Tag Archives: yoga

guest post: my love for my yoga mat

A NOTE FROM PIP: In today’s guest post, Rachel from itsahero.com shares her love for one of my most favorite objects in the world. As I come off the Wanderlust Festival, I can’t wait to share my similarly themed thoughts next week. But until then, thank you Rachel for these beautiful words!


yoga mat photo

I started yoga 6 years ago. In those 6 years I’ve gone through 4 yoga mats. I started with a basic Target yoga mat, it evolved to a Jade mat, then a Manduka Eko Lite, and then back to my beloved Jade.

Regardless of which mat I was using in those last 6 years, I’ve returned to it time and time again for the intense physical workout I get with my vinyasa practice; but I also find myself coming back for the unseen benefits – the psychological and emotional benefits.

Life can make my heart feel heavy and my emotions run wild. My mat has ended up being the place where I can let it all out. Where I can feel the release from all of it — life, that is.

Everything in the class – the teacher, the music, the other students – bring me back to reality; and the reality of it all is, life is happening now — so show up for it.

And as I lay in half pigeon, with my forehead on my mat, tears start to roll off my cheeks. Because I recognize that this is where I need to be; this is the release my life requires.

Yoga came into my life for a reason. Sure, it’s been a great way to stay fit, but it’s also the very thing my soul needs time and time again.

There are times that I step away from my mat because ‘life’ just gets too busy; too overwhelming. That’s been the case recently. And so last weekend I returned to a class at Yoga Bliss in Akron. As soon as I walked in I felt like I was coming home! As silly (and ridiculous) as that may sound, it’s the truth. There’s a reason that you hear (very) few people saying “I used to practice yoga.” Because once you invite yoga into your life, it stays there. Forever. You’ll never quit! It may change and evolve as you change.

This is why when I pick up my yoga mat, I can’t help but smile. It brings me instant joy. Only yogis can understand how much I’ll always love my mat. :)

on the mat: #heartsonfire at lululemon athletica Eton Chagrin

A three-day, double-holiday weekend + a Sunday night yoga event + seeing some of my favorite Cleveland yogis = a highlight of my mid-month.

Last night, I was lucky to assist the #heartsonfire complimentary yoga class at lululemon athletica Eton Chagrin taught by one of their local ambassadors, Ylonda Rosenthal-Greene.

hearts on fire yo with cello

Ylonda and I have known each other since the fall of 2011. After taking some of her earliest classes at Nishkama Yoga, I became a regular of hers and she became one of my favorite teachers for the way she blended solid asana instruction – heavy in alignment – with a spiritual touch that was personal and touching. Since then, we’ve come to learn from each other as we’ve grown as teachers — and more importantly, friends.

Ylonda recently shared on Facebook that while she wanted to play her cello during one of her yoga classes, she was afraid to take the leap to do so. Before you knew it, the lulu crew engaged: an event was planned, the yogis were invited, fellow lululemon ambassador Scott Supler from Cleveland Yoga was invited to assist and we all were in for a treat. When I found out it was a back bending practice, I told Yo I was there: to take the class, to assist the class, whatever she needed.

Hearts on FIre Yoga Collage

I learned a great deal about what I know about assisting from Ylonda. I was only a few months into teacher training when I first injured my shoulder. Instead of pushing it, I smartly rested it while others practiced.  Instead of taking class, I would show up to assist Yo’s classes. Through those classes, she patiently helped me to learn an array of assists.  So when she asked me to assist this lulu class, I considered it an honor.

Yo lead the 50-some (maybe more!) Northeastern Ohio yogis through one heck of a back bending flow. While she now teaches at Inner Bliss Yoga Studio, she’s still a Nishkami at heart – and the sequencing reflected it.  I was half jealous I wasn’t taking class – but also relieved: it was HARD!!  By the time that savasana finally rolled around, these yogis were ready for it – and had all earned it!

As she closed with a few final spinal twists, Ylonda picked up her cello and then treated us all with one of the most lovely savasana experiences that you can wish for:

From there, Ylonda closed the practice with a chant to Ganesh, the remover of obstacles — check out the video that one class participant took here. We chanted the words “om gam ganapataye namaha” and my troubles melted away as I jumped in with a harmony to her melody. What a reminder it was to know that that feeling of peace and calm is truly always accessible if you just take the chance to stop, to sit, to be still and let it overcome you.

To everyone at lululemon, thank you for allowing my great friend to overcome one of her fears while treating us all to a memorable experience. Thanks to our students that came out to Woodmere on another snowy night to practice. And most importantly: thank you to Ylonda for always being a source of inspiration, strength and love.

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sights and sounds {part five}

Happy Valentine’s Day!

golden retriever eyes

I hope someone is looking you as longingly as Grady is staring down my unpictured oatmeal.

Speaking of Animal Attractions, we hit up the Cleveland Zoological Society‘s first special event of the 2014 calendar year last Thursday evening:

animal attractions

Want to see more? View the vibrant photos taken by Dale McDonald at his photography site here.

While hanging out with Jen and Matt from WhyCLE? and Amanda and Scott from Clue into Cleveland, I ran into more friendly faces, including one of my fellow Evolution Yoga teachers and fellow Cleveland blogger Melanie from Melanie Makeswhat a sweetheart! This was our third time at this zoo event, and personally, I felt it was the best of the three. Great food vendors, excellent beverages, plenty of educational moments and opportunities to hang out in a WARM setting – exactly what we needed on a cold February evening.

Otherwise, it’s more of the usual: event planning and yoga teaching.

cibreo cocktail

A late afternoon walk through of Cibréo in prep for an upcoming March kickoff event led me to enjoy one of their featured barrel-aged cocktails during happy hour. I love this time of year: as I’m downtown so much more often, I get to enjoy our fine downtown restaurant scene because of it! (The perks of being a wine-and-dine planner.) 

On the flip side of the coin: I’m letting the #happynewyoga2 Instagram challenge influence my yoga teaching. On Tuesday, when extended hand-to-big-toe pose was the pose-of-the-day, I incorporated it into the balancing portion of my yoga classes that evening.  I hope my students tonight aren’t surprised when yesterday’s Warrior III makes an appearance.

warrior 3

At least Grady doesn’t seem to mind.  And in class this week, everyone’s been digging on this tune that I had forgotten about until a recent training session:

By the time Sunday hits, I will have had taught seven classes this week – so I’m overdue for a double holiday, three-day weekend. Things I’m looking forward to:

  • quality time with Hans and that fuzz pup
  • Jump Back Ball dress shopping (any suggestions on where to go?!)
  • and the Hearts of Fire yoga class at lululemon this Sunday night.

It’s looking like another fast and furious Friday – so let’s go!

Disclosure: I was offered two media passes to Animal Attractions in return for running a ticket giveaway. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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