3 Ways to Cool Down with Yoga, Meditation and Breathing

Michelle Finerty by Michelle Finerty | June 23rd, 2014 | 2 Comments
topic: Fitness, Personal Growth, Yoga

Summer Yoga

Summer is a time for relaxation and fun with more open schedules, warmer weather, outdoor activities and vacations. However, there can also be a sense of pressure and stress in trying to meet our expectations of a laid-back season.

Just the other day, I looked at my calendar and felt overwhelmed by all of the activities on it. Delving deeper, I realized that I needed to create some space to simply be: read a book, go deeper into my meditation practice, savor the smell of a peach as I cut into it or the smell of flowers while sitting in my yard.

Taking the time to be present in the moment is a beautiful practice in its own right, and yoga and meditation are two ways achieve that goal by creating a space within, bringing your attention inward and turning your thoughts away from distractions.

Get Inverted: What I Learned by Turning My Yoga Practice Upside-Down

Megan Hannan by Megan Hannan | June 22nd, 2014 | 2 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

yoga inversions

When I first saw the notice for the inversions workshop, I was excited. But after I signed up and paid, I was nervous. When the day arrived and I was warming up on my mat, I was terrified! What if I was the worst one there? What if I fell on my face? What if I fell on my neighbor? So many fears.

I may very well have been the worst one there, but I did not fall on my face, nor did I fall on my neighbor. What I did do was find the strength to push myself further than I’d gone before.

The Yoga Rx: Alternative vs. Modern Medicine

Nichole Golden by Nichole Golden | June 19th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Yoga

yoga rxThere is a growing wave of alternative thinking in the world, and most of us are blessed to have a choice between conventional and alternative ways of living. This can include lifestyle choices, food choices, medical decisions, consumerism, spirituality and education, to name a few. What used to be considered radical is now finding its way into the mainstream.

In Boulder, Colo., where I live, there is an abundance of options for natural grocers, alternative health care practitioners and holistic education centers. Even our pets have access to natural foods and medicines. And for a city of only 100,000, there are more than 60 yoga studios in the community. Needless to say, I am at home in this place.

Here, my tendencies toward natural living are fed by the abundant and accessible information about how to integrate even more natural practices into my daily life. For instance, I was thrilled to slowly cut out every toxic product from my routine and replace it with something that wasn’t (in my mind) ruined by processing, chemicals or the like. I felt so proud of myself and my ability to live a sustainable, plant-based, organic existence!

That said, you can only imagine how I must have felt when I was faced with a very unwanted health condition that every doctor — holistic and conventional — seemed unable to diagnose.

The Sacred Ritual of a Home Yoga Practice

Chrissy Carter by Chrissy Carter | June 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Yoga

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I live for my morning cup of coffee. Sometimes I get excited about going to bed at night just because it means I can wake up and drink coffee. When my alarm goes off, I climb into my terrycloth robe and shuffle downstairs, my dog Ellie at my heels. I savor every part of my morning ritual, from the first whiff of the ground beans as I scoop them out of their tin, to the quiet sitting while I wait for my coffee to brew. I take my mug to the couch and prepare for the first sip, which feels like my own private moment with God. Ellie puts her head on my lap and we sit there in silence in our little church by the window.

This sacred time gives me the space to be with myself; it encourages me to listen to methe voices in my head are too sleepy to chime in with their usual agenda and commentary. And that’s a good thing because I like to spend my mornings doing nothing in particular. If I’m in the mood, I’ll putter around my house and tend to this or that. Maybe I’ll water the plants . . . or not. Maybe I’ll write . . . or not. The rest of my day is directed by obligation — things I have to do, or “should” do — which makes the guiltless moments of my morning feel even more precious.

Our home practice can be a lot like my cherished morning time. No one telling us what to do. No agenda to follow. It’s just you and your breath in that vehicle we call the body, cruisin’ wherever you wanna go.

Should Personal Drones Be Banned in National Parks?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | June 16th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living

Bighorn sheep in Yellowstone National Park

Standing in the presence of the unbelievably immense, monolithic slabs of stone in Zion National Park is an experience that is not soon forgotten and, I’d argue, even spiritual. Gaze up at those massive sandstone cliffs as you hike The Narrows and you’d swear you’ve entered an alien world where 2,000-foot-high gods of rock rule. If you’re brave enough, you can even trek on the shoulders of those gods, by walking on the aptly named Angels Landing Trail. And since 84 percent of the park is designated as wilderness, there are scores of other spots where you can commune with nature and find solitude.

But now imagine that you’re in Zion walking that precipitous pathway — with sheer drop-offs on both sides — and a drone buzzes close by your head. Not only does that distract you and make you feel unsafe, it suddenly changes your great outdoor and unplugged experience.

Similar scenarios in our national parks have caused some of them — including Zion National Park — to ban drone use. While some applaud the move, others feel that their preferred way to photograph the parks is being unfairly singled out and prohibited. But is attaching a camera to a drone truly similar to other forms of photography?

I’m Not Flexible Enough for Yoga

Michelle Finerty by Michelle Finerty | June 12th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Fitness, Yoga

yoga and flexibility

As a yoga instructor, I am blessed to be able to share such a positive, life-changing practice with people, on and off the mat. When I first started teaching yoga, it never really occurred to me how my practice would work its way into my life off the mat, but it has.

I’m frequently asked, “So what do you do for a living?” When I state that I teach yoga, I usually get many responses about how much yoga has made a difference in someone’s life and how much they love their practice, but occasionally I get the “yoga…I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” response.

I respond that for that reason alone they are perfect for yoga, as yoga creates flexibility, rather than flexibility creating yoga. While I find it sad that people think they have to be flexible in order to take a yoga class, I also understand where this impression comes from, because with the growth in the popularity of yoga, there has become more growth in the amount of celebrity yoga instructors and yoga models who can twist themselves into various pretzel poses.

What’s Up with Down Dog? June Yoga News

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | June 9th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

Gaiam June Yoga News

With more than 20 million yoga practitioners in the United States alone, yoga is becoming part of mainstream culture — and making its own news headlines! Here’s what you should know this June when you hit the mat:

Don’t Let the Scorching Sun Cook Your Attitude This Summer

Jessica Mehring by Jessica Mehring | May 29th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Health & Wellness

This month in the northern hemisphere we celebrate the summer solstice, aka the first day of summer.

For many people, this is their favorite time of year. The weather is lovely; you can get outside for walks in the sunshine and sit out on your patio with a good book in the cool evening. No shoveling snow, no traipsing through puddles in your galoshes.

But for some people, summer keeps them cooped up in the house just as much a winter does. When the heat sets in and you can fry an egg on the sidewalk, or the humidity is so high it feels like you walked into a sauna when you walk out the door of your house, you feel more like staying inside with the air conditioner blasting than getting a dose of sunshine.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as the winter blues, is talked about a lot. SAD affects more than 10 million Americans. But there isn’t a lot of conversation about what high heat does to our attitudes.

Even here in Colorado, Gaiam’s home state, the heat can get unbearable in the summer. So I rely on these three things to keep myself feeling good when the sun is baking the world outside my window.

Good Yoga vs. Bad Yoga

Wanderlust by Wanderlust | May 21st, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

If all yoga studios and practices were the same, how boring would that be?

There’s this talk of what “is” and “isn’t” yoga and where you should and shouldn’t go. If you ask me, that kind of talk is pointless and irrelevant.

WATCH: Paralyzed Into Motion: Yoga Saves Pro Football Player Keith Mitchell

Wanderlust by Wanderlust | May 21st, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Green Living

After a routine tackle during his last season playing football in Jacksonville, Keith Mitchell was left paralyzed for six months. In this video, filmed at Wanderlust O’ahu 2014, Mitchell explains how yoga helped him reinvent himself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.