Finding the Right Yoga Teacher

Heather Larson by Heather Larson | May 5th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

yoga teacher

Although choosing the style of yoga that works best for you is important, locating an instructor you resonate with is crucial.

My first experience with yoga was through an after-work exercise program at the school district where I worked. The instructor gave initial instructions, but didn’t explain how to modify a pose if you were unable to do one in the way she described. The lady next to me mastered all the poses in their original form and between her and the teacher, I felt lost, confused and most of all, uncomfortable. That encounter caused me to stay away from any yoga class for several years.

After hearing rave reviews about a local studio and needing to alleviate my joint pain from arthritis, I tried a gentle yoga class. From the moment I walked into the studio and was greeted by Jeni, the instructor, I knew I’d found a perfect place to develop a yoga practice. Jeni exuded friendliness and warmth, she explained everything, and she had one of the most soothing voices on the planet. If you mention an ache or pain you have, she incorporates moves into the class that help alleviate it, she gives lots of individual attention and she also takes other yoga classes. I’ve taken this same gentle yoga class from Jeni, every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. now, for about seven years. And I’m never leaving.

How can you find your own version of Jeni?

Shine On With Yoga

Michelle Finerty by Michelle Finerty | April 21st, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Personal Growth, Yoga

The other night, as I was driving home from teaching one of my weekly yoga classes, “Instant Karma” by the Beatles started to play on the radio. I’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics, as I’ve always enjoyed listening to the melody, but that night I was drawn to the chorus.

“Well, we all shine on, Like the moon and the stars and the sun, Yeah, we all shine on…
On and on and on, on and on…”

It got me thinking that we all need to shine. We all have unique traits and talents that set us apart from the rest of the world, yet most of us are too afraid to embrace these qualities because we are unaware of our own brilliance.

Into the Wild: Take Your Yoga Practice Outside

Nichole Golden by Nichole Golden | April 20th, 2014 | 1 Comment
topic: Green Living

outside yoga

Winter is an interesting time for me — well, more specifically, an interesting time for my feet. I love summer because of the ease of slipping my toes into a pair of flip-flops and floppin’ around unencumbered by shoes. In fact, during cold months I wear winter’s flip-flop equivalent, moccasins; a shoe that is as close to a non-shoe as it gets.

In fact, one of the main reasons that I love teaching yoga as a profession is because I get to be barefoot for a living! There is something so freeing when my toes are unbound from the claustrophobic nature of high heels, tennis shoes, boots, mary janes … you name it! When my toes feel the freedom to roam, I find that my spirit has that same permission.  The sense of adventure that I feel when I am liberated from the shackles of my shoes is only matched by the abundant bliss that I feel when I am out in nature, spontaneously and effortlessly awakened by the wild untamed natural world.

There is one exception to this no-shoe strategy I tend to live by: my hiking boots.  When my feet inhabit these shoes, my sprit soars straight to its inherent wildness. Of course, it isn’t the shoes, per se, that illicit this magnificent response, it is what the shoes represent: trees, trails, birds, bees, sunrises, sunsets, mountains, moose, rivers, rocks … you get the idea. This wildness is as much as state of being as it is a location, in the wild, animate world. When I’m not on my yoga mat, this is certainly where you will find me — winding my way through the wide-open woods.

4 More Green Vegetables for Spring

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | April 17th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Green Living

I know it may sound clichéd, but green vegetables really are powerful weapons against disease. They’re also great for those of us who want to stay looking young and vibrant! Green veggies contain compounds that keep our bodies looking and feeling healthy from the inside out. So let’s bump up our greens this month and find out just how delicious and satisfying these low-calorie gems can be.

Which Comes First: The Needs of Endangered Animals or the People Who Live with Them?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | April 14th, 2014 | 2 Comments
topic: Green Living

Mountain gorilla

Wildlife conservation campaigns often focus on the needs of endangered species, asking you to donate money in order to save their habitats, fight poaching of them, stop illegal trade in them or build refuges for them.

But at a recent seminar at the Royal Anthropological Institute in London, Professor Catherine Hill of the city’s Oxford Brookes University suggested that such campaigns may be doomed to fail unless an added, important issue is addressed: the attitudes and feelings of the people who live in the threatened species’ ranges.

According to the results of a recent study conducted by Dr. Hill, residents of communities in Uganda felt that they were being treated as though their lives were worth less than those of the animals that surrounded them.

Can conservation efforts, then, no matter how well intended, ever succeed if the local populace feels that their needs come second?

5 Steps to Emotional Spring Cleaning

Cynthia James by Cynthia James | April 13th, 2014 | 5 Comments
topic: Personal Growth

emotional spring cleaning

It’s the beginning of spring, when many of us become obsessed with cleaning out closets, drawers, books and clutter. I find it interesting that we are not as excited to embark on a road to “emotional cleansing.” Why not take some time this week to inventory old behaviors and patterns that keep us in a constant state of drama — and clean them out along with the dust bunnies?

Yoga for Depression: 3 Poses to Help You Combat the Blues

YOGANONYMOUS by YOGANONYMOUS | April 8th, 2014 | 3 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 7.11.42 PM

I recently attended a Health event as the magazine launched its new mantra, Happy begins here.”

I love that saying.

I have been trying to remind myself daily that happiness comes from within me. All I have to do is see my little guy’s smile to be really happy; but there are some days I can still feel blue.

I am admitting this because I want everyone to know that we are all human and we all have emotions. Depression is a real thing and it’s difficult to be in the depth of it and feel somewhat helpless.

Anxiety usually stems from worrying too much about the future and your “to do” list. Here are some yoga poses you can do to combat anxiety. Depression, on the other hand is when we get stuck in the past. Practicing yoga helps ground us in the present moment so we can feel truly happy.

Try rocking forward to the front of your feet or sit bones (if you’re seated) and notice how it produces anxiety, moving into the future too fast. Now, lean back in your seat or to the heels of your feet; notice how you slump your shoulders forward and feel a little down. Finally, feel yourself anchored right in the middle of your seat or your feet and feel grounded and present. Try this exercise whenever you feel anxious or a bit depressed.

After I shared this information in my newsletter, I heard from some friends and students that they too suffer from both anxiety and depression. Clearly, lots of people deal with depression. Yes, even us “enlightened” yogis.

New Yoga Mat? Eliminate the Smell

Leslie Garrett by Leslie Garrett | April 7th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga

Yoga Mat Smell

A new yoga mat is full of promise and excitement to revitalize your practice. But along with promise, a new mat offers up something less appealing: new-mat smell.

Whether your mat is made of rubber, jute, bamboo or the more common and affordable PVC, it will release an odor that alerts all around you to its newness.

What’s a concerned yogi — one who doesn’t want to subject herself or her fellow downward doggers to headache-inducing off-gassing — to do?

Well, while you likely won’t eliminate the smell completely (only time can do that!), you can certainly reduce its assault on your nose. Here’s how:

6 Tips to Add Fitness to Your Trip

Shana Schneider by Shana Schneider | April 4th, 2014 | No Comments
topic: Fitness

Planning a weekend getaway or a long vacation? No need to worry about losing time at the gym. Here are six fitness tips to help keep you on track while traveling, no equipment required.

What’s Up With Down Dog? April Yoga News

Gaiam Staff by Gaiam Staff | April 1st, 2014 | 3 Comments
topic: Fitness, Healthy Aging, Yoga

woman doing yoga at work

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 when you hit the mat:

Naked Yoga Class Offered in New York City

No yoga pants? No problem! Yoga studio Bold & Naked in New York City is offering classes where students can practice completely naked.