Archive for the ‘outdoor yoga’ Category

The Buiness of Yoga (part 2)

Let me state upfront:  This is all about YOU.  My intention in sharing this “business of yoga” jazz is to simply offer you what’s worked for me.  Period.  It is not to say what I’m doing will work for you, or is even right for you.

In many ways I consider how I’m sharing these yoga biz tips to be similar to how I teach yoga to my private yoga students and corporate yoga clients…I’m just offering guidance through the process/class of yoga postures.  It’s up to you to dig deep and listen to YOU.

So here goes.  The following 5 yoga biz tips come straight from my heart.  These are simply lessons I’ve personally learned along the way as I built abellaYoga (a mobile yoga business serving Washington, DC, Alexandria and Arlington, VA)  from scratch.

1)  Be your own best ambassador.  Tell everyone you know what you’re doing, what type of people you want to teach (i.e. athletes, , moms, seniors, office employees, kids, corporate executives, etc.)  The point is whatever speaks to you “speak about it”.  Go beyond facebook.  Meet with people face-to-face.  Make notes to follow-up with people you met last month.  Thank people for listening and don’t expect anything in return.  This is all known as “networking” and it takes time and patience.  For those who have been following me on the Yoga Sutra path, reference my blog post covering sutra 1.13

2)  Decide where you will teach once you figure out who you want to teach (see tip #1).  Get creative.  There is plenty of space available to teach yoga.  A yoga studio is an obvious choice as are your local gym and community center.  Think outside of the yoga box…grassy fields, theaters, museums, office buildings.  Explore potential “free” spaces.  To this day, I have yet to pay for space to teach my classes.

3)  Do what you do best and outsource the rest.  Not a numbers person?  Hire an accountant — he’s one of my key advisors 🙂  Not very creative?  Barter for website services and a logo.  This list could go on and on.  Clearly the point is, focus on teaching and whatever else it is you love.  Pass the other “stuff” to those who like to deal with the “stuff”.   Writing this reminds me of Dharana, sutra 3.1:  Dharana is the binding of the mind to one place, object or idea.  Again, stay focused on what you do best and outsource the rest.

4) Teach during your peak energy time.  This was huge for me.  As yoga teachers, we need to show up awake, alive and ready to inspire.  How can you do that if you’re teaching tomorrow bright & early, yet you just went to bed because 20 minutes ago you left teaching a 9pm class at your local yoga studio?  Listen..If you’re a morning person aim to teach yoga in the mornings through the afternoon.  If you’re a night owl, then teach classes late day/evening.  Again, listen to YOU.

5) Practice, practice, practice!   I can’t say this enough.  Don’t sacrifice your personal yoga practice for teaching yoga.  Inspire yourself via your own yoga practice.  Burn through your doubts.  Hello tapas!  (See sutra 2.1 for Tapas details) It’s through your time on the mat you’ll find your creative expression as a teacher.  No practice = no expression.  It’s that simple.   As Pattabhi Jois said “practice and all is coming.”

Done.  Some of the above may be helpful or none of it may work for you.  Take what you want, leave the rest.  Most importantly, follow your heart.  PS:  Here’s  “The Business of Yoga (part 1)” if you missed it.

abellaYoga has been gratefully teaching yoga full-time in Washington, DC, Alexandria and Arlington, VA since 2006.  Thankful for experiences gained in the telecom/tech corporate world, this ex-marketing, yoga-chick is happy to share all she knows about yoga with all.

Malas for Haiti

The beauty of Fall is finally arriving here in Washington, DC.  Though I prefer sunny days and outdoor yoga over cold temps and snow, the reality is the chill and thrill of the holidays will be here before we know it.  Heck, the December date & hosts for my Arlington, VA neighborhood holiday progressive dinner party (that’s a mouthful!) has been set for weeks already.  So really, the “season of giving” will be here shortly.

With that in mind, I’ve decided I’m scaling back on holiday gifts and cards this year.  And what I plan to give will more than likely be related to one or a combo of the following:  gifts from local sources,  gifts promoting health & wellness or donation-based gifts.

It just so happens one of the local sources, To Haiti With Love DC, I’m purchasing gifts from is also a huge fundraising effort to help raise money for Haitian-based organizations so they can implement sustainable solutions on the ground in Haiti.  Things like community infrastructure projects to micro-credit and education programs are top priority.  These projects are designed to enable and empower the Haitian people to recover, rebuild, and create better lives for themselves and their communities.

As part of To Haiti With Love DC’s fundraising efforts, donation-based yoga classes are being offered, film-screenings are happening and beautiful malas are being sold.  Malas for Haiti is a line of gorgeous yoga-inspired jewelry featuring hand-knotted mala beads and mala-inspired bracelets.  Malas are prayer beads used traditionally in yogic meditation practices to count 108 sacred repetitions of a mantra (a spiritual sound, word, or phrase).  Each and every mala is lovingly strung and knotted (by hand!) by Kristin Adair, a dedicated yogini/yoga teacher in the Washington, DC area.

Each Mala for Haiti is made with creamy natural calcite beads (for healing energy and stress reduction) and intense red garnet beads (for vitality, strength, and courage) and features a To Haiti With Love bird charm to symbolize peace and the promise of this incredible nation.  I’ve been wearing one for the last couple of months and I’ve felt inspirational energy radiate from it whenever I see it on my wrist (obviously, I have the bracelet version).

Keep in mind when you purchase a Malas for Haiti piece of jewelry, you’re getting (or giving in the case of a gift) beauty and love.  At the same time, you’re supporting a great local cause that is working to send love and support to those in need in Haiti.  Every single penny from Malas for Haiti sold are going to the projects mentioned above.  Just buying one can make a huge difference and send more love than you know.

What’s Your Favorite Pose?

As some of you already know, I entered the Yoga Journal Talent Search contest.  The entry was two parts —submit a picture of yourself in your favorite yoga pose, and state how yoga has inspired you.  Let’s tackle part one here.

Really, who has just one favorite yoga pose?!?!?!  There are very few poses I don’t like —and usually I don’t experience them unless I take an advanced Ashtanga class.  Even then, I often experience a glimmer of goodness and sense of humility while in the pose.

So what fav pose pic did I submit?  Baddha Ardha Chandrasana (bound half-moon pose, aka sugar cane).  In fact it is just ONE of many fav asanas I adore.  And for as many favorite asanas I have,  I also have just as many ways in which yoga has inspired me —which I’ll address this in my next blog entry.

Specific to asanas/postures…one of the biggest things I love is the mystery offered as you venture into a posture.  There is always the base/root posture and the sensations you feel while you’re there.  And if you get bored there, well it’s time to venture on.  Almost every root posture offers a chance to grow and blossom into other pose variations.  Often, particularly when we are new to a pose, we seek to simply accomplish the base pose.  Our ego provides us with a nice pat on the back or a giant “I DID IT!” for perfecting what we think in that moment is the perfect pose.

Though asana, as with life, always has more to offer.  As soon as we think we’ve figured it all out, there’s a surprise around the corner.  Another view, each asana is also like Sunday.  Sunday is traditionally known as being the start of each new week and for some “the day of rest”.  For me, Sunday is the day to prep for the week ahead as Mon – Sat usually always demands more.  Another analogy…in order to reach the top of the mountain, you have to start from the bottom and move step by step (unless you own a helicopter).  And it’s in each step where a sense of discovery and awe arise, and that’s  way before you even arrive to the tip.

So when I picked bound 1/2 moon, I realized I love Warrior II, Triangle, Extended Side Angle, Ardha Chandrasana —all possible pre-postures that lead you to the bound version of half moon.  Again, I ask who has just one favorite pose?  And if you do, how is that possible?

2010 Yoga Trends

Almost two years ago I read a list of 10 predictions for yoga in 2008.  As we look forward to 2010, I believe they’re still very accurate.

With the obvious economic stresses of the last two years, more and more people need “wellness” guidance – yoga class, meditation practice, nutrition advice and just overall direction on living life to its fullest!  So again, why wouldn’t these be trends for 2010?

“Predictions for Yoga in 2008” was authored by Megan McDonough.  Megan McDonough helps you get clear so you can get positive results. Along with teaching yoga, she’s the award-winning author of Infinity in a Box, a marketing consultant for mind/body organizations including Kripalu Center, and a corporate trainer to companies such as the American Cancer Society.

Sweet Moments

Sweet moments in yoga are often those glimpses of silence within that invite joy, peace and/or lightness.  For me, they are the moments that bring a smile to my heart. This is what often brings us (at least me) back to the mat.

Though usually brief, sweet moments also happen repeatedly throughout our days even when we can’t make it to our yoga mat.  The first sip of morning coffee or hot tea.  Seeing a dear friend you haven’t seen in months.  Catching some time in the afternoon sun even though it might just be enough to get vitamin D. These moments create unexplainable sensations of being connected to our essence and purely being at ease with one’s self.

What brings a smile to your heart?  What lights up your face?  Whatever it is, find ways to bring more sweetness (sukha) into your life.  Then do more of it, even if it’s just a few minutes a day!  We only live once so why not make your life sweet vs. sour (dukha).

“Life is just a series of moments.  If you miss you the moments, you miss your life”  (Robin Sharma).

Yoga on the Mountain Bike Trail

My husband surprised me last month with a new GT Zaskar mountain bike. The bike is way more advanced than I am. Let’s just say it would be a disservice to simply ride it on the local paved bike trail –my comfort zone for riding.

Recently we’ve been hitting Wakefield Park in the Alexandria/Annandale, VA area to force me out on the new bike so it can be used for its true purpose – mountain biking. Wakefield is an extremely popular multi-use park filled with trails for all levels of cyclists. Many of them, though perfect for the new Zaskar, are way too technical for me – I have already had my share of falling ☺.

As a result of these rides I’ve realized that everything I teach as a yoga instructor, I need to personally practice on the bike trail. This is much easier said than done. Here are some of the lessons I’m a pro at on the yoga mat but an amateur at on the bike trail…

1) Don’t think about it; in yoga, take your brain out of it
2) Breathe; invite the body to relax
3) Eyes to the horizon; in yoga, drishti (gaze) is essential to each asana
4) “Feel” the bike do the work; in yoga, feel the breath move you deeper into the pose
5) Find balance – clip out with the left foot (my weak side) just as often as you do with the right (my leading foot)
6) It’s a process
7) It takes a lot of practice
8) It takes a ton of patience with one’s self
9) Learn to let go of the need to control (see #4) and just trust
10) Have more faith than fear – this is my new motto since attending Level II with Baron Baptiste last month

As a yogi these are a natural part of my life on the mat –another comfort zone. As a beginner student in a sport I am intimidated by, the above list contains things I need to learn in a new capacity. The process of breaking out of the comfort zone is scary but can be extremely empowering. So I will continue to chant #10 as I fly down the treacherous hill: Have more faith than fear!

D.C. Yoga Week 2009

Whether you’re new to yoga or an experienced yogi, D.C. Yoga Week is the perfect time to try out that yoga studio you’ve been meaning to visit.  From May 2nd through May 9th, a hub of studios will be offering free and $5 yoga classes in and around the Washington, D.C. area.

Round out your yoga week on May 9th with an outdoor, free-for-all yoga day on the National Mall from 2-5 p.m. Simply show up with your mat at the intersection of 15th Street and Constitution Avenue NW.  See you on the mat and chant for sun!

Visit for participating studios, outdoor yoga info and other details.

Free Outdoor Yoga presented by Even Keel™

Find inner peace in urban chaos this summer with Even Keel’s 2nd Annual Free Outdoor Yoga Series.  Washington, DC has beautiful parks, stressed out residents, and a great yoga community –including some great locally-based yoga clothing companies like Even Keel.

This yoga series is open to anyone in the DC area interested in practicing yoga outdoors.  Just show up with your mat, meet some new yogis/yoginis and experience a new style of yoga or a teacher you’ve never met. Details below.

WHEN: Third Sunday of every month – May through September (May 17, June 21, July 19, August 16, September 20) from 10:00-11:00AM

HOW: Participants show up the third Sunday of the month at the designated location and are encouraged to bring a mat, towel, and water. All levels of students are welcome, although it is helpful to have a basic knowledge of yoga.

WHERE: Rock Creek Park – Connecticut Ave/Cathedral ExitOff of Calvert Street, NW (near the intersection of Connecticut and Calvert) take 24th Street, NW into the park – at the bottom of the hill in the grassy field on the right hand side (near the exercise stations).  Metro: Red Line to Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan, walk south on Connecticut Ave., right on Calvert St., left on 24th St, walk down hill into Rock Creek Park, open field on right hand side of road.

About Even Keel Even Keel is a yoga apparel company that specializes in unique designs, beautiful colors, and sustainable fabric.  The company was started by Liz Matthews, an avid yoga student and occasional teacher.  Even Keel brings a balance of style and function to the mat.  The colors are rich, the designs are elegant – and all of fabrics are made of bamboo and organic cotton.  Even Keel believes strongly in using sustainable fabrics. And all of our clothing is manufactured in the United States.  For more information, please visit