Today’s blog is written by Greg Marzullo.

Massacres by the Syrian government have killed thousands.

A young man in Colorado goes berserk and guns down a movie theater full of people.

Here in D.C., a yoga teacher and his boyfriend were viciously assaulted over the weekend. (to attend a donation based yoga class to benefit Michael Joel Hall at extendYoga, click here)

At every turn, with every click of a remote or a mouse, we’re confronted with the insanities of humanity run amok. Violence, degradation and breathtaking suffering are our daily bread, leaving us to wonder what any of us can possibly do in the wake of such overwhelming odds.

The answer is simple, yet nonetheless daunting: Transform yourself.

The Bhagavad Gita, the Song of the Lord, is one of the great spiritual classics of the world, and although the actual time of composition varies between the sixth and second centuries B.C.E., the wisdom contained within its verses have stood the test of time. Ranging in content from impermanence to the true nature of the transcendent Self, the Gita has been a guidebook for yogis, saints and everyday people trying to lead a better life.

Set against the backdrop on an impending epic battle between two sides of a large family, the Gita is a conversation between the mortal warrior Arjuna and his charioteer Lord Krishna. As Arjuna stands on the battlefield staring across enemy lines, he sees his foes and recognizes them as friends, cousins and well-loved uncles. Despairing at having to slay kith and kin and fearful of incurring great sin, he throws down his bow and says, “I will not do this thing.”

It’s at this point that Krishna leans down and says (if he were to speak in 21st-century idiom), “Get your ass up and fight.”

It’s at this point that Krishna delivers the famous lines of the text, which are meant to help all peoples overcome the war of the mind and reach enlightenment. This is not just some far-fetched notion meant only for holy people meditating atop the mountains; the Gita is specifically designed to assist those engaged in the rigors of the real world.

Mohandas K. Gandhi lived his life by this book, and although there is some debate as to whether or not the Gita is in favor of war, the great pacifist said to try living your life by this book and see if you can harm anyone. In some of the most moving passages, Krishna tells Arjuna to see God in all creatures, from a priest to a cow.

Recognizing the divine in all beings is so obviously needed in today’s world. Who could say a cruel word to God? Who could raise a fist or an assault weapon to that which is Pure Love?

In order to find peace and change the world, we must drink deeply from the wellspring of transcendent consciousness that bubbles up within each one of us. The Gita in all its profound wisdom is like a divining rod held in our trembling hands. If we just become still and listen, the rod begins to twitch and tremble, leading us eventually to that font of wisdom that never runs dry.

You are the rod and the fountain. Change yourself, change the world.

 

Greg Marzullo is teaching a third installment of his workshop, Yoga of the Revolution on Sunday, August 5th at extendYoga.  To read more and sign up please click here.

 

Change yourself, change the world.

Change yourself, change the world.

The fun pose of the day is adho mukha vtksasana or handstand.

adho= downward
mukha = face
vrksa = tree
asana = pose, posture

Today was a steamy 100 degrees, so we didn’t even need to add more heat to our heated flow class this evening.

With the natural heat we had an amazing class – and we started our handstand prep.  While I spent my time with my feet on the wall (like the photo below) , I feel like I made a lot of progress!

Before we take you through the steps to handstand, here are just a few of them nay benefits:

  • Strengthens the shoulders, arms and wrists
  • Improves sense of balance
  • Calms the brain
  • Relieves stress and mild depression
  • Stretches the belly
  • Improves circulation
We’re linking up to Kathyrn Budig and her Challenge Pose blog to help guide you through the steps.
Enjoy and we’ll see you on the mat!

 

fun pose friday: handstand

fun pose friday: handstand

A few of you may be asking “how is supported shoulder stand a fun pose?!”  Well, it is a pretty pleasant asana, and more importantly it will help you cool down during all this heat!

This inversion requires little muscular effort (unlike a headstand, or handstand), so the large muscles can rest. It encourages lymphatic fluid to flow toward the heart, sweeping out toxins and boosting circulation.

Other benefits include:

  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stimulates the thyroid and abdominal organs
  • Stretches the shoulders and neck
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces fatigue and alleviates insomnia

To enjoy this pose with the least amount of effort you should put a block under your sacrum (as in the photo below).  And that’s what we’ll walk through today.

 

1) Begin lying on your back on a mat or rug.  Come into Plow (below) with your feet over your head and your hips over your shoulders.  Be sure to have your block close by.

2) Grab your block and put it under your sacrum (the height of the block should be based on how much support you’re looking for: choose the lowest height for more relaxation, and a slightly higher height with the block on its side to get the hips higher).

3) Relax here.  Go into savasana, with your arms by your sides and your palms facing up (this helps open and relax the shoulders).   Try and keep your body completely relaxed.  If you find it at all difficult to breathe, just shift your hops away from your head a few inches.

4) If you’re feeling any pressure in your neck, press the back part of your head into the ground.  Don’t shift your head side to side, try to keep the body in as much of a straight line as possible to avoid straining any muscles.

5) Stay here for 10 or more breaths, and when you feel complete you can slowly lower your feed back down towards the ground coming back into Plow pose.

6) From here bring your hips slowly to the ground and hug your knees into your chest.

 

Be sure to take your time coming out of this pose.  Since its an inversion, you may feel a little dizzy if you try to stand up too quickly after the pose.

 

Enjoy and see you on the mat!

fun pose friday: supported/half shoulder stand

fun pose friday: supported/half shoulder stand

Right in the middle of a HOT week  - see what we’re loving this week…

Want some yoga art in your life?  We love this post by lo over at Namastillo…My favorite is “With my Whole Heart”.  For more information and where/how to purchase head on over to Namastillo.

extendYoga

 

The heat is certainly here – read this MindBodyGreen article to find out what foods are going to cool you down.  I was a little sad reading this because when it gets hot the two things I reach for are frozen yogurt and iced coffee.  The article explains when it get hot you need to enjoy water-rich foods.  While that Starbucks iced coffee might seem like a quick fix, it’s actually going to dehydrate you.  A quick trip to yogiberry may actually cause congestion and hinder your body’s cooling systems.   Instead its recommended to reach for fresh and raw vegetables and fruit with a high water content.  For the full list check out the article here.

Some people think that hot yoga in the summertime is crazy, while others are thinking “if I’m going to be sweating anyways I might as well be doing some hot yoga!”  Check out this new “hot but not” tank from lululemon – looks light and airy and I’d buy it just for the back!

Enjoy the heat and see you on the mat!

yoga art, what foods cool you, hot but not

yoga art, what foods cool you, hot but not

 

Today’s fun pose is Hanumanasana or Splits pose.

Here’s the story behind the name:

Hanuman is the monkey God whose story is narrated in the Ramayana (an ancient Hindu epic).   He is one of the most popular idols in the Hindu pantheon and his story in the Ramayana is known for its astounding ability to give the reader inspiration to face ordeals and conquer lifes obstructions.  In the Ramayana he was given the task of locating Rama’s wife Sita, who had been kidnapped by the demon king of Lanka.  The story goes that he took a giant leap across the ocean between India and the island of Lanka to rescue Sita, and Hanumanasana represents his super-human leap.  So if this pose is difficult for you or requires perseverance to achieve, relax, because you are embodying the true feeling of the pose.

Benefits:

  • helpful in gaining flexibility
  • stretches the thighs, hamsrings and groins
  • stimulates the abdonminal organs and makes the blood flow properly through your veins

There are a lot of prepatory steps in realizing the full expression of the pose, and you may only make it to the first one.  Instead of cursing yourself for not getting it, learn to love your individual experience and be happy where you are at.  You will get it!

You can see all the steps on how to get into this pose by clicking here.

And here’s Arlet and I practicing Hanumanasana on the top of Sugarloaf Mountain last fall:

 

Enjoy!

fun pose: hanumanasana

fun pose: hanumanasana

With the long weekend almost here, we’re going to highlight a VERY fun yet, EXTREMELY challenging pose:  Eka Pada Rajakpotasana II (One-Legged King Pigeon Pose II).

Here’s how the name of the pose breaks down in sanskrit:

eka = one
pada = foot
raja = king
kapota = pigeon

extendyoga

Want to know why to do it?  Some benefits include:

  • stretches the entire front of the body, including: ankles, thighs and groin, stomach and chest as well as the throat
  • stretches the deep hip flexors
  • strengthens back muscles
  • stimulates the organs in the abs and neck
  • can allow for deep emotional insight
  • stills the mind, and calms the nervous system
  • improves posture

To give you the step by step, including photos – we’re linking to Yoga Journal’s Challenge Pose with Kathryn Budig.

Send us photos of you in your Eka Pada Rajakpotasana to info@extendYoga.com and we’ll feature you on our facebook page!

Be sure to honor and remember all of the men and women who have lost their lives serving our nation this weekend. Happy Memorial Day!

 

See you on the mat!

 

fun pose Friday: eka pada rajakpotasana II

fun pose Friday: eka pada rajakpotasana II

With our new blog look we’re launching a bit of new blog content.  So, every Wednesday you can look forward to seeing what’s hot on our radar.

 

hot yoga, yoga

 New Yoga Clothes.  Okay so, maybe we did agree with #9 on this yoganonymous list that’s been going around, but there’s something about new yoga clothes that bring back the “new back to school clothes shopping” experience.  With summer right around the corner, it’s a great excuse to pick up a few new pieces.   I’m loving this lululemon power dance tank in heathered rose quartz.  Its a perfect staple for hot yoga classes this summer, and the light color will look great with a sunkissed glow!

yoga, extendYoga

 THIS LADY.    Many of you have seen the interview with Master Tao Porchon Lynch who just got inducted into the Guiness Book of World Records for being the oldest living yoga teacher at 93!!!  For those of you who haven’t seen it – you can click here.  Its worth checking out for the beautiful photos!

 

 

How many of us look like the photo on the left for 40 hours a week?  If you substistute the computer in the photo for a smartphone/ipad/kindle then its probably more like 60 hours.  Ladies Home Journal posted this article  (its an oldie but goodie) about how to incorporate yoga into your workday.  I especially like the chairtwist.  The photo is great:

 

What have you seen lately that you’re loving?  If you want to submit something that you can’t get enough of you can email us at info@extendYoga.com

See you on the mat!

 

what we’re loving

what we’re loving

Everywhere you look people are doing yoga.  Not only “normal” people like you and I, but everyone from star athletes to celebrities to OPRAH incorporate yoga into their lives.

There are so many benefits to practicing Yoga it would be hard to name (and type!) them all in this blog.  For  example, Sting says Yoga is reversing the aging process, and Meg Ryan says it changes her life.  You can read about the other celebs who have a regular practice HERE.

Matthew McConaughey practices yoga shirtless (does he ever wear a shirt?!) on the beach, and Jennifer Aniston says yoga is therapeutic for her (and helped her get over Brad).

Now onto athletes…

Superbowl bound NE Patriots Cornerback Devin McCourty credits his success to hot yoga in the off-season.  And Lebron James’s secret is Yoga (and where he practices is a secret too!)

Do you want to have a regular practice but don’t have a celebrity paycheck?  Not a problem!  extendYoga’s new schedule starts FEBRUARY 1st and we’re happy to announce that we have Four classes for $5 on Fridays in February.  Join us every week and enjoy and hour of yoga for just $5 (that’s less than a latte at Starbucks!).  We’re also teaming up with lululemon athletica to offer COMPLIMENTARY classes on Sundays at 11am – that’s right, $0 for one hour of yoga!  At extendYoga we’re making it more affordable than ever to get yoga into your life.

See you on the mat!

extendYoga

12106 Wilkins Ave

Rockville, MD

www.extendYoga.com

yoga: everybody’s doing it

yoga: everybody’s doing it

Well… we did it!!!  We are open!

This is a little overdue… but THANK YOU to all of those who came to our grand opening celebration on the 5th.  And a special thanks to so many friends and family members who worked so hard and helped the week leading up to the opening (we had a lot of late nights and pizza dinners)!

We were more than thrilled with the turnout and it was truly a special day for Antonia and I.  We are so thankful for all the support and grateful to be a part of the community.

 

 

Our 10 minute sample classes at the opening were a hit!

Our visitors loved 10 minute Zumba! Check out a full Zumba class at the studio 6pm-7pm on Thursday nights!

Me and my mom at the front desk under our logo decal we had put up a couple days before the party (we love it)!

Our first couple weeks in business have been great.  We are excited to see new faces and get to know our neighbors each day.  Don’t forget that we are offering 10% off all our packages for the rest of November!

Stay tuned for information on our first HOLIDAY FAIR!  On Sat, Dec 17, 12pm-4pm we will be opening the studio up to the community and local vendors who will be showcasing their crafts, art and more, for all to enjoy!  extendYoga will be offering 10% off all packages during the holiday fair as well.

Last of all, with thanksgiving around the corner… we take a look at how far we have come and how blessed and THANKFUL we are for everything that we have and for everything that lies ahead.  We wouldn’t be able to follow our dreams without those who love and support us every day.

And to Antonia– I have no idea what I would ever do without you!!!  I could tell you in person, but I feel the world (or our handful of blog followers) should know what a wonderful, supportive, patient and caring person, friend and business partner you are. :)

Gobble gobble!  Hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Arlet

come in… we’re open!

come in… we’re open!

We are anxiously awaiting our grand opening celebration on Sat, Nov 5, 12pm-4pm.

Please stop by and enjoy sample classes, a variety of retail and gift items and most of all
20% OFF ALL PACKAGES!!!

Don’t forget to check out our website.  We went LIVE last week!  www.extendyoga.com

See you all soon!
Arlet & Antonia

In case you didn’t get the invite the first time….

and the countdown begins!

and the countdown begins!