Monday, February 24, 2014

Mysore Yoga Strap Beginning Moves Video!

I never posted a You Tube video before but I've never had one about a great item like this that I wanted to share before!  As you will see the Mysore Yoga Strap is great for inversions, supported postures and just plain fun!  I plan to create intermediate and advanced videos for your viewing pleasure as well!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

True Confession: " I Am a Horrible Yoga Teacher."

It was an "AHA" moment. Suddenly I got it. Something that had been going on for years came into consciousness with the sharp boom of truth and I was/am embarrassed. I share about it here hoping to save others from this shameful fate.

 The evening began normally enough. My lightly attended class was even lighter than usual with only one student. I love when that happens. The attendee gets my full attention and often shares more than I would hear in a fuller class. On this night Sam complained of stomach problems likely brought on by some terribly stressful circumstances in his life. After some discussion as to his interest in addressing this yogically, I set about teaching breathing and digestive exercises that can be helpful in such circumstances and soon realized that though Sam had been taking class with me for a couple of years he still didn't have the first clue about belly breathing. What?! No belly breahting!?! How could this be?!?!

 The most basic, primary thing taught to all beginning yoga students. The relaxing foundation on which all other yoga relaxation and correct pranayam rests and my student who I had seen over 50 times didn't know about it. Fie! I have been remiss.

 I set about correcting this problem by teaching what I know about this, but the situation was even worse than I thought! Before getting to how deep the problem went I want to digress with a short review of belly breathing and its importance to proper relaxation. I do this to inform the uninitiated reader, to remind the knowledgeable and to begin to make amends for my egregious error during more than 15 years of teaching.

One of the earliest lessons and something I do whenever I have new students who come for more than a week or two to my mixed class, is to lie down place hands on either side of the navel and feel the expansion and contraction of the belly on inhalation and exhalation.
Sometimes they have trouble feeling it since their stomachs are so tight and it takes time to allow themselves to relax the belly. This might take weeks of attempts for some students. I explain that belly breathing is natural breathing. We are all born belly breathers. Baby's belly breathe. As we tense up, put on our emotional armor and become acculturated (or take Pilates) we learn to tighten the belly on inhalation. Unlearning this takes time, focused attention and desire. It is something I did when I was a tween some 40 plus years ago and since then I have become a 100% belly breather. Not just in yoga class, I belly breathe all day, all night and even when I sleep. I switched back to natural breath and never  looked back. Unfortunately, I forgot that my students weren't doing this and that I needed to emphasize it to help them to experience it.  Big whoops!

OK so this is belly breath is natural breathing. We all did it as baby's and like so many things from infancy we have learned to do it differently. But why is it so important to relaxation? There are two main reasons that I know of. One is that relaxed abdominal breathing is less work than tightening the stomach or drawing it in to make the chest larger. The other is that working the belly is a way of holding tension. Fully relaxing the stomach requires softening the abdomen and this naturally leads to, you guessed it, belly breathe. This bears repeating. When the belly is relaxed the abdomen becomes soft and naturally expands on inhalation. It is a marker of relaxation. Like many things in yoga we modify what we do with the body and our minds take the hint. So softening the abdomen and letting the belly expand on inhalation makes it easier to relax. Cool huh?

Even though I had taught this to Sam years ago, I haven't been reminding him about it enough that it sunk in. Now here's where it gets worse. I checked with Sandy, a student who has been taking with me for 15 years. You can see how my teaching has informed the way she does her postures and I'm proud of my connection with her. I have created a special series of pranayam and guided relaxations for her and she has heard my explanation of belly breathing dozens of times as new people joined our class over the years and you know what? She is not belly breathing throughout our yoga class nor did she realize she ought to be. Oy vey. There are lots of other Yiddish words, mostly of self denigration that I think of here but won't share (email me if you must know them).

 Beating myself up about this isn't helping anyone,however. (except perhaps the random Yiddish lover) Clearly I have to reemphasize breathing and specifically belly breathing in my classes. While I have been reminding my students to keep breathing slowly and deeply and through the nose as much as possible I've been leaving out the important expansion of the abdomen on inhalation and contraction on exhalation in those reminders. OM forgive me.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Open House at Yoga Life Style

Your Are Invited -->

Holiday Open House at Yoga Life Style

Door Prizes, Discounts, Hot Mulled Cider and Good Cheer!HolidayOpenHouseYogaLifeStyleBlog
I'm excited to be having a Holiday Celebration and Sale. We're tidying up and finding all kinds of unique items to share that we only have one or two of and haven't had a chance to put online and things we have a lot of that we can put on deep discount. For yoga lover's it will be a fascinating mix of resources and for friends of yoga lover's the vegan treats and convivial atmosphere will be a pleasure to take in. Below are more details and a link to a printable PDF for spreading the word. I hope to see you there. Peace and Love, Ray


Yoga Life Style's Holiday Open House will be a time to relax, shop and have some Hot Mulled Cider and Vegan Treats, plus...

The first 100 visitors will recieve door prizes worth between $5.00 and $15.00.

All Items in our Inventory will be on sale from 20-50% OFF.

Lots of items not shown on the web will be offered for sale.

There will be demonstrations of the Mysore Yoga Strap, Back Bender, Tadpoles, Cosmic Crabs and More....

Please spread the word.
PDF version of this flyer for download and printing!

I Look Forward to Seeing You!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sacred Geometry Jewelry

Sacred Geometry Jewelry

Star Tetrahedrons, Flowers of Life Mandalas and such....

I've spent a lot of time looking at Sacred Geometry Jewelry this week. At first it seemed like a vaguely interesting idea that was mostly a lot of Hippy hoo-ha but as I settled and focused on the pieces and really looked at them they opened up to me in a way that is very beautiful, like a great piece of music or a delicious food. Rich, subtle and varied.

When I was done I immediately wanted to start again. What I had seen during the first round of photography was less than what I had found afterward but those hidden forms I leave to you to find for yourself.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Spooky Bendy Yoga Skellys Take the Caribbean Rest Cure

Spooky Bendy Yoga Skellys: The Flexible Yoga Skeleton

Bendy Yoga Skellys Centering In Preparation For Their Big Night

Bendy Yoga Skellys: Paparazzi find them on remote island....

In life these skellys were powerful jet setters and they still find they are drawn to their old haunts. They may be stuck with the clinging of mind for all eternity, but hopefully they will find the peace they need to move on to the next tier of existence.
Bendy Yoga Skellys on the Beach

Bendy Yoga Skelly: Flexible Skeletons for Eternal Fun!
You can help these skellys deepen their practice and find the closure they need. For more information about adopting your own bendy skellys visit