Monthly Archives: February 2015

Starting a Home Yoga Practice

FullSizeRender-8One of my favorite aspects of yoga is the flexibility that it allows….pun very much intended. Yoga can be practiced anywhere, anytime.

The value of a teacher’s guidance cannot be replaced, but it’s not always possible for a daily practice. The expense of yoga classes, lack of childcare, and limited schedules can impede that flexibility.

Take advantage of yoga’s versatility and integrate a home practice with a studio one (we all need professional tune-ups periodically).  It is easier to establish than you think!

First let’s discuss the many advantages.

1. Time:  You choose the best time that fits your schedule and the length of time you can dedicate to a session; plus no commute.

2. Money: A home practice is free!

3. Personalization:  You dictate the parameters and create a sequence customized to your needs; restorative poses, hip openers, twists – it’s up to you!

4. Privacy: If the image of collapsing onto your neighbor while working on inversions  haunts you, then practice them at home first.   You may fall on our face while working on your crow pose, but  you can have as many do-overs as you want and can recover as long as you need.  One caveat: be wise, practice safely. Challenging poses often carry more risks so do the appropriate preparatory poses, and when your body says no, please listen.

With the marvelous advantages come some obstacles.  Here are tips to jump over these hurdles and cultivate your home practice.

1. Independence Freedom to create your own class may sound daunting away from the nurturing tutelage of an instructor.  If an educated, guiding voice is comforting to you, try the many online options.  Yogaglo and Gaiam offer an extensive selection of yoga classes with top notch teachers.  For less than $20/month (the price for a drop-in class at a studio) you have unlimited access to hundreds of classes. You can also mimic a class sequence that you recently experienced or stick to your foundation poses and sun salutations. Don’t forget to include savasana!

2. Space:  Find a scrap of floor as long as your mat and as wide as your arm span.   If you enjoy a little ambiance, include candles and music.  Ideally invest in a mat, 2 blocks and a strap. That’s all you need!

3. Motivation:  Choose the best time of day for you and allot a reasonable amount of time.  It doesn’t have to be 90 minutes to be considered a legit session.  The key to a solid yoga practice is consistency. A shorter daily practice is better than a monthly 90 minute class.  This has been the biggest challenge for myself so i will say it again, an abbreviated practice is better than no practice.  If you need a little social pressure to stay committed, get a friend to join you.  Just like a running buddy, a yoga buddy provides mutual motivation.

4. Distractions: The ultimate obstacle is the home distractions. In a class you’re not tempted to answer a text or straighten up the living room mid-session.  Thus, it takes a greater discipline to focus.  Ignore the laundry basket and silence the phone.  Make a yourself that this is your yoga time.

At the end of each session, express gratitude to yourself for showing up to your mat.  A home practice takes discipline, dedication, and courage.


image taken by my 5 year old. i think she has a good eye. side note: this is the widest area of hardwood in my house. you don’t need a lot of room to practice.

Do you only yoga?

906832_10151540946879592_821276945_oHistorically I have incorporated many forms of exercise into my routine: running, hiking, gymming, skiing, swimming, and of course yogaing.

For the last couple of years, I primarily run and practice yoga.  In the last few months, I have only been doing yoga.   In fact, I was unaware how focused on yoga I have been until I went to the gym a couple of weeks ago.  My motivation was to score some free babysitting on the 30th snow day from school.  When I checked in the receptionist said I’ve been to the gym once in the last 8 months.  What?!  I couldn’t believe it.  Between the little one’s morning naps and pleasant summer/fall running weather, there was no need for it.  As the weather got colder, I dropped the running and spent naptime on the mat.  Ergo, yoga is currently my sole form of exercise. Well, until today!

I happened to be running an errand without kids, which was magnificent, and I drove past Soul Cycle.  I had exactly 75 minutes before I picked up my daughter from preschool so I popped in and asked if I could try a class.  Fortuitously, there was one starting in 10 minutes and it was 45 minutes long.  Perfect!  The people were lovely and helpful.  The teacher set up my bike because I’m a newbie to Soul Cycle and haven’t been in a spinning class for almost a decade.

The class was a blast.  The dark room and loud music (they do offer ear plugs) was reminiscent of my colleges days in a discoteque. The instructor had more energy than any person has ever had. Thankfully, dancing on the bike is encouraged because I could not stop myself from tossing my head around and jamming out to club music (the darkness really helps alleviate any inhibitions).

The 45 minutes flew by and the instructor incorporated the spinning version of savasana – eyes closed, Beyonce ballads, and some light stretching.  Soul Cycle liberated me from my bridled energy as I promise it will do for you.

As a bonus, first timers get a discount and rent-free shoes.  As a super bonus Gisele was there (this I can’t promise).

P.S. You can read more about my evolution as a yogi.

P.P.S. You can read about starting a home yoga practice.

P.P.P.S. Can we make yoga a verb?

Snowga with Kids

Looking to mix it up with the outdoor snow activities?
Try Snowga!
Kids can enjoy  the same benefits that yoga offers adults; physical control, relaxation techniques, personal respect…Introduce them to a few key poses and build from there.


tadasana (mountain)



virabhadrasana ii (warrior 2)



urdhva mukha svanasana (upward facing dog)



savasana (snow angel)

Take 5…


5 things I am loving for Friday…


1.  Citrus Season:  This gorgeous photo of citrus makes me so darn happy (from the lovely instagram account of @wrightkitchen).  Try this culinary mood-enhancing citrus salad, and visions of spring will dance in your head

2. Mary Beth Albright’s erudite and witty articles on National Geographic’s food blog, The Plate:  Her sharp and saavy style of writing offers insight into everything from food technology (robobees) to cooking with kids.

3. Sledding!!!!! Well, maybe a different kind of sledding.  Must embrace the snow.

4. A cozy and peaceful breakfast nook.

5. Hot yoga class at HYP.  90° inside + 10° outside = Steaming yoga clothes.

Power Up!

file_145520_8_patriots (1)

After watching yesterday’s nail biter – Go Pats! – not only is Arizona looking pretty awesome right now, but I’m also feeling motivated to fuel up like those athletes.

Since there’s an ongoing Arendelle-style blizzard here in New England, we’re doing some baking and stocking up on goodies using IMG_5808this great cookbook, Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook by Camilla Saulsbury.  It’s full of recipes for DIY granola bars, protein cookies, and raw bars that avoid the additives found in many of the store-bought options.


I have only tried a few recipes, mainly sticking to the chocolate ones.  My chocaholic 7 year old loves the chocolate chip protein bars and the must-have chocolate raw bars (also my favorite thus far) and  and will happily eat them in lieu of standard cookies. I leave out the protein powder and sugar substitutes and just reduce the amount of real sugar I include.  These are a welcome addition to his lunchbox.


5 Poses to Beat the Winter Blahs…

Having a little cabin fever?  Feeling a tad under the weather?  Relieve those winter blahs with the following poses.

Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation)

A few series of Sun A will stimulate blood circulation, warm up the body, and calm the nervous system.

Padangusthasana  (Big Toe Pose)

Padangusthasana is an energizing, stress-reducing pose. It also improves concentration and boosts moods.



Sirsasana (Headstand)

Like uttanasana and other inversions, Sirsasana calms the mind, induces happiness, and gives the cheeks a pleasant glow.


Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog)

Heart opening poses will bring space to the chest and throat area to help beat a winter cold. Strengthen your respiratory system and clear congestion with other chest openers such as locust, bridge, and cobra.




Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana gently opens the hips that can get tight in the winter cold.  It also improves circulation, digestion, and it too relaxes the body and brain.



Now for a bonus and rather important pose:

Sit comfortably with eyes closed

Slowly curl up edges of your mouth.  Hold that for the rest of the day.