Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Five Steps to Your Yoga Edge

Edges are marked by pain for a reason - they help define your limits.

It's important for us to gently nudge those limits as we grow older especially.  As our bodies age, range of motion decreases as well as our range of experience.  In yoga we learn to find our limits and gently push on them, with mindful attention and loving kindness.  As we do so we maintain our nimble body and minds longer, and continue to enjoy all life has to offer.

You can consider each yoga pose as a map to explore your edges.  The pose itself is never a destination, it's never complete.  Rather, the pose is a template, an ever evolving experience that allows you to safely expand from the inside out and to come up against these limits.  Pain is good.  It's an built-in self-protective mechanism that tells us when we've gone too far in a pose.  Work in the space right before pain and you'll discover more opening that you can imagine.

While playing on our edge, we will become aware of the fine line between pain an intensity.  For the novice, all yoga poses may feel painful.  Just stretching and holding our bodies will create some resistance.  The key is to work at the point right before the physical resistance emerges.  Why?  because when the body resists it will naturally tighten and work against you.  You will experience the opposite of yoga!  This resistance is marked by pain.  It doesn't matter at what point in a pose this occurs, whenever it does that's your queue to back off.

Intensity is a range of sensation that can be confused with pain.  A family member of mine, when first trying yoga, thought a simple stretch was "painful".  After some instruction and direct experience, she was able to distinguish between pain and high intensity.

These "high intensity" moments have a seductive quality to them. They are safe and are usually radiating form the belly of the muscle (rather than form a joint).  Intensity is necessary to bring you to your edge and it's best when this intensity is mindfully self-generated.

How do you use intensity to play on your edge?

Schiffmann suggests the following five steps:
  1. Find your first edge.  The moment in a pose, like a forward fold, where you just start to feel a stretch.
  2. Stop at the first edge and deepen your breath.
  3. Redefine your energy lines so they are smooth and unobstructed.
  4. Wait patiently for the opening instead of blowing past it to your limit.
  5. Allow the pose to sneak up on you and only continue further when the body "opens" or rather, when the initial sensation starts to diminish and you could use a little more.
Too often we are more aware of where we aren't than where we are.

Yoga encourages you to explore deeply where you are.  Be where your body is.  A yoga pose isn't an example of all the things you don't have, it's a doorway into a deeper understanding of all that you do have.  

"The art of yoga lies in how well you play with your edges, how delicately you flirt with your limitations, how well you lure yourself deeper into the postures, how sensitively you balance the desire to achieve results with the relaxation of non-desire and surrender, and how thoroughly you immerse yourself in the process of enjoying what you are doing."  ~ Schiffmann

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Rhody Momtreprenuers Can Have it All

When I was contacted by Kim Kalunian about being part of an article for WPRO on Momtreprenuers, I was flattered.  When I learned who else was interviewed for the article, I was humbled.  The women, mothers, and business owners highlighted in Kalunian's piece have served as inspiration to me even before my current business partner Jenn Thomas convinced me to make a vision become reality.

Local mothers like Roisin McGettigan, founder of Believe I Am, truly seem to "have it all".  Not because everything they do is wildly successful, but rather because the passion and love they invest in each and every moment leads to happiness, a happiness not reliant on success but on authentic relationships and connection.

When with McGettingan, you feel like you're the most important person she could chat with in the world.  No matter if she's in the middle of pitching partnerships to big-name fitness brands or planning her next "Run with Ro" free running group for the PVD Lady Project, when she's with you, she's with you.  Her mindful approach to life directly effects her happiness and her ability to help others connect with that happiness.

If mothers are pressured to "have it all" in a way that compromises their ability to fully participate in their lives moment to moment - be it with friends, family or business - so too their ability to be happy will be compromised.  In addition to paying attention to each moment, literally participating mindfully in our lives, we must also let go of our goals as much as we set them.  If our happiness is directly related to our ability to achieve every goal we set, not only will happiness elude us, but also our ability to learn from our experiences will diminish.

So when you're with your children, play with them.  When you're at work, enjoy the tasks.  When you're with your partner, revel in your love for each other.  When you're with your friends, honor their presence.  We're only on this earth for a blink of an eye, if you spend every moment wishing you were elsewhere, your whole life will pass you by and happiness will not be yours.

So have it all in this moment.  It's all you've got.  

Rhode Island Monthly: Yoga Options Across Rhode Island

We're thrilled that Jamie Coelho, reporter for the Rhode Island Monthly, was inspired to blog about the RI Yoga and Pilates Passport today!

If you haven't gotten one - what are you waiting for? The Passport is perfect motivation to stay healthy this summer, and to enjoy some yoga on the beach with studios like Innerlight in Middletown.

If you have any questions check out the RI Yoga and Pilates Passport FAQ online.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Free Yoga, $5 Yoga, 20% off, Yard Sale, Sidewalk Stroll - all on the West Side of Providence this Saturday!

Rhode to Wellness is offering FREE yoga in the sunshine for RI Yoga and Pilates Passport holders with yours truly at 10:30 AM this Saturday in Dexter Park (meet us by the statue).  

Don't have a Passport yet?  No worries.  Pay $5 for this moment of bliss or stop by the WBNA Yard Sale (from 8:30 AM - 1:30 PM) and get the Passport for 20% off and then get in on yoga in the park for free.

Not only will the Passport get you into almost every yoga studio in Rhode Island for FREE, but local wellness businesses like West Side Wellness  will give you a discount just for flashing it.

After yoga, take a stroll around the neighborhood and sample all the West Side has to offer - and grab some great deals while you're at it.  For more information and a map of participating businesses, go to

Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Best Mother's Day Gift in Rhode Island (that money can buy of course ... )

I’m a Rhody mom of two under three with a third on the way.  Taking care of myself usually comes in last.  I have to coordinate, schedule, and plan diligently to find time to take a yoga class (teaching them doesn’t count I’ve tried explaining to my husband).  

Many of my mamma friends in similar situations also share a concern for the family budget.  It feels almost irresponsible to spend money taking care of themselves, or so they believe.  Perhaps they splurge on a yoga or Pilates class Groupon here or there, but that never amounts to a consistent habit.  And it’s almost bathing suit season!

The RI Yoga and Pilates Passport provides the much needed motivation to find your “thing”, the right teacher and style for you.  And once you find your “thing”, you won’t even need the Passport to motivate, because your “thing” will do it for you.  

Oh, and the cost to find your "thing"?  Well, if you buy a Passport in May we’re talking about $10 per month to try almost every yoga studio in Rhode Island, plus a few amazing Pilates-dedicated locations.  You’d spend that dropping into a few classes.  The icing on the cake, it’s 10% off online through Mother’s Day with coupon code VIRYA13.

How does it work?  When you buy a Passport - only $68 with the discount - you get two free classes at 41 yoga and Pilates locations statewide (BONUS! some studios give you two weeks unlimited classes).  As a mom, once the Passport is in hand, it gives me the freedom to try new things and to find a teacher that I connect with.  Once that happens, most likely I’ll budget for the class once the Passport expires (and that doesn't happen until December 31st).

So go ahead, forward this post to your spouse and remind them that this year forget the flowers and buy you a Passport (and maybe new yoga pants to match?).

Happy Mother's Day!

Find your Ground on November 9th!

NEW Workshop Series, Deepen your Practice General Info: Are you looking to go deeper with your yoga practice?  Join me for a special si...