Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bent on Learning

BENT ON LEARNING is a unique nonprofit organization that offers instruction in yoga and meditation to students in grades K through 12 in New York City public schools and youth centers as a means of reducing stress and improving concentration, self-esteem, and overall health. Their mission is to improve the physical fitness and cognitive, social, and emotional skills school students by providing regular instruction in yoga and meditation. Teachers have at least 7 years experience practicing yoga and are required to have a 200 hour teaching certification and complete either a Social Action Teacher Training or Children's yoga course. Every $5 donated to the organization gives 1 child 1 yoga class. Keep that in mind while visiting their website!!

Monday, March 17, 2008


This just seemed so appropriate for today's climate. Be Present (the popular yoga clothing line) has come up with a clever tee (shown left) endorsing both political activism and peace. The website encourages us to "be strong, be proactive, be heard... make a difference. Vote. Don't throw away the power that you do have. Each voice does count. One voice may seem small, but when many voices chant 'om' together the vibrations fill the room and penetrate the soul. Put out the message to those around you to raise their voices together this coming November." The tee is available for both men and women in many colors. The womens' tee comes in three styles, including long sleeve. Get the message out and rock one of these at your next class! Available for $27–$29 at www.bepresent.com.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cheap Mats!

A thick mat makes practice a lot easier on your joints and bones, but they are usually quite expensive. I've found cheap "extra-thick" 1/4-inch mats at www.yogadirect.com. They come in a ton of colors, including unusual ones like coral, light yellow, black, and zen green. For $14.88, you might as well stock up!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Asana of the Week

Friday is Asana of the Week Day! Today we'll focus on Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose), one of my favorites. The full extent of the pose (pictured) is usually too much for beginners but I will explain the simple version. Start in plank pose and then shift your right hand on the floor until it is centered between your shoulder blades. Shift onto the outside edge of your right foot so that your left foot can rest on top of it and then swing your torso so that your body now faces the left side of the room. You are supporting the weight of your body on your outer right foot and your right hand. Bring your left arm toward the ceiling so that it is in line with your right arm. Unlike some yoga poses, you don't want your hand directly under your shoulder. Make sure your hand is slightly in front of your shoulder and that your left arm is in line with it. Align your entire body into one long line from heels to head. Keep your head in a neutral position or you can look up at your hand. If you find this plenty challenging, stay here for a few breaths (15 to 30 seconds). If it's easy for you, follow the example in the photo and bring your left leg perpendicular to your body by grasping your toes in a yogic toe lock (big toe between your thumb and first two fingers). When you are finished with the right side, do the same thing on the left for the same length of time. Have fun!

Yoga Fun for Kids

Devotion Yoga in Hoboken, NJ, (a 15 minute PATH ride from Manhattan) has an extensive and very impressive yoga class offering for children. Not only do they have Mommy/Daddy and Me classes for toddlers, but they have classes for children to enjoy, explore, and adventure on their own. They call their unique childrens' classes DevoKids and have groups for ages 3–5, 6–8, and 9–13. What a great way to help encourage our kids to play, to focus, and to love and accept their bodies exactly the way they are (perfect and beautiful)! Plus, it gives them a chance to get off the couch and get their hearts pumping. www.devotionyoga.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Saris Find a Second Life

Check out these amazing mat bags made from repurposed sari silkwork. These gorgeous silk fabrics are so dazzlingly lovely and, even better, by using one you are supporting an earth-friendly sustainable industry in yoga's homeland (India). Plus, no two are exactly alike. Recycling...it's easy (and beautiful) to do! They are available at Everything Yoga www.everythingyoga.com/silk-yoga-mat-bag.htm.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Stellar Yoga Podcasts

It's hard to find podcasts of great one-hour vinyasa classes. Well, I found out that my favorite studio in New York, Yoga to the People (http://www.yogatothepeople.com/), has five podcasts available for free on itunes. (In the itunes store, do a search for Yoga to the People, and the artist is Greg.) Greg's classes are so positive, challenging, and encouraging all at the same time. I wasn't sure if all of that would come through in the podcasts, but it does! I don't recommend these for beginners since the poses aren't thoroughly explained, but if you've done yoga before give them a try. They're perfect for those of us who don't always have the time or money to go to a class. A great way to spice up your home practice!