Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

Muay Thai Kickboxing for Kids

Keep karma, love and warmth. Also included: Backbends.

As many of you might know Yoga is not just Asana or doing the physical poses. Yoga is chanting, singing, meditation and all kinds of other things! I myself am much more of an Asana Yogi BUT I am greatly a Karma practicing Yogi because the world will only take care of you as much as you take care of it. My favorite Christmas ritual (I celebrate Christmas as a commercial and American holiday and not a religious holiday) is volunteering for the homeless at Goddard Riverside Community Center with two of my besties. We started this about 4 years ago. We sometimes do Thanksgiving and/or Christmas Day. Its an awesome way to spend my Christmas morning because I get to see my friends before heading off to family gatherings. We basically help out by preparing food and/or preparing the space where people will be served and then we go out and do meal deliveries to people who have difficulties leaving their homes. I'm not here to toot my own horn or anything but just putting it out there that in the hustle and bustle of New York living its kind of awesome to do something so physically and spiritually rewarding while hanging with your friends. Its not completely self-less for me of course, I'm mostly hanging out and having fun with my friends, but at the same time why not help out the universe? There are other places that take volunteers such as the Food Bank, The Bowery Mission and God's Love We Deliver. (I've only ever personally volunteered at Goddard and Food Bank.)

Another Christmas time ritual I try to keep is getting together with my friends and cooking brunch for ourselves. Brunch is such an easy meal to put together and taking time out of life to be with friends is so important to me nowadays because its so good for my heart. This is what our Post-Christmas brunch looked like.

And HELLO snow in nyc?! How U DOIN'? Because of the snow I was one of two people who showed up to Yoga this morning. I was all climbing mounds of snow to get to the gym too because no one was shoveling at 6am...Well due to low attendance I had to do crazy backbends in class! My arms went numb doing this (see picture for example below)...because my instructor kept telling me to walk my legs towards my hands. WHOA NELLY! Needless to say, I had an awesome class today. Thanks to my instructor who showed up to teach class in this madness!

What Union Sq looked like today at 6:15am

Friday, December 24, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yoga coming in Jan 2011!

Jnana and Chin Mudras

One of my biggest battles in life is insomnia so I wanted to write about a mudra that can be used for it. If you practice yoga you've probably done it already because it's so common and also found in different religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Catholicism.

How to do it: Join the tips of your index finger and thumb. The rest of the fingers are extended. Place the hands on the knees in this Mudra while sitting. Pointing up its called the Jnana Mudra, fingers pointing downward its called the Chin Mudra. The Jnana Mudra can also be practiced held in front of an open chest.

Both are good for countering stress and tension, as well as useful in concentration and meditation.  I find it to have a calming and quieting effect on my mind when I have insomnia. I lay down in my bed, flat on my back and use the Jnana Mudra with hands laid on my thighs and do some type of breathing exercise. Another helpful exercise I complement this practice is to keep my eyes relaxed but open in the dark, staring at the ceiling and count at an even pace up to twenty. Then close my eyes gently and count to twenty and continue. Usually I find that at some point I fall asleep.

P.S. Why do some of these horrible PhotoBooth images make me look like I have chin hair?! NOT COOL cause I DON'T!

Chin Mudra
Jnana Mudra
Both hands! Variation in front of the chest.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I finally learned the importance of keeping my chin down.

You cannot deny what you can learn from having a good pad holder in Muay Thai. This was my trainer when I was at Fairtex Bangplee, training his son who has had 100-something fights. Go figure. That kid was my friggin idol! During morning training he could be seen leaving the camp for school in his uniform looking all proper and wai-ing all of us. In the afternoons you would see him kicking like a maniac like in this video.

Sesame seed oil, up my nose. YES!

Things I have been doing wrong:
not taking vitamins
not sleeping enough
not eating properly
not practicing mudras

The result? Sinus congestion! So bad. My yoga practice has been terrible the last two days because of it. Forget about pranayama...everything aches and feels tight. I thought my back was going to tear open when I did full pigeon this morning. ACK.

So this brings me to my natural remedy. Both in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine! I have been using pure organic sesame oil...yes, up my nose! So its best to lay down and use an eye dropper, 2-3 drops. I use a soaked q-tip, throw my head back while standing in the bathroom and let it drip into my nose. I once had a yoga teacher who told me to sniff it and also pour it into my ear! I've never tried it but since I've tried putting it up my nose, I swear it works. Not only does it lubricate my dried out achey sinuses, but it also helps to draw out the mucous.

Ayurvedic practitioners also believe in doing a self massage with sesame seed oil which is supposed to be favorable to all doshas and great after dry brushing and showering. I did it for a while but it didn't seem to moisturize any more than my regular lotion, but I never tried the dry brushing. Either way, sesame oil is AWESOME and totally saving my life right now.

Here is a great link I found for other natural remedies.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Banana Thai shorts

Designed these for a friend but never got the chance to get custom shorts while in Thailand. I guess I gotta wait til next time! They're cool though...

Monday, December 13, 2010

On the subject of running.

Look, I totally have jet lag but check out my Vibrams! Went running all over Thailand! No, that's such a lie. I ran mostly on treadmills and by the beach in Phuket, but they went a long way and of course the Thai guys in the Muay Thai camps were all..."What is that?!" Totally blew their minds...Vibrams to Thailand!

Speaking of running,  a cool book I'm reading right now. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami.

Holy screaming ITBands!!!! +Fish that eat your feet!

I am still trying to recover from my 2 weeks of virtually no Yoga. ITB are suffering immensely!

On another note, something I wanted to share that I did in Thailand...Fish Spa! So there is this type of fish called Garra rufa some people call them doctor fish or reddish log suckers. They're from Turkey and they're often used for spa purposes! The fish nibble on you removing dead skin, calluses and bacteria. Cleans and clear pores, promotes blood circulation, stimulates the feet and helps with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. I saw it in Thailand everywhere from the malls in Bangkok to the massage places in Phuket. I originally was so hesitant but I figured, where else would I do this? Its just for your feet. So basically you sit with your feet in a big fish tank while the lil buggers feed on you. Can I just say its...HILARIOUS. So ticklish I thought I was going to pee myself! I could hardly stand it for 30 min. and I had to really really concentrate to stop from laughing.

Baby, its cold outside.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

Suan Lum Night Bazaar, Bangkok

Well hello cold weather, I'm back from Thailand!

Hello! Back in NYC and....holy coldness!
Quick things to update on...
• I only practiced Yoga 2 times in the last 2 weeks which makes my body feel terrible! NEVER AGAIN!
• Lots of Muay Thai and running makes my ITbands really upset. Frog pose and gomukasana are the answer.
• Mudras mentioned in the last posts, totes work. I practiced mudras but not asana....ha!

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand

p.s. I was on Vacay!

Jatujak weekend market, Bangkok

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Zombies eat your brains

Obviously, I've been gearing up and getting ready for my trip to Thailand, hence random Muay Thai posts...but before I leave a few things...So everyone around me has been sniffling, coughing, looking all zombie-like... and I have been taking all kinds of preventative measures because who wants to be sick on vacation? Or worse...sick on a long flight to Asia.

I've been doing the obvious: drinking tons of water, Emergen-C packets, zinc, multi-v's, coconut water, ginger, resting, sleeping and keeping distance from those already infected by the T-virus. Some other things that I SWEAR are working:

Drinking Bird's nest. Maybe it was on one of those shows in which some guy -who is not Asian, goes to different Asian countries to eat dead bugs and other weird things...but its supposed to be so good for you according to my Chinese grandmother who is no longer with us. It doesn't really have much taste to it, and it at least doesn't taste bad. Plus you can knock it back quick in small doses like a shot. I had 4 of them this week and I SO believe its helped me when I was in the "almost getting sick" mode.

Linga Mudra. Interlace the fingers with one thumb up with the thumb and forefinger tips touching of the other hand and encircling it. Said to increase the powers of resistance against colds, coughs and chest infections. It loosens mucus caught in the lungs. Not to be weird but I've used this everyday for a week and a half and I swear it works though I've also been taking ginger which could be contributing.

Shankh Mudra. Wrap the four fingers of your right hand around the thumb of the left hand, then touch the right thumb to your left middle finger. Hold the hands in front of the sternum. This is also called the "shell mudra" because it looks like your conch shell. This mudra is said to help with any type of throat problems. It can also be useful and great for people's singing voices (not mine), especially when you are singing "om" while doing it. I've been using this particular mudra at the beginning and end of classes these last few weeks when we "om" and I will tell you it has a calming effect on me as well as helps promote better posture and having a more open heart/chest which I need to improve for myself!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Trent Reznor w/an 8 pack"

So there is this blogger who has taken a year to do a bunch of gym trials and freebies to 1-save money and 2-decide what gym she will join after the year. My friend who is a personal trainer did a trial workout with her and here is her post.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series @ Rush Arts

My dear friend Steve who is an amazing photographer had his work submitted for this contest and turned out to be one of the finalists. It was paintings and photos. He didn't win but it was still a good time and nice to see his work up in the gallery.

Ushas Mudra

So I haven't been posting lately. Trying to tie up some loose ends before going on vacation! But wanted to share Ushas Mudra.

Its so easy peasy. Interlace your fingers. Important for women to have the right thumb between left index finger and left thumb, press on right thumb with left thumb. This mudra is great for waking up in the morning when you're laying in bed and still feeling sleepy. I place my hands in this mudra on my belly and do a square breathing exercise. Which is inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale on a count of 4, hold for 4 and repeat. Another variation is to put clasp hands behind the head while laying in bed. Inhale and exhale vigorously with eyes and mouth wide and pressing the elbows back into the pillow or bed.

In case you're wondering, I get my mudras mostly from this book and some online research. I only write about the ones I've tried using myself. The thing about my Yoga practice is that its always  been more asana than anything. So I am quite behind when it comes to meditation and such, though I am delving more into it nowadays.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Swinging in silk

As my journey in learning Aerial Silks I did lots of moves in a sling, which is basically like a big silk hammock. Some of the moves tend to be easier bc the silks are completely supporting me but my teacher still gave me really hard upper body strength type moves. My arms are killing me! And instead of climbing silks today I climbed a rope. OUCH for rope burn! Didn't get to practice foot wraps but to give you an idea of what that looks like...

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Firefly impression!

I guess with the cold and waking up to pitch darkness, there are less and less people showing up to 7am Yoga. I guess people are having the case of the Mondays. It IS my favorite Yoga class so I always get my butt out of bed to try to prevent coming down with the latter. Today, we went through titibhasana, firefly. OK this is not one of my beautiful poses. You know how certain poses just look beautiful and graceful when you're in them? I feel like people have those poses for themselves, the ones they can get into with ease and just look fabulous in. Titibhasana is not one of them for me. The thing about it is, I can wiggle my body into the pose, but it doesn't feel great and am quite sure it looks awkward. So, with the lack of attendance the instructor tells us to get into "titibhasana". In sanskrit it sounds even more confusing and a few people look around confused...he just points to me and what she's doing. OH great all eyes on my ugly looking firefly pose? I did my best and held it for about 5 quick seconds before getting out of it! OH the pressure. So now comes my description of how to get into Titibhasana.

1. Come to a Yogi squat. That is feet almost as wide as the mat. Hands in a prayer and elbows pressed against inner thighs/knees, bootie all the way down but not touching the floor. Back is very straight. Try to get your feet parallel. Hold for about 3 breathes.

2. Now place hands on the mat between the feet and raise the hips/bootie up to the ceiling in a forward bend, feet are still wide and knees are bent.

3. Here comes the weird part, which is more of a prep before the pose than anything. OK, so bend the knees a little more, bring your feet a lil wider than hip distance. Now you want to shuffle your shoulders under your thighs. I're saying...WTFORKS? OK bend the knees but keep raising the hips. Your shoulders are probably not going to actually go under the thighs but that's what we're reaching for. Mine don't! So most likely you'll get your upper arms under your thighs. Bring the hands to the bootie cheeks. Right hand on right cheek, left on left. Got it? Yeah this is uncomfy but try to stay there for 2-3 breaths.

4. Keep the shoulders/upper arms under your thighs, but start squatting down again, similar to step 1, but this time place your hands under each foot, fingers facing forward, keep your thighs on your arms, now they'll be on your triceps, if you can keep them on your shoulders...amazing! Walk your feet/toes forward in front of you, keep looking forward, pressing into the hands, use your bandhas!!! Engage your abs and slowly life one foot at a time.

5. Bend your elbows more to give your legs more of a surface to lay on. But if you're super flexible and your legs are on your shoulders...WOW, you can keep your arms straighter.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stop chatting, stop texting!!!!

Technology is killing us! OK computer freaks and geeks (yeah I am one too), look we spend way too many hours hunched over a keyboard...and the texting has got to be making it all worse. Is your chest all concaved and back all hunch back of Notre Dame? I am constantly hearing more and more from friends and colleagues who have careers in which they are stuck in front of a computer developing serious back injuries. No, not problems, like straight up injuries. Some injuries so bad you might think they got hit by a NYC cab. Instead, its from sitting on their booties typing away as I am right now for maybe 8-14 hrs a day and not taking the time out to get up and take a walk or a quick stretch. Don't get me wrong, technology is awesome and great, but we, as healthy, conscious people must find a way to compensate for the toll its taking on our bodies.

I cannot stress the importance of staying active! Below are some great ideas for maintaining good posture and not allowing the muscles in your body to degenerate.

1. Set a timer on that trusty smartphone or blackberry that goes off every 30min-1hr reminding you to get up and walk a lap around the office or take a down dog or uttanasana.

2. Go outside for lunch and take a short walk. This will also make you a more efficient worker!

3. Do some stretches in our chair.
-Interlace the fingers, press the palms up to the ceiling, pull the shoulders down and away from the ears, relax the neck.
-Drop the head to the right side, place the right hand over the right ear and let gravity stretch the side of your neck. Switch sides.
-Neck and shoulder rolls, easy peasy!
-Chair dips
-I am sure you're capable of coming up with even more chair stretches!

4. Maintain good posture. Roll the shoulders back and down. Keep the shoulders above the hips. When standing shoulders, hips and ankles all in line. Tuck the tailbone under. Feel pressure on the lower back? Try putting something under your seat to raise up the booty an inch or two, taking away the bend in your lower back.

5. Breathing exercises. My favorite breathing exercise to practice in releasing tension is square breathing. Inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4. Repeat. Breathing can do amazing things for the tension you hold in your neck, shoulders and back when feeling stressed.

6. If you already feel like your body is suffering from all this computer time, contact my friend Alex! He's really been a big help to a client of mine who has major back injuries that even Physical Therapy didn't do much for. He's so knowledgeable about the human anatomy and he has reasonable prices!

With that said, I taught a very slow paced and restorative Yoga class today which is a nice switch up from my regular rigorous Vinyasa type of style.

Purple nails did.

I got this idea from a youtube tutorial here.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Sneak Peakage of Freestyle Cologne

5 Tibetan Rites.

Another cool thing I took away from the Thyroid Workshop...was the 5 Tibetan Rites. It's an exercise program used by Tibetan monks to stay vibrant and youthful. More about the 5 Tibetans here.

True Hip-Hop in Miami

True Hip-Hop book release party in Miami. One of my fav photographers and one of my fav cities. WORD. Or if you just wanna get a signed copy of the fabulous book check it here.

Janet Jackson loves my fav Vegan spot. Red Bamboo, W. 4th St.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dancing monks and marathon rehab.

Some cool goings on in the city. Too bad I don't have the time to check it out.


Broadway (at 60th St)
Subway: A, C, B, D, 1 to 59th St–Columbus CircleGet directions
Lincoln Center presents the White Light Festival, which features the U.S. premiere of Sutra, a dance piece by choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui featuring 17 monks from the Shaolin Temple. British artist Antony Gormley created the set; the score, by Polish composer Szymon Brzóska, is performed live. 
Free Yoga classes at Lululemon in celebration of the NYC Marathon. Good luck to my people who are running this weekend! If you want to donate money to their causes:
American Cancer Society

Light show and Architecture.

Funny, this building is located in Chelsea on the west side. I always think it looks pretty ugly because I like the old New York buildings as opposed to the glassy weird shaped new ones. Anyways this is cool despite me not liking how the building looks against our lovely Hudson River.

The LightLine of Gotham from seeper on Vimeo.

Follow up on Yoga for Thyroid

So I posted about this workshop concerning balancing the Thyroid and 5th Chakra. I went to the workshop and disappointingly found it to be not as informative as I wanted it to be. I feel there is so much conflicting information out there and this further confused me! Also, because we ran out of time there was little info on diet and nutrition. So in this post I will go over my own findings and reinforce ideas that I did not find conflicting information on.

Great Yoga poses for balancing the Thyroid hormones. This applies to different thyroid conditions as it is a balancing effect. Shoulderstand, fish pose, camel pose and plow pose.

Now the rest of this is for Hypothyroidism -that's what I have. Slower metabolism -basically. So what sucks is, I gain weight easily. I find that Yoga is great for it. I felt the most balanced during the months in which I did teacher training. That was about 4 months of practicing Yoga 5-8 times a week. Also, it created balance in my appetite. I felt it was the most manageable and also more realistic. Doing any type of weight training makes me ravenously hungry. So overall -more Yin type of exercises -anaerobic, slower paced was helpful. However my personal wants are to do more Yang type activities like Martial Arts, so its a balancing act. I just stay away from weight training. I had to give up kettlebell training a year ago.

As for diet I found all the conflicting info. So the best I can say is, stay away from processed foods. This is hard! But I try to eat lots of raw fruits and veggies. I try to go organic for certain staples like eggs and milk. Also being that I have to take thyroid medications every morning I have to be sure not to take any supplements or soy products until about 4 hours after the medication because they affect the absorption of the meds into the body.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Need to relax?

DE-STRESS - A Complimentary Hour Of Deep Relaxation

AT: Atmananda Yoga
67 Irving Place, 2nd Floor (Between 18th & 19th St)
New York, NY

Take a delightful break mid-week and enjoy an hour of Deep Relaxation.
Renew and Recharge on Wednesday evening.

Sutra Guided Relaxation is a distinct technique that helps you let go of stress and leaves you feeling rested and refreshed. Working from the inside out, it is both healing and energizing.

...This blissful experience promises to take away tension, anxiety, worry, fear, anger and all things negative – and instead, take you on a journey of restfulness & tranquility. It is simple in its essence, deeply beneficial & stabilizing.

A fusion of Hyperbolic & Breath Of Life™ exercises, Sūtra Guided Relaxation melts away the strains of your everyday regime and lightens the burdens that sometimes shadow us. Meant to suit your demanding life, it helps you unwind completely and emerge energized, composed, in-control & empowered with a transformed perspective.

Calm the mind, body and senses.

It's a Gift Of Love for New Yorkers.

If you are unable to attend on Nov 9, remain in the know of future FREE WORKSHOPS by signing up ay:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween in review

Rocketmen and women, jelly fish in Williamsburg and lots of eyeballs.