GOAT YOGA–Yoga with GOATS? Not quite.

The TB12 Method | Book by Tom Brady | Official Publisher ...

Those of us of a certain age are admittedly gloating over The GOAT’s win over The Kid in Super Bowl 55. Not just a win, but a decisive one at that!

Now, I don’t want to argue football; I have a husband for that. That same husband switched me on to a book called “The TB 12 Method” a few years ago. Around the same time, I stumbled upon a workshop in Santa Barbara (as I often do) extolling the virtues and techniques of combining resistance work with yoga. It was practice-changing, eye-opening, and joint saving!

Flexibilty and Strength Training vs. Pliability

Tom Brady (TB) takes an entire chapter of his book to extoll the virtues of pliability training over strength training + some stretching. Why? He is trying to basically de-program multiple generations of football players and fans out of their fixed mindsets and conventional thinking.

Knowing the crowd, I’m not sure 30 pages is enough! I still see so much conventional thinking in my son’s football experience over the years ( How many kids can possibly sprain their ankles in one game?). My husband learned first hand the dangers of trying to question conventional “wisdom.” In spite of getting a D-1 full ride and his brief stint for the Buffalo Bills and an amazing network around the country of his colleagues now coaching their own kids, his input wasn’t welcomed by most of our local high school parents, eager to apply the same methodology they learned in their high school programs. It’s risky for me to even write this I suppose, but, I’ll take my chances…they don’t seem like the yoga blog types. (Please do feel free to surprise me though).

If you come to class, you know a lot about pliability already. Long story short, or perhaps I should say, “short story long,” because the gist is, you want longer, pliable muscles that are better lubricated and do a better job of distributing load over a broader area of fibers. Short, defined, “cut” or “ripped” muscles look great, but they’re more prone to injury, full stop. Moreover, they don’t contain the qualities most necessary to succeed on the field in most positions, or, in life. They are the result of a lot of “hard” work, but not smart work. The muscles themselves aren’t as intelligent or as responsive as they could be, and that’s what TB and his trainer Alex started to realize. Keep in mind, the average length of an NFL career is 3.3 years, so let’s give the ol’ GOAT a listen!

What is pliability anyway? Can’t I just stretch out after strength training?

Pliability as a principle is very yogic as it puts an emphasis on finding the right balance for your body, your sport, your life, and your practice/workouts. It’s not about the “maximal” training athletes do in their teens and twenties as in, “Dude, I maxed out on 225 for bench.” Kids get away w/ a certain amount of this kind of stuff because their muscles still have some of the natural pliability retained from childhood. We’re all born pliable, but it diminishes over time. Don’t believe it? Teach kids’ yoga for ten minutes.

In TB’s case, he defines pliability as “the daily lengthening and softening of muscles” along with “targeted deep-force muscle work.” It’s a kind of pressure point massage and lengthening of the tissue, done by a trainer in TB’s case, while TB contracts that tissue in intervals–it’s not the massage you had on vacation, let’s put it that way!

TB and his trainer are essentially contracting and stretching the muscle at the same time which makes for a smarter, better firing muscle and less damage, recovery time, or pain. A regimen of lifting weights/strength training with a bit of stretching afterwards separates the two tasks, as though muscles are binary and either in a fully off/on position. But to function optimally, muscles have to be more on a “dimmer switch” and have a kind of intelligence as to when to engage and how much–makes sense doesn’t it? If not, you may need the 30 pages so get the book!

Good for Tom, but I’m not married to Giselle and I don’t have a trainer!

Well, I suppose that’s why you can buy The TB 12 Method and drop about $300 on the gear to try and mimic the effects our lucky-duck QB gets daily–from his trainer that is ūüėČ

Or, you could take a classical yoga practice, heavy on lengthening muscle; and, couple it with pose-specific techniques to contract the tissue at the same time. In other words, you could try a yoga practice that involves some eccentric and resistance stretching within your own unique parameters. I mean, while the TB12 system is unique and certainly patented, the kind of stretching it promotes has been around a long time and is starting to show up in the yoga world. What’s unique in the yoga world is that it doesn’t make this big assumption or put a huge priority on flexibility–no over-heated rooms or over-zealous instructors. You don’t want to sacrifice the joints and soft tissue.

Even if you’re a dude who hasn’t touched his toes in a while, you’ll find “pliability yoga” a lot more conducive for your body type and safer than a conventional yoga class. You may not be meant to touch your toes and you may not need to. Let’s find your “optimal” for longevity so you can keep doing all the other non-yoga stuff you love!

If you look at TB, he’s pretty long and lean–a strike against him in his draft report which explains him being the 199th pick!

20+ Years as a “Long-Hauler”: Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)

According to the Mayo Clinic Website (note the comments in bold are mine):

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months (or 20 years) and that can’t be fully explained by an underlying medical condition. The fatigue worsens with physical or mental activity but doesn’t improve with rest.

Other characteristic symptoms include:

  • Sleep that isn’t refreshing–YES, DAILY!
  • Difficulties with memory, focus, and concentration–YAH!
  • Dizziness that worsens with moving from lying down or sitting to standing —SOMETIMES
  • Doctors who have no answers after spending 10 minutes on your case or any idea as to your past accomplishments, saying “maybe you’re a little depressed.”

This condition is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). Sometimes it’s abbreviated as ME/CFS. The most recent term proposed is systemic exertional intolerance disease (SEID)–HUGE ISSUE!

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, although there are many theories ‚ÄĒ ranging from viral infections to psychological stress. Some experts believe chronic fatigue syndrome might be triggered by a combination of factors. –suspect a severe case of viral pneumonia in Japan followed by salmonella on Bali (travel isn’t all glamour ūüėČ

There’s no single test to confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. You may need a variety of medical tests to rule out other health problems that have similar symptoms–and spend all your time, money, and sanity schlepping around from doc to doc, dept to dept. Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome focuses on improving symptoms–AND IS TOTALLY LAME. They all follow the same ineffectual protocols–it’s groupthink run amok.

While COVID-19 is a terrible tragedy on so many levels, for the first time, I feel optimistic and less alone. Suddenly, the news is rife with stories of people suffering from many of the same symptoms I’ve struggled to manage for decades. It’s hard to watch: many of them are young, like I was, suddenly debilitated by fatigue in their prime on the cusp of great things: careers, marriages, starting a family.

When I say “debilitating fatigue” what do I mean? The kind of fatigue that prevents you from hopping on a train for an hour to catch the women’s doubles at Wimbledon, or even take a shower. It’s a kind of tired that leaves you stranded in the dairy aisle of Cub because you don’t know how you’re going to carry the milk all the way to the front of the store and back to your car. If you do push through it, you know it will mean an hour’s nap once you get back home. It’s the kind of fatigue that seems so irrational to your friends and family, they start to lose their grip right along with you. You’re forced to say “no” to so much that pretty soon the invitations stop coming altogether.

Approximately 1-2 million Americans suffer from CFS/ME. According to the article “The Tragedy of the Post-COVID ‘Long Haulers'” (Health.Harvard.edu) that number could double in the next two years due to the COVID “Long Haulers” / “Long COVID” sufferers. Trust me when I say, our healthcare system IS NOT ready for this. My heart breaks knowing so little has been accomplished on the CFS/ME front in the past decades and the frustrations the afflicted will face. 

Why so little progress? First, I think many sufferers are women. All the Infectious Disease and Internal Medicine docs I saw were men. What they had in common: terrible listeners, very “busy and important.” Secondly, CFS/ME patients are lousy advocates. Why? They’re TOO TIRED!  It may take half a day to get ready for an appointment and another half day’s nap to recover. All that to hear the same BS and see the same lab-coat shoulder shrugs.

In one of my final appointments, the doc tried to write me a script for Prozac after 5 mins. My husband started cross-examining: What’s the “end game”–is she on it forever? Why do you think she’s depressed? To this day, we’re not sure if we stormed out or were thrown out of his office!

Luckily, somewhere along the way, when I still had some energy, I had taken a few yoga classes. I found myself in a situation where my energy improved somewhat (as it always does with an international move–more on that later) and I could commit to a weekly yoga class. It became clear to me that I got a hella lot more out of yoga classes than doctor appointments. Slowly, my health improved, but in fits and starts.

Remember, the “C” in CFS is for “Chronic.” It never goes away; it’s a condition that has to be “managed.” I basically fired all my doctors and started managing it myself, primarily through yoga, and not just any yoga.

One of the most frustrating symptoms for a former athlete is the post-exercise malaise which is perhaps why experts are starting to refer to it as systemic exertional intolerance (SEID). Luckily my first teacher was a classically trained yogi and Zen Buddhist in Singapore. She was in her 60’s and strict. She did a lot of seated meditation and it showed in her approach. She knew that the “exercises” were to be done as meditations, not gymnastical performances. There was plenty of time to phase in and out of the pose, downshift if need be, and integrate between poses. There was no distracting music or mirrors around. The point was to reside in your body (not let your mind drift) and find the “seat of the pose,” the asana, and most importantly, accept how it was for you that day. No comparisons to last week or last year.

When I got back to the States, I was shocked at what was passing for “yoga” and couldn’t find a class. I finally came across a Kripalu teacher on Cape Cod. If you would’ve told me when I could barely shower and shop that I’d enroll in a 1-month residential yoga training of all things yoga from 6am to 10pm, I wouldn’t have even dared to dream. I became certified in 2001. Confession: there was a break in the afternoon, so I could catch a nap; otherwise, I don’t think I would have made it.

I started teaching yoga full-time and never really went back to my “professional” pre-yoga life. Turns out, CFS/ME had taught me a lot. First and foremost, you have to have a strong purpose, a mission for your life that, against all odds, gets you out of bed in the morning. My first mission was “heal thyself.” Accepting that I’d maybe be lucky to reclaim 80% of my previous energy was a big part of that. The mission is never over, as I don’t dare grow complacent. I’m always trying out the latest “life hacks” to boost my energy and clarity; and, I’ve even invented a few on my own. I relish sharing what I’ve learned with others, especially those with similar symptoms who might be dealing with anything from Lyme disease to fibromyalgia or just general burnout.  I have a lot more patience and empathy for sick people and the difficulties of aging. I felt I had more in common w/ ninety-somethings in my 30’s.

I also learned that a good shot of natural adrenaline does wonders. Travel has always been my jam. I crave the buzz of being out of my comfort zone–a buzz I used to enjoy as a lifestyle pre-CFS. Now, I get to share some of my favorite destinations with my students. Yes, I do get nervous contemplating how people are entrusting me with their vacations, some of the most important days of their year; but, it’s the good kind of nervous–those butterflies keep me energized. I also treat myself to the occasional trip to Japan to re-immerse myself in the language. You just don’t have time to be tired in Tokyo: 30 million people in a bizarre vortex where the ancient and futuristic intersect. I throw myself into the mayhem, feed off the flow and go-go-go. I do “pay” for it though when I return, but to me, it’s worth it. 

Conversely, I’ve learned to protect my energy and avoid things that drain me. I view energy as a finite quantity to be “spent” carefully. Bureaucracy, in-the-box thinking, and unnecessary paperwork are best avoided; so are social-climbers, one-uppers, and fixed mind-setters.  I have come to realize that “busy” and “important” are not the same things. I avoid conversations about errands and to-do lists. There seems to be a uniquely American pastime I term “competitive busyness” –something I wouldn’t have noticed before CFS–in fact, I may have mastered it at one time.  It’s a lot of “jumping up and down, calling it progress”–and then telling everyone about it.

My purpose now is to use the energy I can muster to make as much of a positive impact on the lives of my students as possible. Happiness for me requires a yoga mat, a library card, and yes, a passport. If you’d ever like to discuss books, travel, or yoga, I’m all ears and will stay awake for that. If you want to learn more about what has and has not worked for me in terms of CFS/ME, I’m also happy to oblige. I hope to set up a Zoom practice for CFS/ME/COVID Long Haulers soon, so do get in touch via the contact page if that applies to you.

YogaHotDish in the News… Take Back the Night (TBTN) National Shine Your Light Yoga Festival, Dec 12th (ZOOM)

Take Back the Night (TBTN) Shines Light on Sexual Violence with the National Shine Your Light Yoga Festival on December 12th.

Hundreds of yoga studios and fitness centers across the country to hold trauma-informed classes for survivors and their supporters on Shine Your Light Yoga Day 2020, including YogaHotDish of North Oaks and Arden Hills.

YogaHotDish will be offering two trauma-informed ZOOM classes on Saturday, December 12th with all proceeds going to TBTN. Visit www.yogahotdish.com to register. The recommended donation is $12, the normal class price, but you can donate any amount via PayPal/credit card.

YogaHotDish Founder Shaila Cunningham, a twenty-year veteran of the yoga business, has fielded a multitude of requests to do classes for various causes. “I was impressed with TBTN as they took the time to research the kind of yoga I offer and ascertain that it is a good fit with their trauma-informed guidelines.  There are as many kinds of trauma and stress as there are people; that said, we can all use a common set of yoga tools to better wire the body and brain for healing and transformation.” Former Minnesota resident and certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor Libby Wendorf of North Carolina will be facilitating the Noon Zoom class.

Cunningham explains,  “The idea that anyone who has experienced any kind of sexual violence from date rape to domestic abuse can go to www.takebackthenight.org, fill out a contact form and speak to a lawyer within 24 hours is comforting. I imagine a lot of victims just don’t know who to turn to, and I encourage anyone reading this with a college-aged kid to take the time to send the link to them or post it to social media.” 

Since the 1970s, Take Back the Night has been supporting survivors of sexual trauma and domestic abuse. It is the oldest international movement fighting to end sexual violence in all its forms. Formed in 1999, the Take Back the Night Foundation (TBTNF) is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Katie Koestner, the first survivor to speak out nationally and publicly as the victim of ‚Äúdate‚ÄĚ (as opposed to ‚Äústranger‚ÄĚ) rape, brought together activists and long-standing participants in TBTN events to create the foundation. TBTN has reached over 10 million people at 800 colleges and communities across the US and in more than 30 countries with its initiatives and evidence-based educational programming.  

“Katie Koestner is a contemporary of mine and a force of nature; meeting her, if only via Zoom, was inspiring,”  says Cunningham.  “I remember seeing her on the cover of TIME Magazine when I was also in college. It took so much courage to share her story, before date rape was ‘a thing.'”  

The United Nations Population Fund roughly estimates that there has been a 20% rise in intimate partner violence alone around the world since the start of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders. That equates to 15 million additional cases in just the last few months.

Through the National ‚ÄėShine Your Light Yoga Festival 2020‚Äô, Take Back the Night hopes to shed light on and strengthen survivors who have all too often been denied justice and silenced behind closed doors.

On December 12th, 2020, TBTN invites communities across the country to show their support and take part in a trauma-informed yoga class at their nearest participating studio or fitness center. The National Shine Your Light Yoga Festival 2020 also includes 8 virtual classes live-streamed throughout the day to accommodate up to 80,000 more participants. All proceeds from the event support TBTN’s programs and initiatives, such as the Respect My Red educational program on healthy relationships.

At a time when our communities are in tremendous need of healing and restoration, trauma-informed yoga offers a powerful opportunity for individuals and communities to come together in a safe, welcoming atmosphere to facilitate recovery. Yoga practice teaches us we cannot always control what happens outside of ourselves or in our immediate environments. However, we can control being mindful of ourselves, our bodies, our breath, our thoughts, and our surroundings. Little by little, with dedicated practice, we can start to truly grasp our inner

strength and connect with others to affect positive social change, one breath at a time.

For more information about the National Shine Your Light Yoga Festival 2020 or TBTNF, please visit the TBTNF website: https://takebackthenight.org. You can also find a list of participating

studios and fitness centers near you at https://takebackthenight.org/yoga.

Making Online Yoga…Yogic!

zoomyoga


After sampling a variety of online yoga offerings, including FB Live, Zoom, and YouTube,  I realize now the challenge for yoga teachers is similar to what it is in any large in-person setting: to make yoga feel like yoga and not just a follow-along, group exercise class –in other words, giving participants as much of a work-in as a workout! While instructors have to modify the way they teach to make this happen, the question is: what can you do as a student to make your experience more…yogic?


1) Set up a “safe space,” free from interruptions. No phone in the room, period! Close the door if you’re lucky enough to have one and make sure spouses, pets, kids –anyone who needs/demands attention from you is ON THE OTHER SIDE of said door, or better yet–out of the house.  Explain in the nicest possible way that they are “errors” of meditation and that a high level of concentration and internal focus is required for true yoga.  “The deeper states” of meditation are achieved by racking up consecutive moments of concentration. If they come into your space and distract you, you lose your momentum and have to start over. Plus, they need to know and accept that what you’re doing is simply more important than their perceived urgency–OPU–other people’s urgency–has no place in your yoga practice!

1.5) Set “reminders” for several classes a week, even though you don’t plan on doing them all. This is key as we’re losing our sense of linear time which is great while doing yoga, but makes it hard to show up to class. And, don’t let arriving late or having to leave early deter you; the ZOOM format is made for that–enjoy it while it lasts!


2) Have all of your props at the ready.  Keep them in a pile somewhere so you don’t have to reassemble them every time. It’s Murphy’s Law: the one prop you don’t have will end up being the star of the class! If you haven’t “invested” yet in blocks, strap, blanket, or even a bolster, it’s time–what are you waiting for?


3) Set up your screen so the instructor has a fairly good view of you in both floor and standing poses when doing a live class. I have my laptop on a block for the floor and move it to a shelf or plant stand for standing poses. Figure it out ahead of time! If the instructor never leaves his/her mat to “check” on or interact with students, consider it a red flag.


4) Try not to make your screen your focal point!!!!! This may be the most important piece of advice. Eyes glued to a screen isn’t yoga–sorry. Set up focal points above or around your screen: a plant, a picture, a window. Try not to have your screen directly in front of you.  Use it as a visual reference as little as possible. Try to follow the verbal instructions first and use the screen in small doses for verification.  Do as much w/ your eyes CLOSED as possible! 


5) Finally, this for people who don’t come to YogaHotDish classes: It’s important that you assess the difference in body types between yours and that of the presenter. This is where visually following along and trying to mimic each and every movement lands people in Physical Therapy. 

First, know the difference between a yoga teacher and a yoga presenter. “Presenters” are there because they look good doing the poses and are good at memorized “cues” (lines) and putting together choreographed sequences.  They’re not going to stop and check on your joints/spine–especially if it’s pre-recorded, silly!  If you have NO idea how to modify the poses for your individual body type, (and it’s not that of a gymnast or dancer) watch out! If you don’t know your internal rotation from your external, you may be in over your head. At a minimum, try to find someone around your own age to follow.  Better yet, follow someone who explains or “cues” for differences in body proportions, ranges of motion and actually demonstrates alternatives.

Most online presenters give a little legal disclaimer at the beginning (“you can modify”) but they don’t tell you how or when. Why not? Because it disrupts their flow, their presentation, or, they just aren’t experienced with or interested in working with people of all ages and stages of life.  This holds especially true for SENIORS! I can’t tell you how many injuries I’ve heard of first hand when seniors start doing yoga or personal training w/ young and inexperienced instructors. Experience matters in yoga– you can’t put together a training course that magically endows / decades of wisdom –it literally takes…well…decades. 

Finally, we have to accept that COVID is changing our bodies. We’re not moving as much. Often an injury can be just as much about what you DIDN’T do as what you did do! Muscles lose their pliability and “intelligence,” joints dry out and get creaky. Take care, lower expectations and  good luck out there!

The Best Benefit of Yoga No One Mentions

“Mouthbreather,” the ultimate dis on “Stranger Things.”

In a recent study on the National Institute of Health website entitled, “Could nasal nitric oxide help to mitigate the severity of COVID-19?” the authors explain the role of nose breathing in creating Nitric Oxide. You know all about this if you come to class, but for the uninitiated, here’s the intro to the study:

The nasal cavity and turbinates play important physiological functions by filtering, warming and humidifying inhaled air. Paranasal sinuses continually produce nitric oxide (NO), a reactive oxygen species that diffuses to the bronchi and lungs to produce bronchodilatory and vasodilatory effects. Studies indicate that NO may also help to reduce respiratory tract infection by inactivating viruses and inhibiting their replication in epithelial cells. In view of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), clinical trials have been designed to examine the effects of inhaled nitric oxide in COVID-19 subjects. We discuss here additional lifestyle factors such as mouth breathing which may affect the antiviral response against SARS-CoV-2 by bypassing the filtering effect of the nose and by decreasing NO levels in the airways.   

So what’s a longtime mouth breather to do? You can’t just start breathing through your nose overnight.  No, but you can start yoga with an instructor who emphasizes pranayama (breathing exercises) and gives constant coaching on the in’s and out’s (sorry) of exactly how to breathe!

You take around 20,000 breaths per day; don’t you think it’s worth doing optimally?

In America’s search for the perfect yoga booty in under an hour, a few things had to go–top of the list were breathing exercises. It’s a practice that’s extremely subtle, frustrating for many, and difficult to teach. Besides, how are you supposed to nose breathe when you’re whipping through your vinyasa flow to get your cardio in?  There’s the other problem: classical yoga was never meant to be cardio in the first place. Sure, the gurus of yore had troops of adolescent boys who would perform almost circus-like routines to attract attention pre-Instagram, but that wasn’t for the “regular” folk coming to yoga for health and wellness.  

Big Yoga (gyms, Lifetime, CorePower, ) knows you’re busy and want a Total Body Workout in under an hour.  That’s great for them as they want to cram as many classes into a day as possible for their business model.  Poof!  There goes breathing exercises!  Besides, “I think my lungs are getting fat,” said no one…ever.

To do even a basic breathing practice takes at least an extra 10 minutes. Over time, you develop a kind of nose breathing momentum that gradually seeps into your posture practice so that you’re rarely, if ever mouth breathing — not even on exhalations. Stick with it, and you continue to breathe through your nose even after your leave class.

I know this progression as I was a mouth breather too, due to decades of allergies. Think about how much people spend on filtered water! How about some free filtered air? Once you start breathing the filtered, upscale variety of air, you never go back!

Still not convinced? Here’s an article outlining the negative effects of mouth breathing. Link here.

In children, mouth breathing is just as serious, possibly resulting in an ADD/ADHD misdiagnosis. Link here.

Why not set a basic #Covidgoal to become a nose breather if you’re not already? You’d be doing yourself a favor, as well as everyone else. The latest UMN study on indoor COVID transmission assumes that participants are all mouthbreathers– Whaaaat? #ew. At a minimum, your stress levels will decrease while practicing as nose breathing calms the heart and nervous system with all that Nitric Oxide –we could all use some more calm, right? Conversely, mouth breathers tend to be on edge, continually scanning for threats.

So yes, nose breathing can make you a calmer version of yourself, as well as improve your posture and spine. Shallow mouth breathers don’t create the micro-undulations of the vertebrae diaphragmatic nose breathers do, so their spines tend to calcify more easily, locking into place when sitting for long periods.

Diaphragmatic nose breathing keeps your joints and internal organs lubricated. It keeps stuff juicy and slippery, not sticky. Try it now: sit still on the edge of your chair, head balanced atop sitting bones / tailbone. Take a couple “normal” breaths, without thinking about it. How much and where does your body move? If the only part that moves is your shoulders, you may be a “clavicle breather.” It’s detrimental to your overall health and wellness, but completely curable!

Now, soften the belly (if you can) and imagine filling it with the breath. You should feel the nasal hair move as you inhale. Exhale as though you’re whispering “om,” (mouth shut, gap between upper and lower teeth) trying to make your exhalation twice as long as your inhale– you should feel the nasal hair move in the other direction. Feel how much and where your body moves, even though you’re technically sitting still.

YogaHotDish runs a couple all-breathing practices per month on ZOOM and includes breathing exercises in every ZOOM and in-person class. Your spine, nervous system, and heart will thank you– so will the people you live with!

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~

Shiva’s Pandemic Dance

zoom shiva CERN.webp

This statue of Shiva as “Lord of the Dance” sits outside the world’s largest nuclear collider known as CERN in Switzerland. Turns out, HInduism and physics have, in some ways, a similar worldview: that everything is constantly changing–matter to energy, energy to matter.¬† Sometimes known as the “God of Destruction,” at my training in Kripalu, they¬† used a kinder gentler “transformation.”

Shiva’s cosmic dance may start with destruction, but it is an ongoing process that also includes evolution, the revealing of “illusion” and eventually something Christians can recognize as “grace.”

Many of us are learning that the material things that formed the scaffolding for our lives–jobs, healthcare, schools, etc. weren’t the “sure things’ we once thought they were.¬† Our illusion of stability was shattered pretty quickly, by some microscopic beast we can’t even see!

So here we are, forced to confront who we are without all of that infrastructure. Our plans are on hold. Our futures are uncertain. Who are we without all of these anchors?

I suppose that’s the question most religions try to answer. Many people start to contemplate that sort of thing the older they get.¬† The surprising thing is seeing so many young people being forced to move such a big question up their list of priorities to ponder. I am truly excited to see what they come up with. I feel like a whole new generation of “millennial elders” is germinating.

Every single person is going through some sense of loss in these days of corona and quarantine. If we’re fortunate enough to escape grieving the loss of a loved one, we still have other losses– a wedding, a semester abroad, a prom, a hug–and those losses are a big deal.

When you see Lord of the Dance in art, Shiva is always surrounded by fire, symbolizing the circular nature of the universe. What you might miss is the scary looking gremlin creature on which he is balancing (while simultaneously creating and destroying the universe no less). That little demon is said by some to symbolize human cruelty and a visual reminder to be kind to one another, lest you get crushed!

Namaste from 6+ feet away.

What’s Wrong with Resolutions?

Ah January… for anyone in the fitness space, it’s a bit¬†like April for tax accountants.¬† We even call it “Resolution Season.”¬† Some marketeers have¬†pointed out to me that it would be more strategic if I had my sessions renew in January to get the “Resolution Crowd.” Still, over the years, I have kept to my schedule of running my Winter Session December-February.¬†¬†Whilst a class or two may renew/launch in January, it’s usually due more to the venue than me.

So am I missing out on the¬†Resolution Crowd?¬†¬†Maybe so. That said, I’m not sure they’re¬†my tribe.¬† Health clubs and big studios love the resolution crowd.¬† They know they’ll get a year of monthly fees from these well-meaning wellness wannabes. It doesn’t matter to the club or studio if¬†they show up; which, studies show, many of them won’t after about March.¬† Then these poor people¬†spend the rest of the year feeling even lousier about themselves–especially when they see that $100 + charge on their credit card statement. To me, that has always seemed¬†a depressing way to make money.

The YogaHotDish business model, on the other hand, appeals to people who are ready to be committers.¬† They have to choose one class a week to attend for a manageable chunk of time: 3 months. And yes, we cater to travelers and go-getters so they¬†can pro-rate out if they’re¬†going to be gone.¬†¬†There is a “make-up” safety net in that HotDishers¬†can attend another class outside their normal time to make up a missed class, but the key is,¬†normal classes don’t “rollover” after the 3-month session.¬† If you missed a couple, I can’t “credit” your account next time.¬† That way, you must¬†attend yoga on average of at least once per week.¬† To make up a class, you have to go twice in one week. Now, make-ups do “rollover” as long as you keep renewing every quarter. In other words, I don’t care when you make up a class, even if it’s in 6 months, as long as you’re still in the program.

Think about what a different kind of proposition this is.¬†¬†Big Yoga says, “Sign up for a year then¬†come, don’t come–¬†there are classes going all day long–you’ll get there eventually!”¬†¬†¬†YogaHotDish says, “I’ll commit to you, you commit to me, once a¬†week. I’ll know you by name, I’ll¬†help you with any issues that might impede your practice be they mental or physical. I’ll notice when you’re not there and encourage you to get to a make-up class. The group will notice you’re not there and wonder, “Where were you, we missed you.” Can you see the difference? Can you feel the profoundly different vibe coming off the screen right now?

So here’s the deal: if you want / need to start yoga, just do it in December.¬† We all know by now it takes a month to form a habit, right?¬† Do you think something magical is going to happen on New Year’s Day and suddenly everything will be easy? I can guarantee you, it won’t.¬† In fact, if you wait, you’ll probably be working off a backlog of extra calories that you’ll be intaking this week.¬† Why not use the change in schedule and downtime of the holidays to establish better habits? You’ll be on your way come January.¬† You could even sign up for the “Destress for Success” Workshop in Arden Hills come January -and it won’t be your first time on a yoga mat!¬† You’ll be a pro by then and not have to worry about the “holiday hangover” of stress and weight gain.¬† Are you ready to stand out from the crowd and get going now? If so, I am here to help!¬† Check your schedule, pick a day and fill out a contact form!

Top MN Doc Carrie Terrell: Why Women Over 40 Need Yoga

This post is brought to you by our own YogaHotDisher, Top Doc,  and  Minnesota Monthly CoverGirl,  Dr. Carrie Ann  Terrell, MD, University of Minnesota (UMN). Thanks Carrie for contributing to our blog!

DrT

The evidence for yoga improving various health problems is deep and varied.  I recommend the website nccam.nih.gov for an overview of the benefits of yoga as presented by the National Institutes of Health.  The evidence is solid as is my experience.

My most common patient scenario presents with a litany of concerns that reads something like this:

  • Fatigue, low energy, difficulty completing the umpteen tasks before her
  • Low libido
  • Inability to focus, memory loss, distractedness
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Weight gain, digestive problems
  • Dissatisfaction with life

These women are 40-60 years old,¬†often partnered with a significant other of¬†varying participation in the relationship/housework/child rearing/care taking/cooking/shopping, have busy/successful/demanding careers, are the primary¬†caretaker of the house/parent(s)/children/pets, and have unwieldy expectations for¬†what they ‚Äúshould‚ÄĚ be doing to take care of themselves.

These patients are essentially working every hour of their lives.¬† If and when they¬†sleep it is erratic and interrupted and they wake without having rested. Or they¬†‚Äúrest‚ÄĚ while watching TV, iPading, gaming, texting, Facebooking. These activities¬†are not restful, rejuvenating, nor replenishing. As if this isn‚Äôt enough they are¬†also constantly talking to/bombarding themselves with negative or expectant¬†commentary that translates as ‚Äúnot enough or not good enough.‚ÄĚ In fact, the¬†incessant loop of streaming thought these women live with is exhausting.

These women often come in seeking a magical hormonal cure.  They read that estrogen or bioidentical hormones or compounded hormones will resolve all of their issues; that their issues must be related to menopause or perimenopause. Now, I’m not underestimating menopause. Estrogen deficiency causes hot flashes.  Hot flashes can disrupt thought, the work day, the physical body. When hot flashes occur at night, sleeplessness results and irritability, mood swings, memory problems can follow suit. However, in many many cases, estrogen deficiency is not the problem. These women need a break, a time out, a mini-retreat, a respite.

Many women have found their solution. Some have found it in running, others in meditating. However, for many the potential solutions are untenable, unreachable, or add to the never-ending list of shoulds. Or, the options are so overwhelming women cannot begin to decide what to do or how to perform self care.

For me, this is where yoga comes in. When taught well, with attention to the¬†philosophy and teachings, Yoga provides peace, quiet and a chance to observe¬†ourselves.¬† Some know yoga to be an exercise; a physical activity leading to fitness,¬†improved health, increased heart rate, etc etc. The secret is that asana practice¬†(the poses are called asana) is solely meant to allow us to sit comfortably enough,quietly enough to see and feel clearly. Undoubtedly, the physical practice feels¬†good. ‚ÄúDoing‚ÄĚ yoga feels good, but, what feels even better is being able to look¬†at my thoughts and see, ‚Äėhuh, those are my thoughts. I am not my thoughts.‚ÄĚ Or,¬†‚Äúlook, this awful thing happened to me or someone said this awful thing to me and¬†gee, I don‚Äôt have to be affected by that. I can still be me.‚ÄĚ Or, ‚ÄúThis pose sucks.¬†I hate this pose. My muscles are shaking. This is dumb. I‚Äôm way too important¬†for this pose. Why did I come? I have better things to do.‚ÄĚ Which over time can¬†become, ‚ÄúThis pose sucks. I hate this pose. I‚Äôve gotten through this pose before. I¬†am stronger. My resilience is better.‚ÄĚ

After 14 years of practicing yoga I can honestly say it makes me a better person. I build better relationships. I think more clearly. I know my limitations and know what I need to care for myself. I can separate myself from my wrongdoings, my suffering, my awards, my rewards, my family and my thoughts. With this ability, I am able to set my work and personal goals in alignment with my deepest beliefs. I am able to achieve lifelong goals and hold positions of leadership with a sense of love and responsibility. I get to choose how I will react to incoming stimuli (if at all) and I can readily access a place of peace and serenity within myself.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

SAT Simulcast 9:30 am – In Person & On Zoom – North Oaks ~ WRec

THIS CLASS WILL BE SIMULTANEOUSLY BROADCAST ON ZOOM.¬† By showing up, you’re consenting to be on camera. You are encouraged to check out the camera set-up and pick a spot in the room where you’re the most comfortable.

Beginners to experienced, Saturday is game day at YogaHotDish! Practice will be a bit more dynamic and comprehensive.¬† All-levels are All-Stars on Saturdays, when weekend warriors share the space with the hyper-committed, beginners, seniors, students– you name it, you’ll see it on Saturdays!

We may be on the covered patio, in the building w/ all 3 doors ajar for airflow or out by the hockey boards.¬† Please know that space under the covered patio and indoors is limited, so make sure you RSVP if you’re not a “regular,” especially if it’s raining. Masks optional indoors.¬† New students, please fill out a contact form. RSVP to shailayoga {@} gmail.com if with 48 hours of class.

Session Pricing:

1 MAY – 26 JUNE (no class 15 May due to Hospital Guild)

8 weeks, $120.

Drop-ins $20; Students $10. Add-a-class $10. Zoom remotely $10. Refunds are gladly given in case of technical difficulties!

Link

17 JULY – 28 AUGUST (No class July 3, July 10 or Sept 4).

7 weeks, $105.

THURS (11:30 am) “Fit & Feisty 50+” North Oaks ~ WR

Not only do we think outdoors is the safest place to do yoga, we know it’s the best! A scientific study showed people work harder (without really realizing it). Plus, you benefit from the fresh air and immune-boosting microbes of the surrounding flora. Sometimes we even get some cameo appearances by turkeys, trumpeter swans, and eagles.

Each class is a full menu of YogaHotDish from Asana (poses) to Pranayama (breathing techniques)  and Savasana (final meditation).  This is a class where attendance counts, but luckily, not much else. Bring a mat, water, towel, strap if you have one, and your sense of humor. This is an all-levels, small group class which means you’ll receive individual coaching.

What about heat, sleet, rain, snow?  

We do have a covered patio which should be fine in most circumstances. If we have high winds and sideway precipitation, prepare to go indoors but with doors opened on 3 sides of the building. Throw in a mask just in case. Of course, if you don’t feel safe in such an environment, you can make up the class at another outdoor time/location.

We hold another class in the same location on Saturdays 9:30-11 am, but it’s physically more challenging.¬†

Some loaner mats, blocks, and ties to lend. Note this event is not at the HOA office on the map below; please request directions if you’re unsure.

APRIL/MAY SESSION 2021

1 APRIL – 3 JUNE

9 Thursdays; $135.  ~ Class canceled 5/13, so session extended to 3 June.

Drop-in $20 (must RSVP), $10 ‚Äúadd-a-class‚ÄĚ if enrolled in another time/location, including Zoom. Students are always welcome to drop-in for $10 (RSVP appreciated).

10 JUNE Р26 AUGUST 

~ No class July 1, July 8

10 Thursdays, $150.

To pro-rate into a session, please select the $16/class “pro-rate” option and the number of weeks you’ll be attending during the session (must be at least half the classes to qualify for $16 rate).

 

WED ZOOM with Shaila “Fit & Feisty 50+” ~ Beginners welcome!

 

This is yoga for longevity. No, it’s not “senior yoga” or “chair yoga.” Nor is it about splashy poses and choreography; it’s about keeping your muscles toned, mind sharp and joints juicy!

Every pose comes with a risk-reward ratio: we emphasize poses and approaches that are safe and help us stay healthy to do the other activities we love. If you’ve ever had PT for an injury, you might recognize some of the exercises which are done yogically (not mechanically) — and for prevention!

You save meticulously for your retirement. Yoga is your wellness IRA. Come to this lunchtime class and have a look around–the proof is in the students. Yes, some are seniors, but some aren’t. Many are fitting yoga in on their lunch breaks so they can be active seniors in the future while enjoying a productivity boost now. Did you know that certain vinyasa flow styles of yoga can have injury rates over 50%? Rest assured, this is NOT that. Beginners welcome!

Just like YogaHotDish live classes, ZOOM classes come with individual attention and coaching. You won’t just be watching someone else working out, trying to keep up. New Students be sure and fill out a contact form to tell us about yourself, your yoga experience and raise any questions.

You’re encouraged to keep your video on for more instruction, off for privacy. Try to have focal points around the room so you’re not staring at the screen. The best way to ask a question/share is to use the “chat” function–someone else will likely be glad you did!¬† You’re also welcome to stay after and chat, just like a regular class.

Need to enter late or leave early? No problem! Classes are 75 minutes, pranayama to savasana and ZOOM has the perfect “yoga open house” vibe.¬† Note you’ll be muted upon entry, so no worries about disturbing others if you’re late!

$12 Standard Price for a single Zoom session

$10 “add-a-class” (HotDishers enrolled in other programs)

$10 Students (Middle School – Post Grad!)

$10 Students (middle school, college, post-grad)

1-Month Unlimited ZOOM (calendar month, but pro-rating available for new students) $60

How do I take a class?  

  1. New Students: please use PayPal. You can use a regular credit card on PP and simply check out as a “guest” if don’t have an account. You can always switch to Zelle or VENMO later.
  2. Make sure your ZOOM account displays your name (not just a phone number) so we can admit you from the waiting room. LINK
  3. Fill out a contact form and tell us a little bit about your yoga experience, goals, and any concerns. You are welcome to share your age if you’d like.
  4. IF it’s close to class time and you haven’t received a link, email Shailayoga{@}gmail.com

Beginner? New to YogaHotDish? Health issues you want to improve or workaround? Senior just getting in the yoga game, thinking maybe starting yoga on a group ZOOM could be confusing?¬† Check out the Start Right / Dive Deep program, specially designed for beginners, newbies, and seniors. YogaHotDish will be fully vested in your success.¬† The question is, “Will you?”