Sunday, October 4, 2020

Yoga in action

In this new pandemic world we are living in my yoga teacher training (which concluded this summer) has been a life line.  Breathing, moving, staying in my body are all my essential self-care practices.  

One of my yoga goals from the start is sharing this resource, this life-line, with my community, and particularly Spanish speaking working class folks (people like my parents and abuelos) who wouldn't have access otherwise.  I took my connections to the promotores de salud community and created a series of classes in Spanish that started 3 weeks ago.

What a joy.  My students are primarily completely new to yoga, which feels like a big responsibility.  They identified their needs in a survey, where I learned that stress reduction, sleep, improving balance and exercise are their goals.  

What I've tried so far:

  • The space orientation from "My Grandmother's hands" that I find a great way to open a class and get folks in their space and body straight away.  I wish this book was translated into Spanish!!!
  • Yoga nidra is my go to for sleep issues, and I pulled together a yoga nidra script from different sources and translated into Spanish.  I tried it for the first time last week, and they loved it!!  
  • I keep to the same basic sequence, which is a solid trauma informed practice, where repetition creates a container of safety.  I tweak a bit and have a different theme each week.  The sequence and themes reflect their survey input.  

Friday, March 27, 2020

What a difference a year makes

It's been a year since my first magical yoga retreat in Costa Rica.  Now I'm in the midst of a yoga teacher training in Oregon, deeply immersed in so many dimensions of yoga - philosophy, meditation, asana, and social justice.  Oh did I mention in the midst of a global pandemic?
I am so grateful for yoga right now, in so many ways.

As I come across resources and insights about how to maintain equilibrium in these times I will use the blog to share them.

Here's one for mindfulness meditation from the wise Sharon Salzberg

Monday, April 1, 2019

Yoga retreat magic

One thing on my bucket list was to go to a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, a country where I lived 23 years ago and holds a special place in my heart.

Last month I got to do the thing, and it was magic.  Healing.  Restful.  What I needed.   

First of all, the site was amazing.  Perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific and near the town of Montezuma, Anamaya Retreat Center is intimate and beautiful.  The views were spectacular.  Only 31 guests who all check in on Saturday and stay a week.  The food is fresh, healthy and so delicious.  The teacher Harumi is a wise and beautiful soul who taught twice a day classes that left me feeling amazing.  I specifically chose her because she's a woman of color (Japanese) and older (in her 60s).  By the end of week I had made so many new friends, and what I know now is that yoga people are my tribe.  The bodywork I received was profound and healing.   Another amazing thing for me was that they had some hula hoops, and I got to hoop in the yoga platform with those views.  I taught so  many folks to hoop, and it created yet another dimension of joy, movement and connection for me and others at the retreat. 

I've been committed to integrating the meditation into my daily life, after getting such compassionate instruction from Harumi.    It's been a bit of shock to my body to go back to only a weekly yoga class, and I so miss the views and heat of the tropical rain forest. 

I will be uploading photos of my experience, including a video or two of the hula hooping. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Hanging around - we are primates

Since I last blogged a lot has happened to my body, including a couple of surgeries and a car accident (whiplash).  After all of that I am grateful to be healthy and well.  I took these as "wake up calls" to better care for and heal my body.  It's meant (so far) transitioning to a keto lifestyle, which is HUGE if you have Mexican-Puerto Rican heritage, as we eat carbs as a way of life.  I am back in the gym lifting weights, and getting a lot of body work.

Since the car accident my neck, shoulder and wrists have been crunchy and tight, often painful, so I'm all about figuring out ways to address these issues without medication and using movement.

The body thinkers (I made that up just now) that I enjoy reading and listening to are Petra Fisher and Katy Bowman (great podcasts). 

Here's Petra's blog post on the value of hanging for our bodies; we are primates, after all.  So many amazing reasons to hang out from monkey bars or branches.  I've started to incorporate hanging when I do my walking in the park workout, since there are monkey bars.  Because she points out the value of starting where you are, I am hanging with my feet solidly on the ground. I know that my wrists cannot support anything harder right now. Can I say that it feels frigging awesome during and especially afterwards?  My arms, wrists and shoulders feel so good.  Like a yummy free Thai massage session. 

I just noticed that my blog photo is in a playground.  Well, it's kinda perfect. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Yoga para mi gente

Sometimes your vision gets to be made real.  For me I had this vision for creating a brown space at my home studio, The People's Yoga.

Sally approached me about teaching a class in Spanish, and I laid out my vision. She supported it fully....which meant getting me my first yoga photo shoot (note the sweet photo on this blog taken by Maggie Jane Cech!) for the fliers.  I wanted to market exclusively in Spanish for Spanish speaking Latinos in my community, and it came together through my outreach and relationships with my Catholic church and fandango community.  It was donation only, with all monies going to support Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice.  Then I got some Latina healers to join me to make this a really healing space, with massage, acupuncture and herbs.  Gracias Mary, Adrianna, and Lara for making it extra.   Thanks to Sally for being a fabulous ally. 

The folks who showed up were beautiful.  Working class, elders, disabled folks, kids, a guy who broke his leg playing soccer and wanted to do yoga anyway.  Mi gente.  Most had never ever done yoga before!  

I got to fully apply all that I had learned in the Accessible Yoga training.

I learned so much and loved it all. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Accessible yoga

I just got to spend 4 whole immersing myself in accessible yoga with Jivana Heyman and Amber Karnes of Body Positive Yoga.  Totally inspired.

It was a rich experential training, where we were empowered to come up with poses that are accessible in the moment.  I created a cool Dancer's pose using the wall and chair on the spot, for example.  Each day every student got to practice teaching a short sequence with an integrated or mixed class, i.e. some students in a chair and some not.  I am in such need of this knowledge as I prepare for my Spanish language yoga series next month. 

I learned so much about yoga philosophy and sutras too, which I wasn't expecting and found incredibly rich and profound.  You realize how deep and ancient this practice is when you read the sutras.  Feeling blessed. 

Best of all I made connections with yoga teachers of color living in the Portland area, including a beautiful African-American elder who is my neighbor. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Dynamic aging and nutritious movement

I just learned about a book called Dynamic Aging, plus her web site, a blog created by her co-authors and other resources through Petra Fisher's email newsletter.  I ordered the book and eager to get reading and learning about ways to age dynamically.