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.
Millions are spent each year by otherwise sane folks injecting neuro-toxins and synthetic Hyaluronic Acid (sounds bad, but its natural counterpart is actually found in a youthful face) into their faces and other body parts to stave off the ravages of time.
And, while the ravages spare no one, perhaps, like me, the idea of needles filled with sickness and goo being injected into into your body is even more oogie than the perpetual frown that is steadily developing… “Are you mad, mommy- why do you always look mad, mom?”
But, hey! All is not lost to those of us who reject the costly, rather frightening and, let’s face it, frustratingly impermanent medical solutions.
Thanks to the drive to stay looking younger naturally there is a cheaper, non-medical, and let’s face it, frustratingly impermanent, yogic alternative!
As with yoga as a regular practice to keep our muscles strong and limber, staving off the inevitable fraying with time, the age-old practice is effective with our facial muscles as well. It can be the alternative to the more invasive needle procedures that can be financially prohibitive not to mention just plain gross.
Developed by Annelise Hagen, of New York Yoga, who wrote a book on mastering what she calls the ultimate facelift, facial yoga provides a wonderfully natural and invigorating way to stay looking younger.
As Annelise explains, there is a particular technique to making the faces that make up the unique practice.
In an interview with “Good Morning America, “If you just made weird squirmy faces randomly you’d get more wrinkles,” she said. “We’re trying to tone and lift the muscles of the face. It’s been scientifically proven that the muscular activity helps to prolong the production of collagen and elastin, which makes your face firm and springy.” Hagen maintains that this practice of yoga for the face allows people to guide the way their face ages from the inside out.
In addition to the regular needle treatments and other procedures, Dr. Neil Sadick, the lucky go-to dermatologist to some of the wives of “The Real Housewives of New York,” does, in fact, also recommend yoga for the face to his patients, saying it promotes the production of collagen.
Face yoga stimulates muscles, Sadick said, adding that “although there’s not great science around it compared to other technologies like chemical peels or Botox, we know that by stimulating any component of your face like your muscles you’re going to have a beneficial effect in terms of your overall appearance.”
And there you have it…. looking younger may not have to mean endless costly visits to the cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist, numbing and plumping with disease and fillers. There may actually be an alternative that promotes not only looking younger, but actually doing it gracefully… for free!
I like birds OK… I admire the little hummingbirds that flit and feast from the feeder at our window and I will always stare in awe when I see one of the lovely birds of prey and the herons… well, their long legs dangling, gangly, from their otherwise graceful bodies always make me smile.
That said, there is one bird that drives me a little crazy… The Pigeon!
It’s a bird that sorta creeps me out… and it’s a posture that I… endure.
It could be said, I suppose, that Pigeon is probably the posture from which I can achieve my greatest growth and expansion, both physically and spiritually.
And I get that. Really… but damn, it hurts. I breathe. I adjust. And I breathe some more. Like I said, I endure. Despite my willingness to expand my yogic horizons through this posture, my hips are not as amenable. They continue to resist.
So, the trick is to respect the perspective of my tight hips, but slowly, gently ease them into opening just a little further each time. It means managing my own expectations, of course. I don’t get to tell them what to do.
It’s yet another exercise in surrender… for both of us.
Pigeon is a posture I would just as soon avoid, in favour of others I prefer (hello, Child’s Pose!) but I don’t.
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.
101 days since mommy’s last tweet… 101 days since mommy’s last post. Hmmmm…..
OK… so things have kinda been falling apart. Just a lil’ bit.
But inspired anew, with a tidy place to transform my butt-ugly-early mornings from groggily logging on to facebook- I mean, my email and other work related stuff- to something truly transformative. I’m turning to meditation to aid in persistent headaches, a pesky snacking habit and even more pesky weight gain… and really just an over-all case of the blah’s- physically and mentally.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Consider this a 365 Day Project of a different shade.
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.
In honour of all things earth, lets talk what we can do to combine our love of yoga with our love of this wondrous host that sustains us.
1. Get outside with your mat. OK, so it still might only be slightly above freezing in some parts (ahem. mine.), but I bet it warms up some by this afternoon. Even if it’s just a quick sun salute out on the lawn… bring your practice closer to the soil on this special day!
2. Walking meditation. Find a favourite spot outside, take off your shoes, and walk it. Back and forth, with method and deliberation. Feel the sensations in your feet: every grab of your toes, the pressure in your heels. Breathe deeply. Welcome thoughts as you patiently dismiss them. Yes, to your neighbours, you’ll sort of look like a victim of the bodysnatchers, but who cares?! They’ll have no idea what they’re missing and you’ll feel invigorated by the experience!
3. Sitting meditation. Again… find a favourite spot outdoors, arrange your preferred seat, and sit. Be. ‘Nuff said.
4. Get outside with the kids. There is nothing to ground you to our Mother, like fully embracing that within yourself. Even with the screaming, crying and whining… OK, maybe that’s just my brood.
5. Unplug for mercy’s sake. Turn off the God-awful tube, X-Box, PS, wii, computer (… yeah. right.) Nothing says we love you Earth, like conserving a little energy and getting people away from screens gets everybody expending a little for a change.
6. Today… water is for drinking. Take a break from flushing, washing, watering.
7. Sit down with your family and make a “Conservation Commitment”. Talk about some ways you all can impact the Earth less, why it’s so important and sign a contract that seals the deal.
8. For this day, as you move about your daily lives, keep conservation in your consciousness. When I approach the fridge and grab for something, I like to ask, “does this really nourish me?” Same goes for your activities today, “Does this help or hurt?”