Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Express Yoga Class

Even after four years, I still approach taking a new class in a different studio as a beginner. The class I took last night was pretty good (although I might have pulled something). I went into the class at OM worried that I'll be the worst student there. I look at the other girls setting up their mats and measure how much smaller they are than me. Total insecurity!!! I do this every time I go to a new studio. What ends up happening? I do pretty darn well! Where other people start to wobble, I'm solid. When the instructor offers to take an advance to a pose, I do it.

This is not me tooting my own horn or measuring how much better I am than others. It's about me giving myself some credit. I need to acknowledge that I am good at yoga and I have nothing to be ashamed about. So what if my arms are a little thicker or hips are a little wider! It's one thing to be humble, but what I find myself doing is not give myself any credit at all and just knock myself down. I'm horrible at praising myself. Whether it's yoga, writing, photography, my day job, I just can't take praise very well. This sounds like a job for Svadhyaya! Reflective self-study. Yoga can help one become more comfortable in their skin but for some (ie: me), I guess it may take a little longer than it might for others.

Now what's this about me pulling something. There was some twisting involved and I think I might have twisted a little too much. Right now I'm just feeling a tolerable pinch on my lower left back. I hope I'm feeling better by Thursday. I did like this class a lot. It's good schedule-wise, and the format of it being a 'practice on the go' is just what I need. I think I'll go back next week. Too bad it's not closer to my job but I can get over that. They did a very nice chant at the end, it was in English not Sanskrit, asking for all beings to be happy and free and without suffering. A nice way to close the session.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blossoming Cupcake & Quickie Class

Vanilla strawberry cupcake.
Originally uploaded by AnneRosso.
AnneRosso wonders if she should have eaten the petals? Why the heck not? Maybe dab some of that yummy frosting on it for good measure. What you don't see is there is strawberry jelly inside!

Tonight I'm taking a "Yoga Express" class at OM Yoga. OM is a studio it seems like I only go to once a year. Levitate Yoga is my regular studio. I just really want to practice today and it's hard to find a decently scheduled yoga class in the evening for a 9 to 5 commuter. You would think in New York City with the 9,583,138 yoga studios on this one little island I would find something but nope. This class is the closest so why not? Actually there are only three studios that I feel at home taking classes in: Levitate Yoga, OM Yoga, and Jivamukti.

Finding the time to take a class is really challenging. I cannot commit myself to practice at home, I just can't. I've tried and I get stuck on what I should do next. I prefer to have someone tell me what to do. DVD's are an option but it's one of those things where once I enter my apartment I do not want to do anything, especially when coming home from work. I like the setting of a classroom and having a place to go with the intention of practicing, good stuff!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Surfing & Coconut Trees

Isn't it time you went on a vacation? Ok maybe you don't exactly have the funds right this moment but you can escape for a little while with one of these lovies by Trish CupcakeMomma, of course there is a website I don't know why but I have a crazy urge to rub my nose into the yummy looking grass frosting.

Yoga Day 2007

This past Saturday, the 27th, was Yoga Day. Did you know that? I did but I completely forgot. =/ But then I started to think Did I practice yoga and maybe just wasn't aware? Saturday was a tricky day as I spent of a part of in a shopping mall, yikes!

The truth about yoga is that it's more than just bendy twisty standing on one hand poses. That is just a part of it. Yoga is the practice of being in union with your body, mind and spirit. There are different ways this can be done. The Yoga Sutra teaches us that there are Eight Limbs to Yoga:

1)Yama : Universal morality
2)Niyama : Personal observances
3)Asanas : Body postures
4)Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of prana
5)Pratyahara : Control of the senses
6)Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
7)Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
8)Samadhi : Union with the Divine

Each limb has an extensive breakdown which is nicely explained for us in this essay.

So maybe you weren't aware that last Saturday was Yoga Day and you didn't find yourself taking a class or practicing at home. Did you not harm yourself or others? Were you kind and friendly to others? Did you not lie to anyone? Pray or meditate? Maybe treated yourself to a nice healthy meal? Guess what? You DID do Yoga on Yoga Day 2007!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Cupcake Charm Bracelet

Oh no! This cannot go without a mention! This
Cupcake Charm Bracelet is available at Pixelgirl Shop. Super cute isn't it? The bracelet was made by Amy Secrest who specializes in making jewelry with food as the theme. You can check out more of her items by clicking here.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I luvs to stand on me head

Tonight I'm taking my class in what seems to be the coldest night of the year so far. The other day I was asked how it has been going back to taking classes after a break. I was only out for 2 months but there are some differences. My shoulders feel weaker doing Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose). I have to bring my knees down for extra help. My legs are also feeling a little shaky if holding Warrior 1 or 2 which is odd. Hip openers and standing poses are my forte! I take pride in my strong tree trunk legs, except for Utkatasana (Chair Pose), I never liked that pose but I guess it's good for my butt. :)

The instructor I've been going to Thursday nights is nice but she won't incorporate an inversion in the class which I wish she would do. It is a Level 1 class and the other L1 classes in the studio have at least a headstand, or work your way into a headstand. So it's not like I'm asking her to do something special just for me. I love going upside-down, I NEED to go upside-down, no I'm not crazy!


When one inverts, tissue fluids of the lower extremities drain—far more effectively than when one is asleep. Areas of congestion clear. In a 1992 Yoga International article on Headstand and the circulatory system, Coulter wrote: "If you can remain in an inverted posture for just 3 to 5 minutes, the blood will not only drain quickly to the heart, but tissue fluids will flow more efficiently into the veins and lymph channels of the lower extremities and of the abdominal and pelvic organs, facilitating a healthier exchange of nutrients and wastes between cells and capillaries."

Plus, on a psychological level, there is nothing more gratifying than conquering a fear of standing on your head. Quite the self-confidence booster!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ah ha! A Yogi Cupcake!!!!

Wai Lana is a name that should be familiar to the regular yoga practitioner. She designed the cute and very tropical looking yoga mats you see many students sporting. On her website, not only does she sell yoga props, dvds, etc. But she also has a "Lifestyle" section that includes recipes. Here is one she has for animal friendly Caramel Cupacakes.

1 1/4 cups fresh cashew milk*
1/4 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup eggless mayonnaise
1/2 cup liquid fructose or corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. egg replacer powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 tsp. baking powder

Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup fresh cashew milk*
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. safflower oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 Tbsp. water

For instructions, follow this link.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Do Yoga! Not Botox!

Yoga For Detox: Latest Trend In Beauty

"Think of your body like a dirty washcloth," said Malzone. "As you twist, it's like you're wringing out the toxins from your body."

This article is a short piece but it gets the point across. Not only does twisting rinse out the bad stuff, but it also helps in digestion which in turn can get rid of more bad stuff. They also mention how wide-legged forward bends are good for the kidneys too, which I didn't know.

One of my favorite instructors is actually an older woman and her body is so incredibly amazing and she has the most perfect skin. You can look at women like, I guess you can say "celebrity" yoga personalities, like Cyndi Lee and Sharon Gannon and they are stunning! They're not in their 20s but they radiate a natural beauty that you can't find in a bottle.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cupcake Photo Art

happy birthday to me!
Originally uploaded by laura crow.
Posted on Flickr by Laura Crow. She took this photograph which is also available for purchase through her Etsy shop. It was her birthday a few days ago (hence the title) and I guess she took this to celebrate. Isn't it a gorgeous photo? Great use of a Macro and I love how the sprinkles just stand out.

Cupcake Romance

Cupcake Romance
Originally uploaded by MissyV110.
Now that it's chilly in New York (it took Mother Nature long enough), it is now time to thoroughly enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate. Or in this case, a cup of Triple Chocolate Cupcake with dark chocolate cream cheese frosting, brought to you by MissyV11.

Yoga Injuries

The Perils of Posing.

This is a web exclusive through I like that the piece doesn't deter people from doing yoga but to practice better judgment. I mentioned previously that I sometimes fall victim to the "competitive" aspect of Yoga. Here is one part that really stood out for me:

How do they get injured?
There are two scenarios I see frequently. One is that a group of girlfriends gets together, and one woman says to another, "Come to my yoga class." The woman who extended the invitation has been doing yoga a while, and the friend who comes along finds herself in a class that's too advanced for her. She ends up in our office.

I have seen this quite a bit in the past. I would be afraid to try something that may be a bit out of my league. It would not hurt the more experienced Yogi friend to take a beginner class with the friend. For yoga, a practice is a practice and you should be grateful for any time you can get on the mat.

This is another reminder that ultimately, the body is in control and our mind has to listen and not be so stubborn.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Beginning

The start of a new blog. It was a Sunday afternoon where it was too chilly to go out and enjoy the day. I was bored and writing in my journal about one thing and I came up with the idea to start a blog about my two favorite things: Yoga and Cupcakes. Kind of an odd combination but why not? Ideas strike me at the most unexpected moments.

I've been practicing yoga for a few years and really fell in love with it. I have learned so much about myself through my practice and continue to learn more. Recently, after a visit to the doctor, I was told that I may need to tone it down a bit because of my heart. This was hard to take. At first I approached yoga rather aggressively, I pushed myself until I mastered a challenging pose because afterall, there is something very gratifying about that. I enjoyed taking the more advanced classes, sweating, binding, inverting. When the doctor told me that I can't get my heart rate up to fast anymore my first question was "Can I still do yoga?" He said I could but I don't think he understood the kind of yoga I practice DID get my heart rate up and could have been considered aerobic. So after talking to some of my teachers, I decided to start back at square one and approach my practice different. Yoga is not about how good you look in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, it is deeper and sometimes, us Westerners keep it at the superficial level. It is humbling to take beginner classes again and to listen to my body and rest when need to. I wanted to write about this journey in finding the true meaning of "Yoga" and how it applies to life outside of the yoga studio. As well to share interesting findings I come across about yoga on the net.

Cupcakes are just fun, tasty, and pretty to look at too! There are talented folks all over the blogisphere sharing photos, recipes, art work, cute kitschy stuff. I just gotta show it off so enjoy!