Friday, September 19, 2008

Jivamukti At Home

In finding more ways to develop a stronger home practice, I haven't ruled out yoga dvd's. It has been maybe a year since I practiced with a dvd (thanks Netflix!). I was very fortunate to have received some from the wonderful folks at Acacia. A dvd I had wanted to get for a while now was Transform Yourself with Jivamukti Yoga. I remember first hearing about a Jivamukti dvd coming out and not only was excited, I was curious to see how they were going to capture the vibe you get in a classroom setting and bring it into your home. The truth is they didn't, but that's ok and I'll explain in a bit.

The cover of the case says "Experienced beginners & beyond" so this is not exactly a dvd for brand spanking new yoga. But I guess you can see that just judging by the twist/balance pose on the cover. There is an introduction by David Life & Sharon Gannon, the founders of Jivamukti Yoga. They share their passion for yoga and the benefits this practice can bring to a more fruitful and happier existence. The session itself is only 60 minutes (a studio class is 1 hr 35 mins) and you can choose between instruction from David or Sharon. First I sat down and watched it, then I followed along.

Unlike other dvd's, but in Jivamukti fashion, they include chanting in the session but only briefly. The flow of the practice is fast paced where the longest you're holding a pose may be for only five breaths. They even instruct to not worry about the pace of the practice so much. If you do fall behind, you can catch up in Downward Dog. The practice includes standing, balance, twisting, backbends, forwardbends, and inversions providing modifications if you are not quite ready for the full pose. Another reason why this is for "experienced" beginners is the instruction isn't quite for newbies and at some points I noticed it was a little off but I was familiar enough with the sequencing to continue. It may not be the same for others. I think you have to be familiar with the asanas already as there is little instruction on the poses themselves. Come to think of it, they should just remove "beginner" from the title.

I know music is very important to the Jivamukti practice and the instrumental Raga music played thoughout the practice was wonderful. They had a Kirtan group playing their instruments in the room as they practiced. However, for some reason during Savasana they switch to a folky lyrical song which didn't fit at all and I ended up muting the television. Overall, it is a wonderful dvd to have to your collection.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meet Even Keel

Elizabeth Matthews discovered the benefits of yoga during her freshman year of college and instantly became an avid yoga student. Throughout her growth, she continued to work in the profit and non-profit sector hoping to one day have her own business. Finally, Liz decided to pursue this desire and incorporate her passion for yoga and create something wonderful out of it.

Part hipster, hippie, athlete, do-gooder, and cynic, she wanted yoga gear that fit her personality and lifestyle. Liz recognized the need for unique, functional, and sustainable yoga apparel. "I've been practicing yoga for years and didn't adore any of the pants that I had in my closet", so with no background in fashion, Liz started Even Keel in December 2007 based on the philosophy of maintaining balance in our personal and professional life and all of the activities big and small that it entails.

The Even Keel’s styles are made with a sustainable blend of bamboo and organic cotton fabric which means it's produced without the harshness of chemicals and earth-friendly! This fabric blend is incredibly soft, lightweight and breathable. The bamboo has natural anti-bacterial and wicking abilities - important qualities in yoga and exercise apparel.

Now I can speak from personal experience, I received a pair of the Luscious Leggings to try out. Normally, I would prefer to wear something a little looser. Sometimes us curvy girls may not want to show off the curves but in the fairness of yoga journalism, I took one for the team. I put them to the ultimate test. I wore them to a sweat inducing Open Level class at Jivamukti in NYC, Russell Simmons was there ok??? I went with the lovely Mary from Om Bites. I was already sweating the first five minutes into the asana but my legs were feeling pretty good. The looseness at the bottom of the leggings enable me to fold them up to my knee without any tightness around the leg. The high waist is a definite plus as I'm always fidgeting with the back to make sure my underwear isn't showing. No worries with these leggings and the truth is, I didn't look bad in them at all! I'm a size 12, sometimes 14 depending on the store and a size L almost felt a little TOO big on me but I didn't want to chance it with a Medium. I would have taken a photo of myself modelling them but I sweated in them way too much to post on the internet but trust me, I was very happy with them and would gladly wear them again, curves and all!

As part of celebrating Yoga Month, all Even Keel products are 20% off from Sept 1-30, 2008. Use promotion code "NYM2008" at checkout. Offer valid only through Even Keel is also available at Jivamukti Yoga studios.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Iron Cupcake

Did you know that there was an Iron Cupcake challenge going on in the cyber world? If you are familiar with the show Iron Chef then you know the jist of what this is about, if not, a secret ingredient is announced..well it's not so secret I guess, but once announced you have 4 weeks to prepare a cupcake using this ingredient and post it on your blog. Of course there are some serious cupcake prizes involved!

The current ingredient: BASIL!

Its not too late to join in on the fun, visit Iron Cupcake!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Yoga in Pink Heels

Are you familiar with Pink Heels? It is an online social networking group set out to help empower women through their personal and professional endeavors. I can't exactly remember how I had learned about them, but I get their e-newsletters and this month especially caught my eye as it mentioned a recent blog entry, Through Yoga, Pink Heels Was Born. It is a wonderful entry which can tell the story of many, myself included. The notion of achieving success on your own terms is especially encouraging.

The home practice is going well, slow and steady. I am enjoying the calm I feel afterward, even if it's temporary until I go back to my frazzled state again, all the more reason to practice more. Mary from Om Bites is in New York and we are trying to arrange a yoga date while she's here.