dalailama

We have bigger houses, but smaller families, more convenience, but less time.
We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgments; more experts, but more problems; more medicines, but less healthiness.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
We have become long on quantity but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods, but slow digestion; tall man, but short character; steep profits, but shallow relationships.
It is a time when there is much in the window but nothing in the room.

–His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama

Anchient Yoga Medicine Shilajit

ShilajitYogis of ancient times found a black substance rich in minerals seeping from the rocks in the Himalayas. It served as the basic building block that the yogic medicine of Ayurveda stemmed from. The substance was called Shilajit.

It is said to be the key to mortality and although that is clearly a tall tale it is has been the subject of many studies for it’s clear anti aging benefits. Preventing wrinkles strengthening digestions and reversing greying hair.

Shaljit has many benefits that mostly surround the it’s ability to purify blood, prevent free radicals, and aid digestion.

It is referred to in many ancient texts and I can’t recommend it more.

Prenatal Yoga Does a Body Good

Sage IncenseIts summertime! After the long winter, we are all looking forward to summertime fun – the sounds, smells, and tastes (blue pig, anyone?).  Shameless plug I love the smell of White Sage Incense for my home environment. For all the mommies-to-be (even those on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time around…) – what better way to start your week with a little yoga? With the kids out of school and lazy summer days ahead, June may call for additional intention and dedication to you. Why not treat yourself to laughing hearts yoga’s Monday evening prenatal class, 6:45-7:45pm at Hudson Yoga (5 Old Post Road South, Croton-on-Hudson)?  As your amazing body is developing a new part of your loving family, it is important to take time for yourself and to create an environment of love and support for all. Complete with beautiful smells and purification.

Pregnancy is one of the most creative times in a woman’s life. It is full of changes, challenges, as well as pure joy.  Your physical body shifts and adapts to the needs of the growing baby inside of your womb, and your energetic and spiritual body becomes entwined forever with another life force.  With all of these changes, one can feel overjoyed, and sometimes overwhelmed by emotions. Yoga provides a respite, creating a calmer place for your mind, body and spirit.

Classes focus on providing relaxation techniques and strengthening exercises to help ready your body for pregnancy. The practicing of asanas (yoga poses) helps open muscles of the pelvis, reducing pressure in the ligaments and easing lower-back pain. They promote flexibility, strength and stamina, and focuses the entire body on releasing and relaxing.  As your body adapts to the phases of pregnancy, yoga helps release the stress that the changing body experiences in the joints and musculature. For example, as the pelvis tilts and creates strain on the lumbar spine due to your growing baby and your chest becomes heavier. Yogic solution: cat/cow pose. This asana stretches your lumbar spine and releases the tension in the upper back and shoulders. Additionally, breathing (pranayama) techniques such as three part breath help reduce the harmful effects of stress and anxiety. This is also why I recommend sage incense to cleanse the energetic stressors from the air.

Participating prenatal yoga classes not only offer opportunities     to feel good, but also are a great way to meet other mommies to be,     share experiences, ideas and form new friendships.

Look forward to seeing you in class!

Namaste

Healing and letting it all go

On a beautiful, crisp Sunday afternoon, six women settled onto their yoga mats, and began to listen to their instructor, Lisa Natchtigall’s story.  A five year survivor of Triple Negative Breast Cancer, she shared how bringing a yoga practice into her life helped her move forward as she healed, and she strengthened her confidence, self-awareness and health.

Lisa shared her healing practice of Prana yoga, a branch of yoga that is based on the tradition of Kripalu yoga. As we moved through various postures, we would hold them, connect and meditate on where the energy center (the chakra) resides in our bodies. To help realize the healing energy inside each one of us, we would voice the soothing, melodic sacred vowel sound that corresponded with it – the bija, or     chakra seed sound. In Hindu, each “seed” or bija, is conceived of as the sound-form of a particular Hindu deity, and each deity is part of the Absolute (named Brahman). It is said that just as a great tree resides in within the seed, so does a god or goddess reside in each bija. As we sing the, we identify each syllable with the divine energy represented inside of each one of us.

Healing and Letting it all goAs we opened our hearts to the sky in triangle, we sang out the bija sound “yam” filling the room with light and healing energy. Lisa floated around the room, lightly adjusting each person to help them softly move deeper into their own energy. As we continued the class, we were tapped into our inner strength through a flow of various warrior and side angle postures to open up and extend the side body. A natural expansion was released in our heart space, encouraging a joy, positive energy and love.

As the class came to a sweet ending, we took final rest. While we were resting, Lisa told us a story about her shoes.  Yes, shoes.  As she was cleaning out her closet, she looked at the contents and realized how she had been on the search for the “perfect” shoe.  The right black pump, the right black sandal…As she stared at the content of her closet, she realized how much she had that she didn’t need. It was time to start letting go. She made a vow to herself that each time she buys a new pair, she will put another pair aside. She carries this lesson with her every day. Then, she asked us, what can we let go of? What is it that we are holding onto but don’t need?

Take a few minutes out of your day and release the weight that you don’t need.  Take a comfortable seat, let arms rest by your sides, and your hands gently connect to the earth, not touching your body. Take a few deep breaths and soften. Close your eyes.  Continue with the soft breath and let the thoughts dance across your mind. Watch them, like a film or TV show.  Do not connect to them, just observe what comes in and out of your mind.  When you feel or see something you don’t need, let it roll up into a little black ball, roll out of your mind, down your neck, shoulder, your arm and hand, as the thought releases itself into the earth and out of your body. Let it go.  Whatever else comes up, continue to ball it up, and let it roll out of your mind, off your shoulders and release into the earth. Release what does not serve you. After a few minutes slowly come back and shake off your hands and let it all go. Curl your lips into a smile and open your eyes. Feel the brightness of this moment you have created.

You are just as important

Accepting pain as help for purificationThis past weekend, my husband and I went to visit Chrisito, our friend’s son, who has been at Children’s Hospital with his family for the past two months. Chrisito has Adrenoleukodystrophy, a rare, inherited genetic disorder that leads to progressive brain damage and failure of the adrenal glands. It was Chrisito’s mother’s birthday on Sunday.  We, his grandmother and brother were going to visit him, celebrate, and bring some joy into their space.

But the occasion never came. Chrisito had spiked a fever. He was vomiting. And he had diarrhea.

For the past two months, Chrisito and his parents have been living in a small hospital room. They have watched their son go from a sparkling, happy 8-year old boy to a child who is now unable to eat, walk, speak or regulate his own movements. His healthy frame  has lost over 20lbs.  When we did get to visit two weeks prior, I looked straight into his eyes. I could see the sparkling little boy. He was still in there.

But how can his parents see this? It’s challenging. Every moment of their lives is consumed by reports and doctors- some of who callously perform routine responsiveness checks on Chrisito.  They tend his every need.  They have not left his side for one moment. Their dedication to their son is immeasurable.

Accepting pain as help for purification; study of spiritual books, and surrender to the supreme Being constitute Yoga in practice.
yoga sutra 2.1

I was discussing this with a European friend of mine whose father is a doctor, responded – the parents should not be there 24/7.  In Europe, they do not allow this. I was taken aback at first, but she did have a point.  The parents are suffering immensely emotionally, but also physically.  How can you give your son the strength and energy to heal, when you don’t have any?

As parents, we tend to give all of our love, spirit and strength to our families, and neglect our own selves.  We all want to see our loved ones do well. During delicate situations, it’s hard to see that despite how much our loved ones need us, we need to replenish ourselves as well.  You can only run on adrenaline for so long.

I am not saying my friends are wrong in what they are doing. I would probably be doing the same thing if it was my children and would not be able to be torn away.

Just try to remember that in all that you do, take time for you

Why is my body out of whack?

RainTuesday morning, there was a slight drizzle of rain outside our windows. My daughter was  slow to wake, although the darkened sky didn’t affect my son. He thudded down the steps at 6:18am, dressed and ready for breakfast. Despite the abnormal start to the day, the kids were easily swayed into walking to school without one complaint.

As we set off to school, we enjoyed the clean scent of the misty rain as it danced lightly upon us. “I love our walks to school, it’s the best part of my day.” I told my kids. Aliyah smiled and silently agreed.  Robbie just looked at me and said, “can I have my backpack?” This is a well know Robbie code for I’m running ahead of you so I don’t have to be so mushy. So much for a loving moment with my kids.

Spring is here, although some days feel like summer. These erratic changes in weather from hot to cold, blustery to steamy, can weigh heavily on our us. Our bodily characteristics, emotions, strengths and weaknesses can be examined through the doshas, energy fields that govern our functional body.  Doshas are like anything in life, they are fluid and affected by circumstance, emotions and the seasons.  The rhythms of the universal elements – earth, fire, air, water and space – are linked to the three types of doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Some people have some of each, while others have an abundance of one or a predominant combination of two.

Vata types are connected to the air and space, so they are similar to the wind—dry, cool, and capable of fast, unpredictable movement and thought. Pittas are aligned with fire, influenced by air, and act with intense determination. The kaphas are a combination of earth and water. They move slowly and gracefully, and tend to be both stable and loyal.

Perhaps you’ve felt more anxious, flighty, or forgetful than usual? I know I have!  It could be that your vata dosha is out of balance. Travel, weather changes, insufficient sleep, fragmented schedules, and excessive mental or sensory stimulation of any kind can all challenge vata‘s stability. This is most likely of the doshas to slip out of balance in any season, due to its association with the nervous system and as vata-like qualities fill the air in the form of blustery winds, cool temperatures, and dry air.  When vata is in balance, we tend to be enthusiastic, imaginative, funny, quick to learn, and spiritually minded.

Balance vata by nurturing your self-stick to a daily routine with a little more down time and try to get a full eight hours of sleep. Enjoy warm moist foods – sweet, sour and salty in taste – seated, at regular times during the day. Moderate, daily exercise can help you regulate your vata’s  mobile nature – seated forward folds, Warrior poses to build strength or even doing some restorative poses to encourage deep relaxation.

Dosha HealingThe kapha dosha is important to balance in the spring.  As the world becomes colder and wetter in winter, your body mirrors these kapha-like changes. In the winter, we tend to eat, sleep and stay inside more, and this may result in a “winter coat” of insulation. The result: a general lethargy or emotional dullness. Our bodies become endowed with the earthy-watery qualities – providing lubrication for the joints, and mucus to protect the sensitive tissues of the sinuses lungs and stomach.  It is said that if we shed this excess kapha and balance our bodies, it will help reduce the risk becoming vulnerable to seasonal allergies or head colds. When kapha is in balance, you feel strong, composed, and stable.

To balance kapha, the practice should generally involve more moving through poses without holding them too long. Include backbends, inversions, and arm balances. One exception is to hold restoratives as well as a nice long and yummy Savasana. Kaphas love artichokes, eggplant, broccoli, cherries, cranberries, and pears, and its best to avoid sweets and nuts.

Finally, pittas‘ energy dominates in the summer, according to Ayruvedic perspective.  As pitta is associated with fire, it can tend to overheat during the summer (or these crazy hot days we’ve had) and throw you out of balance. If left unattended, an excess of pitta can produce inflammation, excessive hunger or acidity, aggressive behavior, and “hot” emotional reactions such as anger, irritability, frustration, and hatred.

Cool this dosha by slowing down, going swimming at Silver Lake, and enjoying a fresh vegetarian diet from your garden.  Asanas that will best for pittas are calming – sidebends, twists, and wide-legged standing and seated poses. Holding seated or supine poses without strain for several minutes is also beneficial. Restorative backbends, inversions, and Savasana are great too while focusing on long exhalations to calm your body and nervous system.

Namaste

Finding Your True… Playful Self

Meditate like a child playingAs one becomes deeper in their yogic practice, we realize it’s not just about practicing asanas or movement, but also interweaving the practice of meditation.  Last weekend, I attended a conference at Omega. One of the presenters, James Fox has taught yoga in San Quentin prison for over a decade.  He was a tall man of silver hair, deep blue eyes and stoic structure.  His movements were thoughtful, clear. In the final panel of the conference, he stated:

You are not doing yoga if you don’t meditate

Pow – that hit the audience hard. I felt the reactions of the 200 people in the room. Hmm…he does have a point.

Approximately over 20 million people practice yoga today, with an overwhelming affinity of yogis focusing on the asana (physical) practice, not so much delving into the meditative aspect.  Sure, we do yoga to relax, but do we take our practice off the mat into our every day world?  There are quite a few yogis dedicated to the practice to get in shape, be flexible for a particular sport, or to help with the ever-increasing epidemic of obesity and other eating disorders. But, how many yogis have you met that have a daily meditative practice as well?

In Holly Hammond’s article Yoga’s Trip to America, she explains how yoga was widely introduced to the West in the 1950s by Richard Hittleman. When he returned from his studies in India, he began teaching in New York. He went on to selling millions of copies of  books (about yoga) and pioneered yoga on television in 1961. His teachings have influenced how yoga has been taught ever since. Although he was a student of the sage Ramana Maharshi and very much a “spiritual” yogi, he presented a nonreligious yoga for the American mainstream, with an emphasis on its physical benefits.

Although the initial push was asana there are eight limbs of yoga, we are finding more and more teachers looking deeper into their practice by either using Pranyama (breathwork) and meditation.  This weekend on June 2nd, Kate Graham and Julia of Hudson Yoga are hosting a Pranayama (rthymic control of the breath) class viewed on DVD. Meditation classes have are hosted monthly by Natural Awakening Magazine at various locations throughout Westchester, with laughing hearts yoga’s breast cancer classes, and becoming more popular at various studios.

Meditation is a powerful way to open our mind, gain more focus and clarity, help heal the body, and create a mind/body connection.  It can help gain a deeper understanding of others, and most importantly, ourselves.  We can begin to recognize the barriers we have built up long ago, and have come to work around in our everyday interactions with others.  The connection to the true goodness inside each of us unfolded, revealed and nurtured.  Knowing and feeling we are good people. We have nothing to hide or to be ashamed of.  To want to live our lives to the fullest.

Once we find that connection by taking our practice to a deeper level through meditation, we are able to let our spirit soar, and take on our journey in life. Tara, a yogi based in Dallas, TX, is a playful and spirited yogi, and author of the poem below.   Her poem focuses on how we, as yogis, strive for an imperfectly perfect existence through and understanding of the term Vrikrukti –  which means broken, imperfect.  We know we have darker spots in our lives, and we notice it and play through it. The more we play, the more we are able to connect to our true selves through yoga, meditation and pranayama. The walls that we have created over the years are no longer there. We are happy to be just who we are, when we want and be happy we are here to enjoy the ride!

Playground

In praise of imperfection
Let your spirit soar, spiral and skip
Life is a grand and sacred adventure
Dive in, leap forth, take risks go ahead and fall flat on your tush,
A lot
It’s time
No more doubt,
No more fear and self-denial
No more wasted time worrying, sitting on the sidelines and wishing you were playing
A secret revealed
We ALL tumble sometimes – getting muddy can be fun!
Learn to somersault, and rise up and blossom like the wildflower you are
Take this moment, this opportunity
Now
Transform your life into one that is dynamic, sparkling, gutsy, fully alive,
Btw
Perfection is overrated, if you haven’t noticed not at all possible.
There is beauty in a symmetry, we are all a little goofy, uneven – Vrikrukti
Take your regal seat in the galactic family
Have Fun, have fun
Go on
Get over your own self-sabotage,
The world is waiting for you

Gifts of the Earth

Gifts of the EarthIt is so easy to forget all the gifts we receive daily from the earth – blue skies, trees, grassy meadows, mountains, rivers and oceans – especially when we get caught up in our work, kids, families and daily lives. Each day we are racing from one task to the next, staying up until all hours to get things done.  Do we ever take a moment to thank the earth for giving us a place to do all that we do?

Sunday’s yoga class and event will be a time to celebrate the bounty of the Earth,  the gifts it yields through artisans, and unite our community. During this month of heightened awareness of the Earth, we recognize the current state of the environment – ice caps melting, extreme changes of weather, and water tables drying up.  Yet, we also are made aware of the inspiring, compassionate outpour of innovative people around the world using their creative energy to motivate us to make a better world.  New earth conscious businesses and organizations are being developed, to help us re-think of how we live, and resourcefully working towards efforts to create a world we want to live in.

  • Andy Keller , yogi and activist, created the bag monster to raise awareness of needless and harmful plastic bag waste.  He took 500 plastic bags, the average amount of bags an American discards a year, and created a floppy costume that appears at city council meetings, schools and viral videos.
  • Richardsville Elementary School in Bowling Green Kentucky created the country’s first net-zero-energy school- by designing classrooms that wrap around the gym and cafeteria to insulate these rooms that usually suck up most of the energy budget
  • More businesses are looking at collaborative consumption-using online networks to borrow or barter things you need – members on neighborgoods.net lend or rent items needed like lawnmowers; i-ella.com and swapstyle.com to borrow, trade stylish clothing and accessories; and thredup.com where parents can trade outgrown kids clothes for the next size

(Read more in the May issue of Yoga Journal)

How does this connect to yoga? When we practice ways to love ourselves through loving kindness meditations – or a metta practice -we nurture empathy, a compassion to ourselves and those around us.  Learning to love ourselves, and not be resistant to touch upon the gifts that we are all able to bring to our daily lives and to others, helps others to tap into the desire to do the same.  Taking our metta practice to the communal level transforms itself to a powerful force that can be used in a positive manner – by sustaining the earth.

The metta practice begins by taking a quiet few moments from you day to set aside. Perhaps in the morning before everyone else wakes up, or after everyone else is asleep. Begin by focusing on someone you love, and repeat these phrases:

May you find happiness

May you find peace

May you live in love and compassion

Do this for 3 days, same time every day if you can.  For the next 3 days, say the same three phrases, but add in someone that was trustworthy from your childhood to your focus.  On the 9th day, add someone that you feel neutral about to your focus along with the others and repeat these lines.  As you reach the 12th day, add someone who challenges you to your circle of loving kindness.  Repeat these phrases and breath in the happiness, acceptance, and compassion for all those around you.

Simply put, when we are good to ourselves, it shows in our actions to others.  When we begin to take care of ourselves, we take care of our surroundings, helping make them more comforting and welcoming to others, our community, and our Earth

Release from Stress and Connect To Your Goodness

ReleaseAhhh….so let’s face it – stress is part of our lives. Triggered by our kids, family, job, friends, media or relationships – our attention can become consumed by a challenging situation, and result in a snowball effect of growing insecurity and frustration. The Amygdala – two small organs in the brain the size of a small almond – becomes overstimulated as we continue to feed into the stressful situation. We may feel for that moment, or maybe longer, that our primary modus operandus is fear….anger…..anxiety. Sometimes, it begins to feel…almost normal?..to be driven by stress.

Harshada Wagner, a meditation teacher based in New York, led a class that made me question this idea of being dictated by stress. Centering on a translation from the Bhagavad Gita (6.23):  Yoga is the severance of our union of pain, he discussed how we can become “addicted to” or “crave” pain, and our actions become motivated by these feelings, overshadowing the feelings of happiness and joy that lies within each of us.

The pain he referred to was not that of a physical, or gross pain. It is a pain that presents a challenge.  Something that rubs us the wrong way, and becomes the main thrust of our attention, pushing other thoughts, actions and ideas aside.

When we are honest with ourselves, we can observe this pain.  For example: You heard that someone said something bad about you, and your attention is ignited, and this negative idea dwells in you. Although it may have only been said once,  sometimes we may repeat it, latch onto it and it grows at a furious rate inside our heads, for that moment, or maybe even for years.   It completely erases the fuzzy warm moment we recently felt, or dissipates from our mind the nice thing just said about us in the same conversation.

Take this situation – someone said that I was rude. There are plenty of ways to work with this – I can agree, apologize, and let it go.   I can re-examine the situation and think perhaps they were having a bad day, let it go, and move on with my day. Or, I can dwell on it. I was rude? No, they were. How dare they say I was rude? How dare they say that out loud in front of all these people? What a jerk! Next time…. I think you get the picture.

The restraint of the modification of the mind-stuff is Yoga.

Yoga Sutra 1.2

The Bhagavad Gita speaks to our union with pain, and how we value it.  There is an understanding that part of our life is pain, part pleasure and part all the things in between. This is all part of life. But how do you nurture your value with pain? What do you do?

Each time we have a feeling of pain or sensation that we are not comfortable with, a chemical is being released in your body. The Amygdala is feeding off of these chemicals, and mixing up the balance within our bodies.  Our bodies adjust to this balance.  As our bodies come to balance with this new mix, is it something that we want? Or is this an “addiction” to a pain? Ask yourself, do you want to be cut off from that particular addiction? Or do you want to move to a more positive way of nurturing ourselves? Think of how you feel when you take a walk, go fishing, read a book, or simply savor a perfect moment. When we move to nurture ourselves, we can infuse more of a pleasurable experience in our body to lead our actions.

Harshada led a meditation – at first recognizing where our pain was, and secondly breathing through this pain and clearing it out of our system. Find a comfortable seat and breath into your body, softly, feeling the sensation of grounding down into the earth through your seat. Let your body soften. With your eyes closed…

Scan through your life – your work, friends, last thing that you did, your relationships with others, your family…and begin to notice the places that are painful.  Notice the places that rubbed you the wrong way, ones that made you unhappy. 

As you notice them, recognize where in your body this pain originates…Each of these spots are “addicted” to this pain, or challenge that we have acknowledged…On the inner level, just notice how these things make you feel.  Look at these spots and see what you notice things that you can and can’t change. There are some things we need to accept, but other parts that we are able to change. Again, notice how these things feel.

Our very nature is free, blissful, and powerful. There are things that can help us resonate with that goodness within us, instead of falling to the addiction to pain. Focus on the more pleasurable moments within us…

Make your breath be more robust, and your exhalations will move deeply through your entire body, from your head all the way to your seat. Repeat this breath a few times. Now, bring this attention right into the middle of your body.

Remember a moment of tremendous bliss that you had in the past.  Breath into this moment fully, deeply. Feel the sweet, inner glow it creates inside of you, right at the center.  Just as you can remember painful moments, use this same power to remember the moments that are nurturing, blissful, happy, all are part of our being. Let the breath take that joyful memory and breathe it throughout your entire body. Let it touch every part of your body – your heart, your head, your ears, arms, legs, hands… feel it in through your senses – of taste, touch, sound, sight, smell, and hearing. Feel this full, happy deep feeling. Let this be what you are united with. Let this be what you gravitate towards. Let your attention be excited about these feelings, these memories.

Yoga is the severance of our union with pain.

I thank Harshada for reminding me why I practice. To be more able to serve, to love, be happier and be our very best and bring out the best in others.

Namaste

Yoga Meets the Circus

Circus YogaAs I exited the New York subway, I was bemused to see a statue of an elephant balancing on its trunk. Ah – the perfect entry point to welcome a weekend of Circus Yoga.

Circus Yoga is communal, creative, expansive. It is a beautiful blend of the conscousiness of yoga with the communal ceremony and expression of circus. To commence our journey, one of founders, Erin Maile O’Keefe, immersed us into a dreamlike tour of yoga – full of discovery and play.

Circus Yoga is a like a treasure chest -full of flying yoga, games, dancing, thai massage – that we got to peek into this weekend, and has so much more to see. Erin immersed our entire bodies into a learning experience – re-awakening its muscle memory, luring our bodies to soak it all in.  Then, the biggest step for me this weekend, was to rely and trust that my body would soak up and retain the gifts Erin generously and effortless flowed upon us.

Throughout the weekend, I battled with my mind each time a morsel of information eloquently came form Erin’s mouth “write that down,” my mind hissed, “you’re going to forget it!”  I would ignore it, knowing that it was wrong and trust my body, but at times, I just would give in. I would reach for my trusty notebook, and W.T., a co-leader, would turn his soft blue eyes towards me and give the why-don’t-you-try-it-without-notes look.  I was so glad for W.T.   I would go through most of the day without taking notes.  I had forgotten how my body, if given the chance, has the ability to hold, create and move, without the interruption of thinking.

I feel confident that I can continue the celebration and circle of Circus Yoga, with the ability to offer these gifts to others.  Come and play and see what the next family class will bring!

Namaste

Yoga Garden!

WashingtonDCAs a last minute trip, our family had the opportunity to participate in the White House Egg Roll yesterday in Washington DC.  With lines reminiscent of Disney world, we were led onto the White House lawn by a local school band, and entered a wonderland of activities for all ages – getting fit with celebrities in the Eggtivity center and on the President’s tennis and basketball courts with tennis pros and the Harlem Globetrotters, egg decorating and jump rope making, learning about chinese herbs like Milkvetch root, learning about bees and how to make delicious healthy snacks from celebrity chefs. Most exciting for all, was the celebrated egg roll, set up just a few feet from the backdoor of the White House.

But there was another event on the lawn, just as you enter the space that caught my eye – a YOGA garden! As you entered the White House lawn, yogis greeted you with the invitation to kick off your shoes and join them!  I tried to get a picture of this little piece of history on the Presidents lawn, struggling to get a wide angle view with my iPhone.  In the meantime, both of my kids jumped into their favorite poses – Aliyah in dwi hasta bhujasana (balancing on her hands as she wraps her thighs over her triceps and claps her feet together) and Robbie jumped into balasana. ahh..my little yogis!

Running since 2009, the yoga garden is a burst of sunlight in the Obama’s backyard.  An original idea stemming from the White House, the President made an impressionable statement of the importance of fun, fitness and play to the 30,000 egg-roll participants from across the nation.  The teachers that participated were handpicked by the organizers from around the country for their recognition for doing great things on and off the mat.  They showed all who participated how much fun yoga could be for themselves and their families, and let them experience that feel-good yoga feeling when they left the mat.

I know we did!  Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

Namaste!