5 things you can do in 5 minutes
by Rebecca Hersh
With the birth of your child, there are so many things that exponentially multiply: cuddles, love, wonder, sleep deprivation, deep inner peace and spit-up, as well as some things that decrease: ego, shirts-without-spit-up, reasons to put on real pants and time for your personal yoga practice.
Perhaps in your life pre-baby, you had hours to dedicate to your personal practice, setting up your yoga mat at home or traveling across the city to catch your favorite teacher, but as the parent of a brand new (needy) bundle of joy, you might (definitely) find that finding the time to practice is difficult.
Here are 5 things you can do in five minutes to stay connected to your practice.
1. Meditate. (You can do this one with your little one in your arms) Sit on the edge of a blanket, shoulders over hips, and take a few minutes to find your breath. Inhale through your nose to a count of 6, exhale through your nose to a count of 8.
2. Come into child’s pose. Inhale up onto your knees with your baby right under your line of sight, and do a few rounds of cat and cow. Stretch back into Downward Dog. Inhale forward into plank pose. Exhale and drop your knees for child’s pose. Do a few rounds like this.
3. Take a standing forward fold with your hands clasped behind your back to open up your heart, and stretch your back, hamstrings and shoulders.
4. Lie on your back draw your knees into your chest and roll around on your lower back. Drop your knees to the left and look over your right shoulder. Draw your knees into your chest and drop them to the right, look over your left shoulder. Feel your spine releasing.
5. Put your legs up the wall. You can lay on the ground with your legs up the wall with your baby lying softly on your chest. This is a restorative pose that will help you to relax, de-stress, all while connecting with your little one!
If you find that you have more than 5 minutes, bring your baby to Laughing Lotus, 1:15-2:15 on Tuesday and Thursday for Baby and Me Yoga, for a yoga class created for new parents and their babies. You can expect a class catered to your particular needs as a new parent and an atmosphere that is calming and nurturing for your baby.
Last week we began the beautiful journey into Teacher Training, and with all the excitement, we thought we’d interview one of our incredible teachers, Enrique Vallejo and hear about his ups and downs along the path of becoming a yoga teacher, along with his playful passions, words of wisdom, and what inspires him to teach. Some of you know Enrique from his gorgeous practice and his soulful and mystical candlelight flow classes. His witty humor and deep insight are greatly appreciated and loved, and we are excited to share a bit more about him below!
Enrique, tell us something we don’t know about you…
“People may not know that I’m a big astrology geek and that ever since age 10, I’ve been fascinated with (world famous yogini) Madonna. Actually, anyone I’ve spoken to for about 5 seconds probably already knows both of those fun facts! Astrology is an incredible tool for fostering self-knowledge and self-acceptance and Madonna is…so many powerful things. But not everyone knows that I auditioned to be a dancer on Madonna’s tour a while ago (and got cut instantly) and I actually touched her in October of last year when her tour came town. (I chalk up this intense connection to our highly similar astrological charts :P) Other non-asana interests include karaoke, dance, biking, hiking, camping, rock climbing, laughing inappropriately and eating Chicago-style pizza.”
What is a quote that you live by?
“A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” – Kahlil Gibran I keep reminding myself of this when the perfectionist/procrastinator thoughts start churning so that I don’t talk myself out of pursuing a passion or embarking on an adventure.”
Do you have a favorite yoga pose?
“Vrksasana – Tree pose. My body feels really good in this pose: grounded, balanced, tall, strong. It also sort of reminds me of a passé in ballet.”
What are you goals as a yoga teacher at Laughing Lotus?
In my opinion, yoga’s greatest gift is that it teaches you about the transient nature of thoughts, feelings, and sensations. You can acknowledge something without having to indulge it. The choices are not simply to ignore or be held captive. I find that very empowering and hope to share that sense of liberation with my students. If my yoga class can help someone transcend an unverified/limiting/false belief – whether or not a particular pose is ever achieved – then I’ve fulfilled my goal as a teacher.”
By Emily Stone
There’s a well-known quote of Eugene O’Neill the gist of which is, “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. God’s grace is glue. Testify.” If only our playwright had pursued his 200-hour RYT at Laughing Lotus, he might have come to know the Yoga Sutras and amended that last bit to read, “God’s grace is thread,” and everyone would have gone home happy. Or, if not happy—this is an O’Neill play after all— then at least mildly content rather than stoned out of their mind and stuffed into some moth-eaten wedding dress of yesteryear.
Indeed, the Sanskrit word sutra means thread—think of the English derivative “suture”— and comes from the verb siv meaning to sew. As a whole, Patangali’s Yoga Sutras, 196 aphorisms codifying the very science and philosophy of yoga, form the warp and weft of what it means to be a yogi on a daily basis. Taken individually, each sutra comprises a single thread of Yoga’s timeless tapestry. If one practices bibliomancy, opening the Yoga Sutras and living the day according to the line upon which the page happens the fall, there’s a certain simplicity that falls just short of perfection. Where, we may wonder, is the sutra about chronic illness or what to do on shitty Internet dates?
What’s more, when we get up close and personal with the fabric of our lives, it can seem roughly hewn, or even tough to accessorize. Yet, if we are indeed born broken and in need of mending, rather than piecing ourselves back together with spit and Scotch Tape, how much simpler and wiser to look to what is already contained inside us: the very sinews of yoga’s rich lineage that connect us to both our inner and outer world. A vast system of ideas made all the more elegant and accessible by cross-stitching, overlaying and interlocking until the nubby bits seem folksy and artisanal.
This connectivity of ideas is a concept that appears in Hindu mythology as the Net of Indra, a mythic net in which at every crossing of one thread over another rests a gem which reflects all the other gems and so on. Every thread and every gem is in mutual relation to everything else so that each thread and each gem almost cease to exist on their own. It is almost as though the net, by nature of its relativism, represents a divine singular intention the point of which is at first challenging to interpret and yet strangely clearer the longer one remains ensnared. When we let go of one particular thread, another comes, and another until you have it: your sutra. Or rather, all of ‘em. Long day’s journey into light.
Lotus Love School 101
By Laura Malouf-Renning
When I first entered the doors of Laughing Lotus Yoga Center five years ago, I had a very strong gut feeling that I was entering a special temple and my life as I knew it was about to change. I felt instantly welcome.
The signature Lotus Flow style made sense for my body, and my emotions, mind and spirit drank in the offerings of mantra, pranayama, meditation, and the nuggets of wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras. I decided then and there that if I ever got certified to teach yoga, Laughing Lotus would be the place I’d do it. Three years later, I found myself at “Lotus Love School” orientation with Jasmine Tarkeshi, Keith Borden, and 15 other student seekers.
The unique design of the Lotus teacher training program, combined with the guidance of expert teachers, invited me to let the teachings seep down to my very essence and discover the guru within. I loved how the physical asana focused weekends were interspersed with weekends digging into different aspects of yoga philosophy such as Pranayama, Anatomy, Sanskrit, Kids Yoga, Restorative, Prenatal, Mantra the Bhagavad Gita, and the Yoga Sutras. The combination of learning both physical Lotus sequencing in complete detail with Jasmine, and learning and philosophical yogic knowledge culminated into a rich love and understanding for the practice and teachings of yoga.
The most influential aspects of my teacher training happened in the supportive Lotus community. In “Lotus Love School,” I was matched up with a mentor teacher and three other students, and we met once a week for intimate instruction on the art of teaching, where we practiced our teaching skills and received immediate feedback. I was also paired up with another student who was my yoga buddy for the entire training. It was always great to connect with my buddy every week over a cup of tea as we talked about the lessons we learned. It was so nourishing to feel supported along the soulful journey.
Lotus Love School prepared me mentally and physically for my path as a yogi, and as a passionate and skilled teacher. The final three weeks of the program were dedicated to our complete rebirth as a teacher: an entire weekend was dedicated to practice teaching, another on sharing the yoga light with my classmates, and the third weekend culminated in a very personal, celebratory, and heartfelt graduation ceremony.
By the time January rolled around, I was teaching my very first community class! To this day, I still draw from the well of my teacher training at Laughing Lotus, and it informs every aspect of how I approach teaching and my life. Before teacher training, I was a stressed-out, overworked massage therapist. I can honestly say that Laughing Lotus Love School transformed my life, how I look at the world, and how I offer myself to the world. Rather than struggling and forcing my way through life, I now let this beautiful practice of yoga, of this union of mind, body and soul remind me to let things flow through me in my classes and day to day life.
I bow in honor to my teachers Jasmine and Keith, and my mentor Joy. Namaste.