Sunday, March 27, 2011

Yoga Pose Encyclopedia

Maybe an encyclopedia of any sort doesn't sound very exciting, but have you ever come across an encyclopedia that wasn't extremely useful? I recently spent some time with the Yoga Journal Pose Encyclopedia and I was simply thrilled with it. I can't imagine many yogis who wouldn't benefit from it. No matter what your level of yoga, it would be hard not to gleam some sort of new insight from this useful DVD. Granted this is not the sort of video that you would watch over and over again, like many of your favorite yoga routines. This one is meant as a reference. You can use it to refresh all the important aspects of a pose, learn some of the small pose pointers that you might not have ever realized, or in my case, gain some valuable insight into the little, but ever-so-important hints and reminders to use when teaching a yoga class. I just loved it and after only watching it once, it greatly helped my very next class. I learned a great new breathing technique and had a wealth of new hints to share with my students.

The best part about the video was the camera angles. This is always a challenge when taking a yoga class, or watching a class on a video. You can never seem to get a view of the instructor in the exact angle you need, especially if you are also trying to perform the pose. But this DVD is meant to be watched as you sit at your computer, not on your mat. The female yogi performs each pose as the camera circles around her in a complete 360 degree rotation. The voice-overs give you every possible important fact about the pose. You not only learn how to do the poses correctly and safely, but it gives you a deeper understanding of each posture.

You can navigate your way around the DVD by picking the different groups of poses and then each individual pose. There are 35 poses all together and now that I've viewed them all, I'm hungry for more. I wonder if Yoga Journal has any plans to expand the volumes of encyclopedias they will offer. I sure hope so.

Check this DVD out for yourself on the Yoga Journal website.

Weekly Inspiration: Get Out of Bounds

This one seems fitting because I just came back from a spectacular biking/hiking vacation in Moab, Utah. Just a little reminder to play hard and follow your folly . . .

Monday, March 21, 2011

Second Ayurveda Class

I had my second Ayurveda class and sadly I still can't spell (nor pronounce) the word properly, but I'm not letting that get me down. I'm even more excited about the class than I was last time. This time we got into the good stuff. Not that the basic philosophy wasn't interesting. It was. But I'm the type of person that has to fast forward through the preview to get to the movie. I'm just too anxious. And how interesting it was to find out why . . .

Last night we got into the mental gunas (which bind the soul to the physical form), the 5 elements, the basic constitutions and the sub doshas. Have I lost you yet? It all may sound strange to hear these unfamiliar words. I can rattle off more strange words than you can imagine, but the stranger thing is how much sense it all makes. When it comes right down to it our bodies are completely a result of our environment and our diet. Unfortunately we can not control our environment. We may be able to control certain aspects of it, like where we live or who we choose to be around, but most of the circumstances surrounding our environments is completely out of our control. Our diets, on the other hand, are completely in our control. And the bottom line is that you are what you eat. More on that to come.

Everybody has a distinct pattern of energy -- a specific combination of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics. The three basic energy types called doshas, present in every person are:
  • Vata -- energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and heartbeat. When vata energy is balanced, there is creativity and vitality. Out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety.
  • Pitta -- energy that controls the body's metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and temperature. In balance, pitta leads to contentment and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta can cause ulcers and arouse anger.
  • Kapha -- energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. In balance, kapha is expressed as love and forgiveness. Out of balance, kapha leads to insecurity and envy.
The first thing you need to do is determine which one you are. Based on the instructor's descriptions there was no doubt in my mind where I fall. And I am about as unbalanced as they get. I don't want to get into all the details of outlining the characteristics of each one (you need to find yourself a class or an Ayurveda practitioner if you are really interested) but I loved this brief description that our teacher used last night.

Vatas get immediately emotional and excited when they hear about taking an Ayurveda class and immediately sign themselves up for the class . . . but then they completely forget to go because they are so busy doing a million other things.

Pittas hear about the class, give it some thought, think it sounds great, sign up and then show up either on-time or early, completely organized, with notebooks in their hands.

Kaphas hear about the class and, although they think it's a wonderful thing that they would love to do, they find all kinds of excuses not to go because they just can't drag themselves off the couch.

So which one are you? OK so it's not really that simple. You should get a pulse reading done to be sure, but if you are interested in trying to figure out your constitution via a questionnaire here's a neat link:

There is so much to this science and it's so fascinating. I will try to write about more things that I learn along the way, but in the meantime if you are at all interested in this science I encourage you to explore it online

Weekly Inspiration

This one is perfect for those of us in New England. Lesson for this week: "The perfect day isn't always up to the weather."

Monday, March 07, 2011

My First Ayurveda Class

Last night I attended my first Ayurveda class. I was so excited to get started with this that I brushed the dust off of the wonderful book I bought last year (shown above). If I ever read it when I bought it ages ago, I'm nearly certain I forgot whatever I learned so it was all new to me.

This first class was really just an intro to what we will learn in future classes. We covered some of the basics of Cosmic Evolution, which is the theory that Ayurveda is based on. (I just realized that one of my goals for this class will be to be able to spell "Ayurveda" without having to look it up every time!) Anyway, the basic principals in which Ayurveda are based on are fascinating and at times hard to wrap my brain around. There are lots of new words to digest . . . Purush, Prakruti, Mahat, Ahamkara, and I can't leave out the instructor's favorite . . . Buddhi (pronounced "boot tee").

This intro was probably the hardest part for me. I compared it to me reading a novel. When I come to a person's name I just blow by it as if it's non-essnetial information that I don't want to clutter my brain. I have this "just get to the story" impatience and I can sometimes get through half a novel without really knowing who all the characters are. It's really hard for me to remember and process names for some reason. So last night was the painful introduction when all I want to do is jump in and learn 'the good stuff.' I must practice patience because the 'good stuff' is yet to come.

And the more we visited the topics of what is to come the more anxious I grew to learn about it. We talked about some basics about how important food is in providing the much needed balance that our body requires. Everybody knows which foods are healthy and which foods are not, but what most of us don't know is which healthy foods are right for our particular body and even, (ready for this?) what time of day you should and should not be eating them. Some foods can be very beneficial during certain times of day, but be detrimental during other times of the day. One of the foods that we talked about was oatmeal. I love oatmeal. What could possibly be bad about oatmeal? Well apparently certain body types can process oatmeal perfectly while others will get dragged down. I sure hope I'm the type that handle oatmeal . . and chocolate . . .and pasta . . .and ice cream . . .

Food plays such an important role, not only in our energy level, but also our cognitive functions. All I know is that I can use all the help I can get in feeling my best and thinking clearly. I have so much trouble focusing on anything for more than 10 seconds these days. I simply can not wait to learn what I should be eating and when.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Perfect Way to Start the Day

. . . With a little weekly inspiration and happiness. Lesson for this week: Walk tall and keep good company.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Win a Free Copy of Midnights With a Mystic

I discovered a new book that has me intrigued and I can't wait to get a copy. The book is called Midnights With the Mystic by Cheryl Simone and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, and it's being called 'a light read - rich in wisdom.' Cheryl Simone, began a journey of discovery and her path led her to Isha Yoga and Sadhguru, the most sought after spiritual leader in India. Together, he teaches and she experiences. It promises to take the reader through a unique journey.

A series of intimate conversations with a wise guru is a compelling idea. How many times have each of us wished for answers to life's deep questions? As we share in her profound experiences, we are challenged to embrace the possibility that to each of us is available a higher realm of reality, a peak of consciousness, an entrée into the realm of freedom and bliss.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

Then he went on, "Yoga is the path of becoming limitless. Yoga transforms and liberates human beings so that they can reach this unbounded state. Humans, unlike animals, do not merely exist. They are becoming. 'Human' is not an established quality; one has to grow into it. One has to become that. To evolve as a human being is to become aware of one's limitations, to strive, with intense passion, toward the transcendence for which we all have the potential. Yoga is a way of finding your ultimate potential. In a specific context, yoga had come to mean spiritual union with the absolute. Liberation while living is the goal of yoga, the highest experience, a fusion of the individual with the universal."

You can visit for more info on the book. And here's the best part . . .

FSB Associates has offered a FREE COPY to YogaDudes fans. All you need to do is leave a comment on our Facebook book page that says that you want to be enlightened. One winner will be drawn randomly on Monday, March 7th. So please head over to the YogaDudes Facebook page now and take a shot at your free copy. (Please note that the free book can only be sent to addresses in the US and Canada!)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Free March Desktop Calendar

Making new friends is easy when you're young and in school. You come across hundreds of people just like you on a daily basis. But later in life it's not always easy to meet new people and make new friends. And it's certainly not every day you meet somebody that shares not only one of your passions, but two. I have been very fortunate to make a new friend, Sandy Foster, that is not only a yogi, but also a photographer (two of my passions).

Sandy is a Dallas-based photographic artist and educator. She brings her innovative, fine art sensibilities to every image, whether that be fashioning compelling stories of nature and humanity, or poignant moments of people, landscapes, magical juxtapositions, or abstractions of light. Being a yogini herself, Sandy enjoys photographing others deeply involved in this practice and this month's desktop calendar is a shot that Sandy took of her friend Deva.

Deva Serene is a world-traveling certified Qigong and yoga instructor. When she's not hanging out in trees, or connecting with Mother Gaia, she's using her skills to guide others in self-healing sessions. During the months of March and April, Deva will be teaching at Present Moment Retreat at Troncones Beach, Mexico.

We hope you enjoy this image that celebrates photography, yoga, and friendship. To make it your desktop wallpaper just click on the image above and when the larger graphic opens in a new window, right-click on it and select "Save as Desktop." Why not share it with your special yogi friend . . .

For more information on Sandy and her photography, please visit