Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

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’.


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!

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?


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 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.”

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

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!


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

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?


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.


States Say Yoga Teacher Training Schools Need a License

May 15, 2009

Greedy Government Action or Good for the Profession?
Yoga studios around the country are starting to get letters from their State Departments of Education saying that yoga teacher trainings are “vocational” trainings and therefore each school must pay a licensing fee. So far this has happened in Michigan, New York, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Virginia, and possibly Minnesota. I’m sure this will spread to more states very soon, and I predict that soon individual teachers will need to have a license as well.

Yoga Alliance (YA), the yoga community’s self-governing body, is a non-profit organization and therefore cannot lobby on the yoga teacher’s behalf. They acknowledges that small yoga schools and studios may not be able to comply with the fees and lengthy process and therefore have to close their teacher training programs and “for this we are sad.”

Here are some pros and cons that I see so far:

  • Yoga licensing is a step towards being covered by insurance. Hmmm…maybe that’s a con.
  • Yoga will have more credibility and teachers will be held to higher standards
  • Students may be able to apply for federal aid.
  • Shouldn’t yoga studios and schools be treated like every other business / school?


  • The states are now taking a cut of the yoga revenue stream which means that ultimately yoga class and training prices will probably go up.
  • Some of your favorite studios may go under, as many studios rely on teacher training programs for income and might not be able to make it without. Studios in Michigan have already closed as they cannot afford to pay the fee.
  • Some of your teachers may no longer be able to teach or may need to take further training to qualify for the possible required teacher license. Yoga teachers typically DO NOT make a lot of money and trainings are expensive.
  • The implementation of these new (and sometimes old) laws has been poor:
  1. NY will levy a $50,000 fine to any school that does not comply, and schools must wait 8 months for their license, during which time they cannot run their programs.
  2. In Michigan, school owners had just 7 days to comply or face 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  3. Studios in VA may have their license revoked if they do not comply immediately.

In all my research I have not seen a single reason for WHY these laws are suddenly being put in place. Anyone?

Other resources on this topic:

  • A yoga teacher from Virginia, Patty Kearney, has started a  blog to discuss the impact of these licensing requirements
  • Yoga educator Leslie Kaminoff weighs in, with a very interesting response from David Scott Lynn:
  • Press coverage in NY
  • Yoga Journal blog posting:
  • Information from Jo Brill about what’s happening in NY
  • To give you an idea of what schools will have to go through to comply, here are the guidelines for Virginia

More opinions:

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Just a Yogini in the Kitchen, Freezing Her Herbs

May 13, 2009

Stop throwing away your extra fresh herbs!

I can’t count how many times I’ve purchased one of those containers of herbs – mint, basil, thyme, parsley – and then not used all of it. Usually a recipe will call for a tablespoon or two and then what do you do with the rest?

Well don’t throw it away. You can freeze what’s remaining to use in your future dishes. Here’s what you do:

  1. Wash the herbs.
  2. Pick off the leaves and / or stems that you want.
  3. Lay them out on a cookie sheet in a single layer.
  4. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer and keep it there until the herbs are frozen. This usually doesn’t take too long – an hour or two.
  5. Take the cookie sheet out of the freezer and quickly scoop the leaves / stems into your storage container (I use plastic baggies) and put the container back into the freezer.
  6. I like to label the baggies with the name of the herb and the date. They last a long time in the freezer – a year or so.

The reason you first lay the herbs out on the cookie sheet is so they don’t stick together when they freeze.

Herbs that have frozen well for me: thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, and parsley.


Yoga for Stress Relief

May 11, 2009

I’m really excited that we are starting a new class at Double Dog YogaYoga for Stress Relief.
This class will include slow, steady movements, breathing exercises, meditation, guided imagery, and gentle stretches – all stress relieving techniques that you’ll be able to use in your everyday life 🙂

Here’s a simple five-minute breathing exercise to get you started:

  • Sit comfortably, either in a chair or on the floor. Make sure your spine is long (i.e. no hunching!)
  • Place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
  • Close your eyes and breathe for about one minute. Notice if you are breathing mostly into the hand on your belly or into the hand on your chest.
  • Shift your breath so that your belly expands into your hand that’s resting on it. You will still naturally breathe into your chest as well, but really focus on breathing into the hand that’s on your belly. Continue to breathe in this way for about 1 minute.
  • Next, while continuing to breathe into your belly begin to count silently. Breathe in to the count of 5, and breath out to the count of 7 so that your exhale is longer than your inhale. Keep your counting steady – don’t speed up when you are exhaling as elongating the exhale will encourage your body to relax. Continue to breathe this way for about 3 minutes.

How do you feel? Please share your experience!

Interested in signing up for the Yoga for Stress Relief class? Click here.