Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

Lithe Teachers in Spandex and Older Ones in Religious Garb

July 12, 2009

Businessman relaxingA few days ago the New York Times ran an article about New York’s state attempt to license yoga teacher training programs (aka “money grab.) It’s great that the effort is getting some attention, but did the author really need to describe the proponents as “lithe young teachers in spandex” and “older ones in religious garb” that were “sitting barefoot and crossed legged on the wood floor?”

Whatever. We’ll take what we can get. I just find it interesting that the press seems to have a need to describe yogis as if they are edgy weirdos. I mean, if we were a group of bankers they wouldn’t describe the meeting as “a group of primarily older white men wearing suits and ties and sitting in chairs.”

I’m just sayin’.

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Sarah Palin Does Yoga

July 1, 2009

Check it out…Sarah Palin does yoga too!

sarah palin

pssstt…Sarah…please don’t put your foot ON your knee!

Put Your Money Where Your Mat Is

June 26, 2009

Jeans You Can Yoga In

June 25, 2009

I’m not sure I really get this. Now they have come out with “yoga jeans.” These jeans are intended to be worn in yoga class AND out on the town with thatyoga jeans “hot top you bought to wear on Saturday night.” The jeans boast 92 percent “shape memory” built right in – that’s about 50% more than your regular ole Levi’s! HOORAY! The 92% shape memory prevents sagging in the butt and in the knees (the knees?). I say, come out with a pair of jeans that fit in the WAIST!

Really though I’m wondering if the makers of “yoga jeans” have ever taken a vinyasa yoga class? My sweaty yoga clothes go right into the washer after class, not out dancing! And when I’m wearing my regular jeans I typically do not have any reason to bust out into a downward facing dog. And, as a teacher who spends most of her life in yoga clothes, I LOVE to wear non-yoga clothes!

So I don’t know. It sort of looks to me like another way to use the word “yoga” to sell a product. Like Yoga Bars and Yoga Bread (yes these actually exist!). At $110 a pair, I don’t know too many yoga teachers who can afford these “jeans” – especially since we’ve already spent all of our income on Lululemon pants!

Yoga Regulation: India Weighs In

June 22, 2009

iyaDid you know that last year the Indian government formed the Indian Yoga Association (IYA), described as “a self-regulatory body responsible for establishing standards for accrediting yoga institutions, yoga curriculum, and yoga therapy?”

Maybe I was asleep at the keyboard and missed this important event in yoga news? But a quick google search doesn’t turn up anything so maybe this was all done very quietly and without fanfare? The first official meeting of the IYA (which is led by BKS Iyengar!) was in December of 2008 – where are the meeting minutes?! Just kidding! The full list of council members is here.

Their charter is here.

India is of course the birthplace of yoga and generally accepted as yoga’s “motherland.” So in a way it’s no surprise that the Indian government wants to protect yoga’s heritage and create standards for both the education and practice of yoga. I cannot imagine this is an easy task, given the numerous variations of yoga that have emerged. Of course, just defining the word yoga would be a monumental endeavor!

I’m mostly wondering, though, what does this mean for us yoga teachers and practitioners in the West? Will IYA declare that some currently popular forms of yoga in the West aren’t actually “yoga?” Will we need to meet certain standards to use the term “yoga?” What if the IYA and the Yoga Alliance disagree? What if the IYA doesn’t agree with the standards set forth by the Commonwealth of Virginia? Who then is the ultimate authority?

Hmmmm…….

On another note, a HUGE  THANK YOU to yogadork for helping spread the word about the MONEY GRAB in VA.

AND…if you are wondering what happened to the recipes and cuddly dog photos, don’t worry you can find them on my new blog eat.run.doyoga. Enjoy!

“State-Harassment-of-Yoga-Studios” Flu Outbreak One Step Closer to Full Pandemic

June 17, 2009

Swine FluRICHMOND, VA – While everyone has been keeping their eye on the swine flu pandemic, a different kind of contagious disease has been creeping its way across the United States. That disease is “State-Harassment-of-Yoga-Studios” flu, or “SHYS.”

This highly contagious, fast-moving disease was first reported in Michigan and Missouri earlier this year, and has quickly spread to Arizona, New York, and Virginia.  It is quite possible that the flu has already reached additional states as well. It seems that once one state government comes in contact with another state government that already has the bug, then they have it too. The World Yoga Organization (WYO) has raised its pandemic alert for SHYS flu to the second highest level, meaning that it believes a national outbreak of the disease is imminent.

New York has been hit especially hard, with a recent proposal for their license fees to increase to $5,000! Officials in New York report that they are organizing a Council to defend against the flu, with eradication of the flu as their number one priority. (You can read more about that here and here.)

While the number of yoga studio deaths resulting from  SHYS is unconfirmed, unofficial sources report 4-5 yoga studios / teacher training programs in Virginia alone will need to shut down because they just can’t afford the unreasonable fees being levied by the Commonwealth. There are unconfirmed reports of closings in other states as well.

“Unfortunately our biggest hope ‘Yoga Alliance‘ has been completely ineffective,” said WYO Director-General Durga. “The best defense at this point is for yoga teachers across each state to join together and open communications with their State Governments. You can begin this fight RIGHT NOW by downloading the attached letter and sending it to your state representatives.” Durga continued, “Eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep will also better prepare you to fight off this disease.”

In the Midst of a Recession, VA Bullies Yoga Studios into Paying Unreasonable Fees

June 8, 2009

Last week I told you about the application process that Virginia is requesting demanding yoga studios to through to obtain a Certificate to Operate a yoga teacher trainingva seal fail program. So here’s a little more of what the yoga studios have to go through.

Part of the process to get your yoga teacher training program approved by the Commonwealth is you have to agree to random AUDITS. On the second page of the Institutional Certification Checklist for Postsecondary Schools, one of the numerous, cumbersome forms the studios have to fill out, it says:

I understand, that if at any time (Name of institution requesting certification) fails to meet or to maintain compliance with Council’s certification criteria, Council may revoke or suspend its certification.  I understand that in the event the school is selected for audit, it may be subjected to an administrative fee of $1,000 for each item of non-compliance found as a result of the audit. Further, I understand that violations of the Virginia Administrative Code shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor and that each violation shall constitute a separate offense. (studio owner is supposed to sign this to indicate agreement)

For a small business, $1,000 per violation is no chump change!

In 2007 Virginia audited 36 schools and found whopping total of 177 violations – about 5 violations per school. At $1,000 per violation, that means EACH SCHOOL PAID ON AVERAGE $5,000 IN VIOLATION FEES.

The violations were:

  • Advertising – 32 violations
  • Faculty Credentials – 27 violations
  • No written documentation on history of school and/or ownership – 25 violations
  • Student policy (including grievance process) missing or incomplete – 19
  • violations
  • Improperly maintaining student admissions or financial records – 16 violations
  • Incorrect refund policy or incorrect processing of refunds – 16 violations

The remaining 42 violations don’t seem to be listed????

These are violations committed by large institutions that have STAFF.  Gosh I can’t imagine that a yoga studio might not have all of their ducks in a row at all times! News flash: yoga studios generally do not have a staff to handle things like this! Like any other small business, the owner does everything:  run the studio, teach most of the classes, lead teacher training programs, handle  the marketing, keep track of the bookkeeping, manage other teachers, etc. Yoga studios are NOT major universities or community colleges that have staff and $$!

Now $5,000 in violation fees might not seem like a lot of money to a post-secondary institution such as the University of Virginia, which as of June 30 2008, had $657K in current assets (which includes cash and short term investments) and overall, had $6.8M in net assets. But I haven’t seen a yoga studio with a financial profile like that, have you?
It’s just OUTRAGEOUS to lump small business yoga studios under this law that is really for major educational institutions.

Joy, Peace, and Bliss Through Meditation

May 29, 2009

By feature blog writer Doug Kalish.

What if we could slow down from our normal hectic pace, and live more peacefully?  What if we could have far less stress and fewer worries?  What if we could turn off the constant chatter of our mind?

Well, we can do it, through our yoga practice.

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, then you are already familiar with hatha yoga – the physical poses we move in and out of, simultaneously with our breath.  There are other aspects to yoga that you may not know, such as meditation (sometimes called mantra yoga). This is where we focus our mind on a single thought or phrase, helping us unite with the universe around us, through quieting our mind and body.

So many people have trouble sitting still for more than five minutes, and haven’t had any luck with meditation.  There are actually many ways to meditate, and different meditation techniques work better for different people.

Have you ever made the trip into Washington DC to visit one of the amazing Smithsonian museums?  If you’ve ever made the trip from the suburbs, then you know that are there so many ways to get downtown.
There’s a fantastic Metro system, with the various Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, and Blue lines.
You can take any of the bridges, like the Key Bridge, the Roosevelt Bridge, the 14th Street Bridge, the Sousa Bridge, the New York Avenue Bridge…
And there are so many roads you can drive on, like New Hampshire Avenue, Georgia Avenue, 16th Street, Connecticut Avenue, Wisconsin Avenue – the choices are endless!

Discovering a meditation practice that helps you find peace and quiet your mind is a bit like making a few visits into DC.  Maybe the trip over the Key Bridge through Georgetown is too confusing, or the taking the Red Line is really inconvenient…you have to try a few different ways, maybe get lost a few times, and then settle in on the best way to go.

Whether this is your first trip, or you are ready to find a new way to go, I’m ready to make the trip with you as you (re)start your meditation practice!

So if you are interested and ready to create a more peaceful life through a meditation practice, then tell us either in the comments below, or send an e-mail to doug(AT)doubledogyoga(DOT)com .  If enough people want to get started, then I’ll post regularly over the next 30 days, giving you practical tips and hopefully lots of inspiration to start and stick with a great meditation practice.

Let’s do this together!

Double Dog Yoga specializes in Absolute Beginner vinyasa (flow) style yoga classes. We offer small group and one-on-one instruction that ideal for people who have always wanted to try yoga but not sure where to begin. Vinyasa yoga is a practice in which a series of postures (asanas) are linked via your breath. The result is a flowing practice that may improve your cardiovascular system, enhance your flexibility, and build strength. Learn more about Double Dog Yoga by visiting our site at www.doubledogyoga.com.

Can Anyone Spare a $100 Yoga Mat?

May 27, 2009

mandukaWe might be in the middle of a recession but you’d never know from the looks of Manduka’s P&L. In a time where major retailers such as Circuit City and Sharper Image have gone belly up, the maker of the much-coveted Black Mat Pro yoga mat has enjoyed a whopping 55% increase in sales in the first four months of 2009. Time magazine has the scoop in their article “No Stress: Pricey Yoga Mats Sell Briskly in Recession.”

Called the “ferrari of yoga mats,” Manduka yoga mats retail anywhere between $75-$130, which is a heck of a lot more than the $20 yoga mats you can get at Target and the $12 yoga mats I’ve seen at TJ Maxx. So why are people shelling out big bucks for a YOGA MAT?

Because Mandukas are really, really good yoga mats, that’s why. And if you are serious about your yoga practice, you’ll want to have a yoga mat that:

  • feels good,
  • provides traction,
  • has some cushion, and
  • comes with a lifetime guarantee.

These yoga mats are totally worth it, IF you’ve decided to be a dedicated yogi. For the yoga newbie, I say before investing in a Manduka, go with a Target yoga mat while you determine if yoga is something you’re going to want to continue. After slipping and sliding your way through your first few months of yoga you’ll know when it’s time to get your first Manduka and you’ll really appreciate it!

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Double Dog Yoga specializes in Absolute Beginner vinyasa (flow) style yoga classes. We offer small group and one-on-one instruction that ideal for people who have always wanted to try yoga but not sure where to begin. Vinyasa yoga is a practice in which a series of postures (asanas) are linked via your breath. The result is a flowing practice that may improve your cardiovascular system, enhance your flexibility, and build strength. Learn more about Double Dog Yoga by visiting our site at www.doubledogyoga.com.

LeBron James: Yoga in Action

May 24, 2009

Last night I watched as LeBron James scored the winning three-point shot to take the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory over the Orlando Magic. With just ONE SECOND left on the clock, Orlando was up by 2 points. James’ teammate threw the ball to LeBron and in ONE SECOND LeBron turned towards the basket, aimed, jumped, and made the shot outside the three-point line, all while his opponent was coming right at him.

Talk about grace under pressure!

To make that winning shot, LeBron James had to keep his cool.   You know how he’s learned how to keep his cool?

Yoga.

lebron james
Here’s LeBron James doing  a headstand as part of his regular yoga practice.  As you know, yoga helps you with balance, strength, breathing, and focus.

Namaste!