How to Take a Vacation When You Can’t Take a Vacation…Courtesy Beginner’s Mind.

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by yoga teacher and life coach Lindsey Lewis of www.libreliving.com]

THE TRAVELLING HIGH

Take a vacation at “om”

Travelling is addicting. I recently read that serotinin—that’s the happy brain chemical—is released when we experience something new. Even receiving new emails is apparently enough to kick it into gear. No wonder we love being on vacation! New-ness around every corner! Serotonin overload!

The other week I realized that I was in desperate need of some new territory—a change of scenery. But I just went to New York, and I’ve got some trips coming up sometime soonish, so I’ve simply gotta save my funds. Since I’m damned if I can’t prove that yoga and other ancient spiritual practices can be useful and helpful in nearly any modern-day situation, I challenged myself to find a way to solve this conundrum using my yogi powers.

THE YOGA HIGH

Here’s my solution: mindfulness. Yup, mindfulness. When we travel we’re more mindful. We’re more present. Because when things are new, we don’t skip past them, caught up in the whirl and wind of our monkey mind. Instead, we are fully aware of our surroundings. Which is actually something we teach in mindfulness-based practices: Using our senses is one of the easiest, most effective practices we can adopt to help us drop out of our planning, rehashing, and worrying mind.

So here I am: planted in my regular spot in the café I regularly hang out in that I arrived at the way I always do, strolling down the streets I always walk. BUT, here’s what I did differently. I pretended I was seeing it all for the first time. Okay, I know I sound a bit like a kids’ book writer here (I can’t help it, I’m hoping to get some published.) I know this sounds like something you and I have heard before. But it really hit home. All I did was drop out of my head, all I did was drop into a somewhat light version of zen mind, or beginner’s mind. I stopped letting my mind convince me I knew it all, had seen it all. And the florist shop was bursting with blooms I’d never registered. The linen shop had sheets and duvet covers that were shockingly fresh and new. The Greek bakery offered treats labeled with names I’d never heard of. Signs were written in a language I took time to comprehend.

THE BEGINNER’S MIND VACATION

Abracadabra mindfulness shaboom: I am on vacation, baby! Who are all these fascinating people? Check out this group meeting for somebody’s birthday—look at the men’s style: all cardigans and skinny jeans and slouchy toques. And the women! Long-sleeve button-ups with high-waisted pants. They’re kinda preppy in a hipster kind of way in this town. Ooops, I just saw someone I know. How did they get here? Wow, we’re on vacation in the same place at the same time! Okay, that may be taking it a bit far.

The point is it was so simple. And so powerful. Mindfulness is mad! It’s incredible! I’ve just taken a leap of faith out of my mind and into the moment and once again the rewards are endless. Jai ho!

With love, Lindsey

5 Different Types of Yoga – Which One Suits You the Best?

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Chiara Fucarino who blogs at Yoga-Paws]

Ah, yoga. What’s not to like about stretching your muscles, sprawling out on a comfortable mat, and losing yourself in tranquility? Not only does practicing yoga tone your body and refresh your mind, it also improves your immune system, helps lower your stress level, and provides so many more health benefits. Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years, and we’re still fine-tuning the practice. Today, aside from having a yoga studio around every corner, we have many different styles of yoga. Even though they’re all based on the same poses, each style has a particular focus. For example, one style has a purpose to improve flexibility, while another style primarily strengthens your core.

With many different types of yoga being practiced today, it may be difficult for you to figure out which style benefits your mind and body the most. It’s important for you to find out which type of yoga meets your needs, so here’s a quick explanation of five of the most common yoga styles practiced everywhere.

Hatha

Hatha originated in India in the 15th century. This type of yoga is slow-paced, gentle, and focused on breathing and meditation.

  • Purpose: To introduce beginners to yoga with basic poses and relaxation techniques
  • Benefits: Relieves stress, provides physical exercise, and improves breathing
  • Good for: Beginners and people wanting to learn the basics of yoga

Vinyasa

Much like Hatha, Vinyasa covers basic poses and breath-synchronized movement. This variety of Hatha yoga emphasizes on the Sun Salutation, a series of 12 poses where movement is matched to the breath.

  • Purpose: To link the breath with movement and to build lean muscle mass throughout the body
  • Benefits: Helps improve strength and flexibility, tones the abdominal muscles, and reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes
  • Good for: Beginners and advanced yogis alike seeking to strengthen their bodies

Ashtanga

Ashtanga yoga metaphorically focuses on eight limbs. Considered a form of power yoga, Ashtanga is fast-paced and intense with lunges and push-ups.

  • Purpose: To help improve one’s spiritual self
  • Benefits: Relieves stress, improves coordination, and helps with weight loss
  • Good for: Fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina, and those who want to get in touch with their spiritual side

Iyengar

Iyengar covers all eight aspects of Ashtanga yoga and focuses on bodily alignment. Different props like straps, blankets, and blocks are used to assist in strengthening the body. Standing poses are emphasized, and are often held for long periods of time.

  • Purpose: To strengthen and bring the body into alignment
  • Benefits: Helps improve balance, speeds up recovery from an injury, and builds up body strength
  • Good for: Beginners who want to learn the correct alignments in each pose and those with injuries, balance issues, and chronic medical conditions like arthritis

Bikram

Also known as hot yoga, Bikram is practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room. It’s typically a series of 26 poses that allows for a loosening of tight muscles and sweating.

  • Purpose: To flush out toxins and to deeply stretch the muscles
  • Benefits: Speeds up recovery from an injury, enhances flexibility, and cleanses the body
  • Good for: Beginners and advanced yogis alike who want to push themselves and those with physical injuries

These are only a few of many styles of yoga. Try one or all of them to figure out which one suits your needs the best.

———————

The Psoas: Is it the most important postural muscle?

[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Nadine Fawell who blogs at Yoga with Nadine. Check it out!]

Well, I think it is anyway. There are many, many reasons I think this: I could practically write a BOOK about the psoas.

But here’s something to think about.

When we went from walking on four legs to walking on two, we had to find a way to hold our upper bodies, well, up.

In four-legged creatures, the spine is happily suspended between front and back ends. In our case, it pokes up into the air. Our back muscles and belly muscles, and most especially our buttocks muscles had to get a whole lot stronger to hold us up that way.

We developed a gluteus maximus on each side of our butt (that muscle is just called gluteus superficialis in four legged animals). Its main job?

To hold us upright by bringing our hips into extension (backbending). That’s why it’s so big. It has to be, to defy gravity.

See, in this picture:

I am bending backwards and you can see my, erm, gluteus maximus, is working, yes?

I only look so happy, though, because I know I can contract my psoas muscles in the front of my hips to oppose the action of my butt and return me to an upright position.

The psoas is a deep muscle in the front of our hips, which hooks our spines to our thighbones.

Without the psoas, whose main job is to bring the hip into flexion (i.e., thigh closer to belly), those big-ass butt muscles would make it impossible for us to use our arms the way we do now.

Imagine doing a backbend like I am in the photo, and trying to read this post. Or do anything at your computer.

Or drive.

Or eat.

Or walk.

That’s right, if you didn’t have a psoas (also known as a hip flexor) on each side, you wouldn’t be able to bend your leg up against gravity, and the action of your glutes, and take a step.

This shows up in yoga postures too, of course – a tight psoas would make bending backwards like I am doing in the photo really difficult.

Plus, if you couldn’t contract your psoas to lift your leg against gravity, how else would you do Utthita Hasta Padangustasana (aka Extended Hand to Big-Toe Pose)?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the first reason I think the psoas is the most important postural muscle. There are others, involving magic links and its action on the spine. But opposing our glutes and keeping us upright? Pretty important.

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Nadine Fawell teaches yoga, drinks coffee, and looks at too many cat pictures. You can find her at www.yogawithnadine.com, on facebook and twitter.

The Ultimate Sexy Yoga Battle

“It’s Not Sexy, It’s Yoga” vs. “It’s Not Fitness, It’s Life”

Surely by now you’ve seen the original, if not minorly scandalous Equinox yoga video, featuring Briohny Smyth. Well, it’s a great week for the yoga world now that humorist Michael A. Stusser (“The Dead Guy Interviews”) takes his yoga skills to the next level with a spot on parody of the original.

The Parody…

VS.

The Original…

[Read more…]

A Sucker for Really Cool Yoga Art

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Blending history with a dash of yogic humor, Boonchu Tanti’s Ashtanga yoga illustrations capture the essence of the joy and playfulness of yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga: Maria Villella on Finding the Balance on your Hands and in Your Life

If you enjoyed the first clip you may be interested in checking out Maria’s

Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series

Ashtanga Yoga teacher Maria Villella demonstrates the entire Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series with strength, grace and control. As you watch, and listen, to the video you will hear the vinyasas for each posture counted, the names of the postures as well as the opening and closing prayers all spoken in Sanskrit.

The Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga is known for hip-openers, forward bends as well as Ashtanga Yoga’s trademark ‘jumping back’ and ‘jumping through’ vinyasas to connect the seated postures. Movement coordinated with proper breathing, bandha (internal energy locks) and drishti (gaze) is emphasized in this practice. The Primary Series begins with five Surya Namaskara A’s and B’s followed by the Fundamental Asana which are often referred to as the “standing postures”. Following the standing postures is a series of Seated Postures, and finally the Finishing Postures. In the Ashtanga Yoga system, the First or Primary Series is performed by all beginners and also intermediate and advanced students at least one day per week.

Maria Villella was filmed as she performed her personal practice in a Yoga studio in Santa Monica, California. None of the video was enhanced by special effects such as slow-motion, etc. Maria Villella has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga since 2001 and teaching since 2003. The Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series that Maria is seen performing in this documentary style video represents the practice as she learned it from her teacher.

Available for digital download here.

The Back-to-Basics Yoga Movement

What better than “A Yoga Manifesto” in The New York Times today to follow up yesterday’s post on yoga’s past, present, and future. Definitely recommended for reading and contemplation.  Great comments, by the way, on yesterday’s post as well.  Thanks to all for the additional perspective.

From Yoga to the People’s homepage:

Something to think about.

Did America Steal Yoga from the Hindus?

To answer the title of this post, yes it did, at least according to this thought-provoking assessment of the apparently rocky relationship between Hinduism and the practice of yoga in the West.  Aseem Shukla, co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation, writes, in essence, that the early Indian transmitters of yoga to the West sold out.  They all just sort of said, “To heck with Hinduism, let’s see the money!”

Hinduism, as a faith tradition, stands at this pass a victim of overt intellectual property theft, absence of trademark protections and the facile complicity of generations of Hindu yogis, gurus, swamis and others that offered up a religion’s spiritual wealth at the altar of crass commercialism.

“Facile complicity” sounds very bad.  A bold assertion that goes a bit far, I believe, in questioning the intent of the early pioneers and yogis who helped establish a uniquely American yoga tradition, which was certainly influenced just as much by early adopters in America as those few Indians who left home to share an ancient, yet new philosophy and way of life.  Nonetheless, questions remain about the “ownership” of the true origins of yoga.

Of course, no one stands to argue that yoga hasn’t commercialized itself in true capitalistic fashion and sold itself to the masses; however, I’m curious to know how Daily Cup of Yoga’s faithful readers feel about the melting pot of American yoga, the blending of Western thought/religion/heritage with an Eastern (oops…dare I say Hindu…) philosophical tradition.  In the age of the hybrid vehicle, it seems as if yoga easily lends itself to those open to hybrid religion.

Finally, despite his annoyance with what he believes to be intellectual and historical blindness, Mr. Shukla appears to soften, and perhaps weaken, his argument when he acknowledges the universal benefits yoga has for those from any religious background.

All of this is not to contend, of course, that yoga is only for Hindus. Yoga is Hinduism’s gift to humanity to follow, practice and experience. No one can ever be asked to leave their own religion or reject their own theologies or to convert to a pluralistic tradition such as Hinduism. Yoga asks only that one follow the path of yoga for it will necessarily lead one to become a better Hindu, Christian, Jew or Muslim. Yoga, like its Hindu origins, does not offer ways to believe in God; it offers ways to know God.

As for myself, I don’t really know who owns yoga or whether the little yogi stick figures carved into the Mohenjo-Daro stones were Hindus or not, but I’m definitely a hybrid guy who’s happy to have discovered the beautiful and unique, perhaps one-of-a-kind unifying gem, called yoga.

It’s Time to Recycle Your Old Yoga Journals

Every few years I find my stack of yoga magazines piling up.  Eventually I convince myself to pull out the scissors and cut out my favorite yoga articles, which I then place in three-ring binders for reference.  I recycle the rest of the magazine.  It’s a bit painful to chop up the magazines, but it certainly proves a useful exercise in non-attachment…

Happily, I recently discovered that every single page of Yoga Journal, all the way from issue number 1, which was 10 pages and cost 75 cents back in 1975, to the glossy-covered December 2008 issue, are chronicled on Google Books for our reading pleasure.  Hundreds of issues available at the click of a button.  The entire issue, for free!   Certainly makes the eventual separation from the physical copy less difficult.  I highly recommend checking out Yoga Journal on Google Books and enjoying a veritable journey through the history of yoga in the United States over the last 35 years.  It’s definitely interesting to observe the evolution of the magazine cover.

Self-Discipline and the Yogi

Excerpt from The Shambhala Guide to Yoga by Georg Feuerstein.

In order to gain the unsurpassable bliss of the Self, the yogin willingly adopts a life of strict discipline.  The aspirant begins by carefully regulating his or her moral behavior.  This forms the bedrock of all types of Yoga.  Reduced to its bare bones, yogic morality is the recognition of the universal Self in all other beings.  The various moral rules expounded in the Yoga scriptures are a symbolic bow to the Self within the other person.  Thus Yoga morality is inseparable from Yoga metaphysics.  In their moral conduct, the yogins aspire to preserve the moral order of the cosmos within the limited orbit of their personal existence.  In other words, they seek to uphold the ideals of harmony and balance.  This endeavor is by no means unique to Yoga.  Rather the moral code followed by its practitioners is universal and can be found in all the great religious traditions of the world.

As the American social critic Theodore Roszak correctly understood, the yogin’s first step must necessarily be a moral one:

“[H]igher consciousness is born out of conscience.  ‘Consciousness’/’conscience’: the very words are related, reminding us that we cannot expect to expand spiritual awareness unless we also expand our moral awareness of right and wrong, good and evil.  Later perhaps there will be ecstatic harmonies beyond the description of words in which the good and the evil of the world will be revealed as, mysteriously, the two hands of God.  But only the soul that has honestly cast out violence, greed, and deception may begin the ascent to that lofty vision…

“Surely too many Western practitioners of yoga are playing trivial games with the psychic and physiological spin-off of the divine science.  They learn to clearn their sinuses, to mitigate their migraine, to flirt with the joys of the kundalini.  Perhaps, besides achieving an enviable muscle tone, they even happen upon occasional intimations of samadhi.  But all these achievements become barbarous trifles if we forget that yoga, like all spiritual culture, is a life discipline and a moral wisdom.”

Getting close to busting out some Guerilla Yoga

With spring weather in the air, the chances of busting out some guerilla yoga increase dramatically 🙂 Although definitely not a public place, beside the pool in my backyard worked quite nicely this morning for some sun salutations. Baby steps to yoga bliss…

A few thoughts on staying inspired

And by the way, the Authentic Yoga app just keeps getting better. Version 1.3 now lets you create your own yoga routines.

Namaste!


B.K.S. Iyengar Visits America…

…as chronicled in LIFE Magazine in 1956.

Find out more about B.K.S. Iyengar’s remarkable life at his official B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga website or at the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States website.

Yoga is an art, a science and a philosophy. It touches the life of man at every level: physical, mental, spiritual. It is a practical method for making one’s life purposeful, useful and noble. — B.K.S. Iyengar

The book that made Iyengar a yoga icon:  Light on Yoga

Introduction to the Ashtanga Yoga Method

The Ashtanga Method:

Opening Prayer

Fundamental Asanas

Primary Asanas

Finishing Asanas

Closing Prayer

ashtanga yoga

The Ashtanga Yoga system is a living lineage that dates back nearly five thousand years in an unbroken line of teachers, sages and gurus that culminates in the life of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, his grandson Sharath Rangaswamy and every Ashtanga practitioner today. Developed by TKV Krishnamacharya and his student Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois who tells us that it was derived from the ancient indian text, the Yoga Kurunta, written by Vamana Rishi. Krishnamacharya is one of the world’s most legendary masters of yoga. He was initiated into the science of Yoga by his Guru, Rama Mohan Brahmachari. Among Krishnamacharya’s students we find TKV Desikachar (his son), BKS Iyengar and Indra Devi along side Jois who studied with him from 1927 and into the 1950’s. Jois, or Guruji as he is affectionately called by his students, continued the lineage of these teachings, sharing them with thousands of practitioners around the world (learn more HERE).

the practice

The Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa system is sequences of postures that vary in difficulty and benefit. The flow between each posture is an integral part of the practice.

asana

There are three groups of movement sequences and six series in total: The Primary Series, Yoga Chikitsa, cleanses and tunes especially the physical body. The Intermediate Series, Nadi Shodhana, purifies the nervous system, opening up for more subtle experiences of our energies and mind. The Advanced Series A, B, C and D, Sthira Bhaga, literally meaning strength and grace, which further explores flexibility, vigor and tranquility as an integrated synergy, requiring higher levels of humility and dedication. Each series of postures must be accomplished before proceeding to the next. The practice is cumulative and it is essential to follow the order of postures (asanas) meticulously as each individual asana builds on the previous one and prepares practitioners for the next. The sequential process of learning Ashtanga Yoga allows its practitioners to develop the concentration, strength, flexibility and stamina needed to progress in a safe and balanced manner. Each asana, or group of asanas, has a specific effect that is counter balanced by the previous asana, or group of asanas.

breath

Breathing cannot be overemphasized in the Ashtanga system. When we are born we breathe in and when we die we breathe out – in between these two breathes our life spans. Guruji says: ‘Ashtanga practice is a breathing practice … the rest is just bending’. The breath is the key to the realm of tranquility and power and with it we can regulate and control our nervous system. The breath is the door between our body and our mind, the portal between meditation and asana practice and often the first step on the way to a more spiritual, soulful and happy lifestyle. Breathing is our most fundamental and vital act and holds a divine essence.

vinyasa

Postures are linked together through flowing movement (vinyasa). Vinyasa means breath synchronized with movement. In Ashtanga Yoga the movement is always synchronized with the breath and there is never a separation between the two actions. When the synchronization of movement and breathing is an integral part of the yoga practice and the three body locks (Moolabandha, Udiyanabandha and jalandarabandha) are applied, an internal, purifying heat is generated in the body. Unwanted toxins are released and disposed of, vital hormones and minerals flow into the bloodstream and the nervous system is purified. The result is a light and strong body.

tristana

Ashtanga Yoga utilizes a three-pronged approach called Tristana. Tristana consists of correct breathing (Ujjayi)*, yoga postures/asanas (including correct use of the bandhas)**, and the precise gazing (dristi)***. This is both a method and a state and practitioners develop control of the senses, a deep awareness of themsleves and their inner sensations, emotions and workings of the mind. By maintaining this discipline with regularity and devotion, practitioners develop steadiness of body and mind.

heart of yoga

Ashtanga literally means eight limbs. All yoga is technically speaking ashtanga yoga as all yoga follows the eight limbs described by Patanjali. But these days the term is commonly used to describe the method taught by Jois. The eight limbs are described by Patanjali as:

  • Yama (ethical discipline):
    ahimsa (non-violence)
    satya (truthfulness)
    asteya (non-stealing)
    brahmacharya (refraining from sexual indulgence)
    aparigraha (detachment)
  • Niyama (observation & purification):
    sauca (cleanliness, purity) santosha (contentment)
    tapah (austerity)
    svadhyaya (study towards self-knowledge)
    ishwara-pranidhana (surrender to God/higher self)
  • Asana (postures)
  • Pranayama (breath control)
  • Pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
  • Dharana (concentration)
  • Dhyana (meditation)
  • Samadhi (consciousness itself)

The eight branches mutually support each other and are to be learned and taken into daily committed action. An established asana practice prepares dedicated yogis for a balanced practice of the more subtle limbs such as pranayama which are the key to embodying the yamas and niyamas. The heart of yoga is ethical living, honesty and compassion.

how to learn

Please note that you should learn only from a traditionally trained teacher who follows the lineage of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois to ensure a safe and healthy journey for the body and mind into the science of the Ashtanga Method to yoga.

* Ujjayi breath (breath of victory): The core of the practice. Facilitates movement in the physical body, creating ‘room to roam‘ between your bones underneath your skin. Quiets the mind from unnecessary entanglements, distributes appropriate energy through-out your body and unifies the physical, mental and energetic bodies to one solid entity of motion, transformation and power. Generates purifying heat in the body.

** Bandha (valves or locks): Moolabandha, Uddiyanabandha and Jalandarabandha helps you integrate your physical and energy bodies. Through the use of the three bandhas in your practice, the body comes together to one entity, creating bounce, flow and grace. It accumulates the generation of purifying heat deep in your body and, yet again, makes for a strong internal focus point for your mind to rest.

*** Dristi (focus): The eyes as a help to focus the mind, instigating a more internal and potentially meditative practice. Helps keep your mind and senses within the parameters of your physical body.

[Source: YogaJoy]

Ashtanga Yoga Podcasts from Miami Life Center

I stayed up way too late last night listening to Ashtanga yoga podcasts with Kino MacGregor on the Miami Life Center website. Very entertaining, motivating, and insightful.

Here’s a few podcasts that I downloaded (you can right-click on the links to save the files to your computer):

Yoga as a Spiritual Path Miami Friday Night Workshop Talk 2010 Part 1.

Guided Full Primary Series Richmond.

Miami Old Shala Q&A with Kino & Tim – The Ashtanga Yoga Method and Teaching Beginners.

In addition to the podcast page, the rest of the Miami Life Center website is chock-full of  yogic wisdom for those seeking deeper insight into yoga practice.  I plan on spending quite a bit of time there.  Too bad I’m not closer to Miami so I could actually take some classes there.  Not much Ashtanga yoga going on in my neck of the Florida panhandle…as far as I know…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Yoga…in a perfect world

Found these insightful ruminations on Tumblr about one yogini’s (julia lee yoga) realization about the essence of a yoga practice:

In a perfect world (or in a world where money grows from trees), yoga would be freely accessible to all. There would be no such thing as $100 spandex pants or exorbitant yearly pass prices. Unfortunately, the world is not a perfect place – nor does money grow from trees.

Let’s face it – I’m far from rich. In fact, I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’m a student. In other words, I survive off student loans and the clearance rack at the grocery store, which offers brown bananas and bread that expires that day. Living on a student budget and immersing myself in yoga has been challenging, to say the least. There have been times when I have neglected my practice completely for weeks due to financial or time constraints. At these moments, I feel guilty; guilty for putting yoga on the back burner and not making my practice a priority in my life.

Lately, I’ve been hit hard by a wave of yogic desire, and I’m itching to start a regular practice again. I spend most of my free time researching yoga studios, festivals and workshops, and then staring sadly at my empty bank account. I’m a bad yogini, I tell myself. Real yogis and yoginis travel to Yoga Journal conferences and study with master teachers. Real yogis and yoginis do asana practice at real studios with real teachers.

Then, suddenly, I came to a realization. I realized that my definition of yoga had been tainted and warped by the influence of the modern world. Yoga isn’t only about sporting the top-of-the-line clothing and accessories, and studying with “yoga celebrities”. That’s probably the worst interpretation of yoga there is. Yoga is a lifestyle, a conscious decision to make the world around you a better place. Just because I practice to online videos on a mat in my room doesn’t make it any less worthwhile. I am living my yoga when I do kind things, when I act with mindfulness and intention. Each day I embrace the true principles of the yamas and niyamas, I am engaging myself in the practice of yoga. So what did I learn today? I learned yoga doesn’t equate to dollar signs, and that I can be a true yogini after all.

Yoga Journal LiveMag ~ Great for Home Practice Yogis

As I perused through Yoga Journal during the wee hours this morning, I noticed that the magazine had plans to introduce  a new online video channel called “LiveMag,” described as “an online extension of the pages of the magazine.”  It sounded interesting.  I didn’t have time to look into it this morning, but when I checked my e-mail this evening I had a message from Yoga Journal that the first issue of LiveMag was available.

In the first edition (which corresponds to the March 2010 issue of the magazine), you can practice along with the video versions of the Home Practice and Master Class columns and watch a demo of a few of the Sun Salutation variations highlighted in the feature story “Shine on Me.”

Based on initial impression, LiveMag looks to be a great complementary feature to the printed asana instruction in the physical magazine.  I definitely look forward to this and future editions.  Here’s the videos of the Yoga Journal Editor’s introduction to LiveMag as well as the featured Home Practice article.

What do you think?  Is this a useful feature for you?

Introduction to LiveMag | Yoga Journal Editor Kaitlin Quistgaard

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Home Practice Video Sequence | YogaJournal

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Maybe you could practice Yoga with Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles on your iPhone

Get your bliss on anywhere with a new yoga app for your iPhone or iPod Touch.  iTunes has a decent number of yoga apps available.  Some look good, some look horrid, but this one featuring Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles looks promising.

Any recommendations for iPhone yoga apps?  I’m possibly in the market, but don’t want to waste money on something that’s not top-notch.

10 Reasons to Participate in Yoga Day USA 2010

Even though it’s nearly the end of January, do you still find yourself writing 2009 instead of 2010 anytime you have to date something?  Perhaps this annoying quirk just goes to show how difficult it can be to wrap the brain around something new.  Old habits die hard.  And sometimes new habits just require a little motivation.

If you’re looking for a little motivation to re-jumpstart your New Year’s intention to make yoga a habit, this weekend, 23 January 2010, to be specific, looks like an excellent time to head over to the local yoga studio for Yoga Day USA.  Read more about Yoga Day USA and find a “free – or nearly free” yoga class in your neighborhood.

Here are 10 really great reasons for cultivating the yoga habit:

  1. Stress relief
  2. Pain relief
  3. Better breathing
  4. Flexibility
  5. Increased strength
  6. Weight management
  7. Improved circulation
  8. Cardiovascular conditioning
  9. Focus on the present
  10. Inner peace

Rock a Healthy Shoulderstand with Sadie Nardini

Came across this great shoulderstand video on Rand(Om) Bites.  Do it right and it feels great; do it wrong and…just don’t do it wrong, okay.  Better yet, this is one of those poses best learned at the hands of a skilled teacher before you get too wild and crazy on your own.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Also, check out this snazzy Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga poster.  I love cool yoga posters.

Question of the day:  Can Yoga Save the World?

 

Yoga for Frogs

Doesn’t your day just feel messed up if you don’t get in at least a few Sun Salutations?  Kermit the Frog thinks so.   Though yoga for dogs used to be the rage, apparently yoga for frogs is the next up-and-coming craze.

Er, maybe not, but you’re more than welcome to enjoy the singular experience of brushing up on your Sun Salutation skills with everyone’s favorite frog.

Mountain Pose Raised Arms Forward Bend Lunge.

There’s more where that came from….

[inspired by YogaDork]