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Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

To all you in the North Shore/Boston area of Massachusetts:

Put a little Soul in your Solstice this winter…

Please join me for a FREE Yoga Class next Sunday, December 20th at 3:30 pm at GReen Tea Yoga Studio in Salem.

Here are the details:

FREE SOLSTICE YOGA CLASS, Sunday December 20th 3:30-5:30pm

Winter Solstice Celebration: Free, and open to all levels!

Join Alexandra Freyer for a Celebratory Solstice Yoga class. Celebrate this pivotal
point of the year when light triumphs over darkness and the sun begins to
gradually return with its luminosity and fire. As a class, we will take this opportunity
to press your inner ‘Restart’ button and reflect on the past year, looking forward to
the promise of new beginnings.

The class will begin as a reflective meditation, move into a flowing Hatha yoga class
to awaking our own inner solstice and luminosity, and end with a restorative focus
on physical, emotional and mental renewal. The asana (yoga postures) will begin
at 4:00pm, however we have the joy of having Jerrie Hildebrand casting a spiritual
circle for us at 3:30 pm in honor of the solstice.

Space is limited.  Students are welcome on a first come, first served basis so please
arrive early to get a spot.

For more information check out http://www.greenteayoga.com/Events.html.
Hope to see you there!

Open your heart to the Sun in our Solstice Class!

Find out more about the Winter Solstice here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice

And here is some more information about the benefits of yoga during the final month of the year:
http://www.yogajournal.com/health/101

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Walt Whitman’s Yoga

I received an amazing parcel in the mail a few days ago from SCOTLAND, no less, and immediately knew from where it came. My dear friend Lesley, a fellow Himalaya Yogini from my teacher training program had sent it.  She is an incredible force of a woman; a massage therapist, artist, dance teacher and luminous ray of sunshine.

Was Walt Whitman a Buddhist? My wonderful gift from Lesley!

I was so excited to get a last taste of the bonds I formed with her over our course; writing poetry and drawing in the afternoon sun on the beach…this is beginning to sound like a romance novel…anyhow…I RIPPED open the packaging to find two things: a hand drawn logo for my blog “Wandering Lotus” and a 1939 edition of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass and Democratic Vistas”.

She had remembered our long discussions on the infiltration of yogic and Buddhist philosophy on western intellectuals, poets and artists, and sent me a prized possession, for which I am forever grateful.

A few years ago, while a student at Colby College,  took an amazing class entitled “Buddhism in American Poetry” by Professor Peter Harris. In the class, I discovered how much Buddhist thought had influenced American poetry for decades.  Reading poetry could therefore become a meditation and a practice in yoga.

As I sat down to read my new gift I opened my self up to the poetry as a meditation and studied it for its poignant moments of utter awareness, of the realization of attachment and detachment, of its acceptance of the ebb and flow of time and pain. Walt Whitman practiced compassion for all beings in his poetry, self-awareness, meditation on reality, acceptance of the use of language as a mere human convention, realized the cyclical nature of time, accepted pain and suffering as a result of attachment and strove to praise the natural world continuously in his poetry.  Maybe he did do yoga…?

So today I am just going to leave you with a few passages from the great Walt Whitman that may inspire your practice today….

To be in any form, what is that?

(Round and Round we go, all of us, and ever come back thither),

If nothing lay more develop’d the quahaug in its callous shell

were enough.  –Song of Myself

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,

And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,

And the tree-load is a chef-d’oeuvre for the highest,

And the running blackberry would adorn the parlours of heaven,

And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,

And the cow crunching with depress’d head surpasses any statue,

And a mouse is a miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels. –Song of Myself

I hear and behold God in every objext, yet understand God not in the least…- Song of Myself

From imperfection’s murkiest cloud,

Darts always forth one ray of perfect light,

One flash of heaven’s glory -Song of the Universal

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,

I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,

Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners, troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,

Your true soul and body appear before me…-To You

And one of my favorites by Mr. Whitman…reminds me of meditating on the beach in Goa, India at dawn…

Moorthi...Spiritual Seeker and Himalaya Yoga Valley Philosophy/Meditation teacher...dawn on the beach in India writing on the sand

ON THE BEACH AT NIGHT ALONE

On the beach at night alone,

As the old mother sways her to and fro singing her husky song,

As I watch the bright stars shining, I think a thought of the clef of the universes of the future,


A vast similitude interlocks all,

All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets,

All distances of place however wide,

Akk distances of time, all inanimate forms,

All sould, all living bodies though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,

All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes, the fishes, the brutes,

All nations, colours, barbarisms, civilisations, languages,

All identities that have existed or may exist on this globe or any globe,

All lives and deaths, all of the past, present, future,

This vast similitude spans them and compactly hold and enclose them.


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Mandrem Beach, Goa India November 2009

Namaste All!

So this blog has taken a short hiatus due to my recent trip to India. I spent the past few months living on the gorgeous beaches of Goa, India studying yoga with the Himalaya Yoga Valley. I received my 200-hour Hatha  Yoga teacher certification after lots of blood, sweat and many many many happy and purifying tears. The choice to partake in the experience was one of the best decisions I have every made, and one that I am still trying to soak in, make sense of and put into words.

November 2009 graduates of the Himalaya Yoga Valley Teacher Training Course

During my program, our schedule was extremely full and I also wanted to avoid sharing a lot of my experience until I got back; hence the blog hiatus.

I am excited to create a refreshed and renewed approach to this blog after having this incredible experience, and I will begin writing again every day!

So now that I am back I look forward to reflecting on this past yoga-travel experience and all other musings on yoga and life in general with all of you, my dear readers! My first post will be coming at you by tomorrow morning, I can’t wait!

With love and shanti…

Fellow yogini, Lori, during a Morning Meditation walk on Mandrem Beach, Goa, India

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Freyer Girls at the dance studio...from left: Heidi, Megan, myself, my mother, Aunt Linda, Petra

Freyer Girls at the dance studio...from left: Heidi, Megan, myself, my mother, Aunt Linda, Petra

So I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday. I was a little distracted while visiting my Aunt Linda and my cousins Heidi, Petra and Christian in Wilton and Fairfield Connecticut.

Heidi and Linda just opened up a new pilates, ballet and yoga studio in Fairfield called “Pirouette, Pilates and More“.

Moving our bodies has always been a huge part of my family. My Aunt’s and cousins’, Heidi and Petra, dancing inspired me to keep dancing when I was young up through college. It also inspired my mother to get back into dancing when I was about 5  years old. Since then, my mother has also become a seasoned dance teacher, choreographer, yoga and pilates instructor.

My Aunt Linda...Ballet teacher extraordinaire

My Aunt Linda...Ballet teacher extraordinaire

My cousin, Heidi, dance and pilates instructor...

My cousin, Heidi, dance and pilates instructor...

My aunt Linda, an accomplished Ballerina, has been one of the top ballet teachers in Connecticut for years, while Heidi is an incredible teacher, especially in her private lessons. Heidi has danced all over Connecticut and New York City. Their students have gone on to dance all over the country and even in the New York City Ballet. She has now become a seasoned pilates instructor as well.  have had the privilege of dancing a piece choreographed by Ted Thomas (formerly of Paul Taylor Dance Company) with Heidi and take many of her classes.

I have since strayed from dance, largely due to injury and burn out from the psychological pressure of the dance world environment, and I have found my real passion in movement through yoga.

My mother, Susan, has always been my inspiration to keep my body moving

My mother, Susan, has always been my inspiration to keep my body moving

My mother was actually the one that first got me into yoga. She thought it would be fantastic for my anxiety, and after getting injured from dance, I needed a physical release that would help rehab my body. At first I was resistant, to put it lightly.  My mom persisted, giving some restorative classes to me and my friends the night before SAT’s and dragging me to an afternoon workshop or two.

It wasn’t until I really needed a mental and spiritual fix at a time when when my body had contracted pneumonia, that I finally embraced yoga on my own. It finally just clicked for me.

Now that I’m planning on returning to India to train as a teacher, I have been thinking about teaching in Connecticut with my family. Lo and behold, my cousin – in-law (my cousin Scott’s wife) Megan, has been teaching at the studio and some surrounding studios and has developed quite a following.

Megan, trained in Om Yoga, is a wonderful addition to our family and the studio. An artist and roller derby veteran, yes roller derby, she exudes a harmony, humility and kindness about her that is priceless.

The newest Freyer-girl to the family, Megan, is not only an amazing yoga teacher, but an artist and roller derby veteran! Shes pretty badass...

The newest Freyer-girl to the family, Megan, is not only an amazing yoga teacher, but an artist and roller derby veteran! She's pretty bad ass...

So yesterday, all of us Freyer girls had the wonderful experience of taking her class. It was incredible. Maybe it was the fact that all of us women were coming together, doing something wonderful for our bodies and souls, or maybe it was Megan’s gentle yet inspiring and motivating teaching techniques, but I have never felt so spiritually restored after a class.

Megan definitely pushed my physical limits in this class, stretching and adjusting us in Monkey pose, Hanumasana. We did a special modification by putting our front foot up against the wall and sliding back, while she would come around and adjust our hips to be more square…YOWZA!  My Aunt Linda had no problem sliding right into her splits on both sides, however, after a sunrise run, my hips were a wee bit tight.

We also experimented with Bird of Paradise pose and some different ways to get into side plank and headstand. So many new ideas!

The best thing about the class was the laughter and joy. The great thing about the women in my family is they never take themselves too seriously, and always try to find the joy in our experiences. Turning every day, every dance class, into an adventure. The next task is to get the boys involved!  I can’t wait to go back down to see them again!

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Natarajasana...you can reach the right arm back and pull the foot closer to the head, but I wanted to show the beginner pose which is great for strengthening biceps/triceps!

Natarajasana...you can reach the right arm back and pull the foot closer to the head, but I wanted to show the beginner pose which is great for strengthening biceps/triceps!

So I’m heading down to Connecticut today to visit my Aunt and cousins. My cousin Heidi and my Aunt Linda have been running very successful dance studio in Connecticut called Ballet Ecole for many years, and have recently opened a new studio named “Pirouette, Pilates and More“. Both are classically trained and unbelievable dancers who inspired my love for dance. They also both love yoga!

So in honor of them, this week my pose will be…

Dancer’s Pose or Natarajasana

The pose is a dedication to Lord Shiva...Lord of the Dance...(photo: https://i2.wp.com/media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper344/stills/77yq1o51.jpg)

The pose is a dedication to Lord Shiva...Lord of the Dance...(photo: http://media.collegepublisher.com/media/paper344/stills/77yq1o51.jpg)

Nata is the Sanskrit word for “Dance”, while Raja means “king”…so the pose actually means “Lord of the Dance” and sometimes attributed to the Hindu god Shiva.

Lord Shiva is one of the primary Hindu Gods. He is depicted in many manifestations, including Shiva “The Destroyer” or as the “internal dancer”. Depending on the day, or what my mood is, sometimes I call upon different visualizations of his character to help me reach he pose’s fullest expression. For instance, if I am coming up against some major obstacles in my life or day, I will visualize my self as the “destroyer” in this pose. Full of power, my body becomes my own bow and arrow and I am ready to take on the world!

The thing I love about this pose is that it literally activates, utilizes and strengthens your ENTIRE BODY.  From your ankles, thighs, hips, biceps, shoulders, triceps, lower back…everything benefits. The places I usually feel it most are my thighs, lower back biceps, shoulders, and a deep stretch in my hips.

The pose has also helped me recover from a  sever sprained ankle. The ankles are strengthened and challenged to support your entire body in this pose in an awkward way.

Internally, your lungs expand, your kidneys are massaged for better functioning, your spine is challenged in flexibility and your abdomen is activated. Obviously this pose helps strengthen your ability to balance and focus.

In Ashtanga yoga, which is the main type of yoga  I practice. Using a mudra in the extended forward hand helps this focus.

This pose is a wonderful ‘heart opener’, to the point that once you relax into your fullest expression, you really feel like a free warrior spirit release in you…almost like you are invincible. You really dance in this pose!

To practice Natarajasana

  • Stand in Mountain Pose.
  • Inhale and shift your weight onto your right foot firmly, and lift your left heel backwards to your left buttock as you bend the knee, press your thigh bone back and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong .
  • with your left hand- grasp the outside of your left foot or ankle. Lift your pubis towards your navel, and press your tailbone towards the floor.
  • Begin lifting your left foot up, away from the floor, and back, away from your torso. Extend the left thigh behind you and parallel to the floor. Stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor, while pressing the thumb and index finger together.
  • Press your shin towards the back wall using thigh strength to elevate your trunk upward. Engage your core to protect your back.
  • Focus on a spot far in the distance and engage ocean breathe.
  • Remain in this posture for about 5-10 breathes.
  • Release, sweeping the forward arm up and back and repeating on the other side. Perform each side twice.
  • Remember to always practice this new poses for the first time in the presence of a seasoned yoga teacher!

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As promised, this week I’m bringing you the “King of all Asanas” according to B.K.S. Iyengar…

Eagle Pose, or Garudasana (sometimes spelled Garundasana)

Eagle pose....the King of all Asanas

Eagle pose....the King of all Asanas

Much to many yogi and yogini’s surprise…Garudasana doesn’t actually translate to “Eagle”… Garuda actually translates to something along the lines of “all-consuming fire of the sun’s rays” or “devourer of serpents“. Eagles, being large birds of prey, represent those translations.

Garud, the devourer of serpents, helps Lord Vishnu defeat demons

Garuda, the 'devourer of serpents', helps Lord Vishnu defeat demons

In Indian tradition, Garuda, being such a devouring serpent, helps Vishnu in the fight against demons, Asuras and darkness.  Garuda is the “king of birds” and therefore, his pose is the “king of all asanas”, or poses.

When you think of an eagle, what kind of images come up?… Piercing and extended vision, monstrous and yet graceful wingspan, discerning taste in prey and stealthy speed, absolute control over the skies?

Eagles have vision that extends to a three mile radius and double vision to focus on objects a mile away, while they can also rotate their heads 270 degrees. They can even see some ultraviolet color spectrum in addition to their full color vision.

Lord Vishnu and Garuda...courtesy of himmapan.com

Lord Vishnu and Garuda...courtesy of himmapan.com

Because of these talents, Garuda became the vehicle of Vishnu, used for his unparalleled perception, precision and strength. Garuda is the liberator of one from obstacles.

Garuda‘s pose can help you liberate yourself from obstacles, focus your vision, and increase your grace of power and strength.

A dancer performing a Tibetan dance of the Eagle... courtesy of earthlink.net/~rfriend11/Het-p2.jpg

A dancer performing a Tibetan dance of the Eagle... courtesy of earthlink.net/~rfriend11/Het-p2.jpg

The eagle represents freedom and strength in other cultures (obviously the U.S.) as well. Native Americans, Mexicans, Egyptians, Moroccans, Tibetans…etc., all find inspiration in the eagle’s gifts.

The pose channels the part of one self needed in taking control of one’s life, of one’s will power. It increase your ability to focus and channel your positive energy toward building lasting connections to your body and relationships around you.

Love this artistic interpretation of Garudasana...photo courtesy of

Love this artistic interpretation of Garudasana...photo courtesy of Gosia Janik

As I mentioned in a previous post about kayaking, this pose is fantastic for balance. It strengthens your shoulders, calves, ankles, sciatica, thighs, hips and shoulders.

To practice:

1. Start this pose in Tadasana, or mountain pose.

2. Inhale deeply as you raise your arms over head, like your spreading your eagle-like wingspan up.

3. Exhale as you bring the arms sweeping down, squat, bring right arm under left arm and bind, while you bring your right leg OVER your left thigh and wrap your right foot around your left calf.

4. Take 5 deep Ujjayi breathes as you focus forward. Triceps parallel to the floor at shoulder level as shoulders move back, separate and move down away from the ears. Hands move your forearms out perpendicular to your biceps. Squat deep in the pose, releasing the hips, controlling your balance with you core, straight lower back, tucked tailbone, and strong ankle.

5. Take one last deep breathe, exhale and then inhale as you release, swing the arms up again and repeat on the opposite side. Perform each side twice.

The pose helps reduce asthma, lower back pain and fibromyalgia, and urinary problems.

This pose is also a fantastic pose for men. It is a powerful and confidence boosting pose that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of flexibility at first, but actually helps increase flexibility in the shoulders and hips, where men generally are more tight, especially athletes. It also improves stamina, control and endurance during other athletic activities…and I’ll let your mind wander…

Try these unique designer patterned yoga straps for Eagle pose, and other poses...they actually convert to normal belts!

Try these unique designer patterned Koshas yoga straps for Eagle pose, and other poses...they actually convert to normal belts! At http://www.yogaaccessories.com/Koshas-Artisan-Yoga-Belts_p_122475.html#

Sometimes, when men (and women) are first starting this pose it is hard to wrap completely up. So just cross your leg over the opposite thigh and hold it, no need to wrap the foot under yet. And for those tight in the shoulder, use a yoga strap…extend arms straight out, parallel , at shoulder height and hold a strap with tension between your two hands.

Beginners with knee problems may want to avoid this pose until they have strengthened their knees through other poses.

Also, if you are having trouble balancing at first, try the pose with your back against the wall.

Also, please practice any new poses for the first time in the presence of a seasoned yoga practitioner!

This pose is usually placed in the midst of a standing series of Warrior poses and sun salutations. Afterward, I like to do a heart opener like Cow face pose, gomukhasana, or flow into Headstand, sirsasana, to really strengthen my back further! I also enjoy leaning forward, extending my wrapped leg back and going into a warrior III from there- that’s a big balance buster!

Also, try this pose while lying on your back, lifting the arms and legs to meet one another (head up), holding for 4 breathes and releasing. Alternate a few times on each side and your abs will be screaming, in a good way!

For more information on Garuda, the mythical figure, click here.

For more information on this pose, check out Yoga Journal or B.K.S. Iyengar’s book “Light on Yoga”…available here.

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Pirates and yoga...interesting...(photo: tropicyoga.com)

Pirates and yoga...interesting...(photo: tropicyoga.com)

Being a New Englander…one of my favorite midsummer activities is sailing….well, that’s a stretch. I like watching other people sail who know what they are actually doing, while I just wait to be given a simple task, like skirting the mainsail in a lazy Saturday race, or making sure everyone’s beers are full.

my friend, Brian's boat, Blitzen, before a race...i think I may ave more than a liability than help in this one

before a race...I think I may be more of a liability than help in this one

the high side

the high side

I have some friends that are fantastic sailors, and who’s lives consist of  living aboard ships, small and large, and are therefore at the whim of mother nature and their own instincts.

Sailing 'Nirvana' to Nantucket last Summer overnight my friend dave up there)...dawn...perfect time for some yoga

Sailing 'Nirvana' to Nantucket last Summer overnight (my friend Dave up there)...dawn...perfect time for some yoga

When racing, core strength, leg strength, balance, and arm strength are essentials. You must be quick on your feet, perceptive, completely aware of what’s around you at all times, calm in times of utter stress, and you must be able to think extremely quickly in dire situations. Sailing well depends on your understanding the environment, your relationship with the elements of wind and water, and letting go of the idea that you can control the outcomes of your endeavors.

As an activity, it is environmentally friendly, if you don’t use the motor at all, and can humble your entire being.

although it doesn't look liek it here, my brother, Andre, is a much better sailor than I would ever be

although it doesn't look like it here, my brother, Andre, is a much better sailor than I would ever be

love those cold mornings on the water...my friend James (left) surveying the sea...

love those cold mornings on the water...my friend James (left) surveying the sea...

Yoga can help calm a sailor’s mind, get him/her in tune with elements that determine his/her course, and prepare his/her body for a race, or a casual sail.

My main fear when sailing, especially racing, is going overboard because I am so awkwardly tall and clumsy. Also, I know many of you get nauseous just at the thought of boats in the water, but I may have a few curing poses.

Even for the casual sailor, or guest on a boat, I have a few poses in mind that may be great for before, during and/or after your sail!

Wheel is great on a boat!

Wheel is great on a boat!

1. Chakrasana (wheel)strengthens legs, arms, core and increases balance and clarity of mind. Learn more from my previous post on wheel, here…

probably one of my favorite spinnakers I've seen, well at least the one that related to my life the most...saw it at a race outof boston two summers ago

probably one of my favorite spinnakers I've seen, well at least the one that related to my life the most...saw it at a race outof boston two summers ago...

2. Adho Mukha Savasana (Downward Dog)…great for the core and arm strength. Also reduces nausea and increases clarity of mind. Learn more here.

3. Balasana (Child’s pose)…calms the nerves, rejuvenates and reduces nausea. Learn more here.

4. Bakasana (crane pose)…fantastic pose for arm and core strength! Make’s you feel like you can conquer the world after conquering this pose.  Learn more here.

Tree by land or by sea!

Tree by land or by sea!

5. Vrksasana (Tree pose)…my balancing favorite…great on board! Learn more here.

Warrior III is great for balance and core strength

Warrior III is great for balance and core strength

6. Virabhandrasana (Warrior III)…also great for balance, leg, and core strength. Learn more here.

7. Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose)…increases balance, hip strength, core strength and leg strength. Learn more here.

Walk the Plank!

Walk the Plank!

8. Plank…one of the best for core and all over body strength. Helps energize the entire body and get you centered for a long sail! Also try side plank. Learn more here.

9. Matsyasana (fish pose)…just because of the name….learn more here.

Boat pose

Boat pose

10. Boat…see Monday’s post here!

11. Malasana: Yogic squat

I also like the idea of using some recycled products while sailing and reusing ripped and old sails that typically would go straight to the landfill after use.

Go local to find recycled sail products in Gloucester, MA with Second Wind Sails…

Love this recycled sail wine bag from Secon Wind Sails...who doesnt love a great glass of organic pinot on the deck at dusk...

Love this recycled sail wine bag from Second Wind Sails...who doesn't love a great glass of organic pinot on the deck at dusk...

thats a baby in a sail bag...who does their marketing? they should get a raise...

that's a baby in a sail bag...who does their marketing? they should get a raise...

The Gloucester company, Second Wind Sails,  makes everything from Christmas stockings, to dog collars, to shower curtains, to wine bags, to pillows, to duffel bags using recycled sails.

Recycled sail yoga bad from seafevergear.com for only $19.95!

Recycled sail yoga bag from seafevergear.com for only $19.95!

Seafevergear.com also has great recycled sail products including a yoga bag for only $19.95 and is located both in San Diego and Cape Cod…

ReSail doesnt just make the typical tote-they make everything from duffels, to garment backs, to change purses and can customize any bag with your company or boat logo

ReSail (predecessor to the popular Sea Bags) doesn't just make the typical tote...they make everything from duffels, to garment backs, to change purses and can customize any bag with your company or boat logo

Although I posted earlier about “Sea Bags” recycled sails into bags…ReSail, of Newport,RI, claims to be its predecessor in style and purpose, has much more variety and is actually cheaper!…The line began with using recycled sails, and now includes any recycled material from a working sail loft (Dacron, Kevlar, etc.) using sail stitching techniques. They even make recycled Kevlar dog collars, recycled sail bean bag chairs, and recycled sail sailing jackets/vests! Check the website out here.

Yoga Onboard

Yoga Onboard

In the, why didn’t I think of this? category:

Kim Hess of Miami has created a book called “Yoga Onboard”. Kim, an avid sailor and yoga teacher, created a system of poses she believes would work well for sailors and live aboard’s. She also charters sailing yoga retreats and vacations for small groups! Find out more here.

Kim Hess, of Yoga Onboard doing some downward dog action

Kim Hess, of Yoga Onboard doing some downward dog action

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