Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Down with Doug

I had the good fortune of attending a workshop with the fabulous Doug Swenson this weekend. Doug is the author of "Power Yoga for Dummies" and "Mastering the Secrets of Yoga Flow". I completed a yoga teacher training a couple of years ago with David Swenson, Doug's brother. So needless to say, I was quite excited to have the opportunity to study with another talented yogi.

Doug was completely charming and refreshing. And as you can see from the photo (which was taken by a great friend, Harmony), he is quite laid back and down to earth. Doug helped to remind me that yoga doesn't always have to be so serious... you can have fun with yoga and still learn and grow from the practice. His teaching style is playful, powerful, contagious and captivating, all at the same time. As a devoted yoga practitioner, health advocate and environmentalists, he's someone to admire.

And the workshop couldn't have arrived at a more perfect time. The studio will be opening next Saturday on the 9th :-) Attending Doug's workshop gave me many great teaching ideas and I left feeling inspired and invigorated. Studying with Doug reminds me why I love yoga so much and reinforces my passion for sharing it with others.

To learn more about Doug visit http://www.dougswenson.net

Friday, August 25, 2006

What's Your Story

Everybody has a story. I am especially interested in hearing how great business names came about. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to name my yoga studio. Afterall, it is a big deal. After much thought and consideration, I decided on Barefoot Works. It embodied everything I was looking for in a business name. It was modern, fun, free and to me there is nothing better than roaming around with no shoes on. And of course, there's the obvious, yoga is done in your bare feet. But Barefoot Works is more than a cute and clever name. Theres actually a story behind it and I have to admit that it was pure delight sitting down and writing the short story of Barefoot Works. Enjoy...

Why Barefoot Works

When I was a young girl growing up in a rural area of Eastern Kentucky, my siblings and I could step out of our front door and into an untamed world of magic and imagination. Countless days and times, we would come home from school, run onto the front porch just to take our shoes off and escape outside for hours. Walking barefoot with the soft moist grass beneath my feet was a joyful experience that allowed me to feel complete freedom. My siblings and I were more at home in nature than our own home. We were completely surrounded by the most magnificent mountains and it was here that we learned that we could do anything and be anybody. We set forth with impossible challenges, risked everything, and always played for keeps.

Years later I stumbled upon yoga. In a yoga class just outside of Houston, I took my shoes off and for an hour and a half I stretched, twisted, and balanced on my bare feet. It was here on my yoga mat, that once again I discovered the same blissful barefoot freedom that I had experienced in my younger years. Yoga is a creative and joyful expression that nurtures my body, mind and spirit, much like the mountains of eastern Kentucky. Upon returning to Kentucky, I made a decision that I would find a way to share my love of yoga with others. This creative vision resulted in Barefoot Works. A yoga studio that is designed in an environmentally friendly fashion with cork floor, low VOC paints, bamboo rugs, soy candles, recycled products and plants to help clean the air and add a bit of nature. I invite you into a space where I hope you can rediscover your very own barefoot bliss.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Top Ten Reasons to Try Yoga

Give yoga a try and discover what it can do for body and mind.

A central premise in yoga is “everything is connected.” That’s clear when looking at the
health and fitness benefits of yoga that have long been reported by practitioners and are
now being confirmed by scientific research.

1. STRESS RELIEF: Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body by encouraging
relaxation and lowering the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Related benefits include
lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system, as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia.
2. PAIN RELIEF: Yoga can ease pain. Studies have demonstrated that practicing Yoga asanas (postures), meditation or a combination of the two, reduced pain for people with conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto-immune diseases and hypertension as well as arthritis, back and neck pain and other chronic conditions.
3. BETTER BREATHING: Yoga teaches people to take slower, deeper breaths. This helps to improve lung function and trigger the body’s relaxation response.
4. FLEXIBILITY: Yoga helps to improve flexibility and mobility, increasing range of movement and reducing aches and pains.
5. INCREASED STRENGTH: Yoga asanas (postures) use every muscle in the body, helping to increase strength literally from head to toe. Yoga also helps to relieve muscular tension.
6. WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: Yoga (even less vigorous styles) can aid weight control efforts by reducing the cortisol levels, as well as by burning excess calories and reducing stress. Yoga also encourages healthy eating habits and provides a heightened sense of well being and
7. IMPROVED CIRCULATION: Yoga helps to improve circulation and, as a result of various poses, more efficiently moves oxygenated blood to the body’s cells.
8. CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITIONING: Even gentle yoga practice can provide cardiovascular benefits by lowering resting heart rate, increasing endurance and improving oxygen uptake during exercise.
9. BETTER BODY ALIGNMENT: Yoga helps to improve body alignment, resulting in better posture and helping to relieve back, neck, joint and muscle problems.
10. FOCUS ON THE PRESENT: Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind body health. It opens the way to improved coordination, reaction time and memory.

For more information, please visit www.yogaalliance.org and www.yogadayusa.org.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Life's a Great Balancing Act

My mantra for the day. Enjoy......

So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


-Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Finding Your Edge

This is my niece Lexie and today is her first of kindergarten. She reminds me a lot of myself. She's quiet, but not necessarily shy, she's fiercely loyal, tender hearted and very determined in her ways. And when I see her carrying a camera around snapping photos and doing yoga in the front yard, I know that she's a girl after my own heart.

In yoga class I often use the phrase "find your edge", referring to how far one should move into a pose. Not being overly cautious and not stretching far enough, but at the same time, don't stretch beyond your body's limits for that particular day. There's a fine line that exists and it's different for everybody.

The phrase of "finding your edge" can apply to your yoga practice and your daily life. Try doing something different every once in a while (or maybe once a day) that's takes you just a little out of your comfort zone. I can think of several times when I took a big step out of my comfort zone and I learned so much from these experiences. In graduate school I accepted an internship in a teeny tiny town in South Carolina. I'd never been to SC and I lived there for the summer with a host family working as a recreation director for a rural community. I accepted a job in TX, once again I had never been there but this time I swapped my host family with Andy, my soon to be husband at the time. I presented at a National Conference and overcame a fear of public speaking in front of my professional peers. I decided to train for a marathon when I had never ran more than three miles. I quit my job in TX to move back home and instead of getting a "real" job I decided to focus on teaching yoga. Now two years later I'm on the edge of opening my very own yoga studio. I get so excited just thinking about it!

So if you ever need a little inspiration on just how exactly to find your edge. Watch your children (or nieces and nephews), go to a playground or a park and observe how they interact with each other and the world around them. For they are the ones finding and exploring their edge on a daily basis. Just like Lexie in the photo, making her first attempt at tripod headstand. She fell over but got right back up and tried again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yearning for Yin

This has been one busy summer. I've been traveling like crazy working with my brother and his environmental consulting company. While it's been great fun spending so much time in the mountains of West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, it's also been quite exhausting. And of course,I've been busy planning all the details of the yoga studio which has simply been a dream come true. All of the traveling combined with intense work and life changing decisions has left me a little mentally and physically exhausted. My body and my mind have been racing from one place to the next.
Luckily for me, I had the perfect remedy, yin yoga. Most styles of yoga are yang in nature, they focus on the muscle tissue. The focus of yin yoga is the connective tissue. Poses are passive and focus mostly on the hips, pelvis, lower back, and knees. Poses are done primarily on the floor and are held from 3 to 5 minutes, plenty enough time for you to relax into the pose. Yin yoga is known as "a quiet practice" and it said to be the bridge between between a hatha yoga practice and seated meditation. So for me it's been the recent practice of choice, allowing me to relax and unwind my mind. I always finish my practice feeling refreshed and renewed and ready to tackle the world. Who can ask for more?!

You'll get a chance to experience yin yoga at the studio and I'm also in the process of scheduling a yin yoga workshop with my teacher, Anna Ferguson. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime visit wwww.paulgrilleyyoga.com for additional details on yin yoga.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Woodland Art Fair

Do you need a little creative inspiration? Or maybe you would love to buy some really amazing and unique art? This weekend, August 19-20, you can visit the Woodland Art Fair for what's sure to be great fun. This event is a favorite for Lexington residents and considered a top ten festival. And what's not to love...you can listen to live entertainment, visit the food vendors for yummy food and see the works of art created by over 160 artists. At this event you will find pottery, wood crafts, stained glass, oil, watercolor and acrylic paintings, fiber art, photography (my personal fave) and more.

This event couldn't come at a better time. Children are back in school, summer travels (for the most part) are over and fall will be here before we know it. So visit the Woodland Art Fair for some more summer fun. Happy browsing, buying, inspiration and ideas, and fun in the sun time!

Woodland Art Fair
Woodland Park
August 19-20
859-288-2925 0r 859-254-7024