Archive for the ‘yoga blogs’ Category

ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes!

One of the Buddha’s well-known quotes is “nothing is permanent“.  It’s true, with time everything eventually changes.  As humans, we are constantly evolving.  Our physical bodies change over the years.  Our life experiences change how we perceive the world and our everyday relationships.  We have career changes.  Our beloved bank merges with another bank and now there’s a new debit card and website.  Or the best yoga teacher you’ve ever had decides to move to another country.   On top of all this, technology is constantly driving changes in how we shop, communicate and simply live life.

So here’s where my new changes come into play…Almost 7 years now, my easy to set up “yoga blog by abellaYoga” allowed me the freedom to start blogging about anything and everything related to yoga – teaching yoga, questions from students I received, the business of yoga, yoga philosophy, meditation, etc.  Fortunately too, my simple abellaYoga.com website also worked for what I needed during these last several years.  And as much as I held on (with a tight grip!) to keep my simple website and blog running “as is”, it became clear over the  last couple years that big changes in how I presented abellaYoga were looming.  My template-driven website no longer fully represented the professionalism of my mobile yoga service – nor did it express the extent I have grown as a yoga teacher and student in my yoga journey thus far.

So here I am unveiling a new look to abellaYoga.com which includes the abellaYoga blog as being fully integrated into the new web site.  Bad news is if you’ve been subscribing to abellaYoga.wordpress.com, you’ll experience some changes.  For instance, those simple emails you use to receive with my latest blog posts are fading away until I figure out how to set up a new email subscription plug-in/widget/whatever into the abellaYoga.com/blog  Oh yeah, and there’s a new blog address:  abellaYoga.com/blog

Change is great but it often requires patience, particularly on my part as I attempt to live right now in a tech hat instead of on a yoga mat.  So as I navigate through these tech changes over the next few weeks, please be patient.  Check back frequently.  The old blog address will automatically be redirected to the new abellaYoga.com/blog in the next day or so.  I have at least figured that out!

Change can be scary but it’s often exactly what we need to take us to the next stage of health and happiness in all arenas of our lives -personal, professional and spiritual.   Change is inevitable and we’re all going through it more often than not.  It’s best to stay positive, remember you’re not alone and keep in mind nothing last forever.

Melody of 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.

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The Business of Yoga (part 3)

Part of the fun of being a small business owner is every single day is different.  And as much as I am in control of my own schedule, sometimes I’m just not.  Running a business forces you to learn how to literally “go with the flow.”  For instance, this morning I had a private yoga client cancel which opened up time for me to blog.  After this, I’ll head into Washington, DC (in the pouring rain) and teach a corporate yoga class.  I love what I do.  I also love that on Fridays my day is done by 1:15pm.  There is no denying the amount of freedom and flexibility my business offers me.

As a full-time yoga teacher with a mobile yoga business (abellaYoga – travels to teach yoga in homes & offices)  I primarily teach yoga Mon-Fri.  It’s the behind the scenes stuff that many new business owners (particularly yoga teachers) may not know needs to happen to keep a steady schedule of clients.  I do things like drafting contracts, writing proposals and creating promotional handouts for office yoga programs.  I attend networking events, run to the bank to make deposits and often function as my own IT guru (who really should be fired; technology is an area I struggle with).  Currently, I’m in the midst of working with a web designer to revamp my website as well as prepping for the City of Alexandria’s Employee Health Fair that I’ll be exhibiting at a few weeks.

As much as I love the variety each day offers, sometimes it can be challenging to keep myself on track.  To keep some structure in my fluid schedule here are a few things over the years I have found helpful.

Do Your Yoga – Schedule your own yoga practice.  Write it down in your calendar or on your daily “to do” list.  I’m serious.  If it doesn’t get booked, it won’t happen.  You’ll feel better and your students will have a better experience.  As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s through your own personal practice you’ll find your creative expression as a yoga teacher.  No practice = no expression.  It’s that simple.

Clear clutter – Clutter in our homes and offices mentally weighs us down.  As soon as the mail comes each day, I go through it right away and recycle most of it or file the bills in the “to be paid” folder.  The few catalogs I get, I try to flip through that evening and recycle immediately when finished.  Visit dmachoice.org to stop getting junk mail and catalogs you don’t want or need.  Online banking & billing is another great way to lighten your mailbox and keep your counters/desk clean.

Use a calendar – You need to find a system that works for you.  Believe it or not, I use a paper calendar.  I’m certain I could be more efficient by moving my scheduling system online but there is something I like about just quickly being able to open my paper calender when a client needs to make a quick change.  Often iPhones/iPads/computers take a little time to pull up the calendar.  I also keep a list of monthly “to do’s” that happen every month each year.  For instance, I know my corporate business tax is due every September and my Yoga Alliance renewal is every May.  This way I’m never surprised about money that is due or risk missing an important deadline.

Get Outside – All my yoga classes are taught inside.  Most of the “behind the scenes” things I do are done inside.  I find it key to get outside at least 20 minutes a day.  Whether its to walk the dogs or sit outback to read an article, I make sure I get some fresh air so I can return to the indoors with a clearer perspective.  Remember, nature is powerful medicine.

Again, these are just a few things I’ve discovered over the last 6+ years of running my own business.  If you have other ideas, please share!

Have Mat, Will Travel

Over the last few years I’ve shared info on my fav yoga mat by Manduka.  See Spoiled by Manduka and Can You Recommend a Yoga Mat?

The words I wrote back then still hold true today.  Even so much that when I went to Vail, CO last week (to do more spa-ing than skiing), I had my trusty (very thin) prana mat in tow.  For me, it’s a multipurpose mat.  Of course, I use it to practice yoga & meditate when on the road but I have another key use for it.

Have you ever noticed that the seat backs on airplanes are designed with a concave arche?  Huh?!?  When you sit back in the seat, your lower back has to round & your head jets forward?   Does that sound comfortable?  If you haven’t noticed, I’m sorry to say you’ve probably just gotten use to sitting poorly in what I believe is a very non ergonomic design.  My solution —use my 10 year-old rolled up prana mat to assist me in sitting tall.  I stand it up against the seat back and sit with my back on it.  It is perfect for keeping me comfy, or should I say as comfy as one can be on an airplane.

Unfortunately, since my mat is so old I don’t think the very thin version of it is still available.  Plus prana, like Manduka, are thankfully now offering more eco-friendly mats which tend to be a bit thicker than the one I have.  For another opinion on yoga travel mats, check out the Road Warriorette‘s product review.

Yoga mat + travel = happy girl.  Namaste!

MOM = Meaning of Mom

Google results for the definition of  “Mom” are as follows:

  1. My Organic Market (the local organic grocery near my house)
  2. Short for Mother, Momma or Mommy
  3. Abbreviation for Middle of Month
  4. A woman who has given birth to a child

Though I am not a Mom, I can tell you definition #4 doesn’t do Moms justice.  Great (even just so-so) Moms do more than simply give birth.  Not only do they raise their children — providing food & shelter, teaching values, doting and/or providing comfort when needed — they continue to be there as the child turns into adult.  As an adult, I don’t necessarily have the exact same values, hobbies, beliefs as my parents.  I no longer need my Mom (and Dad) to provide me with food and shelter.  I will admit I do still like the doting/comfort she provides -sometimes when least expected.

So at 38, I had an epiphany last night of who my Mom has become to me.  While I was decorating our holiday tree with Elvis Christmas music playing in the background (thanks to Mom’s influence), I was thinking  about how I no longer really consider my Mom just a Mom.  Of course, she will always be my Mom.  Yet as I have grown she has become more of a friend – a really good friend I can call day or night to talk about anything I need to talk about.

I recall in my younger years having jealous moments of friends and their relationships with their Moms.  They seemed so cool.  Their Moms seemed like friends vs. authority figures.  Heck, I recall about a year ago watching my yogini/blogger friend Peg flying (an acroyoga term) her daughter Meg after an Ashtanga class we had all attended together.  Rather than admiring them for the acroyoga, I was thinking “wow, they are so lucky to a) get along so well as Mother and Daughter, and b) be able to do yoga together.”

So as I put ornaments on the tree last night I suddenly realized, I am so lucky to have a Mom who now feels more like a good friend.  She didn’t just birth me as Google definitions would state, she has stuck around to cheer me on as I continue through life doing things that may seem a little crazy to her at times.  No longer does she tell me “no”.  No longer does she question me.  She has become a supportive friend who I love dearly.  Thanks Mom!

Fear is Funny

Fear is a funny thing.  Just when I think I’ve gotten beyond a fear, another one shows up.  And sometimes I think I’m the only one who had a particular fear.  For instance, sometimes I am fearful of standing up in front of large group, particularly an “unknown” group.

So it was refreshing to read a recent blog posting by Peggy Mulqueen, one of my favorite yoga teachers in the Washington D.C. area.  The post titled “do one thing a day that scares you” was somewhat surprising to read as well because Peg is such a gifted yoga teacher.  It appears so natural for her to be smiling in the spotlight as she leads one of her amazing yoga classes.  Who knew she had a little secret?

As a yoga teacher myself, I’ve noticed I get nervous in front of a new yoga class/new group of students.  Once I start teaching the group, the fear fades after 2-3 classes.  It’s like the fear of the unknown takes over and stirs up some uneasiness; sort of like the jitters one feels when going on a first date.

Anyway, I’m sure some of my students have never realized this about me.  I certainly never knew this as a yoga student of Peg’s.  Fear is like a little secret and we each hold on to it in some shape or form.  And we’re often fearful of sharing the secret.  What good does it do for us to hold on to it?  It’s actually a relief to share it (it’s like the first step in overcoming the fear) and in the process discover that you’re not alone.  I’m not alone 🙂  Thanks Peg!

I leave you with two things…

1)  “Our greatest fears are like dragons guarding our greatest treasure.”  -Rainier Marie Rilke.  Share your fears, face them and discover something new about you!

2)  Check out Peg’s Friday night intermediate class at Down Dog Yoga in D.C.  Please don’t let the intermediate title scare you.  If it does, let go of the fear.  You’ll be glad you showed up!

Spirit

My dear friend, Federica, is starting to truly live her passion.  She currently is working a gig as a photographer’s assistant in New Orleans.  Please note, I say starting to live her dream because she’s only 26-ish and she’s already on a path of doing something she clearly loves and aspires to be the best of the best.

As an aspiring photojournalist, she has been in NOLA for the last couple weeks in preparation for Mardi Gras.  Never had been down there before, I know this crazy Italian yogini didn’t know what she was getting herself into.  Then to top it off, the Saints made it to the Super Bowl for the first time in history.  I don’t think I need to say the cherry on top is they actually WON!

So when Fede recently posted pics from a RockAsana yoga class she took on Magazine St., it is clear the spirit of the city was shining bright in that yoga studio.  And if you apply the statistic that only about 6.9% of American adults practice yoga (according to Yoga Journal‘s 2008 Survey), can you imagine what 100% of the city looked like if just 6.9% was represented in this yoga class?  View here at Fede’s blog, Federicaville.

Go Saints!  Go Fede!  Can’t wait to see your Mardi Gras pics.

My New Year’s Resolution

I always set business and personal goals for each year but I can’t recall every really setting a “core” resolution that I felt whole-hearted about.  Thanks to my good friend Michelle, who moved from Del Ray Alexandria, VA to Santa Cruz, CA nine months ago, I have a New Year’s Resolution that my life will revolve around for the next 210 days.

Here’s how it went down and how I came to select a 2010 resolution:  On Christmas Eve, Michelle called to say “I’m going to surf 200 continuous days in 2010”.  Over the next few days I started thinking I should support her challenge on the East coast.  What can I do? We talked a few days ago and she updates me that 200 consecutive days could be unrealistic with the power of Mother Nature, work, travel, etc. so she changed it to 210 days of surfing in 2010.  And she set up a cool blog:  210 days of waves.  Hmmm…

At first I thought, I should commit to 210 days of yoga the first 210 days of 2010.  Given yoga really encompasses asana, meditation, philosophy/reading, ethical principles to live by (yamas & niyamas), etc. 210 days of yoga seemed too easy.   Honestly, I already do something yoga-related every single day.  I’m a yogini so I live yoga as well as teach it 5 days a week.  To truly step up to the 210 challenge, I decided to turn my aspirations of daily meditation into reality.  I am committing to 210 days of meditation and I’ve set up a new blog a) to keep me honest, b) because Michelle did 🙂 and c) to try something new (daily blogging).

If you’ve been an abellaYoga blog fan for a while, you’re probably thinking “don’t you already meditate?”  Yes I meditate but not consistently.  I sit about 4 days a week for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes.  So what does “210 days of meditation for 2010” mean to me?   The answer is here.

Follow our 2010 journeys:  210 days of waves / 210 days of meditation The ride may be bumpy but we’ll do what it takes.  July 29, 2010 is now only 209 days away.