Category Archives: Review

Yoga for Regular Guys by Diamond Dallas Page

O.K. Where to start?  I picked this up because my husband is 6’6 and about 250lbs, obsessed with wrestling and the stiffest man I have ever met.  We worked for weeks on loosening his hamstrings so that he could touch his toes for a police officer physical exam.

 

I thought surely, this book, written by a 3 time world champion wrestler would  motivate him.  OMG – I don’t know where to start.  The first photo is of a truck driver attempting Parsvakonasana in front of his Mack Truck with a scantily clad cowgirl sticking her assets out at him.  The preface is written by Rob Zombie with all of the F*Bombs that entails.

 

The photos go downhill from there, sequences with women bent over full cleavage and thong on display, and some photos (if shot from a different angle) could be used in gynecological text books, others have poor alignment for yoga- but would look wonderful in a porno.  That being said, you have to realize this is actually a well written book for its intended audience, which DDP points out at the get go is not girlie-hippie men who are into saying Namaste, it is for manly men who are into using yoga class to pick up scantily clad women with enough silicon to manufacture their own yoga mats.

 

There are several quotes in here that first shocked me, then made me laugh – my husband was cracking up.

You can’t take yourself too seriously, or yoga.

Continue reading Yoga for Regular Guys by Diamond Dallas Page

The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga by Srivatsa Ramaswami

I picked this up because it is written by a student from the Krishnamacharya lineage, a name I am vary familiar with since I have studied with Iyengar instructors and Manju Pattabhi Jois (his father being a student of this lineage).  Honestly though I knew very little about the guru and his history. This book opens with a brief introduction, and in the manner of many authors / teachers it starts by pointing at others short comings.  The author states that Iyengar was a very young and early student of the guru and therefore developed a very aggressive and physical form of yoga – something I can not say that I have experienced from Iyengar instructors.  He goes on to state that the true form of the guru’s teachings involves therapeutic applications, which is only what I have found in Iyengar, props, ways to adapt to a pose, etc.

His perception of Ashtanga Yoga, even down to his comment on how the name for this system, Ashtanga,is taken from the 8 Limb Path yet has has little to do with it in reality  is what I have experienced. I agree also that an Ashtanga practice is rapid movements close to gymnastic floor exercises requiring power and skill.  However, he also states that these two systems miss key fundamental teachings of the guru, deliberate and practiced breathing and chanting.  Now I have to disagree again – Iyengar classes I have been to focus a great deal on the breath, and the Ashtanga Training I underwent had a great deal of chanting as well as a pranayama. I have even taken into account that this book was published in 2004 and therefore it is not likely that these two systems evolved by bounds in the course of the publishing of the book, so I have to think this is just a way of marketing this book as being better somehow.

Continue reading The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga by Srivatsa Ramaswami

integrated Yoga by Nicole Cuomo

Yoga with a sensory integrative approach, is the subtitle of this book.  This is a very basic yoga book and would be best for parents, educators or others (who have little to no background in yoga) working with people with sensory issues.

It is very clearly written with delineations of practices for age groups.  My biggest pet peeve is always alignment, so I found page  48 quite annoying (Vrksasana Pose) where the author herself even mentions having the foot placed on the thigh or shin with no pressure on the knee or ankle – yet the photo is of a girl with her whole foot right on the knee area.  The same can be said of a picture demonstrating Virabhadrasana II, the center of gravity is not over the midline, the knee is extending too far forward – and through my work with children in this area, strengthening the core / support and body awareness, noticing tilting / leaning, etc. should be something you are working towards – the photo is bothersome.

Other photos are not necessarily showing "correct" extension or alignment, but again levels vary so that may be the case, and most do not seem as though they would be too detrimental, they look like they may take time to progress into a fuller expression of the asana.

There are also small summaries that include what can be done to modify the pose for certain difficulties and always an italicized sentence that tells what the pose is being used for "stabilizing and strengthening the spine", and so on. The photos seemed a little dark and grainy, as though they may have been taken with a low quality camera.

On another note the author is a pediatric occupational therapist (20 years), yoga practitioner (15 years), and yoga teacher (3 years). She definitely has knowledge to share, but it is doled out here for the reader with little experience to be able to augment their professional therapy.

Overall the book is well organized and informative, short and to the point but did not provide much new insight for me personally.  I could definitely see recommending this to clients whose children I work with on sensory integration through yoga as a way for them to continue practice and save cost on having me there as frequently.

 

I give this book 5 stars.

5stars

Yeah, so what you’ve been to India

Hit any yoga studio and you will meet at least one person with a story to tell about how they have studied in India – now it may just be my perception, but it usually is said in a way that indicates that this trip to the mecca land of yoga has somehow made this person better than you.  Sometimes they blatantly state this fact, other times its just the way it is said, or how they ask, "Have you ever studied in India? No? You really should there’s nothing like it."

Granted, India has a lot of beauty – so do many places.  India is a birthplace of yoga – but that doesn’t mean that a person can’t achieve the same results elsewhere.  India also has a lot of poverty, and dichotomy as this episode illustrates.  In my own mind you have Western Yoga Students spending thousands to study with Sri Sri So and So in India, without giving a though to how they could study here and use that money to help others, etc. while the general population of India live in squalor these students visit constructed Ashrams – you should see the actual ashrams of mendicants that Paul runs into – no walls, no prepared meals, etc.

 

Moving on, this episode really sends that message home.  Yes, India can be a very spiritually uplifting place – but it has the same problems as everywhere else in the world, prostitutes, snake oil salesman, fake prophets, "Born into Brothels" children,,,,things overlooked regularly by those who go to study in India and pretty much have what I call the Puerta Vallerta or Jamaica experience to a certain extent – removed from the daily nastiness of these areas they stay in a protected bubble of their own devise.

Continue reading Yeah, so what you’ve been to India

Paul Merton in India Episode 2

Punjab is the next stop for "king sized living" – which to me seems like our "Super Size Me" attitude almost.

He visits the police force of the town of Bathinda, who took living life king-sized to heart, their diets as stated by the superintendent were "not vegetarian and included a great deal of alcohol". “We realized that fitness levels had really dropped,” says Supt Singh. So in order to loose weight, they instated Bhangra dancing as a fitness program. Later Paul is invited to compete with the police in a Bhangra Dance Off, the prize is a refrigerator. The police lost almost 2 tons, the weight of an elephant Paul notes.

 

A trip back to Delhi for a very interesting game of cricket.  The ball has chimes inside of it, all of the players are visually impaired. This program usually pulls on some heart strings – this is one of them.

 

The next stop is Jaipur in Rajasthan, a city famed for its forts and palaces. Forts are not in the future for Paul, but a most interesting  work is– the ‘Jaipur foot’. This is a handmade prosthetic limb made out of wood and plaster of Paris for the incredibly economical price of £20. The free clinic where the limbs are made on the spot helps around 20,000 people a year – including one young boy who gains a new leg while Paul watches on. Again, this is one of those visits where you are awestruck by what human ingenuity and caring can do.

Continue reading Paul Merton in India Episode 2

First it was China, now India, where will it be next?

No offense American Television, but the BBC does it better.  Look at all of the wonderful shows American Execs have tried to bring over but failed miserably in keeping with the original feel: Absolutely Fabulous (the first edition), the Dr.Who American Movie,  Coupling, Deal or No Deal, and Life on Mars.  I can’t point to any one thing in particular but I assume it is how a lithograph of a masterpiece is never quite as good as the original – the image retains it shape, but it looses its richness.

Obviously, I watch a great deal of BBC Programming – my new favorite is comedian Paul Merton’s Travel Show.  It started with Paul Merton in China last year.  Each episode Paul has a guide (sometimes a different person) who takes him to different provinces, towns, etc. and highlights unique, odd or exotic attractions in each.  Some are common knowledge places, but most times they are utterly unknown and interesting.

 

This season Paul Merton goes to India.  I can’t think of a way that this show could be brought to America unless it just aired the actual BBC episodes.  There is something about this repressed, stuffy, serious yet goofball looking British comedian and his accent that just work.  You could use a Brad Pitt or George Clooney type (they have humor but a serious side, distinguished looks. and both seem to dabble in humanitarianism) – the drawback being that they are too well known, even in these remote locations.  You couldn’t have a host whose own celebrity would over shadow the whole show.  Paul is able to go anywhere because he is not an iconic image, though being white in a lot of these areas (per the guides’ comments) is its own celebrity many times.

 

Episode 1: Has Paul touching down in Delhi and traveling to a finishing school to learn the proper etiquette of India, always eat with the right hand, burping, and a trick to make his accent more acceptable – jamming a jar of marbles in his mouth.

Continue reading First it was China, now India, where will it be next?

De..de..de..delish! Rooibos and Honeybush Tea

In an attempt to monitor my caffeine intake (I was great about this the first two trimesters and now I indulge a dark chocolate craving or chocolate chip cookie) I have given up on all my favorite teas.  Traditional Medicinals does do an herbal Throat Coat that I have used a few times when I feel a sore throat may come on (but for some reason it makes me leak milk).

Lo and behold I was super excited when we trekked over to Woodman’s Market the other day for some groceries (think Meijer, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and a small independent grocery had an orgy and this was their baby) and I find a delicious no caffeine tea, listed as natural sweet. 

It is super yummy, reminds me of sipping the dew from Honeysuckle Bushes on my way home from school as a child. If you can get your hands on this tea, do so.  Not quite sweet enough for me I add about a teaspoon of Agave to each mug. 

I once wanted to be a wine connoisseur which was impossible since I don’t drink (no, not ever, not even when I am un-pregnant). For a while I turned to chocolate tasting (a little too fattening – oh, and Dagoba’s Lavender chocolate tastes like you are licking hand lotion off of what should be a chocolate flavored piece of chalk), and now have rested on teas as my hobby of choice. 

Yesterday I betrothed my Yerba Matte to Chrissie’s friend Neil because it was too deep and dense for me, much like coffee – and I hear with as much caffeine.  I only held onto it because the bag of the organic crap was $16.

As I can ease back into drinking my other tea favorites, I’ll speak about them – for now though they are locked away in a tower high – called the new cabinets that reach to the ceiling 3 feet above my head when I stand on a stool!

rooibostea

 

I give this tea 6 out of 7 stars because it does not deliver on its promise of sweet!

6stars

Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Level I

I recently completed the PRYT Level 1 certification and can only say "Wow!"  This training was held at the Riverwest Moksha Yoga Studio.  I would never have visited Moksha because I can not get passed their web site. It seems so pompous, as though it panders to yoga elitists.  I like my studios more down to earth feeling, homey, warm and less capitalistic looking -at least.  I’m the type of person who doesn’t pick up Elle, Vogue or whatever new mags are out there, and never did. I have no idea about designers (other than Coach and Prada because they are so mainstream), and really can’t drop names like that.  This isn’t a judgement call, I actually wish I did know these things at times, and could talk to other people about the newest styles, fashions and news – yes I even shy away from the news (we don’t have cable so it isn’t so difficult).

I’ve never been fond of the saying "You can’t judge a book by its cover", because I have and I do.  These days I guess the adage would have something to do with "You can’t judge a *blank* by its web site". Again, guilty as charged.

Continue reading Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Level I