Monday, December 27, 2010

Muay Thai Kickboxing for Kids

Keep karma, love and warmth. Also included: Backbends.

As many of you might know Yoga is not just Asana or doing the physical poses. Yoga is chanting, singing, meditation and all kinds of other things! I myself am much more of an Asana Yogi BUT I am greatly a Karma practicing Yogi because the world will only take care of you as much as you take care of it. My favorite Christmas ritual (I celebrate Christmas as a commercial and American holiday and not a religious holiday) is volunteering for the homeless at Goddard Riverside Community Center with two of my besties. We started this about 4 years ago. We sometimes do Thanksgiving and/or Christmas Day. Its an awesome way to spend my Christmas morning because I get to see my friends before heading off to family gatherings. We basically help out by preparing food and/or preparing the space where people will be served and then we go out and do meal deliveries to people who have difficulties leaving their homes. I'm not here to toot my own horn or anything but just putting it out there that in the hustle and bustle of New York living its kind of awesome to do something so physically and spiritually rewarding while hanging with your friends. Its not completely self-less for me of course, I'm mostly hanging out and having fun with my friends, but at the same time why not help out the universe? There are other places that take volunteers such as the Food Bank, The Bowery Mission and God's Love We Deliver. (I've only ever personally volunteered at Goddard and Food Bank.)

Another Christmas time ritual I try to keep is getting together with my friends and cooking brunch for ourselves. Brunch is such an easy meal to put together and taking time out of life to be with friends is so important to me nowadays because its so good for my heart. This is what our Post-Christmas brunch looked like.

And HELLO snow in nyc?! How U DOIN'? Because of the snow I was one of two people who showed up to Yoga this morning. I was all climbing mounds of snow to get to the gym too because no one was shoveling at 6am...Well due to low attendance I had to do crazy backbends in class! My arms went numb doing this (see picture for example below)...because my instructor kept telling me to walk my legs towards my hands. WHOA NELLY! Needless to say, I had an awesome class today. Thanks to my instructor who showed up to teach class in this madness!

What Union Sq looked like today at 6:15am

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jnana and Chin Mudras

One of my biggest battles in life is insomnia so I wanted to write about a mudra that can be used for it. If you practice yoga you've probably done it already because it's so common and also found in different religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Catholicism.

How to do it: Join the tips of your index finger and thumb. The rest of the fingers are extended. Place the hands on the knees in this Mudra while sitting. Pointing up its called the Jnana Mudra, fingers pointing downward its called the Chin Mudra. The Jnana Mudra can also be practiced held in front of an open chest.

Both are good for countering stress and tension, as well as useful in concentration and meditation.  I find it to have a calming and quieting effect on my mind when I have insomnia. I lay down in my bed, flat on my back and use the Jnana Mudra with hands laid on my thighs and do some type of breathing exercise. Another helpful exercise I complement this practice is to keep my eyes relaxed but open in the dark, staring at the ceiling and count at an even pace up to twenty. Then close my eyes gently and count to twenty and continue. Usually I find that at some point I fall asleep.

P.S. Why do some of these horrible PhotoBooth images make me look like I have chin hair?! NOT COOL cause I DON'T!

Chin Mudra
Jnana Mudra
Both hands! Variation in front of the chest.

Monday, December 20, 2010

I finally learned the importance of keeping my chin down.

You cannot deny what you can learn from having a good pad holder in Muay Thai. This was my trainer when I was at Fairtex Bangplee, training his son who has had 100-something fights. Go figure. That kid was my friggin idol! During morning training he could be seen leaving the camp for school in his uniform looking all proper and wai-ing all of us. In the afternoons you would see him kicking like a maniac like in this video.

Sesame seed oil, up my nose. YES!

Things I have been doing wrong:
not taking vitamins
not sleeping enough
not eating properly
not practicing mudras

The result? Sinus congestion! So bad. My yoga practice has been terrible the last two days because of it. Forget about pranayama...everything aches and feels tight. I thought my back was going to tear open when I did full pigeon this morning. ACK.

So this brings me to my natural remedy. Both in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine! I have been using pure organic sesame oil...yes, up my nose! So its best to lay down and use an eye dropper, 2-3 drops. I use a soaked q-tip, throw my head back while standing in the bathroom and let it drip into my nose. I once had a yoga teacher who told me to sniff it and also pour it into my ear! I've never tried it but since I've tried putting it up my nose, I swear it works. Not only does it lubricate my dried out achey sinuses, but it also helps to draw out the mucous.

Ayurvedic practitioners also believe in doing a self massage with sesame seed oil which is supposed to be favorable to all doshas and great after dry brushing and showering. I did it for a while but it didn't seem to moisturize any more than my regular lotion, but I never tried the dry brushing. Either way, sesame oil is AWESOME and totally saving my life right now.

Here is a great link I found for other natural remedies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

On the subject of running.

Look, I totally have jet lag but check out my Vibrams! Went running all over Thailand! No, that's such a lie. I ran mostly on treadmills and by the beach in Phuket, but they went a long way and of course the Thai guys in the Muay Thai camps were all..."What is that?!" Totally blew their minds...Vibrams to Thailand!

Speaking of running,  a cool book I'm reading right now. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami.

Holy screaming ITBands!!!! +Fish that eat your feet!

I am still trying to recover from my 2 weeks of virtually no Yoga. ITB are suffering immensely!

On another note, something I wanted to share that I did in Thailand...Fish Spa! So there is this type of fish called Garra rufa some people call them doctor fish or reddish log suckers. They're from Turkey and they're often used for spa purposes! The fish nibble on you removing dead skin, calluses and bacteria. Cleans and clear pores, promotes blood circulation, stimulates the feet and helps with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. I saw it in Thailand everywhere from the malls in Bangkok to the massage places in Phuket. I originally was so hesitant but I figured, where else would I do this? Its just for your feet. So basically you sit with your feet in a big fish tank while the lil buggers feed on you. Can I just say its...HILARIOUS. So ticklish I thought I was going to pee myself! I could hardly stand it for 30 min. and I had to really really concentrate to stop from laughing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Well hello cold weather, I'm back from Thailand!

Hello! Back in NYC and....holy coldness!
Quick things to update on...
• I only practiced Yoga 2 times in the last 2 weeks which makes my body feel terrible! NEVER AGAIN!
• Lots of Muay Thai and running makes my ITbands really upset. Frog pose and gomukasana are the answer.
• Mudras mentioned in the last posts, totes work. I practiced mudras but not asana....ha!

Big Buddha, Phuket, Thailand