Hi, I’m Bettina. What I'm working on : Forget to slouch. Relaxing is freedom. Choose life.

Yogis Talk Radio Show : Monica Bloom of Hey Monica Bloom

 

Vata Pitta Kapha Ayurvedic Lotuses

 

Have you ever heard of Ayurveda? It’s a sister science to yoga whose name literally means “knowledge of life.”

Ayurveda is now used mainly as a holistic healing method, whose overarching goal is staying in balance with the nature around us and with our inner nature.

According to Ayurveda, nature and we are all made up of different combinations of five elements–earth, water, fire, air, and ether. Our internal combinations of the elements determine what energy rules our body and mind. These energies are called doshas, of which there are three : vata, pitta, and kapha.

Ayurveda Is all about You

Since these doshas affect our personality and our health, knowing your dosha would help you know what food, exercise, working environment, schedule and so on would give you the best physical, mental, and emotional health.

For example, if your dominant dosha is fiery and sharp pitta, then you need to calm and cool down to balance it out.

On the other hand, if your dominant dosha is energetic and scattered vata, then you need structure and grounding to remain balanced.

If you’re slow and steady like an elephant, as a kapha you need get moving and eat light foods.

 

Monica Bloom of Hey Monica B

 

To learn more about Ayurveda, listen to my interview below (or download it) with Ayurvedic consultant Monica Bloom of Hey Monica B to find out:

  • what doshas are, Ayurvedically speaking
  • how to figure out your or other people’s dosha through what you/they look like
  • how to identify other people’s dosha through their emails in less than five minutes
  • the best way to communicate as a yoga teacher with each dosha type to address their learning styles

 

Want to learn more about Ayurveda? Here are your ACTION STEPS:

  1. Find out what your dosha type is by taking Monica’s dosha test.
  2. As Monica mentioned, summer is pitta season. Find out more about how to stay cool in the summer in her free magazine Seasonal Bloom for Pitta. This also applies to pitta people.
  3. If you’re a kapha, check out her Seasonal Bloom for Kapha.
  4. If you’re a vata or know a vata, download the comprehensive guide to vatas.
  5. Learn more about ayurveda through Monica’s radio show archives.

 

Do you have any specific questions for Monica? Then get in touch with her through her website and blog Hey Monica B. She loves hearing your feedback!

 

As for me, I’m curious–what dosha are you?

I’m definitely a pitta and still figuring out if I have some vata or kapha in me…if you know me, what dosha do you think I am?

Let me know in the comments below please!

 

 

 

 

Photo and illustrations by Monica Bloom

Free Pop-Up Yoga Class at the San Francisco Airport Yoga Lounge

New York Times Yoga Airport

 

So I’ll be transiting through the San Francisco airport–SFO–for about 8 hours on Wednesday, July 11.

It’s about enough time to pop out to the city for a meal, but not much else.

 

SFO Airport Yoga Room

 

Thankfully, SFO recently opened a yoga room (see above), so I’ll be checking it out and doing my own practice there. It looks a bit corporate, but there seems to be free yoga mats.

If you join me in July, I’ll lead a free yoga class or private for you…provided that you follow the yoga room etiquette below. Get in touch with me to let me know.

SFO Airport Yoga Room Etiquette

 

How do you relax when you travel? Share your tips with me in the comments below.

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos from top to bottom by Ben Garvin for the New York Times, YogaDork, Larah of the Pollen Path

How to Dress for Yoga Class during your Work Lunch Break

Fashion Yoga Pose

 

As comfortable as yoga pants can be, maybe you don’t want to wear them to work–at the very least, you don’t want your co-workers to be able to check out your yoga butt, right?

So if you go to yoga before, after, or in the middle of your work day, you’ve probably wondered how to integrate your yoga clothes and your work clothes.

Unless you work for a very young start-up or are an artist, where you can wear whatever you want.

Watch the video below to see how I integrate my yoga clothes into my work outfit.

 

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What do you wear to yoga class when you’ve got to look professional too?

 

Let me know if you have any requests for a short yoga routine and/or questions about yoga or meditation.

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

Photo by Vogue Italy

How to Transform your Tongue into an Air Conditioner

Tree Lung Breathing

It’s summer in Berlin, even though the weather isn’t quite hot here yet.

Nonetheless, when the heat does turn on, sweating through a yoga class could feel like heating your body too much.

To address overheating, two yogic breathing / pranayama techniques called sitali and sitkari use your breathing to cool your body down. Not only do these two breathing / pranayama techniques cool your body down physically, they also cool down any heated emotions you may have, like anger or resentment. They both calm the mind, cool the body, and lower blood pressure.

The first breathing / pranayama technique sitali asks you to sip air through your rolled-up tongue. If you can’t roll up your tongue like a straw, the second breathing / pranayama technique sitkari is when you suck air through your teeth.

Watch the video below to see how to practice these two cooling breaths.

 

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ACTION STEP : The next time you feel overheated either physically or emtionally, try a few rounds of sitali or sitkari breaths as I show you in the video above.

If you feel light-headed, dizzy, or in any way uncomfortable during these breaths, stop and breathe normally for several rounds. Begin again when you’re ready.

 

Let me know if you have any requests for a short yoga routine and/or questions about yoga or meditation!

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

Photo by Jamesdguy

Wanted : Guest Posts about Yoga!

Future

 

Currently I’ve been publishing an interview for Yogis Talk the first Friday of the month and Q and A video posts on the second and fourth Thursdays. When I have something written to publish, that comes out on the occasional Tuesday.

I realize, however, that I’m gifted by a wonderful community of awesome yogis, and so I’m opening up Active Hands Yoga to the community to share their valuable wisdom and experiences. Are you a yoga teacher or a yoga student? Or just yoga-curious?

I’m specifically looking for….

* …”My Favorite Asana” posts where you tell us your favorite asana and why, especially if you have a story

* …Real Life Yoga Style Icon where you show us with photos or videos how you dress for yoga class and your daily life

* …‘Traveling Yogi’ posts where you share your experiences in a yoga ashram or meditation retreat

* …any other guest post (it can be written, video or image-based) that my readers’ll love….

As long as  you have something valuable and unique to share, you’re so welcome here. And it’s so easy!

To submit a post, please email me at info at activehandsyoga dot com, and tell me what you’d like write / film / interview about. After you submit an idea, I’ll work with you to create something that works well for our readers and for you. As necessary, I will also edit the piece with your feedback, so we can all be 100% happy about our work together. For more information, I’ve created some submission guidelines for guest posts here.

 

 

Photo from 7ustaGirl

Stressed? Here’s how I deal with intense negative emotions

 

Now that I’m going through some life changes, I’ve been dealing with lots of stress and anxiety about them. You’ve been there, too, right?

We all know that it’s totally normal to have some stress and anxiety about changes, but it’s still an uncomfortable phase to get through.

Here’s how yoga helps me get through it…

 

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ACTION STEPS :

1. If you need a way to get back into your body without making it to a yoga class, download my free 7-minute mp3 to relax through yogic breathing by going here : http://activehandsyoga.com/stop-stress-and-anxiety-by-spending-just-7-minutes-a-day-on-relaxing/

2. Help me out! Tell me in the comments section what you do to deal with stress and anxiety in a healthy way.

 

Let me know if you have any requests for a short yoga routine and/or questions about yoga or meditation!

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

Artists, need some inspiration? Here are some yoga poses to enhance creativity

 

I’ve been meeting lots of artists and entrepreneurs lately, creative people who work with ideas all the time. So I made a video showing you how to get inspired with yoga.

Even if you’re a beginner or new to yoga, you can do these postures because the inversions are supported.

 

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ACTION STEP : Try at least one of these yoga poses the next time you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated. Nothing gets the brain moving faster than getting the blood going.

If you loved this video, you’re going to love my upcoming beginner yoga class starting on Monday, May 14. Go here for more information:  http://activehandsyoga.com/classes/6-week-beginner-yoga-class-series/

Let me know if you have any requests for a short yoga routine and/or questions about yoga or meditation!

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

Yogis Talk Radio Show : Erinbell Fanore

Yoga DVD

Like many other entrepreneurs, we yoga teachers get together to share business and life stories. When I met Erinbell Fanore, a fellow yoga teacher in Berlin teaching hatha and yin yoga, at one of these casual get-togethers, I was most impressed that she made her own yoga DVD on the sunny island of Malta. She talked about it like it was easy to pull off, so I had to ask how how she did it with such ease as one of my Yogis of the Month.

Even if you don’t want to make your own yoga DVD, listening to how simple and easy it is to tackle a big project once you break down into steps and ask for help is helpful for any project. You would imagine that producing a DVD would take months to do, right? But knowing that Erinbell produced hers in just two weeks completely changed my mindset of what’s possible. And expanding possibilities is always a good thing.

 

 

Listen to my interview* above with Erinbell (or download it!) to find out about:

  • her introduction to yoga through…Cindy Crawford in the desert?!
  • retraining your muscles through two somatics exercises she shares
  • where to find out more about somatics (ok, here’s a link for you : Somatics: Reawakening The Mind’s Control Of Movement, Flexibility, And Health)
  • how she produced her DVD on Malta
  • how she makes yoga videos more than just instructional but also cinematic (see one below!)

 

 

If you want to produce your own yoga DVD in two weeks, here are your ACTION STEPS:

  1. Figure out your lesson plan and write it down into a script.
  2. Record the script with a live model.
  3. Find a wonderful location like Malta.
  4. Play the recording of the script and follow it.
  5. Edit the visuals to match the script voiceover.
  6. Put it on a DVD.
  7. Extras : get a cover designed.
  8. Now sell it at your classes, workshops, and online

Interested in finding out more about Erinbell? You can order her yoga DVD and watch her free street yoga videos on her website.

* My sound quality is improving now that I’ve bought the Zoom H2 to use as a microphone, but I’m still learning how to work with it.

 

 

 

 

Photo & Video above from Erinbell Fanore

How to practice Morning Yoga when you just don’t want to get out of Bed

 

I love sleeping in under warm blankets when the air is cold outside. I love yoga. What’s better than doing yoga in your bed when you wake up in the morning?

Try this gentle stretching yoga routine and see if that helps you get out of bed on the right foot tomorrow morning.

 

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Let me know if you have any requests for a short yoga routine and/or questions about yoga or meditation!

 

Signature from Bettina of Active Hands Yoga

 

 

 

 

Reading Notes from The Poets of the Powers by Kamil V. Zvelebil

Brihadeeshwarar Temple, Thanjavur, India

I’ve been diving deep into yoga history by reading. One book I recently read, The Poets of the Powers: Magic, Freedom, and Renewal by Kamil V. Zvelebel, has translations of Tamil Siddha poetry. It’s a thin volume, only 144 pages with footnotes included, so it was a good introduction to this group of yoga practitioners I had only heard of in passing before.

Tamil is one of the languages in South India and refers also to the culture of the people who speak the language. The Tamil Siddha school of thought is a branch of tantric yoga, with a distinct character of social radicalism and an emphasis on magical powers. A distinction of tantric yoga is the belief that liberation is possible in your human body and not just at death, which lead to technique of yoga to ensure a healthy body. The body is the seat of the experience of liberation. If your body was weak, in pain, or unbalanced, how could you experience bliss or become liberated?

What is the sign of absolute and true liberation?

The physical body aglow with the Fire of Immortality.

(Uroma risi nanam 12) p. 58

Even though Zvelebel says that the first Tamil Siddha poet was active between the seventh and eleventh centuries, it would be a mistake to think Tamil Siddhas were only active in medieval India. Zvelebel claims that the Siddha doctrines are still a vital undercurrent in modern-day South India albeit hidden from public view.

Shiva Linga with Garland of Flowers

Written in an intentionally enigmatic language, where words embody multiple meanings, the Tamil Siddha poems can be mystical or vulgar and direct. For example, Civavakkiyar who was writing immediately before the tenth century wrote (p. 87):

Why, you fool,

do you utter mantras,

murmuring them, whispering,

going around the fixed stone

as if it were God,

putting garlands of flowers around it?

Will the fixed stone speak–

as if the Lord were within?

Will the cooking vessel,

or the wooden ladle,

know the taste of curry?

The misogynist language in some of the Siddha poems really bothered me. All of the poets translated in the book were men, and women, specifically the bodies of women, were temptations for them.

WARNING WARNING: Easily offended sensibilities, please stop reading now.

Loving Couple (Mithuna) Indian Sculpture

Pattinattar wrote (pp. 99-100):

Their mouth smells of flesh.

Their hairy mess is smelly.

The pus in the blackened eyes smells

and their limbs stink of their discharge.

The chasm of the vulva stinks.

Should my mind be attached

to these women

who smell of their

sensuality?

In the Appendix Zvelebil shares health tips from his Siddha informant in Madras in 1968 (pp. 126-127):

Hints regarding the physical and mental health

Food

1. Eat only if hungry.

2. Never eat when tired; never eat when emotionally upset.

3. Chew your food thoroughly, well mixed with saliva.

4. Between meals, eat only fresh fruit, or fresh fruit juices.

5. Add to your daily diet great quantities of mor, i.e. yoghurt or buttermilk.

6. Always eat fresh fruits and raw vegetables, if possible.

Sleep

7. Try to sleep at least eight hours daily. The best sleep is before midnight. Sleep with your window open, naked, head toward the North, the feet slightly raise.

Sun

8. Take frequent sun-baths; however, do not get too much sun at one stretch.

Breathing

9. Breath deeply, rhythmically, slowly, regularly and relaxedly. Be conscious of the speed and rhythm of your breath.

Walking

10. Walk at least two hours daily.

Sex

11. Regular and frequent sexual intercourse is beneficial. However, be master, not slave of your sex-life. Oral-genital sex is not harmful; on the contrary, it is often desirable. Visualize yourself as the creative Siva, and your partner as your (i.e. Siva’s) sakti, energy. Let her lie on you, and drink your sperm; let you suck her discharge of pleasure (curatanir).

Mental attitudes

12. Never give up. Never be idle. Try to maintain always a cheerful and positive attitude. There is no harm in satisfying a desire, when the satisfaction destroys it. Do not suppress forcibly any desire. Liberation is always here and now with you. If you cannot believe in god, it does not matter. Believe in yourself, in your own existence. Find out the source from which you came.

Conclusion : The Poets of the Powers: Magic, Freedom, and Renewal is a strange little book that serves as a good introduction to the Tamil Siddhas. It’s definitely not Yoga Journal. Pick it up and connect to the roots of one subset of yoga before it became what it is today.

If you have read The Poets of the Powers, what do you think of it? Or what do my reading notes make you think? Let me know in the comment section below.

Photo credits, from top to bottom: swamysk, Natesh Ramasamy, wallyg