Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to stay fit during the Holidays.

So many of us are rushing around and ignoring our bodies during this time of indulgent cheer. But here are a few tricks to keeping that weight off now so you won't have too much hard work to face in the New Year.

1.) When shopping, don't waste time driving around and waiting for a nearby parking spot, just pick the one farthest away and enjoy the stroll. I know you may have a few heavy packages to carry back to the car, but see it as your daily "weightlifting" chore.

2.) We all get a little extra time off during the holidays for shopping and parties. Instead of thinking of all the things you have to do, take that extra time and hit the gym now. Come the new year, you may not have the time since you'll be back working full time through the dreary winter.

4.) Bring a veggie plate to the next party you're invited to. Filling up on veggies can help you avoid filling up on desserts. Also, bring soda water as a mixer for drinks or simply drink it alone. It will make your body feel full and keep you hydrated.

5.) Turn off the TV. You've seen those Christmas movies a hundred times. Sit on the floor, stretch, relax, clear your mind. You can even wrap your gifts on the floor and by reaching and stretching for those scissors and ribbons, your body will thank you.

6.) We all know that we are probably going to eat too much anyway. When your internal full-o-meter kicks in, grab another family member and head outside for a walk, a football game or even to shoot some hoops. You will fell better and your body will be able to digest and metabolize better.

7.) REMEMBER, when all of the traffic and stress start to overwhelm you, take a minute to mind your breath. The most effective way to refocus and release tension is to just breathe. Take 10 long, slow deep breaths and you will get some perspective. This also works for hiccups. ;)

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sri K Pattabhi Jois

Hello...the link below is a video of Guruji talking about ashtanga. It is old, but fun to watch. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Michael Gannon Workshop

Don't forget...Michael Gannon's workshop is just around the corner. This workshop will be a compliment to everything we have done to date, postures/adjustments, pranayama and nauli kriya! I am hoping that you will all come to the workshop with a deeper understanding of some of the practices associated with Ashtanga Yoga, though there is still much to learn.

We are also going to use these workshops as a means for going over the business of yoga.

On a personal note, I wanted to thank you all for your concern and offer of help during my challenges this week. Everything is clearing up and I look forward to getting back on track next week.

Peace, Linda

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kriyas & Pranayama

Don't forget...Steve is providing a session on Kriyas and Pranayama this weekend. Your homework during the two weeks prior to the training was to do research on each of these topics. It is important to be able to engage in constructive dialog, ask questions, challenge the information being provided (respectfully of course). We are jumping forward a bit in the Yoga Sutras to accomodate this class, so take a look at Sutras 2.1-2.9.

In Sutras 2.40-41, "Through its effective practice of teh physical purity, attachments to toxins and corruptive forces disappear naturally as natural instinctual or intuitive catharsis or revulsion and as such one rids onself of their noxious influence directly prortionately as to the development of the inner wisdom..."

"Purification of body, speeck and min is a central practice of ancient Yoga."

Ask yourself on Kriyas:

  1. What is Kriya?
  2. Why do any or all of the Kriyas?
  3. How do they apply to our lives now versus when they were invented/created?
  4. Look at the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali, 2.1 Tapah svadhyaya isvara-pranidhana kriya yoga. How does this fit into what Steve is going to be teaching?

Websites to visit:

On Pranayama:

  1. What is Pranayama?
  2. Look up types of pranayama? Are there any that you are particularly interested in learning or discussing?
  3. Guruji believes that the introduction of pranayama too soon can make one crazy...what do you think?

Some websites: (this is Iyengar on pranayama)

Be curious...ask questions...challenge your teacher. But, remember to be respectful of the information and the messenger.

See you Friday!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ashtanga Yoga vs. Gymnastics

Hello All,
As we begin to work on adjustments and discuss asanas, we spend a lot of time talking about techinique, alignment, anatomy... physical elements. I am by no means suggesting that we shouldn't or that it is not important, but I'm reading the yoga sutras and so far there is no mention of asanas.
I'm reminded of the importance of yoga, that is, quieting of the mind and life off the mat. Sometimes it's easy to become wrapped up in all that is going on in each asana physically, but ultimately we're hoping to teach yoga, not gymnastics!
I personally struggle to separate the two at times in my own practice. Through dance and Pilates, I learned to use my body as a technician, so I find it easy to let my mind focus on alignment, form, and aesthetic.
When first started Ashtanga, Krista Shirley told me that because of where I was physically, that I could take my practice a lot further than others who are just starting out. I don't think she was wrong in saying that, but I think there are other challenges available to the more flexible/conditioned that may not be challenges to others.
I'm rambling a bit, but my point of discussion is, yoga vs. gymnastics. Any one else have thoughts, struggles, or something to share?


Monday, September 8, 2008

Thank you

Thank you to all of you for your energy this weekend. It's amazing and an honor to be part of something so special.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Assignment #1 - Hatha Yoga Pradipika

The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written by Swami Swatmarama. It is one of three classic texts and said to be the oldest surviving text on Hatha Yoga.

This is not a hard read, only 31 pages in the attached copy. You can also download and copy a different translation at There are, of course, many translations available so you are welcome to find a different copy.

Once you have spent some time with this text, write back to me...send your observations, questions, etc. As part of your response, please first let me know what you have read, in the way of yoga texts, prior to this assignment. Tell me if you found any of the information provided in the texts helpful and if anything in this text differs from what you have read in the past.

This assignment will be due August 15th.

As part of your training, it is important that you commit to a yoga practice, preferably Ashtanga Yoga. I would like to see everyone spend the next three months with this practice only, a sort of immersion. It will be difficult, at times, because you will want to do something different, but try to stay the course. You will have an opportunity to try some other classes/types of yoga throughout the training.

On your practice:1) Purchase a journal for the sole purpose of this class. Try to spend a few minutes after each practice writing about your experience, during and after practice. Good and bad, I would like for you to take a few minutes to write it down. Some days you may even feel like complaining about having to do the same 'ole thing...write it, that's perfectly acceptable. Once the pen hits the paper, don't stop to reflect, just write freely without trying to edit your words. If you can spend a minimum of 15 minutes after your practice writing, uninterrupted, that would be perfect. You can bring your journal to the shala and when you are done with savasana, jot down your feelings. 2) Practice a minimum of 3 times a week. I would prefer if you could attend at least one Mysore class a week, preferably two (three is great!).

It is difficult to immerse yourself in something while trying to carry on your daily life. This will be the chore for the next few months. But if you can, it will be worth it...try to read your yoga texts every day, even if for a few minutes. Try to practice every day, meditate for a few minutes every day, etc.


Welcome to the first teacher training at Urban Ashtanga! I am very excited to get started and am hoping that I will be able to use many different forms of media to facilitate this training. This blog is being created as a means for both delivering assignments as well as giving you a place to send questions and comments in an open forum.

You have all received and returned your first assignment. The responses were very interesting and gave me a lot of information. I had no idea how that would work, but at the end of the day I was pleased with the responses and look forward to the next round.

It is important to secure the dates of the training so that we can put the program in motion. In working with your schedules, I have come up with the following:

  • Friday Night Traditions - Led Primary Series Class followed by 1 hour of open discussion. This will be held for 10 Fridays between now and December. Beginning August 23rd, to introduce the program details, deliver syllabus, etc.
  • Saturday Lectures - Will be held every other Saturday, beginning September 6th.
  • Sunday Lectures - There are 4 weekends that include Sunday.

More to come...