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Courtesy of Google images  

Courtesy of Google images

Going to yoga alone, but want to meet a yogi partner in crime? (And you don’t want your yoga buddy to be a pup, but an actual human?)

Try singles yoga

Yes, that’s right meeting people and a little stretching is a two-in-one combo now — multi-tasking for the busy lady. 

I first came across this phenomena through an article tweeted on the Untied Twitter page .

It’s becoming a trend to find your match at meditation. 

You do a little yoga, get to know one another, and sometimes even go out after — that’s the itinerary at Singles Yoga.

Meeting people with similar hobbies is always a good start for a gal on the prowl, Fitness Singles claims to have the largest community of single yogis and has groups for many different sports — hiking, running, biking, etc. 

I’ve always enjoyed meeting people who love yoga, so I see the similar interests and community aspect of singles yoga, but I’m not sure if you could clear your mind while scouting out a post-yoga dinner date. 

Focusing on impressing someone — while sweating and in workout clothes — seems like more of a challenge than the actual practice. And it would distract you from concentrating on the poses. 

Clearing your head doesn’t seem possible, which is my main goal for practicing yoga. Looking for your soulmate and improving the self doesn’t seem to be a feasible match. 

More power to ya though, if it’s something you’d like to try to master — it seems like it would make the yoga conquest that much more difficult. 

Yoga high: 0

Courtesy of Dogadog.com

Courtesy of Dogadog.com

So you want to bring a pal with you to do yoga? And your best bud is your four legged canine?

No problem. Suit the little pupsy up in yoga pants, grab the leash, and head to yoga.

All are welcome at yoga — even dogs.

You aren’t alone if you want to do yoga with your Jack Russell terrier around your neck — trust me, I thought you would have been, but after I read this NYT article I realized going to practice with your dog is more popular than you would think. It’s a new trend.

It’s called doga, ladies, and it’s stretching and massaging for your dog — and you.

Dogadog.com says you can actually learn from your dogs. Doga DVDs have already hit the stands (and Internet) — you and your pup don’t even have to leave the house. Books are also available if you want to read up and do a little DIY doga.

Classes at the East Yoga studio in NYC are about 45 minutes long, so it’s a typical class time.

It’s different way to exercise with your dog, other than a walk in the park. The doga practice is offered outdoors at some studios if you want to keep quality time with your canine outside — dodo bags are still needed though.

So while you become a yogi, your pooch can become a dogi — the two you of you mastering relaxation poses and achieving a higher mental state.

Don’t have a dog, but love cats? Yoga with kitties exists too, and it’s purrrrrr-fect.

Yoga high: 0

Today’s asana, or what we devoted our practice to, was acceptance.

Letting go of the things you cannot control and changing the way you approach them. My instructor wisely said that half the battle is not pushing away what you think is bad and pulling in what you think is good. You must accept the things that come your way, no matter how frustrating or problematic they may seem.

This hit home after another long day at Untied, a project that definitely throws its curveballs at me on a daily basis.

As I settled into today’s yoga practice of acceptance, I took a deep breath and let go of any tension I was carrying — I could feel the tightness of my muscles relax as I finally took a breather.

I had to accept that today I was feeling a little more rigid — it’s probably the awfulness of “hump day” — and that I wouldn’t be able to move as deep in the poses as I usually do. And that’s OK. You never want to force or push yourself in yoga. You want to be at a comfortable edge, where you can feel the pose, but aren’t overdoing it.

Today’s main pose was triangle, a well-known and difficult pose to do correctly. It’s a pose where a lot of people push themselves to overdo it, and end up sitting in the pose incorrectly — which can hurt you.

Here’s how to do triangle — or Trikonasana correctly:

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

1. Stand lengthwise on your yoga mat, spreading your legs about a leg’s width apart, and root firmly into the ground.

2. Turn your left foot to the side and your right foot in at a 45 degree angle. Make sure both are in a straight line.

3. Adjust your right hip by turning the top of your thigh inwards — almost like it is in a diagonal line with the inside of your left foot. Keep your left leg from drawing inward.

4. Inhale your arms up to your sides, making sure they are in a straight line as well. Your goal is to be perfectly straight — in alignment — in this pose.

5. Reach over your toes and windmill your right arm up and your left arm down with palms facing out, keeping your spine straight. You don’t have to touch the floor or even your knee. You can keep your left hand on the top of your thigh. It is important to keep your spine straight. As soon as you arch it, you’re not feeling the full effects of the pose.

6. Breathe. Hold for a couple of minutes or until you can no longer.

7. To get out of the pose, reach the arms up and to the sides again, bring your feet front to be in a stationery middle position again.

8. Repeat on the right side.


Yoga high: 3.0

 

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

After a long, fun-filled weekend of eating out, celebrating, and relaxing, it was hard to get back to the grind. 

With the grueling work week, weekends are a time to be gluttonous in doing the things you want. By the end of the weekend, a daily work routine is hard to get back into. It seems like it would just be easier not to fall out of it.

It makes you realize everything is better in moderation. I pondered this on my walk to yoga after what seemed like an eternal day at Untied, and fittingly enough the day’s practice was dedicated to the yama (the ethical teaching about restraint) brahmacharya, which translates movement to the Lord and is about practicing moderation to direct one’s energy to growth and transformation.

To achieve brahmacharya, a balanced lifestyle including moderation in diet, relationships, you time, and even the breath is in order.

I have touched on the importance of being conscious of the breath before, so here are some different yoga breaths that can help oxygenate and rejuvenate the body by getting new energy to flow into the body. 

Ohm: What we start each class doing. Take a deep inhale in and on the exhale say “Ahhh-Ohhhh-Mmmm.” Humming the last “m” part. Do this slowly and try for a long, full exhale.

Lion’s breath: Take a deep inhale and on the exhale open the mouth wide, stick out the tongue, and make a roar sound. Don’t be shy — you’ll be surprised at how good it will feel to let it all out.

For an extended version of this breath. Sit on your knees or comfortably fold the legs, close the mouth, breath in and out by pushing the lungs in on the exhale. All you really need to do is focus on the exhale — the inhale will come naturally. 

Pranayam: A little more complicated breath. It is very important to focus only on the breath here, and feel it coming in and down your body.

1. Sit in a cross legged position, back straight. Take the left hand, touch your index and thumb fingers together, and place it on your knee.

2. Take your right hand, bring it up to your nostrils. Put your thumb by your right nostril and your pinky and ring fingers by your left. 

3. Cover your left nostril with your pinky and ring finger. Inhale through your right nostril. 

4. Cover your right nostril with your thumb. Hold the breath and feel it move down your body.

5. Lift your fingers off your left nostril and exhale.

6. Inhale through the left nostril this time, cover, and exhale through the right.

7. Repeat. Continue for five minutes or however long you can handle it.  

You should feel relaxed and clear headed after these breathing reps — you’ll probably even get a little yoga high.

Yoga high: 1.5

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

Alright, so the weekend has hit and you’re ready for some drinks.

Why not go au naturale, and try something non-alcoholic? A refreshing, fermented tea, perhaps?

Relax, the tea will get you buzzed (in a healthy, euphoric way), it has amazing health benefits (although not scientifically proven), and it actually tastes good.

Kombucha is a tea with bacteria (don’t worry it is brewed and you’d never know by how good it is) that tastes slightly carbonated and fizzy — depending on the brand you buy — and is known for improving your state of being. Many advocates say it has improved physical and mental ailments — some as extreme as cancer.

G.T.’s Organic Raw Kombucha tea is my personal favorite. They have many different flavors from multi-green to fruity. I like the Synergy passion. The fizziness is subtle, but gives the drink a little more kick than the average iced tea. And after drinking a bottle, I feel revitalized and full of energy.

You can buy it in organic or health food stores or online — I pick mine up from the local all-vegan restaurant, Strong Hearts, which is right below my yoga studio. I used to get it from Henry’s in California (where I’m originally from), but hadn’t found it out here until I started yoga. It is the drink of all the yogis at CNY Yoga.

Check out this link for how to brew Kombucha. There’s even courses you can sign up for.

So ladies, instead of sippin’ on a pomegranate martini tonight, why not try a pomegranate Kombucha?

It won’t give you a hangover the next morning — it’ll actually clear your head.

Yoga high: 0.5 (yes, Kombucha gives you a little zinger)

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

Namaste.

The term is a familiar yoga term, but what does it mean? Hatha yoga uses Sanskrit — a language very unfamiliar to me — and it can be a little tricky to decipher. The studio I go to uses only Sanksrit to call out the poses in the advanced class (hence why I had to leave when I attempted to challenge myself). After three weeks, I’m slowly becoming familiar with the names of poses in English and Sanskrit.

My instructor sometimes can only give the class rough Sanskrit translations because it doesn’t smoothly translate into English, making learning it even more tricky.

For instance, at the end of each class we say “namaste,” which roughly means I bow to you.

Here’s a list of yoga definitions from the ethical teachings of yoga that fall under the yama — meaning restraint and to avoid — which is the first level of eight to living in yoga integrity.

Ahimsa – nonviolence; this means not thinking, speaking, or wishing ill-will on yourself, anyone else, or anything.

Satya – truthfulness; this means only speaking what is good for all on Earth.

Asteya – non-stealing; this means not desiring or taking anyone’s thoughts, words, or possessions — no matter how small they are.

Brahmacharya – moderation; this means practicing activities that support growth and transformation, doing nothing in excess.

Aparigraha – non-attachment; this means being free of worldly desires and living simply.

So, as I embark on my quest for mental clarity, I also set out to achieve the following in the yama level; living in simplicity and integrity.

Namaste.

Yoga high: 0