Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This is Embarrassing

Should I admit this? Not sure it will help boost my credentials as a fitness expert, but here goes . . . I got the Wii for Christmas . . . (yes, I'm a little behind the times.) and after playing with it for a couple of hours over the weekend I'm completely sore . . . from the Wii!!! This is terrible. What a slap of reality. I boxed my heart out and won all matches with knock-outs, played several sets of tennis, and threw as many 94 mile-an-hour pitches as I could. Who knew it was actual 'real' exercise? I'm just completely disgusted by the fact that I'm sore. I also got the Wii Fit and balance board and I am positively terrified to try the yoga poses. Here I am all proud of myself for being a certified yoga instructor. I fear what the Wii will tell me when it comes to my balance and postures. All I know so far is that it's time to start up P90X again and whip my butt (and more importantly by back) into fighting shape.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

YogaDudes Holiday Desktop Wallpaper

Our monthly desktop wallpaper features a holiday greeting rather than a calendar. If you would like to download the full size image to use as your desktop wallpaper, just click on the image above and a larger image will open in a new window. Right click on that larger image and choose "Set As Background" from the menu list.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Free Shipping on Orders Over $50

From now until Christmas YogaDudes is offering free shipping on any orders over $50. This offer is only good for orders being shipped within the United States. No special coupon code is needed. Your shopping cart will automatically adjust for the free shipping when your total reaches $50.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More News on the Holiday Card Promo

Good news folks. I figured out how to fix the sales price function on the YogaDudes shopping cart, and just in time for Black Friday. Instead of having to purchase 3 packs of cards to get one free, now all the cards have been marked down to just $5.50 per pack. Now is the time to stock up. Buy one design for this year and perhaps another design for next year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Yoga Christmas Ornaments On Sale

Our most popular holiday gift is now priced to sell. We just got a fresh new supply for the season and have therefore reduced the price. These adorable porcelain ornaments are regularly priced at $14.99, but from now until December 1st, they are on sale for just $10.99. No yogi Christmas stocking would be complete without one! Grab one for yourself and another for a friend in the YogaDudes shop here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Conflict Between Yoga and Religion

I just don’t get it. Not one piece of my brain can understand how some Christians are against yoga because of the conflict with their Christianity. Do they think yoga itself is a religion . . . that possibly goes against Christianity? Is that what the problem is? Do they think yogis are praying to a false god by doing sun salutations?

After working so hard to get my yoga teaching certification I landed my first teaching gig. Several people in my town have expressed interest in yoga classes led by our parks and recreation department. The rec commission asked me to teach and I, of course, was thrilled. But now we are looking for space to hold the class and so far both churches in town have blatantly turned us down due to the “conflict with Christianity.”

I understand that the practice of yoga originally came from India and was originated by Buddhists, but people . . . let’s MOVE ON. Perhaps the people that are so against this evil thing called yoga should open their minds and maybe learn a little bit more about what goes on behind the closed doors of a yoga studio before they judge. And how Christian is it anyway to judge people and cast them aside if they don’t conform perfectly to their ideals? I wish they would understand that practicing yoga makes people more patient and better balanced. Wouldn’t the whole world be a better place if more people practiced yoga regularly?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Yoga Holiday Cards Special Promo

We just added these holiday cards to the YogaDudes shop. Like the original holiday cards, these are actually postcards that have a simple “Happy Holidays” greeting on the back and come packaged in groups of 10 with envelopes. What a great way to extend your holiday wishes to your yoga students, teachers, and yogi friends.

And the best news is that we are running a special from now until Christmas. These cards have been marked down to just $5.50 per pack. Now is the time to stock up. Buy one design for this year and the other design for next year. Ho ho ho.

Shop for both card designs here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Adorable Yoga Holiday Cards

Do you have any yogis on your holiday card mailing list? Are you an instructor that would like to wish your students Happy Holidays? What could be better than giving each of them one of these adorable cards by YogaDudes?

These cards are available in packs of 10 with envelopes. You can find them in the YogaDudes shop here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Excellent Resource for Yoga MP3 Downloads

In preparation for my last trip I went searching for some free yoga mp3s that I could download to my phone or iPod. I find that even when I use yoga DVDs I often don’t need to look at the screen. It is sometimes awkward and difficult to do so. So finding audio only yoga routines seems like the a terrific idea.

I was delighted to find a very useful website called Not only do they offer free 20 minute yoga routines for download, but they have boatloads of options if you are willing to pay a few bucks. Each class can be downloaded in a 20 minute, 30 minute, 60 minute, or sometimes even longer versions. And each class, despite its duration, also comes with a pose guide sheet in PDF format. This is just sheer brilliance.

And speaking of brilliance, I noticed one option was to build your own custom routine. All the different segments of a good yoga routine are broken into approximately 5 -10 minute sections. You can mix and match, pick and choose, and build your own custom routine. Each segment only costs $.50. That wasn’t a typo . . . 50 cents! And you also get the pose guides for each segment. Click here to view their customization page.

Not only will I use this site for my own personal practice, but it will become an excellent resource for building my first yoga classes. As a brand new instructor, I feel as though I struck gold! Up until finding this website, I was apprehensive and scared to teach my first class, but now I feel like I have years of yoga knowledge and guidance right at my fingertips. Thank you YogaDownload.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Free November Desktop Calendar

Since I recently wrote on the topic of gratitude, I decided to make the YogaDudes November desktop calendar a reminder to be grateful for all your blessings. Just click on the image above to bring up the full-size version. Then right-click on it and "Save as Desktop."

The Importance of Gratitude

Today is the start of November, the one month out of the long year that many of us actually stop our lives and think about what we have to be thankful for. Why is it that we only do this around Thanksgiving? Why is it so hard for us to be conscious of our blessings every day? I try so very hard to take the time out for gratitude, but yet it’s so easy to let it slip.

Last month I experienced an excellent lesson on gratitude. My husband and I were on vacation for a couple of weeks in Europe. That alone should be grounds for plenty of gratitude, especially during these times of a suffering economy. But still, we managed to slip into the greedy mindset that so easily can take over. You see, we were driving in Northern Italy (outside of Milan, which is a very overcrowded and stressful big city). It was a Saturday evening and we were about 50 miles from our hotel when the traffic on the highway came to a near stand still. With each passing minute the tension level in the car got greater and my husband’s patience for Italian traffic dwindled rapidly. Because his mood (and stress level) directly impacts my mood (and stress level) I knew I needed to calm him down. I tried to come up with rationalization for why the traffic was so heavy and made guesses that perhaps it wouldn’t be this bad all the way back. My husband didn’t seem to fall for that wishful thinking. That was when I told him that the traffic couldn’t possibly be this heavy, this far from Milan city center and that there was likely an accident not too far in front of us. That is when I told him that our situation could have been much worse. After all, we could have been the unfortunate souls in the accident, rather than the ones being slightly inconvenienced by it. The more we thought about the consequences of getting into an accident, the potential to be seriously hurt (or worse), never mind the complications with insurance and health care in a foreign country. We both sat in silence for a few moments and realized how stupid and selfish we were being with our impatience. My husband reached over and grabbed my hand and said, “You’re completely right. We are so fortunate.”

Now this may sound like a good fiction story, but within minutes the traffic started to flow smoothly again. We never did see an accident, but for some unknown reason the traffic jam subsided and we effortlessly breezed right back to our hotel outside of Milan. The rest of the drive was incredible. We held hands and remembered the times, many years ago, when we would have done anything to just be together for a few hours. How easy it is to completely take each other, and our time together, for granted. It was such an awesome reminder about how important it is to be grateful for your blessings every day—not just on Thanksgiving.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

YogaDudes October Desktop Calendar

A recent trip up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire inspried this month's calendar. It sure was pretty up there and I thought it would be nice to share some of it with you. Just click on the image above to bring up the full-size version. Then right-click on it and "Save as Desktop."

What Not To Do

I'm ashamed of myself for this and I can't believe I didn't know better. You see, I've been struggling with severe pain in my neck, shoulder, and upper back. This terrible condition is caused by stress and pops up in my life every once in a while. In the past I've been to see different doctors and got nothing but frustrated by their lack of knowledge and ability to help me. It was me that finally figured out that stress was causing all the pain. Now that I know the cause I'm still searching for the solution.

For the past month I've been laying low and not exercising much. I'm almost in constant pain and sitting still doesn't seem to help. I stayed away from biking for weeks because I couldn't raise my neck to see the road (this is on a road bike, of course). The only exercise that I could manage was, strangely enough, kayaking. One would think this would be the hardest with a sore shoulder, but the constant movement seemed to be the only thing that helped. I felt great paddling. It was stopping that was the problem. Too bad I can't just kayak all day long.

I attempted yoga two weeks ago and it was dreadful. I could do some of the moves (like down dog) but others (like corbra and updog) sent lighten bolts of pain searing through my neck, shoulder and back. I got so frustrated and so depressed that it stressed me even more and, if anything, made me worse. All the heating pads and Ben Gay in the world didn't seem to be helping.

But today I decided that I couldn't take another day of not working out. No matter how much it hurt I was going to get some exercise in. I started the day with Tony Horton's 10 Minute Trainer. I did the Cardio one, followed by the Yoga one. It's funny how I HATED the P90X Yoga because I thought it was too long and hard, and yet I also didn't like the 10 Minute Trainer Yoga because I thought it was too short and easy. I guess I'm hard to please. Anyway, after 10 minutes of jumping around doing the Cardio I could already feel the pain subsiding in my shoulder. The natural heat of my muscles warming up immediately gave me relief. By the time I got to the yoga portion I already felt better. And this yoga session is so much easier and more gentle than my normal vinyasa routine. What a concept. I did yoga for the stretching and stress relief instead of for the pure sport and challenge of it. Today was the best I've felt in over a month. And all I can say to myself is 'DUH' . . . some yoga instructor I am. You are never too old to learn. The worst thing you can do for some injuries is NOT moving. I have to make a point to keep on keeping on, despite the pain. In the long run working through the pain (in this case) is just what I need.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yoga Journal + Body & Soul Magazine Offer

My two favorite magazines are being offered together at a special subscription rate of $20/year. Too good not to share. Click here to go to the special offer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Struggling to Stay Motivated

I've come to the realization that staying motivated to work out at this time of the year is really hard. The days are getting shorter and playing outdoors is becoming increasingly difficult, and sometimes dangerous. There is nothing on the calendar to motivate me . . . no race, no long distance bike ride, no final yoga exam. The only thing coming is the busy and stressful holidays and the mountains of Things To Do. I know that I'm going to get tired, lazy, and out of shape. It's inevitable. And then January will roll around and that means it's P90X time all over again. No matter how out of shape I manage to get, P90X does the trick of whipping me back into action. So why bother exercising now? Why not just wait until January? Uuugh, I need something to motivate me and get my mind off the searing pain in my neck, shoulder, and back.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September is Free Shipping Month

For the entire month of September YogaDudes is offering free shipping on orders of $25 and more. Just use the coupon code FREESHIPSEPT at checkout.

Go shopping now.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Love at First Sip

The ads for the new POMx teas promise 'love at first sip' and they are not kidding. How refreshing is it that an advertisement actually comes through with its promises. I've blogged about POM juices before and when I first discovered this pomegranate juice I knew that it was really good for you and that is why I adopted it as my P90X 'recovery drink.' But I also explained that I had to mix it with seltzer because, like most things that are good for you, it wasn't the most delicious thing right out of the bottle. But this new POMx tea . . . holy cow is it every yummy. Why can't tap water taste this good? I sure wouldn't struggle so hard to get my daily dose of water. As it is I have to force down the 3 - 4 glasses per day. But I swear I could drink gallons of this POMx tea. It comes in 7 different flavors and I look forward to sampling each one. You can check out their web site here:

Monday, August 31, 2009

September Desktop Wallpaper

We have another yoga-inspired desktop calendar this month. The September graphic is now ready for download. Just click on the image above to bring up the full-size version. Then right-click on it and "Save as Desktop."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Win a Free Online Yoga Class offers interactive group yoga classes via multi-cam video conferencing. Thanks to web technology that allows multiple people to enter and participate in a live video studio, participants from around the world can watch as founder Page Turner (a certified Yoga instructor and Hypnotherapist) demonstrates poses, as well as receive personalized directives in real time. The hour-long classes are more affordable than most studios, and more sustainable too.

Interactive group classes are held every weekday at 6pm Pacific (GMT -8). All levels from beginner to master can join in, as her sessions range from relaxing meditations to kick butt workouts. Clients can reserve a spot in the virtual studio by logging on to, as well as receive privileges to the free video library, which includes tutorials, meditations and yoga workouts.

Page has generously offered a free class to one interested YogaDudes blog reader. Just leave a comment on this posting and one name will be randomly drawn for the free class. Be sure to include your email address so we can notify you if you won. The winner will be selected on Monday, August 24th.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What Yoga Pose Are You?

I just took this quiz and here is my result . . . (You can take the quiz yourself by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post.)

You Are the Tree Pose

You are a well grounded, down to earth person. Not much shakes you.

You can remain steady through a crisis - and other people lean on you.

You have high standards and morals. You easily rise above pettiness.

While people sometimes accuse you of being stubborn, you are able to shift focus when you need to.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Custom YogaDudes Decals

We recently received a request for custom YogaDudes decals. The studio was looking for an inexpensive gift to give to students that included their studio name. What a great idea. We found a source to print these custom decals and decided to offer this service to all yoga studios. The image above is an example of what a custom decal might look like. If you own a yoga studio, work at one, or would like to recommend this to your favorite studio, please email us about our custom decals for pricing and details.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Yoga is Helping My Biking

There seems to be so many different ways that a yoga practice can enrich other parts of your life. Practicing yoga extends so far off the mat and into so many different aspects of life. I often find myself trying to use yoga to improve my breathing, or my patience, or my general outlook on life. Today I used it to help my biking.

I might have overdone it a bit in the gym on Friday and as a result I woke up this morning with sore triceps, shoulders, and sore neck. These things do not make for a good bike ride (on a road bike), but I didn't want to miss out on our weekend 40-mile loop so I sucked it up. While pedalling along I decided to try to make some slight alterations by shifting my weight around. I was thinking about yoga and how I marvel at how sometimes what seems like the slightest adjustment of weight can completely change the way a pose feels. It seems like magic when the instructor comes over and barely moves you, yet everything just feels better. I tried to imagine a floating yoga instructor observing me as I rode and how this imaginary instructor might adjust my riding position. Since I was feeling pain in my neck, shoulders and triceps I tried shifting my weight back more into my saddle and legs, and less on my arms. I'll be darned. I worked! I felt instant relief. What a concept. Maybe I am ready to teach yoga after all.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tree Pose August Desktop Calendar

Our August yoga-inspired desktop calendar is now ready for download. A day early I might add. So proud of myself! Just click on the image above to bring up the full-size version. Then right-click on it and "Save as Desktop."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Incredible Yoga Journal Subscription Deal

How would you like to scoop up a one year subscription to Yoga Journal magazine for just $4.29? That's an 80% savings off the retail price. This deal is valid for new subscriptions, as well as renewals, but don't delay. The offer is only good today (Wednesday, July 29th). I just bought mine. Your turn . . . Here's the link: Yoga Journal Deal of the Day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tip for Cycling Like a Pro

I accidentally came across this tip and it's a great one. All this watching of the Tour de France has really fired up my biking passion. But watching those amazing guys flying up the most extreme mountains faster than my usual flats is a bit depressing. Lo and behold, I found the solution . . .

A couple of weeks ago my bike computer (the little device that tracks my speed, distance, time, etc) died and needed its battery replaced. Somehow in changing the battery I accidentally reset the default unit of measure from miles to kilometers. There I was biking along the flats, looking down at my speedometer (which was reading in the low to mid 30s) and I was feeling pretty darn good about my cycling. I guess it didn't take me too long to figure out I was looking at k.p.h rather than m.p.h. Well I liked it so much I left it that way. Somehow seeing my max speed reaching close to 60 and my average always over 25 just plain makes me feel good :-) So if you're a biker, do yourself a favor and switch your cyclometer, even for just one ride, and feel the rush. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in the peleton, if just for a moment.

I should add one little disclaimer . . . I nearly crashed this past weekend due to the fact that I was fixating on my odometer, trying to do the math conversion from clicks (as my European husbands calls them) to miles. So please be careful and just enjoy the high numbers without trying to do the math while riding.

Pedal on . . .

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Better Digestion

Last month I took a wonderful stress-free vacation, during which time I ate foods (red meats, real ice cream, etc.) and drank drinks (alcohol) not normally in my diet. Every night I went to bed thinking, "Uh oh, I’m going to pay for this" and yet I managed to get through a good solid week with no stomach aches. This is practically an impossible feat for me as I normally suffer with stomach aches a couple times per week, minimum. I have become so accustomed to stomach problems that it has just become a fact of life.

Years ago I went to see different gastro-intestinal specialists and was diagnosed with a clear case of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). I can't really speak for my bowels, but for sure I was become irritable. It's just no fun to live with constant stomach aches and a restricted diet, but over the years I've learned to live with it. I learned what I can and can not safely eat. But I still wondered how it was possible to be stomach ache free throughout my vacation. It was likely a mixture of several things: no stress, smaller portions, and a much slower eating pace. So maybe, just maybe with a little work I could change my evil ways and cure my stomach issues.

When I got home I found a product called Better Digestion. These pills are a natural daily supplements that promise to restore balance to the digestive system through a combination of probiotics, herbal extracts, and enzymes. I'm not exactly sure what all those things are, but I knew I could use more balance in my life so I gave them a shot.

During my years of research with treating IBS I found that the best results were gotten via herbal remedies. I've learned that things that ginger root and chamomile are sure stomach soothers so when I saw that Better Digestion included these things (and many others) I had high hopes. Another thing that caught my eye was 'Amylase' which, according to the literature, is a powerful enzyme that reduces the amount of stress on the digestive system to help break down food. Now I knew I could use that.

So far I've taken one pill a day and I must say, I've been doing great in the stomach ache department. Ok, there was that one night that I completely indulged on the richest, most decadent European layer cake, but that was my own fault. I am happy with the results and will continue my new good habit of being nicer to my digestive system.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Did It! Yoga Teaching Certification Attained

Well, it didn't take long. I mailed all of my papers (final exam and essay) along with the DVD of me teaching my one hour class and within a week I got the good news. My certificate arrived in the mail on Saturday. I am now officially certified to teach yoga! No idea if I will ever really teach, but it feels so good to have the credentials and to have gained all that wonderful knowledge. My instructor told me that I don't realize my potential and that certainly gave me a little more confidence. Who knows, maybe I will get the guts to teach a real class some day. But for now I'm just going to bask in the glory that I finally made a dream come true. Namaste

Sunday, July 19, 2009

If I Won a Stage of The Tour

Last night the commentators of the Tour de France were talking about all the different gestures that riders have given as they crossed the various finish lines of different stages of the Tour. Seems lots of riders had their own unique celebration gesture, similar to football players entering the end zone during a touch down. They showed some past clips of different riders winning stages and it was fun to see the different personalities coming through in their unique gestures. So on today's ride I asked my husband what he would do if he won a stage of the Tour. It didn't take him long to draw his imaginary sword in the air. And then I thought, "What would I do?" That also didn't take me long to decided. This is what I would do.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What a Relief

I finally did it! I videotaped myself teaching my one-hour yoga class for my final teacher training certification exam. There are no words to describe how excited and relieved I was to have it behind me. But now the stress of waiting and hoping that I passed begins.

My biggest fear is that the fact that I didn’t offer suggested alternate poses for students that may have either been pregnant or have high blood pressure. The truth is that I forgot that I was supposed to do this and after the complete elation of being DONE, there was no way I wanted to go back and do it all over again. But after giving it more thought I realized that even if I did want to go back and tape it all over again I’m not sure how I would offer these alternate poses. My session was very much a ‘power’ vinyasa routine. How could you offer non-inverted alternates to a routine that has you doing so many down dogs that your head feels as though it might explode? I’m really confused with this dilemma. Maybe this shows that I’m really not ready to teach. I guess I just feel that a person that was pregnant or had high blood pressure just wouldn’t be attending a power yoga class. This is really my fault for building a power routine for my final exam. I should have built a beginners’ yoga class that would have allowed me more flexibility. Darn. Too late now. I hope I don’t fail. I just wanted to challenge myself to building a kick-booty class that I, myself, would enjoy doing regularly.

If there are any instructors out there that can shed some light on how I could have designed my dream power class and still incorporated these alternate poses, please do share. I may need the insight to save myself from failing!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Yoga Journal Magazine Subscription for $5.29/Year

This is such a great deal and I take advantage of it and renew for just over $5 every year. But it's only good for one day - Friday, July 3rd. Click on the link below on 7/3/09 to go directly to the link where you can make the purchase. Good for both new subscriptions and renewals.

Best Deal Magazines Deal of the Day

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

This May Be The Answer To My Sinus Problems

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my terrible sinus problems and how Down Dog and other inverted poses just makes them worse. I received a comment from a reader suggesting the use of a neti pot. I read about nasal irrigation in my yoga textbooks and have been intrigued by the idea. I've been meaning to buy one and that comment was just the kick in the pants I needed to actually get one. I jumped online and bought one. I was a little disappointed that it took nearly 2 weeks to arrive, but then again the shipping was free so I really shouldn't complain. And the timing of its arrival was perfect.

Today was another dreary, rainy, stormy low pressure day here in CT. It's getting to be the norm around here and I'm getting so used to feeling terrible that I almost forget what it feels like to not have a headache and an all over 'icky' feeling. I start off feeling pretty good in the morning, but as the day goes on I feel worse and worse. The 30 minute commute home from work always makes me feel even worse. By the time I get home all I want to do is sleep and today was one of those days. What a great time to test out this new neti pot.

I have to admit the thought of sticking this thing up my nose was a bit scary. I had no idea what to expect and I knew the first time was going to be the hardest. I survived it OK. During my first go of it I did have that moment of wanting to gag when the salty water touched my throat. But I quickly realized that I was holding my breath; exactly what the directions said not to do. So for the next side of my nose I made a better effort to breathe. Actually exhaling seem to do the trick.

The whole process only took about a minute and I have to say . . . I felt so . . . different. I am having a hard time trying to describe the experience. I really and truly felt 'cleaned out' and lighter. It was amazing and I can't wait to do it again tomorrow. What have I been waiting for all this time without one?

Free July Desktop Calendar

Click here to open the full size graphic. Once the full size image loads, right-click and Save as Desktop.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Power of Arnica

I’m sold on the healing powers of Arnica. I’ve taken it before, both topically and orally, but never together. Yesterday I mysteriously hurt my elbow. Not quite sure exactly what I did, but it was sore and clicking strangely all morning. Might not have been the smartest idea to bust out 40 pushups and lift weights at lunchtime, but I did. And, of course, the pain got much worse. By the evening it was really sore and this morning I had trouble pushing myself out of bed, brushing my hair, and doing anything that required me to move my arm. It was even worse when I needed to both move my arm and flex my muscles. Gripping something in my hand shot pain straight to my elbow. This was not good.

So this morning I went looking for some muscle rub, even though I wasn’t sure it was a muscle problem. Seemed like it could also be a joint problem. When I looked into my drawer I noticed my tube of neglected Arnica. I can’t remember the last time I used it. Now seemed to be the perfect time to give it a try because Arnica is really for pain relief, not just soothing sore muscles. So I slathered it all over my elbow. Then the thought occurred to me that I also had little Arnica tablets that are taken internally. Well, that couldn’t hurt so I took those too and I’ll be darned. By noon the pain was almost completely gone. I won’t forget about my new best friend the next time I’m experiencing any sort of joint or muscle pain. This stuff really works!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free iPod Workout Downloads

I just stumbled across a web site that offers iPod workout downloads. Some of them cost, but there are a few downloads available for free, one of them a yoga bundle. I downloaded the Glut Camp Workout this afternoon and I was quite pleased with it. I didn't actually put it on my iPod, but instead just watched it on my computer. It was very straightforward. They showed a model doing one of the exercises, explained what to do, and then told you to pause and do a set of reps at your own pace. Then you simply hit play again, watch the next exercise, and repeat the pause/play options until you get through the entire workout. This is such a great concept and so easy to take your workouts on the road. I think I will investigate more of these workouts in the future, but in the meantime, why not download the free ones and give them a try? Here's the link.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yoga and Allergies - Not a Good Mix

Why does yoga make my allergies worse? Living in New England during this time of year is a big challenge. The pollen is out in full force and the rainy, low pressure days do very bad things to my sinuses. I started off this dreary day thankful that my usual sinus headache wasn't rearing its ugly head yet. But, just like I suspected, my afternoon yoga caused my sinus headache to appear. I think it has something to do with bending over. My head doesn't seem to like being upside down as that seems to make the pressure in my sinuses build. This really stinks. I find myself avoiding yoga for fear of either getting a headache or making the headache that I already have even worse. I wish I knew how to combat this issue. And on that note, I'm going to find some Sudafed . . .

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Uh Oh

Well, before attempting to hurt any students with yoga, I managed to hurt myself. This is not helping my confidence level at all. I was practicing my yoga routine in my office this week and my hand slipped in the middle of my vinyasa (as I was heading down to push-up position.) In an attempt to recover and prevent myself from landing flat on my face, my left arm and shoulder had to respond quickly. Not sure what my muscles did to recover, but whatever it was, it left me with quite the sore shoulder. I think I just learned an important lesson about cheating and doing yoga without a yoga mat. I've been doing this for years with no issues, but this little incident sent me immediately packing to the store to buy an extra mat to leave in my office. This was a little bonus lesson not covered in my studies. No extra charge, unless you count the cost of the BenGay.

Monday, May 11, 2009

P90X Abs Core Plus

I finally got around to trying out another P90X Plus video, Abs Core Plus. After my last Kenpo X disappointment I guess I wasn't all that thrilled to try more. But since my husband is out of town and I'm out of our normal routine I thought it was a good time to give it a whirl. I had expectations that I wouldn't be able to keep up. With the nice weather and the endless home chores, we've fallen off the P90 bandwagon. I figured I would do my fair share of cheating, with no work-out buddy keeping an eye on me, but was I ever surprised. I did every move on the video and I must say, I did them pretty effortlessly. I didn't even break a sweat and I enjoyed the whole thing. Ok, maybe not the whole thing.

The only parts that I found uncomfortable and difficult were the hanging moves. I did the first 3 or 4 sets with no gloves, which was unbearable. I don't have a nice cushiony bar like the folks on the video and my already-sore painting hands were being shredded. So I threw on some gloves for the remaining hanging sessions, but I still couldn't figure out how not to swing. I must have the wrong technique because my body seemed to swing much more than it should. I'll have to work on that.

Overall the video was excellent. The moves are all one minute each with no idle chatter in between. You just flow from one move right to the next without wasting any time. The 20 minutes flew by and I was pleasantly surprised at how well I did. I can say, without a doubt, that it's yoga that has keep my abs and core in tip top shape. Many of the moves involved balancing and I found them easy as can be. Yoga is solely responsible for my balance and stability. I will definitely add this video to my normal weekly routine.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Anatomy for Yoga

I spent an hour going through some of my Anatomy for Yoga lectures yesterday and it was fascinating. It left me with such mixed feelings. On one hand I feel much better about the parts of me that I consider "inflexible." I've always felt that I would never make a good yoga instructor because I'll "never be able to bend like that." I always thought it was because I just wasn't doing something right, or my muscles just aren't as limber as they should be. But I was completely wrong about that. In these lectures the instructor discusses the terms tension and compression. When you hit the wall and can no longer bend or flex your limbs any further it is because of one of those two terms. If it was tension, it would indeed be a tight muscle preventing you from stretching deeper. In these cases, the muscles can be worked on to increase the motion.

But much more often it is because of your bone structure. Literally one bone is hitting another which is called compression. In this case, no matter how much yoga you do, or how much you stretch, you're just never going to be able to move any further. This made me feel so much better about my yoga inadequacies. The instructor said repeatedly, "you either have it or you don't" meaning great flexibility. He also explained how everyone is built differently and how you could really hurt yourself if you don't understand this concept. The best part was watching him move a skeleton around to really understand what bones where hitting and how.

So that left me feeling much better about myself and what I can and can not do. However, it completely terrified me as far as instructing students through a class. How on earth will I know if they are hitting tension or compression? When you see a student not doing a pose 'properly' how do you know if you should try to make an adjustment or just assume they can't bend any more than they are already bending? I will be very happy to get my certification and I am really enjoying all this knowledge that I'm gaining, but I'm still not sure if I will ever be brave enough to put my certification to use. I have a whole new admiration for all you yoga instructors out there!

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Netflix Gym

A few months ago I discovered a great free sublemental training resource. I, like many, subcribe to Netflix movies in the mail. For years my husband and I have enjoyed the DVDs showing up in our mailbox every week. I knew that you could rent workout DVDs but I rarely did that as it took away from our weekend movie watching. But I recently discovered the Watch Instantly tab along the top of the Netflix page. After clicking on that you are presented with a long drop-down list of Genres, one of which is Sports. And inside that Sports category you will find another header called Workouts. Wait a minute, does that mean I can instantly stream workout vidoes right in my office? Upon further investigation I found even the Workouts section to be broken down into the following categories:

This was too good to be true. For the past 3 months I've been using Netflix approximately 3 times a week during my lunch break. Within just a few minutes I can natigate straight to my choice of workout. I shut my office door and have a great little workout. Sometimes I'll watch the full video, but other times I'll just pick my favorite parts. The more I do the different workouts the more familiar I'm getting, allowing me to scrub right to the section that I want to do. These have been a great supplement to my P90X evening workouts. And I have to say, and I'm not sure if I'm embarrassed to admit this, some of those Crunch workouts leave me sore every time. I'm hooked. For $8 a month I watch a current movie every weekend, I stream older movies and some TV shows at home, and now I'm doing free yoga, pilates, and more in my office. I love it and I highly recommend checking out Netflix for an inexpensive gym alternative.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free May Desktop Calendar

The April showers have brought us the May flowers. This months free YogaDudes desktop calendar features some of those May flowers. Just click here for a larger image of the calendar. When this bigger image appears, right-click on it and "Set as Background."

Happy Spring to all.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green Tips for Earth Day

Go green and save. Make simple earth and wallet friendly changes to your daily routine and feel even better about the money you're not spending. Why not make Earth Day every day?

At Home
Lower your water-heater temperature 25 degrees and you can save up to $50 a year.

On the Web
Go to the free website and unsubscribe from catalogs you don't need. Your house will be less cluttered and you'll be doing your part to preserve the forests.

In the Car
Drive 10 MPH slower and you'll increase your fuel efficiency by about 15%. Unless you drive a MINI, in which case you're getting great gas mileage to begin with and that car just shouldn't be driven slowly. (Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kenpo Plus — A Disappointment

Tonight was my second attempt at a P90X Plus video. After getting my butt kicked by Interval, it left me a little hungry to try more. I reported back to my traveling husband that he will like Interval. He's been resisting giving the Plus videos a try because, as he said, he "didn't want to learn something new." Yes, he is an old dog and is resistant to new tricks. So I was thrilled to tell him how easy Interval was. There was nothing to it. The moves were as basic as can be. All you need to do is bring the muscle and the lungs.

I found Kenpo Plus, on the other hand, to be an annoyingly cumbersome work-out. I thought most of the moves were clumsy and awkward. Ok, maybe it was just me being clumsy and awkward, but why did it have to be so difficult? And by difficult, I don't mean physically challenging. In fact, I think it was a big waste of my time tonight. I wish I did anything else in place of this work-out. I couldn't give it my all and really put the needed uuumph into the moves because I was struggling to catch on and never felt well grounded. The traditional Kenpo is a million times better. It's controlled and precise and timed just right. I get a total body (including back and core) work-out with it. This Kenpo Plus was a joke to me. I am so not impressed and will very likely never try it again. My first P90X disappointment :-(

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

P90X Plus - Ouch!

Holy @$&% I thought I was ready for P90X Plus, but I guess I was mistaken. Today was my first attempt at it. Seeing as I breezed through most of the regular P90X I figured, "How tough can they be?" Well, let me tell you . . . tough!

Granted, I only tried one video and it was Interval. Actually, it was an accident too because I intended to do Total Body, but put in the wrong DVD. Since I don't yet know one from the other, it made no difference. Interval was an interesting approach. I think there are approximately 15 different exercises and you perform them at three different 20 second intervals. You start off at a nice manageable pace, then you move up to a little higher intensity, followed by (of course) 20 seconds of butt-kicking hard work.

I made it through the entire first half and was feeling pretty good about myself. But when Tony said that we were going to repeat the exact same sequence I think I cried. I was so not ready for that. I got through another 4 or 5 exercises, but with much less umph than I did the first time around. I think I was suffering from my typical problem. I didn't have my work-out buddy and I'm just not as driven when I work-out alone. Nobody's looking so I'm gonna cheat. But I still feel good, none-the-less, that I even attempted it. And based on the fact that I was sweating when I was done, I obviously worked hard. Most of the regular P90X sessions didn't make me sweat at all.

I am curious to see what the rest of the videos are like and will, no doubt, be checking them out shortly.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Big Deput in the New York Times

I was very excited to have been interviewed by The New York Times for an article about Doga. After all, how on earth did the NYT find me and YogaDudes? After 15 minutes on the phone with the most delightful writer I really looked forward to seeing the article in print. But I have to say, I was a little disappointed.

The article made me sound much more negative than I really was. To recap, I did agree that calling the activity "yoga for dogs" was ridiculous. Being a firm believer in the very real art and science of yoga I do find it degrading and fad like to try to involve a pet. However, with that said, there was nothing wrong with a group of dog lovers getting together on a sunny afternoon to socialize their dogs. I believe that all the participants had a good time and enjoyed the hour of 'doga.' I guess I would feel better about it if 1) they called it something else that had no connection to yoga, and 2) the organizers didn't charge $15 per class. That just seems outrageous to me. After all, anybody without real yoga training could lead a doga class. I think it would make much more sense if a group of dog lovers got together and a fellow dog lover led a session on a voluntary basis. Then it would be all about the social aspect and the love of dogs and less about making an easy buck.

Monday, April 06, 2009

P90X Year Two Completed

I forgot to mention that last Friday ended my second year of P90X. Although it was a relief and felt great, it wasn't nearly as thrilling as the first time around. I guess that is obvious, seeing as I forgot to blog about it. Don't get me wrong, it's still a great sense of accomplishment. I think the reason why I wasn't quite as thrilled this time is because my husband and I are planning to continue doing as many videos per week as we can. Case in point, we came home from work today and did Back & Biceps, just because we felt like it. Sick. I know!

Last season we started P90X later in the year and ended up stuck inside when the weather was really getting nice. This year we started on January 1st to ensure we would be done before Spring really sprung in New England. It sort of backfired because the weather is still pretty darn crappy here and the streets are still filled with sand, making road biking undesirable. So now we have to continue with P90X until all the conditions are just right to go outside and play. sigh

With the big P90X commitment behind me, it's time to put more focus on yoga. I've set a goal to have my one-hour class rehearsed and performed by the end of May. And the clock is ticking—gulp!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free April Desktop Wallpaper Calendar

Since I couldn't think of a good April Fool's joke, I'm sharing a new April wallpaper desktop calendar. Just click here for the larger image. Once it appears in your browser, right-click on it and "Set as Background."

Happy April!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Welcome to Recovery Week

What could feel better than entering into your final Recovery Week of P90X? Oh wait, I know . . . finishing your LAST day of P90X! And that day will be this Friday. That's right. I said this Friday. I have to admit, it's not quite as thrilling as it was last year, but none the less I am looking forward to it. My husband is insisting that we should continue the workouts as if we never finished. This is the same guy that I had to beg and plead with last year to give this 'P90 thing' a try. Now I've created a monster and I can't stop him.

I really need to shift my focus over to yoga starting next weekend. This whole P90X thing has really gotten in the way of my yoga teacher training. I've done a good job with the book portion of my training, but now I'm to the point where I have to create and practice my first lesson. I have it on paper (seems the paper portion is much easier for me) and now I have to commit it to memory. My goal is to practice my own lesson plan every day next week and perform on tape by May. If all goes well, I'll have my certificate by my birthday in early July. That's the goal anyway. I need to hop to it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My New Recovery Drink

I found my new recovery drink—POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice. I have been intrigued by the magazine ads lately, and finally decided to give it a try. Tony always mentions the importance of drinking a ‘recovery drink’ after the P90X workouts, but I never tried his. The reason is that I didn’t want to get hooked on some expensive drinks that I had to order online. I wanted something healthy that I could just buy at a grocery store. Enter POM Pomegranate Juice.

First of all, the bottles are so darn cute I almost have a hard time tossing them in the recycling bin. I’m constantly trying to come up with a craft project to re-purpose them. At first I thought the bottles were so little that I would need to drink 3 of them after a workout, making them just as expensive. But there are a couple of reasons why that is not the case. First, you only need 8 ounces of this wonder juice to reap the healthy benefits of it. And secondly, I discovered that mixing the juice with my favorite pomegranate-seltzer is a real treat. I compare drinking the straight juice to a glass of Merlot; strong and bold. But mixing it with seltzer gives it a lighter and yummy twist. Perfect for an after workout guzzle.

And speaking of red wine, tests found that ounce for ounce, pomegranate juice has 17% more polyphenol antioxidants than red wine. With incredibly high levels of very potent, naturally occurring polyphenol antioxidants, POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice is truly the antioxidant superpower. And I don’t know about you, but guzzling red wine really puts a damper on the rest of the day.

Scientists believe that antioxidants may help protect the body from free radical damage. It makes sense that exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables including antioxidant-rich POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice may help you stay young. It’s cheaper and more pleasant than Botox so I’m willing to give it a try.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Urban Zen Foundation

The Well-Being Initiative of the Urban Zen Foundation is committed to changing the current healthcare paradigm to include integrative therapies and promote patient advocacy. Their vision is a healthcare system where the patient is treated, not just the disease… a system where eastern healing techniques, yoga therapy, aromatherapy, and nutrition are used in combination with western medicine in a holistic approach to patient care.

As part of the Well-Being Initiative, the Urban Zen Foundation has launched two new programs in 2009 featuring instruction by Rodney Yee:

The Urban Zen Yoga Teacher Training Program is an in-depth 200-hour yoga teacher training program that can be completed on its own or taken as a suggested pre-requisite for the Urban Zen Integrative Therapist program. This program begins March 13, 2009, in New York City, and will run through September 2009, one weekend a month, with a break in July.

The Urban Zen Integrative Therapist (UZIT) Program is a 500-hour advanced program focused on integrating multiple therapies into patient care. The current year-long program started in NYC in January 2009 and the next training will start in January 2010.

For more information visit

Monday, March 02, 2009

One Step Closer

  • 50 question written test -- DONE
  • 3 page essay on yoga and health -- DONE
  • 1 hour lesson plan for my first yoga class -- not even close

I have to admit, I'm completely intimidated with building my first lesson plan. This is the class that I will need to lead in order to achieve my certification. It needs to be perfect. It needs to address all the different aspects of a well-rounded yoga class. It needs to take into consideration the different issues of special needs students. It needs to include only poses that I CAN DO. It needs to be an hour long. And most importantly, it needs me to be serious and on track for the duration. That will be the biggest challenge. My mind has a tendency to drift . . . . Where was I? Oh yes, worrying about how I will lead my first one hour class with the stress of a camera rolling the entire time. Yikes.

To help me prepare my class I'm reading one of the text books provided in my training kit. It's called "The Sivananda Companion to Yoga" and it is a wonderful book. I just love it. It is beautifully illustrated and well laid out. My biggest gripes with my other text books were the cheesy illustrations and the horrific pictures. But this book is simply lovely and will be an invaluable source of information as plan my lesson.

After reading a few chapters and watching a long DVD of instructor tips I thought I was ready to use my husband as a crash test dummy and lead a little yoga class at home. I did positively no planning and tried to just wing it with my newly gained knowledge fresh in my head. Well, it didn't go too good. We both ended up silly and laughing. How on earth will I pull off this taping?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fitness is Addictive

I’m currently in the seventh week of P90X and I skipped today’s workout. I still can’t believe that I skipped it. I can’t seem to get it out of my head and I feel consumed with fret about it. I’m going to blame my husband for this one. He was trying to be the voice of reason by advising me that, given my current blinding migraine, it might be best to skip the working out. I know he’s right, but if it was up to me I’d be upstairs right now doing Legs & Back; no matter how much my head hurt. Somehow I would get through it.

What is it about a fitness program that makes me so addicted? All I can think about now is, “What do I do from here?” Should I do Legs & Back tomorrow or should I do Kenpo, which is our normal Thursday work out? The best scenario would be to skip our Friday rest day and do both workouts this week. Only problem is that my husband and I have a date planned for Friday. Is it bad that I’m sitting here wondering if he would be mad if we postponed our date so we can get our full P90 week in? Oh God, I’m sick. This addiction must stop. Why can’t I be like normal people and not give slacking a second thought?

Problem solved. I just devised a plan. I will use my lunch break tomorrow to work out my legs and then do our regularly scheduled Kenpo after work. Phew. I feel much better now. I can finally relax for the rest of the night.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yoga Teacher Training Moving Right Along

This weekend I finished the written test which consisted of 50 questions. I think my answers totaled seven pages worth of information. So much to digest and I wonder how much of it I’ll really retain. My next step is to write a three page essay on yoga and it’s relation to health. I have decided to write about how yoga can have positive benefits to cancer patients because restorative yoga is where most of my interest lies. I don’t have any intention of going out to a yoga studio to get a part-time job leading classes. But if I could ever utilize my knowledge to help people that really could use some extra help as they battle their way through a terrible ordeal, that would be very meaningful to me.

Once this step is complete it will be time for me to devise my own one-hour class routine. This is the part that scares me the most. I know I can happily do yoga by myself for an hour and cover all of my favorite asanas. But my ‘test class’ must be in the proper order and must address every group of poses, making sure to make special modifications for special needs students. This is the part of distance learning that is the most challenging. Nothing beats have the instructors in front of you showing you the proper moves. I have some videos to watch and I’m hoping I’ll get enough out of them. But maybe I should just focus on one step at a time. It’s time to start my restorative yoga research . . .

Monday, February 16, 2009

Plyometrics Revisited

This week I tackled P90X Plyo for the first time this year. I’m following the same schedule I did last year. I start off with, and complete Phase 1, doing the “Lean” version. Then during the first or second week of Phase 2, I replace Cardio with Plyo. Something about just ‘jumping’ into Plyo right off the bat scares me. And I think this method is really working because I got through the hour without any trouble. Seems that P90X is much easier your second time around. I remember talking to a friend who was also doing P90X for the first time last season. When I commented one day that I was planning to do it all over again the following year she was shocked and amazed. She told me that at the end of her 90 days she was planning to drive over all the DVDs with her car and never wanted to see them again. LOL.

I’m not sure if it’s because I know what to expect, or my body is still stronger from last year, but I haven’t had one day of dreading my workout or feeling as though it was too hard–and I’m a year older now! Is it possible that the conditioning I got last year is still paying off? That would be amazing, but it just may be.

Some random observations after starting Phase 2 include:
  • My flexibility has improved. My down dogs are near perfect and I feel very strong in the position. I can also reach the floor on all the stretching moves.
  • I finally figured out the real way to do the Drya rolls. Suddenly it just clicked and I found myself flying up without having to push with my hands. That felt great.
  • My steam engines improved greatly. My knees are now flying up much higher and much easier than they were at the beginning of Phase 1.
  • Unfortunately I’m not as strong with the push-ups or pull-ups as I was last year because I have not been supplementing with weight lifting sessions outside of P90X. This time whatever strength I build, I’m building solely from P90.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Win a Free YogaDudes T-Shirt

Although I am enjoying all my teacher training homework and all the fascinating reading, I sometimes ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” I have full-time job and a side business to run. I’m not planning to go out and actually teach yoga classes. This is just something that I feel I need to do. Sometimes the days aren’t long enough and the stress level is high. Sometimes I think I’m just crazy for taking more on my already full plate. So I’m looking for some inspiration . . .

Please answer my simple question, “Why should I become a yoga teacher?” by leaving a comment in the Comments Section below. Please be sure to include your email address in the comment. A winner will be selected on Valentines Day and notified via email.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It’s All In Your Head

Yesterday I proved this theory when I tackled P90X Yoga with a better attitude. Instead of dreading it, like I normally do, I looked forward to the challenge. I put myself into the right state of mind and what a difference it made. I completed the whole thing like a champ. I almost felt silly for complaining about it last week. It wasn’t so bad.

This just proves the power of the human mind and the theory of meeting the expectations that you set. If you expect something to be hard and grueling it typically is. If you expect a bad day, chances are you will get it. From now on I am expecting to enjoy my P90X Yoga routines.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Real Secret

I have officially recovered from my mental setback and I thought it prudent to publish a new blog post BEFORE I attempt P90X yoga today. I had a week to fall back in love with yoga and it was easy to do from reading more of my teacher training textbooks. The book I’m reading now (and I’m sorry that I don’t have to title to share at this moment) goes over more of the science of the human body. This stuff completely fascinates me. It explains how every single thing you do requires you to exert energy. Even just a mere thought of doing something flexes your brain to send a signal to the muscles required to perform that action. It went on to explain how human emotions can waste exceeding amounts of energy. For instance, getting upset and angry makes your heart beat faster and affects the body in so many negative ways. Just minutes of anger can waste a day’s worth of energy.

The more I read about the physiological effects of yoga on the human body, the more I think that yoga is the true ‘Secret’ to human kind. How could anybody read these textbooks and not embrace yoga with both arms so tight and never let it go?

This weekend I saw a report on 60 Minutes about a new drug called Resveratrol that is supposedly going to slow down the aging process in humans. The report went on to explain the different studies, like calorie restriction, and its affect on mice. I kept finding myself saying, “That’s what the yogis do.” No Resveratrol needed and these yogis seem to have figured out the natural way to reduce the speed of the aging process. I’m sold. Of course this doesn’t mean that I won’t be first in line once they release Resveratrol! Taking that supplement AND doing yoga should keep my young forever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Mental Setback

I’m halfway through with my second week of P90X. I managed to squeak out last week with convincing myself that my 30 minute Rodney Yee Power Strength yoga was an acceptable substitute for the P90X yoga. Who was I kidding? Truth be told I hate the P90X Yoga and I would gladly bike 50 miles or lift weights for hours in place of it.

Today was the dreaded yoga day and I ran out of excuses for not doing the real thing. I only had time for 45 minutes of it and it kicked my butt. Not only did it drain my strength, but it drained my spirit. I hate swallowing the fact that I lost most of the strength that I spent months building last year. But even harder to swallow was the fact that 15 minutes into today’s session I was cursing yoga. I mean I think I really hated it. It was just too hard. This past weekend I read an important part of my yoga text book. It clearly stated that a good yoga program ‘should not go to the point of fatigue.’ Well, that means that I shouldn’t go past the first 10 minutes of P90X. It’s such a double-edged sword. If I lift weights and don’t feel sore the next day I’m disappointed and feel as though I didn’t work hard enough. I know that if I attempted a yoga session that didn’t hurt and pose a big challenge I wouldn’t be satisfied. Yet I long for a yoga session that I really enjoy; one that leaves me feeling refreshed and mentally renewed instead of drained and depressed.

Doing the P90X yoga is definitely not good for my dream of becoming a yoga teacher and it’s going to be hard to maintain my passion and love for yoga during the next 90 days. Maybe I should go back to my plan of substituting yoga that I actually like in place of the dreaded program. I have to keep reminding myself that yoga is about more than just the challenging poses. Maybe I should type that 100 times over to get it through my head.

Yoga is about more than just the challenging poses.
Yoga is about more than just the challenging poses.
Yoga is about more than just the challenging poses.
Yoga is about more than just the challenging poses.
Yoga is about more than just the challenging poses.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Yoga—The Fountain of Youth

I completed my first text book in my yoga teacher training and the part of what I learn that is sticking out in my mind the most is the very sad fact that at the age of 35 the human body starts to decay. DECAY. That is the exact word the text book used. My goodness that was hard to swallow. I also noticed that one of my test questions instructs me to create a yoga routine that would be suitable for somebody between the ages of 18 and 35. I didn’t realize the magic behind the number 35. I mean, who knew that you started to decay after that? How much worrying should I do now that I’m the dreaded 4-0? Yoga was supposed to train my brain to be more at ease. This is not helping!

Armed with this new knowledge that I’ve been decaying for 5 years now, I decided to take some of my free time away from reading books and put some time into getting back in shape. Enough with the books; I was ready to get physical. For the past 15 years of my life I managed to stay extremely fit and active. I’m the type of person that actually feels guilty if I don’t exercise every day. But, like most people I managed to collect a few excuses over the past few months. It all started with a rib injury that completely knocked me out of any physical activity for 4+ weeks. That was torture. From there I entered the crazy holiday season and why start working out then?

So here I am slipping into greater decay. What can I do to get into great shape and fast? I knew the answer to that question . . . P90X. I completed this awesome work out last year and I know exactly what the results can be. Now let me preface this by saying that I was already in good shape when I started this program last year. I was lifting weights 4X a week and trail running 3X a week. When I made the decision to start P90X last weekend I had a sinking feeling that I would never make it through the first video. Here I was starting after doing no working out for over 3 months. Very scary.

I completed the first video which was Core Synergistics and although it was challenging, I was able to do it all, and do it better than I did the first time last year. As a matter of fact, tonight completes my first week of P90X and I was surprised at how easy I got through it. I set my expectations for trouble with my 40 year decaying body, but I proved myself wrong. How can this be? How can I still be in good shape without the constant weight lifting and cardio? I truly believe that yoga is the key to maintaining a strong, youthful body. There is no doubt that P90X whipped me into great shape, but it was yoga that kept me there.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Bridge Between Yoga and Excercise

I took a little break from my certification text book. I recently ran into a fellow yogi that used to own a studio near my office. I took several of her meditation classes last year and they were my first introduction to meditation. It was those classes that made me realize that I have a lot to learn on the subject. Needless to say I was thrilled to learn that this new friend, Cheryl Jones-Reardon, recently published a book entitled Mindful Exercise, A Bridge Between Yoga and Exercise. I just couldn't wait to read it and since it was relatively short and easy to read I decided to dive right in.

What’s interesting about this book is the emphasis on mindfulness which involves being in the present moment. My experience is that many yoga classes are not mindful. A lot of teachers are still stuck in the old fitness mentality where the Asanas or postures simply replace push-ups. Mindful exercise offers a workout and a “work-in” experience, which cultivates moment-to-moment awareness through the breath and movement. During Mindful exercise we practice paying attention to sensations, thoughts, and feelings. We move the body with compassion, gratitude, and honor for the capabilities of the body as they are in the present moment. Mindful Exercise presents seven spiritual practices, one for each day of the week, with illustrations of their corresponding exercise trios. A specific format for this twenty-minute practice is also presented, and an audio CD is enclosed that guides you through each meditation or movement experience. Cheryl’s book/CD is the perfect tool for beginners and for seasoned yoga teachers who wish to bring greater awareness to their teaching. Mindful Exercise sells for $20.95 and you can order this book/CD at

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Beginning of My Yoga Teacher Training

I’m in the process of reading my first text book. It’s called The Complete Yoga Book by James Hewitt. Upon first glance and a quick thumb through I thought it would bore me to tears. It’s mostly all text with some very cheesy illustrations sprinkled throughout. At the rate I normally read books (extremely slowly) I thought it would take me a year to get through this first book. I just couldn’t stop thinking that I’ll never learn yoga through a black and white, mostly just words and no pictures text book. But I reluctantly stuck my nose in the book and got busy.

Here I am two weeks later loving the darn book. I’m on page 266—probably more pages than I ever read in a two week stretch— and I’m completely fascinated. I have been doing yoga as nothing more than an exercise for over 7 years. I like the challenge of the physical exertion and just about all I know of yoga is the different poses. I was very naive to think that teacher training was all about memorizing the different postures. There is so much more to yoga and I’m so excited to dive in and soak it all up.

My text book is divided into three sections and it only took me three minutes to figure out that this is what yoga is really about: Beathing, Posture, and Meditation. I have a pretty good grip on the postures part, but I really know nothing about the breathing and the meditation. I still have a hard time believing that I could read nearly a hundred pages about something as simple as breathing and be fascinated by it all. Non-yogis probably think we are all nuts. After all, what can be so complicated about the simple act of breathing? They have no idea . . .

One of the most interesting parts of this first part of the book was the exploration of the extraordinary feats that very experienced yogis can perform. Now, when I say “experienced yogis” I mean Buddhist monks that dedicate their lives to meditation. But still, the fact that humans can put their bodies into such a relaxed state that they can be buried alive for several hours, or even days, is positively amazing. It proves that the power of any human being’s mind is limitless.

Another extraordinary feat that particularly interested me is Tumo, engendering body heat at will. By combining advanced breath control, concentration, and imagination naked or skimpily-clad yogis can sit immobile and meditate for hours on exposed mountain tops in sub-zero temperatures. I can barely stand to be more than 6 feet away from our wood stove in CT without complaining that I’m freezing. Some good breath control and meditation can do me a world of good.

I’m now in the middle of reading about all the different postures. This is probably my least favorite part of the book. As a graphic designer, I’m a very visual person and I’m having a hard time reading every little nuance of each pose. I would much rather WATCH it than read about it, but none-the-less I’m very much enjoying stage one of my remote yoga teacher training.