Yoga begins with a ‘why?’

You already go to the gym…why would you add yoga?
You’re tired…why would you exert precious energy on yoga?
You have arthritis, a ‘bad shoulder,’ ‘bad knees’, or a ‘bad back,’   (don’t call them that, it hurts their feelings) why go to yoga? What would it change?

yogaforselfloveIn a word – Everything!

I have always been more of a mover, dancer, runner, gym-goer, but every time I’ve taken a yoga class I left feeling peaceful, relaxed, and pain-free. And I always asked myself, “Why don’t I do this more often?”

I promised myself that when we moved I would do yoga at the beautiful studio nearby, and I’ve kept that commitment to myself.

My first class was Yoga Flow – balance, strength, and stretch poses flowed from one into the next. It had been so long, I could barely keep up. So, for my second class I tried a Yin Yoga class. Having no idea what to expect, I let go of any expectations and just listened to the teacher’s silky voice serenely guiding the class. Breathe in, now breathe out. Find traction. Allow. Allow. Allow.

During one long pose my whole body was relaxed, except for my right shoulder, which was so tight that I kept wiggling. The teacher silently placed a small sandbag on my shoulder and surprisingly, my shoulder completely relaxed. My whole body felt hugged and tears began to stream down my face. I lay there on my back allowing tears to fill my ears for the next few minutes, releasing all of the tension that had been building for who-knows-how-long.

During my third class, again Yin Yoga, the teacher spoke about the synovial joints in our bodies – found in the elbows, wrists, thumbs, shoulders, hips, knees, neck and feet. The inner synovial membrane secretes lubricating, shock absorbing, and joint-nourishing synovial fluid. These joints receive nutrition from the surrounding blood supply by convection, a process achieved best through exercise. And the long, slow poses of Yin Yoga are the perfect way to nurture these joints – good for us no matter our age if we want to stay (or become) flexible, supple, and maintain our balance as we age.

I want to share this, written by Chris Haigh, and excerpted from Lifehack.org

Seven Reasons You Should Start Doing Yoga Immediately

  1. It’s a great workout – no matter which yoga exercises you choose, there are movements perfect for every kind of person.
  2. It gets you in touch with your body – and helps you move to increase strength, flexibility, and durability.
  3. It can help your breathing technique – which provides effective stress management and make you feel better. Plus, if you have asthma, it really helps to open your lungs and explore what it means to breathe consciously.
  4. It can improve your sleep – light physical activity before bed helps us get to sleep more quickly and leads to better quality sleep. Also working on problem-areas through yoga can help alleviate pain symptoms and increase the likelihood of better sleep.
  5. It will improve your posture – whether you’re someone who spends their day at their desk, or just putters with little physical activity, yoga will help sculpt you back into the kind of poised posture that’ll make you walk taller and feel better (not to mention look younger).
  6. It can develop your physical and mental strength –  the physical investment in the stretches and positions ensures that you’ll experience plenty of benefits as a result. The breathing can improve your lung capacity, the lunges and stretches increase your core strength, and focusing on the moment clears your mind which alleviates stress and improves mental health.
  7. Meditation (a part of yoga) can change your life for the better – even if you can do every complicated pose under the sun, it loses all of it’s meaning if it isn’t done with focus and thought. You can meditate anywhere and at anytime you’d like. All it takes is five minutes with some peace and quiet, allowing you to embrace calmness and serenity.

I plan on mixing up my classes, aiming for balance in my life, and in a pair of heels!

XO Donna

 

 


It’s (not that) easy being green

Kermitthe Frog“…but green’s the color of Spring and green can be cool and friendly-like.”   Kermit the Frog

I have to say that I was really excited when PANTONE, the global authority on color and color standards for the design industry, chose 17-5641 EMERALD as Color of the Year forPantone Swatch 2013.  “This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors,” say Leatrice Eisman, executive directior of Pantone Color Institute.  It doesn’t stop with fashion and home though, SEPHORA+PANTONE have partnered to create their 2nd annual limited edition Color of the Year Beauty  Collection.  Emerald adds drama to all eye colors and compliments peach, rose, pink, red and even eggplant. It’s a color a woman of any age can wear well, and this vibrant green can be the finishing touch on your fingernails, not to mention polishing off a pedicure Kermit would be proud of!  PantoneSephora

Pantone said that jewel-toned Emerald promotes balance, insight and harmony. How right they are!  I always wondered how the color of the year was chosen, and found that in order to arrive at their selection, they comb the world looking for color influences that can include the entertainmanet industry, travelling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations, technology, even sports events that capture worldwide attention!

But…none of that is the reason that I was excited about emerald green.  I was happy because green is the color of the heart chakra. The fourth of our seven chakras, and the one that deals with social identity, trust, forgiveness, unconditional love and compassion.  I see it as a good thing that there will be more of this color out there in the worldchakraimage surrounding us with it’s energetic vibration – vibe, if you will!  The heart chakra is a transition point between our lower three chackras, and our upper three.  Betwen the instinct to survive and the desire for enlightment.  This is the meeting place for both. I think we’ve seen what unchecked “instinct to survive” looks like: greed, war, violence, selfishness, corruption. I think a heartier dose (pun intended) of the desire for enlightment would be a very welcomed change.  I am fortunate to see it around me all the time; generousity, compassion, service, inclusive-community, spirituality and creativity.  I want to believe that a new focus on green signals a trend in that direction on a larger scale!

What are some ways you can “green up” your life?  You can try some sexy new eyeshadow, eyeliner, or mascara. You can ask your nail stylist for a pedicure with a new shade of green FreshFrog by OPI(this is Fresh Frog, by OPI!).  You can buy a beautiful new blouse in emerald, it goes with so many colors –  there is even an article online from the fashion industry on how to wear the Color of the Year. (They love it because it works well in men’s fashion, too). St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, so it’s a great excuse to buy green. There are bath towels in Pantone Emerald available at JCPenney…what a delicious color to wrap yourself in after you’ve bathed!  Both lavendar and jasmine oils are Lavendar bundle supposed to stimulate your heart chakra (might explain my recent fascination with all things lavendar) and you could easily buy a large, luscious bar of soap in either scent. And last, but not least, yoga.  Yoga opens the heart center. I recently bought a yoga CD by Rodney Yee (thank you, Ron Maddox).  It’s easy, beginning yoga that only takes 20 minutes, and I do it when I come home from work. Makes my whole evening mellower. I know a glass of wine would be faster, of course, but I will appreciate it even more with an open heart!

XO Donna