Chinese New Year
It's a great time to celebrate even if you're not Chinese. Personally, I like to celebrate every morning, because I'm grateful to still be here on the planet, enjoying life. Did you know the Lunar new year--based on the recurring 12 year Chinese zodiac cycle-- is about 15 days of traditional food, firecrackers, parades with people dressed as dragons--realy sparkly and fun.
Here's something else to celebrate. Super Bowl is over. Really, I couldn't care less. Click here if you want to learn more about the Year of the Red Fire Monkey.
So put on your red underwear, give someone you like a red envelop with money in it, go to a temple and pray to receive a year-long blessing. But don't wash your hair the first 3 days of the New Year, because that would wash away all your good luck.
Look, these tradtions are thousands of years old, so they may be on to something.
You're Never Too Old for Yoga
There are so many adaptations we can learn when our bodies are a little older and stiffer. It's not too late for the Woodstock Generation to begin doing Yoga!
The Flex-Ability series is something I plan to teach next month at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram Retreat in the Bahamas. We move every joint in the body, taking it through its full range of motion. The gentle movements tone and strengthen the muscles that support the joints, and simultaneously help to remove stiffness from the joints. This is a series of movements I teach to everyone, young or old. It helps to heal the finer muscles and tendons from previous injury and restore natural movement.
I recently started volunteering at a nursing home, and I've discovered how restricting the wheel chair is to the residents. There is very little freedom of movement, and this leads to more stiffness, loss of muscle tone, shallow breathing, and a feeling of disempowerment and depression. I'm teaching these folks how to stretch in their chair--many of them are not ambulatory. I'm also working on their capacity to breathe deeply. I'm starting to think this is more important than anything, because as we strengthen the diaphragm through gentle pranayama (Yogic breathing) techniques, we are building strength in the core. My friends at the nursing home are a stark reminder to keep my own body in shape so that I don't end up in a wheelchair myself some day!!
So, whether you're old and out of shape, or young and curious but challenged with other issues, Big Yoga can get you started on a path to self-discovery and joy.
Best Vacation Ever!
Prepare For The Best Vacation Ever!
I'm inviting YOU
February 29-March 4, 2016
at th Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat
There are adapted asanas to enjoy
Sweet sea breezes for pranayama practice
Delicious vegetarian meals
Lots of singing and dancing
Poetic and insightful journaling
New friends and hugs
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Digestive Pose for The Holidays
Here's a pose that will help you, at least with the overeating. It's called Vajrasana, or Hero Pose
In this image, I'm sitting on a meditation bench, but if you're able, simply sit on your bottom. Tuck your legs under you and sit on your feet. Either way, you will be lining up all the organs of digestion, speeding up the process.
After a big meal or any overindulgence, sit in the digestive pose, vajrasana, and you'll be less likely to suffer from indigestion. You might even be ready for that last slice of pie!
And don't foget your probiotics! A daily dose of kombucha, miso, yoghurt, kimchee, or even pickles is a sure fire way to improve digestion and makes it easier for the body to assimilate the nutrients in your food.
Whatever you do, have a fantastic holiday!
Holiday Gift Giving
It's that time of year. We start thinking about all the people on our lists that we love. We want to demonstrate how much we love them by buying something meaningful, not something they'll re-gift or send to Goodwill.
What could be better than offering the gift of Yoga? And not the kind of yoga that is offputting to people of size, or folks recovering from injury. Or what about your granny who thinks Yoga is for younger folks with money, time on their hands, and a flexible body? Big Yoga is for the "Yoga-Have-Nots".
My new book, Big Yoga for Less Stress, has practices that can be done in a chair, at your desk, or even in bed! No pricey Yoga clothes are required, and you don't have to get up and down off the floor.
This year, give your loved one something that you cherish for yourself, because of the power of Yoga to transform.
Click the Paypal button below to order.
Happy 4th of July!
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.
I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”
They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—
I, too, am America.
"Less Stress" Has Launched
I've been working on this book for almost 3 years, and was pretty gung-ho about it until my son Sam died unexpectedly. His tragic death really threw me for a loop, and 2 years later, I still have some seriously bad moments. But thanks to my yoga practice, I survived, got stronger, and was able to get back to work on the book. During the last six months of working on the manuscript,
National Poetry Month
have gay pom-poms.
There is not a spot or a stain
on their satin toes or their sides.
All night they lie together
under her bed’s edge.
Shivering I catch sight of them
and smile, in the morning.
Later I watch them
descending the stair,
hurrying through the doors
and round the table,
with a shake of their gay pom-poms!
And I talk to them
in my secret mind
out of pure happiness.
I wanted to share this wonderful poem today, since it's the last day of National Poetry Month. I was going to write a poem, but his is better.
Do you ever use poetry or journaling to express the inexpressible? I am a compulsive journal writer, which I've been doing for over 50 years. I find it helps me to access thoughts and emotions that I am not clearly aware of. It helps inspire me with new perspectives. Answers to problems present themselves, as if by magic!
Take a moment to write something. Maybe choose 3 words to get you started--how about
Or choose some words of your own. See what comes up. It's your meditation tool for the day!
Buddha Body Yoga
Big Yoga for Less Stress
I finally have reviewed the final revisions for my new book, Big Yoga for Less Stress. As with any important endeavour, this book has taken a long time to come to fruition. In the midst of it all, my darling son Sam died unexpectedly, and there I was, having tomarshall all my Yoga techniques and practices to upift me, to help me get through the heartbreaking work of grieving the loss of a loved one.
There really isn't anything quite so gut-wrenching as losing a child. I hope it never happens to you. But it seems it's in my blood--my mother lost my sister before her 40th birthday, my grandmother lost her daughter at a young age. In fact, my great grand-mother had lost ALL her family by the time she left the body--she had outlived them all. She was a very spiritual woman, and took solace in prayer and poetry. I hope to share her strength and endurance.
You don't have to twist yourself into a pretzel to get the benefits of Yoga. The new book offers the most benign of stretches, some simple breathing practices, and meditations that can help you navigate the horrors of whatever life throws at you. Take some time for yourself. Stretch out, breathe a little. Meditation will begin to happen if you give yourself the opportunity to sit quietly.
This is Yoga. Yoga isn't about standing onyour head or assuming the position of a pretzel. It's about learning to accept life on life's terms, with love and grace. I pray for that grace every day, as I come to the 2nd anniversary of Sam's death. It's not an easy path, but it's simple. It's about surrendering--accepting--whatever comes. I'm a little shakey with this at the moment, but everything changes, and tomorrow, or the next day, I'll get caught up again the the joys and blessings of the Yogic lifestyle, and I'll rejoice once again.
Let me know if you've suffered from something similar--let's cry together
28 Days of Sun Salutations
I hope to keep it up all throughout February, but I'm realizing what a big responsibility it is! 28 different versions of the Salute to the Sun is a challenge to my imagination and my expertise! Of course, I originally thought I was providing this for you, my students and fans, but now I realize I'm the one getting all the benefit!
It's so inspiring! It's only been a week, but I'm feeling stronger every day. even though it's taking a big chunk out of my morning, I'm loving it. Because...once I finish with the sun salutations, I just naturally want to get on the mat and do an inversion, or a twist, or