Tag Archives: yoga travel

Grateful for Memories: Around the World in 30 Asanas

(art by asampaiz.deviantart.com)

Like so many projects not meant to be, this one started out with a healthy serving of gusto, and ended on an unexpected note.  I’d just finished teaching in the arm pit of the Middle East, and I couldn’t wait to start out on my year backpacking – off to see friends and family and continue my yoga studies without distraction.  I took photos and wrote articles in California, Hawaii, Nebraska, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Ireland, London, and all over India.

And then it hit me – bam!  India’s new school inflation.   There goes my travel mula.  

So I didn’t technically make it all the way around the world (at least not in this mini-rotation ;)), but fulfilling the “schtick” isn’t what matters, right?  It’s all about what you learn along the way.  It’s about how deeply and sincerely you love.  It’s about broadening your capacity to share.  It was also about eating a whole lot of idly.  Mmmm….idly.

Here’s a small sampling of the contemplation that went down along the way, originally published on Yoga Lovin’ in 2011.

Hawaii: Land of Freshness

Around the World in 30 Asanas: Garudasana . . .

. . . in Honolulu, Hawaii!

Ranked at #13 in Monocle’s annual Most Liveable Cities list of 2011 – and the top choice of only two American cities that made the cut (the other is Portland, Oregon, another green-friendly underrated slice of paradise).  This probably comes as no surprise – Honolulu’s known for its beach-side (and mountain-side!) views, fresh international food choices, and happy friendly people.

It’s also stop number 3 on Around the World in 30 Asanas!

My family on my Mom’s side are all from Hawaii and I was born and raised between Ewa Beach and Honolulu.  Ewa Beach is where I formed my earliest memories, but Honolulu is where I had my first kiss and won my first debate.  It’s also where my Mom and I lived in tiny wee apartments throughout the high school years.  Oh, Mama.

Hawaii always unearths themes of family for me, and in the legend of Garuda, we see the ultimate in a child’s dedication to their mother.

After losing a bet with two evil snakes, Garuda’s mother was taken prisoner as a slave in an underground urban hell.  To save his mother, Garuda promised to deliver a cup of amrita, the nectar of life, to the evil snake captors.  This would require three incredible obstacles: flying through a ring of fire (he put it out with river water), a circular spiked door (shrank himself and avoided even a scrape), and defeating two venomous snakes (blinded them with a wingy dust storm before pecking ‘em to death!).

Garuda used his divine powers in each of the obstacles and found himself victorious – winning the freedom of his mother.

This story is particularly meaningful in my personal life right now.

When things get all twisted up, we often move into ourselves, either to retreat from the stress of it, or to look for answers.  And like Garuda, the only way to be victorious is to dig deep until you unearth your divine nature (mortal translation: problem solve before you get burned, don’t let pride keep you from appearing smaller than you are in the right situation, and learn some booty-whooping moves.  They may come in handy!).

The Posture

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and come into a half-squat.  Cross one leg over the other, twisting your legs as much as you can, squeezing from the inner thighs, wrapping your foot as far behind the opposite calf as possible.  Then hook one elbow under the other  and twist your arms around one another until your palms touch (or come close to it!).

Tuck the belly, sink a little deeper, square the hips, and reach the arms as high up without compromising the twist as possible.  Alternatively, you may sink the arms lower and lower until, eventually, you’re peeking just over the tops of your fingertips.

(Arms are crossed opposite to the normal way this pose is taught.)

Benefits

  • Strengthens and stretches the ankles and calves
  • Stretches the thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back
  • Improves concentration
  • Improves sense of balance

(Just be careful if you have a hip or knee injury – whether it’s current or a haunt from the past.)

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Genius at SFO: The World’s First Airport Yoga Room

February 5, 2012 – YogaLovin.com
You’ve just spent 5 hours in a teeny airplane chair, making small talk between chugging water and exploring eighteen versions of the neck roll. Deep breathing keeps your mind balanced, but your body is singing for an open space so you can get back in the asana groove.

Not to worry. If you’re traveling through San Francisco Airport’s newly-greened Terminal 2, you’ll have the luxury of the millennium’s most innovative airport amenity at your fingertips (and yogi-toes): The Yoga Room.

san francisco airport yoga room

The yoga room is graced with calming lights, rentable mats, ceiling to floor mirrors, and a floating wall meant to symbolize “a buoyant spirit and enlightened mind.” The space cost upwards of $20,000 and Yoga Lovin’ reckons it was worth every penny!What better way to escape the frenetic energy and consumer-culture of an airport than a nice comfy room for spiritual nurturing? Not to mention all the physical benefits of yoga postures for the frequent traveler.

If asana isn’t your conscious traveler’s technique of choice, T2 offers a Berman reflection room as well – a space intended for silence and meditation.

So make sure to book your flights through American or Virgin Airlines – because those are the only two domestic carriers who have the honor of offering this chic new terminal and all its bliss.

(and if you’re *not* traveling through Terminal 2 this trip, here are a few on-flight postures you can do in the meantime!)

(photo credits: featured – YogiToGo PR, promoting their mp3 yoga classes for travelers, photo of yoga room – msnbc.com)

Yoga Lovin’ Updates!

I’ve been spending some time developing my yoga site, Yoga Lovin’, complete with new photos taken by photographer friends and a few more articles in the feed.   Keep in mind, it is a work in progress!

Some of the Around the World in 30 Asanas articles will be unique to the ones posted here. Yoga Lovin’ features the Garudasana in Honolulu article (which I didn’t publish here) and a much more yoga-oriented form of blabber.  In addition to articles, you can find some info on yoga classes I teach and (once I’m settled) community outreach.

The site will also be home to a little series there called Confessions of a Hedonist Yogi, which is particularly relevant during this Friends/Fam Tour!

Any comments are more than welcome!  I’ve already had requests for more photos on the homepage … anything else?

Namaste, ya’ll ;o)