Yoga for Strength and Flexibility

Nervous about yoga?  Tight hamstrings?  Want to build arm and core strength?  Thursday at 5:45 is the class for you.  It’s a class that meets the particular needs of men and those new to yoga.  We use chairs and other “props” to move more deeply into yoga poses.

Can’t touch your toes?  No problem!  Can’t sit on the floor?  Okay!  Have no ideas what yoga pants look like?  That’s just fine!  All are welcome.  All levels invited.  No experience  necessary!  Wear comfortable clothing you can move in.  Taught by Kristine Zakarison.   THURSDAYS, 5:45 – 6:45,  COME JOIN US!

Have you shared a laugh today?

Do you remember these days? If you were lucky, maybe it was yesterday, or this morning — when you could just get together with a dear one and laugh and laugh, sometimes about nothing at all.  There are times when I’ve been teaching yoga when it’s happened to 2 people on adjacent yoga mats.  One of them starts giggling, and it’s just like second grade again.  I attempt to play the part of the “stern” teacher, just to keep the whole thing going — that kind of laughter needs the counter part of the teacher — but I actually delight in it, because, when the laughter is genuinely from the heart,  that’s the whole body joy that yoga is all about.  And sharing it is the stuff for which we are made! I love a yoga class that has some laughter in it.  Somehow, it rounds out the beauty of it for me.

My friend Michael, who is by day a husband, dad, teacher, and a bunch of other things, but also a philosophizer and (I would say) yogi, recently wrote:  “When you make someone laugh, it’s a double gift . . . One for me, one for you.”  Share the joy!

What is your intention?

Now imagine being asked this four times a week by a rather intense East Indian gentleman/ yogi, who expected an answer. I was telling one of my yoga classes that my first yoga teacher liked to start us off in this manner.  Being a graduate student at the time, it was easy to fall into a passive sense of “I’m here because I’m supposed to be . . .” which did not fly at all with my teacher (this just got intense breathing and a fierce stare).   “But why are you HERE?  I mean really HERE?”  He would ask.  I was never sure if he meant in class, in divinity school, or on the planet.  I don’t think he was really quite sure, either . . . Or that the answer was any different, in Ravi’s mind.

The Sanskrit word is “samkalpa” a resolution or intention formed through an informed conversation between the body, mind, and heart, and we were expected to have one for most things in life, including yoga class.The yogic value of samkalpa begins with awareness, and as much acceptance as we are able to embrace, of where we are.  It is not unmindful of our current condition, in fact, it dwells in the “is-ness” of our body, mind, and spirit, and suggests that this is the beautiful path that we will have the joy of journeying on our way to our intention.  And it is, all, indeed, considered beautiful.  We step onto the mat, we set our intention, and we trust that we’ve got exactly what we need for that moment to go where we need to go.  That’s the journey of samkalpa.  So happy to share it with you!

In a bind?!?

This week, my friend and teacher at Nourish Yoga Studio, Nancy Burtenshaw, has been putting us through the paces with binds.  Binds are those poses you think of when you think yogis and yoginis in seemingly impossible positions — various appendages wrapped around various other body parts.  Meanwhile, while in these binds, we’ve been exploring the back body, which in yoga is said to connect us to community and the more universal (front body is more our own will and individual self.  In Nia, the back body is said to get us in touch with that which is unknown or less known.   In every way, the practice takes us right to edge.  Lots of intensity and curiosity at that point — an amazing place to “play” this week.

Kudos to a new friend for letting me borrow the “yoga dudes” image at right from his site.  Reminds me to say special thanks to all of the “yoga dudes” I have the honor to teach each week . . . You guys/men know who you are, and YOU ROCK!