OK… so I’ve not put much effort into building MommyOm over there on facebook. I know… way slow to the party!
So, please help me get this facebook train moving! Giveaways to come soon for facebook like-ers. Announcements to come soon, but don’t let that stop you! No matter when you like MommyOm, you will be included!
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.
Coming 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.
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.
Leave it to the Canadians and their legalized marijuana to find yet another excuse to get high: yoga class!
I suppose to some, yoga and pot are synonymous anyhow. But to those of us who practice regularly, the high we get from a practice, any practice, from more mellow Iyengar to balls out Bikram, is just so satisfying and remarkable on its own, it keeps us coming back to the magic of the mat as often as we can.
But, apparently there is another faction of yogis that feel there’s just that much more can be achieved through a practice enhanced by the ganja… the herb… the tea… by the cannabis that they’ve developed a series of classes incorporating the hallucinogen to maximize their yogic experience.
Classes range in participation from four to fifteen students, and along with mats, towels and water bottles, it’s a strict policy of BYOP: Bring Your Own Pot. There is no sharing or mooching and there is certainly no buying or selling.
Classes include “a vaporizer café and chat (approximately 30 minutes), followed by a profoundly trippy yoga class, set to mystical music (approximately 75 minutes). Light munchies served afterward” for about $15 CDN.
Most of us don’t live in the Toronto area to take advantage of this unique approach to yoga, but if you’re interesting in experimenting with your own ganja infused practice, Dee Dussault offers a few pointers:
I’ve been known to wax enviously about this posture and those who are able to enjoy its full potential… but despite my own challenges in the posture… ILOVE IT!
I consider it the most beautiful- strong, graceful, intense.
Myself, it takes some time resting in Tadasana- Mountain Pose to gather myself before I embark upon this energetic journey that is Natarajasana. Breathe… fix gaze… breathe…
With gaze fixed, supporting foot- let’s say, left- is grounded toes spread, weight centred throughout all points from heel to balls (ahem…;) Reach for the right foot with the right hand, gently grasping around the inner arch.
In tandem, the torso and leg being raised pull in opposite directions simultaneously out and up, the heart reaching forward. The left arm is extended forward guiding the torso. There should be a delightful energy- a blissful tension- as the leg and torso work to extend opposite one another, while engaging a graceful arc in the back. Ooooohhhhh… tingles! Yes, tingles… I said I LOVED this posture!
The supporting leg is strong and long, the head of the thigh bone pulled up deep into the hip as it provides solid foundation.
If you’re more ambitious, or more flexible, the arm extended forward can also reach back to grasp the outer arch of the foot, drawing the shin again, both out and upwards. Strong. All the while, the heart reaches up… as though a string is attached pulling towards the ceiling. Yum.
Lovely, lovely… and, despite the exertion involved a nice relief from the previous posture, Dekasana- airplane.
The support of one, or two hands if you wish, certainly helps. The support of the arms provides leverage, allowing for greater extension through the lifted leg, with that foot active and energized.
With a last inhale in airplane, getting a little bit more from the slight backbend, heart reaching forward and up, maintain straight back and exhale, hinging at the hip, draw the torso forward down the long line of the thigh.
Be conscious of the line, making sure to keep the trunk turned to lay against the supporting leg. With the forward bending motion, the extended leg reaches, long and upwards, the toes eager and active towards the ceiling or up the wall to the rear.
This is an energetic posture and the torso extends long down the leg, pulling in the opposite direction of the reaching toes. Long, long… oh so long! The arms are engaged, with hands either on the floor, on the ankle or one of each, pulling offering assistance to the extension happening through both the torso andhttp://www.mommyom.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=761 leg. A block is absolutely encouraged to offer assistance in support with the hands, to keep the torso properly aligned, if the floor isn’t going to happen without it. That leverage is important in maximizing the benefit of this posture.
Regardless the height of the leg, the idea is length and energy… down into the floor through the supporting leg and foot and the hands and up through that long, extended leg into and beyond the toes.
I’d have cranked the heat… but it is Canada, after all!
In our neck o’ the woods we’ve seen celebrities of all stripes, most notably the whole Twi-hard phenomenon as they make their homes locally (roughly) to film the monster vampire franchise.
Anywho… a celebrity nearly as big, at least in his own mind, and certainly more interesting, recently graced our northern shores. With mouth, cocked and loaded, attitude and cash in abundance, the ‘bad boy’ founder of Bikram, Bikram Choudhury, did Vancouver.
“It takes six hours,” the Los Angeles-based yoga mogul said, before laughing: “And I buy all the junk. I love it, you know?”
Here to conduct a lecture as well as judge the Western Canadian Hatha Yoga Championships- who knew?!- Master Bikram, whose efforts and commitment have manifested in a veritable empire founded on heat, sweat and just plain balls(!), boasts more than 350 affiliated studios around the world and the devotion of millions. Without doubt, were it available to me and given my penchant for celebrity yogis, I’d probably be sitting sweaty and happy on the Bikram train as well.
The roots of Bikram’s methodology lie in a childhood devoted to hours of practice, where he became more and more aware of the positive effects of heat on his body and it’s response to yoga.
“When room is more hot, then I can sweat more, I can stretch more, I can push more, I can go more deeper and deeper and inside the body, it hurts less and you never get injury,” he said, recalling early days in India when he’d shut doors to keep in the heat.
“So I developed this with my own practice,” he said. “Years and years and years and years.”
Guru to any number of celebrities, Shirley McLain chief among them… oh, and Tiger Woods as well, along with the likes of Madonna, Elle Macpherson and the lovely George Clooney. Despite his roster of notable clientele, when it comes to giving them the celebrity treatment, Bikram states emphatically,
“This is the way I run my kingdom: my way or the highway,” he said in a tone that leaves little room for dispute. “I don’t listen to anybody. You need my help: Come to me, shut up, forget who you are. I will take care of you. And I do my job.”
For anyone perhaps considering taking Bikram to a more competetive level, take a peek… Here’s Mari Dickey, number one woman at the competition. A little inspiration:
In time for Christmas, I turn to the the OM-nipresent, the OM-nicient, the OM-nipotent and the ever OM-nificent… to guide me through the minefield that is holiday shopping. And, in case there’s some confusion to whom I might be referring, let me be clear… I’m talking about Google, of course… the arbiter of all things… all things.
Where I, in my Mommy-OM-ness would trend towards the yogic in my gift-giving preferences, it seems that Google is telling me otherwise. According to an article in Canada’s National Post, when it comes to most searched items this year, “yoga” is lucky to squeak into the top ten as Google Zeitgeist, the empire’s trend-tracker tells us that “hula hoop exercise” emerged at number two… second only to P90X exercise program (been there, done that… not for wimps… and sure, feel free to call me a wimp!)
Despite some growth, such as Lululemon, the Vancouver-based clothing giant, with its annual revenue increase by roughly 30% from 2008 to 2009, these recessionary times are sending us looking for less expensive means to our physical fitness and fat-burning ends. And, if you can resist the attempts to cash in on this trend, with companies offering all flavours of hula induced spending from hoops encrusted with fat burning marbles to full service hula fitness kits, you still only pay about $5 bucks for this not-so-modern marvel. And, hey, anyone can do it!
You’ll also do your part to support what might appear as something of a yoga backlash:
Is yoga now on a downward trend? Or has the uber-trendy exercise suffered some sort of backlash due to expensive studio classes or, as Antonia Richmond says in a 2006 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, a growing sense of insecurity from the non-yoga inclined masses:
“These are the yoga people. And they’re better than you…They don’t have the haggard appearance or sensitivity to bright sunlight that I do as I stumble down the street in search of coffee. They appear to … glow.”
Yoga-hater and creator of New York clothing company “It’s a Sickness”, Barnaby Harris went so far as to create an entire f— yoga clothing line.
Harris elegantly summed up the history of the ubiquitous trend, saying:
“Yoga has survived for thousands of years and will survive for thousands more. It’s just that it has gone unopposed for too damn long.”