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October 2013 Archive

October 31st, 2013

Lead With The Heart

By Manduka Ambassador, Brian Hyman

I was near the end of a 30-Day Yoga Challenge when I realized that something amazing had happened as a result of taking one yoga class every day for nearly 30 days.

One night after class, I got into my car to drive home. The rearview mirror faced downward. I did not move the mirror before I last exited the car. I sat for a moment and contemplated how the mirror could have shifted. I tried to remember if I bumped or adjusted the mirror or hit any large potholes. I was without an answer. I would have let this go, however a strange feeling surrounded this moment and I felt that I needed to figure this out. A few minutes passed. I then realized what happened. The mirror had not moved. I moved.

I had heard to “lead with the heart” often during the Challenge classes. As I sat in my car that night, I realized that this mantra had now inspired me off the mat – my spine was elongated; my shoulders were rolled back; my posture was sturdy; my chest was open; my gaze was focused; my mind was calm. I was content, relaxed, and grounded. I had learned to lead with the heart.

My physical, mental, and emotional states of being forever changed that night. My yoga practice healed my heart that night.

I looked into the mirror. A light shone from behind my eyes. I sat up tall. I readjusted the mirror upward to meet my gaze.

The following lines by Rumi describe what I felt at that moment:

“This is when the power of love came into me
and I became fierce like a lion
then tender like the evening star.”

After I learned to lead with the heart, I began a daily practice of yoga and meditation. I then became a yoga teacher to bring the healing benefits of yoga to others who did not know about it or could not get to it.

When I now lead with the heart, I realize that each day that we are given is a gift; that each encounter with another human being is an opportunity to share experience, strength, hope, and love.

I must now thank Chelsey Charbeneau who completed the 30-Day Yoga Challenge with me. I will be forever grateful for her friendship and guidance. Thank you Daniel Stewart, Claire Hartley, Jen Black, Michelle Goldstein, and the other teachers at Rising Lotus Yoga. Much gratitude to Saul David Raye, who taught me to go deeper into the heart so that I could teach others how to do the same.

How has your practice affected your life off the mat? How do you lead with the heart?

October 29th, 2013

I'Ll Have What She's Having

By Manduka Ambassador Patti Cocciolo

What kind of crazy person decides to become a yoga teacher at 42? Apparently this kind of crazy person does. But to be fair, it was years in the making.

In 2004, I was just a few months pregnant with my first son when I walked into a prenatal yoga class in Mill Valley, California. I was nervous about everything at that point – the changes to my body, my relationship, and my career. I was also completely terrified that I would do something to harm the tiny being growing inside me. As I unrolled my mat, I was immediately struck by how calm all the women were. They seemed to have none of the fear that was controlling my every move. They were grounded and peaceful. They moved about the room fluidly, seemingly unencumbered by their giant, round bellies. They were laughing quietly and smiling. They were gorgeous.

Then our teacher arrived. She looked like an angel to me, with blue eyes that met each student with love. From our first encounter, I imagined that scene from When Harry Met Sally…. “I’ll have what she’s having.” She was, like her students, grounded…yet floating. Over the course of the next hour and a half, she gently guided all of us – from first trimester newbies to full term mamas – through a series of poses designed to put us in touch with the power of our bodies, and specifically, to put is in touch with the power of the prana coursing through our veins. I was hooked.

Two trimesters flew by, and I became one of those mamas. I felt both steady and nimble. I gained more weight than I know (I stopped counting after a certain point…), and yet I felt light as a feather. But more importantly, I wasn’t freaked out anymore. As important as the benefits to my body were, the benefits to my mind and my spirit were literally life changing. What a wonderful gift that is to give someone: to teach them how to use the body to open the spirit. That is some powerful stuff. I thought to myself, what a wonderful way to make a living, to impart peace and calm and kindness into the world – one person at a time.

Many years, another son, and a move to Los Angeles later, I finally did something about that long nascent thought. Six years after donating my beaten-up old mat to Goodwill, I took a yoga class. And while the room was different, and the practice was different, I had the same wonderful feeling I had all those years ago: I’ll have what these people are having.

I immediately signed up for an intensive, four-week 200-hour teacher training. (Ok, to clarify, I am also a person who signed up for a marathon as a way to lose my last bit of baby weight…) It was the hardest, most terrifying, humbling thing I have ever done. I was the second oldest person in the room. I was a marathon runner, but I was waaaaay out of yoga shape. My ego was taking a serious beating. I was missing my children terribly. Yet as hard as it was, something kept me there. And it was this: not only was I getting back in touch with my practice, I loved teaching. I was finally living my secret dream to follow in the steps of my yoga teacher from all those years ago. I was in heaven.

It’s been two years since I finished that training, and I’m now a yoga teacher. Our family has moved back to Marin County, and I often teach in the very same rooms where my teacher first inspired me to make yoga a way of life. I am grateful to all the teachers who supported, loved and inspired me along the way. But every day, I think about you, Zoe Collier Rolland, and how you completely changed my life. Thanks for giving me some of what you were having, and allowing me to indulge. I’ll do my best to pay it forward.

October 24th, 2013

Letting Go

By Manduka Ambassador, Dana Damara

With this season change I am again reminded of the law of impermanence. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. As I watch the leaves turn, and feel the change in the air, I quickly remember that we are no different than the trees and we too yearn to flow with nature and its’ faith in what is.

This past summer I moved my children from the Pacific Northwest to live with me in Northern California. And while my ex-husband and I both knew that theoretically, this was for the best, it still sidelines us every now and again. The longer nights will certainly give us all an opportunity to go inward and take inventory with what just happened!

All summer we played, we hiked, met new people and enjoyed each other. Being the momma bear that I am, I strived to make things as “normal” as possible for them. But the reality was that it wasn’t normal; the minute they stepped foot on California soil, everything changed. Some days that change is like a gentle breeze that blows through our life. And on other days it’s like a tsunami and we all get pummeled to the ground.

As I watch them navigate new friends, new schedules, new sports teams, new EVERYTHING … I am proud of them. Their openness, strength, and honesty, their trust in me and in their dad, and their trust in this Universe inspires me. But even the bravest of souls cry out when things get a bit like a dust storm.

It’s change … it’s transformation… it’s NEW. Some of us thrive in it and some of us hunker down, clinging to what was because it’s familiar and feels comfortable. Now to be fair, transformation and change, letting go, doesn’t have to be a radical event. You can let go of something small … you can change your life 2 degrees and create a brand new path for yourself.

I guess the depth of your change depends on just how much you have accumulated and how much you cling to stuff… people or even ideas…

So how do you navigate through change and letting go – especially when it involves other people?

1. Just sit. Sit in the uncomfortable-ness. Sit in the grief, the pain, the fear … feel all of it. Just be with it all because it will move through you. Don’t try to fix anything and don’t try to stuff it down.

2. Appreciate. Look outside your box of life and see what’s waiting for you to embrace, to love, to cherish and to be grateful for. Sometimes we cling so desperately to what we thought was ours, we miss out on what’s sitting there, just waiting to be recognized.

3. Look for the lesson. And there is one… for your growth and evolution.

4. Let go of Scarcity. Subscribe to the belief that there is enough… enough money, enough time, enough love… enough of everything and when you let go, more will come. It’s a law.

5. Let go Gracefully … with love, gratitude and compassion for what was (even if it hurts), what is and then be open to the miracle of what comes next.

6. Trust. Trust that the Universe is handing you everything you need but if your hands are full you can’t receive right?

So after your tantrum of wanting something and not getting it, wishing circumstances were different or trying to change things to your liking. After the tears have subsided, take a breath and look around you. Be with what is … be in your stuff and you will witness such beauty and grace it will astound you.

October 22nd, 2013

Finding Balance And Self-Care During A Detox

By Manduka Ambassador,

In the past I always went through this journey of dieting like I was losing my best friend. It often began with the “taking away” of something, in my case delicious treats. I love food, I love to cook and I love to eat…but I also love being healthy. I started to find that every time I would diet or detox I went into this militant mode of “I WILL NOT EAT ANYTHING Bad” as my mantra. I would approach it almost as a punishment for “eating bad”. I thought that self-care would come naturally with dieting since it was in the best interest of your body. Right? Well, It took me a long while to figure out that was not entirely accurate. The energy we give to our food and to ourselves was a bigger culprit to your overall healthy then just eating salad.

I recently led a detox workshop, which I do four times a year seasonally. We all join together to clean and renew and find balance internally and externally. It is so much fun to do this as a group, to that the support of our sangha. I can’t stress enough how important it is during this time to be gentle and caring with our bodies and our thoughts.

A few days ago one of my students who is currently doing the detox came to my morning class, she was clearly very anxious and approached me right before we started. She was feeling terrible because she had a little sugar “slip up” during the detox. She proceeded telling me how she wanted to have a hard and sweaty class because she felt guilty. I stopped at that moment and thought, this sounds oddly familiar. So it’s not enough that she already feels guilty because of the minor slip up, but now she wants to make her body pay for it? Instantly being able to relate, we spoke about this briefly and instead decided to do some restorative asana postures instead of going into a vigorous practice. She realized how much more this benefited her body and her state of mind and she left feeling totally elated.

I’m not sure exactly what happens to us when we get into this mode of self-punishment when things go astray, especially when it comes to eating and food. I feel that with all the time that has gone by, and all the studying I have done… this is still a difficult habit break free from even for me. I have to constantly remind myself that IT IS OK to enjoy the things life has to offer, like chocolate and nut butter…in moderation of course. It isn’t the end of the world if there is a minor speed bump along the way. Self-punishment is clearly not the answer and it negates all the other work we do to make us pretty incredible human beings. Then there’s that!

Using our energy to feel good when you’re doing something great for your health like a detox. Taking care of yourself is a practice, being compassionate to yourself is a practice. Finding balance when your making a change in your life can be challenging but it does make it easier when you have the support of your community to help you. That being said, here is a truly delicious recipe for us to without feeling guilty.

Vegan Chocolate Ginger Orange Cupcakes (YUMMMM!)

Serves 12 Large Cupcakes

3 cups all purpose flour (organic unbleached if you have it)

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups natural cane sugar 

1 2/3 cups water (or cold freshly brewed coffee) 

1 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

4 tablespoons zested orange peel

1 tablespoon orange juice

4 tablespoons cider vinegar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Add water, oil, vanilla, orange juice, ginger and orange peel. Stir to combine. Add vinegar and stir quickly together. Once the mix turns slightly dark then you know you've incorporated all the vinegar and you're set to pour it into muffin tins or even two cake pans. Bake for 15 minutes for a medium sized cupcake. Allow sitting in pan for 5 minutes, removing and placing on wire rack until completely cool.

Ingredients (for frosting):
6 oz. vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup vegan butter
2-3 tbsp shortening
3 tbsp limoncello
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp lemon zest
3 cups powdered sugar
crystallized ginger, to taste, minced, to top
Recipe (for frosting):
Combine all ingredients but ginger and mix well. It shouldn't have a soupy consistency. If it does, add more sugar. I like to place it in the refrigerator to firm it up before I frost.

Enjoy!

Xo Rosie

October 18th, 2013

#Letsgothere And Indulge This Fall

This Fall is about returning to YOU, allowing yourself to indulge and provide that self care that you so greatly deserve. It’s about giving yourself permission to receive, taking in a quite moment and welcoming delicious and decadent goodness into your life, body and practice.

Over the past two weeks we’ve been lucky enough to receive a glimpse of how our yoga community embraces the moment, welcomes life with open arms and proudly accepts and embraces their uniqueness.

Thank you to all who opened their hearts and shared your inspiring stories with us.

Here is a photo of our winner, @Kaysqui embracing herself as a US soldier and yogi and a few of our other favorite #LetsGoThere Instagrams:


@Kaysqui - Winner!


@AnnLevine


@Evayogi


@courtneyvale


@em_edson


@filleduparadis


@jaime_0416


@kati21bug


@lillianjyoga


@mayamina


@mysticbluewave


@nicoleschoettmer


@njcleary


@picturequeen1lv76


@sidneyhawkins


@socialc


@southcoastyoga


@southeryogi


@trigger_happy_sol


@tropicl05

Over the next two weeks, we’d love to see how you pamper yourself and give into your indulgent dreams and wishes. Tag your Instagram photos with #LetsGoThere and @MandukaYoga so we can see your journey. We will be selecting a winner to receive a luxurious home yoga sanctuary of their own – The PRO Squared, two unBLOKs, and two eQua hand yoga towels.

#LetsGoThere and Practice On,
Manduka

October 17th, 2013

Commitment And Dedication

By Manduka Ambassador, Dana Damara

I wrote about this in my book, “OMs from the Mat” and when I re-read it this past week, it made even more sense to me.

I said something like, “If commitment is such a strong word, I wonder why we sometimes use it so loosely.” And then I went on to say, “Even if you have to just pick one thing… pick it and be committed to it! No matter what it is.. .a yoga class, a person, your word, just do it!”

Since moving to California back in November 2012, nothing has rang more true to me in my life. Nothing.

Amidst the most AMAZING opportunities of this big move…(and I mean it… magic occurs every, single day) I have also experienced mass confusion, dead-ends, fearful situations, lonely times and deep pain.

Betcha didn’t know that did you? Well, it’s true.

What I have found through all of this is that I have one strong commitment that’s kept me going. There have been times when I have wanted to give up, run back to Portland and cuddle next to a fire with a friend…claiming “safe”.

That would be easy to do any day of the week, given that I have amazing friends in the Northwest. But I haven’t. I’ve been committed and dedicated to my practice. And I’m not talking about my practice on the mat. I’m not talking about my sequencing or playlists, although they do play an important role.

And oddly, I’m not talking about the commitment I made to my two amazing daughters either. No, that’s not the commitment I am talking about. I am talking about the commitment I made to myself to live my truth. Because I know, as well as you do that truth=freedom=love.

When we make a commitment to ourselves, we may THINK it’s about: making money for our family, showing up our best for our students, helping the planet, serving our employer… but it’s not any of that. It’s about YOU.

The evolution of YOU and how YOU grow and elevate your spiritual being.
It’s super easy to give up just before that breakthrough. You know what I am talking about right? It’s that last straw, that final argument, the repeating dead-end. It’s that moment when you scream and say, “Screw it! I give! That’s it! I’m done!”

Have you ever done that? My suggestion to you from personal experience, having said those words in my life more than I care to admit, is to instead… breathe and keep going. You are almost there.

Now I’m not saying keep on taking what isn’t working. What I am saying is notice. Observe what is happening in as many exchanges as possible.

When you feel that recurring uncomfortable knot in your stomach, or tightness in your throat, breathe. Maybe you just feel “off”. Use the element of the heart and breathe into the belly. Root into your feet and feel it all…if only for 5 breaths. Then ask, what can I do differently in this situation, instead of walking away. What can I commit to right now that will keep me on the path of self-evolution?

Is it patience? Compassion? Trust? Love? Self-love? Knowing what it is that YOU, your soul, is working on to grow is key here. Once you get that, oh my, you will see so many circumstances coming up for you that will assist in your dedication and commitment to moving past it. It might feel like you are getting a bit bombarded to be honest, but you will be okay…once you know it’s all there to help you.

We all have recurring issues or stories. Before you keep telling the same story over and over again, keep quiet and observe. Commit to rolling out your mat, look at yourself and really see what is happening off your mat. Commit to hanging with that challenging pose, that perplexing relationship, that “tough time” and roll through it differently… it’s showing up for a reason.

October 15th, 2013

Going There

By Manduka Ambassador Caleb Asch

I’ve been privileged to be teaching yoga since 1995. I do it because I love it. I love almost everything about it; everything except the numbers. Let’s face it, the numbers game is the bottom line for a yoga studio. If you don’t have the numbers then they get someone who can.

The student base determines a studio’s life. So how do you face your numbers and yet maintain your focus on what you’re teaching? I’ve been engaged in this paradox for a long time. I’ve seen what I thought to be really good teachers have really bad numbers, and give it up. I mean, at a certain point you have to self assess and look out into the world to see if what you’re doing (or being) has value for people. One way to determine that is to look to see who and how many are in your classes. Are the numbers growing? Is the feedback you’re getting positive? What adjustments could you make? All of these criteria are important but what do they mean?

I have wrestled with this for almost 20 years, and the truth for me wasn’t the truth at all! For me, the fewer people I had in my room meant the more I sucked at being a teacher. It didn’t matter that my feedback was brilliant and wonderful. I would get lavish praise, smile and say thank you while thinking; “if you REALLY liked my class then why don’t you come more often and even bring your friends.” The truth for me was that I sucked as a teacher, “I don’t deserve to have a following and I should just give up (what’s become my life’s work) and go back to post-production”.

Finally, during a conversation with an old friend, (who goes way back with me to the earlier days of the “EST” consciousness movements) who asked me; “Let me get this straight; who you are as a teacher, with all these 20 years of experience, is TOTALLY dependent on the number of people in your room?”

At this point we both burst into laughter because my answer was a resounding “YES! That is EXACTLY what I’m saying!”

Finally it was funny. Finally, I could see how I had made it all up in my head. I had made up a belief that some outside, physical result determines who I am. That, if I had a certain amount of people show up then I am a winner, if not then I am a loser! They say that awareness is, in itself, curative, and in this case, hilarious. I could finally see and laugh at the corner I had painted myself into.

Since that conversation I have observed in myself an un-attachment to my numbers, and therefore freedom from them. Gone is the stress of measuring up. Gone is the anxiety of new schedules! Gone is the anger and frustration of helpless victimhood to the numbers! Gone is the desperate struggle to control what I have absolutely no control over.

What remains is my love for the work. What remains is the confidence I have in what I do and, and for the first time, the way that I do it! I am back to being in love with what I do, how I do it, and the people who come to share in that with me.

Oh yeah, and my numbers are thriving…

October 10th, 2013

The Abundance Of Nothing

By Manduka Ambassador, Dana Damara


I have the privilege to step on a yoga mat every, single day. Not only that but I GET to lead classes, workshops, trainings and retreats and call that my “job”.

Every time I step on my mat I bow to what an amazing life I have created for myself this time around.

Just this past weekend I took a group of 10 incredible women to Sonoma County for a yoga retreat. I advertised it as a blissful weekend of connection and empowerment. These women didn’t really know each other, in fact most of them were strangers to each other. Some had been attending my classes for a long time, while others had never been to my class but just needed to get away.

I planned nothing for them, that’s right, nothing. I rented a home in the hills of Glen Ellen ( that had remarkable views, infinite quiet space, a pool and hiking trails). I brought a DJ to play live music in class and a friend who does body work, so they could indulge and unwind. We did two yoga classes a day and I made organic, vegan meals.

But in between those yoga classes there was nothing. And I mean, nothing. It was so fun to observe these women as they struggled with the reality that no one needed them, they couldn’t check their email and they had nothing planned or scheduled. Our theme with the New Moon in Libra was to set intentions around balance, justice, love and cooperation.

Every woman there was astounded with the spaciousness of the weekend. They kept saying, “It’s only noon? Really? It’s only 2pm? Really?” Time slowed down, literally! And they didn’t really know how to handle it, at first. But once they warmed up to it, this thing called infinite space and time, the abundance began to flow.

What I witnessed was friendships forming, emotions flowing, naps happening and people connecting. They were given the space to really experience who they were. Beyond the weekly calendar, the kids academics, the work deadlines, the responsibilities of their real life, they remembered who they were.

The land where we stayed was special – you could feel the vibrational pull of peace and oneness once you stepped onto the property. The home itself, adorned with Hindu Dieties and beautiful tapestry, naturally smelled like incense. The sunrise and sunset were spectacular… breathtaking really.

Practice started on Friday, at the New Moon, and we began with an invocation of cooperation and balance, letting go of what was not serving us anymore, allowing space for a creative birth, both within ourselves and in alignment with the planet. On Saturday emotions ran a bit higher when we were pressed into truly making our dreams a reality by empowering ourselves through movement and breath. Saturday night we practiced yoga nidra while the sun set over the hills, manifesting our desires.

I have been on retreats where every minute is filled with something; something to do or explore. And while I do enjoy that aspect, I find that when there is nothing, we find everything. And in that space of nothing we experience emotions that have been waiting to be surfaced. The vision of our life becomes so transparent when we stop moving… especially when we are surrounded by the natural elements God designed.

When we take the time to rejuvenate and really realign, emotions flow, true connection becomes easy because there isn’t all the “stuff” happening around us every second. We aren’t beeping from our phones, reminding us that we are forgetting something. We may even laugh out loud or shed a tear because we have witnessed, again, that familiar place within ourselves that we call home. And that is where true connection begins.

With clarity comes a creative birth of emotions – when was the last time you took a pause in your life? Can you make time today to allow that opportunity to surface? And when it does can you receive it?

Say yes … find yourself a little spot, get on our mat or your cushion and take it in: the abundance of nothing.

October 8th, 2013

Spread Your Toes

By Guest Writer, Annette O'Neil

As I've been slowly rebuilding my practice after my June injury, I've been thinking a lot about mindful grounding. Specifically, I've been thinking about toes. For me, grounding and gratefulness are almost interchangeable -- and it's all about toes.

Let me step back for a moment and tell you where I am. I'm in Switzerland's Lauterbrunnen Valley. It's a verdant idyll of pillowy grass, dollhouse-bright chalets and milk-tea-colored cows, sandwiched fetchingly between opposing two-thousand-foot cliff faces, painted with a background of snowed-over alpine peaks and cotton-candy clouds. It's heart-stoppingly beautiful. It's also -- on account of the cliffs, you see -- one of the world's classic BASE jumping destinations. I'm living here until October, making several BASE jumps per day (when the cotton-candy clouds aren't dumping decidedly unyummy rain, that is). Lucky? Oh heck yes.

As I’ve been jumping so much, I’ve been noticing the tiny details of my process. You might not think they would, but my toes have a surprisingly important place in my unique ritual procedure of getting ready for a BASE jump. Standing near the edge of the cliff, after I wiggle into the harness of my parachute rig and pull the chest strap tight across my high ribs, I always look down for a long moment at my feet. (Don't believe me? There's video. My helmet camera always captures this moment, a fact I find kinda hilarious.)

When I look down at my sneaker-shod toes at a BASE exit point, the thought that runs through my head is always the same: enjoy this grounded moment. 'Cause once I run and jump, I don’t know what variables will come into play or what the outcome may be. The fact is simple: my feet may never be pressed to the ground like this again. I'm profoundly grateful for every moment they've spent in the treading of this wild, strange planet, and I sure hope they keep it up, but there are no guarantees.

On the mat, the thought is quite the same, especially in the first moments of my practice. Peeking down and dialing in to samastitihi, I organize my toes wide. When the cheerful purple of the mat pops up between my painted toenails, so too blossoms a sense of intense gratitude. After all, I am standing. I am not injured or ill or enervated. At the moment, I am standing in one of the most beautiful valleys I have ever seen. I am standing in a warm, sunny room, protected from the elements. I am standing in a house with a fridge full of food, and a rack full of clothes, and a constant parade of friendly smiles. I am standing downright emphatically -- toes spread, the roots of my energy shooting deep into the earth -- so that I may sing this gratefulness into the world around me with my yoga practice.
I am standing.

And I’m wiggling my spread toes with happiness.

October 4th, 2013

Embrace: Let's Go Where Your Emotions Flow

This Fall, we’re asking the yoga community to Go There. And Go There, you have! We have seen you thrive, and we have seen your verve. Now it’s time to change the pace and embrace the moment.

Two weeks ago we asked you to Go There by showing us how you life a life full of enthusiasm, and how you go beyond your barriers. Here are a few of our favorite photos from our theme, VERVE, including the photo from our winner, @mars_adventure, who will take home our PRO Black Verve, the eQua Towel in Verve, and 2 unBLOKs.

Here is the photo from our winner, @mars_adventure, plus a few of our other favorite #LetsGoThere Instagrams:


By @mars_adventure, who won last week's #LetsGoThere contest.

Here are some of our other favorites!


Ali Burruel


@wood_house


dawn hyde


@elyzzi


@briyogi


@hotdogla


@jessicalopez

Over the next two weeks, we’d love to see you go where your emotions flow and embrace your greatness. Show us the things that help you be your truest self, and how you embrace the now. In two weeks, we’ll select one winner to receive a PROlite in Embrace, an eQua Towel in Embrace, and a Recycled Wool Blanket.

Practice On,
Manduka

October 3rd, 2013

Yogi Foods For Fall

By Manduka Ambassador Rosie Acosta

I’ve spent the last couple of years writing about food. Something I feel very lucky to be able to do, I write about how to make healthy treats, different ways to transform traditional recipes to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free.

I wanted to write this blog about how important it is for us to eat fresh veggies and seasonal fruits during the transitions from summer to Fall and Fall to winter. Instead I felt this forum would be better suited to write about the foods for Fall that tend to fall off the food chain.

I recently relocated from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon. I found myself having some serious mal-nourishment and a little over-nourishment {there are way to many great places to eat in Portland…I digress} I felt very overwhelmed and completely ungrounded. My energy was low, I had writers block and I had traded in my sandals for wool socks. Clearly, I was not an image of health. I know that the food we eat is important to how we feel, but there are other food groups that I feel merit a slot on the food pyramid. Here were a few things a yogi should add to the grocery list this fall:

Nourish Your Temple: Fall calls for plenty of root veggies! We can sometimes become severely overwhelmed by the Holiday season approaching, or just life in general. This time of year I notice that some of my students {myself included} become a bit ungrounded. Take this time to stock up on lots of root vegetables like beets, carrots, parsnips and turnips. Eating root vegetables cultivate exactly that…roots. Eat plenty of greens and sprouts and always enjoy foods that come in their most natural state.

Spend Time With You: You are Awesome! In case you didn’t know ☺. It is so important to get some duly deserved “quite-alone-no-social-media-of-any-kind -time”. A friend of mine has a beautiful 2 year old son, when I told her she needed time to herself she rolled her eyes as if I was blind to the little toddler hanging from her neck. She was able to squeeze in some alone time during his newly designated naptime {this has had a 40% success rate, which I think is pretty good}. Giving yourself some alone time to do the things you love is important food for the yogi. Take time for yourself, get cozy and read a book or write in your journal or do 5-10minutes of meditation.

Practice, Breathe, Stretch {Repeat}: Move your body. When seasons begin to change, so do our bodies. What was working for you during the summer, maybe isn’t working so much during the Fall {if it is, carry on}. It is important to stay in motion. This can apply with everything else we do in our lives. I noticed that during the period when I moved I wasn’t practicing yoga, or running or breathing for that matter. It was very easy for me to fall into a rut when I wasn’t tuning into what my body was saying {practice, breathe, stretch and repeat}.

Go There: Go on an Adventure! Go on that camping trip or a road trip you’ve always wanted to go on. Chose a long weekend, or a day and do something out of the norm. A day trip to your local wild life reserve, park, or beach. Its important for us to see and FEEL other environments, this can help inspire and cultivate motion in our lives and get us in touch with Mother Earth.

I Can See The Future: Practice positive thinking. Let negative thoughts and negative people in your life take a back seat. I would say in terms of food, this would definitely be a Super Food. Let yourself think big, and visualize the things/people that make you happy. {Insert Positive Thought}

A yogi knows that practice brings magic. This applies to the food we eat {practicing healthy eating habits} relationships in our lives {having positive people in your life}, our career {doing what you love}. The most important vessel to feed is you, love and nourish your temple, you only get one.

Love, Rosie

October 1st, 2013

It's Good To Share

By Patti Carr Cocciolo

Most of the time, our practice is very private, and very personal. Even in the most crowded classes at your local studio or gym, our teachers ask us to leave the outside world, come onto our mats, into our bodies and to focus on the breath. All of those cues help us to zero in on what should be a very internal event: our own yoga practice.

But sometimes, the practice moves outward. To a very public place, like Center Field.
This weekend, my family and I were part of Yoga Day at AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco, CA. After the Giants game (a loss, mind you, so most of us were already working through some serious, very recently-inflicted suffering….), about a hundred yogis and yoginis took to the field.

Now, I knew this was right up my alley. There are few things I love more than my family, my yoga, my Giants and my city. To be able to celebrate all of those things at the same time, Wowza.

What my family and I thought, was merely game turned out to be more than that. Hitting the field with mats in hand was just another incredibly generous gesture on behalf of my two exhausted, heartbroken children (did I mention the Giants lost that day?), and my already incredibly supportive, budding-yogi husband.

Here’s where the magic happened: by taking my practice, my very personal, private practice, to the outfield with my family, I went somewhere I’ve never gone before – I truly shared my practice with the people I love the most, and it was heaven... There was laughter, concentration, joy, wicked awful alignment, freedom, and lots of happy tears. In the moment, I found the joy of doing something I love with the people I love. And later, looking at the pictures, I was choked up to see my younger son meditating peacefully (to be fair – this was captured in between yoga-inspired bouts of breakdancing), and my older son, with his head tilted toward me in most every pose, watching, learning, truly making an effort to understand the outward shapes, in order to reach the inward space that his mother talks about all the time.

Do I want to practice every day with a 9-year-old baseball player and a 7-year-old breakdancer? Probably not. But what I learned on Saturday is that there is joy in sharing your most precious practice. That by opening yourself up to share, you rediscover why you do this in the first place. For me, I was reminded that I practice so I can be a better version of myself. That, in turn, makes me a better wife and a better mother. All of this came together on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in San Francisco- deep, deep in Center Field.