Why You Should Do Yoga

I have never been the most flexible person. In fact, I played volleyball in high school and I was constantly injured so I spent a lot of time in the training room, which means a lot of time on ice, heat, STEM, and stretch, and I was SO un-flexible that we celebrated any time my legs got to 90 degrees. It wasn’t that I didn’t stretch! I did! Just not often or long enough, apparently. Today, I can almost put my palms on the ground and after an hour of yoga, focused on hamstrings, I usually can.

I tried yoga once while in college at Texas State University.. I hated it. It was the most awful vile thing I had ever experienced. At this point in my life, I hated stretching. I worked out and ran, but the only time I would stretch was in group warm-ups, when everyone was stretching, but looking back that does not count because touching your toes and counting to ten is not stretching. I should tell you now that stretching is not the only reason to do yoga, nor is it the primary reason, but at 19, I didn’t know that. I walked into that yoga class thinking it was going to be calm and serene stretching, but by the end of the class I was soaked in sweat, had fallen a few times, and my ego was bruised. I didn’t go back… until last year.

I started practicing yoga in a rec room inside the OKC Lighthouse in September 2012, with a wonderful woman named Judy. Judy was somewhere between her late 70s – early 80s and had been practicing yoga her whole life. This is when I first realized that yoga was not just stretching; Judy looked like she could not be a day over 65. (Not to get off topic, but this realization has held true in every woman I have met that practices yoga; something has taken years off their looks.) I spent three months in that rec room with Judy, and my roommate Allison, learning how to practice yoga. On my first day, I walked in, grabbed a mat and sat near a wall; I later learned the wall part was a bad choice because I have monkey arms. The lights turned off, incense were lit, and they started the practice with deep breathing through the nose. All of this was foreign to me, but I went along with it because everyone else seemed to enjoy the idea, and I was there for a new experience. We began that day with what I now know are sun salutations, however a the time I was pretty sure I was doing a slower version of burpees. Up, Down, Up, Swan Dive, Jump, Push, Pull, Fall, was essentially the order I went it. After 30 minutes, my arms were burning, my mat was slick, and breathing through my nose was not an option; I was out of shape. At the end of class, I thanked the teacher, wiped the pool off of my mat, and left wondering what the hell just happened in there. But I went back. Somewhere in the next few classes, Judy taught me how to flow properly. Then I learned the Warriors. And by the end of my three-month subscription at OKC Lighthouse, I could generally keep up with the easier modifications of poses. I didn’t notice a difference immediately, or at any given time, it just got a little less difficult day by day; even so, my favorite pose is still savasana.

After I left the Lighthouse, I decided to go to a studio dedicated to yoga. I started off at Cadence Yoga, in midtown in January of 2013. I loved Cadence! It had a wonderful class schedule and amazing teachers. I absolutely grew as a yogi under that roof. I learned more about practicing yoga mentally, not just physically. It was here that I decided that yoga need to be a part of my everyday life. Michael finally decided to join me in my yoga adventure after going to Mandy Lathan’s (the owner) class one time. We both committed to a month of unlimited yoga at Cadence, and we went as often as possible. Unfortunately for us, Cadence was going abroad in February, so it was time to say goodbye and find another studio. We spent a month visiting studios all over Oklahoma City. Thankfully, most of the studios around here will let you try your first class for free, so that you get a feel on what their studio is like. We loved all of the studios, but none of them had that special feeling, until we discovered The Yoga Room. Mandy had suggested The Yoga Room a few times before she left, but we were still hesitant and looking for a place with similar student pricing. In March, The Yoga Room picked up Cadence’s prices and teachers, so we went to try it out, and we never left.

I guess this month is my one year anniversary with yoga. I must say that I have grown the most under the Yoga Room roof. They have amazing teachers, a warm, inviting atmosphere, and that special something that I can’t actually put into words. I have learned so much about yoga and the effect it has on the body. I even gave a speech about it at IgniteOKC. Fortunately for me (and you), Ignite has posted the videos from the event, so now you can listen to my five minute talk on why you should do yoga, instead of reading it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRL5LJefduw

I named this post “Why You Should Do Yoga” and the answer is not just one thing. It is everything. It is community, friendship, health, fitness, and spirit.

Namaste!

Where Do You Get Your News?

Every morning I wake up and lay in bed to find out what is happening in the world. My go-to is usually the New York Times since I have the app and subscription on my phone. I love the Times! But, it can be a little long if I don’t have a lot of time. Yesterday I was jumping around a few blogs and I found a post boasting about this website they use to get their news; so I checked it out. TheSkimm sends you an email every day with a summarized version of the important news, and it seems pretty useful! Today was my first day receiving the email, and I loved it. See what you thinks!

Today’s Skimm Below:
THE STORY: Russia and the US are patting themselves on the back for potentially solving the Syria crisis with a little diplomacy. Although each thinks it’s the problem solver. Cue lots of talking.

CAN WE JUST REWIND FOR A SEC, HOW DID WE GET HERE AGAIN? Syria has been in a civil war for more than two years, killing over 100,000, with forces supporting President Assad going up against rebel groups trying to oust him. The violence led to calls for international intervention but the US had implied that if Assad crossed a “red line” (used chemical weapons) it would be a game changer. On Aug. 21, the line was apparently crossed and over a thousand were killed in a gas attack. The international community was pretty divided about what to do, with the US pushing for a military strike as punishment. But then Russia had an idea — Syria could hand over all its weapons and the international community would destroy them. No strike.

CAN I JUST SAY, WHY WOULD ANYONE BE ANTI-STRIKE? Well, some people (cough, Russia) are friends with Assad. Others have fears about becoming the world’s policeman. There is real concern that no one knows who these rebel groups really are, although the CIA did just start delivering lethal aid to help them out after much delay. They are made up of different factions and some have close ties to al-Qaeda (hint: that group is not meant to get the aid), making it a bit awkward for the international community to come to their defense. The rebel groups have also been accused of committing atrocities and using chemical weapons. So let’s just say, they’re not perfect.

SO WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW? Talking. First, the Fab Five main members on the Security Council — US, France, UK, China, and Russia — talked yesterday at the UN. They were set to discuss what to include in a resolution that would require Syria’s chemical weapons be handed over and destroyed. Each member has veto power which makes an agreement challenging. Meanwhile, US Sec. of State John Kerry is meeting with Russia to discuss logistics.

DOES THE UN HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD? Why, yes, yes they do. The body announced yesterday that it had evidence that Assad’s forces committed war crimes. But the panel also said that rebel forces were guilty of crimes like murder, torture, and indiscriminately attacking civilians, too, just at a much lesser extent.

DOES PUTIN HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD? Oh yes. In an op-ed in The New York Times, Russia’s president said that going through the UN is the way to solve this, as a strike would be bad for many reasons, including throwing off the system of international law and order. He also said we really don’t know the rebels that well and that Russia is not protecting its friend Syria, but international law. Ending with a bang and giving the US an ego-check, Putin added that the US is not so “exceptional” and should stop bragging about that.

theSKIMM: These diplomatic efforts are gaining momentum and could be the most significant development to the ongoing crisis in over two years. Or they could go nowhere. Or as one rep from California said, “I think what the Russians have proposed may turn out to be the best thing to come out of Russia since vodka.”

REPEAT AFTER ME…
What to say when you feel like frowning… Go ahead. The FDA agrees with you that crow’s feet are not your best look and has approved Botox for taking care of them. The anti-wrinkle injected drug was approved more than a decade ago for treating frown lines, but that hasn’t stopped some docs and other practitioners from using it in other ways. It’s also FDA-approved to use it for such things as migraines and underarm sweating (sorry). The miracle worker, which stops your muscles from tightening so you don’t see wrinkles as much and can leave you looking a little stiff, comes from a purified form of a highly toxic substance. Hollywood and baby boomers, rejoice!

What to say when you’re looking for a new job… I wish I just knew a guy who knew a guy who could get me in. Enter Saul Goodman. “Better Call Saul” has heard your request. The “Breaking Bad” spinoff is finally, really happening. Saul Goodman will live on after Breaking Bad ends in a one-hour “prequel” to the critically acclaimed mind f*ck of a drama. It will focus on the evolution of Saul’s character before he became Walter White’s lawyer and the go-to expert on vacuum repairs. To add even more suspense to the one show that could easily give you a heart attack, AMC and Sony TV have not yet announced an air date.

What to say while practicing quitting… “It’s been a hell of a fun ride.” Tina Brown summed up her five-year run as the Daily Beast’s editor and founder and announced to staff that she is splitting with parent company IAC next year to launch her own thing. The Daily Beast had merged with Newsweek but the latter was later sold. Brown, a member of the media elite who ran Vanity Fair, Talk magazine, and The New Yorker, plans to start Tina Brown Live Media which will continue the celebrated Women in the World conference and focus on summits, salons, and debates.

What to say on a shopping trip… I’d like some Trader Joe’s wine and new healthcare. The chic but cheap grocery chain is making part-time employees do a little shopping, just not the kind they’d prefer–it’s dropping their health benefits. Not to fear though, Joe’s directed its part-time employees to Obamacare’s new insurance exchanges. The company, which currently offers great worker benefits, will give those working under 30 hours per week a $500 check next year. That check, plus tax subsidies that low-wage workers will be eligible for under Obamacare, apparently will be able to get them health coverage. The insurance exchanges are meant to give customers the opportunity to comparison shop to find the health plan that fits just right. Obamacare critics are saying ‘I told you so,’ since they worry the exchanges will encourage companies to drop benefits.