Tuesday, July 24, 2012

10 Ways Motherhood Has Changed My Yoga Practice

Not me.
  1. I no longer have a Buddha statue or candle at the front of my mat for an alter. Instead, I have a sleeping baby in a bouncy seat, who inevitably wakes up screaming several times during my 30 minute practice session.
  2. Asana sessions are interrupted several times by demands for attention, food, or the need to be rocked back to sleep.
  3. During those breaks, I often have to change out of my cute yoga top into something looser so I can nurse … Poses that require me to lay on my belly still feel horrible, so I modify or skip those altogether.
  4. I look up and say "Boo!" almost every time I find my way into Cobra or Upward Facing Dog.
  5. My dog Penny, who will take every opportunity to cuddle she can get now that I almost always have a baby in my arms, comes running to practice with me. She licks my face every time I take Downward Dog and lies down on my calves for the seconds I'm in Cobra or Up Dog. I stop to pet her every time.
  6. Thirty minutes of uninterrupted practice is cause for a celebration. If I make it through I'm elated for the rest of the day.
  7. I know yoga isn't about the poses. I've known this for a very long time, but deep down it still has been a little bit about poses for me. No longer! I practice because it feels good to do something for myself. It feels good in my body and for my spirit. I also want to be a role model for my little to girl—I want her to grow up seeing the importance of self-care. For the first time in 10 years of practicing yoga, I really don't give a flying flip what I look like or what poses I can accomplish.
  8. My yoga mat doubles as padding for Tummy Time. I put a blanket down, too, to avoid getting drool all over it. This is when I get in my forward folds. (Penny licks me in the face then, too.)
  9. Any activity is fair game for a quick meditation session: the shower, an evening stroll through my neighborhood, holding a sleeping baby (who refuses to sleep anywhere other than my arms)… I just take 10 deep, mindful breaths. That totally counts, right? 
  10. Savasana... I remember that!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Give Back and Look Good Doing It

I've noticed a trend in yoga fashion lately that I think is much more significant than colors or fabrics. I'm talking about yoga companies that donate a portion of the proceeds from a particular garment or accessory to a nonprofit organization that's working to make the world a better place. It's easy to see how these companies benefit -- it boosts sales and their reputation as a conscious company, which is important to yoga students, their target demographic. But if you can look past the obvious marketing ploy, buying these products (instead of something similar you would have bought anyway) can be a really easy way to support a cause you believe in and freshen up your look at the same time.

KiraGrace Donates 100% of Proceeds of sales from the new Warrior Collection to Off the Mat, Into the World
These clothes are pretty cute. Off the Mat, Into the World is doing great work both here in the United States with it's YogaVotes campaign as well as abroad. It's an organization you can feel great about supporting--and you can't beat 100% of proceeds. If you're in the market for some new, high-quality yoga gear consider this new collection from KiraGrace.
Goddess Yoga T-Back Tank  

Zobha Donates 10% of Proceeds from Grace Tank sales to Headstand
This is one of my favorite yoga tops, and Headstand is an amazing nonprofit bringing yoga to low-income schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston, Texas.

Tiny Devotions Aim True Mala Gives 20% to Poses for Paws
This beautiful mala necklace designed by Kathryn Budig is clearly a luxury item that doesn't fall under the category of I-was-going-to-buy-it-anyway, but it is really beautiful and is a good way to support Poses for Paws, a nonprofit that is helping the Beagle Freedom Project save beagles that are being used as test subjects in labs.

I want to know what you think. Are you more likely to spend your money on items from companies that promise to share their proceeds with nonprofits? Does it make you feel better about consuming? Are there other yoga products out there that I've missed?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yoga Award

someecards.com -

Read a few more of my thoughts on ego over on my blog for Yoga Journal.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cobra Pose

The best Cobra Pose I've ever seen.

And also... meet my new yoga teacher/love of my life, Annabelle.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ego Buster

If you ever want to reveal your ego and smash it to smithereens, I can give you some pointers.

Here's what you do:

Enroll in your first yoga class after giving birth.

Don't bother reading the workshop description because it's the only one that fits into your schedule and you know you can handle it because you've been practicing at home. (Ha!)

Unroll your yoga mat next to a mirror. Take note of your squishy postpartum belly. Be glad you wore black.

When you realize the point of the workshop is to demonstrate how a difficult fitness class (instead of asana) can also be yoga, stay and try to do everything.

When you realize you're not as strong as you thought you were... Modify, modify, modify!

Pretend the breast milk that drips onto your yoga mat is just sweat. (What? It's an antiseptic.) Be glad you wore black again. 

Spend the last 15 minutes in Child's Pose smiling to yourself because you know you get to go home to the sweetest baby girl and a little momentary squishiness and physical weakness is SO worth it. Thank goodness I know that yoga isn't about the poses (or how you look in Spandex). Thank goodness I can laugh at myself.

While I was physically not at all ready for my first yoga class back, I definitely needed to hear the message from teachers Kathryn Budig and Elli Boland-- the importance of positive affirmations, I am in control of my destiny, and I'm stronger than I think (mentally, anyway). Indeed.

Thanks, ladies!

I survived!