Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yoga for Healthy Knees

Above photo via Liztan on Flickr. Below photo via I_Need_Coffee on Flickr.

Do you have tight knees?

Have you suffered from prior injuries playing sports or running? 

Yoga can help. It's important to remember to go slow and be patient. You must give your body time to heal.

Listen to your body as you enter a posture. If you feel sharp pain, back off. A little discomfort is OK, but you don't want to go past your edge to sharp or excruciating pain.

Ideally, you want to practice at a studio under the guidance of an experienced teacher. If you can't make it to a studio, you can practice at home. All you need is a little floor space, some patience, and permission to give yourself time to slow down and release tension.

Try these poses to start.
Wind removing pose
 Photos via Bikram Yoga Bethesda.

Standing separate leg forward fold

 Photo via B_Keith88 on Flickr.

(remember to engage the quadriceps!)

 Photo via Dietnesstea on Flickr.
 Photo via Yo-Fi on Flickr.
 Photo via B_Keith88 on Flickr.


 Photo via Lila_Yoga on Flickr.


 Photo via OldMoonYoga on Flickr.

Warrior I & II
(be sure the knee is lined up directly over the ankle!)
 Photo via iyogalife.
 Photo via Yoga Dudes on Tumblr.

Be especially careful when doing reclining hero pose, cow face pose, and lotus pose. You may want to skip these for a while, until you gain more flexibility in your knees.

 Photos via Yoga One on One PM on Flickr, Yoga by Melissa, and Ulrika Laan.

I also highly recommend epsom salt baths to ease tension. Supplementing for your joints, with vitamin D and maybe even glucosamine, is a great way to improve your bone and joint health from the inside out, too. YogaEarth is another great superfood supplement for overall health. Just mix it with juice or water for on-the-go nutrition.


How Should We Live? Insights from Colin Beavan

Photo via Yes Magazine.

A while back I went to the Chicago Green Festival and heard from inspiring speaker Colin Beavan, who starred in the documentary No Impact Man and who now runs No Impact Project. He gave a fascinating speech on the way we can live consciously, in a way that benefits us and the planet. Here are a few excerpts from his speech (long overdue!).

How should we live? What's our relationship to the world the way it is? And what do we do about it? How can we go about changing it?

It is possible to care about people and polar bears.

If we can't support polar bears, how long will it be before we can't support us?

Photo via FYeahYoga.

If we could say, "We wrecked the place, but damn we had a good life," that would be one thing. But what's happening is we're wasting resources and they're not even making us happy.

Good news: what's wrecking the planet and what's making us unhappy are connected.

We have a tremendous opportunity to do something that fixes both. We can adopt a way of life that does both.

Photo via FYeahYoga.

When we hear someone say, "I want a happier world," often our instant reaction is to argue about how to achieve that. We divide ourselves politically. What should be a conversation becomes boring, useless, only bickering.

We have tendencies to make matter worse once we engage in the argument.

When asking yourself the question "How shall we live?" we should step out of the argument.

I got the idea for No Impact when I came home from work to a cold apartment on a hot August afternoon. Cold air came blasting through the doors and I realized I couldn't even wait 20  min for the room to cool down. 

Everyone said, "Not one person can make a difference." 

What about save yourself to save the world? 

If all you can change is 2%, that's the only part you can fix. If all of us figured out our 2%, and all of us changed it, the problem would be gone.

So many multi-sourced problems that it requires thousands of solutions. Networked solutions.

Give the gifts you have. Return to that part of yourself.

Photo via FYeahYoga.

A hero is somebody willing to leave the familiar, to find a new path, to share it with others. A hero is dissatisfied, and has the courage to try something different.

What green things can you do that are not depriving, and not against your nature?

When you simultaneously see a need in the world and see how your behavior can meet that need, you inspire a particular way of helping.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Review of Onzie Yoga Gear by Rich

Photos via Dudes Doing Yoga on Tumblr. 

Here is a review of Onzie yoga gear by Rich, one of Alive in the Fire's sponsored yogis.

I finally remembered to grab my Onzie shorts for yoga this morning.

I have to admit that when I first saw them, I was worried that they would be a touch short. The possibility of falling out of them seemed very real to me so I wore some supportive underpants. In retrospect, I think that may have been a mistake on my part because there is a fitted strap inside the leg sleeves of the pants that would have done the job well. I feel like the extra layer was superfluous.

Photo via Onzie.

I ordered size medium/large and they fit my 36 inch waist perfectly. These shorts certainly show off your body well! They are so easy to move in, too. They are super light. If I hadn't put on my underthings, I feel like I would have felt like I was wearing nothing at all (for those who don't know me, that is a huge bonus).

In conclusion, these shorts look great, feel great, and are super easy to move in. Get a pair and enjoy them!


Check out Rich's sweet new tattoo! Photo courtesy of Rich.

Young and Alive

First two photos by Jaquilyn Shumate Photography.


I copy out mountains, rivers, clouds.
I take my pen from my pocket. I note down
a bird in its rising
or a spider in its little silkworks.
Nothing else crosses my mind. I am air,
clear air, where the wheat is waving,
where a bird's flight moves me, the uncertain
fall of a leaf, the globular
eye of a fish unmoving in the lake,
the statues sailing in the clouds,
the intricate variations of the rain.

Nothing else crosses my mind except
the transparency of summer. I sing only of the wind,
and history passes in its carriage,
collecting its shrouds and medals,
and passes, and all I feel is rivers.
I stay alone with the spring.

 Last two photos via Momfilter.

Shepherd, shepherd, don't you know
they are all waiting for you?

I know, I know, but here beside the water
while the locusts chitter and sparkle,
although they are waiting, I want to wait for myself.
I too want to watch myself.
I want to discover at last my own feelings. 
And when I reach the place where I am waiting, 
I expect to fall asleep, dying of laughter.
-Pablo Neruda

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Photo above via FYeahYoga

I have started a new meditation practice. My goal is to meditate for five minutes a day.

Today, I spent 30 minutes in meditation with three other yogis. What an informative experience. I found myself at the bottom of my own heart, watching memories float by. There was darkness and pain, but eventually, relief.

Photo above via Alo on Flickr. Photo below via Reya on Flickr.

I watched as deep fears, painful moments, pallid faces gradually gave way to release. A bright light shining up through black water. A pearl of light. A hand filling the space where the heart used to beat.
Photo above via FYeahYoga. Photo below via Hearts Expanding.

I believe the meditation will open new doors in my yoga practice, as well as my writing. May it allow new words to be spoken, new spaces open, new freedom found.

Photos via Hearts Expanding.

Do you meditate?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Giveaway!


Hey, who wants to win two boxes of YogaEarth, the finest natural, organic superfood supplement you can find?

I love their Balance and Vitality formulas, specially created to help with pre- and post-practice nutrition. I'm giving away a 30-day supply box of each flavor going to one lucky reader.

To win, leave a comment below about what creative ways you'll mix your YogaEarth if you win. Namaste!

Fiery Art

All photos via YellowTrace.

These portraits are wild! The artist actually burns bandages and wooden boards to create Russian faces from WWII.

Quite beautiful, yet haunting, don't you think? 

Alive in the fire, indeed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July, July

All photos via A Cup of Jo.

This is how I picture it: luminescence out over the water, and we are leaning back, waiting for the night.

A small breeze shuffles around, and then the air is calm.

We are in the moment, present with the water. An invitation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beautiful Foods

Here are a couple beautiful little videos about the art of food. I love them! Such gorgeous colors, graceful movements, and whimsical text.

See the above for something sweet, and below if you're in a more savory mood.

And if you haven't checked it out yet, Kinfolk is all the rage in the blogosphere right now. A magazine and artist collective dedicated to small gatherings. I love that they recognize the wonder of sharing a table with friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Photo via Lululemon.
Pigeon pose is a great posture for practicing active compassion. As sensation fills up the hip joint, turn your thoughts to those who suffer from chronic pain. Allow yourself to love others and yourself, despite any momentary discomfort.

Learn to apply this off the mat, and you begin to change the world around you.

A practice that can lay the groundwork for drawing wisdom from our own sufferings is to be present to other people’s suffering. To witness. To see how many are the ways people dealing with suffering. To learn how suffering can elicit creativity or deepen hope or resilience or understanding. 

Some people recoil from others’ suffering—don’t like to visit hospitals, don’t know what to say, wish they were somewhere else, or could just send flowers. 

But a willingness to show up, even in our uncertainty about how to behave, may not only be a gift, it may help us learn to enter the places of darkness with confidence and trust, not needing to know how, or to predict outcomes, but to be fully present to whatever the moment calls for.
-Marilyn Chandler McEnryre

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I got glasses!

It's interesting how things are a little different from behind my frames. I love that they bring clarity, they honor my inner bookworm, and they provide me the chance to freshen up my look. 

Reminds me of a quote I read over at Julia Lee Yoga a few days ago:

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Friday, July 8, 2011

Wanderlust: Rome

My heart has been longing for Rome lately. I went there once, a long time ago.

I can picture myself standing there in the Colosseum, tracing the edges of the high pillars with an outstretched hand, my feet wandering along the dusty paths.

Photo via Vagabond Bond. 

Ancient structures have a delicate, bracing beauty about them. I believe age has a way of wearing us down, but also bringing  out our true selves.

I hope to go back some day.
Photos via Vagabond Bond.  

For now, I'll stand in front of my kitchen sink, where I've hung the panoramic I took of that great elliptical amphitheatre. I love the way my memory of the place is filled with silence, and the sound of footsteps. No noise evidence of the battles fought there, or the roar of the crowd.