Yoga on the Beach

Let me set the stage . The sun is setting, the ocean waves are calm, and a yogi is able to practice headstand on the perfectly manicured sand. We have all seen this yoga picture, but has anyone really ever tried to practice yoga on the beach? Well, today I did.

The yoga class required the same materials as in a studio: yoga mat, water and a towel. The only question I had in my head was where are we actually going to practice? I’m pretty new to beach life and never spent that much time at the ocean as a kid, so I didn’t know what to expect.

When I arrived at the beach, I was surprised to find out you needed to hike down to the sand bed. A couple other yogis and I started the descent to the sand bed, helping each other through the jagged rocks. This was a great way to start class since there was already a sense of community through hiking.

As we walked on the sand, the instructor arrived and pointed us to a harder sand area, which basically means the sand was wet to create a harder surface. She wanted us to face the ocean as well, which was such a beautiful view (pic of view at the top). Why wouldn’t you practice yoga toward the ocean?

Then the instructor stated something strange. She said “You don’t have to use your yoga mat if you don’t want to. Be open to new experiences”. I took this as my cue to ditch my yoga mat. So there I was, sitting on the cold sand, next to seaweed, and looking toward the ocean.

We started with Sun Salutations, which I thought was a beautiful beginning since it was early morning and we were at the beach. As I went to go do my first Chaturanga, the realization hit that I was on sand. I needed to bury my hands and press harder into my palms to complete the pose. Then I thought, this is going to be hard. We immediately went back to Downward Facing Dog, and my hands slipped. I had to engage my core stronger than I ever had before to complete this pose.

After completing the Sun Salutations, I got into a groove with my practice. My reactions of “this is hard” melted away, and I completely forgot I was practicing on sand. I had to let go of every expectation and just be immersed in the experience.

This practice was truly beautiful and magical. Readers, would love to know if you have ever tried yoga on the beach? Or, have you worked out on the beach?

~Namaste

Scrappy Yogi

 

Morgan Hill Yoga Festival Review

The yoga festival was finally here yesterday! Before I go into my review, I just want to thank The Art of Living foundation for producing this wonderful festival and allowing me to blog about my experiences. I feel truly grateful for being part of The Second Annual Morgan Hill Yoga Festival. Now, onto my review…

Having not ever been to a yoga festival, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My morning started off early (just like any other) and I was a bundle of excitement. I was going to be surrounded by other yogis, just like me, and I set an intention of being fully present and open to the new experience.

When I arrived at the venue, I checked in, and started walking around. I was surrounded by local vendors, musicians and guest instructors, and the atmosphere was full of happiness. Everyone was just excited to be there, which was a refreshing feeling.

I started to mingle in each vendor booth, getting to know their stories of their businesses. There were yoga studios, clothing brands and even food at the festival, most local vendors. Each vendor told me amazing stories of how much their community means to them, and I was truly honored to hear them. It reminded me of how important is it to support our local businesses.

My favorite moment was at the beginning yoga warm up. The guest instructor was on the main stage with a microphone bringing yogis through the practice. There were still participants walking around to each vendor, and then all of a sudden one by one, participants stopped in their tracks and started to practice yoga with the guest instructor. Didn’t matter if you were dressed properly or even had a mat, it was truly just a community practicing yoga together. The Morgan Hill Yoga Festival really is everyone’s festival.

Readers, what are your favorite yoga/workout moments?

~Namaste

Scrappy Yogi

 

 

 

How Yoga Has Prepared Me For Surfing

Yoga has been part of my life for a long time. It’s a practice that I bring everywhere with me, whether it’s traveling for work or living in a new city. Whenever I have to pick up a class at a new studio or practice on my own, there is no hesitation since yoga is something I know.

Recently, my fiance S. has wanted to give surfing a try. We live in California, so it’s not out of the norm for him to want to try surfing. Here’s the kicker; he wants me to try as well. At first I was excited to try something new, but then hesitation set in. How am I going to possibly surf? Don’t I need a bunch of stuff to surf? Wetsuit? Board? Wax? What size board do I need?

While I processed all of things I needed to surf, I thought about the  first time I decided to try yoga. I had the same reaction: don’t I need a bunch of stuff for yoga? Well, the answer is yes: you need a mat, clothes and a water bottle. And since I wanted to practice yoga badly enough, I bought what I needed to be successful in learning yoga.

As I reflected on my first yoga experiences, I thought how yoga has prepared me for surfing. I already know how to take the necessary steps to start a new sport. And yes, I need to buy a wetsuit, board and wax, but that is not any different from what products you need in yoga.

So today I took the first step: I bought a wetsuit.

Readers, has yoga or any other sport ever prepared you for another sport?

~Namaste

Scrappy Yogi

 

MHYogaFest Community Partner Spotlight: The Blue Lotus Meditation and Yoga Center.

Readers, time for another Community Partner Spotlight! This week I’m highlighting The Blue Lotus Mediation and Yoga Center. This center is described as an oasis of peace for people who want to live in peace, joy and love.

The Blue Lotus Mediation and Yoga Center follows the teaching of Paramahansa Yogananda and is affiliated with the Center of Spiritual Enlightenment which is founded by Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian. The Blue Lotus Center offers classical yogic teachings and meditations.

Rev. Dr. Paula Whang-Ramos is the Spiritual Director of Blue Lotus Center, Associate Minister at the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment, and continues to study with her teacher Yogacharya O’Brian. For more information, please visit www.bluelotuscenter.org

 

~Namaste

Scrappy Yogi

MHYogaFest Spotlight: The Art of Living Foundation

All biographical information was provided by The Art of Living Foundation

As you all know if you follow my blog, I am covering the Morgan Hill Yoga Festival this Saturday. I wanted to take some time to talk about the amazing non-profit organization that is producing the yoga festival, which is The Art of Living Foundation.

The Art of Living Foundation was founded by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who was born in Southern India in 1956. He is a humanitarian leader, spiritual advisor and an ambassador of peace.

Part of The Art of Living Foundation’s teaching is meditation and yoga for the 21st century. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar wanted to make ancient practices, like yoga and meditation, relevant for today’s society. This even lead him to create a new breathing technique called Sudarshan Kriya, which has helped millions of people find relief from stress from daily life.

To view more content about The Art of Living Foundation and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, view these videos below:

Readers, what yoga festivals have you attended? Any tips to other yogis wanting to experience a yoga festival?

~Namaste

Scrappy Yogi

Yoga is for Everybody

I think there is a common misconception that yoga isn’t for everybody. There is a lot of information for a new yogi to learn. There are different styles of yoga, different poses, different mats and much much more. The learning curve can be overwhelming and can even make an aspiring yogi not interested in trying a class.  I certainly felt that way ten years ago.

When I was a newbie to yoga, I didn’t even know what Downward Facing Dog was. I was just looking to try a new experience. I found a yoga studio that was small enough that I could try classes and the yoga style was Vinyasa. I went down to Target and bought a mat and a couple of articles of yoga clothing, and I went off to try my first class.

My first class was extremely difficult, not because of the poses, but the learning curve was steep. I didn’t know the poses, and I looked at the instructor more than focusing on what I was doing. I felt accomplished for trying something new, but I definitely felt out of the loop.

After class, I remember the instructor telling me yoga is for everybody and I did a great job. She encouraged me to keep coming back, and I did. I tell this story because this is why I support the Morgan Hill Yoga Festival. This is a festival that is for everybody.

Readers, who has been an influential instructor in your life?

~Namaste

Scrappy Yogi

 

 

MHYogaFest Community Partner Highlight: Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill

Readers, as you know, I am the official blogger for this years Morgan Hill Yoga Festival. Today, we are going to highlight Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill and Gilroy.
Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill and won 1 st Place in the Morgan Hill Times Reader’s Poll “BEST OF” Yoga Studios, Health & Wellness Centers, and Health Clubs & Gyms over the past four years. These studios are known for their cleanliness, flexible class times and various classes. I know what you are thinking Reader, various classes? But it’s Bikram Yoga, Scrappy Yogi. Owner Wendy Mosgrove is no longer affiliated with Bikram Choudhury or the Bikram Yoga Franchise, therefore she can bring in Yin Yoga, Hot Pilates, Meditation, Prenatal and Mom & Me classes.  To read more about Wendy Mosgrove and her studios click here.
Wendy became a Community Partner of the Morgan Hill Yoga Festival because she is always eager to spread the word about the amazing benefits of a yoga practice. Wendy states,”A consistent yoga practice quiets the mind and opens up the body, facilitating the connection of mind, body, breath and spirit.” To learn more about Wendy’s studios please visit her website www.BikramYogaMorganHill.com.Owner, Bikram Yoga Morgan Hill & Gilroy
Readers, how many different types of yoga have you tried? I would love to know
~Namaste
Scrappy Yogi