Posts by: melissa garvey
Building a Boundless Mama Community
I taught a kick-butt class to myself two Saturdays ago. No one showed up to my first prenatal yoga class.
There are worse things that could happen to a mom of a one-year-old than to show up to teach a yoga class and find an empty studio and an hour-and-a-half of free time. I don’t remember the last time I had a 90 minute, uninterrupted asana practice. And you know what? I’ve felt guilty about that.
As I find my enthusiasm for asana bubbling to life again, I realize all that guilt was so unnecessary. Motherhood should be its own branch of yoga. We endure physical discomfort, sleep deprivation, hormonal fluctuations, and out-of-our-minds crazy love for our children while striving to maintain some semblance of a balanced life and sense of self. It’s a beautiful, transformative practice that demands utmost commitment and promises invaluable rewards.
My love of motherhood is what gives me optimism and enthusiasm for my prenatal class. The space is there, and I know mamas will come (three showed up last Saturday!). Whether you’ve been practicing yoga for years or have never stepped foot in a studio, I invite you to experience the invaluable support of being in the company of other moms and a practice designed specifically to prepare you and your baby for birth and motherhood.
This Saturday at 1:30 we’ll focus on stretching the sides of the body to make room for our growing babies. We’ll be using Iyengar Yoga for Motherhood as a guide. But fear not—we won’t be striving for perfection. I’m an Iyengar dabbler with a love of flow and whatever works best on any given day. This time is all about what nourishes us—Boundless mamas!
Relationships and Satya: Why We Lie to Our Spouses
Have you ever noticed that wedding vows don’t include a promise to always tell the truth? A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explains why—it turns out that even the best relationships are littered with white lies. In fact, the article suggests that lies about small things are healthy for relationships.
My instinct is to say “BS!” I hate catching my spouse in white lies and do my best to practice satya (truth). But, truth be told, I’m not one to back down from bending the truth in order to avoid a pointless, nonproductive argument. My white lies typically involve rounding down instead of rounding up when asked about the cost of a new purchase…and if the new purchase isn’t noticed, why bother to disclose it at all?
When I lie it’s because I determine that the issue is something small that need not cause suffering for my spouse (does that qualify as ahimsa?). Reading through the confessions in the WSJ article is entertaining and a bit comforting, but also unsettling. Where is the line between white lie and deal breaker, and are we all just playing with fire?
Top 10 Reasons to Vote for Boundless
Boundless is a contestant in Express Night Out Best of DC 2009 for best yoga studio. Vote for us here! (We’re under Sports & RecreationàYoga Studio.) Here’s why I think Boundless deserves your vote.
1. The Teachers: I love the variety of teachers and the depth of their knowledge no matter what their tradition or background.
2. The Students: Never snobby or cliquish, the students at Boundless are welcoming, friendly, and fun.
3. The Neighborhood: Two blocks from the U Street metro, around the corner from Bus Boys & Poets, and across the street from the Love Café, Boundless gets an A+ for location.
4. The Website: The new website design is simple, elegant, and user-friendly. I love the pictures of real students and real teachers.
5. The Yoga Blog: Veteran and new teachers alike share their insights and creative talents on the studio’s blog. Have you seen Emily Sloat Shaw’s asana drawings?
I leave it to you to add reasons 6-10. What do you like most about Boundless? What keeps you coming back for more?
A Yogic Approach to Facebook and Twitter
It’s the end of a long workday and my mind is reeling from 8 hours of e-mail, blogs, website updates, Facebook comments, and Twitter notifications. Many yogis avoid these communication channels like a plague—and with good reason. Without boundaries, technology can suck you into a torrent of distractions and reactivity.
But there’s also another side to technology. I first experienced it about a year ago when I watched Oprah and Eckhart Tolle’s webcast on A New Earth. As I watched, I could sense the enormous amount of people participating in the webcast. So many people were converging into one massive consciousness to talk about spirituality and truth.
Used wisely, social networking and technology have the potential to influence positive change and raise consciousness. That’s why boundless has entered the world of social networking. Please join us on Facebook and Twitter as we attempt to raise the consciousness of the DC metro area. Join the community, spread the word, and let our bits of wisdom (and occasional nonsense) infuse your online world with yoga.
The Neck Bone’s Connected to the…Shoulder Blades?
On days that I get to lounge around the house, I like to flop upside-down over the arm of my couch and watch my legs float in the air. If I let them hover long enough, they come to rest in a bone-balancing-on-bone position and my muscles don’t have to work at all to hold my legs in the air.
Lately I’ve been looking for that same sensation in the way I hold my head on top of my spine. Especially when I’m concentrating on a task, I tend to jut my head forward, which makes the muscles in my neck work overtime to support my 10-pound noggin. Over time, that hurts.
In my search for balance, I found a particularly insightful article by Richard Rosen. He says that the root of the neck is between the lower tips of the shoulder blades. When I imagine holding my head from that point, I catch glimpses of the sensation I find so easily in my lower body when I’m upside-down on my couch. My head floats and an icy-hot feeling spreads up the back of my neck and the top part of my breastbone. That’s the sensation I get when a new area of my body wakes up.
Free-Form Yoga and Jazz This Saturday
[Yoga and jazz] seek always to make spontaneous and real the exploration of these structures through lack of structure. -Kim Weeks
This Saturday, V Street (between 13th and 14th) is being renamed Langston Hughes Way by the District. In honor of this renaming, The Greater U Street Historic Foundation is throwing a block party!
From 12 pm to 4 pm, there will be live jazz, a moonbounce for kids, food, and fun for everyone. A few of us from Boundless are showing up from 2:30 pm to 4 pm to do free-form, self-led yoga in an open field (the one right behind the Busboys building), where jazz will be playing, kids will be moonbouncing, and people will be generally hanging out and having a good time. There’s nothing else! Just an opportunity to show up, do some spontaneous yoga practice to the sounds of great live music—on or off your mat.
So come on out and bring a friend. Look for people in Boundless t-shirts doing yoga. You can follow if you want, or just do your own thing. This is an opportunity to get totally into the groove and into your own body. Just as the jazz musicians will be demonstrating the beauty of jazz (think notes, scales, tones), we’ll be demonstrating how beautiful asana can be done (think bones, muscles, organs). See the connection?
Take care, and we hope to see you Saturday!
Podcasts and Poetry
Does anybody listen to Tara Brach’s podcasts or go to her talks on Wednesday nights? I find her talks to be such a wonderful compliment to my asana practice. Here’s a beautiful poem I found by following a bunny trail from one of her recent talks:
What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.
So building fires
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.
When we are able to build
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.
We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
simply because the space is there,
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.
Leaky Yoga Syndrome
Hey all you teacher trainees—I know you’re reading. Has anyone been noticing bits of yoga teacher training leaking into other areas of your life? Here’s the latest for me:
Part of my job at the American College of Nurse-Midwives is to teach new employees how to make changes to www.midwife.org. This week I was training a new employee and she stopped half way through to say, “You’re really good. Are you a teacher?” Surprised and flattered, I said, “Yes, actually. I’m about to graduate from a yoga teacher training program.”
Who knew yoga teacher training would translate into new job skills?
The Ugly Truth
This morning I got up early to share more insights about my new journey into teaching yoga. But honestly, I have nothing to share. I’m trying to finish up a 10-to-15-page paper for yoga teacher training that’s due on Saturday. Consequently, I’m in a dry spell with my asana practice and consumed with female suppression and the origins of modern yoga (the topic of my paper).
Do I have to?
One of the things I’ve dreaded about becoming a yoga teacher is having to teach even when you don’t feel like it. You couldn’t sleep last night; you had a fight with your spouse; you have a cold—but you have to teach yoga at 9 am. Well, last Saturday it happened to me.
My wrist and ankle were sprained from a nasty tennis fall, I hadn’t slept well because I was nervous about teaching, and when I showed up to the studio 45 minutes early to savor some alone time, I couldn’t figure out how to unlock the door.
I took a deep breath and proceeded to wander up and down U street looking for a payphone to call a staff member. (In an effort to keep life simple, I’ve avoided getting a cell phone.) The one phone I found didn’t work. So, I wandered up and down W street trying to remember where Andrea, the teacher training admin, lives. I found her house. She wasn’t home.
Eventually, I walked back to the studio, greeted the first student, and invited her to try to open the door. The lock wouldn’t budge. At 8:57 am, the second student showed up and took a turn, and like magic, the door unlocked. This left all of three minutes to prepare for class.
I always thought this would be the part where I would launch into a panic attack and decide teaching isn’t worth the trouble. But instead, everything flowed just as smoothly, if not more smoothly, than the last time I taught. I enjoyed teaching an intimate class of four and had fun with the uplifting series of poses I prepared. Maybe it was my students, my mellow music, or a mix of both. But somehow, teaching when you don’t quite feel like it isn’t so bad. It’s kind of like how practicing yoga isn’t so bad even when you don’t feel like it.
In this section
- Improving our Service
- Teacher of the Month: Carol Nesemann
- visit or contact us
- what our students say about us
- Senior Teachers
- mission and values
- teachers’ mission
- boundless press
- boundless in your workplace
Boundless is an oasis of peace and learning in our work-obsessed city. everyone should come to Boundless to share in its approach to practicing yoga.