Yoga Bodega

Yoga Instruction and Massage Services in Bodega, California

Archive for January, 2010

Good books for the new year



I’m a fan of the writing of Judith Hansen Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

I’ve had the joy of taking a couple of trainings with Dr. Lasater and use many of her techniques in my restorative pose workshops. She is a founding editor of Yoga Journal and is the author of many titles, including Relax and Renew, a now-classic book about restorative yoga. (Many of you know her writing from her anatomy columns in YJ.)

However, her Ph.D. is in East-West psychology, and she also authored one of my all-time favorite books about yoga, an unimposing volume called Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life.

Published a decade ago, Living Your Yoga is, of course, still perfectly relevant in the 5,000-year-old yoga tradition. Aimed at westerners and geared to modern life, the book is not about asana, or yoga poses, instead it’s a book about personalizing the spiritual teachings of the yoga tradition. It’s a rich book, yet very easy to read, and easy to become involved in. I highly recommend it to anyone of any faith, whether practicing physical yoga or not.

So I was delighted to find A Year of Living Your Yoga: Daily Practices to Shape Your Life, on the shelf at Many Rivers Books & Tea in Sebastopol. This little companion book is filled with short daily practices. They’re not cumulative, and you can start at any time during the year. It was my New Year’s gift to myself.

The meditation for January 28:

Feeling at ease does not mean feeling nothing.
Living Your Yoga: Three times today, stop, close your eyes, and ask yourself, What am I feeling right now? Can I be at ease with it? Name it and wait for the answer.

It’s that simple.

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Kudos to Many Rivers

While I’m on the subject of books, I have to say this: Many Rivers Books & Tea consistently has the best selection of yoga books that I’ve found anywhere in the area. They also have a wide variety of books about almost any spiritual tradition you can think of, and fantastic gifts and items to support spiritual practice. Have a cup of tea and spend some time browsing. If you’re not familiar with this little gem of a business, read about the store’s mission here.

Yoga music

In a traditional Iyengar yoga class, there isn’t music. However, I break with this tradition because I think music helps some people move inward during their practice and facilitates smooth, controlled transitions.

The Saturday morning class at Yoga Bodega is a flow, or vinyasa, class, with lots of movement and less detailed instruction than I provide during my weekday classes. It’s challenging and fun and exuberant. Music helps to set the tone. (It’s also not a class for yoga beginners.)

Here are a couple of tracks from the Saturday morning class playlist. You can find them on iTunes and buy them there if you’d like to use them for your home practice, or just listen to them in the car!

One Day – Matisyahu

Christian Peace Prayer – Larisa Stow & Shakti Tribe

Kali Durga – Lokah

Om Sri Lakshmi – Robin Renee

Gayatri Mantra – Wade Imre Morissette

A tea for sore muscles

I came across this tea at Whole Foods in Sebastopol. It’s made by the Yogi tea company and was formerly called “Active Body” tea. With a base of organic green tea, a great anti-oxidant, the blend contains traditional soothing herbs such as organic turmeric root which is one of the most widely used herbs in India. It also contains devil’s claw root and yucca root – herbs from indigenous herbal traditions to help decrease recovery time from minor aches and pains that may result from exercise. There’s also ginseng-eleuthero extract to help you re-energize. This tea does contain caffeine. (This is not a bedtime tea!)

If you’re being treated for a medical condition such as high blood pressure, or have concerns about any of the herbal ingredients, you should do more reading about the ingredients before you give it a try.

I’ve had a few cups now and I don’t seem to be feeling any soreness from several deep practices this week. It tastes great – a little sweet (there’s some stevia in it) and sort of floral and fruity. (Also, it was on sale at WF, 2 boxes for $6.)

But best of all, I love the little messages that are on the tiny hang tags at the end of the string on Yogi tea bags. My last two have said, “Happiness is nothing but total relaxation,” and “May your inner self be secure and happy”.

Now, that’s what I want at the end of a long practice!

Not the CHP


The familiar black and white markings aren’t highway patrol cruisers – we have a herd of Dutch Belted cattle on Bay Hill Road. They’re on the Bodega Bay side, just beyond the first big curve. You’ll see them in the pasture to the right as you’re traveling up the hill. There are calves now that are especially cute. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the llamas that are their “watch dogs”.

Dutch Belted cattle are known for their clean, graphic markings, and can be either primarily black or brown. There are both in our local herd. They’re fairly rare, and for a long time there was only a single herd in Sonoma County, so it’s fun to see them in our coastal hills.