Monthly Archives: September 2008


It's a new word, I know. I'm making it up now. Let Webster and Wikipedia know.

I admire the mommies I work with. It is the most noble and tremendous profession I know.
I know a lot of doctors and lawyers and actors and they are awesome too but really, the mommies are what pave the way. They are the presidents of our united states of being and growing and living and I am dedicating this blog to you.

I can barely find the time and I'm all by myself.
So when you, the mommy, can multitask careers, husbands, children's schedules, nannies and housekeepers, outside family issues and then find the time to work out with me and on your own, I try to figure out ways to make it easier to get a work out in if you can't see me or are in a pinch or time.
And it always seems like time is a pinch.
I know it's going to be hard, especially for those new mommies out there, but I promise you, the things I've come up with might be able to get you from, post partum to party girl in no time. Ok, that sounds totally Redbook, but hear me out. You have no time. You can't get in the gym because you can barely get any sleep. You can't hire me or any other trainer to get you in the mind or revving heart space to burn the calories you consumed to house your little gift. I get it.
Try wrapping your mind around the fact that your 'new normal' can actually use your mother's intuition to get you into shape.

Your kid needs to get out doors. You slap on the sunscreen, strap your bundle into your turbo stroller, heart rate monitor if applicable (might actually get you motivated) and your cross trainers and hit the streets.
5 minutes at a nice easy pace as the sun is rising.
After about 5 minutes, imagine you have somewhere to be soon and pick up your pace for about 2 minutes.

If you do have a heart monitor, pick up the pace every two minutes till you get up to ten minutes then slow down to your walk, starting again at your easy pace for two minutes then bumping it up every two minutes till you get to your rushing to an appointment pace. Slow it down to easy one last time then bump it up again. See if you can push past your rushing to an appointment pace for the last 2 minutes making the last set about 12 minutes. The whole 'walk/jog' should be about 37 minutes-40 minutes if you want a few extra cool down walking minutes.
Add a few lunges for an extra burst of cardio OR carry a jump rope with you and between 2-minute intervals stop the stroller and jump anywhere from 10-100!!

Kid is napping. I know, you want to nap too but she/he is going to get up real soon so make the most of it. You can grab a snack, return a phone call, check your email OR
Do 10 wide (hip width or wider) squats, grab some bar bells or medicine ball and lift it over your head for an extra burst of cardio. March in place swinging the arms in a backstroke swim or freestyle swim manner.
Do some phantom jump ropes by the cradle, push ups with knees to the floor, lie prone and lift legs up and down, bent knees if you need to (keep low back to the floor the whole time), jumping jacks, shadow boxes, bicycle crunches, nice and slow so as not to wake up your little one and so you can feel the burn deeper.

Try about 20 seconds each or if you are not into the timing thing, just do it till you can't anymore, not a painful feeling but a 'maximum edge' feeling, like you can't do another one. The whole circuit should last about 20 minutes in total.

Even as an adult, I still love going to the park. I've discovered super ways to use your kids’ playground as a gym for you to get your workout while your little one is off running and getting her/his clothes dirty.
If you are walking' or doing the above 'walk/jog' to the park, keep one kid in the stroller or let the bigger kid run off to play on the jungle gym and assess where you are.

Bench dips
-Are you sitting at a bench?
Let your bum hang off a couple of inches, hold onto the edge of the bench with the heels of your hands and lower the bum till your elbow is at 90 degrees. Do these 'tricep dips' 8-12 times for a couple of sets.
If you are feeling really strong, extend one leg forward like a kick and keep the opposite leg at 90 degrees, dip down for 8 then switch sides and repeat.
Works the triceps, butt and thighs

Babe chest press
-Grab your babe by the arms and hold her/him at your heart, send the kid forward and bring 'em back to the heart. This is a great arm/chest strengthener. Do 8-12 a couple of times. For the chest and arms.

-Grab one of the monkey bars and hold the bar with your hands shoulder width a part. Bend the elbows and pull yourself up as much as you can and hold the position for 10-20 seconds.
Do it up to eight times if you can.
Works the biceps, back and abs of course.

Swing time
-If your kid loves to swing, give 'em a good push a bunch of times and that will work the biceps and chest.

Swing low, my sweet...
-If you love the swing, go ahead and stand up on it! Hang one of your feet off the swing in a kick position and with the force of your core and arms push with your standing leg, kicking the opposite leg forward. Hiya!! Keep a good hold of the chains with your arms to work the biceps and of course, the belly. Just do a bunch on each side and laugh out loud.
Take one foot/the tips of the toes, on the edge of the swing and lunge the opposite leg forward. Keep the hands on the hips and sink into a lunge. Do 8-12 repetitions. Great for balance, bum, core and thighs.

Ring around the rosy
-If their are rings at your local park, grab a hold of them. Reach high, and then bring them as close to the chest as possible. Make it more of a challenge and bring the knees in to the right, then to the left. Do 8-12 reps.

-Slide lunge and reach
Gotta love the slide. Hold on tight to the top of the slide and let your legs hang down in a lunge position. Imagine you are climbing up the slide, one leg at a time, switch the lunge- one leg straight, one leg bent at 90 degrees and switch. Do for about 30 seconds alternating each leg.

-Swing push-ups
Take both feet and position them on the swing or bleachers. Walk the hands forward so the body is in one long line like an upper push up. Works the shoulders, biceps, chest, back abs and booty. Do about 12 pushups bending the arms to about 90- degrees shoulder distance apart.

-Bleacher Step up
Step up to the first, second or third step on a bleacher and bring the other foot to meet the first like you were climbing stairs. Do 10-20 and switch sides. Then turn to the right and put your left foot on the bleacher. Bring your right knee up on the diagonal stepping up laterally (sideways). 10-20 then switching sides.

Your kid has fun at the park but so can you, so there. If you have any questions, let me know and we'll go to the park together and I'll show ya.
In the mean time, be good to yourself, drink a ton of water and call your mother.

Get your own yoga, this one’s mine!

Here's the deal folks,
when the Indian's way back when (like 5+K years ago) formulated postures in a sequence to get the physical body moving, it was with the intention to prepare oneself to be still and calm, for meditation.
To observe your inner and outer life and see its connection with everything. It was to get your body to a place that was in a condition to be clear enough to communicate with the divine, i.e. your higher self. That self is the same self Brad Pitt and the Jonas Brothers are linked to. We are all linked sans a VIP pass, like one large power surge that your blackberry, ipod, dvd player, camcorder, juicer, toaster, coffee maker is linked to.
We are all linked together.
You just have to practice your way into that awareness.
Like it or not, we are all the same even though our journeys, tests, past, education, families, childhood are different.
Does that make you think differently about flipping that guy off in traffic?
It should, cause that is yoga my friends.
You don't know what that guys journey is or how much ego is diseasing his 'moment', so practice yoga then.
Yoga ain't just on a mat, listening to the harmonium and doing 108 sun salutes.
Nope, its not.
It's not the guy in the hybrid who ran the stop sign and almost hit me with his car when I was crossing the street this morning.
Oh, you are so aware of the environment that you drive a hybrid but you aren't aware of the people around you?
Should I get mad?
I could, but really, maybe he didn't see me and thank goodness he didn't hit me.
In that moment.
That moment is a moment to practice yoga.
Move the f on.
Its about using your experience on the mat and bringing it into the real world. The 23 other hours of the day. Hard work, yes. That's why they call it a practice.
If I hear one person tell me they can't do yoga or don't like yoga, to me, that tells me they don't know what yoga is.
Yoga is, for the true yogi, any unification of YOU: your body, mind and spirit with that 'divine' or 'GOD like nature' if you will, that we all have and can tap into if you are willing to do so.
Do you like walking the dog?
Seeing the birds in the trees?
The sun set?
Your child giggle?
Washing the dishes?
Running a mile?
Preparing a Sunday feast after mass?
The barmitzvah of your first born boy?
Getting a massage?
Eating a cookie?
Really eating a cookie?
Tasting the brown sugar,
the butter,
the salt,
the baking soda,
the cocoa,
the factory it was made in,
the care that was put into stirring the mix or operating the machine that put the cookie in its round form?
The driver that put the ingredients/package in the store?
The mom that placed them in front of you, hot and gooey with a glass of cold milk by its side?
The TV program you were watching or phone conversation that you were having while you were eating the warm gooey cookie?
Can you taste the cookie?
THAT is yoga?
YOGA is being conscious, aware, present, taking every moment in.
Yoga is not, perfecting a pose, looking good, getting it right. There is no right.
No right.
If you look at an Iyengar book and put it up against an Ashtanga book, warrior 1 will look different from one guru to the next.
Trust me, my friends. I've studied with the gurus and the not so gurus.
You are the guru.
As teachers, we can only guide you to what we have been trained as the most safe way to move your body into stillness.
We provide, from our own life experience, a channel to communicate with YOU the way to get yourself back to yourself.
It is of MY utmost importance to look at you, talk to you and create an experience for you that will get you to the point where "I" have been and can take you. I can't take you anywhere I haven't been.
If you study and practice with me, you might find, I am not your person. Perhaps you need to be with someone who has been somewhere else or has certain experience they can share that I cannot.
That's ok. I won't take it personally.
I have practiced with HUNDREDS of teachers that I respect greatly. Teachers that can communicate with people I can never imagine being able to communicate with. They have styles I do or don't agree with or don't respond to and so I move on. But I know that they make yoga accessible to the people they can. That's why they teach. At least that's why I hope they teach.
I have practiced for so long that for me, postures don't mean much, as long as I can be caught in a moment where I'm just in the moment, experiencing feelings, sensations, discovering parts of myself that might otherwise be dormant in my day to day. That is yoga to me.
I love the breathing and meditation, the philosophy and the history. I don't teach or preach the philosophy or history unless someone inquires. It is my mission, because I know how difficult it was for me to begin the process of yoga, to get into my body and be still. It is a daily practice and one I revel in.
It is the first and foremost thing that I teach. If you are already there, I salute you for that.
The majority of my students just want to feel. That's what I teach, in the safest way I know how.
for those students who take my class and pull me aside whilst I am teaching a class to a group of people to tell me that their neighbor next to them is doing a pose incorrectly,
I will kindly tell you to talk to that neighbor after class.
For, I am in only one position,
to guide you through a safe, calm, strong and relaxing experience.
If you look around to someone else while you are practicing and judge them or me, you are not in the room for the right reasons.
Get out of your head and into your heart, what you are doing and not what anyone else is doing. There is no room for ego in yoga. Simply no room.

I'm passionate about this because a student pulled me aside in the middle of my class to tell me someone was doing something wrong. After repeating the correct way of doing a pose 20 times in a class and having a student continue to do a pose in a different way, who am I, really to correct someone if this is their choice?


Like my mom says, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

I was in a Bikram class a few months ago where the teacher put me in a pose that actually hurt me physically and then was yelled at. My emotions got in the way of my practice and the 'yoga' was gone.

This is not the environment I want to create.

I have studied extensively with the great Dharma Mittra, Srivatsa Ramaswami andSri K. Pattabhi Jois. To put it bluntly, these guys are old, enlightened and have serious practices and energies that you just don't want to question. Every single one of them, who I have seen challenged by their students about being precise in a posture have turned the question back onto the student asking them how they would feel best doing a posture.

I have to be honest, being around these great teachers, you can feel their greatness and commitment to the lifestyle of yoga but I don't think ANY of them take it nearly as seriously as us westerners.

I'm open to your arguments but again, I will only speak from my experience and from my tremendous respect for all of the yogis that went before me translating this art, life, tradition to what we have made it now.

Please ask yourself though, what benefit is it to you to correct me or another yogi?

When I take a class and I look around at people who are soooo clearly not connected to their bodies and I watch the teacher walk by and not say a word, I catch myself because I know that it is no longer my experience but rather my observation and judgement of what someone else 'might' be experiencing.
Not yoga.
Yoga, for me is on the mat and in the world.
I encourage you to find what yoga is for you. It does not have to be touching your toes.
It is your experience and connection- your unification with everything else. Not you and everything else.
I love yoga. It is my life and practice every day. You know when you are in love and you can't get that person out of your mind?
That's me and yoga. Like a freekin' nun and Jesus.
It's me and Yoga.
If you like that, you'll like my class. If you judge me or anyone else in the class, go to someone else. I'm not for you and that' not what I teach.
On that note, be good to yourselves please. You are all we have.
Drink water and call your mom.
Namaste and love, love, love to everyone....

Some things…hold on, let me get on my soap box.

There we go.

I haven't written in a while and that's bummed me out.
I went to Canada for the film fest and am still waiting to upload my 'stretches to do while waiting in line for a movie' video. I'm thinking of renaming it, 'stretches to do while sitting on your ass for hours on end'. Whadya think? Not quite as yogi, huh?

I had a recent situation in class where I was confronted by a student over my concern for her injuries.
I'm still trying to process her communication with me, hence writing it down on the blog.

I won't go into depth but I was alarmed that she was so taken aback that a teacher would want to know if she had issues that would keep her from doing certain things.

Here's the deal, this is just my rule, but in general, if you are new to my class, I'm going to come up and introduce myself. I'm going to ask your name. 9 times out of 10, I will remember your name. Maybe not by next week, but at least during the session. I'm not going to come around and adjust you unless you are doing something that is completely unsafe. It takes me at least a class to evaluate your practice to see what you can and can't do. I'm not comparing myself to a doctor but even as a fitness trainer, there are assessments we must do on a student whether you have revealed your 'issues' or not. If you come back, to me, that means you are open to furthering your practice in my class and I will usually ask if its ok to adjust. I have worked with way to many at-risk and abused people that touch can be very healing/violating to people. It's important to me to know who I have in the class I'm teaching.

It's tough because I know that in this day, there are yoga teacher training courses popping up left and right and there are many amazing teachers in this city. However, there are also many teachers that just choreograph some moves and that's a class. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not my class.
I had no idea what teacher I would end up turning out to be. I tried on many hats as a teacher to see where I would be lead style wise.
I ended up being the kind of teacher that puts the breath first, the mind second and the body third. This means, be here, chill out and let the body follow its instincts. That also means that your pose might not be the pose the person next to you is doing. Safety is my main concern as a studio teacher because when you've got a bunch of bodies in a room, you don't want people twisting and turning themselves into an injury.

I also like to keep things light. Yoga is not running the country but it is governing yourself and it's important to approach yourself in the most gentle and kind way. Who knows, maybe that attitude will spread in how the leaders run the country. Hmmm.

I pride myself on a lot of personal attention. Maybe this is weird. Maybe this is from years of privately training individuals, couples, small groups and those with injuries. I'm not really used to teaching a bunch of folks in a room. No one is a bunch of folks in a room to me. Everyone is there to experience a new experience every time they come into the room. That time, space and unique combination of people and energies in that class will most likely never happen again. The day you are having is different from every other day and here you are, taking a yoga class, so let's evaluate all that and address this specialness accordingly.

I know when I take a yoga class, I like to be left alone. However, I always love when the teacher introduce themselves to me. It gives me a little clue as to what kind of class we're going to have that day.

I have recently been practicing at a studio near where I live. I must have taken this gals class a dozen times. She always rolls in late, doesn't say hello and just starts her class. I like her. I like the postures, I like what she talks about. I see so many people in her class that look like they are about to break, but she never goes up and adjusts them.
Really, its the students choice to jack themselves up, but I did find this interesting. I couldn't let it happen, but that's just me.
I always feel good after her class even though, when I introduced myself to her one day , she simply thanked me and walked away.
That's the kind of teacher she is. Nothing wrong with that. She created an experience for an hour and a half. That is her job. I always feel good after her class and that's enough. I'm not there to judge how she is the rest of the hours of the day and how she is with other people. I'm only there to judge myself and that's exhausting enough.
I shouldn't be looking around the room anyway!

But that's just the thing. We're not here to judge others. We're here to observe ourselves in each experience. This is what informs us of our behaviors with others, how we react in situations and how we choose to use our gifts and passions in life. It informs us on how to be better people.
It's amazing how putting your bod in a bunch of weird positions will do that, but its true.
When I come in contact with people who tell me, I can't do yoga, I'm not flexible, I'm always surprised. Yoga and the postures are not all about flexibility and for most people, if they started out as flexible, well there is not a lot of places to explore, is there? If you can touch your toes and stand on your head with ease for minutes on end, what kind of journey is that? It isn't about what you CAN do right now but what your potential is. I'm pretty sure that even the people who can stand on their hands have many other challenges, physically and emotionally in a class.
A yoga class is a place for you to test yourself, push your limits, observe your reactions to tension, stress, challenges and peace. Yes, peace. You would be surprised at how many people are actually scared of that feeling.

In general, it ain't about the poses. It's exploring the inner world.
The important thing is to make sure the environment and how you move is the safest possible in order for you to do that exploration.
If you've had a bad experience in a yoga class, it doesn't mean that yoga is 'bad'. Please try out several teachers and studios before making your judgement. I can assure you, you will find the right class for you.

Speaking from experience, I continue to try out new classes and techniques. Some good, some not good for me, but I'm open to trying.

If you don't like my class, I do apologize. I can't be another teacher. I've tried and it's not authentic.

I'm here for you because it's your time. I'm open to questions about your practice but not comparisons with other teachers, because I'm not them. I always draw my classes from the teachings of others and my studies but I can only have my life experience and education to draw from and lead you. It's not perfect, but if it was, what kind of journey would that be?

That's it for now. Be good to yourselves, drink lots of water and call your mother.