Monday, January 31, 2011

Mindful Monday: Upping the Ante

Image: Flickr User Last Zolex

I actually meditated every single day this week! Here are a few things that I noticed:

1. Since I'm new at this and easily distracted, it's easier if I face the wall. That way when I can't stand it any longer and I have to peek, all I will see is a white wall. If I peek and see something shiny or colorful ... it takes a lot longer to recover and go back to my meditation.

2. Five minutes is a really REALLY long time sometimes--like when you're 5 years old or learning to meditate. Just think of all the precious five-minute spans I waste staring into a computer screen every day... It's kind of appalling.

3. I have felt happier this week than I've felt in a long time. I don't know if it's the placebo effect or what (I've been reading a lot about the magical benefits of daily meditation lately... but five minutes a day for a week hardly seems like long enough), but I've decided not to question it.

Next week, I'm meditating for eight minutes daily. My goal isn't to sit for long spans of time, but instead to notice the impact of a daily seated practice. However, it seems like five minutes is just long enough for me to get settled.

If you meditate, how long do you sit? Is your goal to sit longer?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Be Featured on Spoiled Yogi!

There's nothing I love more than hearing how other people got interested in the practice of yoga, their first a-ha moments, and the thing that keeps them coming back to the mat time and time again. I get little glimpses into who you and what you practice from your comments, but I want to know more! And I'm sure I'm not the only one...

So this is what I propose:

Write a story about how you came to be a yoga student. Tell us all about the fateful day that you decided to pop into a class for the first time, and why you kept coming back.

Or if you're not the story-telling type, answer these questions:

This is my picture in one of my favorite poses. It's only fair.
1. What made you decide to take your first yoga class? Describe the experience.

2. Tell us about one of your biggest yoga a-ha moments.

3. Besides the teacher who is supposed to teach you yoga, who or what is your best yoga teacher? (Think unconventional teachers here... nature, your dog, your kid, your dentist...)

4. Where is the craziest place you've ever done yoga?

5. Describe your yoga journey in 3 words. (Yes, you may answer with ONLY three words, or you'll be hearing from me!)


Send your story or answers and a photo of you in your favorite pose to SpoiledYogi@gmail.com, and I'll feature you in a blog entry!

I can't wait to read your stories!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Young Does Not Always Equal Inexperienced

I have a lot of experience being the youngest. I am the youngest in my family. I've been the youngest student in my class, the youngest intern, the youngest yoga teacher trainee, the youngest teacher... Being young has its advantages and disadvantages--particularly in the yoga community. The older students might smile at the youngsters--possibly envious that we got an early start on the practice, possibly envious that our backbends are deep and effortless (though, that's not always the case.) It's all fine and dandy until a youngster decides he or she knows enough the practice to share it with others.

When I decided to blog about my teacher training as a sweet and innocent 22 year old, I was kind of crushed when I received a critical email from someone I'd never met who was "sick and tired of these 20-somethings" who think they can teach something to someone--anyone!--for that matter. I'm still thankful to my editor who smiled and said, "Don't listen to them."

When I read the criticism of fashion-model-turned-yoga-mogul Tara Stiles following her recent story in the NY Times, it all came back to me. Of course, I expected the criticism about Stiles breaking from tradition, focusing on the physical benefits/weight loss, and wearing clothes that show her model-icious body (the scandal!)... but I was a little surprised by the collective attitude toward her age. I mean, come on! She's 29, not 16.

Image: NYtimes.com

In case you haven't been following, here's a sampling:


That someone so young, with so little training, but with a big megaphone due to her celebrity, is off training yoga teachers? Sounds like hubris to me. -- comment on YogaDork.com

And even with a pro-yoga business plan, the emphasis on youth and beauty puts such young teachers in a position where they don't have the time to naturally develop their practice to the place where they're really absorbed a lot of the wisdom that's come before and then really honestly decide that it's time to innovate. If they take this time, they will miss their marketing moment, and the lucrative contract will go to someone else. -- comment on ElephantJournal.com

Maybe one of these days a little light will shine on in her head and she’ll 'get it.' Probably not until she’s 40, but you never know. -- comment on FlyingYogini.wordpress.com


What's with all the age-ism when it comes to yoga teachers? Is it a jealousy thing--that they get to be young, beautiful, talented, AND successful that rubs people the wrong way? I just don't get it. Some young yoga teachers devote years of daily practice with their teachers (hours every day) and log more time on the mat that teachers twice their age. It's entirely possible that teachers like Tara Stiles (29), Kathryn Budig (28), and Alanna Kaivalya (30) have more experience teaching and more wisdom than older teachers, too. And thank goodness for them! And even if the younger up-and-coming yoga teachers don't have more experience, they're more relatable to a lot of people! I've studied with a lot of older, more seasoned yoga teachers ... and while they have lots of experience and knowledge to offer, I can't relate to their experiences at Woodstock or their contentious objector status during the Vietnam War. But here's the thing.... even though I can't relate to all of their teachings, I realize that I can still learn something from them. And I certainly don't go around questioning their teachings. That would be disrespectful, wouldn't it?

I admire Stiles for saying her teacher training wasn't up to snuff--many teacher trainings aren't. I admire her even more for choosing not to publicly disclose what teacher training that was (just because it wasn't what she was looking for doesn't mean it won't work for someone else). And I'm glad she's a successful teacher now with the opportunity to teach every single day if she wants to--because just think about how wise and amazing she's going to be in a few years! 

For the record, I'm 27 ... and I've spent the last five years of my life (eight hours a day) practicing yoga, reading about yoga, writing about yoga, studying yoga, and pondering yoga. That's about 10,000 hours if you DON'T include my nights and weekends.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Introducing: Mindful Monday

This is what I image prolonged meditation should feel like.. floating on a cloud...  in a bathrobe..
In the last few days, it seems there have been little reminders to meditate everywhere I look...

Mindfulness Meditation Training Changes Your Brain
Meditation, Your Key to a Stress-Free Life
The #1 Health Habit You're Not Doing ... Yet

OK, Universe, I get it! Meditation can change your brain ... It will help you calm down, manage stress, and focus--not to mention a whole slew of other positive benefits! So, why is it so hard to commit to just a few minutes of quiet reflection every day? I don't know... It shouldn't be so difficult, should it? I'd like to think I can do ANYTHING for five minutes.

This week, I'm starting a daily meditation routine--not because I feel guilty, but because I want to see if it's really lives up to all the hype! (The last time I was able to meditate every day it was only for about 30 days, and I really enjoyed it.. but what if I could do it for 60?) I'll start with just 5 minutes a day, and I hope to build from there. Every Monday, I'll let you know what I'm focusing on and update you on my progress! Sound good?

Do you sit to meditate daily? Do you just sit in silence following your breath or follow a guide of some sort? Do you have a mantra? Do you use mala beads? What changes have you noticed in yourself after long stretches of daily meditation?

Cancer Recovery, Yoga Style

Guest Post by Amy Annis, cleanspirityoga.com
 
In August of 2009, I was diagnosed with invasive lobular breast cancer during my first regularly-scheduled mammogram. It was completely unexpected and pulled the rug out from under my world. As yoga teacher who had consistently valued and promoted good health, it was a severe blow to my emotional psyche. Part of the road to recovery included much more than the nine month process of chemo, radiation, and surgery. That was critical to my physical body of course. But after that last radiation treatment wrapped up I began the process of caring for my emotional well-being, which is where the true nature of yoga revealed itself to me.

I began teaching in 2003, understanding that it provided me the opportunity to maintain my love of the practice as well as speak to my four young children about the connection of a healthy mind and body. I adored teaching and attended trainings whenever I could fit them in to my very busy, yoga-mama world but would often feel guilty and restless when I was away from the kids.

Fast forward to the cancer diagnosis, and, admittedly, I didn't practice throughout most of the chemo....I too sick (headaches and nausea) and too weak. I'll never forget the first Downward Dog after the second surgery. My arms wobbled and the lack of mobility in my left shoulder from the mastectomy rendered a pretty imperfect asana. And yet, as the breathing instinctively returned, there was a feeling of relief of being on my mat, a familiar place, knowing that my recovery was ahead.

What I did next was uncharacteristic. Cancer forces you a raw glimpse of your mortality. The benefit: a renewed desire to live my life at a different level. I put aside my feelings of mama guilt (all mamma's have it) and enrolled in a teacher training program at The Yoga Center of Minneapolis understanding that the 2 1/2 hour commute and the year of Sundays spent away from my family was a major sacrifice, both in time and in finances. Thank God for my husband, who I know thought I was a little crazy, not to mention realized pretty quickly that after a long work week he would be pulling single Daddy duty all weekend. Looking back, I think he was probably just so grateful for my survival that I could have told him I was going to India for 3 months and still received a feeble OK.

So there I was attending trainings every week and yoga became my new medicine. I would imagine that all of that chemo and drug that I reluctantly pumped into my body would release with my breath. My mentor, Monique, gently but firmly (and that's not an oxymoron in her case) didn't give me too many breaks or excuses why I could not do an asana. But she warned me that the emotions may present themselves during the hip openers, and sure enough I spent a few Pigeons head down weeping on my mat.

School unwittingly became an extension of my therapy. I gained a deeper appreciation for the culture and history of yoga. More than the Sutras themselves, but how they applied to my life and my practice. I'll ever have the eloquence of some of the great teachers who guide us on the Yamas and the Niyamas, but I feel as though the understanding of them, as well as the insight of a mother and a survivor, that I can speak of them in real world words.

Oddly enough cancer was a gift. One that I never wish to receive again, mind you, but it nonetheless forced me forward on many levels. The benefits of my newly created yoga community inspired me to take some huge leaps of faith. I re-discovered my love of writing and speaking, there is a deeper appreciation for my family who won’t disintegrate in my absence, and it was the springboard to take my dreams to the next level and develop my yoga retreat business on the beautiful Madeline Island.

There is much mention lately in the news as to the benefits of yoga in cancer patients. In fact, cancer patients may want to read the book Cancer Fitness by Anna L. Schwartz; it is very good. But in my journey of recovery yoga was much more than a traditional exercise. It healed my heart.

Amy Annis has taught yoga while raising a small army understanding that her practice not only gave her balance in a hectic life but also spoke to her children about the connection of a healthy mind and body.  After a bout with crazy cancer in 2009, she decided to take her dreams to the next level and developed her yoga retreat concept on beautiful Madeline Island, WI.  She also found her writing voice and recently launched her own blog.  As a yoga mamma, wife, outdoor enthusiast, and dog lover she delights in life a little off balance.  Lately, she is very grateful for hair. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Just Say No -- To Yoga Guilt!

Image: Canada.com
When I first started practicing yoga, I had this idea of what a yoga student should be like. They're obviously health nuts who are incredibly fit, morally and ethically responsible, and have amazing self-discipline. Somewhere along the line I got the idea that yoga students should be, well, perfect. So I spent a lot of time feeling guilty about the fact that I, in fact, was very far from perfect. When classmates discussed their raw food diets or recent trips to an environmentally-friendly spa, I would be quitely (pardon the expression) sweating like a hooker in church. After a few years of yoga under my belt, I now know that this was really REALLY stupid.

Feeling guilty doesn't help us reach our health goals. It doesn't make us happier. And it certainly doesn't help us to change our habits or make us better, more balanced people. In fact, feeling guilty about the things that make you who you are is directly contradictory to the practice of yoga. Instead of feeling guilty about something, I'm trying to learn to accept it, admit that no one is perfect, and move on! It doesn't mean that I stop striving to be better. It just means that I stop beating myself up about being who I am.

Here are 5 things I'm choosing not to feel guilty about any more...

1. I am not the picture of health. I guess the most unhealthy thing I do is consume mass quantities of sugar. I'm a Southern gal that grew up on sweet tea ... and it goes straight to my thighs. However, I consider it as much a part of my culture as Krishna is to the ancient yogis and I will not (EVER) give it up completely. Don't even THINK about trying to talk me into it. Oh, I also love potato chips, and and I watch more television than really any person really should. But, this is all a part of who I am. And yoga teaches us to celebrate who we are in this moment, not some fake, idealized version of who we want ourselves to be in the future. So, there it is.

2. I do not meditate and/or practice every single day. My television habit could be partially to blame, but there are days when I'm simply not in the mood for all this yoga crap (yes, I did say yoga crap and no, I'm not sorry). It's usually just when I've had a bad day and, admittedly, need my yoga practice the most--but I'm not always rational enough to see that in the moment. I almost always remember why I love this practice so much the next time I get to my mat and realize I was crazy for skipping a day... which is punishment enough.

3. Sometimes, I'm not nice. Here's the thing about being human... It's not always pretty. Sometimes people are jerks, and yoga students are people, too. You get where I'm going with this? No one should expect you to be perfect just because you practice yoga. And those people who might expect perfection, like I did when I first started practicing, don't know much about yoga ... so screw them! (See? I told you sometimes I'm not nice!) 

4. I hate reading ancient yoga texts. They're just so ... boring and hard to understand! I'd rather read a yoga memoir, magazine, or blog any day of the week. I learn better from my peers who write in normal, clear, easy-to-understand English. As of now, I see no reason to sit and torture myself with the Yoga Sutras when I can be inspired, educated, AND entertained by the works of a modern writer instead.

5.  I like things.  Shiny things, stretchy things, new things, old things, big things, little things... I just like things! I know, I know.. Shocker! And I like people, too (most of the time). So I'm never going to be like the ancient yogis who gave up all their material things and went to live in isolation in a cave somewhere. I keep aparigraha (non-grasping) in the back of my mind--which helps me come to a place of balance. But I believe I can can live a modern lifestyle and still reap at least some of the benefits of yoga, and that's good enough for me. 

What things have you felt guilty about since you started practicing yoga, and how has the practice helped you to overcome your feelings of guilt?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rise and Shine!

I always wanted to be one of those people who could wake up before the sun rises and have a green smoothie, meditate, and hour-long yoga practice. What a great way to set the tone for a the day! Unfortunately, my body (or is it my mind?) doesn't think it's such a good idea. Every time I've tried it, I have a dialogue with myself that goes like this:

"What is that wretched noise? Why is my alarm going off at 5:30 in the morning? Am I supposed to go to the airport or something? Oh. I'm just supposed to get up and do healthy things. OK. I'll start with Savasana. A quick 30 minute Savasana.. then I'll get up and practice."

I hit the snooze button for the next hour.

"Ah... Screw it. I can do healthy things at 8 instead." (End scene.)

What can I say? I love to sleep.

But all of this is about to change. Tomorrow, I have to get my butt up and teach a yoga class at 6:30 am. That means I have to actually wake up at 5... in the morning! If everything works out as planned, I'll be teaching that early once a week regularly. (Gosh, I hope writing that doesn't jinx it.)

That said, I've got a few things to figure out. How do I become not only a cheerful, happy morning person, but  a cheerful, happy morning person who can stand in front of people and guide them through Sun Salutations with a smile on my face? 

I'm hoping maybe my faithful readers can help me out. Please share your morning yoga rituals with me. What do you love to practice first thing in the morning? What motivates you to get out of bed and get it on the yoga mat? What time do you go to bed at night? And what benefits have you noticed from getting up early and practicing first thing in the morning?

A little support would be nice, too. I can do this... Right?

Monday, January 17, 2011

So Hum: Self Expression through Yoga


Photographer: Faern
Model: Sean Haleen
Writer: Erica Rodefer

It's already been a brutal winter in some parts of the country. In the last few weeks, I've seen my share of cold, snow, ice, travel delays, and my personal nemesis, days and days of seemingly endless Grey skies. It all leaves me feeling a little blah.

Many yoga teachers have told me that winter is a perfect opportunity for self-reflection—a chance to go inward and probe around a bit so you can learn more about who you are and the meaning of life and all that… The usual suspects for self-reflection are long held forward bends and restorative poses. But for me, as relaxing and soothing as these kinds of poses can be, they still seem like a kind of consolation prize. I like to move and build heat—preferably in the sunshine.

This image of San Francisco yoga teacher Sean Haleen is a reminder that no matter how dark and dreary things might seem in the moment, the sun is shining somewhere. He really does look like a sundial doesn't he?

Luckily, there are a few poses that always make me feel warm and cozy—even when it's cold outside. Sundial is one of them—when I practice it I can nearly feel the sunshine! Of course, Sun Salutations are another, more traditional way, to build heat in the body. Core strengthening poses like arm balances and Boat Poses (Navasana) bring new meaning to the phrase "put a fire in your belly."

What are some of your favorite ways to warm up with yoga in the coldest, darkest, winter months?

Faern is a yoga practitioner and photographer in San Francisco. Visit her website, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook


P.S.
Would you like to take part in this project as a model? Please be in touch by emailing this address sohum.selfexpression@gmail.com and we'll send more information. If you are not in the Bay Area or planning a visit, do not worry, there are travel plans afoot, subscribe to the blogs  http://www.faern-in-the-works.com  and http://spoiledyogi.blogspot.com/  to keep in touch and get updates on travel plans"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

8 Ways to Put the Fatshion in Yoga

Editor's Note: I've gotten tons of requests from readers to talk about yoga fashion options for the curvy yoginis among us. Now, I've been called a lot of things in my day... but curvy is not among the most common, so I deferred to an expert on this one. My friend Anna Guest-Jelly from CurvyYoga.com was gracious enough to share her insights. Enjoy her guest post, and don't forget to add any of your own tips by commenting below!  -- SpoiledYogi

8 Ways to Put the Fatshion in Yoga
By Anna Guest-Jelly

Anna Guest-Jelly, CurvyYoga.com
Yoga is for every body, right?

Tell it the major yoga clothing retailers.
I may rock the curvy party in yoga class, but looking cute while doing it is no easy feat. Some of the major yoga clothing companies (*cough*Lululemon) only go up to size 12. For sheer bottom-line reasons alone, this doesn’t make any sense. The last time I checked, the average American woman is a size 14, so these companies are missing out on a lot of curvy moolah. And, of course, from a yogic standpoint, only making clothes for people up to size 12 sends an unfortunate message that if you’re bigger than that then yoga isn’t for you.

Well, guess what I say to that?

Screw it--and embrace yoga fatshion! (Nope, that isn’t a typo.)

The great thing about yoga is you can wear whatever you want. If you’re in my class and you roll in in your PJs, that’s fine by me (as long as they’re not stinky, but that’s another story for another day). But if you want to up your curvy cute factor on the mat, here are eight ways to give it a go:

  1. Look outside the fitness section of clothing stores. I’ve gotten quite a bit of my yoga outfits from the non-fitness sections of clothing stores. I look for clothes that are cute and easy to move around in (go ahead and give it the Down Dog test in the dressing room); if I find something in the wear-to-work section instead of fitness, that’s okay by me.
  2. Shop online. It can be painful to scour the mall for plus-sized yoga clothes (or, really, anything). Shopping online gives you so many more options, and more and more places are offering free shipping. I’ve got a great list of places I like here; if you know another one, please send it my way!  (Bonus: very few clothing items at these places require a co-signer to purchase.)
  3. Determine what you need to feel comfortable: You don’t want to worry about your clothes during yoga class, so make sure you look for clothes that fit that bill. On a related note,
  4. Don’t settle: If you hate your outfit or feel self-conscious about what you’re wearing, it may be harder to relax into your practice. 
  5. Accessorize: If you’re not loving your clothing options, you can always add in something that makes you feel fabulous. There are plenty of choices that won’t get in the way of your practice, including scarves and rings. As long as what you choose won’t clatter together (bangles) or put someone’s eye out (pointy ring), you should be fine. 
  6. Get Creative: If your pants have that stretch-out-too-quickly problem, try tights or a leotard underneath to avoid getting to know your neighbor too well too fast. If you’re worried about your boobs popping out and suffocating you during inversions, try a tight-fitting, high-necked tank (under another top, if you’d like).  
  7. Make Your Own: There’s no way I could do this because it literally took me six months just to figure out how to thread my sewing machine. But if you’ve got the skillz, put ‘em to work! (And then call me and let’s start a clothing line together!)
  8. Remember How Curv-riffic You Are: Sometimes curvy clothes shopping can get a gal down, but don’t let it. More and more companies are making clothes for us every day. Keep giving your dollah bills to the ones who get it and girlcott the ones who don’t. 
Moral of the story? Yoga fatshion doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, soul-sucking, body drama-creating endeavor. Figure out what makes you feel fantastic on the mat, and then wear it with all the curvy confidence in the world. After all, if our yoga practice teaches us anything, it’s that what we need most is already inside us.  How we dress it up from there is up to each of our uniquely glamorous selves.

Anna Guest-Jelley is a bit of an anomaly: a curvy woman who practices and teaches yoga. Despite not dreaming of putting her leg behind her head (without going to the hospital, at least), she learns/practices/teaches yoga because of its transformative powers in her life. For more Curvy Yoga goodness, visit Anna’s website or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: Blake BrodyIn-Studio Footwear

If I tell you a secret, will you promise not to judge me?

About a year ago, I realized that the ball of my right foot was a little tender when I walked. Upon closer inspection, I was horrified (and a bit disgusted) to find out that I had a plantar wart! How could this be? I wear shower shoes if I take a shower in a public place... I am adamant about using my own yoga mat, and it's not like I walk around barefoot! Wait a minute ... I do walk around barefoot. Every time I go to a yoga studio, I leave my shoes on a outside the studio door (because it's a sacred space) and I wander around looking for a nice spot to unroll my mag. Just think of all the germs I encounter during that walk! How many other bare-footed folks had walked there that day? I guess it was only a matter of time.. I'm all bet
er now, but I never want this to happen again--to me or anyone else for that matter.

Luckily, there are products out there to diminish the risk. When I first heard about Blake Brody's In-Studio Footwear--a shoe meant to be worn ON your mat--I was skeptical. Sure, they're adorable vegan ballet flats, I thought, but there are reasons we practice in bare feet, right? As usual, I caved to the cute and agreed to try these bad boys out to see if they could be as functional as the website's description says they are. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did the shoes provide extra grip for my feet on my holey, worn out yoga mat making standing poses more stable, it also offered a unique support for my feet unlike anything I'd experienced before. My feet are flat, and the arch support in the shoes reminded me to ground through all four-points of my feet. For some reason I can not explain, these shoes also made it easier to roll over my toes as I moved from Up Dog to Down Dog, which is something I've always had a little trouble with. The only negative I could come up with is that practicing in shoes that are so fitted does make it a little more challenging to lift and spread the toes. So when that's the practice, I'd recommend taking them off and putting them to the side (in a clean, dry spot, of course). But given the extra support, cuteness factor, and hygienic value I'd say they're well worth the $98 price tag (some styles go up to $135). Plus, wearing them reminded me of taking ballet class when I was little, so I'll give an extra bonus point or two for nostalgia. All in all, I think I might have stumbled upon the next trend in yoga fashion!

Read more about Blake Brody and her amazingly cute yoga shoes at blakebrody.com.

What do you think? Would you ever try in-studio footwear? Have you ever gotten a wart or Athlete's Foot or some other horrible foot ailment from a yoga studio? Would you admit it if you had?

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Science of Stress

If you follow me on Twitter, you might already know that I recently signed up for Netflix and am currently enjoying my free trial. a few night ago, my husband and I watched a documentary called The Science of Stress. I learned a few things I wanted to share with all of you.

The documentary compared the stress humans experience with the stress other animals--monkeys, of course--face. Scientists have noticed a connection between hierarchical societies and stress. Meaning the most dominant monkeys have less peer-induced stress than than passive monkeys because, basically, the big guys pick on the smaller, weaker guys. We know that stress adversely affects the health of the monkeys in the study because the dominant monkeys live longer, have less build up in arteries, and are in overall better health.

The scientists in the documentary drew parallels (based on a different study) between the dominant monkeys and the people at the top of the totem pole in the office (the CEOs and upper management-types). The more power a person had in his office environment, the better his overall health.

I have a few issues with the research as it was presented. There has to be more at play here than just stress, right? Besides, don't we usually think of the top management jobs as the MOST stressful because of the huge responsibility and longer hours?

What I took away from it is this: 1. Stress drastically impacts our health and well-being, so it's important to find a way to manage stress (ahem, yoga). 2. Your outlook on life is more important than your career, environment, or station in life. As the scientist in the documentary said (and I'm paraphrasing here): You could be at the bottom of the hierarchy, but the captain of the company softball team. If you decide that's more important to you than your time in the office, you're playing by a different set of rules.

Besides yoga, how do you manage stress?  

Monday, January 10, 2011

5 (More) Signs That You Might Have a Yoga Addiction

1. You will buy anything—and I mean anything—with an Om sign on it.

2. You suddenly find yourself empathizing with that jerk that cut you off on the freeway. After all, he is a spark of the Divine, too.

3. You'd rather attend a yoga class than do other things you once did for entertainment, such as going to a bar or a movie.

4. You practice yoga awareness when you eat, talk, work, rest, and play.

5. When you finally wear a hole in your yoga mat you are so proud of yourself you show it off to all of your friends—like a yogic badge of honor.

How did you know when you'd become addicted to yoga?

Be sure to catch 5 more signs that you might yoga addiction tomorrow on my blog Top 5 Tuesdays at YogaJournal.com.