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Surya Namaskara-The Perfect Yoga Practice

Published on October 16, 2010 by in Yoga

While I am an advocate for the merits of a daily yoga practice, I would be lying if I said that my own practice was all that consistent. Depending on a variety of factors, my own practice varies from about 10 minutes to 1 hour on any given day.  That being said, there is one thing that I manage to do everyday and that is a few rounds of Surya Namaskara-Sun Salutation. When time is a factor Surya Namaskara is one way to get a quick yoga fix and the benefits of this full body practice are enumerable.  Here is a video of the modified version of the practice: Surya Namaksara Modified Version.

Through the years,  friends and acquaintances have often told me how much would like to practice yoga more often but they had difficulty making time for a class with their already overbooked schedules.  Knowing time management is often a factor when choosing a workout or any kind of extra-curricular physical activity, this gave me an idea for a topic for my graduate thesis which I completed a few year ago.  The results showed that for beginner yoga practitioners applying a 10 minute, twice-a-day yoga practice four (4) times per week for six (6) weeks actually significantly improved their upper body strength and hamstring flexibility.  A pretty good “bang for your buck” as one of my professors would say! if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Surya Namaskara  I suggest “Surya Namaskara: A Technique of Solar Vitalization” by Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati.

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Mobile Yoga in Piran, Slovenia!

The "One-Legged Waiter" aka "One Legged Lotus" Photo Courtesy of Marijan Šabič

'Namaskarasana/Salutation Pose" with Jadyn Photo Courtesy of Marijan Šabič

I recently returned from a trip to Europe and had the pleasure of skating with two of my children and good friend and native Slovenian Franc Pirc  in Tartini Square in Piran, Slovenia. Tartini Square is named after violinist Giuseppe Tartini and is a gathering point in Piran.  It is an exquisite setting and has a built in “rink” that practically begs to be skated on!

Having skated with Franc many times before on Tartini Square I was already accustomed to that fact that he is somewhat of a celebrity on Tartini Square and by association, temporarily become one as well!  On most days Franc can be found skating to the music that emanates from the many cafes and restaurants that surround the square for the crowd that has gathered or giving lessons to children and adults who want to learn the basics.  Franc has been skating since the mid-90′s and really enjoys the freedom and exhilaration that skating can bring.   He rarely misses a day skating and averages approximately 330 days per year.  To see him skate you would never guess that he was 71 years old!

Prior to my visit, Franc had seen the Mobile Yoga Workout website and wanted to go over the basics of the workout as well as some of the on skate postures.   Since Franc starts every day with various yoga postures, stretches, and breathing exercises, he was able to easily integrate what he already practices into the workout.   After going through the basics Franc was eager to show me some of his own “on-skate postures”  My favorite, the one legged-waiter or what I  renamed and “yogified”"the one-legged lotus” (shown above) was my favorite.   Franc is an inspiration to all of us and through his obvious health and vitality is a prime example of how an active life can keep you truly “mobile”.

"Mom Loves Son Pose" Photo Courtesy of Marijan Šabič

Friendly Faces in the Crowd-Franc's Partner Wilma and My Husband Greg Photo Courtesy of Marijan Šabič

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Many Skates, Much Love

Published on August 4, 2010 by in Skating

While recently going through an old jewelry box I found a charm bracelet I hadn’t seen in years.  On it were 2 skaters and 3 pairs of skates-figure, hockey, and inline.

I had forgotten that I had this bracelet and decided that it shouldn’t be relegated to a box but should be worn instead.  My 5 year old daughter immediately noticed that I was wearing it, and as a multi-discipline skater herself, was excited by my “re-find.” We went through and identified each charm and when we finished she said “You really love skating Mommy.”

On any given day I may wear all three pairs of skates.   Whether I am figure skating for myself, teaching an inline skater how to maximize their stride, or surrounded by 15 high school pungently smelling hockey players, at some point in the day there are some kind of skates on my feet.

A few weeks ago, in between skating lessons, I was running  late to substitute teach for a lunchtime chair yoga class at a downtown law firm.  To make matters worse I misjudged the proximity of the parking lot and class.  With the lunchtime rush looming I would probably never find a closer parking spot and figured I better go on foot.  With  my yoga mat tucked under my arm I started to make a run for it but after 5 steps or so I remembered that there is always at least one pair of skates in the trunk.  As the trunk popped open I was relieved to see that the pair inside were inline and not ice!   I quickly put on my skates and tucked my yoga mat back under my arm and deftly maneuvered through the lunchtime crowd and made it to class just in time.

Since chair yoga is often for older folks or for those who may have difficulty sitting on the floor,  I was surprised to see  my class consisted of 30-50 somethings who did not looked at all physically compromised. They also had seemingly missed the memo in regard to wearing appropriate and comfortable  attire to class and were all in their work clothes;  panty hose, silk blouses, and all!   On a less judgmental note, that’s the great thing about yoga- anytime, anywhere.  Anyway…. It was just after 1pm when I finished teaching the class and as I skated the 15 or so blocks back to my car I began to reflect on the class, the office setting  and the women awkwardly stretching in their business attire.    With amount of grace city sidewalks will allow, I rolled passed  all the full bellied and well dressed 9-5ers heading back to their offices.  As I negotiated people and curbs  I became lost in thought as to what it would be like to have to dress up in more then stretch pants and a pony tail and go to the office every day.  Thoughts like this  become more prevalent on days when I am running from one rink to the next living my life in 30-60 minute increments hoping that my lessons will show up and waiting (with no pay) when they don’t.  Switching gears between skating styles, terminology, age appropriate verbiage, etc.  Hockey. Figure. Yoga. Inline. Yoga. Inline.  Hockey.  Figure.   Different everyday. Different every hour. On crazy days when my day is split up and I am in the car as much or more then  I am actually teaching I often wonder what it would be like  to be employed at the same place each day, to work regular hours, and to know what it would be like to receive a reliable paycheck (my husband often wonders this as well…).

The crowds thinned as I continued on my way still lost in the fantasy of the perfect job that I might be missing out on.  Then suddenly, as clear as the streets had become, it came to me.   Here I was in the middle of the afternoon with skates on my feet and a yoga mat tucked under my arm.   I just might be on to something.   As I made my way back to my car I couldn’t help but grin.  All the years I skated for myself, all the education and exercise related college courses I have taken, the many skating and yoga trainings and workshops  I have attended  have given me the opportunity and experience to do what so many people wish they could do -make a life and living doing what they love the most. The paycheck may not be consistent or particularly big, but I am certainly leading a rich life full of freedom and fun.

As I look down at my bracelet  I think of what my daughter said to me and what I should have said immediately back to her.   “Yes, you are right honey, Mommy loves to skate!”

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