Recently I made a custom yoga video for a vegan chocolatier so that she could get in 30 minutes of yoga whenever she gets a chance rather than going to a scheduled class. I designed the yoga practice to challenge her and address her needs, and so she had a question about one of the yoga poses that challenged her : How can she keep her balance in mermaid pose?
If you’re curious too, watch the video below to find out. Even if you’re not interested in mermaid pose, the 3 tips I share in the will help you with pigeon pose and its variations.
Plus, I got some great compliments on my gold leggings–watch them in action!
This video is for the ladies. Not one? Send the following video to one or two of your favorite ladies.
Period time affects every woman differently. Some notice no difference. Others feel tired, cranky, sluggish. Other than avoiding inversions, I’d suggest you listen to your body. When I was younger, I practiced a vigorous active yoga even on my period days. These days I ease myself into restorative poses like the ones in the video below. They’re also good when you just want some yoga postures to help your energy go downwards.
Let me know if these yoga postures help you during your time of the month or if you have any other questions about yoga, meditation, or living well.
I was really anxious when I interviewed Penelope Trunk. Not only is she internet famous, I had no idea what the conversation was going to be like. Actually, I had thought that talking to her would make me squirm uncomfortably.
Penelope Trunk is a big name in career advising. She’s got a start-up funded doing exactly that. So it’s no surprise that even though I called her to talk about her humane goat cheese project, we ended up talking about my career as a yoga teacher around 8 minutes in.
She told me right away that people don’t want to read about yoga. And it’s a waste of time to blog as a marketing tool, because only people in a three-mile will come to my yoga class. So she tells me I should quit blogging.
No one wants to read about my yoga successes, because it’s boring. She told me to force myself to fail and then to blog about that. Or else blog about how yoga can help you get a boyfriend, or how yoga can save your marriage, or how to make more money by doing yoga daily.
Instead of reading about yoga, people want an interesting experience. She, for one, started doing Ashtanga yoga because movie stars went to the Ashtanga studio. Any movie stars out there who want to come to my class? I teach yoga to the movie star equivalents of the Berlin start-up world. Does anyone get a thrill from doing yoga right next to successful start-up founders?
Listen to my interview above (or download it!) with Penelope to find out:
Why Penelope thinks I should go work at McDonald’s
Is it yoga if you’re pissed off while you’re doing it?
The difference between struggle and failure
Here’s what I wanted to tell Penelope on the phone but couldn’t: Penelope will grow in yoga by accepting the reality of her yoga practice. Her struggle with her current practice is her path of growth in yoga. It’s inner, not outer physical, work. Yoga is not just about putting your feet behind your head or holding headstand for 3 minutes. Yoga is also about how much you try and how much you fail and–the most important part—how you treat yourself after your failure. If you berate yourself and push your bodytowards injury during yoga practice, that’s not yoga. The yoga is in the compassion.
Be grateful for your limits. If we didn’t have physical limits, we’d have no opportunity to listen to our body telling us where our boundaries are for today. Maybe that’s a better way to describe yoga: playing with your physical and mental limits to keep expanding them.
Around minute 12 Penelope asked me how I got the courage to email her. I sent her an email without expecting any response whatsoever. The importance for me was in thanking her, not in getting any kind of acknowledgment. That’s how I do yoga too—I’m not doing it for weightloss or stress management. I do yoga for the sake of doing it—to connect my body, breath and mind. Does anyone want to buy that? The more I write about yoga, the more I think it’s unmarketable.
ACTION STEPS TO BEING COURAGEOUS:
Do yoga to feel strong inside.
Take a risk like sending an email to someone you admire.
At The Joy of Yoga Emma Silverman blogs about yoga, meditation, being a yoga teacher, and–what makes her blog unique–yoga sequences. Of these, she will be publishing 108 in a book.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced yogi, try following one of the sequences at home for a DIY yoga class–like this one to get yoga arms (like tennis arms, but long and lean rather than bulky). They are helpful tools if you are developing a home yoga practice.
What I find most inspiring about Emma’s yoga sequence project is that it’s community-supported : yogis all around the world contribute sequences, so there’s a huge variety of intensity, focus, and effect.
So, get to know Emma and her book project The Joy of Yoga by listening to our interview below. You’ll learn
what karma yoga is
the process behind publishing a book
Emma’s biggest challenges and how she’s moving beyond them
Find out more about Emma and her yoga sequence book on her blog The Joy of Yoga. If you would like to contribute a yoga sequence to Emma, her submission guidelines are here.
2. Tell your boss that you’d like to work out while taking a long lunch using these words from Jennifer Dziura, writer of excellent career and life advice aimed at women:
I have realized that I would work better if I came in an hour earlier [or stay an hour later]…and then took a longer break in the middle of the day, I can come back from the gym with more energy and keep up peak productivity until 6.
Obviously, if you get different benefits from yoga–like a clearer mind for more creativity or super relaxation so that you work better with your teammates–be sure to mention that when you speak to your boss.
Let me know if that script works for you when you take control of your work schedule and make time for your body and breath.
I advise against videos for total beginners because without a teacher’s guidance, you could practice with bad habits that could injure you. Sometimes you think you are doing something right, but it could be harmful to repeatedly practice that way. Even if you are careful, you could pick up bad habits that are hard to break.
Question: I am overweight / underweight / out of shape / just had a baby / have an injury / worried that I will make a fool of myself / other concern. How can I still do yoga?
Answer: No one really cares about what you look like or don’t look like in yoga.
Yoga is about being mindful and present in your own body.
But what’s the worst that can happen? You fall over? Who cares! We all fall!
If you fall, you have to laugh and take your neighbor down with you.
If you’re still hesitant, you can always sign up for a private yoga class with me.
Question : Do I have to be flexible or strong to practice yoga ?
Answer : Yoga is about bringing your awareness to your body, mind, and breath. You can do this no matter how flexible or weak you are.
Besides, through yoga you become flexible and strong. Just like starting anything else, the first few times you practice yoga, maybe you will feel creaky, stiff and even frustrated at certain poses. Through regular practice, however, you’ll notice changes in your body AND mind. Your mind will learn to be more patient and accepting with yourself.
Is there anything else you want to know? What other questions do you have? Let me know, and I’ll try to answer them in next Thurday’s Q & A.
Photo by papa jesse (collage of fireworks compiled from over 50 photos!)