Tag Archives: yoga

Kevin Garnett is Fired Up about Yoga

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Boston Celtics big man Kevin Garnett is known for one thing above all else: being pathologically intense. In the thick of competition, he gets in opponents’ heads, screams in both pleasure and displeasure often, and generally seems on the brink of snapping at any minute. It’s no surprise that players get in tussles with KG, or that he sometimes goes over the line and takes a metaphor a little too far.

So it’s a little odd to watch the video above from the coconut water brand Zico, in which compensated endorser Garnett speaks about yoga more intensely than anyone else ever has before (via @CelticsTown and @marcel_mutoni. As KG tells it, yoga helps him control his emotions, although he claims it’s still a work in progress. Thankfully, he has the self-awareness to admit he’s still a work in progress.

It might seem odd for someone like Garnett to do yoga — let alone refer to himself as “a down dog man” — but this is a perfectly logical thing for him to do. For one thing, yoga really does help with control and flexibility. On top of that, it’s essentially a mainstream exercise in 2013, no longer associated with one gender or lifestyle. It’s open to everyone, including maniacally intense All-Star power forwards. Hell, it may even be better suited to them than to a twentysomething woman.

 

The fact that KG does Yoga is foreign to most people because he is a borderline lunatic.  But, if you think about it a bit more, it makes sense.  How can a 36 year old 7 foot man still move like he does?  Because He is a “Down Dog Man”.  Awesome.

 

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Secretary of State, Superwoman…and Sometime Yogi

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Secretary of State Hilary Clinton revealed to Barbara Walters her secret for staying sane while she works hard to untangle the dramatic foreign policy quagmires and help solve the problems of the world with diplomacy and grace–yoga! In the interview (which is part of “Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2012,” which aired last night, 12.12.12, on ABC), Clinton told Walters that she takes care of herself by resting, drinking water and getting on her yoga mat whenever she can. Superman has nothing on this lady!

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Meow-asana? The Yoga Cats 2013 Calendar Is Here

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Everyone loves cats. Or at least, pictures of them being unbelievably cute fur balls, adorngly mischievous or in the case of the 2013 Yoga Cats calendar, practicing their cat yoga poses. Now that’s some Meow-asana!

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Portlandia and Yoga=Heaven (Finally!)

It was inevitable (we are just surprised it didn’t happen earlier), but Portlandia has finally accomplished the unthinkable: they may have topped the Brunch Village episode! The incredibly clever show (a playful parody of the vegan-dwelling, sweater-knitting, bike-riding, organic-loving hipster world of Portland, Oregon) returns for its third season on January 4th, 2013. And, to DDR’s delight, the episode is about YOGA! You can get a sneak peak at the episode, “Meditation Crush,”  on the IFC web site.  I am bursting with Goji berry happiness right now! I don’t think I can stand it anymore! I am going to have to leave work and make myself a green tea smoothie in one of my ironically antique glass Mason jars! I can’t decide if I am more excited about the fact that the episode focuses on yoga or that I may get to see Fred in a pair of Lycra yoga pants!

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Debate Over Yoga Being Taught in Schools–CA Parents Looking to Take Legal Action

Would you allow your kids to be a part of a fitness class that focused on stretching? What if this class taught them how to breathe better? What about a class that helped them to explore ideas like “mindfulness” or instructed them on how to practice patience, empathy and understanding of themselves and others? Now what if I told you that class was taught by an Indian family whose members began studying Hindu rituals at a young age, who claim to “have chosen to take on the responsibility of its continued transmission of Ashtanga Yoga”?

This issue, the teaching of yoga in schools has a bunch of parents in California all up in arms–and they are planning to take legal action over what they claim is the alleged “indoctrination” of their kids in eastern religion.

At a time when childhood obesity is on the rise (according to the CDC, obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the U.S. – triple the rate from just one generation ago) and physical fitness/education classes are on the decline, kids are in desperate need of ways to stretch, sweat and release the stress of school and adolescence.

And in case you haven’t noticed, yoga has gained popularity at an incredible rate. According to Boston. com, 15.8 million people in the U.S. practice yoga. The benefits of practicing yoga are even more impressive. From a physical standpoint, yoga aids in stress and blood pressure reduction, weight loss, increased fitness, and it can have positive effects on chronic diseases.  The psychological rewards are endless.

Once parents know all of this information, why wouldn’t they want to run out and buy their kids a yoga mat?

Understandably, many people don’t know much about the religious roots or spiritual history of yoga. And as a yoga teacher, I can see how that can be scary–especially for parents of young children. But, (and this depends greatly on the yoga teacher leading the class) many times, the Westernized version of yoga does not extend further than the physical practice.  In my classes, for instance, I do not extoll the spiritual or religious undertones of the practice. I feel that it is my job–as the teacher–to help my students practice yoga in a safe way and with clear instructions. But I do not feel that it is my job to instruct anyone on their spiritual path. I am simply there to help them learn how to get out of their minds and into their bodies–and if a student wishes to pursue the religious aspects of yoga, then that is their choice.  I am happy to help them on that path if they wish to start walking down it, but I am not their spiritual guide–nor do I have the skills or qualifications to do so.

The practice of yoga was designed to prepare the body for meditation. But by many accounts (several books account the history of the Westernization of yoga, which in turn has all but stripped the practice form it spiritual roots and transformed it into a strictly physical practice), yoga in America has become a mostly physical practice that just happens to have innumerable emotional and psychological benefits. People come to their mats for different reasons–to stay fit, to just take a break from life, to sweat out toxins, to lose weight, to stretch and even just to breathe better while moving. But just because you practice yoga, it doesn’t mean that you are praying to Hindu gods or embarking on a spiritual journey from which you can’t turn back. You know how to old saying goes: You can lead a horse to water…
Well, the same goes for yoga.  You can lead a man to his yoga mat, but what he decides to do with his practice is up to him.

Sure, when you start to bring young, impressionable kids into the equation, things become more complicated. Which is why, just as you would get to know your son’s or daughter’s math or science teacher, parents should get to know the yoga teacher who is leading the classroom yoga class.

If we let our kids take a break from their studies and unroll a yoga mat just to take time for themselves and have some fun while moving their bodies (most kids yoga classes involve games and stories about the animals that the yoga poses are based on), you have to ask yourself: is breathing in Warrior I pose going to turn your child into a practitioner of eastern religion/philosophies? I guess you could argue that if your child eats enough carrots, his/her skin could develop an orange hue. But that would take a LOT of carrots.

A yoga class is just one small way we can help our kids be better people–on and off the yoga mat. Don’t they deserve the opportunity to decide what’s best for themselves? Isn’t that what “education” is all about? If we strip them of that chance to choose, are we robbing them of an opportunity to walk down a path that could lead them to being the best version of themselves that they can be? I know that’s what I’d want for my kids. Besides, what kid wants to be hit in the stomach and get the wind knocked out of them during a game of dodgeball when they could be pretending to be a Mountain (Mountain Pose), Pigeon (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose), Frog (Frog Pose) or a Lion (Lion’s Breath)?

You can read DDR’s friend Hilary Friedman discuss this issue on NECN by clicking here.

Parents, yogis and DDR fans: please comment and share your thoughts in the DDR comments section. We want to hear form you!

Namaste.

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Martha Stewart Whips Up Some Effortless-Looking Yoga in NYC’s Grand Central Terminal

Here’s one yoga class that possibly had more security than a Dali Lama appearance–a yoga class in which the Domestic Queen Martha Stewart practiced and demonstrated poses.

Man, I wish I still lived in NYC! I would have loved to have taken this class. (Even without Stewart’s apron wear-inspiring presence) Because if you can relax amidst the choas of Grand Central Terminal, then you have surely reached a new height in your yoga practice.

The blogger who wrote about the recent class made some pretty insightful observations, even going so far as to clarify that it was not Stewart who led the class (I almost choked on my wheat grass shot thinking of what it would be like to have the queen of perfection teach yoga), but her long-standing instuctor, James Murphy. No, not this JM (although I’m sure the play list for that yoga class would be sick!):

Don’t get me wrong. I heart Martha, too. She’s an inspiration to women everywhere. But my favorite part about the whole thing? That the blogger (cleverly?) noted that Stewart (via a Freudian slip?) remarked that whoever set the schedule for the day “should be shot.” And when I think about yoga in a crazy setting like NYC’s Grand Central Terminal, I can only think that no one would probably even flinch at the mere happenstance of the execution of such an order. Especially if they were able to get right into the yoga zone on their mat.

Note to the blogger: are you sure those “specks of dirt that kept appearing” on your mat weren’t actually crawling around while you breathed in Down Dog? You might want to burn that mat and start fresh. Just one friendly piece of advice from one (former) New Yorker to another.

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Superhero Yoga?

With the wrapping of Comic Con in NYC, we were thinking: wouldn’t it be cool to see more superheroes use the powers of yoga to defeat evil? (hint, hint: Marvel) And while we were pondering this, we came across a pretty cool post (from 2009) about the mention of yoga breathing in a Daredevil comic (see image above) by the blog, The Other Murdock Papers.  

*Note the wise commentary–could the blogger himself be doing Half Pigeon while he wrote this?*

Meanwhile, in the concrete world of men and might, Russell Crowe (who is set to appear in “Men of Steel”) admits that he has been using the power of yoga to get through tough times–like the recent break-up of his marriage.  Best of luck to the Gladiator.  May we suggest a little Locust pose to allow for the release of toxins?

And, if you haven’t checked out the beautiful art work of Rob Osbourne, get your butt over to Etsy and prepare to be launched right into Svasana by the sheer beauty of his artwork (George Lucas yoga, Superhero yoga and Robot yoga, to name a few).

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