Welcome to the fun and frivolous post of the summer. Hmmmm...perhaps that's taking it a bit too far. What this really is is a reminder to not take ourselves -- and our yoga -- too seriously. It's an easy trap to fall into -- the must get on the mat for X amount of time, must meditate, must be an equanimous person at all times (yes, I actually had a friend who believed that feelings of any sort were messy and must be shut down, for they got in the way of being equanimous -- eeeek! I do NOT recommend this, as this practice of shutting down only succeeds in making us less human rather than more "spiritual."), must transcend mentality. After a while it can become heavy, crushing us under its weight. I suspect that it's no accident that the word "light" can be found in enlightenment. For it's when we can relax and not take ourselves and everything around us so seriously that we can laugh at it all and see things for how they truly are (not to mention have more fun, which is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned).
So in the vein of not taking things too seriously, I'm going to share a whole jumble of fun stuff (in no particular order -- nope, I'm not taking blogging too serious either):
Apres Yoga Shoes
You're off to yoga class (or, if you're like me, you're running to the local coffee shop to get yourself an iced Chai Latte with almond milk) and you're wanting to slip something comfy and easy to get off and on your feet. My staple this month has been the Oofos Original Thong. I admit that I normally get shoes in neutral colors but this time I went with fuschia and I totally love them (there's just something about wearing hot pink shoes that makes one feel sassy). I've been living in my Oofos (gotta love that name -- just saying it makes me smile) this summer and I love how they feel and how they look. The Web site boasts energy absorbing oofoam technology that provides comfort, reduces foot fatigue, and rejuvenates your feet. I admit that I was skeptical of these claims until I slipped into these shoes. My feet feel amazing each and every time (in fact, my other shoes are jealous because they're not getting any time on my feet because I can't seem to stop wearing my Oofos)! If you're looking for fun, stylish comfort while you're out and about this Summer, I highly recommend Oofos. Click here to order them online or go to the Oofos Web site to find a retailer near you. Yep, your feet will thank me.
Yuk it Up
You ever have one of those days when it seems like nothing is going quite right and you feel like screaming in frustration? I've been known to do the "silent scream" which is basically screaming without sound (sometimes screaming out loud attracts a bit too much attention...and the police). Preferable to screaming is laughing. I admit it -- I bought a Ramesh Pandey DVD because I couldn't stop laughing (it actually brought me to tears, I was laughing so darned hard) after watching his laughing yogi YouTube video [don't judge the blogger, please]. Of course you could also search for fun animal videos on YouTube, as many of them are sure to get you laughing. You can also read this article -- How to Laugh Your Way Into Enlightenment for some tips and a funny dog video. Yes, laughter IS the best medicine.
I Wanna Play on my iPad/iPhone/Droid All Day
I'm careful about how I use my technology -- I don't keep my phone in front of me at all times, I don't while away my time playing games on my iPad/SmartPhone (I did enjoy some time with Angry Birds, but I nipped that nasty habit in the bud before it got out of control), I don't substitute technology time for real life time (I'd rather hang out with the 3-dimensional people). Still, whenever I find myself waiting for something/someone or I have some time to sit and relax for a bit, I do enjoy reading my Kindle books on my phone or iPad. As for apps, I try to limit them to ones that I find enriching in some way. Here are some of my favorite apps these days: Wanderlust Travel Magazine (this is perfect for inspiration for choosing some fun spots to visit during the travel time I've set aside this Fall), SuperBetter (love, love, love this game -- in fact, it's the only one that I do love and desire to play regularly), Re-Mindful (I believe in taking frequent pauses throughout the day, and this app reminds me to do so regularly and keeps me on track...and yes, that smiley faced logo makes me happy everytime I look at it), Breathe Together by Do As One (breathing with folks around the world -- very cool. Breathing good. Unity good. Enough said.), Osho Zen Tarot (I enjoy reading Osho and I just love this fabulous card deck that always seems to offer up thoughtful words that I meditate on long after reading the card I choose for the day. Yes, it's worth the price.).
Facebook Time Suck
I admit that I came to Facebook unwillingly. A friend of mine lured me to opening a Facebook account when she shared her vacation pictures via a Facebook album. I left my profile blank for a looong time. Even now, I don't log on every day, and on the days I do, I only spend a few minutes on it. And I didn't allow myself to get involved in Farmville or other addictive Facebook apps. As I said to my friend who finally opened a Facebook account after years of resisting -- "Welcome to the time suck that is Facebook." Still, when I heard word about the new Facebook App -- Yoga Retreat -- I checked it out. How bad can it be when the two primary goals of the game are to collect virtues and to help students suffering from ailments through advanced yoga practices? Yes, it's a time suck, but it sure is fun (and you can fool yourself that it's yoga-related therefore not a mindless game.). You can check out a video preview of the app here. WARNING: this game can be addictive so if you find yourself wasting hours at a time with this app please do not blame the blogger.
Typically summer reading is defined as trashy, guilty pleasure, light/fluffy reading. If you're looking for something a little more serious, I recommend Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body. Heavy topic, yes, but it's an excellent book and a must-read for all yoga teachers. Two reads that had me raising my eyebrow (but for different reasons) were these two online articles: Why I Left Yoga (and Why I Think A Helluva Lot of People Are Being Duped) and A Class for Every Yoga Mood. The latter may also qualify as a yuk it up feature, as it sure made me laugh.
Quickie Yoga Routines
Perhaps your schedule doesn't allow for a long yoga practice or perhaps you'd rather spend time outside during the summer -- whatever the reason, you don't have to practice for 60 or 90 minutes in order to reap the benefits of yoga. Some days my practice is 10 minutes. For me, consistency rather than duration is key. The folks over at CafeMom Yoga Studios have created three 20-minute yoga practices that are short but don't skimp on effectiveness. The three videos can be found here: Strength, Balance, and Flexibility.
No hardcore yoga advice, no life lessons, no yoga philosophy...just pure fun and a few laughs. I hope you enjoyed it! And don't forget to laugh today...