Not Just for Cirque du Soleil: AcroYoga!

I love a yoga trend!

You know how folks who questions the science of global warming always turn to the cyclical nature of things?  How, when you’re talking about that expanse of time there’s all kinds of shit happens, going unrecorded for millennia, and that this is just another of those examples except now, like, we’ve got the technology to keep track?

I think yoga is sort of like, you know, nature.  It’s been around forever, and has gone through any number of crazy iterations.  It’s just now, in this age of endless record- blogging, social media, 24-hour news cycle- that we get exposed to every single one of them.

Perhaps when you’ve been around for thousands of years, there’s always some evolution- or revolution- required to keep things interesting and humans engaged, particularly in an era where engagement can be so very momentary.  There’s always gotta be something new to keep things exciting.

‘Cuz yoga is all about the excitement.

And sitting, being, here in this present moment with my body is not quite enough… I need to be lifted, twirling and flipping on merely the soles of the feet of a VERY strong partner in this moment to be in full appreciation of what it, and my body, brings.

This new trend, AcroYoga, is taking the yoga world by storm.  OK… maybe not by storm, but when you see the images, or the videos, of yogis and yoginis performing this brand of yoga, it’s really quite something to watch.  In addition to the discipline and skill, the sheer strength- oh, and did I mention trust?-  is really quite something to behold.

There are some yoga trends I’ve covered, such as Paddleboard Yoga, that I want to be a part of- the idea of yoga on water is a lovely one to me- and I do what I can to incorporate into my practice.  Past the characterization of trend, perhaps, but still a little off his rocker, Bikram was total surprise to me- I love it!!  But AcroYoga?  This remarkable combination of yoga and acrobatics is likely one trend that may of us will never partake but it is still truly something beautiful to be admired.

In short, while at first blush it may appear simply a matter of strength and flexibility, there’s actually more to it.  Co-founded by Jenny Sauer-Klein and Jason Nemer in 2003, “AcroYoga blends the wisdom of yoga, the dynamic power of acrobatics, and the loving kindness of healing arts. These three lineages form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, playfulness, and community.

Remember when your dad used to lie down and balance you on his feet?  I would let go his hands and pretend to fly…  I do the same for my kids.  I often yearn to be the one balancing.

Maybe I shouldn’t be soquick to set this idea aside…..

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Goop Partners With Beyond Yoga: Top… For Those Unhindered by Breasts

Quilted One Shoulder TopComing out of the American Thanksgiving weekend, I have to admit to a particular weekness.

It comes in the form of my bed and a roster of cable movies… yes, I know there’s Netflix, but I can’t adequately describe the particular brand of glee that comes from seeing a long list of romantic comedies or period pieces on my cable guide… with a particular penchant for my Big 5:  Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, Emma Thompson, Julia Roberts and… wait for it… Gwyneth Paltrow.

I’ve admitted to a few things here: 1. that I watch T.V in my bed; 2. all weekend; 3. have a remarkably high tolerance for fops and the british- real, fake, no matter- and; 4. lean decidedly towards brain candy in my weekend viewing… dear Emma excepted of course.

That said, it should seem all the more appropriate that in my equally vapid surfing over to Goop this should catch my eye.

In collaboration with Beyond Yoga, Gwyneth presents the Quilted One Shoulder Top.

I actually think that, with my fried eggs, I could pull this off, and will add it to my list to Santa.  But for most women with real breasts, I’m not sure how practical this might be if you have intentions of  actually practicing yoga in it.

I know Gwyneth makes it look oh so practical and practice-friendly- I mean, she’s sweating!- but, as you know, that’s what Gwyneth does… makes everything look just so easy.

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Not Just for New Age Hippies… Yoga Training for Athletes

I’m sure this would come as no surprise to Swami Vivekananda, but yoga is finding its place among the popular training methodologies for elite athletes in their quest for a competitive edge.

When you consider the mental, emotional and physical benefits of yoga, it’s really no surprise!

Athletic pursuits such as running and jumping, not to mention getting thrown off your feet at a full run by a 350 pound gorilla, tend to tighten and shorten the muscles, inhibiting flexibility and increasing the likelihood of injury.  Health and longevity in any sport are enhanced when the muscles are limber and loose and those of us who practice regularly know that there is nothing like that blissful feeling of length that comes from a session of yoga.

NBA star Blake Griffin attests to the benefits, “For me, flexibility is huge,” Griffin said. “Staying loose and healthy and staying limber–you can tell a difference when your muscles are tight or when you’re stretched out and completely relaxed. I’ve heard from a lot of guys that flexibility is the key to longevity in this league,” Griffin said. “For those guys who want to play a long time, I think it’s important.”

Along with the physical and medical benefits are the mental and emotional effects as well.  According to a German study published in 2005, 24 women who described themselves as “emotionally distressed” took two 90-minute yoga classes a week for three months. Women in a control group maintained their normal activities and were asked not to begin an exercise or stress-reduction program during the study period. At the end of three months, women in the yoga group reported vast improvements in perceived stress, depression, anxiety, energy, fatigue, and well-being.

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Got My Bikram On!

Over these past several years, I’ve dedicated more than one post to the wonders of Baptiste.  I’ve read and followed his books, been to a Bootcamp (which I loved!) and generally, let the Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga dictate my practice for the better part of a decade… and love it!

However, recently, I’ve let myself succumb to the charms of another… whose methodology has opened a new door into a whole new way of practicing yoga.

Yes, I’d heard of him.  I’ve even written about him here.

But… I’ll be honest, I never really took him seriously.   What with the yoga competitions and all… he just seemed like just another egomaniacal one-named guru cashing in on the trend.

I mean, really.

But then, thanks to an extended trip to the city and the modern wonders of the Groupon… I received an offer I couldn’t refuse.  An inexpensive opportunity to experience that known simply as Bikram

And, lo and behold, I’m hooked.

The first class nearly killed me… sending me into a claustrophobic anxiety attack, gasping desperately for fresh breath in the suffocating heat- never has savasana been so welcome.  But damn!  Even after that first class I felt transformed.

Cleaned, pulled and emerged, not unlike the slimy pupa freeing itself from the restriction of her shell.

And sweat?! Holy moly… I felt purged from the inside out.  All the yuck seeping out through my pores.  Not to mention the 600 calories I supposedly burned!

And more wondrous, throughout the rest of the day, the experience stayed with me, so much so that I enjoyed a heightened consciousness and deliberateness in everything I chose to put back in, from food to media.  Weird.

Everything about my day felt different… true renewal.  A feeling I want everyday.

But alas… my return to the sticks.  And trying to recreate Bikram on my own.

Festival! Lightning In A Bottle

It is festival time folks, and here’s one to kick off the season that is bound to inspire and enlighten while getting you movin’, groovin’ all at the same time.  In amongst the music and vendors, yoga, speakers and workshops will be in abundance at the fast approaching and much anticipated 6th annual Lightning in a Bottle Music and Arts Festival 2011, presented by The Do Lab.

Yoga plays an integral role in Lightning In A Bottle, lead by the likes of Shiva Rea and Micheline Berry, but what sets this festival apart are the unique series of workshops to satisfy any number of interests.  Want a cool way to make use your old clothes? Check out the Revolutionary Remix Upcycled  Fashion and Costuming with artist Sara Rodriguez. Interested in a new way of looking at your connections to yourself, your relationships and your community?  You’re bound to find a new perspective with Jessica Viola and The Life Garden.  Wanna eat algae?  Learn what spirulina can do for you and how to grow it at home.

Lightning In A Bottle is also family friendly where, in addition to the music, food and fun there is also MagiKids Village and Mystic Family Circus.  There they’ll find a fun, magical place to experience the festival. From exciting activities and little shows geared towards children, to arts & crafts tables, the Kidz Village is the place for parents to go with their kids. It also provides a safer zone for children to play and roam more freely and playful educational activities to engage in.   With arts and crafts, a play area with fun circus props, face painting and more along with entertainment suprises, your kids are sure to have a great time of their own at the festival.

Click HERE to see the multitude of interesting and inspiring workshops available at Lightning In A Bottle in only a couple of weeks!

Get educated, enlightened and inspired this Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30) and will be returning for the 2nd straight year to the beautiful Oak Canyon Ranch in Irvine, Ca.

A feature will be The Lucent Temple of Consciousness is a magical village nestled on top of the LIB mountain. The view is spectacular, the breeze is warm and the entertainment is absolutely mind expanding!

And when the moon rises above the temple, until the sun returns at dawn, the air will be filled with the sounds of sitars, violins, acoustic guitars, beautiful minstrels, tribal drums, and even a man who plays a shovel.

This is a definite must see!  Head over to Lightning In A Bottle for more info!

Jennifer Anniston, Oprah & You: Yogamatic Customized Yoga Mats!

A yoga mat is a very personal thing.  It’s covered in your sweat, your smell, your belly button lint and toe jam, your cleaner… it doesn’t get any more “yours”.  Tried explaining this to hubby to no avail… thinks we just have a collection of random, interchangeable yoga mats and just grabs ‘em willy nilly.  Argh!

I’ve since removed mine from the collection!

Also hiding from indiscriminate hubby is my Yogamatic Travel Mat/Yoga Towel, which I received a couple of months ago and fell in love with immediately.    It’s surprisingly light and thin, with a towel-ly soft top layer, complete with a design that I love, and a sticky rubber bottom that grips the floor.

I sometimes use it on top of my usual yoga mat for a little extra padding and absorption, but what I really love is how convenient and perfect it is for travel.  It folds up light and compact in a convenient little envelope, easily sliding into a carry-on.  No more packing around bulky yoga mats for me!  It could even fit in my purse, for Christmas sake!

As wonderful as the versatile Yoga Towel is, what makes Yogamatic truly unique is that they are all about making your yoga mat all that much more yours.

Whether you choose from their huge selection of wonderful designs or upload your own image or graphic, it’s all about suiting your practice, your personality and your passion for yoga and beyond.

Perhaps you’ve already heard about Jennifer Anniston recently gifting Oprah a puppified Yogamatic of her own!

Whether your after a handy-dandy Towel or customizing a for real, thick and cushion-y mat, Yogamatic is doing it best!

Yoga + Couples: David & Victoria Beckham

If you’re looking for a pair of bodies to get you motivated to hit the mat, I suppose you don’t have to look much farther than the Beckhams.

Style icons for sure, but the picture of yogic marital bliss?  Who knew?!

With the help of twice a week couple sessions at The Sports Club LA in Beverly Hills, not only are their bodies kept enviably beautiful but their relationship too, is apparently made that much stronger.

According to an insider, “It’s a very intimate experience. You have to learn to become one entity entirely. You stretch, breathe and move as one – it’s great for couples and is probably better than talking in a way.”

In addition to regular practice of deprivation yoga to keep their bodies lean and lovely, thanks to the classes which include the ancient hands-on healing energy technique of reiki as well as meditation where the pair chant mantras to one another, Becks, 35 and Posh, 36, married 11 years, are able to better weather the persistent accusations of David’s infidelity that seem to plague them.

Keeping a man like David Beckham, and his various appetites, satisfied has got to be a full-time job… let’s hope the power of yoga can help out a little.

West Coast or East Coast… Pick Your Wanderlust!

Wanderlust is a retreat unlike any other… and it ain’t just for California gurls anymore.

The two-year-old yoga-slash-concert extravaganza will offer two locations for the summer of 2011, appealing to the green-, yogi-, and folk- hearted on both coasts.  If you can’t make it out to California, maybe you’ve a hankerin’ for maple syrup and an extra excuse to get to Vermont is in order!  An added bonus, they are a month apart, so you’ve plenty of time to save your pennies not missing one in favour of the other.

The details, instructors and musicians, are still to be announced next month, but if last year’s line-up is any indication (the likes of Shiva Rea, Baron Baptiste, Doug Swenson and Moby, Bassnectar, Brazilian Girls, respectively) then these retreats will be sure NOT to disappoint.

The beautiful thing about Wanderlust, it isn’t just a retreat for yoga-loving singles.  Families are welcome and encouraged, with the Wanderkind Kids Program, presented last year by Om Kids Yoga, Truckee.  It was the number one spot on site for kids to have an exceptionally cool experience, custom tailored to the interests of Wanderlust families.