It’s out and hopefully landing in a dvd player near me… hear that hubby- I mean, Santy Clause!?!
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It’s out and hopefully landing in a dvd player near me… hear that hubby- I mean, Santy Clause!?!
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.”
Back from Thanksgiving and, Idon’t know about you, but I’m finding the need for balance, in diet- navigating my way from abundant meat and cheese (until Christmas, creamy fondue and Calabrese salami!) and back to hot rice cereal, greens and lean protien… and practice! Whew! Moving on in the series we find ourselves moving from grasping our toe as though for dear life long, extended and upright, into Dekasana, or Airplane Pose… I’m guessing (cuz I don’t really know) a modern, 20th century evolution of Virabhadrasana III, or Warrior III. Regardless, a welcome relief from the intensity of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, or Extended Hand-to-Toe! From the extended leg, hand-to- toe, the leg is brought forward briefly yet again where the toe is released, controlled of course, not dropped… the hands grasp the hips and that extended leg is lightly, strongly extended forward from the hip. Alternatively, that leg can be supported by the hands, fingers intertwined below the hamstring- my preference, in fact. more »
Just when you thought all was well with the world… you’ve successfully unwound yourself out of Eagle and with a long, delightful exhale are ready to take it down a notch.
The series continues, long and extended, as we head into a remarkably high energy posture, Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, or Extended Hand-to-Toe, requiring strength along with steadiness and focus. The good news is that for beginners, or if the day- and the joints- say, “let’s just not” there is a lovely modification that still fosters knowledge and understanding on one leg, but offers a little break in the intensity.
To modify, rather than grasping the big toe and extending the leg, merely keep the knee bent. Keep the hands on the hips and hold the knee forward for five breaths, foot flexed and supporting foot grounded into the floor to maintain the stable foundation.
After five breaths, keeping the knee bent, move the knee to the side of the body and hold. If you’d like to intensify this a little, challenging the balance, turn the head to settle the gaze on the opposite wall to the bent leg. After five breaths bring the bent leg back to the front, with hands still on hips, hips square, extend the leg forward and hold at whichever height your leg and hip allow for a breath or two before releasing to the floor to switch sides.
If you’d like a little more challenge, actually working towards extending the leg and maintaining that extension, consider using a chair on which to support that leg for the five breaths. Props are always strongly encouraged!
As with all of the balancing postures, this provides wonderful strengthening and lengthening in the supporting leg, and certainly that which is extended should you take it in that direction. As always, here’s a little more info…
Lovely. Lovely. Lovely.
Maybe it’s autumn, maybe it’s my current serene state of mind, fair & balanced, but I’m all about incorporating the Balancing Series into my practice these days.
So, if you’re looking to cultivate strength, balance and open-ness… look no further! The Balancing Series provides you with a well-rounded and challenging set of postures to help you achieve all three!
It’s a personal favourite of mine, and one that I look forward to as I’m sweating through the warrior series in anticipation of the sweet serenity and focused stillness of standing on one foot.
I know it may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Balancing postures, while providing a beautiful payoff, require a heck of a lot in return. Passive it ain’t. You will work… your. butt. off! Heh heh.
But, truly, the balancing postures embody the foundations of yoga and are so worth getting to know better despite the degree of physical endurance. The rewards extend, literally, from head to toe and I encourage you to incorporate it, in part or in full, regularly into any practice.
Combined with some form of cardio, yoga is without a doubt and effective choice if you are interested in an alternative to conventional strength training. I, for one, have never been very good at sticking with a routine of dumbbells and free weights.
If you are looking for a great routine to target the ‘guns’, toning and developing strength in one sha-bang, check out the video below. Sure, I know that the lovely Miyuki Fox is a model. Yes, I’m aware that for whatever reason she has about 7 percent body fat, tops. And OK, so in all likelihood the girl is eight feet tall. So… I guess I have to admit, those facts alone set her apart from the rest of us in her ability to show off miles of bicep-ial sinew with little to no effort… but please, keep an open mind. Take a gander… even better, give it a go.
I’m willing to bet, that model or no model, you’ll feel it… and maybe, with a little consistency, you too might be boasting model worthy ‘guns’… OK, perhaps not model worthy, but perhaps a little less chicken wing worthy. How ’bout that?!
Yum. Yum. Yum.
Head to class in unique style with this lovely tote from the treasure chest that is Etsy.
From XcessRize Designs, these happy totes are large enough to hold your favourite mat and a towel and wide, deep interior pockets to take care of your other essentials, like your wallet, keys and cellphone.
Conveniently, the exterior offers deep pockets for your water bottle and the wide strap is adjustable so the bag can be carried tote style or slung over your back as desired.
No more squeezing into a saggy, baggy tube!
A new site design… to represent our renewed vision and spirit!
Mommy Om is shaping up to be the formost presence of yoga for families on the web. In addition to first hand accounts of parent’s practice, with or without their children, Mommy Om will provide a wealth of resources for introducing and involving your children in the remarkable world of yoga.
We have officially settled into our Mexican vacation. Day #2 has come to an end and I do believe everyone will be in a better sleep cycle beginning tonight. Which means, an early, uninterrupted, practice tomorrow morning. I love practicing yoga when we’re here… it’s just a matter of making time for it and early mornings are my favourite here. The waves, the sunrise… before the workers are up clanging down by the pool… before the other vacationers are up, all boisterous, setting up for the day or heading to breakfast… before the smell of bacon fills the air.
Doors open, breeze off of the Caribbean…. breathe….. tomorrow it is!