Friday, July 29, 2011

August 2011 Desktop Calendar

Thanks to YogaBliss photo for this wonderful picture. If you would like to make this beautiful graphic calendar your computer desktop just click on the image above to bring up a bigger graphic in a new window. Once the bigger graphic appears, just right-click on it and "save as desktop."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Second Annual Yoga Challenge

This summer, Citizen Effect is launching its 2nd Annual Yoga Challenge and uniting the DC yoga community to benefit Becky’s Fund, a Washington, DC-based non-profit that focuses on domestic and dating violence education and awareness.

From yoga newbies to experienced yogis, everyone is encouraged to do #Yoga4Good. Participants will receive discounts from local yoga studios while joining together to raise $20,000 for Becky’s Fund. Those interested in doing #Yoga4Good can go to to sign up. The official Challenge and studio benefits will start on August 1st and last through the end of the month, with top fundraisers receiving prizes at the end of the challenge. There will also be four (4) Yoga in the Park events, starting July 20th and occurring every other Wednesday through August.

Currently underway is Citizen Effect’s “Show Us Your #Yoga4Good Pose” photo contest on Facebook. To participate, yoga lovers can take a picture of themselves doing a yoga pose while displaying the Yoga Challenge hashtag, #Yoga4Good, then post it to Citizen Effect’s “Show Us Your #Yoga4Good Pose” Facebook page. The person with the most “likes” on their photo will receive a 3-month supply of Vita Coco Coconut Water.

Yoga’s focus on healthy, happy living makes it the perfect fundraiser for the Becky’s Fund youth initiatives: “Becoming Your Own Heroine: Lessons in Self-Empowerment and Dating Violence” and the “Young Men’s Mentorship Program,” which educate DC/Metro area youth about dating and domestic violence.

Challenge yourself to do #Yoga4Good today at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yoga and Meditation - The Perfect Combination

In a recent Huffington Post article, Deepak Chopra writes about the benefits of yoga. According to Chopra, yoga has not only been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate, reducing the risk of heart disease, but the meditation component of any yoga practice can also help to reduce instances of anxiety and depression.

From the article:
Calming the mind Since yoga involves the mind as well as the body, it’s not surprising that it may help reduce anxiety and depression, especially in people whose anxiety is related to an illness like cancer. More research is needed to learn exactly how yoga affects mood, but a 2007 study may provide a clue: It found that in experienced yoga practitioners, a 60-minute yoga session increased levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA. Low levels of GABA have been linked to depression and anxiety disorders. Another pilot study suggests that yoga may influence depression by increasing the alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves are associated with relaxation. Yet another possibility is that yoga reduces the amount of cortisol, a hormone that the body releases in response to stress. Some scientists think chronic high levels of cortisol may be tied to depression, as well as impaired immune function.

If the potential health benefits of yoga aren’t enough to make you want to try it, consider this: Yoga can also make you look more toned and fit and help you move with greater ease, especially as you grow older. A 2007 study of the Hatha yoga style showed that it increased muscular strength, flexibility and endurance. It’s no wonder that many athletes use yoga to cross-train.

And if you want to try your hand at a simple meditation that you can do right at home, please follow this link.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yoga Woman

Never underestimate the power of inner peace! Check out this amazing movie trailer about how yoga is changing the lives of women all over the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Power of Aum

Lately I have really been struggling with my morning meditation. I have a neck injury that has me in such severe pain that I simply can not sit with my hands in my lap. I normally sit for 20 minutes, the first 5 require my right hand near my forehead, with my left hand in my lap. The pain is isolated to the left part of my neck and my left shoulder. Within 2 seconds of my meditation the pain is so bad I simply can not concentrate, I have to move and fidget, and I sometimes end up in tears. But yet I still sit there. Come Hell or high water I will sit for 20 minutes every morning.

It was a couple of days ago that I realized something amazing. After my 5 minutes of torture from having my left arm in my lap, I move my arms slightly so that my palms are up and resting on my knees (as I sit in cross-legged position). Now this position is still terribly uncomfortable for me, but (and here's the interesting part) when I start to chant my Aums I can actually feel the pain reducing. With every single Aum I feel the muscles relaxing, which must relieve some pressure on the nerve causing all the pain. This just proved the power of the Aum. Now the trick to chanting these Aums is actually feeling the vibration. As Sadhguru taught, you must first feel the vibration in your belly. This is when you are making the Aaaaaaa sound (like when the doctor tells you to stick out your tongue). Then as you begin to close your mouth the sound naturally turns from Aaaaaaa to Uuuuuuuuuu and when you do this right you can literally feel the vibration move from your belly to your chest. This is the point of the chant that I can literally feel this vibration in my shoulder. When you finally close your month the sound starts to make the Mmmmmmmmmm sound and now you can feel the vibration right to the tip of your nose.

I chant these Aums for at minimum of 5 minutes and during those 5 minutes I am pain free. It is the most amazing thing. Unfortunately, I don't move a muscle as I transition into the next segment of meditation. My seating position is the exact same, only when the chanting stops the pain returns. I will continue to work on my muscle therapy and treatment to fix my neck and shoulder, but the lesson I learned about the power of Aums will stay with me forever. For more information on learning this powerful meditation, please visit

Friday, July 15, 2011

Amazing New Yoga Mat

I was recently contacted by Vernice Vita to review a brand new yoga mat. My first thought was, "How much could I say about a yoga mat?" Upon further investigation I discovered two more interesting facts about this new mat: first it is made of memory foam, and second it cost over $100. These two things left me a bit leery. I never really was a big fan of memory foam. I feared that the mat would be too squishy, making it difficult to move my feet positions. My other concern was the price. I wondered who would spend so much on a mat. I was doubtful that I would.

But I had an open mind and I agreed to take a mat on loan. I have to admit I was growing more and more curious to experience what my routine would feel like on this strange new environment. When I unrolled the mat I could see that it was going to take a little while for it to lay flat all by itself. It also had a funny "new" smell so I rolled it out on my porch and let it both settle down and air out. I normally do my yoga routine in a spare bedroom that happens to be carpeted. I wanted to give this new mat a fair shot and figured that I shouldn't lay a memory foam mat on top of carpet and padding, so trying it out on the wood decking of my porch was the perfect plan . . . in so many ways . . .

In one word, the mat was AMAZING. I just couldn't get over the complete transformation in my routine. In the craze of an overly booked and rushed day, I had planned to only "try it out" with a 10 minute routine. 40 minutes later I was still going strong. I found that I lingered in every pose far longer than I normally do. I found the mat so comfortable and I swear it improved my balance. I felt like I was grounded to the mat in ways that I never experienced and everything just felt so right. I felt strong. I felt like my form was better than it ever has been. All of my previous yoga experiences were on my squishy carpeted bedroom floor or at studios on wood floors with very skinny mats. This was just unreal.

My fear of having my feet stuck was unfounded. I moved in and out of the positions no differently than on any other mat. But when it came to one arm side balances that normally hurt my wrists, I was more comfortable. When it came to balance poses I felt like a rock. And when it came to Savasana . . . on my God, I never wanted to get up!

Later in the evening I packaged up some new yoga pants that my husband recently bought me for my birthday in preparation for exchanging them. It was then that I realized those pants cost $95. Then I flipped through a sport magazine where I researched some new running shoes, which, of course, cost over $100. Suddenly it seemed much more justifiable to spend the money on an amazing yoga mat. After all, it is your one tool of the trade that can make or break or practice. Needless to say, the loaner is NOT going back.

And the most interesting part of this experiment (for me) was the fact that I found my absolute favorite new place to practice yoga (in addition to my new favorite mat). Practicing outside in my screened in, always shaded, porch was outstanding. I could feel the breeze and hear the little waterfall that feeds into my gold fish pond. I am now planning to decorate this new-found space with all things yoga!

For more information on the new yoga mat, please visit They have an online store where you can buy your own amazing new mat.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Isha Kriya Meditation

Isha Kriya is a modified form of the meditation that I learned through Inner Engineering back in May, and for the first time it's available to everybody online. Here's is what Sadhguru has to say about it:

“For different levels of thought and emotion that you go through, your breath takes on different types of patterns. If you are angry you breathe one way, you are peaceful you breathe another way. You are happy, you breathe in another way. You are sad, you will breathe in a completely different way. Have you noticed this? Based on this conversely is the science of Isha Yoga: there are conscious patterns of breath which can leave you in a constant state of bliss and healthfulness.”

To learn more about it, please watch this video.

And if that peaked your interest, please visit this web page which will offer you a chance to try the Isha Kriya on your own.

Friday, July 01, 2011

July Desktop Calendar

Ahhh, finally the sweetness of Summer has arrived. If you would like to make this whimsical graphic calendar your computer desktop just click on the image above to bring up a bigger graphic in a new window. Once the bigger graphic appears, just right-click on it and "save as desktop."