Machu Picchu

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What an extraordinary trip to Peru. The energy from the Andes mountains and the Andean people is palpable everywhere you go from Cuzco to Machu Picchu to the Sacred Valley.  The indigenous Incan culture lives on in the Quechua people, particularly their relationship with Nature – earth, water, sun and all living creatures. The Incans knew and the Andean people continue to honor and appreciate the health benefits derived from Mother Nature, treating successfully everything from altitude sickness to abdominal pain with herbs and plants.

Travel is no excuse not to stay fit and healthy. No matter where you are, you can always practice yoga, walk, hike or run. Hiking Machu Picchu was breathtaking – both from the view as well as the physical exertion.

In the Sacred Valley, we stayed at a lovely yoga retreat called Willka T’ika surrounded by the magnificent Andes mountains. Willka T’ika is a serene place with an incredible staff who carry on the Quechan traditions with their organic, local grown meals and healing herbal teas. There is a spectacular Chakra garden with all of the seven gardens beautifully and carefully designed; each garden corresponding to a particular chakra with it’s corresponding color, energy, healing plants & flowers.

It was a beautiful experience. Now off to an entirely different ecosystem — the Galapagos. Very excited!

Jai ma

 

 

Wanderlust

0cec820c8e307095acb3c0b2da90675aWanderlust has got me again.  It is much like yoga in that both are explorations into oneself. When we travel, we see the differences, the uniqueness of each place and culture, but learn how similar we all are – the Oneness.  As they say in Bali — same,same but different. On this trip to South America, I will explore Peru and Ecuador, their beautiful countries, people, customs and traditions. The beauty of yoga is that it can be practiced anywhere in the world and I look forward to practicing everywhere I go.

Doctors and Yoga

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I am delighted to participate in my first AMA (American Medical Association) approved CME (Continuing Medical Education) program on Yoga Therapy. This is a big deal!  It means that a well established, time honored medical society acknowledges the health benefits of yoga therapy. This is the 7th such meeting designed for doctors and health care professionals. It is becoming increasingly clear to many in our profession that most Western countries do not have a Health Care system, but a disease care system, with little emphasis on long-term management or prevention. This has unfortunately led to the progression of almost all disease at an alarming rate. Yoga can help manage many chronic illnesses and more importantly can prevent many disease states. And there is proof.

The meeting’s curriculum involves hours of learning/reviewing the results of hundreds of published studies on the benefits of yoga and yoga therapy in multiple diseases as well as the benefits of yoga in the prevention of illness. We are also learning the tools necessary to wisely guide our patients – awareness, mindfulness, asanas (postures), breathing and meditation. It is an honor to be in the presence of leaders in this field and doctors (orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists, family practitioners, pediatricians) who want to change (acknowledge that we need to change) the emphasis from disease to Health.

Jai Ma

Hot Yoga 21-Challenge

Hot House Yoga 21-Challenge

So, Hot House Yoga studio challenged us to take 21 classes in the month of October.  The logic behind the number 21 is that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so why not create a good habit.

For those who successfully complete the challenge in Hampton Roads, Hot House Yoga will donate $10 to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on his/her behalf. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s mission is to “Save the Bay.” The Chesapeake Bay’s 64,000-square-mile watershed covers parts of six states and is home to more than 17 million people. It is my beautiful backyard. From the rivers of Richmond to the beaches of Virginia Beach, all Hot House yogis directly affect the bay. For those who successfully complete the challenge in Richmond, Hot House Yoga will donate $10 to the The Faison School for Autism on his/her behalf. The school is dedicated to providing resources for children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the nation, affecting one in 68 children. Both incredible causes.

I took on the challenge with initial skepticism, thinking, as so many of us did, that it would be very difficult to accomplish with my very busy schedule.  But I did it! In fact, I took 25 classes. The only days I didn’t practice in the studio were the days I was on call for work.

Lessons Learned:

  • Reorganize your priorities — It turns out I was not as busy as I thought I was, I just needed to change my priorities
  • Be flexible and open — This led me to amazing teachers I hadn’t experienced before and to Level 2 Vinyasa
  • Consistent, unwavering practice creates a good habit — I wanted to be in the studio and practice everyday.  When I wasn’t there, I practiced at home.
  • Don’t expect a miracle — My ego wanted my yoga poses to be perfect and my body to be pain-free after this challenge.  Letting go of my ego, letting go of expectations, I realize that the work continues and the benefits come from a consistent Habit
  • You can do anything you set your mind toHonestly, anything

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Jai Ma