Monthly Archives: July 2011

Sunrise Yoga – Day 4 and final

Jul 30, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events, Yoga // 2 Comments

"y" is for yoga - the glasses on our water station

I’ve been having such a blast this week sharing yoga with my fraternity brothers. This morning’s class was a last minute addition to our convention program based on the demand to have a class today and we had 10 yogis come out for class. It was a great way for me to kick-off the last day of the convention activities, and honestly, given that last night was a huge night out for our brothers, I am still so happy with our turnout.

I’m going to use this post as an opportunity to thank all of my brothers and friends who came out this week to join me for sunrise yoga classes (and for those who didn’t come out but showed such incredible support for this). Thanks for supporting me as one of your brothers and for allowing me to share yoga with you. I’ve definitely had a blast (if you can’t tell by my excitement each day) and I hope that I’ll be able to share yoga with you again sometime. I hope that your last day here at the 2011 AKPsi Convention – An Oasis of Brotherhood is amazing. I look forward to seeing you around throughout the day today and at future events. And of course, I hope to see you at the 2013 convention in New Orleans.

Happy Saturday!

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The playlist from this morning’s class (60 minutes)

Title Artist Album
1 Sun Island Soundscapes Relaxing Music Soundscapes Relaxing Music: Ocean Waves
2 Breathe (2AM) Anna Nalick Breathe (2AM) – Single
3 Don’t Stop Believin’ (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Glee: The Music, Vol. 1
4 It’s My Life Bon Jovi One Wild Night: Live 1985-2001
5 Cowboy Take Me Away Dixie Chicks Fly
6 Om Namah Shivaya (feat. Bhagavan Das) MC Yogi Elephant Power
7 Summertime Bon Jovi Lost Highway
8 Fireflies Owl City Ocean Eyes
9 Photograph Nickelback All the Right Reasons
10 Hallelujah Rufus Wainwright Hallelujah – Single
11 Sanctuary Donna De Lory Sanctuary
12 The Night Starts Here Stars In Our Bedroom After the War
13 Sarasangi (Relaxing Into the Breath) Music for Deep Relaxation Classical Indian Flute & Violin (With Virtuoso Brothers V.K. Raman and Mysore V. Srikanth)

Sunrise Yoga – Day 3

Jul 29, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events, Yoga // No Comments

Today was another awesome day of sunrise yoga at the 2011 AKPsi Convention in Phoenix. 22 of my fraternity brothers got up early and shared a fun, vigorous, and challenging vinyasa practice. I couldn’t be more excited. The response has been so great that we’ve added a fourth and final session for tomorrow (Saturday). I really truly couldn’t be happier.

this morning's final relaxation - a few extra minutes of "me" time for all the yogis - everyone looks so peaceful

I’ve been so happy about the response. We’ve done a lot of cooling forward folds and detoxifying twists. We grew our trees, became boats, and relaxed like a “happy baby”. I don’t think it could have been better. As I do in all of my classes, I offered that all the yogis could set an intention or dedication for their practice. And that the intention might relate to being present in the moment, being in the now. Almost every time I come to my mat, that is half of my intention – to be present and to let go. We’ll talk about letting go on a different day.

After class, I had the pleasure of relaxing and catching up with some of the brothers (in my fraternity – which is coed – we are all called brothers) who had come to class and we talked a bit about this idea of being present. The reading I did today, from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff concluded by reminding us to “mak[e] use of what is right in front of [us]“. So many times we focus on what will happen tomorrow or what did happen yesterday, that we forget about where we are today, where we are now.

Our practice of yoga helps us to focus on being present, partially because if we aren’t present while on our mats, we could injure ourselves. Also though, it reminds us that every day is a new day and every practice is a new practice. Over time, there are certain asanas (poses) that we can do with ease each time we come to the mat; however, there are times where we might do an almost perfect expression of a pose one day and the next, we might just barely be able to get into the asana. I find this especially true with certain arm balances. As I’ve gotten stronger, have more core control, and my spine opens that I am able to twist deeper, some come to me quite easily. For example, astavakrasana (8 angle pose) and bakasana (crow pose), I can come into virtually every time I get on my mat.

astavakrasana (photo credit: Alexander T. Sultan)

 

bakasana (photo credit: Alexander T. Sultan)

There are other asanas that how well I express them is a function of what day it is. Like parsva bakasana (side crow), some days the full expression comes easy and other days that the full expression is simply a struggle.

parsva bakasana - this isn't the fullest or best expression of the pose that I've ever done, but it was all I could do that day.

Having these experiences on the mat has taught me how to be present and to appreciate where I am at any given moment. This has helped me in my life off the mat, when things feel like a struggle one day and a walk in the park the next. Not dwelling in yesterday or tomorrow (and yes, there are times when I do dwell, I am human) helps me to focus on where I am now, in the present. This ability to be in the present can also help you when you want to let things go. Not dwelling in the past can make it a lot easier to let go of old grudges, feelings of anger or hurt, and former expectations of yourself. It also can help you to not dwell on what will happen and when it will happen in the future – when will I find my soulmate? when will I find the perfect job? It allows us to find the best and, sometimes, the worst in each moment and then let that go, as we move onto the next.

I intend to be present today and to appreciate all that I have. This week, I’ve been appreciating all of my fraternity brothers and having this opportunity to spend time with them and the opportunity to share yoga with them. It may sound cliche, but it is the little things. I hope that you can find the present moment and something new and special to appreciate in it.

Namaste.

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The playlist from this morning’s sunrise yoga class (about 65 minutes)

 

Title Artist Album
1 One Day Matisyahu Light (Bonus Track Version)
2 Islands The xx XX (Bonus Track Version)
3 Firework (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Firework (Glee Cast Version) – Single
4 Teenage Dream (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Glee: The Music, Vol. 4
5 Singing In the Rain / Umbrella (feat. Gwyneth Paltrow) [Glee Cast Version] Glee Cast Singing In the Rain / Umbrella (feat. Gwyneth Paltrow) [Glee Cast Version] – Single
6 Lucky 4 You (Tonight I’m Just Me) SHeDAISY The Best of SHeDAISY
7 1985 Bowling for Soup A Hangover You Don’t Deserve
8 Welcome to the Future Brad Paisley American Saturday Night (Bonus Track Version)
9 Landslide Dixie Chicks Home
10 Get It Right (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Get It Right (Glee Cast Version) – Single
11 What About Now (Idol Gives Back Performance) Daughtry What About Now (Idol Gives Back Performance) – Single
12 Fireflies Owl City Ocean Eyes
13 You’ll Be In My Heart Usher Disney Mania
14 Hallelujah Rufus Wainwright Hallelujah – Single
15 The Night Starts Here Stars In Our Bedroom After the War
16 True Colors (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Glee: The Music, Vol. 2


Sunrise Yoga – Day 2

Jul 28, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events, Yoga // 2 Comments

Yesterday, I wrote about my first sunrise yoga class at the 2011 Alpha Kappa Psi Convention. Today was my second class at convention, which was awesome – had 13 yogis come (4 missed savasana to be on time for their committee meetings). I’m looking forward to our last sunrise yoga class tomorrow morning.

this morning's savasana, relaxing to Somewhere Over the Rainbow

After class today, we were discussing why it’s so great to practice yoga outside. I practiced yoga outside for the first time in 2010 at Yoga on the Mall, the kick-off to DC Yoga Week. Then that summer I went to Yoga in the Park a few times, and most recently, I’ve started practicing yoga at home on the balcony of my apartment. Even practicing yoga outside in the city, I’ve found that there is some amazing connection to nature and the universe that happens when practicing outside. It’s a different energy, a different set of distractions, and ultimately, a different connection with the world at-large. I’ve found that there is a certain inner peace that I can find when I practice outside, that I can’t always get when I’m inside a studio.

I love feeling a warm breeze or the natural heat that comes with being outside. It’s also powerful when you look up and see the sky, rather than the studio ceiling; the sky which is infinite and seems to help you feel that there are infinite possibilities. Somehow, I feel a little more like I’m a kid playing outside, looking up at the sky and finding “things” in the clouds. When was the last time that you did that? the last time that you let yourself just feel free without a care in the world? Practicing yoga outside creates that freedom for me. Coming out of a final relaxation and seeing the sky or a canopy of trees or the moon helps me to open up and begin to appreciate even more what we’ve been given and how amazing nature is.

If you haven’t practiced outside or if you have and you loved it, I highly recommend finding your way to a Yoga in the Park event in your city or town or trying a few sun salutations in your own backyard. You may find that it can be what you need to invigorate yourself and your practice. And besides, who can’t use more excuses to spend time outside?

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The playlist from today’s practice (it runs about 65 minutes):

 

Title Artist Album
1 Sunrise In Injumbakam (Pathaan’s Tribute Remix) Pathaan A New Day Laya Project Remixed
2 (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay Otis Redding The Very Best of Otis Redding
3 Beautiful Sunday DANIEL BOONE The Sunshine Collection
4 Summer Nights Rascal Flatts Unstoppable
5 Brighter Than the Sun Colbie Caillat All of You
6 Radio Nowhere (Album Version) Bruce Springsteen Radio Nowhere – Single
7 Desert Rose Sting Brand New Day
8 We Weren’t Born to Follow Bon Jovi The Circle (Bonus Track Version)
9 Summertime New Kids On the Block The Block (Deluxe Version)
10 Go Your Own Way (Glee Cast Version) Glee Cast Go Your Own Way (Glee Cast Version) – Single
11 Sweet Home Alabama Lynyrd Skynyrd The Essential Lynyrd Skynyrd
12 Better Days Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits
13 Unwritten Natasha Bedingfield Unwritten
14 Wide Open Spaces Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces
15 I Run to You Lady Antebellum Lady Antebellum
16 Somewhere Over the Rainbow Matthew Morrison & Gwyneth Paltrow Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Single


Sunrise Yoga

Jul 28, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Yoga // 2 Comments

About six months ago, I approached the convention chair of my fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, and asked if there might be an opportunity for me to share yoga with my fraternity brothers at our biennial convention in Phoenix. I wanted to share my passion for yoga with my fraternity brothers. I wasn’t sure if it would happen, but the idea was well received and about a month ago, I found out that it would definitely happen. Our conference center was awesome and provided us with a great outdoor space for our use in the mornings.

Cottage Court - our practice space

They also agreed to provide us with bath towels to use in lieu of mats, hand towels, and a water station.

our "mat", towel, and water station

This morning was the first of three sunrise yoga practices that I’ll be teaching at convention and it was great. There were ten yogis, many of which had never done yoga before and wanted to try it and support me. Given that the official start of convention wasn’t until later in the afternoon, having ten people show up made me incredibly happy. I arrived early, set up my teacher’s mat, and prepared for class.

preparing for class with half sun salutations

I had such a great time teaching my fraternity brothers. The class level was a yoga 0/1, pacing the class as a more gentle but moving vinyasa. We did step-back sun salutations, some warriors, a little bit of twisting, and a lot of forward folds (standing and seated – as they are said to be very cooling). We took a water and towel break (not traditional for a yoga class, but it seemed the right thing to do in this class). And we closed class with a final relaxation and a reading from The Tao of Pooh. Practice ended up being about 65 minutes. I played one of my favorite playlists, too:

Title Artist Album
1 To the Architect Mychael Danna & Rob Simonsen The Score from the Motion Picture (500) Days of Summer
2 One Particular Harbour Jimmy Buffett Meet Me In Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection
3 Summertime Bon Jovi Lost Highway
4 Summer Of ’69 Bryan Adams So Far So Good
5 Firework Katy Perry Teenage Dream
6 Surfin’ U.S.A. The Beach Boys The Greatest Hits Vol 1
7 Welcome to the Future Brad Paisley American Saturday Night (Bonus Track Version)
8 Born In The U.S.A Bruce Springsteen Greatest Hits
9 Long Day Matchbox Twenty Yourself Or Someone Like You
10 Steal My Sunshine Len You Can’t Stop the Bum Rush
11 Underneath the Sycamore Death Cab for Cutie Underneath the Sycamore – Single
12 Ants Marching Dave Matthews Band Under The Table And Dreaming
13 What Do You Got? Bon Jovi Songs for Japan
14 Summer Nights John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John & Cast Grease
15 Kokomo The Beach Boys The Greatest Hits Vol 1
16 Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett Meet Me In Margaritaville: The Ultimate Collection
17 40 Winks Marla 40 Winks – Single
18 The Wave Soundscapes Relaxing Music Soundscapes Relaxing Music: Ocean Waves

I’m looking forward to seeing how tomorrow’s sunrise yoga class (happening in about 8 hours) goes, now that the convention is officially underway. And a special thanks to my fraternity brothers that came out today for the first convention sunrise yoga class. Convention is always a fun experience for me; being able to share yoga this convention is making it even better.

Namaste.

All about relaxation part 1 (a bit of a travel journal)

Jul 25, 2011 // by admin // Blog, Events, food, vacation, Yoga // No Comments

After much planning and a lot of expectation, I find myself in an oasis, where I’ll find friends, brotherhood, yoga, food, pool time, and relaxation – not necessarily in that order. Yesterday was an incredible first day. After what is probably one of the smoothest first travel days of a vacation I’ve ever had, I ran into some friends, grabbed lunch, and unpacked, before the planned highlight of day 1 – a manicure and pedicure at the spa’s salon.

My toes in Marley by ZOYA

The salon was like a normal salon, but my nail technician was amazing. I had a 50 minute manicure, followed by a 50 minute pedicure, which included a full hand and foot massage (respectively), mask on my forearms and calves, and some nice conversation about this local. It was so good that I decided that a massage was in order for today. I get manicures and pedicures pretty frequently, but there was something about it after flying that made it that much more needed. And it really was great.

After the relaxation, I got to spend some time in the pool and hot tub, just relaxing and enjoying being on vacation. Got to catch up with friends before realizing it was time to go to get some food. And I have to say, I wish the restaurant we went to was in the DC area:

True Food Kitchen – Biltmore Fashion Park

True Food Kitchen is a dream for anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, or on a gluten free diet. The menu items are labelled and there are multiple options in each category. I started my meal with a Cucumber Refresher. It is almost exactly like the Cucumber Lemonade that I love from Sweetgreen in DC. It was so refreshing and definitely nice after a late afternoon outside by the pool.

Me & my Cucumber Refresher, a cucumber and honey lemonade

And then, because I just can’t seem to stay away from pizza, I had to have one of True Food Kitchen’s vegetarian pizzas. It had all my favorite things on top, plus a bit of a surprise – Kale Pesto. It was delicious, the flavor combination (sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, pesto, mozzarella, and touches of olive oil) was fantastic. I did almost completely clean my plate. Everything was so fresh, and the crust was perfect, thin under the toppings and thick around the edges for holding. The flavors were absolutely incredible. I think I might try making a kale pesto when I get home. If I have a chance to get back to True Food Kitchen before my trip ends, I can’t wait to try something else.

Sundried Tomato & Olive Pizza w/ Kale Pesto & Fresh Mozzarella

It was a great meal, preceding an incredible light show, – a.k.a. thunder and lightening storm. Happily, the storm put me in bed around a normal local time, so that I could be up after 7 hours of sleep (a full night sleep by my book, even if that meant being up at 6:00 AM). Waking up to a gorgeous, warm, and relatively dry morning, I rolled out my yoga mat on my patio for a 60 minute yoga practice.

mat, towel, block, strap, and some new readings
the view for most of the practice
the view while looking up in trikonasana (triangle pose)

It was a wonderful practice. There’s just something about practicing outside, the energy that comes from being in nature, even if it’s a manmade oasis. I put on a little music, listened to the fountain from the pool next to the patio, and allowed myself to flow. I played with some different standing flows and who knows, they might make an appearance in a yoga class sometime soon. It was great to just let go and not have any expectations of myself.  And as I sit here and type this, I’m happy to share these first experiences of my relaxation – making time for some self-care, enjoying good food with friends, and taking time out for my practice. It’s the first full day of relaxation, which is off to a great start. Now time to get out and start the day.

Happy Monday! Namaste.