REVITALIZE YOUR PRACTICE (AND YOUR LIFE)
JOU R NA L
& WAKE UP
A BETTER WAY TO
HELPS IN A CRISIS
POSES FOR A
Nov 2013 / Display until Nov 26, 2013
on the cover
65 | Revitalize your practice
(and your life)
56 | Build power in your core
68 | How to unwind at night
& wake up refreshed
44 | A better way to stretch
53 | How yoga helps in a crisis
74 | 8 poses for a happy,
68 | DAY & NIGHT
India’s ancient system of medicine offers
simple practices you can do to balance
your energy and boost your health.
by Shannon Sexton
74 | BABY LOVE
Prenatal yoga can prepare your mind,
body, and spirit for motherhood.
model: Jennifer Lane; stylist: Lyn Heineken;
hair/makeup: Erin Lee Smith/Aubri Balk Inc;
top: Prana; capris: Elisabetta Rogiani;
photography: David Martinez
TRINETTE REED AND CHRIS GRAMLY
by Jessica Berger Gross
N ovem b er 20 1 3
17 | OM
44 | BASICS
Bringing your practice to life
Head-of-the-knee pose Learn
Practice courage on your mat; ease
to extend your spine while stretching
commuting stiffness; interview with
your back body in Janu Sirsasana.
Michael Franti; naturally sweet cranberry
by Nikki Costello
56 | MASTER CLASS
28 | BEAUTY
Shape shifter Let the ebb and ﬂow
Squeaky clean Outﬁt a luxurious soak
of your breath help you ﬁnd your way
in the tub with eco-friendly materials.
into this challenging forward bend.
35 | EATING WISELY
by Annie Carpenter
Fearless feast Even for conﬁdent
65 | HOME PRACTICE
cooks, Thanksgiving dinner can be the
WITH CLAIRE MISSINGHAM
53 | LIVING YOGA
most anxiety-provoking meal of the
Free flow Shake things up with a
Ultimate practice Yoga promises to free us
year. Yoga can help. by Chrissy Carter
practice that lets you see your habits
from suffering—even the kind that comes from
in a whole new light.
life’s most difﬁcult experiences.
82 | REVIEWS
by Kate Holcombe
New books, CDs, and DVDs, featuring
an interview with yogi and kirtan artist
100 | YOGA SCENE
Krishna Das; plus a guide to ﬁnding yoga
Grand stand A reader puts down roots on the
wisdom to live by at work, Rodney Yee’s
rim of the Grand Canyon. by Shannon Costello
new DVD, and mantra music by The
Hanumen and Wah!.
in every issue
10 | EDITOR’S LETTER
98 | LIVING WELL
14 | LETTERS
4 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
94 | YOGA PAGES
12 | CONTRIBUTORS
99 | CLASSIFIEDS
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: DAVID MARTINEZ; SHERI GIBLIN; ERIC AUDRAS/GETTY IMAGES; MICHAEL WINOKUR
sauce recipe, and more.
Every Philip Stein watch contains wellbeing
technology to help bring order to your life.
JOIN US ONLINE
ASKED ON FACEBOOK
Q: What are
My child loves poses we can do
together like double Down Dog and
Lizard on a Rock. He also loves any
inversion, and Warrior because he
feels like a Jedi!
Robbie Michelle Short
My kids love the asana, but
their best bit is Savasana and relaxation at the end, to my surprise!
All three of my kids do excel-
lent Wheel Poses, much better than
their old man. Michael Kennedy
the family that practices together
Kids take to yoga like ducks to water. Want to introduce the
practice to your brood? Learn how at yogajournal.com/family
My 3-year-old does yoga with
me almost daily. She loves Tree
Pose and is getting better every
day. Her little sister even tries, too.
ON A ROLL
For a mash-up of articles,
inspiration, video, and
more, follow YJ’s Tumblr!
6 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
Check out the action behind the scenes as we put together this
issue of the magazine. instagram.com/yogajournal
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: DEBRA McCLINTON; JESSICA ABELSON (3); RORY EARNSHAW
Good stuff! Catherine Schmidt
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Kelle Wals h
Practicing in a community can multiply
the joy—and benefits—of yoga.
IT’S A BIT OF A PARADOX:
Yoga is an individual practice
whose ultimate goal is intimacy with the Self. And yet,
many of us are drawn to seek
the company of others who
share our passion for the
practice. The feeling we get
from being part of a community, or kula, is an important
part of why many of us embrace yoga.
French yogis celebrate community in a practice for peace.
Events like Solstice
Times Square, a day of yoga attended by more than 8,000 people this year, bear
this out. So does the growth of yoga lifestyle clothing company Lolë’s series of
practice-for-peace events called White Yoga, in which participants come together
to do yoga, wearing white as a symbol of their intention to cultivate peace within
and carry it out into the world. I witnessed this ﬁrsthand when I attended the ﬁnal
event of 2013 this September in Paris. The event, held at the Grand Palais des
Champs-Elysées, drew 4,000 Parisians—young and old, men and women, entire
families even—who came out for a practice led by Colleen Saidman Yee along with
well-known Canadian and French yoga instructors. Accompanied by the Opéra
de Paris string players, it was a beautiful and moving experience. As we chanted our
ﬁnal “Oms,” goosebumps climbing up my arms, I had no doubt that the sense of
peace that ﬁlled the hall would indeed go with each of us when we left.
And when I asked my neighbors, in fragmented French, why they had come, the
answer was immediate: “Pour faire du yoga dans ce lieu avec tous ces gens bien sur!”
To do yoga here, with all of these people, of course.
we may be experiencing a time when the kind of deep satsang the sages referred
to—the wise company that we have historically associated only with enlightened
teachers—may be available in any group of practitioners who are willing to be true
to their intention to grow toward a truly awake, Self-less, or God-centered state.”
Community doesn’t get much better than that. ✤
Let us know where you ﬁnd strength
in numbers at email@example.com.
1 0 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
As Sally Kempton once wrote in Yoga Journal ’s Wisdom column, “I suspect that
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How do you shake things up
when you’re in a rut?
I look for ways to change
or challenge my perspective;
taking a new route to work,
trying a new yoga class, or
cooking something I’ve never
made before. Inversions help
too. They literally turn my
New York City-based yoga teacher
CHRISSY CARTER wrote “Fearless
Renew your mind, body, & spirit
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Yoga and Writing
DECEMBER 24-JANUARY 4
An Introduction to Breath-Centered Yoga
Feast” (page 35).
We try to discover what we
feel passionate about and let
that guide us. We don’t limit
ourselves to only shooting
one thing; we love shooting a
range of subjects. Following
our passion this way keeps
us from getting stuck.
San Francisco Bay Area photographers
TRINETTE REED AND
CHRIS GRAMLY photographed
“Ayurveda Day and Night” (page 68).
JANUARY 18-25, 2014
Phyllis Pilgrim and Elana Rosenbaum
Yoga and Everyday Mindfulness
MARCH 1-8, 2014
Prime of Life Yoga
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87 7-440-7 7 78
I have an identical twin sister
who is a great yoga teacher!
When I’m feeling uninspired,
I just visit my sister Ann. Sometimes we practice in her home
studio. Sometimes I attend
one of her classes. Every time
I need a little yoga boost, she
gives me what I need.
JANE AUSTIN, the founder of Mama
Tree Prenatal Yoga School in San Francisco,
created the prenatal sequence on page 74.
1 2 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
FROM TOP: MELINA HAMMER; TRINETTE AND CHRIS; MARY AUSTIN
JANUARY 4-11, 2014
Stacy McCarthy |Yoga
talk to us
AU G U ST 20 1 3
Thank you so much for welcoming me home with
“Passage to India” (August ’13). I had just come
back from my ﬁrst trip to India and retrieved two
months of piled-up mail when I found the latest
copy of Yoga Journal. In the article, you point out
the importance of setting an intention for your
trip, but I say go without any intention or
expectation, especially if you are planning your
ﬁrst pilgrimage there. Embrace every moment
and encounter with an open mind, and drop
any thoughts like, “It should be….” Thank you
for the inspiration and beautiful photos!
SAC H I A I DA , CA N M O R E , A L B E RTA
When I read “Movable Feast” ( June ’13),
I fell in love with the idea of practicing
yoga at a local farm and then eating fresh
food, but couldn’t ﬁnd anything similar
near my Midwest home. So I contacted
my favorite outdoor yoga
instructor and a colleague’s
family who owns a strawberry farm, and we created
Yoga & Brunch at Berryville Farm on June 23. I prepared a light, nutritious
meal for everyone to enjoy
after their hour of healing
yoga. The participants fell
in love with the concept as
much as I had, so we are planning another
event at an apple orchard for the fall.
Thank you for the inspiration!
I am writing to thank you for including
male representation in your photos. I
teach yoga to kindergarteners. In June my
students created posters with pictures of
themselves in their favorite yoga poses.
They also included pictures of adult men
and women that I had cut
out from past issues of
Yoga Journal. It was exciting to hear the children
exclaim, “I’m going to do
this pose when I grow up!”
I think it’s important
that boys see pictures of
strong, healthy men doing
yoga, since yoga is perceived by some as a women’s activity. Thank you for helping me
show young children that yoga will help
them become healthy adults.
M A R I E C RYSTA L KU E N Y,
L E E A N N E S P O STO, H A M I LTO N , O N TA R I O
R AC I N E , W I S CO N S I N
M I C H A E L M AC LO C H L A I N N
I love Yoga Journal and have been reading it for many years. However, I was very
disappointed in your review of Kino MacGregor’s new book, where the reviewer
describes her as “short and compact” as
opposed to “long, lean yoga goddesses.”
Short and compact? Perhaps “petite and
strong” would have been more apt. I
expect more from you!
SY D N EY, AU ST R A L I A
E M M A L I N DA H L , STO C K H O L M , SW E D E N
I’ve been reading your magazine for years
and love it for its insights and wisdom. I
have found lately that the magazine has
become more feminine in look and content, and as a male yoga practitioner I feel
left out. Where have the male and genderneutral stories gone?
1 4 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
What do you think
about hot yoga?
Warm is hot enough for me!
CA N D I BA R BAG A L LO DAV I S, V I A
FAC E B O O K
Love it! Practice at least twice a
week in a hot yoga class. S H E R RY
R I C H MO N D P E E KS, V I A FAC E B O O K
I sweat enough in a regular yoga
class. C L A R I S SA BA N DA , V I A
FAC E B O O K
I really enjoy hot yoga. I just make
sure I drink water before, during,
and after. I like to sweat because I
think it helps detox. I think the heat
loosens up my body too. ST E V E
S H A R P E , V I A FAC E B O O K
ALL STEAMED UP
It’s bull. In a real yoga class, you
warm-up your own body through
asana. B E N JA M I N B E E L E R, V I A
FAC E B O O K
The exercise instructions and advice presented in this
magazine are designed for people who are in good
health and physically fit. They are not intended to
substitute for medical counseling. The creators, producers, participants, and distributors of Yoga Journal
disclaim any liability for loss or injury in connection
with the exercises shown or the instruction and advice
FROM TOP LEFT: ARTI AGARWAL/GETTY; JENAY MARTIN/ANJENAYA IMAGERY; JENNIFER MARTINÉ
bringing your practice to life
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.”
JUKKA RAPO/GETTY IMAGES
From the poem “Allow,” published
in Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 1 7
Practice courage on your mat, the better to face risks in your life.
Our bravest moments are
often the times we feel terriﬁed, painfully vulnerable, and
unsure of what might happen
next—and yet we act. There
is nothing particularly brave
about doing something
you’re not afraid of or that
has a known outcome. It’s
when you’re scared that you
need courage. It takes courage to allow yourself to be
vulnerable and exposed to
the unknown, to risk failure,
criticism, and rejection.
1 8 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
Why go through that?
Because all that really matters in life requires courage.
Falling in love. Saying you are
sorry. Being with a grieving
friend. Sharing your art. Telling the truth.
There is no guaranteed
safe road to creativity or to
intimacy, no risk-free route to
integrity or to love. The only
way to get there is by the exposed path along the edge of
the cliff—where there is
always a risk of falling or fail-
ing, and where it is difﬁcult
to defend yourself from
attack. The only way to take
that path is with courage.
And courage is not just the
purview of a lucky few (the
big, the strong, the rich, or
the young). It’s innate in all
of us. We are born vulnerable
and with the courage to remain so. But life teaches us
to protect ourselves from the
unknown, to avoid rejection
and failure. And so we forget
how to be brave.
New Zealand yoga teacher and
human rights activist Marianne
Elliott is the author of Zen
Under Fire, a memoir about her
life working as a United Nations
peacekeeper in Afghanistan.
JESSIE JEAN/GETTY IMAGES
Fortunately, yoga can help
you remember. My practice
shows me where I’m tense
and then how to see past the
tension to the fear that often
lies behind it; yoga teaches
me to trust my breath and
my body enough to let go
of that protective tension.
Yoga reminds me how to
take risks, and to honestly
answer questions such as
“What am I really feeling?”
Yoga teaches me to stay
where I am, to draw strength
and courage from my breath,
my body, the ground beneath
my feet, and the people with
whom I practice. These are
the same tools we all need
to hold steady when life gets
scary. When I step up to
speak at a conference, for
example, I know that I have
tools—like breathing and
grounding through my feet—
that will help me speak honestly despite my fear.
The willingness to practice
at all is a form of bravery.
Practice courage in these
small ways on the mat and it
will be there for you when
you need it most.
Yogi and musician Michael Franti is
championing a new cause: a foundation using the power of music to
uplift the terminally ill. He’s getting
the word out while on tour promoting
the eighth studio album from Michael
Franti and Spearhead, All People.
YJ What’s the connection between music
and doing good in the world?
MF The ﬁrst time I performed in a prison,
I learned that those guys didn’t want to
hear songs about oppression. They wanted
music about missing their girlfriends; they
wanted to laugh and dance and clap. I had
the same experience in Iraq: People wanted
music to help them transcend the pain of
war. There’s a healing power in music that’s
greater than arguments for social change.
YJ Was music the birth of your social
MF When I ﬁrst started making music, I
loved reggae. It’s music you can dance to
2 0 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
Michael Franti, 47,
has been practicing
yoga since 2001.
that also talks about the human struggle.
Our school [the University of San Francisco] had investments in South Africa,
and a group of us wanted them to divest.
I started to write poems about that. Then
some friends and I started playing found
objects—junk in abandoned lots, metal, and
whatever was lying around—and reciting
poetry. As I grew, I learned of the power
of melody and how it can move emotions
YJ Did yoga influence your new album,
MF Since I started my yoga practice in
2001, it’s inﬂuenced every aspect of my life,
especially my music. This record is a celebration of diversity. One of the things I’ve
learned through my yoga practice is to
quiet my judgmental mind and be open to
new experiences and people from different
cultures and different walks of life. All the
music on this record was listened to as I
was doing my morning yoga practice. Once
I would record a song, I would listen to it
as I practiced. I wanted to write songs that
were inspiring about life, and these songs
have been, I guess I could say, tried and
tested on my own yoga mat.
YJ What else has your yoga practice
MF One of my favorite teachers is Sharon
Gannon from Jivamukti. In one of the ﬁrst
classes I ever took, she asked, “How can
you tell how deep your yoga practice has
become?” People gave all kinds of answers,
suggesting really hard poses and being
able to hold them for a long time. But she
said, “No. The way you can tell is if you say
what you mean, and you mean what you
say.” That really hit me. And that’s what I
am trying to do—ﬁnd the words and the
courage to say them. At the end of the day,
yoga is the teacher. If you do the practice,
you learn about yourself. P H I L I P A R M O U R
YOGA JOURNAL Tell us about your new
MICHAEL FRANTI It’s called Do It for the
Love (doitforthelove.org). It’s like a Make-aWish Foundation for music, where people
with serious and life-threatening illnesses
can write to us and ask to come to shows
by their favorite bands, anyone from Jack
Johnson to Metallica to—Michael Franti. We
work to get these music lovers to shows to
experience the real healing power of music.
Long hours in the driver’s seat take a toll,
whether you’re commuting to work or driving a taxi all day. That’s why Andrew Vollo
and Klee Walsh, a pair of New York City cabbies and yoga teachers, offer yoga classes for
taxi drivers. “Cab drivers sit all day and are
under so much stress,” explains Walsh, who
completed his 200-hour teacher training in
vinyasa yoga in 2010. “As part of my teaching training, I was encouraged
to donate yoga to a group that needed it. As a driver, I knew ﬁrsthand
how much cabbies could beneﬁt.”
Walsh and Vollo teach a gentle ﬂowing practice in their weekly, predominantly male, 60-minute Taxi Yoga class at LaGuardia Community
College. They eschew chanting and spirituality in favor of breathing and
stretching. “These guys are used to putting on a direction signal and
having something happen, so we emphasize results,” says Vollo. “Once
they try it, they can’t believe how much better they feel.”
To survive his own 12-hour shifts, Walsh practices Sama Vritti (equal
breath pranayama) in his taxi, which he
says is the antidote to road rage. “It
becomes a sitting meditation that keeps
me relaxed, aware, and rational,” he
says. J O E K I TA
keep New York
City cab drivers
bent out of
SHOULDER CIRCLES Smoothly bring both
shoulders up toward the ears and then roll
them forward, down, and back. Inhale as you
roll shoulders up, and exhale as you roll them
down and back; then reverse direction.
SUPINE PELVIC TILTS Lie on your back,
knees bent and feet on your mat. Inhaling
slowly, tilt the hip points away from the ribs,
creating space between the low back and
floor. Exhale while tilting hip points toward
ribs, pressing your low back into the mat.
WRIST CIRCLES With a straight spine,
extend arms in front of you. Flex the wrists
to alternately point fingers up and down.
Then slowly rotate the wrists first clockwise,
ALTERNATING LEG EXTENSIONS Lie on
your back, inhale, and hug the right knee to
the chest while extending the left leg on the
floor, curling the toes toward you. Exhale and
switch legs. Slowly alternate leg positions in
conjunction with the breath.
THAT’S A WRAP
Created by yoga teacher Laura Guccione, the Spinal Support cushion by
Yogawrap afﬁxes to any car seat or
ofﬁce chair. It subtly supports the spine,
giving you a gentle reminder to sit up
straight. “It’s designed to stimulate and
train the core muscles into proper alignment,” says Guccione, whose teaching
is inﬂuenced by Iyengar Yoga. $35,
2 2 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
ILLUSTRATION: GREG CLARKE; PHOTO: DAVID MARTINEZ
NEWS & TRENDS
Taxi Yoga teacher Klee Walsh offers
these simple moves to relieve driver’sseat stiffness.
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If you suffer
from heartburn, adjusting
If you’ve ever had butterﬂies
in your stomach before a big
presentation or important
test, you know what stress
can do to the digestive system. In fact, scientists in the
emerging ﬁeld of neurogastroenterology—which studies
the connections between brain and gut—call the network
of neurons lining the gut the “second brain.” This helps
explain why restorative yoga postures, which relieve anxiety and calm body and mind, can be particularly helpful for
taming the symptoms of gastroesophageal reﬂux disease,
also known as GERD.
GERD happens when the sphincter at the bottom of the
esophagus doesn’t work as it should, allowing stomach
contents to leak up into the esophagus, causing irritation.
Yoga may help relieve the symptoms, which include the
burning sensation in the chest or throat known as heartburn or acid indigestion.
If you have heartburn, it’s a good idea to wait at least
two hours after a meal before practicing. Vigorous exercise and “crunching” actions can sometimes trigger symptoms in susceptible people; let yoga’s focus on balancing
relaxation with effort be your guide. If inversions aggravate your symptoms, substitute a restorative posture like
Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose). And if lying ﬂat
on the ﬂoor causes discomfort, elevating your head and
Try these postures to help ease heartburn.
Use a block to prop a bolster
at a 45-degree angle. Sit in
front of the bolster and
recline back. Bring soles of
feet together and open knees
out to the sides. Support
thighs and knees. Relax arms
at your sides. Breathe comfortably for 5–10 minutes.
24 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
Lying on the right side has
been shown to aggravate
heartburn, while Ayurveda
holds that lying on the left
side helps digestion. Lie
on your left side with knees
comfortably bent. Place
support under your head.
Breathe for 5–10 minutes.
SUPPORTED CHILD’S POSE
Stack two or three blankets
on a bolster. Kneel in front of
the bolster and open knees
about hip-width apart. Ease
the upper body down onto
the bolster, turning your
head to one side and relaxing
your arms. Breathe comfortably for 5–10 minutes; then
turn your head the other way.
Sit tall, relax, and turn your
attention to your breath.
Mentally count the length of
your inhalations and exhalations, and try to make them
equal length. Next, make the
exhalation one or two counts
longer than the inhalation, or
up to twice as long.
PHOTO: ERIC AUDRAS/GETTY IMAGES; ILLUSTRATIONS: DONNA GRETHEN
shoulders with folded blankets can help. CA R O L K R U CO F F
Makes 6 servings
1 organic orange
1 cup water
12 ounces fresh
5 Medjool dates,
pitted and diced
2 teaspoons fresh
1 Zest about half the orange
and reserve the zest. Cut
the ends off the orange, then
cut away the peel and outer
membrane of fruit in wide
strips. Holding the orange
over a bowl to catch the juice,
cut between the inner membranes and fruit to release
the segments into the bowl.
Put healthy cranberries
on your holiday menu,
without added sugar.
2 In a medium saucepan,
bring the water to a boil.
Add the orange segments
(including any juice), cranberries, dates, and ginger. Reduce
the heat and simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until
sauce is thick. Stir in the
orange zest, and refrigerate
until ready to serve.
to fall’s naturally sweet fruits and vegetables to balance
per cup, cranberries’ role in heart and urinary tract
the tartness of cranberries in holiday dishes. “My cook-
health is well documented: New research suggests that
ing philosophy is to use whole, fresh, seasonal foods,
their juice may be as effective as probiotics for main-
prepared without a lot of ingredients,” she says. “So I
taining good digestive health. Another recent study
might sprinkle fresh cranberries over yams or delicata
shows that the tannins in cranberries may slow the
squash and bake them. Or combine them in a sauce with
absorption of carbohydrates, helping to regulate blood
apples, pears, or dates, which add sweetness.”
sugar. But the tart berries are often paired with a large
Lauberth’s date-sweetened cranberry sauce, above,
helping of reﬁned sugar to temper their bite, making
has just the right balance of sweet and tart, with ginger
them something less than a health food.
and orange zest for added ﬂavor. Be sure to use an
Sonnet Lauberth, a Seattle, Washington-based holis-
organic orange, Lauberth says, since you’re consuming
tic health coach and the creator of the seasonal food
the peel. If you can’t ﬁnd one, you can omit the zest
blog In Sonnet’s Kitchen (insonnetskitchen.com), turns
from the recipe. C H A R I T Y F E R R E I R A
26 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
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28 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
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Bubbles, salts, and more turn
bath time into a spa retreat that nurtures your skin.
3 0 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
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T O D AY !
CHANGE YOUR BODY
IN UNDER A MONTH!
Almased’s unique and potent blend of fermented soy,
probiotic yogurt, and enzyme-rich honey can change
the way you look and feel. Simply swap out your
meals for an Almased shake the frst week, then ease
back into a balanced diet, and you’ll ramp up your
metabolism and burn fat faster. A lighter, more energized, more youthful you is closer than you think.
This ﬁrst critical phase of the plan
kick-starts and accelerates the
weight loss process. By replacing
all three meals with Almased, you
cleanse your body, ease digestion,
and reset your metabolism—all
without sacriﬁcing vital nutrients.
This week, you’ll start to torch
pounds as you return to solid
food. By starting and ending your
day with Almased, you’ll keep
your nutrients up and calories
down. Enjoy a solid midday meal
of vegetables, lean protein, and
healthy fat to sustain your energy.
+ Replace all three meals with
an Almased shake. (See
recipe at right.)
+ Between meals, have as much
vegetable broth as you like.
You can also substitute 100%
vegetable juice (low-sodium)
for the broth.
One Almased shake.
Cooked or raw veggies with 3–4
oz. lean protein (ﬁsh, chicken,
or tofu). Try chilled salmon over
greens or a piece of chicken with
steamed broccoli. (Find more
recipes at bikini-plan.com.)
8 Tbsp. of Almased
10–12 oz. of water, low-fat
milk, or unsweetened
1 tsp. of oil (ﬂaxseed,
walnut, or olive)
1 tsp. of cinnamon
or unsweetened cocoa
Blend and serve.
One Almased shake.
DIY VEGGIE BROTH
Cut up 1 lb. of fresh vegetables and sauté lightly in a stockpot. (Try broccoli,
leeks, onions, cabbage, and spinach). Add 4 pints of water and simmer until
the vegetables are soft, or transfer to a Crock Pot to cook. Strain, discard
solid vegetables, season broth with herbs and spices, and enjoy! Broth can
be stored in the fridge for a few days.
WEEK 3 + BEYOND
SUSTAINED WEIGHT LOSS
Depending on your weight
loss goals, you may want
to continue on the Week 2
plan until you reach your
goal weight—or incorporate
Almased into your regular
diet. It’s up to you! Try it for:
+ BREAKFAST ON THE GO
You can’t beat Almased for an
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+ A LIGHT MIDDAY MEAL
If you’ve got a big dinner ahead,
keep things light by having a healthy
breakfast and then enjoying an
Almased shake at lunch.
+ AN AFTERNOON LIFT
Skip the cookies and coffee and whip
up an Almased shake when you’re
feeling low on energy.
+ A PRE- OR POST-WORKOUT BOOST
Fuel your body with half a serving
of Almased before you exercise and
have the second half after to help
+ A LATE-NIGHT SNACK
Resist the urge to overindulge in
sweets by having a cocoa Almased
shake an hour or two before bedtime.
(Just add 1 tsp. of unsweetened
+ A VEGETARIAN PROTEIN
Getting enough high-quality protein
can be a challenge for vegetarians.
Almased is a healthy meal supplement
if you are going meat-free.
LOOK AT ME NOW!
“ When I was in school, I had plenty
of time to take care of my body
and exercise. But once I started
working, my daily workout went
out the window, and I put on a
considerable amount of weight.
I went from 121 to 165 lbs. It was
shocking. Then a coworker told
me about Almased. While I’ve never
been a fan of diets, I decided
to try it. I was desperate. And after
a few months with Almased, I lost
more than 30 lbs. I recommend it
to everyone now, simply because
WHERE CAN I
Go to almased.com or visit your
local health food and GNC stores.
GOT A QUESTION?
Call us toll-free at 1-877-ALMASED
(1-877-256-2733) or visit us at
FREE BIKINI PLAN GUIDE
for more detailed information
on the Almased diet and recipe
ideas at bikini-plan.com.
Enter Source Code: YJC
PHOTOS: SHERI GIBLIN; FOOD STYLIST: ERIN QUON
by Chrissy Car ter
Even for confident cooks,
Thanksgiving dinner can be the most anxietyprovoking meal of the year. Yoga can help.
IN MY DREAM, I’m sitting on my mat
awaiting instructions from a panel
of my yoga teachers. I’m at an Iyengar Yoga assessment, for which I’m
completely unprepared, and I am terriﬁed. After what seems an eternity,
they deliver my task. I’m to carve
a Thanksgiving turkey right there
on my mat using the props in front
of me: a plastic fork and knife. You
might say I carry some anxiety about
cooking Thanksgiving dinner. »
ea t i ng w isely
the turkey wasn’t fully cooked, the side
dishes were cold, and I sat down at the
table feeling totally defeated. The pressure to replicate the magic of my childhood memories, combined with the fear
of failing, turns out to be the perfect
recipe for a really bad time.
FEAR OF FAILURE
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
pounds Brussels sprouts
cup balsamic vinegar
cup olive oil
tablespoons maple syrup
1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim the ends
of the Brussels sprouts, and remove
any bruised outer leaves. Cut in half
2 Place on a baking sheet, and mix well
with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, maple
syrup, salt, and pepper.
3 Spread out into a single layer, and
roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once
or twice, until soft and caramelized.
3 6 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
I can still smell my mother’s kitchen
on Thanksgiving morning. The fragrance
of her homemade pies mixed with the
aroma of the turkey roasting in the oven
created an air of anticipation that could
be felt throughout the house. My sister
and I would watch the Thanksgiving Day
parade on TV in our pajamas and would
periodically be called into the kitchen to
help my mother stir a pot or lick a bowl.
The whole day was spent waiting for the
moment we were called to the table. By
the time dinner was ready, we were practically giddy as we loaded our plates with
my mother’s delicious food in the most
anticipated meal of the year.
Now that the torch of cooking the family’s holiday dinner has passed to me, my
anticipation has morphed into a recurring
anxiety about living up to my memory of
all those Thanksgivings past. Last year,
Whether in the kitchen or on the mat,
fear is like a big bucket of ice dumped
on the spark of adventure. Fear leaves
us either too much in our own heads to
access our inherent creativity and intuition—or so paralyzed that we convince
ourselves we’re not even capable of trying. Fear seduces us into a place of complacency, inviting us to avoid what scares
us in favor of dwelling in the comfort of
our familiar beliefs. Fear prevents us from
making mistakes and gaining the kind of
wisdom that arises from taking risks.
Patanjali’s classic text, the Yoga Sutra,
offers several accessible tools to manage
our fears. Foremost among them are practice and detachment. Practice, as outlined
in Sutra 1.14, includes three aspects: We
must practice for a long time, without
break, and in all earnestness. This last one
means we have to believe what we’re practicing is actually possible.
Sutras 1.15 and 1.16 describe detachment, which essentially means that
we understand that our identity is not
dependent on our success or failure. This
knowledge leads to freedom and a very
real connection to the present moment.
Which brings me back to Thanksgiving dinner. Once I came to grips with
the fact that the truth of who I am does
not depend on my producing a flawless
meal, my anxiety lifted. Practicing—
continuously showing up in the face of
real or potential failure—is trusting that
the process is the goal. Ultimately, it’s the
intention behind my cooking, the effort
I’ve devoted to the meal, and the heart
I’ve poured into each dish that will make
the meal a success.
I’ve come to think that a botched attempt at cooking Thanksgiving dinner
may actually be another opportunity to
continued on page 42; recipes on next page
ea t i ng w isely
sweet potato–ginger soup
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
large sweet potatoes or
yams (about 4 pounds)
2-inch piece fresh ginger
onions, roughly chopped
clove garlic, minced
tablespoons olive oil
cups vegetable broth
1 Peel sweet potatoes and cut into
2 Juice 1 to 3 tablespoons of fresh
ginger (you can use a juicer, a grater,
or a garlic press). Set aside.
3 Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil
over medium heat until translucent,
about 10 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and cook, stirring frequently, for
another 10 to 15 minutes.
4 Add broth and water, and bring to a
boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer
for 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft.
5 Purée with an immersion blender,
or transfer in small batches to a
blender and purée until smooth.
6 Add salt and pepper. Stir in 1 tablespoon ginger juice and taste. Add
more as desired.
3 8 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
eati ng w ise ly
homemade apple pie
Making pie crust is a great way to explore
the yogic concepts of practice and detachment. The dough needs to be just the right
temperature in order to be rolled out: When
it’s too cold it won’t budge; when it’s too
warm it gets sticky; when it’s been handled
too much it will contract slightly as you
roll. I like to have store-bought dough in
my refrigerator as a backup. Then I feel
invincible—just the attitude you need to
make a pie from scratch.
MAKES 8 TO 10 SERVINGS
FOR PIE CRUST
2 1∕2 cups all-purpose ﬂour
sticks (1 cup) unsalted cold butter,
cut in small cubes
∕4–1∕2 cup ice water
FOR APPLE FILLING
Gala or Golden Delicious apples,
peeled and sliced
tablespoons all-purpose ﬂour
∕3 cup sugar
∕2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of salt
tablespoons unsalted butter,
cut into small cubes
FOR EGG WASH
Splash of milk
Our small group adventures
in India may not guarantee
eternal bliss. But defnitely
an incredible curry.
800 970 7299
4 0 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
Flour your work area and rolling pin.
6 Roll out one portion of dough, turning it as you go, until you have a circle 11
inches in diameter and 1∕4 inch thick. For
easy transfer into the pie dish, roll the
dough over the rolling pin, then unroll it
into the pie plate, ﬁtting it gently. Roll out
the second portion into an 11-inch circle
and place onto baking sheet. Refrigerate
both while you make the apple ﬁlling.
7 Preheat oven to 425°F. Place apples in
a bowl. Add ﬂour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss until the apples are
8 Pour the apple mixture into the pie
dish. Scatter the butter over the apples.
Lay the circle of dough over the top, and
trim off any excess. Crimp the dough
together with your ﬁngers so the pie
is tightly sealed. You can decorate the
edges using the prongs of a fork. Cut
4 slits in the top so steam can escape.
9 In a small bowl, beat egg and milk
together with a fork. Brush the top crust
evenly with the egg mixture, and place
the pie dish on a baking sheet to catch
any overﬂowing juices.
10 Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce
oven temperature to 375°F and bake for
another 30 to 35 minutes. The pie will be
golden brown. If the crust starts to burn,
you can lay a piece of foil over the top.
Remove from oven and place on a wire
rack to cool before serving.
All recipes courtesy of Chrissy Carter.
1 Place ﬂour, salt, and sugar in a food
processor. Pulse until combined.
2 Add the butter to the food processor,
and pulse until the butter is the size of
peas. Do not overpulse.
3 With food processor running, add 1∕4 to
∕2 cup ice-cold water. Stop the processor
when the dough starts to pull together
but still appears ﬂoury. Do not overmix.
4 Divide the dough in half. Form each
half into a ball, then ﬂatten out into a
disc with the palm of your hand. Wrap
each disc with plastic wrap. Refrigerate
for 20 minutes.
5 Butter the inside of a 9-inch pie dish,
and line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
Tis Cold Season,
eati ng w ise ly
continued from page 36
live your yoga. Some of the best memories
are born of the times when nothing goes
according to plan—when you’re forced
to surrender. It’s often in those moments
that you get to know your own resilience
and experience a true connection to the
moment. One year my apple pie fell apart,
and I had no backup plan and a table full
of guests awaiting dessert. I decided to
scoop out the apple ﬁlling and spoon it
over some vanilla ice cream. No one knew
the difference; in fact, it was a huge hit!
It’s often when things fall apart that you
realize just how much you limit yourself
with your own expectations. Opening
yourself up to life often results in experiencing something greater than you could
Zinc Elderberry Lozenges
boost the immune system
and soothe the throat.
Get the same results with
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Tis Cold Season Don’t
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Call for free samples
point because there was no connection to
the approach. It’s the process of getting
into the pose, rather than the pose itself,
that reveals the nature of the asana. Cooking is the same: True appreciation of a dish
comes from a connection to the process
that made it.
Learn to let go of your expectation that
you need to whip up elaborate food just
because it’s Thanksgiving and this can
free you from the pitfalls of self-inﬂicted
suffering. It’s perfectly okay to opt out of
a challenging recipe if it doesn’t feel right.
I’ve learned over the years to ease up on
myself by swapping out difficult, timeconsuming recipes for simple, foolproof
ones, such as incredible, crispy roasted
Brussels sprouts with maple syrup and
balsamic vinegar (see page 36), which take
about ﬁve minutes to prepare before you
pop them in the oven.
Cooking, like yoga, is about connecting to yourself in the moment. Asana
instructions such as “stand equally on all
four corners of your feet” become useful
only when you can feel them in your own
body. Similarly, a recipe is only a guide-
Taking risks in the kitchen is about listening to the motivations that drive your
efforts. If I’m considering a challenging
recipe, such as an apple pie with pastry
made from scratch, and I can feel myself
getting excited about the process, I
go for it. I know that no matter how
It’s often when things fall
it turns out, it will have been worth
it because it was my commitment
apart that you realize just
to the adventure, not the result,
how much you limit yourself
that inspired me to be daring in the
with your own expectations.
ﬁrst place. If, on the other hand, I
stare at the recipe with a sense of
dread or expectation, or if I’m hoping that the ﬁnished product will prove line. Great cooking happens when you
something to myself or to others, then listen to your gut, trust your instincts, and
I know that no matter how it turns out, make the recipe your own. Use the Sweet
Potato-Ginger Soup (see page 38) as a safe
I will not enjoy the fruits of my efforts.
Practice your yoga in the kitchen by place to experiment and decide for yourtuning into how you feel as you create self how much spice to add.
This year, I’m not nervous. I know that
your Thanksgiving menu. Anxiety, doubt,
and fear can all be felt in the body and are no matter how the meal turns out, the
signs that you need to reevaluate your people who matter most in my life will
approach. Focus your attention on the celebrate the love and effort I put into our
process of executing what you can man- shared experience. I know that what I’ll
remember most is the attitude I choose to
age to the best of your abilities.
In yoga class, when you can’t get into a bring to the kitchen and the wisdom I’ll
challenging pose, the practice is to focus gain from opening up and letting go. ✤
on what you can do and then to do it well.
Flailing toward an end result will get you Chrissy Carter is a yoga teacher and writer
nowhere, and if somehow you arrive in based in New York City. Learn more at
the pose by luck, you will have missed the chrissycarter.com.
by Ni k ki Coste llo
janu sirsasana |
janu = knee; sirsa = head; asana = posture
“I’M SO INFLEXIBLE I can barely touch my toes.” As a yoga teacher,
I hear this again and again. I’ve even seen people spontaneously
bend over to reach for their feet to demonstrate their tightness.
I try to explain that you don’t have to be ﬂexible when you start
practicing yoga: The act of doing yoga helps you build the ﬂexibility
and strength you need. Even if you can easily get your hands to your
toes in forward-bending poses, that’s not necessarily a good measure
of your overall ﬂexibility. What really matters are the actions you
take to get them there.
If you focus on going deeply into a forward bend, such as the
seated forward bend Janu Sirsasana (Head-of-the-Knee Pose), and
your hamstrings and glutes are tight, you’ll bend from the spine: The
tailbone will tuck under, the upper back will round, and the backs of
the knees will pop off the ﬂoor. In this case, even though you might
still be able to reach your toes, you’d be missing the true beneﬁt of
the pose. The goal of a forward bend is not, in fact, to “bend” but
instead to fully extend and lengthen your spine while stretching the
back of your body—your hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and spinal
a deeper stretch
After practicing Janu Sirsasana, a
one-legged forward bend, you’ll be
better prepared for a full, two-legged
stretch. Practice the pose several
times on each side, and then stretch
both legs out and join them in Dandasana (Staff Pose). Reach for both
feet and see if you are able to bend
forward more easily in Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend).
• For detailed instructions on more
poses, go to yogajournal.com/poses.
Fine-tune your practice of
Janu Sirsasana with an
online video. Find it at
4 4 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 4 5
muscles—to the extent that’s appropriate for you. Although you don’t want to
bend your spine in Janu Sirsasana, there
are three joints you do want to bend in
the pose: the hips, the knee of the bent
leg, and the elbows. Learning to bend in
all the right places allows you to create
length and extension in the spine.
Bending at the hip joints is crucial in
any forward bend. It allows the torso to
extend forward while the spinal muscles
stay relaxed. If your hamstrings and glutes
are tight and you feel your tailbone tucking under, sit up on a folded blanket or
two. Feel as though you are sitting directly
on top of your sitting bones and that your
pelvis is tilting forward.
Having one knee bent in Janu Sirsasana
makes it different from other seated forward bends. The action of bending one
leg helps alleviate the pull of tight hamstrings and gluteal muscles on that side of
your body. The added mobility allows you
to extend the abdomen farther forward.
The ﬁnal bend in the pose is at the elbows. When you clasp your foot (or a
strap) and bend your elbows, the pull of
the arms helps lift the chest upward,
which lengthens the upper spine. And
gently pulling the shoulders back helps
maintain this extension.
Practicing the variations taught here
will help you ﬁnd extension in your spine.
In the ﬁrst variation (see Step 1), focus on
balancing your weight evenly on both sitting bones and on stretching your arms
upward. Lengthen the sides of the waist
equally to lift the spine and tone the abdomen. In the second variation (see Step 2),
focus on bending at the hips as you lean
forward and hold your foot. Firm your
arms to lift your chest and extend it forward as you press the back of your legs to
the ﬂoor. In the ﬁnal variation (see Final
Pose), lengthen your spine completely
from the bottom to the top. Bending your
elbows out to the sides allows the chest to
further expand and frees the upper spine
to move inward toward the heart.
4 6 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
arms tall and
stretch the sides
and lift the spine
SET IT UP
❉ Resting your hips on a blanket, sit
upright, and extend both legs forward.
❉ Bend the right knee, pressing the
heel into the inner right thigh, with
the toes touching the inner left thigh.
❉ Keep the left leg straight, resting
on the center of the calf with the toes
REFINE As you inhale, extend the
arms up. Bring the arms toward the
back of the ears, and then take a
deeper, fuller breath to extend the
arms completely and lift the torso.
Extending the spine and stretching the
back body in a seated forward bend can
have a calming effect. Practicing these
poses can improve digestion and soothe
the nervous system. You experience these
beneﬁts by practicing a progressive series
of actions: stretching and releasing tension in the back of the body, bending at
the joints with skill and attention, and
Keep both sides of the pelvis in line
and distribute your weight evenly on
both sitting bones.
FINISH Lift the bent-leg side of the
torso with a little more effort and
attention to ensure that the torso
lengthens evenly and that your spine
is lifted. Create space in the abdomen
by pressing the thighs down as you
stretch the arms up. Move your shoulder blades in toward the spine and
your abdomen back and up under the
ribs. Maintain this position for a few
breaths to energize your spine.
lengthening the spine before folding forward. When you practice Janu Sirsasana
this way, not only will touching your toes
become easier, but you’ll be getting the
beneﬁts of fully extending your spine and
expanding your chest.
Nikki Costello is a certified Iyengar Yoga
teacher living in New York City.
PHOTOS: DAVID MARTINEZ; MODEL: JENNIFER LANE; STYLIST: LYN HEINEKEN; HAIR/MAKEUP: RACINE CHRISTENSEN; TOP: ALO; LEGGINGS: ELISABETTA ROGIANI; BLANKET: BAREFOOT YOGA CO.
ST E P 1
January 16-20, 2014 | Hyatt Regency
BY THE BAY!
DR. ANDREW WEIL
FRIDAY, JAN. 17
Photo by Wari Om
Jane Austin • BARON BAPTISTE • Baxter Bell • Scott Blossom • KATHRYN BUDIG • Deborah Burkman
Annie Carpenter • Roger Cole • SEANE CORN • JASON CRANDELL • Nicki Doane • MATY EZRATY
Bo Forbes • ANA FORREST • James Higgins • Leslie Howard • SALLY KEMPTON • Eric Kipp
GARY KRAFTSOW • JUDITH HANSON LASATER • Tias Little • Giselle Mari • VINNIE MARINO
Josh Michaell • Sarana Miller • DHARMA MITTRA • Eddie Modestini • Mark Morford • Aadil Palkhivala
Charu Rachlis • SHIVA REA • Adam Rinder • Jenny Sauer-Klein • Stephanie Snyder • ROD STRYKER
Robert Sturman • DAVID SWENSON • Jasmine Tarkeshi • Colleen Saidman Yee • RODNEY YEE
ST E P 2
Keep lengthening, not
rounding, the spine.
extend forward to reach the foot
SET IT UP
❉ Resting your hips on a blanket, sit upright and extend
both legs forward.
❉ Bend the right knee, pressing the heel into the inner right
thigh, and letting the toes
touch the inner left thigh.
❉ Keep the left leg straight,
resting on the center of the
calf with the toes pointing up.
❉ Inhale and extend the arms
upward. Exhale, and reach
forward to hold the left foot
with both hands, or loop a
strap around the foot.
REFINE Pull strongly on the
foot, as you press it into your
hands or the strap to lift your
torso up. Straighten and fully
extend both your arms. Press
the entire back of your left
leg to the ﬂoor, from the upper
thigh to the back of the heel,
while also pressing the right
FINISH Lift from the waist
to the armpits to create equal
length on the sides of your
body. Move the back ribs in
toward the chest and lift the
chest even higher. Continue
pressing the outer right thigh
and knee down and turn from
the right side of the waist until
your entire torso is facing forward. Hold this variation for
several breaths to lengthen
the front of the spine and
make the back more concave.
elements of practice
In hatha yoga asanas, the back of the body is referred to as the west
(paschim in Sanskrit) and the front of the body as the east (purva).
Both sides are given equal importance and reﬂect balance and harmony in the body. The sun rises in the east, energizing our bodies
for the activity of the day, and sets in the west to prepare our bodies
for rest and sleep. When you practice forward-bending poses and
stretch the back of your body, you will discover that they can help
you relax, become quiet, and even sleep better.
Ready to take your yoga teaching
to the next level?
Gain new skills for guiding groups
and offering private sessions
tailored to your clients’ needs.
Learn how to balance individual
constitutions using doshic principles.
Discover Ayurvedic techniques for
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F I N A L P OS E
SET IT UP
❉ Sit upright and extend both
❉ Bend the right knee, pressing
the heel into the inner right thigh,
and letting the toes touch the
inner left thigh.
❉ Keep the left leg straight, resting it on the center of the calf
with the toes pointing up.
❉ Inhale and extend the arms up.
❉ Exhale and reach forward to
hold the left foot with both hands
or loop a strap around the foot.
REFINE Press both legs down
as you lift the waist toward the
armpit. Use your inhalation to
draw the abdomen back and
up while you spread and lift the
chest. Maintain the steady effort
of the legs and arms as you exhale and stay in the pose. Inhale
again and extend the front of your
body forward until the hips fold
more deeply. On your exhalation,
bend your elbows directly to the
sides and broaden the collarbones
and chest. Keep the elbows lifted
and wide apart.
FINISH With each breath
lengthen the front of the spine
and move the back muscles into
the body. Now the knee, hips,
shoulders, elbows, and wrists are
all bending to support your spine
to extend. ✤
Fully extend your spine
as you fold forward.
Juggling lifeÕs demands can
make it challenging to stay
centered. To get back to
yourself, sometimes you
have to take time out. ThatÕs
what the Kripalu R&R Retreat is
all about. No matter which yoga
classes, inspiring workshops, or
outdoor activities you choose,
it always adds up to the same
optimize your pose
Explore these modiﬁcations of Janu Sirsasana.
thing: a happier, healthier you.
come home to yourself.
kripalu.org/rr or 800.741.7353
mission driven, donor supported
To open your
hips Move the
thigh and knee
of your bent leg
farther out to
the side, while
still keeping the
outer knee down.
To relieve knee
pain Place a
or a strap behind
the back of your
bent knee to
make more space
for the joint.
To lengthen your
spine If you can
reach your toes
with your hands,
the foot and clasp
one wrist with
the opposite hand.
To quiet the mind
Place a blanket
or bolster across
your shin and rest
your head on it.
Relax here with
for 2 minutes.
right down to
Sticky-Grip Yoga Mat
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Many Paths, One Yoga Alliance
by Ka te Ho lcombe
Yoga promises to free us
from suffering—even the kind that comes from life’s
most difficult experiences.
WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME why I became a
yoga teacher, I tell them it’s because I was
lucky enough to have been hit by a motorcycle while studying social work in southern India 22 years ago. But that is only part
of the story.
It is also true that after the accident, my
teacher, friend, and mentor, Mary Louise
Skelton, a longtime student of yoga master
T. Krishnamacharya, took me to see his
son, T. K.V. Desikachar, to help me get better. Not only did I recover from my injuries,
but my chronic insomnia and headaches
But what really inspired me to teach
yoga to those who are sick and suffering
and make yoga’s tools accessible to others
through my work at Healing Yoga Foundation was spending the last three weeks of
Mary Louise’s life with her a few years later.
It was then, sitting with her each day as she
was dying from metastatic breast cancer,
that I really “got it.” I had understood how
yoga helped me heal after my acci dent
and how it could help others with physical issues. I knew that yoga could help one
become stronger and more ﬂexible, sleep
better, and feel more relaxed. But what
astounded me as I sat with Mary Lou each
day was how yoga was such a positive support for her, even in the process of dying.
Here was a woman in her early sixties who
had a loving husband and family, grandchildren, devoted students, and much she
still wanted to see and do. She certainly did
not want to die. She was also in considerable pain. And yet, knowing her death was
imminent, she was not suffering.
We had many talks those days—about
life, yoga, and how delicious butterscotch
was, all the important stuff. In these conNOVEMBER 2013
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 5 3
l i vi n g yo g a
versations, she was so clear, so calm, so
present. It was evident to me how much
her yoga practice was supporting her in
the dying process, and that this was the
result of her years of dedicated practice.
BEYOND THE BODY
Tada drastuh svarupe
As a result of yoga or sustained, focused attention, the Self or Seer is
ﬁrmly established in its own form,
and we act from a place from our own
true, authentic Self. YOGA SUTRA I.3
How is it that yoga can be such a powerful support, even when the body is not
able to do asana practice or even to sit
to do certain breathing practices? First
and foremost, yoga is for the mind, not
the body. (Though asana and other practices involving the body can be a useful
way to influence and refine the mind,
and the body can certainly beneﬁt.) Yoga
Sutra 1.3 says that as a result of yoga or
sustained, focused attention, the Self or
Seer (drastuh) is established (avasthanam)
in its own form (svarupe). In other words,
by focusing and reﬁning the mind through
yoga, you gain clearer perception and
learn to distinguish the mind, body, and
emotions from your true essence or Self.
You come to know that Self and act from
that place of the Self, thus reducing your
experience of suffering.
Then, the inner conscious is
revealed, we come to know the
true Self, and our obstacles are
reduced. YOGA SUTRA I.29
In Sutra 1.29, Patanjali tells us that as a
result of yoga practice (tatah), and speciﬁcally the surrender to a higher power
(isvara pranidhana), our inner conscious
(pratyakcetana) is revealed (adhigamah),
and we experience a reduction (abhava)
in the obstacles (antaraya) we may face.
Patanjali lists nine potential obstacles
in the next sutra, beginning with illness
5 4 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
or disease (vyadhi), but tells us that they
need be obstacles for us only if the mind
is disturbed. If we can connect with the
Self, we are less likely to be disturbed and
will therefore suffer less.
If it sounds simple, it isn’t. It’s one
thing to understand Patanjali’s logic and
promise of kaivalyam, or independence
from suffering. It’s entirely another to
practice consistently enough to actually
experience it. But this is why we practice.
The tools Patanjali offers throughout
the Yoga Sutra are designed to help quiet
all the distractions of the mind, including
patterns and ways of thinking that may be
dragging you down. As you go through
this process, you begin to know the difference between your ﬂuctuating and impermanent mind, body, and emotions, and
something else deep within you. When
you recognize the impermanent parts of
you as distinct and separate from that
steady, quiet, knowing place of your true
Self (which Patanjali describes as pure,
unchanging, and permanent), you begin
to cultivate a greater connection with that
authentic Self. From this place of connection, you can observe your emotions and
reactions and recognize them as separate
from your true nature, valid and painful
though they may be. This is the promise
of yoga. And while the process of getting
there may not be simple, the end result is
easy to understand: We feel better.
YOGA IN ACTION
For the last several years, I have taught
yoga as part of the Commonweal Cancer
Help Program in Bolinas, California. I
work with many people with cancer on
these retreats, and I work one-on-one
with people with cancer and other lifethreatening illness almost every day in my
work at Healing Yoga Foundation.
At the start of each retreat, I sit with
the participants to give them an orientation to yoga and what we will be practicing together. It is always a diverse group
in terms of gender, ages, types of cancers,
and stages of disease. Many have done
some form of yoga, and all have some idea
of what yoga is. Some are concerned they
will not be able to “do” the postures. Many
are dealing with pain, anxiety, fear, and
side effects from treatment. Often their
bodies have changed drastically, assaulted
by disease, surgery, and treatment, and
they cannot do what they used to. “How
can I do yoga when I am in pain?” “What
is the point?” and many other questions
along these lines arise.
What I tell them is that while I am
trained to adapt the practice we do as a
group to each of their individual needs,
and will make sure they are safe and comfortable; and while I surely hope to help
increase their comfort and reduce their
pain and other physical, mental, and
emotional symptoms, the real point of
what we are doing together is something
very different. My real goal, I tell them,
is to help empower them with tools and
practices they can do anywhere, in any
circumstance—waiting in the doctor’s
ofﬁce, getting a scan, receiving a chemo
infusion, riding the bus.
These practices can quiet the distractions of the mind and help each person
connect to that still, deep place within,
that resource of wisdom and inner knowing, great resilience and strength, deep
joy and peace, and the shining light of
one’s own, true authentic Self. Yes, I tell
them, the many practices of yoga, including stretching, movement, deep breathing, and meditation can be wonderful in
and of themselves, but each is just one of
many tools offered by Patanjali to help us
reach the real goal of yoga: to distinguish
between the mind and the Self, to connect
with and act from that place of the Self,
and, as a result, to suffer less.
I also tell them the story of sitting with
Mary Lou each day—about her incredible grace, clarity, and calm, and of seeing
yoga work in a way that changed my life
forever. No matter what your physical
challenges or your time of life, yoga’s tools
can help you connect with the Self and
face even the most difficult challenges
with peace and equanimity. As my teacher,
T.K.V. Desikachar, used to tell me that his
father, T. Krishnamacharya, would say, “As
long as there is breath, we can do yoga.” ✤
Kate Holcombe is the founder and executive
director of the Healing Yoga Foundation in San
Francisco. Learn more at healingyoga.org.
w it h A nni e Car penter
Let the ebb
and flow of your breath help you
find your way into this challenging
THE FINAL PHASE of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended
Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) is a doozy. After ﬁve breaths of balancing
on one leg with the other leg lifted off the ﬂoor at 90 degrees, you
forward bend over the lifted leg, bringing your shin toward your
nose and nose toward your shin. Is it really possible to do this with
a sense of ease and grace? you ask. With practice, it is.
It begins, like so many things in yoga, with the breath. The pose
requires open hamstrings, strong core muscles, and balance, for
sure, but also a palpable understanding of the breath and how it
supports transitions into and out of the poses. Practicing this pose
with awareness can teach you how using your breath can lead to
depth and ease.
Try this: Sit tall on a cushion or blanket, and bring attention to
your breath. Begin Ujjayi Pranayama (Victorious Breath) with your
inhalations and exhalations balanced in length and volume. Then
begin to add a short pause after your exhalations. Gradually you’ll
notice that as you inhale, the breath moves down, and the front
body—from the pubic bone up to the top of your sternum—subtly
expands, moving your spine in the direction of a backbend.
As you exhale, the spine tends to round as your breath moves up
and out. If you continue to breathe like this, you’ll ﬁnd that the base
of your pubic bone moves back at the top of the inhalations and your
tailbone gently curls under at the end of your exhalations. If you can
comfortably pause after your exhalations, you’ll experience a natural
hollowing in your belly and a lift from the base of your pelvis. This
natural pattern of breathing is the reason that we exhale when we
come into forward bends and inhale as we come out of them.
Next, try it on all fours, in Cat-Cow Pose. As you inhale, gaze up,
creating a slight backbend. Exhale, and round your spine, drawing
your head down and curling your tailbone under. Continue this
pattern, and again, try pausing brieﬂy after the exhalations. You’ll
observe a natural lift in your belly and a deepening into the round
shape without any more effort. »
Warm-up your hamstrings and hips while
you hollow and lift the belly.
Build power in your core as you simultaneously warm up your spine and legs.
Set up a strong foundation before you move
into the forward-bending phase of the pose.
Do yoga with Annie Carpenter at
the San Francisco Yoga Journal
Conference, January 16–20, 2014!
Learn more at yjevents.com.
5 6 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
PHOTOS: KATRINE NALEID; MODEL: ANNIE CARPENTER; STYLIST: MICAH BISHOP/ARTIST UNTIED ; HAIR/MAKEUP: RACINE CHRISTENSEN; TOP: PRANA; BOTTOM: ELISABETTA ROGIANI
Learn to create an internal lift of the pelvic
floor without overworking the abdominals.
Ride the wave of your
breath in this version
of Utthita Hasta
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 5 7
ma ster cla ss
You’ll use your breath in a similar way
to support you in the last phase of Utthita
Hasta Padangusthasana. As you inhale,
you’ll focus on lengthening your spine; as
you exhale, you’ll feel the breath initiate
the movement of curling your tailbone
under until your spine naturally folds
over your leg. As you work dynamically
with the breath and pose, you’ll also ﬁnd
your breath capacity increasing. You’ll be
able to take a fuller inhalation and really
get all the breath out as you exhale. Over
time your capacity to pause and retain
the breath after both the inhalation and
the exhalation will begin to grow as well.
Explore inhaling fully and then pause. As
you retain the breath, you might sense
your pose expand with no more effort.
In the pause after the exhalation you’ll
feel your belly hollow and, subsequently,
a sense of lightness and ease in your body.
You might even find yourself naturally
moving more deeply into the pose.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Before you do the sequence below, try the
breathwork exploration described above.
Then come to Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
and warm up with a few simple rounds of
Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation). Be sure
to sync the breath with each movement.
Upward Abdominal Lock
Tap into the natural core lift
that a complete exhalation
brings. Uddiyana is translated
as “ﬂying up.” In this posture,
you’ll create an internal lift of
your pelvic ﬂoor and abdominal muscles, which you will
sustain by holding the breath. At first
you’ll feel as though you are working the
abdominal muscles, but you’ll find that
as you become more aware of how to use
your breath, less physical effort is needed
to maintain the lift.
Stand with your feet wider than your
hips and with your legs and feet slightly
rotated open. Inhale, and lift your arms;
exhale, bend your knees, and place your
hands high on your thighs. Keep pressing
your breath out and straighten your arms,
grounding your thighs and stabilizing your
5 8 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
torso. When you are completely empty of
air, draw your pelvic ﬂoor together and up,
pull your belly back and up, and hold here
for as long as you comfortably can. Then
release all of the lifting actions, inhale,
and slowly stand. Take a recovery breath
and repeat twice more.
Over time, you will be able to hold
your exhalation longer and feel a greater
internal lift. The feeling is deep and
exhilarating, as though you were internally reversing the pull of gravity. It is
easy to overwork in this bandha; you’ll
know you’re getting it right when there’s
no hardening or gripping, but rather an
updraft of breath and subtle energy.
Note: This is a strong, advanced practice and should be practiced on an empty
stomach. It is contraindicated if you are
pregnant or are on your menstrual cycle.
Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
Create deep flexion
in your hips while you
release the back of
your legs. Stand with
your legs about one
leg’s distance apart with your feet parallel
to each other. Place your hands on your
hips. Press your feet down, and lift your
arches, ﬁrming your legs. Inhale, lift your
chest, and gaze up. Exhale, and fold forward and down from your hips. Place your
hands on the ﬂoor shoulder-width apart.
Press through your palms, and keeping your arms straight, inhale to lengthen
your spine forward. (If your hips or hamstrings are tight, come to your fingertips.) Exhale, and fold all the way down,
placing the crown of your head on the
mat (or allow it to hang straight down).
Repeat this three more times, dynamically: Inhale, straighten your arms, and
lengthen forward; exhale, and fold from
your hips, head down. Try a brief pause
after your exhalations and observe how
your inner body lifts from the base of your
pelvic floor toward your crown. Then,
keep your head down and hold the pose
for ﬁve breaths.
Keep lifting the arches of your feet
and hugging in the tops of your thighs.
Sense the elongation of your spine on the
inhalations; deepen the fold on the exhalations. Continue to pause briefly after
the exhalations and sense a residual internal lift from Uddiyana Bandha.
To release the pose, inhale, straighten
your arms, and lengthen your spine. Exhale, bring your hands to your hips, and
gently lift your belly. Inhale to stand.
Half Boat Pose, variation
Build power in your core. Lie on your
back, legs straight, with your feet at a wall.
Scoot yourself in toward the wall, walking your feet up the wall about a foot or
two. Press the balls of your feet into the
wall and ﬁrm your legs vigorously. Activate your whole body as though you were
doing Tadasana on your back, with your
arms reaching toward the wall.
Inhale; then as you exhale, press your
navel down, rounding your lower back.
Curl your tailbone gently up and into your
body to help you lift your upper body off
the ﬂoor. Reach your arms forward and
press the balls of your feet into the wall.
Inhaling as slowly as you can, roll back
down to the mat, keeping your legs ﬁrm.
Repeat for four cycles: Exhale, and round
your spine, lifting up; pause, inhale slowly,
and return back to the ﬂoor. Keep driving
your feet into the wall and rooting the top
of your thighbones back into their respective hamstrings on the inhalations.
See that you’re lifting from your belly,
not your neck. Maintain a long neck by
pressing your head back in space. If your
neck is tender, you can interlace your
hands behind your head and press the
head gently into your hands as you come
up. On your exhalations hollow the belly
back and draw the tailbone in. Then, on
your ﬁfth exhalation remain in the pose,
breathing as deeply as you can. Try to
pause briefly after each exhalation to
cultivate the natural internal lift of your
pelvic ﬂoor and abdominal muscles. It will
give you both more depth and ease in the
pose. When you’re ready, inhale, slowly
release down, and rest. »
m aste r class
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6 0 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
Test your balance in this
intense hamstring stretch.
Begin in Tadasana with
your hands on your hips.
Take a big inhalation and
shift your weight onto your
left foot. Exhaling, bring
your right leg up, hooking your big toe
with the first two fingers and thumb of
your right hand. (You may use a strap if
you cannot keep your legs straight.)
Bring your attention to your left leg:
Press down steadily through your foot,
and lift the kneecap. Press the top of your
thigh back to keep your pelvis upright,
Now, bring your attention to your right
leg: Press through the ball of your big toe,
and spread the toes. Draw the kneecap up
to straighten the leg. Press the top of the
thigh down to keep your pelvis and lower
back level. Draw your right arm back into
its shoulder socket to square your shoulders and chest to the front. Then move
your shoulder blades forward to lift and
open your chest and to help you elongate up through the crown of your head.
Steady your gaze at the tips of your lifted
toes and breathe smoothly and steadily
for ﬁve cycles.
Observe the subtle movements that
the breath creates, even as you hold steady
in the pose. Release the toe and slowly
lower your leg. Repeat on the second side.
Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Unite breath and movement
to create ease and depth in
this powerful forward bending pose. Begin in Tadasana.
Inhale deeply, then exhale,
and lift your right leg up for
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana; hook the toe. Take a
full inhalation to establish yourself in the
pose. Then as you exhale, lift your right
leg a little higher as you fold your torso
over it. »
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62 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
REACH BEYOND ASANA
m aste r class
Stay for four cycles of breath. On your
inhalations, ground your left foot and root
the top of your thigh back as you expand
your chest. On your exhalations, lift your
right leg and gently round over the leg. Try
to pause brieﬂy after the exhalations and
sense the hollowing of your belly.
On your ﬁfth exhalation remain in the
forward bend, breathing as fully as you
can. If possible, hold your right wrist with
your left hand. Bring your awareness to
the subtle shape changes that your breath
creates. You should feel a bit more spacious and grounded on the inhalations
and experience a lightness and deepening
of the pose on the exhalations. If your leg
isn’t very high, allow yourself to fold and
round more deeply in an effort to bring
the nose to the knee. If your leg is higher,
the spine will be longer and straighter—
either way, let the exhalations bring you in
deeper. Try to let go of tension and experience the effortlessness of your internal
lift. To come out, inhale, stand tall with
your chest opening fully, and exhale as you
slowly lower your straight leg to Tadasana.
Repeat on your second side.
After completing this sequence, move
through one final Sun Salutation. First
take Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (UpwardFacing Dog Pose) for a few breaths before
Adho Mukha Svanasana (DownwardFacing Dog Pose). Then lie on your back.
Take an easy reclined twist on both sides
and rest in Savasana (Corpse Pose). Finish in a simple seated pose, observing the
calm inner focus you’ve created.
Working intimately with your breath
has many rewards. It hones your attention, allowing you to witness constant
change as the breath comes and goes.
You’ll sense how each pose affects your
breath, and devote yourself to the subtle
effects breath has on each pose. You’ll ﬁnd
a lightness in your practice as you replace
muscular effort with breath support. And
you may ﬁnd yourself playing with a pose
that you thought was beyond your reach,
gracefully making your way, riding on the
wave of your breath. ✤
Annie Carpenter teaches SmartFlow Yoga classes
and teacher trainings at Exhale Center for Sacred
Movement in Venice, California.
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PHOTOS: MICHAEL WINOKUR; MODEL: JASON BOWMAN;
STYLIST: LYN HEINEKEN; GROOMING: VERONICA SJOEN; TOP:
OLD NAVY; PANTS: PRANA; BLANKET: BAREFOOT YOGA CO.
Shake things up with a practice
that lets you see your habits in a whole new light.
This vinyasa sequence opens
the hips and freshens your
perspective by asking you to
rethink actions that may be
second nature to you in
asana practice. For example,
you might always clasp your
hands with the same ﬁngers
on top or do poses on your
right side ﬁrst. The poses in
this sequence offer small
variations to draw your attention to your habits—and how
it feels to change them.
When the teachers at Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
in India want to stimulate
ida nadi (the left energy
channel along the chakras),
they begin standing poses
with the left foot forward.
If you usually start on your
right side, do the opposite,
and enjoy the focused, meditative quality ida nadi can
bring to practice.
When you consciously
change a habitual action, it’s
natural to feel a moment of
discomfort or uncertainty.
Be patient with yourself as
you move through the poses,
and observe any discomfort.
Remind yourself that bringing awareness to your habits
can open you up to new ways
of doing things, on and off
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 6 5
w it h C l ai re Mi ssi n g h am
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
ADEPT’S POSE, VARIATION
STANDING FORWARD BEND
Take 2 to 4 rounds of Surya Namas-
Sit cross-legged with an open chest and tall
Stand up with your feet hip-distance apart.
kars (Sun Salutations) to warm-up,
spine. Interlace your hands. (Remember
Interlace your ﬁngers (with the atypical
and end in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
which leg is in front and which ﬁngers are
ﬁngers on top) behind you. Relax your neck,
Take 5 breaths in each of the following
on top for later.) Stretch your arms over-
fold over your legs, and bring your hands
poses, unless otherwise noted.
head, and turn your palms up.
over. To exit, slowly roll up to standing.
7 PRASARITA PADOTTANASANA
8 VATAYANASANA WITH GARUDASANA
SIDE PLANK POSE, VARIATION
WIDE-LEGGED STANDING FORWARD BEND
ARMS HORSE POSE WITH ARMS IN
Roll onto the outside of your left foot. Stack
Come up to standing, and take a big step
your hips, and reach your tailbone toward
out to the side. Interlace your ﬁngers the
Slowly roll up, turn your feet out, and sit
your heels. Raise your right arm, and gaze
irregular way behind you. Hinge at your
low. Raise your arms in front, elbows bent.
at your top middle ﬁnger. To exit, roll down
hips to fold forward, and bring your clasped
Cross your right elbow on top of your left,
onto your toes, and return the upper hand
hands over toward the ﬂoor.
and wrap your forearms and hands. Gently
REPEAT POSES 3
THROUGH 6 ON
sway your body 6 times. Then switch arms.
to mat. Repeat poses 3 to 6 on other side.
REPEAT POSES 11
THROUGH 13 ON
12 PIGEON POSE
13 REVOLVED PIGEON POSE
Bring your left shin close to parallel to the
Bring your right elbow to the outside
BLOSSOMING LOTUS POSE
front edge of the mat. Press your pelvis
of your left knee, palms together in prayer
Come to sit with the soles of your feet to-
to the ﬂoor or to stacked blankets under
position, and twist to the left from deep
gether. Root your sitting bones down.
your left thigh. Square your hips, and lift
in your belly. Come out of the twist, and
Raise your feet, thread your forearms under
your belly. Press your ﬁngertips into the
repeat poses 11 to 13 on the other side.
your knees, and join thumbs and foreﬁngers
ﬂoor ﬁrmly to expand your chest up.
6 6 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
together. Exit and come back to sitting.
3 VIRABHADRASANA I
4 PARIVRTTA PARSVAKONASANA
5 PLANK POSE
WARRIOR POSE I
REVOLVED SIDE ANGLE POSE, VARIATION
Release the twist. Place your palms ﬂat on
On an inhalation, step your right foot
Exhale, and bring your hands to prayer
the mat on either side of your front foot,
back into a lunge. With control, turn your
position at your chest. Hook your right
and step back into Plank Pose. Draw your
right heel down and your toes out 45
elbow outside your left knee to come into
belly in and lengthen through your spine,
degrees. Reach your arms overhead while
a twist. Gaze up over your left shoulder.
reaching your head forward and extending
you lift your chest.
your heels back.
9 ARDHA USTRASANA
10 DHANURASANA BOW POSE
11 THREE-LEGGED DOWNWARD-FACING
HALF CAMEL POSE
Lie on your stomach and reach back to hold
Come to kneeling. Draw up and in through
onto your inner ankles. Press your belly,
Release your ankles, and come down to the
your navel. Raise your left arm back, and
thighs, and groin into the mat. Feel your
mat. Place your palms by your shoulders,
place your right hand on the sole of your
spine move forward, and contract your ham-
and press back into Downward-Facing Dog.
right foot. Focus on the length in your
strings and glutes. Keep your neck long with
Raise your left leg, keeping your hips paral-
sides without twisting your hips. Inhale to
the gaze gently forward, your thighs ﬁrm,
lel. Imagine a line from your raised third toe,
come up. Then repeat on the other side.
and tailbone tucked under.
and press it back as you spread your toes.
SEATED FORWARD BEND
ADEPT’S POSE, VARIATION
Lie down on your back, and enjoy Savasana
Extend your legs forward on the mat, and
Sit cross-legged with clasped hands as you
(Corpse Pose) for at least 5 minutes. Feel
ﬂex your feet. Take your ﬁrst two ﬁngers
did in pose 1, this time with the opposite leg
the belly open and spacious, and aim to
around your big toes. Inhale; lift your
in front and ﬁngers on top. Raise your arms
relax the shoulders, arms, and legs.
heart. Exhale, lengthen your spine, and
overhead. Breathe, and notice any differ-
fold over your legs for 10 breaths.
ence from the beginning of your practice.
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 67
India’s ancient system of medicine
offers simple practices you can do
to balance your energy
and boost your health.
IF WAKING UP IS A STRUGGLE, midday ﬁnds you crashing, and you’re restless
and alert at bedtime, it may be time to reset your clock. According to Ayurveda,
yoga’s 5,000-year-old sister science, one of the keys to good health and feeling
great all day long is living in tune with nature’s cycles. Literally and energetically, that means rising and setting with the sun. To help you align your system
more closely with the cycles of nature, Ayurvedic tradition recommends a
routine of morning and nighttime practices collectively known as dinacharya.
These rituals are designed to give you calm, focused, sustainable energy to
support meditation, yoga, and everything you do throughout the day.
“When I do my dinacharya,
there’s a sense that I’m taking
really good care of me,” says
Kathryn Templeton, founder of
the Himalayan Institute’s Ayurvedic yoga specialist training
program and an Ayurvedic practitioner in New Haven, Connecticut. “My ability to meditate,
teach, parent, and practice feels
steadier and easier. And I experience more peace of mind.”
To get back in sync, make over
your daily routine with the simple
Ayurvedic practices on the following pages. The morning practices
are cleansing and energizing;
they’ll infuse you with a calm
sense of presence. The evening
ones will help you wind down for
a restful sleep. Movement, such
as yoga asana, and meditation
are also essential to dinacharya.
Consider incorporating asana
before breakfast and meditation
in the morning and evening.
Choose one or two of these
practices to start, and after a
week, take note of your energy
level and mood. Then add a few
more and repeat the observation
process. Over time, these practices may become as routine as
brushing your teeth.
by Shannon Sexton
photography by Trinette Reed & Chris Gramly
According to Ayurveda, the predawn
hours are dominated by vata dosha,
a subtle energy that actually makes it easier
to get out of bed. Waking before sunrise ﬁlls you
with vibrant energy for the rest of the day. On
the other hand, if you wake up after sunrise, a
time dominated by kapha’s heavy, earthy energy,
you’re likely to feel sluggish. Predawn is also
considered an auspicious time of day because
its atmosphere is still and quiet, making it easier
to turn inward and meditate, says Templeton.
To ﬂush out any germs, pollen,
dust, or congestion that have accumulated overnight, try jala neti, a nasal cleansing technique that rinses the sinuses with warm
saline with the aid of a teapot-like vessel called
a neti pot. Jala neti is a nice prelude to a morning
pranayama or meditation practice. According
to yoga tradition, it equalizes the ﬂow of breath
between the nostrils and balances the ida and
pingala nadis—two energy channels that pave the
way for inner exploration.
Pour a cup of warm water (sterilized or distilled) into a neti pot. Add 1∕4 teaspoon of noniodized salt (kosher or sea salt), stirring until it
dissolves. Insert the spout into your left nostril,
lean over the sink, and tilt your head slightly to
the right so the water ﬂows through the sinus
passages and out of the right nostril. Gently blow
your nose and repeat on the other side. (Watch
a demonstration at yogajournal.com/video/195.)
When you’re ﬁnished, lie on your back, tilt your
head back, and put a few drops of warm sesame
oil or ghee (clariﬁed butter) in your nostrils.
Ayurveda recommends a practice called tongue scraping to
remove the coating that appears overnight,
which contains ama, or toxins, said to eventually
cause illness. Using a tongue scraper, gently
comb your tongue from back to front several
times. Rinse the scraper between sessions. Doing
this before you brush your teeth is thought to
stimulate the digestive response and get your
body thinking about its ﬁrst meal.
Before you brush your teeth, eat, or
drink coffee, mix the juice of half a
lemon in a cup of warm water (with an optional
pinch of rock salt and 1∕2 teaspoon of honey),
and drink up. According to Valencia Porter, MD,
director of integrative medicine at the Chopra
Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, this
drink ﬂushes the kidneys and gastrointestinal
tract and stimulates your agni (digestive ﬁre) so
you’re ready to metabolize breakfast.
70 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
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Ayurveda, massaging your body with warm, pure oils
promotes detoxiﬁcation and moisturizes skin—especially in the drier fall and
winter months. It also stimulates circulation and quiets the nervous system.
Treat yourself to a 10-minute abhyanga,
traditionally performed in the morning.
Porter suggests standing on a towel
in your bathroom with warmed, organic,
cold-pressed sesame oil at the ready.
Using circular strokes, begin with your
scalp, followed by your face and neck.
Apply oil to your palms as needed,
and work your way down one shoulder,
arm, wrist, and hand, using long, upand-down strokes along your limbs and
circular strokes on your joints. Repeat
on the other side.
Massage your chest and back, and
then gently massage your abdomen
in a clockwise direction. Rub your hips
in a circular motion, and massage one
leg at a time, using long strokes on your
leg bones and circular strokes on the
joints. If you have time, relax and let the
oil soak in for 10 to 20 minutes. Then,
standing on a wet towel in the shower
to prevent slipping, scrub off with a
mild cleanser. (Don’t want to put oil on
your scalp or face? You can use your
dry ﬁngertips instead.)
down, lower the lights
in your home to signal
to body and mind that
the frenetic pace of the
day’s activities is coming to an end—and that
it’s time to stop being
“on.” According to modern Ayurvedic experts
like Porter, that means
minimizing screen time
on your electronic devices for at least an
hour before bed, too.
Wind down by reading
or spending time with
your family or friends.
As night falls, light a
stick of incense or a
sandalwood and vanilla candle. Or
add a few drops of these aromas, in
the form of essential oils, to a warm
bath. From an Ayurvedic perspective,
says Porter, these scents have a
calming, balancing, grounding effect.
“When we consistently associate
these aromas with a particular state
of being, such as relaxation, we create a memory in the brain,” she says.
“The next time we breathe in these
aromas, our neurophysiology remembers that state of relaxation.”
“There are several
marma points, or
Ayurvedic pressure points, on the
foot that correspond to the entire
body,” says Hilary Garivaltis, dean of
the Kripalu School of Ayurveda in
Stockbridge, Massachusetts. “Doing
a foot massage, you can relax the
entire body in just a few minutes.”
Wash and dry your feet. Apply
warmed, organic, cold-pressed sesame oil to one foot at a time, using
your palms to rub the sole from heel
to toe in small circular motions. Repeat on the top of the foot. Massage
the ankle, followed by the sides of the
foot. Interlace your ﬁngers between
your toes, gently push the foot to
ﬂex and point, and make clockwise
and counterclockwise circles. Beginning with the little toe, rub each toe
gently, and apply a little pressure
in the webbing. Finally, pull each toe
slightly, and put on clean cotton
socks to sleep in.
Before bed, heat a
cup of organic whole
milk until it boils. Add a pinch of
ground cardamom, nutmeg (spices
that, in Ayurveda, are said to promote sleep), and cinnamon (to aid
digestion). Let it cool a bit and add
honey to taste. Warm whole milk
is used in Ayurveda as an insomnia
remedy. Don’t drink milk? Sip chamomile, valerian, or lemon balm tea.
72 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
To calm yourself
for sleep, or
before you sit for evening meditation, spend a few minutes doing Nadi
Shodhana (also known as alternate
nostril breathing). This cleansing
breath practice calms the nervous
system and, on a more subtle level,
opens and balances the sushumna
nadi, an energy channel that quiets
and steadies the mind.
Place your right thumb over your
right nostril to close the airway. Inhale through the left nostril, and
then use your ring ﬁnger to close
off the left nostril. Lift your thumb,
and exhale out of the right nostril.
Breathing in through the right nostril
and putting your thumb over your
right nostril again, exhale out of your
left nostril. This completes a single
round; try to do 5 to 10 rounds per
sitting. “This practice helps you transition from activity to stillness,” relaxing the body and mind, Porter
says. (Watch a demonstration of Nadi
Shodhana at yogajournal.com/
BEDDING: COYUCHI; SHIRT: GAP; PAJAMA BOTTOMS: CALVIN KLEIN
Shannon Sexton is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal. Her poems and
creative nonﬁction have been anthologized in ﬁve books including the
series Stories from Where We Live.
Prenatal yoga can prepare your
mind, body, and spirit for motherhood.
hen I became pregnant with
PRENATAL YOGA 101
my son, I couldn’t wait to try
Beyond my image of a yoga studio ﬁlled with
prenatal yoga. My pregnancy
pregnant women, I expected prenatal yoga
had been a long time coming, and for years,
to be similar to a gentle or restorative class.
while struggling with infertility, I’d imag-
Prenatal yoga isn’t simply gentle yoga but
ined myself in yoga class with other mamas-
rather a practice—at times an active, ener-
to-be, stretched out over a bolster, a hand
getic one—uniquely designed for pregnancy,
placed gently on my growing belly. I ﬁnally
says Britt Fohrman, a prenatal yoga teacher
walked into my ﬁrst prenatal class when I
and doula (trained labor assistant) in the San
was 12 weeks pregnant, elated but also tired,
Francisco Bay Area. Restorative poses are an
nauseated, and headachy. Little did
important part of prenatal practice,
I realize that the skills I’d learn
there would not only ease the
but most classes include a range of
they’d also prepare me for the
often physically challenging and
birth of my son.
poses that are speciﬁcally tailored
discomforts of pregnancy, but
also emotionally supportive. »
to pregnant bodies. Classes are
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 75
Strong and soft
Practice this sequence throughout pregnancy to create
strength and suppleness both physically and emotionally.
This balance will create more ease throughout your pregnancy and can be helpful during childbirth, too. If you’re
short on time, you can do the sequence in 20 minutes.
But if you can, give yourself more time to settle in to each
pose, to fully work your muscles, and to deeply relax.
(Pregnancy is different for everyone: Be sure to get your
health-care provider’s OK before you try yoga.)
hero pose with
The inspiration for this
practice comes from the
tiniest yogis. You try to
create the breathing of a
content and happy infant:
full, deep, and easy. This
type of breathing calms
the nervous system and increases the ﬂow of oxygen
to the uterus, supporting
both mom and baby. Many
women ﬁnd it helpful to
do happy baby breathing
during labor and birth, too.
Come onto hands and
knees and place a folded
hero pose with
Mothering requires many
hours of baby-holding.
This simple pose will
stretch and strengthen
your upper back, shoulders, and arms to help
Inhale and reach your
arms out, bending the
elbows slightly with your
palms facing up. Start by
holding this position for
1 or 2 minutes, and work
up to holding it for 4 to
5 minutes. The hold is
harder than it looks and
76 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
blanket, small pillow, or
block between your ankles,
then sit back onto your
prop. Bring your hands to
your belly, and close your
eyes. Allow your focus to
move inward as you deepen
your breath. Root down
through your sitting bones
as you lengthen your spine
and reach the crown of your
head up. This will maximize
the space inside for your
breath and your baby. With
each inhalation, feel a sense
of fullness as the belly expands. As you exhale, sink
your belly gently back toward the spine as though
you are giving your baby a
hug. Practice for 3 to 5 minutes or longer, if you can.
requires strong mental
focus. When you are feeling challenged, it may be
helpful to remember that
this posture prepares you
to hold your sweet baby—
they start small, but they
grow. Close your eyes and
direct your awareness
inward. Deepen the breath
and visualize your baby
ﬂoating inside of you. Use
happy baby breathing to
When you’re ready, release your arms, hold on
to opposite shoulders, and
give yourself a massage
to relieve tension.
at the San Francisco Yoga Journal Conference,
2014! Learn more
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Puppy Pose is a close cousin
of Adho Mukha Svanasana
Pose). It’s a good alternative
if Down Dog is too strenuous.
Start on hands and knees.
If you need to, separate your
knees slightly wider than your
hips. Ground your shins down,
and walk your hands forward
until you can rest your forehead on the ﬂoor. Press your
palms ﬁrmly into the ﬂoor,
keeping your arm bones
lifted. Once you’ve found a
comfortable pose, draw your
ribs in toward your spine, and
drop your tailbone slightly.
These actions will help you
ﬁnd length in your spine. It is
important to not allow your
belly to drop toward the ﬂoor.
Stay for 5 deep breaths.
» Having a community and using
tools like meditation, visualization,
and breathwork help you cope with the
myriad physical and emotional changes
that pregnancy can bring. And all of
the work you do on the mat—building
endurance, learning to relax through
intense sensations, and coping effectively with stress—serves as powerful
preparation for giving birth, too.
Many prenatal classes begin with a
brief check-in where students have
the opportunity to share experiences
and challenges from the previous week.
From there, classes might move into
a centering and breathing exercise,
a restorative or body-softening pose,
and then through a series of active
standing and squatting asanas before
ending with restoratives and a period
of deep relaxation with props.
For many women, prenatal yoga is
the ﬁrst time they’ve stepped on a yoga
mat, but the classes are beneﬁcial for
experienced students, too. Although a
knowledgeable yoga teacher can modify
poses to ﬁt anyone’s needs, you won’t
derive the same beneﬁts from a general
class. In all likelihood, a hatha yoga
teacher without prenatal training won’t
have poses like Polar Bear (an alternative to Child ’s Pose, see page 78) in their
back pocket, they won’t be knowledgeable about aches and pains common to
pregnancy, and they won’t have the time
to prop you in those delicious restorative poses. “A prenatal yoga class will
meet the woman where she is,” says
childbirth educator and prenatal yoga
teacher Jane Austin. For example, instead of doing a low lunge with arms
overhead, which can stress your joints
during pregnancy, you might be encouraged to do a lunge with your legs wider
apart and forearms resting on the ﬂoor
or on blocks. If you’re pregnant and ﬁnd
yourself needing to modify more than
half the poses in your regular yoga class,
it’s a good time to make the switch to
a prenatal class, says Austin.
LEARNING TO BREATHE
The foundation beneath all of the
poses in a prenatal class is the breath.
Prenatal yoga, says Fohrman, gives you
“the opportunity to feel your body and »
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 7 7
Some women ﬁnd a full squat difﬁcult
to do during pregnancy, yet squatting
is a terriﬁc way to gently open the
hips. If you experience any hip discomfort at night, try this pose before going
to bed. It may also be helpful to do
during labor and birth.
Start on hands and knees. Gently
draw your belly back to your spine, and
step your right foot forward to the outside of your right hand. As you walk
your hands to the left, pivot on your left
knee, and move your left foot underneath the buttock. Widen your sitting
bones, and lower your hips. As you
lower your hips, do not tuck your pelvis.
Go only as far down as you can while
you keep your sitting bones wide.
By doing so, you’ll open your hips.
With your legs in place, press your
ﬁngertips into the ﬂoor. If you want
to go deeper into the pose, bring your
forearms down to the ﬂoor.
Hold the pose for 1 to 3 minutes,
breathing deeply. If you experience
compression in your hip joint or feel
discomfort in your pubic bone, keep
your hips lifted and don’t go as deep
into the posture.
To come out of the pose, lift your
hips, and come back to hands and
knees. Repeat on the other side.
78 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
This is a comfortable alternative to the traditional
Child’s Pose: The hips are
lifted, making more room
for your pregnant belly.
The pose’s inverted shape
helps take pressure off
both the pelvic ﬂoor and
Polar Bear is calming
and soothing, allowing you
to go deep inside yourself.
You can do it during labor
as a refueling time or during your yoga practice as
a time to connect to your
baby and yourself.
From hands and knees,
bring your forearms down
to the ﬂoor, knees hip dis-
tance apart or slightly
wider to make room for
your baby. Press your
forearms into the ﬂoor,
and release your head
down. Visualize your baby
resting in your belly, which
is like a hammock. Stay
for at least 5 breaths.
warrior pose II, variation
With tongue ﬁrmly planted
in cheek, I like to call this
pose “Mama Protector
Don’t Mess with My Baby
Pose.” There are many
times when you’ll be called
to protect even your tiniest baby from other people’s opinions and advice.
This pose can help you cultivate the quiet strength
Stand tall, reach
your arms out to the
sides, and step your
feet wide with ankles
directly under the
wrists. Turn your right
foot out and your left toes
in. Inhale, lengthen your
spine. Exhale, bend your
right knee, gazing over
your right hand.
Rotate your palms up,
and lift your right hand
3 to 4 inches. Bend your
left elbow; pull it back and
down. Release your shoulders away from your ears,
and soften all the muscles
of your face. This is a powerful pose. A mama protecting her young is ﬁerce and
strong but also soft.
After 5 deep breaths,
come up and do on the
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 7 9
» your breath. And your breath is
your greatest ally while giving birth.”
A deep but gentle belly breath that’s
more a rhythmic pulsation than a
strong or hard engaging of the abdominals encourages softness and suppleness during class and throughout
pregnancy. Austin asks her students
to visualize oxygen and energy ﬂowing
to the baby as they inhale and to imagine softening the muscles around the
pelvic ﬂoor as they exhale. Working
with the breath this way quells stress
hormones and stimulates relaxation.
Breath is fundamental to a prenatal
practice, and so is asana. Standing
poses practiced with supportive props
can help strengthen the legs, ease
backaches, build stamina, and instill
a sense of conﬁdence for birth and
beyond. Prasarita Padottanasana
(Wide-Legged Standing Forward
Bend) with support under the head can
soften and release the muscles around
the pelvic ﬂoor with the intention
of making space for the baby to come
through. “In prenatal yoga,” says Austin, “we practice postures specially
designed to create suppleness in a
woman’s body so she can open when
the time comes to birth her baby.”
One-sided squats (see page 78) can
increase ﬂexibility in the pelvis prior
to labor. Baddha Konasana (Bound
Angle Pose) also promotes the quality
of release needed during birth.
Restorative poses such as Side-Lying
Savasana (Corpse Pose) and Supta
Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound
Angle Pose) over bolsters are particularly helpful. These poses are generously propped to give you the chance
to get truly comfortable.
Judith Hanson Lasater, yoga teacher,
physical therapist, and author of Yoga
for Pregnancy and the classic restorative manual Relax and Renew, calls
Side-Lying Savasana (see facing page)
“the magic elixir” for alleviating the
8 0 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
HORSE POSE with goddess arms
Step your feet wide apart.
Inhale, lengthen your spine,
exhale, and bend your knees.
See that your knees are directly over your ankles and
are not rolling inward but
tracking toward the pinkie toe
side of the foot. Lift your arms
out to the sides with palms facing up, and bend your elbows.
Preserve the natural curves
of your spine: Draw your front
ribs toward your spine to avoid
overarching your low back.
Don’t tuck your pelvis either,
which can ﬂatten your lower
back. Aim for a soft, gentle
curve in the lower spine.
Hold the pose for 1 to 4 minutes. See your baby inside of
you, and deepen your breath.
If your back starts to strain,
straighten your legs and rest.
With practice, your back and
legs will get stronger. Listen to
your body and take a break
when you need it.
You’re pregnant and
want to try prenatal
yoga. When do you
begin? And how do
you ﬁnd a teacher?
Some women in
their ﬁrst trimester discover that
a mostly restorative practice helps
with fatigue and morning sickness.
But most women, particularly those
with a history of miscarriage or infertility, choose to wait until the
end of their ﬁrst trimester to start
or return to yoga and try their ﬁrst
Look for an experienced teacher
with specialized training in yoga
for pregnancy. Some prenatal teachers have worked not only as yoga
instructors but also as doulas, midwives, or childbirth educators. A
knowledgeable, seasoned teacher
with a passion for pregnancy will
help you get the most out of your
prenatal practice. She’ll also make
sure you avoid twists, backbends,
or forward bends that are too deep,
overly warm rooms, and generally
overdoing your practice.
general fatigue that comes along with
pregnancy. Lasater suggests pregnant
women practice this variation of Savasana every day. She also recommends
Cat-Cow stretch for reducing lower
back pain. Shoulder openers like Garudasana (Eagle Pose) and arm strengtheners like Goddess Pose arms can help
prepare mothers for carrying and nursing their child. Bobby Clennell, a senior
teacher at the Iyengar Yoga Institute
of New York and author of The Woman’s
Yoga Book, adds that practicing Supta
Virasana (Reclining Hero Pose) with
bolster support can help relieve constipation, assist digestion, and reduce
In prenatal yoga classes, you shouldn’t
encounter poses that are potentially
dangerous during pregnancy, such as
twists, deep forward or backbends, and
poses done on the belly (think Salabhasana or Dhanurasana). There is some
disagreement in the yoga community
about inversions. Lasater says that we
don’t know enough about the effects of
going upside down during pregnancy to
recommend it. Other teachers, including Clennell and Austin, believe that an
experienced yoga student with a longstanding Sirsasana (Headstand) or Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) practice may
safely continue inversions, with proper
guidance, during pregnancy. If you’re
an experienced student with a longtime
inversion practice, the aforementioned
poses are thought to help keep your
endocrine system running well and may
simply feel right for you. The most comfortable and symptom-relieving pose
for me midway through pregnancy was
a 10-minute variation of Shoulderstand
with a chair. (Because your body changes
continued on page 89
CORPSE POSE side-lying savasana
Lie on whichever side feels
more comfortable to you with
a folded blanket or a pillow
underneath your head. Place
a bolster or a large, ﬁrm pillow
beside your right leg. Then
bend your left knee, and place
your left leg on the bolster.
Keep the knee and the ankle
as high as your left hip with
your hips square. Close your
eyes. Allow your breath to
wash over you and feel yourself letting go of tension. Stay
for 7 to 10 minutes, imagining
your baby resting with you.
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 8 1
BOOKS I MUSIC I VIDEO
song of love
One Track Heart:
The Story of
When his resonant baritone began ﬁlling
yoga studios with songs of divine love in
New York in the mid-1990s, kirtan artist
Krishna Das opened ears and hearts to what was then
a fringe musical phenomenon. Now, with 15 albums and
a Grammy nomination to his credit, Das draws audiences
of thousands and stands among a handful of artists who
have brought Indian devotional music into American
yoga culture. Das’s personal journey of meeting his guru,
Neem Karoli Baba (a.k.a. Maharajji) in India, losing his
way in addiction, and ﬁnding his path as a singer is the
compelling subject of the documentary, One Track Heart,
from director Jeremy Frindel, which is now out on DVD.
Q YOGA JOURNAL In the ﬁlm, you
shared your story candidly. Was it hard
to be so vulnerable on camera?
A KRISHNA DAS No, I really don’t have
much to offer anybody except my own
experiences—how chanting, my guru in
India, and the whole path have changed
my life and how it works for me. I feel it’s
useful, because people really don’t have
any concept of what spiritual work is or
why you might want to do it or how it
manifests in daily life.
Q YJ You struggled with depression and
drug addiction after your guru’s death in
1973. What brought you back to your
practice, and to health?
A KD I had an epiphany one day in 1994
when I was standing in my apartment.
All of a sudden, I knew without a doubt
that if I did not chant with people, I
would never be able to clean out the dark
corners of my own heart. I just went down
to Jivamukti [Yoga School in New York]
and I sang with, like, 10 people. And then
I went back the next week, and the next.
I’m still doing it.
Q YJ Why do you chant kirtan—and
why should we?
A KD My guru showed me what love is—
real love, unconditional love, love that
lasts 24 hours a day. It’s who we are—it’s
our true nature. I want to live in that love,
and the way I can do that is to chant. I
think that the reason people come around
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 82
At Kripalu, we invite you to breathe—to intentionally
pause the ongoing demands of life, bring your
attention inward, and rediscover your authentic
nature. Conscious engagement with the breath
connects you with the intelligence and power of the
life force within and around you. Whenever you are
faced with a challenge—on the yoga mat, in a
relationship, at work, or with your health—you can
draw on a deep sense of ease, purpose, and mastery
to create positive change. We call it the yoga of life.
To learn more: 800.741.7353 or kripalu.org
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is because they feel that love. Chanting
reminds us what that love feels like.
Q YJ As kirtan becomes more popular,
are you concerned that it’s getting away
from its roots?
A KD Some people think they can ﬁnd
some melodies and put some mantras to
them, and now they’re chanting. But they
may not understand that this is spiritual
practice. This is not entertainment. These
chants have power. They have the ability
to change us. S H A N N O N S E X TO N
Yoga Wisdom at Work: Finding Sanity
Off the Mat and On the Job
Maren and Jamie Showkeir
Yoga asana classes are popular
features of corporate wellness
programs. Now a new book,
Yoga Wisdom at Work, sheds
light on how yoga’s deeper
ethical and meditative tools can address
the stress, interpersonal tensions, and
ethical challenges of today’s workplace.
Written by business consultants and longtime students of yoga Maren and Jamie
Showkeir, the book breaks down yoga’s
core principles into accessible teachings
to practice at work.
The duo draw on their study of yoga
and years of helping businesses improve
their work culture to make relevant connections between the two disciplines.
The book covers each of classical yoga’s
eight limbs (including pranayama and
meditation instruction) and offers ways
to apply the principles to work life. For
example, the authors suggest that living
the yogic principle of nonstealing (asteya)
will prevent you from stealing coworkers’
time by mindlessly hitting “reply all” to an
email. Or, that taking several deep breaths
during meetings, instead of answering
before the other person finishes a sentence, can foster mutual understanding.
With its emphasis on developing insight
and compassion,Yoga Wisdom at Work is
an inspiring guide to help you discover
your career potential and navigate workplace stress. CA R O L K R U CO F F
Yoga for Energy & Stress Relief
With more than 26 years
teaching yoga and 20 years
of creating yoga videos
to his credit, Rodney Yee
has mastered the art of
video instruction: no distractions, no unnecessary chatter; just
clear, succinct asana instruction and verbal cues that take you deep into the practice. His latest release, Yoga for Energy &
Stress Relief, is an enjoyable and effective
program of three 20-minute practices and
two bonus practices intended to relieve
tension and restore vitality for anyone
feeling tired and stressed.
The opening Awaken & Energize segment is an enlivening series of twists, hipopeners and forward folds. The Gentle
Relaxation and Restore & Rejuvenate
segments offer calming restorative poses.
The slow, gentle Soothe & Stretch practice is ideal for sore, overworked muscles.
Oct. 31–Nov. 3, 2013
Photo by Wari Om
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8 4 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
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rev i ews I mu sic
(True to his Iyengar Yoga roots, Yee uses
a chair as a prop in all ﬁve practices.) The
video concludes with a Mountain Meditation led by Yee’s wife and teaching partner
Colleen Saidman Yee. This video is especially helpful for those with injuries, or
for anyone who wants to hit pause on a
busy day and take a well-instructed yoga
time-out. K AT H A R I N E R A E
The Hanumen | The Hanumen
The stunning debut release from a new fourman band, the Hanumen,
blends chanting, poetry,
world music, and storytelling into a magical brew of sacred love
songs. The band—mantra musicians
Gaura Vani and Benjy Wertheimer, poetpercussionist John De Kadt, and instrumentalist Purushartha Dasa—creates an
inspiring musical unity from diverse spiritual and musical traditions. Touching on
themes of grief, love, and devotion, the
songs on this self-titled album (a play on
the name of the Hindu monkey god,
Hanuman), include a zydeco-style “Hare
Krishna” chant; a 10-minute hymnlike
love song called “Come Dance with Me,”
inspired by a Suﬁ poem; and an epic rendition of the African American spiritual,
“Wade in the Water.” The latter weaves in
poetry from Rumi, a chant to Krishna,
and a bluesy, baritone rendition of “Swing
Low, Sweet Chariot,” while instruments
including the hang (a metal hand drum),
violin, and clarinet add rhythm and melody. A highlight of the album is “I Love
You,” a stripped-down yet sweetly moving
call-and-response between Gaura Vani
and a heavenly chorus, accompanied by
acoustic guitar, with lyrics that express
adoration for the divine in all its forms.
Driven by Vani’s tender, tenor voice,
every song the band performs pulls at
the heartstrings. The Hanumen provides
a mellow yet uplifting soundtrack for
yoga and relaxation, and may even move
some listeners to raise their own voices in
melodic prayer. S H A N N O N S E X TO N
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8 6 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
The Art of
October 19, 2013–January 26, 2014
The world’s ﬁrst exhibition on yogic art
Generous support for the
exhibition is provided by
Additional support is provided by the Ebrahimi Family
Foundation, Catherine Glynn Benkaim, IndiaTourism,
and the Together We’re One crowdfunding campaign.
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Detail, Yoga Narasimha, Vishnu in his Man-Lion Avatar, India, Tamil Nadu, ca. 1250, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Norman Zaworski, 1973.187[i]
April 24–28, 2014 | Hilton Midtown
IN THE CITY!
Photo by Wari Om
Colleen Saidman Yee
FRIDAY EVENING KEYNOTE BY CAROLINE MYSS
continued from page 81
drastically during pregnancy, it’s best
to practice these poses at a wall or with
props, and to ask your teacher for help
the ﬁrst few times. And be sure to talk to
your doctor or midwife before deciding
to practice inversions during pregnancy.)
RELAX, RELEASE, ACCEPT
According to Lasater, the biggest beneﬁt
of prenatal yoga is learning to relax. Going
through pregnancy and its myriad physical and hormonal changes can be exhausting. Natural worries may emerge about
your baby’s health, and the imminent
transition to parenting can be stressful.
A great prenatal yoga class will help you
ﬁnd complete comfort and release, which
encourages what’s known as the relaxation response. This healing state creates
physiological changes: Your heart rate
slows, your blood pressure drops, your
breathing becomes deep and rhythmic,
and stress hormones such as adrenaline
and cortisol dissipate. Once you experience it, you can use yoga techniques to
encourage the relaxation response anytime. “Learning to relax deeply is a life
Pilates: the perfect addition
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continued on page 91
Take some time
to connect with
both your hopes
and your fears.
Sit in a comfortable position on
the ﬂoor or in a chair. Breathe deeply
for a few minutes, sending your breath
to the baby that’s growing inside you.
Take a few minutes to think about
your hopes and dreams about birth—
and about your subsequent journey
together as mother and child. Imagine
yourself feeling empowered, loved,
safe, and being an active participant
in your birth. See yourself as a loving
parent who knows how to care for
your precious child. Notice any positive sensations that arise, and sit with
them for a few moments.
Then bring to mind fears or worries
you have about birth and parenting.
Welcome them into your mind’s ﬁeld.
Acknowledge their presence, and then
visualize yourself letting go of them.
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 89
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continued from page 89
skill that could not be more important for
a pregnant woman,” says Lasater.
When you’re relaxed, you not only feel
less stress but you’re also able to more
easily cope with stressors that do arise.
This is key during both pregnancy and
labor. When you’re faced with the ﬂood
of stress hormones that labor generates,
the ability to stay calm and relaxed can
help you contend with the intensity of
the sensations and the decisions that
may crop up from moment to moment.
Rachel Yellin, a prenatal yoga teacher and
childbirth educator, told me that studying prenatal yoga can guide a woman to
“recognize when and where she is tense
and then consciously let that tension go.”
By training your awareness to consciously
release tension in class, you can do the
same during labor and birth.
Along with cultivating relaxation
comes the willingness to surrender to the
experience of pregnancy and birth. Ishvara pranidhana, or surrender to a higher
source, is a key teaching in Patanjali’s Yoga
Sutra, and both Lasater and Austin emphasize it in their classes. “Birthing a baby
requires both great effort and the ability
to totally let go. We cultivate this on the
yoga mat so that we can take it off the mat
and into labor and birth,” says Austin.
During pregnancy, you might invoke surrender when facing difﬁcult thoughts or
emotions: Perhaps you’re fearful about
childbirth, worried about your baby’s
health, or even disappointed that your
pregnancy isn’t as easy or blissful as you’d
imagined. During labor, surrender translates to releasing into rather than resisting
physical sensations. It means balancing
your breathwork, relaxation skills, and
concentrated effort with an attitude of
surrendering to the outcome.
The quality of surrender can also help
you manage difﬁcult emotions that can
come if your birth doesn’t go exactly as
planned. A recent client of Fohrman’s was
an experienced yoga and meditation student who hoped for a drug-free birth attended by midwives. She ended up having
a four-day labor resulting in a cesarean
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YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 9 1
birth—and a healthy baby. “She embodied
a perfect balance of effort and surrender,”
Fohrman says. “She put forth committed
effort and practice before the birth and
during her labor. We tried everything during those four days, and yet it didn’t go
how the parents wanted. But she can look
back and know she showed up for that
experience. She put in her best effort, and
then she surrendered to what is greater, to
what she couldn’t understand. She did
that so gracefully and stayed in her power.
She did everything she could do.”
I didn’t end up with the birth I’d
planned either. After many hours of labor,
I had to have an emergency cesarean
birth. My son was immediately taken to
the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU),
and I was left alone in a recovery room.
I was overﬂowing with emotion. Although overjoyed to have given birth,
I couldn’t help but feel disappointed in
how my birth story had played out, and I
was devastated not to have my son in my
arms yet. While my husband stayed with
our son, I was taken in a wheelchair to my
you do your
room on a different ﬂoor of the hospital
and told to rest. After a few hours in my
room, I insisted on being wheeled to the
NICU to see and nurse my baby.
Perhaps it was the prenatal yoga practice that gave me the fortitude, clearheadedness, and determination to get
myself there. The Warrior poses helped
build my strength; the chair Shoulderstands kept my hormones balanced; the
restorative postures such as Reclining
Bound Angle Pose and Reclining Hero
Pose infused me with a quiet clarity. As
dawn broke, I held my baby in my arms,
nursed him for the first time, and sang
to him. Looking back at that moment,
thinking of the two of us nestled together
in a hospital chair, I’m reminded of Yoga
Sutra 1.1, Atha yoga anushasanam: Now
the teachings of yoga. ✤
Jessica Berger Gross is the editor of About
What Was Lost: 20 Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope. She lives
with her husband and their five-year-old
son in Brooklyn.
YOGA JOURNAL Issue 260 (ISSN 0191-0965),
established in 1975, is published nine times a year
(February, March, May, June, August, September,
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Publishing, Inc., 475 Sansome Street, Suite 850, San
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reconnect with nature at Casa Verde. Personalized
Instruction, Cleansing Cuisine, charming accommodations, spectacular locations. Visit
YOGA, CROSSFIT, ADVENTURE RETREAT WITH
MARINES! Focus on play, performance, recovery,
mobility, and de-stress in Costa Rica this January.
SOUTH AFRICA YOGA-MEDITATION RETREAT
Safari, beach, hike, meditation, wine, Pitaiyo, volunteer,
yoga, shop. All inclusive. Pitaiyo.com/travel.
ADVANCED YOGA TEACHER TRAINING RESIDENTIAL INTENSIVES (300 additional hours for
500 hour registration). Excellent faculty. Two modules
in India: “Sutra” 150 hours, Rishikesh, November 9–23.
“Gita” 150 hours, Goa, December 2-16. Both modules offered annually. Take one or both in 2013. Call (413) 7764188, visit FrogLotusYogaInternational.com.
Check simplepleasure.biz for schedule or call (608)
YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M 9 9
While hiking around the southern
rim, I rooted down, moved with
the breeze, and used the canyon
as my focal point. It made me
realize how small I am and how
wondrous nature is.
S H A N N O N COST E L LO, pictured at
the Grand Canyon
be part of the yoga scene
Submit your favorite yoga photo
1 0 0 YO GAJ O U R N A L .CO M
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