Here we are, just last year, at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat. It was a 5 day retreat (or vacation!) with some of my very favorite Yoginis! The ashram food is delicious, the vibe is outstanding, and there's swimming!
I have been invited again to do a 5 day Big Yoga workshop, and I'd love for you to join me! As we did last year, we'll practice the Flex-Ability series, which is perfect to re-educate stiff muscles in proper movement. We'll do sun salutations and moon salutations, providing adaptations to the traditional ways of doing these strengthening vinyasas. Chanting is also on the menu, both in our own private classes, and also with the whole ashram in their daily morning meditation sessions, which are an inspiration.
A while ago, I was introduced to the idea of Restorative Yoga. It involves using pillows, bolsters, blocks, eye pillows and sand bags to plop you into a pose and hold you there for a while--up to 15 minutes! At first I didn't get it. But recently, when returning home from a lovely trip to Italy, I was having some digestive issues--all that delicious Italian food!
This year, it seems the holidays started at Halloween and are going to go right through New Years! Maybe because, now that I'm older, I've lost all concept of time. Time is just a concept, right? Or maybe we're just getting all our celebrating in now, before the inauguration. I know a lot of folks are nervous about how the new presidency will effect us, and it's been scary to see how divided we are as a nation. Rather than get caught up in the negativity, let's stay hopeful. It's a good time to revisit an old idea from the Bible
LOVE THY NEIGHBOR
We are in a season of giving. Giving thanks, giving presents. Maybe for some of you it's also a season of grieving, after the surprising election returns. Nevertheless, in Yoga we try to stay in the moment and not let the fear of the future yank us out of the golden present. Being grateful for what we do have--right here, right now--is the anti-dote to worrying about what might happen with a Trump presidency. So start your gratitude list. See how many things you and list each day, between now and Thanksgiving. See if it doesn't lighten your mood.
:After 15 years using the same website, which was lovingly created for me by a good friend with great design sense, I've decided to take on the website myself. So-- welcome to my new website and blog! I turned 70 last month, and feel that this is really a new era for me--what used to be the dreaded old age! But 70 is the new 50! I certainly feel like I'm still young, and thanks to Yoga, I still have a spring in my step and I look forward to enjoying my next 30 years.
I created Big Yoga with the idea that it was primarily for fatties--and I use that term lovingly, being one myself. By 2001 I had gone through menopause and my older, plumper body was no longer comfortable in some of the traditional hatha yoga poses that I had been practicing. As I began to adapt my own poses, I realized that there was a need for instruction for more body types than the traditional slender "gumby gal" that were the prevailing Yoga teacher model.
The name "Big Yoga" came to me as a disembodied whisper in my ear at the LOTUS, an interfaith temple in Yogaville, Virginia where I was at silent meditation. I felt sure the mysterious voice was that of my Guru, Sri Swami Satchidananda, guiding me to be of service. IThe name had an expansive feel, not just in terms of the body being big, but also the teachings of Yoga being tremendous, expansive, transformative! So in Big Yoga we do our asana (physical) practice, but we also do pranayama (the breathing techniques), guided relaxation called Yoga Nidra, we meditate, we do self-inquiry, we give service where we can, and we keep an attitude of devotion, Bhakti Yoga.
I was inspired to create a couple DVDs for home practice, which are currently still available on my old website. I wrote my first book, Big Yoga: A Simple Guide For Bigger Bodies, which won the Benjamin Franklin award for best book in Health and Wellness. My second book came out a few years later, Big Yoga For Less Stress. Now I'm living and teaching in southwest Michigan along the lakeshore, and my current passion is Yoga for the Young At Heart, with a special focus on bone health. There are 55 million Americans who have osteoporosis, and Yoga has been proven to be more effective in preventing bone fractures than the current perscription drugs, which have so many side effects.
I've been teaching Yoga for almost 40 years, and I've learned a thing or two, primarily, how to address the issue of moving safely in an older, bigger, or injured body. Big Yoga covers it all!