Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Thoughts on the Recent Yoga Hubbub

I've been keeping to myself lately, so I haven't weighted in on all sorts of interesting yoga news. Most everything has been said already.. but here's an abridged version of my two-cents on the biggest yoga stories to break in the last few weeks.

1. Yoga can wreck your body. No shit! That's why teachers are so careful to tell you to bend your front knee at a 90 degree angle in standing poses, get the guidance of an experienced teacher before you try an advanced pose like Headstand, and never EVER move your head when you're practicing Shoulderstand. Why are people acting like this is a breaking news story? I'm tired of reading about it. Stop. Please.

2. Companies use sexy yoga models to sell stuff. Yes.. And this is different from companies using sexy non-yoga models to sell things how? I just don't see why this is a big deal. BTW, I know the point of this spoof video (below) was that yoga actually is NOT sexy. But in fact, I think it's way sexier than the first video. It's a dude... doing yoga.. and being funny at the same time. It wouldn't make me buy anything, but I still think it's pretty sexy.

3. T-Rex hates Chaturanga. T-Rex, T-Rex, T-Rex... Didn't your teacher tell you that the poses you hate most are the ones you need to practice the most!? Try using a tower of blocks under your little hands (paws? claws?) Poses were meant to be modified after all. Or maybe just start with Plank.. and work your way up to Chaturanga. I think you'll get there.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Yoga of House Hunting

Finding a new place to call home is a strange and wonderful task--especially when you're looking for a home that you'll be able to call home indefinitely.

Like yoga, house hunting is a practice of self exploration.

Through a long and tedious process of looking into other people's homes, you discover what's most important to you in life. Are you more worried about having the best flooring and appliances, having great outdoor space, or being close to town? Are aesthetics more important or functionality? Are you the kind of person loves a project or would you rather have exactly what you wanted from the get-go? If you examine it closely, it can give you some profound insight into the person you are and the life you live.

House hunting is also about balance. You have to balance the perception of who you think you are with who you want to be in life, and how you want others to perceive you. Do you want to be one of those people who pay much more for a home just so you can say live in a particular neighborhood--the upwardly-mobile neighborhood, the artsy-fartsy neighborhood, or the hipster neighborhood--or are you OK with less prestige?

You compromise on some things to set yourself up for the life you want.

It took my husband and I almost a year to find the house we finally (FINALLY!) moved into a month and a half ago. We're not in a posh neighborhood near a yoga studio (drat!), but we have hardwood floors (so I can happily unroll my mat in any room in the house!), a fenced in backyard where our doggy can run like the wind, and a kitchen that makes me so happy to prepare food it's OK that our dining out budget has been drastically reduced.

After living in cramped apartments for last decade, I feel incredibly blessed to have a house that with a little elbow grease (and a TON of paint) we can make our own! But I feel even more lucky for the lessons that I've learned along the way. I'm sure there will be many, MANY more. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where Have I Been!?

When I started this blog, I had one mission: To inspire people who read it to incorporate yoga into their lives. But a  few months ago, I stopped feeling inspirational. There were bad things happening all around me. It felt like my world was collapsing.

Nobody wants to read about that shit.

So I put Spoiled Yogi and my online social life on the back burner, and I started looking for inspiration. I tried new, more spiritually-based styles of yoga. I meditated. I read books. I made an attempt to spend more time with friends. I took more baths. I ate more vegetables. I went to all the appointments I'd been putting off.
I took care of myself.

I'm happy to report that I'm feeling a lot better these days. And there have been plenty of wonderful things to balance out the bad that's happened. I bought a house! I made a baby (ETA April 20!)! I got an iPad!

There are so many things to catch you up on. In between my full-time job, getting ready for baby, painting the rooms in our house (OK, providing moral support for the painting), my fulfilling and gratifying freelance work, and continuing to make time for myself and my practice, I think I can start blogging a little more.

There are a lot of great nuggets of inspiration in my life again, and I can't wait to share them all with you. I've missed you!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

How to Choose a Yoga Mat + Manduka Giveaway

I've finally succumbed to the realization that my beloved yoga mat is no longer meeting my needs. The giant hole that made me so proud when I unrolled the mat at studios--it represents 6 years of daily practice!--was becoming a little bigger with every practice. Bits of purple rubber flaked off everywhere and stuck to my hands and feet. I found myself having to stop what I was doing to wipe off excess pieces of mat.

When your mat is becoming more of a distraction and a hindrance to your practice than a useful tool, it's time to move on. If I've learned nothing else from my yoga practice, it's how to let go of the things that are no longer serving it. It is time for a new mat.

Now, I'm kind of a yoga products whore. I love mats, props, clothes, books, magazines--anything that reinforces my dedication and love for this practice. That said, I take the task of choosing a new yoga mat seriously. A yoga student's relationship to her mat is surprisingly intimate--not only does she rely on it to provide support and keep her safe, there's a lot of energy moving around during a yoga session and a mat collects that energy.

What do I look for in a mat?

  • Good karma. I want to do as little harm as possible as I can to the world.
  • Durability. My last mat lasted me 6 years, which is a great run. I want my next mat to last even longer than that!
  • Thick and cushiony. I'm bony, so I want a mat that will be kind to my knees, wrists, ankles, and other bony parts when they're connecting with the ground.
  • Grippy (Not Slippery When Wet). Yoga turns me into a sweaty mess. I need a mat that will
  • Personality. Choosing a mat color is kind of a big commitment if you plan to use your mat every day for the next 10 years. I wanted a soothing color with some personality, too.
The kind folks at Manduka must have known it was time for a new mat. They were kind enough to send me an eKo  mat to try out--they have several new colors Azure, Smokey Quartz, Sage, Maize, Amore, Dublin. Poseidon, Sienna and Thunder and they all fit my criteria to a tee.

It's easy. Now that I have a new mat, I need some advice for what to do with my old one. Comment below and tell me the most creative way you've reused an old yoga mat. I'll choose the winner based on creativity and usefulness. I'll announce the winner here next Monday, January 9th and you'll have until the following week to email me to claim your prize. Sound good?

Thanks for all your great advice! So many great ideas here!

Steph R! Congratulations!

Email me at with your full name and address and I'll get a mat sent out to you!!