Monthly Archives: October 2009

No Fat Yogis! [WTF?!]

images

courtesy of ebaumsworld and super-librarian

There was a short blurb in Yoga Journal‘s Yoga Buzz blog today about the obvious clothing bias in the yoga world towards curvy yogis.  The blog cites a recent Vancouver Sun article that shows the Lululemon flagship store no longer stocking size 14, despite claims by corporate headquarters.  (Makes me want to head over to the Prudential store here in Boston and check  what their largest size is.)

Looking at the major clothing companies like Lululemon (the obvious first choice), Lucy, Gaiam and PrAna, it’s clear that there is little to no clothing marketed for women with significant curves or for women who aren’t at least 5’6″.  Sorry all you petite yogis, you’re not wanted either.  Because apparently short/fat/curvy/tall or muscular people can’t do yoga.  Oh, and men?  This means you, too.

Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a “skinny minnie” yogi.  At 5’6″ I’ve always been pretty thin and, thanks to my teacher discount, tend to wear mostly Lulu clothing.  I like the fit and they are the best I’ve tried for heated practices in wicking sweat away. BUT, even I have gotten the “up and down” when walking into a Lulu store.

Am I their target market right now?  Yes.  Will I be when I’m still practicing at 40 and have had children?  Probably not.  And that’s a damn shame.

As a teacher, I consider my most successful classes are those when I get a good cross-section of men and women, ages, sizes and abilities, and EVERYone leaves class with a smile on their faces and glowing from the inside.  That is successful yoga.  Successful yoga is not wearing $98 pants that hug your size 2 ass.

So, three questions for you:

  • If you’re an extra-petite yogi or a yogi with curves, what do you wear to your yoga classes?
  • If you were going to purchase yoga clothes, what kind of clothing would you like to see?
  • Has not having appropriate clothing kept you from trying out yoga altogether or from trying a different style/type of yoga?

Lotuspad Lovin’ – A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time … a young woman purchased her first yoga mat from the local grocery store.  She loved her mat: its cheerful green color, the stickiness, the weight … it was perfect.  So was the price at about $12.

old mat with orange Yogitoes

old yoga mat with orange Yogitoes

This mat went everywhere with the young woman, from her first yoga classes in Brooklyn, NY to Simmons College in Boston, from yoga classes at the campus gym to discovering a wonderful studio in her neighborhood.

The mat saw her through periods of a lot of yoga, and years where there was no yoga at all.  It even saw her through eight very intense weeks of yoga teacher training and was there to catch her tears an celebrate her joys.

But the poor mat was getting old and starting to show all the wear and tear.  The corners were crumbling, leaving little pieces behind like Hansel & Gretel’s breadcrumbs. (Maybe so the young yogi always finds her way back to her practice?)  The near constant use of the past few years had left the mat thin, worn and a little smelly.  The yogi knew that soon it would be time to retire the mat and find something new.

She looked long and hard at new mats.  Her new mat needed to be lightweight, cushiony, washable, environmentally friendly, sticky and reasonably priced.  Some mats were too thin, others too heavy, some weren’t sticky enough, and others were saturated with chemicals, latex and PVC,and other mats were just unreasonably expensive.   She felt like Goldilocks, nothing was just right.

After nearly giving up hope, the young yogi discovered Lotuspad.  Based in Somerville, MA this wonderful creator of yoga mats had been right under her nose the entire time!  And they were having a Sample Sale!!

Lotuspad

new mat

Now the yogi is practicing on her new lavender Lotuspad mat which is lightweight, cushy, eco-friendly, sticky, washable and came at a very reasonable price.

Lotuspad 2

the awesomness of Lotuspad

The yogi and her new mat lived — and practiced — happily ever after.

The End.

sticker!

I {heart chakra} my yoga mat

Postscript:

Check out Lotuspad’s website and store here.
Follow @Lotuspad on Twitter
and on Facebook

Meatless Monday Brouhaha

I’ve been a big fan of Meatless Mondays since I first heard the term about a year ago.  Eating less meat is healthy in so many ways: environmentally, nutritionally, economically … I could go on and on.  Heck, “Meatless Monday” has even been a top trending Twitter topic on occasion.

So it was with a disbelieving sense of “WTF?!?” that I read this article in The Atlantic about a Baltimore school district having their own Meatless Monday in their cafeterias.  The meat industry has gone ape-shit.  The American Meat Institute and Animal Agricultural Alliance have started their own media campaign spewing misinformation and ignorance of basic nutrition.

The blog post from Ralph Loglisci at Center for a Livable Future (linked to from The Atlantic article) displays a great grasp of what the USDA actually recommend for daily nutrition, as well as a lay-persons explanation of the biochemistry of protein proving once and for all that Westerners (including American children) do not need animal protein as a daily part of their diet to be healthy.

It really chaps my arse when these meat industry yahoos who have owned Washington for far too long get out their bullhorns and spew more of their lies.  It’s time for some truth: truth about how the livestock on massive CAFOs are treated, killed and then turned into the meats we consume.  (The recent documentary Food, Inc. does a great job presenting the animal and human abuses in the agricultural-industrial complex.)

I’m not suggesting that we should all give up animal protein altogether, but I think Baltimore has made a bold move into educating youth on good nutrition and what makes a meal healthy not just for the individual but for the planet.

Rock on, Baltimore!  I hope more school systems follow your lead.

Fun with Utkatasana

chair-pose-300x225

image from thesaladgirl.com

Vinyasa Flow (60 minutes)
Tuesday 10/27/2009
15 people

downward facing dog
down dog to high plank x3
runners lunge w/knee dropped, open hips
repeat lunge on left
rag doll
tadasana
3 Sun As
3 Sun Bs focusing on utkatasana and using breath to support intense poses
humble warrior on 3rd Sun B
warrior II
side angle
extended side angle
triangle
prasritta B on right/10-count horse on left
pivot to front into warrior II/airplane
tadasana
utkatasana one-legged balance & twist
::repeat from 3rd Sun B through utkatasana balance on left::
vastistasana on right, then left
vinyasa to high plank and lower to mat on 5
2 locust variations
1 bow
1 15 count bridge with block in between thighs to work adductors (also worked in utkatasana)
1 10-count bridge or wheel
supta baddha konasana
happy baby
jump through to down dog
half pigeon right and left
inversion
savasana

Today was all about working utkatasana, setting it up, modifying and breathing though it.  The literal Sanskrit translation is”intense pose”, so I talked about the importance of breath in get through challenging moments.  Yoga class is one of the only places we have to practice staying calm in intense situations.  (Bryan Kest talked a lot about this in his master class at Prana last Wednesday and I tried to bring some of it to my MBAs.)

The utkatasana balance with twist (optional) was interesting.  It was a great challenge for the more advanced students, but earned me some Yoga Death Glares from some of the newer students.  Hey, all they had to do was stick to the balance and not go for the twist.  It was an option! :)

I’d love to shake up the Sun Salutations a little.  Any suggestions on mixing it up for some Sun As and Sun Bs?

Also, teachers — how to you teach the high to low push-up transition?  Students — what cues worked best for you in getting you into the correct form for the chaturangas?

Vinyasa Flow 10/20/09

cartoonstock.com

cartoonstock.com

Welcome to the latest feature of Perusals – a weekly (or more frequent) posting of the sequence in my latest yoga class.

What I hope you’ll get out of this is a chance to see what I’m doing and maybe find some inspiration for your own home practice or teaching.  What I hope to get back is feedback from teachers and pracitioners.

So please comment to your heart’s desire.  The more conversation, the more inspiration!

Vinyasa Flow (60 minutes)
Tuesday 10/20/2009
15 people

rag doll
downward facing dog
“broken vinyasa” x2
(broke down high to low push up, up dog and down dog focusing on
alignment in upper body. core/low body next week)
tadasana
3 Sun As – holding down dog for 5 breaths
3 Sun Bs *working utkatasana* and holding each warrior I for 5 breaths
vinyasa to high push up and hold
vastistasana
three-legged dog w/hip opener
crescent lunge
garudasana
crescent lunge w/twist
warrior II
reverse
side angle
reverse
ardha chandrasana
reverse
triangle
prasaritta A
parsvottanasana
vinyasa to high push up and repeat from vastistasana though gratitude on opposite side
dolphin plank for 10
2 locusts
2 bows
low back release by “windshield wiper-ing” the legs
1 bridge for 5 count
10-count bridge or wheel
supta baddha konasana, 5 breaths into lowest belly
knees to chest
happy baby
rock & roll & jump back to downward facing dog
half pigeon
inversion (yogi’s choice)
spinal twist
savasana

This Tuesday Vinyasa Flow class, which I teach at Harvard Business School’s campus gym, is a great class!  My students are really dedicated people, though their type A-ness can sometimes hinder breath work and the concept of “ease”.  But we’re working on it ::wink::.

I’d love to add in more breath work and balance poses into the flow without sacrificing a strong standing sequence, which brings in the men (Sadie Nardini nailed that on the head!), and half-pigeon which is always a class favorite.

Any suggestions on breathwork and working in more balance poses?

Farmers Market 10/19/09

Stopped by the every lovely Central Square Farmer’s Market after work today.  I picked up a few Fuji apples from a great fruit and veg stand whose name is totally escaping me.  Parker Farm of CSA fame was also there and I loaded up on root veggies and squash from them.

fennel, potatoes, butternut squah, beets, parsnips and carrots

fennel, potatoes, butternut squah, beets, parsnips and carrots

Peeled, chopped and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper they went into a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes.  I think they’ll be part of dinner tomorrow.

Two or three weeks ago I got some pickling cucumbers as part of my final farm share delivery.  A few days after I found this great recipe for refrigerator pickles online.  I modified it to use celery seed instead of celery salt, added a dash of hot pepper rice vinegar (hot peppers included) and some whole garlic cloves.  The cukes got sliced and put into empty peanut butter jars and stuck in the back of the fridge for two weeks.

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Oh. My. Gosh.  These babies are delicious! Sweet, spicy, tangy and snappy!

I’ve been snacking on them non-stop and will be very sad when they’re all gone.  If I had known it was so easy to make pickles, I would have done thing long before now!

a snack-sized serving

a snack-sized serving

Meet Petunia

Please meet the latest addition to the Thompson family, Petunia!  After the old laptop started giving me too much trouble to keep dealing with (dying fans and overheating processors,) I made the leap for a new netbook.

Though Newegg.com (amazing, awesome, incredible site!) I found Petunia, an ASUS Eee PC 1005HA.  She’s sleek, screaming fast, perfectly sized and has all the features I wanted and more.

Here’s Duckie, modeling with Petunia to give you a sense of scale:Petunia and Duckie

The only downside to a new computer is having to set up iTunes all over again.  And somehow, somewhere I have duplicate copies of all my music because when it imported, almost everything was doubled.  Ugh.

After four days of ownership, I am thrilled with my new computer.  It does everything I need it to do: wordprocessing, email, blogging, basic photo editing, iTunes, and watching TV on Hulu and other sites, without any hiccups, coughs or glitches.  The keyboard fits my hands well and I’m charmed by the touchpad mouse. Rather than a set in plate, this one is an area of raised bumps, almost like braille.  It feels so cool!

I am one very happy netbook owner (and who wouldn’t be for the price!)  If you were thinking of getting one to replace or supplement an older machine, I would highly recommend it.

smooth, sleek and oh so cute

smooth, sleek and oh so cute