darling, thank you for being a sport!!

1. If I had never taken your yoga class before, what can I expect from your class?
I am passionate about greater quality of form, elegance and continuity in movement, and a strong connection to the breath. A lot of people walk out of my class saying it’s the hardest class they’ve ever done and I think they mean that as a compliment.

2. Any personal heroes?
I like that Jonas Salk declined patenting the Polio vaccine. He was in it for the passion of his work and his generosity made a huge difference.

3. What's your favorite comfort food?
Fish and chips, salad, and Champagne.

4. What inspired you to want to teach yoga?
I could not articulate an answer for you. It’s deeply existential, like having children. “In the deepest hour of the night, if you were asked if you would have to die if you were forbidden to write, look deep into your heart for the answer spreads its roots, and ask yourself - must I write?” It’s a quote by Rilke. And I’ve heard that Lady Gaga has a tattoo of it on her thigh. Will, I thought you would appreciate that.

5. What are you currently working on in your own personal practice?
Having a goal or intention never works for me. I spend too much time over-thinking it. So I like to just show up. I almost always get what I need.

6. If you're not doing yoga, what is your go to physical activity?
I love to swim and ride horses and I can get down pretty well for a white girl.

7. Any thoughts on yoga being dangerous or bad for your body?
Of all the movement lifestyles, being sedentary is the most dangerous one and practicing yoga is among the safest ones.

8. 3 words that describe you.
Seriously?

9. If you can have dinner with any 3 people alive or dead, who would they be?
The original Buddha, Csikszentmihalyi (it took me a long time to learn how to pronounce it but his book “Flow” is my bible) and myself the day before I die.

10. You stub your toe on the coffee table.... You scream out:
FUCK! Life needs its exclamation points.

See y'all on Saturday, March 31st @ 2pm! Registration for this workshop is FREE; suggested donation at the studio before class is $20. Click (copy & paste) this to join our fabulous workshop:  http://preview.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=11869&stype=-8&sView=day&sTrn=100000078