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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!

Okay so I must admit, I am the anti-gardener. In fact, I believe I repel all plant life forms to the point where flower buds snap shut at the site of me.  However, I still hold this insatiable dream that one day I will be able to create and maintain a little Eden of my own. One that’s free of pesticides, and unnatural chemicals, but is full of beautiful flowers and maybe even some edible fruits or vegetables.

The concept of seed bombs really appeal to me. A mobile projectile…awesome…combined with an all natural life form that will grow on its own…even more awesome. Seed bombs first began in the 1970’s with the Green Guerrillas in New York and in 1992 by artist Kathryn Miller.

Guerrilla Gardeners did some damage...in a good way...in the 1970s in NYC (photo: https://i2.wp.com/static.flickr.com/15/22221481_625179325c_b.jpg)

Guerrilla Gardeners did some damage...in a good way...in the 1970's in NYC (photo: http://static.flickr.com/15/22221481_625179325c_b.jpg)

Now, seed bombs have become a fun and accessible way to put a little green in your day.

Dutch stamps tht contain seds...blooming postage! (courtesy of inhabit.com)

Dutch stamps that contain seeds...blooming postage! (courtesy of inhabit.com)

The Dutch postal company TNT have created, get this: Seed bomb stamps! They will not actually bloom in the mail box like above, but when you peel back the plastic off the stamp and plant it, it will grow!

Sprouting business cards? so creative! (courtesy of ihabit.com)

Sprouting business cards? so creative! (courtesy of ihabit.com)

Jamie Wieck (click here) designed these little guys for professionals to help their cards stand out. The cards convert into little houseplants when the recipient waters them. It’s an eco-friendly way to network!

We’ve all heard of the concept of a “seed bomb”…but here all the work is done for you!

garden gnomes grace the biodegradable balloons that carry Dutch Studio Txs Seed Bomb

garden gnomes grace the biodegradable balloons that carry Dutch Studio Tx's Seed Bomb

One company is making it a piece of cake, and fun, for people like me…The Dutch Studio TX have created biodegradable seed balloons!

Pre-packaged seed bombs! Would make a great gift, as well!

Pre-packaged seed bombs! Would make a great gift, as well!

I love the idea of becoming a Naturalist Ninja– covertly going on missions to reclaim overlooked, overused pieces of land to its natural beauty. Buying these pre-made seed bombs would be perfect for me. I would simply carry the bag around with me everywhere and, ready…aim…fire! Kinda fun, right? Only $6 per bag and contain a myriad of flowers! Contact “Outside in the city” for more info here.

combating desertification, one seed bomb at a time

combating desertification, one seed bomb at a time

A total hippys dream: raining seed bombs and not real bombs

A total hippy's dream: raining seed bombs

And maybe one day, this design will actually come to fruition. A biodegradable capsule, by Yanko Designs, that includes a seed bomb to combat desertification! For more info…click here.

make your own seed bombs...click the link below (photo courtesy of orignauxmoose.com)

make your own seed bombs...click the link below (photo courtesy of orignauxmoose.com)

For information on how to make your own see bomb, click here.

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.

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

Now that the weather is finally becoming pool/beach suitable (we’ll forget about the hiccup yesterday), I have been on the hunt for the perfect combination of a pool and beach…and a little eco-consciousness might help to!

Well I think I found a new favorite pool that I would die to visit…if I ever win the lottery

The infinity pool at the Huvafen Fushi Resort in the Maldives.

Huvafen Fushi resort and spa in the Maldives

Huvafen Fushi resort and spa in the Maldives

The freshwater infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean at the Huvafen Fushi resort in the Maldives

The freshwater infinity pool overlooking the Indian Ocean at the Huvafen Fushi resort in the Maldives

Have your cake and eat it too...at your room: a private infinity pool, hot tub, expansive deck, and a private portion of ocean (maldives.tropicalideals.co.uk)

Have your cake and eat it too...at your room: a private infinity pool, hot tub, expansive deck, and a private portion of ocean (maldives.tropicalideals.co.uk)

Named the best beach resort by Harper’s Bazaar and featured in Conde Nast Traveller, the resort is located in the North Male Atoll area of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Arrive by plane to Maldives International airport and either take a 30 minute speed boat ride, complete with complimentary champagne, or a sea plane out to this man-made, but nature conscious, paradise.

Map of the resort...

Map of the resort...the Maldives are located off of the South West coast of India

The hotel created an underwater spa and organic raw restaurant as part of their sustainable luxury endeavors. They also take part in fair trade practices of local goods and conservation of their local island reef and the greater reefs of the Maldives.

The freshwater infinity pool, surrounded by day beds, the private pools for each of the 43 rooms, the sustainable reef and the healing floating saltwater pool, all combine to give this resort the title of holding the best quality pool:ocean:guest ratio.

ariel view of a portion of the resort (maldives.tropicalideals.co.uk)

Ariel view of a portion of the resort (maldives.tropicalideals.co.uk)

Every room comes with either a private plunge pool, or if your are willing to pay the really big bucks…a larger private pool.

This particular room even comes with a telescope for prime romantic star-gazing in the middle of the Indian Ocean....ahhhh (maldives.tropicalideals.co.uk)

This particular room even comes with a telescope for prime romantic star-gazing in the middle of the Indian Ocean....ahhhh...the rooms also boast 7ft x 7ft beds (maldives.tropicalideals.co.uk)

green saltwater therapeutic spa pool  (3.bp.blogspot.com)Lonu Veyo is a “green” saltwater floatation therapy pool…the first of its kind in the Maldives

The resort also boasts a “green” saltwater pool, called Lonu Veyo, that has “special healing techniques”.

The resort has its own area of reef for SCUBA and snorkelling that is preserved by the hotel

The resort has its own area of reef for SCUBA and snorkeling that is preserved by the hotel, complete with rays, turtles, and on occasion, even sharks...

I just melted when the website states they have complimentary SCUBA out of their PADI dive center…I would probably find myself fully addicted again, doing 2 dives a day…spending all my time in those glorious waters looking at rays, exotic fish and sea turtles, that are abundant and viewable even from some of the decks of the resort.  The resort also boasts sunset fishing, deep-sea fishing,snorkeling safaris and boating trips.

The hotel even has an “in-house” reef, and a spa, Lima (by the Per Aquum group),  immersed under water surrounded by the reef! Even if you aren’t a swimmer, you can enjoy the reef while experiencing the resorts spa treatments which include all natural spa treatments and remedies, spa cuisine, aromatherapy massage, and yoga massage, among a slew of other treatments that can be customized for you. The spa boasts “chromotherapy” lighting and an indigenous treatment known as crystal therapy. Wooden tools for massage were created by locals specifically for the spa, while the virgin coconut oil was purchased in a fair trade, sustainable way and is used as a staple in  signature treatments for guests.

An organic spa paradise in the Huvafen Fushi resort (photo: maldivedigst.com)

An organic spa paradise in the Huvafen Fushi resort (photo: maldivedigst.com)

Even though you are on a private island, it does not mean you go hungry…far from that, actually. As I mentioned before, there is “spa cuisine” and fresh fish plucked from the ocean at the resorts many restaurants and bars. The main bar, UMbar, has been frequented y some of the world’s top DJ’s,while serving designer cocktails.

There is also an underground wine room/restaurant called Vinum and a more casual restaurant called Fogliani’s.

Meanwhile, for a healthier stay, the restaurant, Raw, serves that aforementioned spa cuisine and even raw cuisine for optimal health benefits. Celsius and Salt are also options for deliciously fresh food on the island,or take a break from the resort and explore other restaurants in the Maldives through the resorts speed boats or plane, along with “destination dining” at private locals around the island.

Yoga pavilion at Huvafen Fushi

Yoga pavilion at Huvafen Fush...picture doing yoga out there at dawn...mmm

I must admit, the element of the resort that really got me hooked was its perfect yoga pavilion…completely separated from the rest of the resort, jutted out into the Indian ocean…your yoga practice here is sure to bring you to new levels physically, spiritually and mentally. You can even experience the resort through a yoga retreat through teachers such as Annoushka Hempel.

The reosrt boasts a yoga therapy sessions as well as numerous yoga retreats from world-renowned gurus

The resort boasts a 'yoga therapy' sessions as well as numerous yoga retreats from world-renowned gurus

The pavilion is not the only delgated yoga spot...you nca practice practially anywhere...even in the underwater lounges, surrounded by fish! (photo courtesy of blog.360dgrs.nl)

The pavilion is not the only delegated yoga spot...you can practice practically anywhere...even in the underwater lounges and spa, surrounded by fish! (photo courtesy of blog.360dgrs.nl)

The resort is expensive, I am not going to lie.

It can range,depending on season, from about $1100 per night to about $8000 a night if you are one of those people who just absolutely needs the larger private pool.

For me, I think I’d be happy just working as a concierge here, or maybe as a visiting yoga teacher…hint,hint, Huvafen?…sigh…

I think I would easily find paradise atthe place where ifinity meets the ocean

I think I would easily find paradise at the place where infinity meets the ocean

For more information on sustainable tourism in the Maldives click here.

For more information on the Huvafen Fushi Resort click here.

Paripurna Navasana: “Full Boat Pose”

Boat pose...

Boat pose...Paripurna Navasana

Take advantage of this human boat;
Free yourself from sorrow’s mighty stream…

– Shantideva: “The Way of the Bodhisattva” –

Skill level: Beginner

Because it’s summer, and we all love the idea of spending our weekends out on the ocean, especially now that the weather is nice, I decided “Boat pose” would be a great way to help us create our own vessel to physical strength and inner calmness.

Boat pose is all about endurance and vitality. It teaches us to breathe through challenges in our lives while remaining strong in our core…in our inner being.

Whenever I need an energetic boost in the morning, or a little confidence if I am feeling shaken, I use Boat pose as an instant adrenaline shot. It increases my brightness and warmth of body and spirit.

Boat pose teaches those who try it to become self-sufficient, creating one’s own vessel, one’s own inner rescue ship, in times of need.

Boat Pose is one of those old tried and true poses that has descendant poses and exercises in everything from Ballet, to core training, to Pilates. The pose cuts right to the core and helps build strength in your arms, lower and upper back, shoulders, hip flexors and quads.

The pose helps with intestinal problems, bloating, thyroid  and kidney problems.

Weaknesses in your body and mental state become very apparent, very quickly  in this pose… so don’t become discouraged if you notice you may that have as strong of abs, or legs as you thought, or if you are unable to hold the pose as long as you wanted to. This pose will quickly become a favorite in your practice to help build strength in some of these hidden muscles, and train your brain and spirit to stay the course.

(photo courtesy of yorkmeditation.co.uk)

(photo courtesy of yorkmeditation.co.uk)

To get into the pose follow these simple steps:

1. Sit on the center of your yoga mat Pull in your legs and grab your upper legs on the back side below the knees. Tilt your upper body backwards so that your lower back carries your weight and the entire upper back is aligned in a straight perpendicular line.

2. With the help of your arms, hands on the back your thighs, pull your knees in close to your chest while remaining upright, balancing slightly tilted back on your tailbone. In this position, be careful t not get lazy, keep your upper back from arching forward and remain engaged in your core, lifting up towards the sky.

3. Extend your arms so they are parallel to the floor.

4. Stretch your legs and feet together, legs extended out at a 60 degree angle.Stretch tops of the feet so they are almost pointed but spread the toes t a flexed position, really pushing the energy out through the legs and out through the tips of the toes.

5. Keeping the back as straight as possible, pulling the shoulder blades together back and down. Bring your arms along the body parallel to the floor and focus on a particular spot for your balance. I like to focus at the space between my ankles.

5. Cultivate Ujayii breathe…”ocean breathe”

6. The aim in this pose is to remain open in the upper chest, letting your heart feel like it is moving forward, while you remain steady and strong in your core, constantly pulling those abs in. Don’t stick your chin out, but keep your spine aligned, moving shoulder blades down from the ears, down the back.

After getting into the pose, try to remain with an open-heart and strength, and ask yourself to remain in this state for as many breathes as possible before coming down and relaxing for a few breathes on your back. Try to do about two rounds of this.

Notice which parts of your body are having the hardest time enduring, or which get sore quickly. That will help you tailor your practice to build strength in those specific areas.

7. You can make the pose more advanced by lower the legs even further until the shins are parallel to the ground. Also you can twist slowly from side to side while up in Boat pose to maximize the abdominal strength training.

8. Afterward, lie on you back in savasana (corpse pose) and meditate on the challenge that your just endured.

Do not strain yourself too much if you feel you need to come out of the pose. But keep strong, lifted and endure as long as possible. This pose helps brighten your spirit and increase your ability to be bold in the face of obstacles.

Enjoy!

Note: if you have lower/upper back problems, consult a yoga practitioner before beginning this pose.

couples Boat pose is also a great way to overcome obstacles in your relationship and stay the course with your partner....photo courtesy of quacquac.org

"couples' Boat pose' is also a great way to overcome obstacles in your relationship and "stay the course" with your partner....photo courtesy of quacquac.org

Give back and get stylish for summer with LaLESSOs designs

Give back and get stylish for summer with LaLESSO's designs

One thing that I loved about being abroad was the fashion! So many clothes…so little time…and SOOO much cheaper than the U.S.

I received a few e-mails asking where I got the skirt I was wearing on my post about Newburyport’s Farmer’s Market the other day (here)…so here is a little piece about that skirt…my oh-so-favorite skirt!

sadly, my version of this skirt did not come with a pet a camel...

sadly, my version of this skirt did not come with a pet camel...

In a boutique store in Rondebosch, just outside of Cape Town, I discovered these fabulous  printed garments, that were all hand-made and gorgeously African.

A closer look brought me to realize that all of the fabrics were hand painted and contained traditional Indian and Kenyan “handkerchief” patterns and even incorporated Swahili sayings on the prints.

The prints are then hand sewn by local Kenyan women into these wonderfully unique dress, skirts…even bathing suits and ballet flats!!

ballet flats by laLESSO

ballet flats by laLESSO

Because the fabric is hand painted, every piece of clothing is 100% unique! The company was started by two young, fresh out of University women (one from Kenya and one from South Africa) who wanted to bring African style to the fashion forward world while giving back!

The company helps support the Eastern African cotton industries and local women financially.

They have been featured in every major fashion magazine, including Elle and Vogue…

Runway show: laLESSO

Runway show: laLESSO

Here are some pics from a fashion show on the British Vogue website of LalESSO…

For an interview with the owners on their design and style philosophy…click here

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wearing my favorite skirt...over one year old, and after tens of washes and wears...it's still as good as new!

I walked away the first day with this wonderful Kenyan skirt (above) that is soooo comfortable.My friend Lucy, and some other friends, also fell in love with their printed dresses and splurged as well!

I literally have worn that skirt at least once a week (minus the winter) since i bought it last Spring, and it has survived TONS of washes and being bleached by the African sun on an outdoor line while abroad…

I actually have the dress on the right and in a similarly colored pattern...the Salama dress...its the perfect beach coverup or dress for evening cocktails on the ocean/beach! I wear it ALL the time!

I actually have the dress on the right and in a similarly colored pattern...the Salama dress...it's the perfect beach cover-up or dress for evening cocktails on the ocean/beach! I wear it ALL the time!

I also purchased a short, kind of sassy darker colored skirt that is black and purple, while I purchased a a halter dress that is purple, cream and black. I actually wore the dress yesterday to Rockport, MA with my family for lunch, and received a bunch of compliments on it!

They even make these adorable terry cloth beach shorts!

They even make these adorable terry cloth beach shorts!

mix and match LaLESSO bikinis (for women and babies!) with other African inspired sustainable style items...

mix and match LaLESSO bikinis and dresses (for women and babies!) with other African inspired sustainable style items...

Here’s a little blurb about the company from their web page…

All Lalesso clothing is manufactured under strict and extremely conscious ethical conditions in our self owned workshop in Kenya, East Africa. All our employees are paid well above the average wage and are already benefiting not only their lives but the lives of their families and have been able to increase their standard of living considerably. Each ‘lesso’ or ‘khanga’ is hand washed in the Indian Ocean before being transformed into a Lalesso creation; this is an age old method of aiding the stay fastness of the dyes.

Please note that the colours and pattern designs on the ‘khanga’ or ‘lesso’ are all unique, the manufacturers produce five designs each week and after that the design is never produced again. What this means is that each piece of fabric in it’s respective print will most likely never be found in the same garment twice so please understand that if you like a certain print but it’s in the wrong size, I’m afraid it is not possible to order it in your size. The colours/designs shown are ONLY available in the sizes given.”

read more about laLESSO or purchase their garments at the link below...

read more about laLESSO or purchase their garments at the link below...

Buy clothes from laLESSO here

Note: shipping to the U.S. will probably take about 4-10 days, so practice a little patience! Of course buying clothing in South Africa for me was much less expensive and I even got my Salama dress on sale for the equivalent of $30. However, the dresses and other clothing usually run from about $40 to around $100, which still isn’t too bad considering it is handmade and goes to a good a cause…I suggest waiting for a sale, though!

Update: LaLESSO is actually launching at TOP SHOP in the Oxford Circus… hopefully they will be here soon!..check out their Facebook group here