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Five Spring Cleaning Yoga Poses

If you’re in the Northeast like me, you’re probably joining in to everyone shouting “Death to Puxatony Phil!” and “Go home winter, you’re drunk!”

But, if you’re like me personally, you’re relishing in the little moments that don’t totally suck right now, and you’re looking forward to next week when the lowest temperature will be 40 degrees!!
So check out this short and sweet article and start spring-cleaning your body and gearing up for warm weather.

Namaste.

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Yoginis and their tattoos

“Yoga and tattoos are both ancient forms of spiritual expression.” – Sara Lovelace

This article is a long one, but totally worth the read. Sara Lovelace writes this article with the purpose of looking at the revolutionary culture of yoga, and who is practicing nowadays (which includes a huge influx of women into the practice). Women today are empowered, and we now dominate the yoga culture as one united body of femininity. It’s quite beautiful, no?

Yoga Flow Pittsburgh

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Yoga Flow Pittsburgh website homepage. Source: yogaflowpittsburgh.com

There are many things I want when it comes to my yoga practice. I like the place to be hot, but not too hot. I like the instructor to walk around and be engaged in his or her students as well as the practice. The atmosphere has to mesh with me and so does the music. I haven’t had to look hard in Pittsburgh to find good yoga that fits well with me. Currently, I frequent the Shadyside location of Yoga Flow Pittsburgh, and since the day I walked into the door I’ve been hooked.

With four locations in the Pittsburgh area, Yoga Flow has a fantastic atmosphere to get your mind and body connected. All of the instructors I’ve had have been great; they make the effort to connect to their students as well as get their students to connect to a practice.  On their website, Yoga Flow welcomes people to their company with this message:
It’s something different for us all that brings us to a yoga class. Perhaps it is to increase flexibility, gain strength, enhance physical fitness or to relieve stress. At each Yoga Flow studio, you will find that whatever your motivation is for being there, you are welcome to our family.”  

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Instructors, courtesy of the Yoga Flow Pittsburgh website

The instructors at Yoga Flow are both professional and personal, and they are so open with their students. When I first experienced Yoga Flow Pittsburgh, I was struck by the peaceful atmosphere I stepped into as soon as I walked in the door. People were quieter, the lights were dim, the air smelled like incense and the mat. I had never practiced hot yoga before (hot vinyasa flow, not to be confused with bikram) and at one point during the practice I was overwhelmed at how amazing my limbs felt from the heat. Yoga Flow’s instructors are experienced, kind and sensitive yogis who very obviously want to share their knowledge of yoga with students and help them revive themselves. The studio strives for challenging routines that have room for inversions and rest, depending on what your body can handle. Yoga Flow studios are beautiful, with hard wood floors, places to put your belongings, and plenty of supplies like towels and blocks. Yoga Flow Shady Side prices range from $14 for a drop in ($8 for students) to $112 for a 10-punch pass ($75 for students). 

If you’re ever in Pittsburgh and looking to practice, Yoga Flow studios are a definite option to consider. Owned by Dominique Ponko, a ten-year yoga practitioner and teacher, Yoga Flow Pittsburgh studios are dedicated to helping and healing each student that walks into its door. 

 

 

Review: My Newest Practice Playlist

We all have our favorite playlists for our practice. The songs may have lyrics, they may be contemporary songs, traditional songs, or if you’re like me, they’re instrumental, meditative songs that reach out  into the realms of the new age genre. For some time I’ve been looking for the perfect playlist to practice to when I’m at home, and this playlist, entitled Blissful Moments, has an hour of perfection for me whether I’m practicing, meditating or even studying in my room.

Here’s a quick link for you:
http://8tracks.com/acoustic-ecology/blissful-moments

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A screenshot of Blissful Moments

If you’ve never heard of 8tracks, you should go there right now and start exploring. The gist of 8tracks is sharing personal playlists: create a username, create playlist, appropriately describe and tag playlist, and let others “like” it to have it in their own personal dashboard of their own customized music playlists. It’s kind of like Pandora.

But I digress, back to the playlist.
The user who created this describes Blissful Moments as “one hour of music therapy, as a platform to enhance concentration and memory. Ideally as a companion for meditation, healing sessions and inner peace. Including works by Nat Grant, Byron Metcalf and Daniel Waples with Flavio Lopez” (source: blissful moments playlist description). Now, many playlists I’ve found have a few gems in them for me to really get in the zone for my practice, but Blissful Moments has really been a game-changer for me, where all ten tracks really stand out as stellar pieces of music. 

Here’s a piece from the playlist, slightly remixed (in a very good way):

If you’re looking for a practice playlist to vinyasa flow to or free flow whatever is in your heart at the time, then this playlist is for you. You’ve got everything from ocean and water sounds to chimes to flutes and marimbas, and it’s all designed to guide your mind to that beautiful, calm state of connection. Blissful Moments is also perfect for studying, meditation and even falling asleep if you really need it. All ten pieces are soothing and definitely designed for a flow, so it’s not something to listen to if you’re looking for a power practice.

Beware: one thing about Blissful Moments (and this is an 8track thing) is that each time you play the playlist, it’s on shuffle. So if you’re used to a set playlist and like to know what song is coming, you may not like this. But I will say that the pieces flow together very nicely, no matter what order they play in.

These ten songs make up an hour of music, which is also perfect for a not-too-short, but not-too-long practice. Bottom line: I’m really diggin’ this playlist right now, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great practice playlist without going through too much effort to find one (oh look, I’ve found one for you!).

If you end up being as into this playlist as I am, check out the user who created it, Acoustic Ecology, who has some other really great mixes for your meditative pleasure.

Have a yoga playlist or song you really love? Comment with it, I’m always looking for more music to practice and meditate to! 

Namaste, all. Have a great week.

 

 

In the forest without shoes on

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In the forest without shoes on

I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but ever since I started getting better at balancing, I tend to do yoga everywhere. I climb up on rocks, I step up on railings, I go out on a limb. In this case, I went out on a fallen tree that was over a creek to do this eagle pose. And really, there is just something about doing yoga outside in the fresh air that is just soooooo vitalizing.