What do Willow Glen Yoga and Gratitude have in Common?

gratitude-rainbowspiral1

The other day, I realized that if it wasn’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t be headed for Los Angeles in a week to help with the final rewrites for the movie I wrote with my writing partner who is there, now, behind the camera, making her dreams come true.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga I wouldn’t have had the body awareness to want to become a massage therapist. I wouldn’t have met the many, many wonderful people I had as clients. I wouldn’t have watched a man who had been in Iraq sob like his heart was broken after I worked his psoas. I wouldn’t have had him hug me after, still crying, saying how grateful he was, saying he felt like a different, lighter person.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have fallen in love with Willow Glen, where I now live.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have artwork by Kent Bond and Jonny Parker all over my house.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have Scooter in my life, the best of friends, who saved me more than once.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t be able to touch my toes. I know this for a fact because I couldn’t before I started going there, and nothing else I do in my life would lead to that kind of wild behavior.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t understand the meaning of sangha.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have met Dr. Mark Lucas next door and have not only worked with him in his office, but I wouldn’t have had him fix my physical maladies from insomnia to a rotated L4.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have met Nanette Sisk at Aboutface and had her show me the beauty of skin care. I wouldn’t have had her introduce me to my writing partner, Antonia Bogdanovich.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have gotten to see Kyczy Hawk bring her book Yoga and Recovery to shelves across the world. I wouldn’t have her beautiful bowls in my cabinet.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have met Katie Peuvrelle, performance coach extraodinaire, and I wouldn’t have referred to her the countless number of people who have since had their lives changed in blessed and remarkable ways. You know who you are.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t be sitting here in Peet’s, waiting for my friend Kent Bond come and sit by me so we can talk about art.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, Jane Peart wouldn’t have taken me to the Ojai Yoga Crib with Stevie Wonder and given me one of the best weekends of my life.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have met Catherine Killion, friend to all, and she wouldn’t have gotten me into Art of Yoga. I would not now be the writing mentor for a brutally talented young girl who has been in and out of juvenile hall for three years. This week marks her last week of incarceration.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have met Jen Bulik and Jeff Lang and been part of the wedding of the century. I wouldn’t still be feeling the stun of loss, but at least I got to know her. I’m still reeling, frankly.

If it weren’t for Willow Glen Yoga, I wouldn’t have had a massage client introduce me to my husband. This fact still takes my breath away. What if I had taken up pilates instead!!?

So, because of Willow Glen Yoga I have my dream job (screenwriter), my dream husband (Chris Sigler), my dream house (Westwood Drive), and a body that lets me live with as much flexibility as a crabby Boston girl can manage.

This is just the beginning of my list, but I need to go to class now. Kent’s heating up the room.

With gratitude. – Anne

A Month of Yoga – discover what consitancy can do

So last month I ended my post saying I look forward to feeling better. I just didn’t know it would be THIS much better.
Holy cow.
What I found was that the more I did yoga, the more energy I had. Usually. There were days when I felt I had slid back to my old ways of feeling listless and depressed, but if I got myself to do even a few minutes of some sort of yoga–and it didn’t even have to be vinyasa; restorative or yin worked just as well–or some sort of movement–biking or walking–I would feel better, and better, and then, maybe the next day, super good.

These notes probably won’t mean much to you, but I have to say that just KEEPING TRACK of my exercise for a month helped keep me focused and strong. Try it. Just for a month, jot down every time you go to yoga class, or every time you meditate, or every time you do something kind for yourself and see if, like me, you don’t feel like, somewhere deep in your back muscles, you’ve got wings that are just waiting to unfold.

Day One: Yoga Tune Up with Kent. Lower back sore from moving. Founder’s Day Parade. Day Two: Yoga with Kent. I showed up 10 minutes late. Tubular core.  Sore the next day. Day Three: Yoga Tune Up with Nathania. Feet. My lower back hurt less as I walked away. My toes moved. Day Four: Yoga with Kent–headed to class–hadn’t had breakfast–drove to Whole Foods, didn’t make it back in time. Hiked Kennedy instead. Day Five: Yoga with Gabriel/Christina substituting. Did sounds—sweating when we did the stomach—lean to the right/whoooooo. Feel really alive. Day Six: Christina substituting – built on the previous class. Felt my stomach come alive as more than a container for cookie dough for the first time in a long time. Day Seven: Kent. Remembering what it feels like to move- my body feels reluctant to sweat, but once I do: I feel as if I have come home. Much less back pain after even though it hurt during class. Day 8: Didn’t read the NYT so I could make it to class. Kent sub for Tom. A lot of ab work to try to wake us up. I made throw up noises. No one laughed. The class seemed 10 minutes long. Went for a 30 minute bike ride after. Was euphoric in the bike store buying a helmet and bike shorts I just pulled over my other pants. Day 9: Kent. Sweated. 21 people in the class. Awesome. Day 10: Yoga Tune Up with Nathania. Side lying with the ball. Shock and ease. Feeling release in the car. Head and body ready to explode. Day 11: Yoga with Gabriel. Lot of breathing exercises. Day 12: Rode my bike to Los Gatos. Stronger and stronger. Day 13: Rode bike 45 min. No yoga class because I had to wait for the water guy. Day 14: Rode bike 45 min. Day 15: Rode bike 30 min, did 15 min yoga – felt like a furnace all day. On fire in the very best way. Day 16: Went to Courtside. 20 min on stairs (almost fainted). 20 min on bike on level one. Day 17: Yoga Tune Up with Kent – QL tendon and abs – second time. THE SPOT. Hiked the dam after. Strong. Day 18: Rode my bike to Los Gatos. RODE it. Stood up in the pedals. Raced an old man. Had so much energy all day. Day 19: Walked for an hour. Crashed energy wise. Day 20
Yoga Tune Up with Nathania. Cried at the end of class about Jen. Thought I was out of it during class because of too much food…but really it was grief holding my guts in a know…can’t hide anything from the mat. And therein lies the grace. Day 21: Flow with Kent – windows steamed at the end of class. Blessed Jen and Jeff and class’s end. This is my community. Day 22: Rode into Los Gatos and back. I hour plus. Day 23: Hiked the dam. Day 24: Went to Peet’s ready to go to Yoga Tune Up with Kent—my stomach hurt. Went home. By noon—did five minutes of restorative—suddenly full of energy; got on my bike for half an hour. Day 25: Half hour yogaglo class. Amazing how much you can do in thirty minutes. Day 26: Yoga with Christina. Strong practice.  Rode to Los Gatos. Day 27: 20 minutes of restorative. Day 28: Walked the dish and around Palo Alto – 2 hours. Feel happy. Day 29: Walked the up Jones trail/the dam. No back pain. Wanted to fly. Day 30: 20 minutes of Kundalini. Thought I would faint. Rode to LG—longest so far. Day 31: Yoga Tune Up with Kent. Had a moment where the world went perfectly still.

I am in Heaven.

Can Yoga Kill You?

love yoga

 

 

 

 

 

I thought I was going to pass out, throw up, or die my first class at Willow Glen Yoga. It was 1998 and I’d had a baby the year before and could no longer run because pushing out a watermelon had realigned my pelvis.

I saw Willow Glen Yoga when I was getting my hair cut across the street, and I went and picked up a schedule. For my first visit, I chose a morning Bikram class taught by Kirk. As I signed in for the class, I met Kirk and Kent and they were sweet and funny. They showed me where to put my mat, told me to take breaks when I needed to. I nodded. I wasn’t the type of person who needed breaks. I’d be fine.

Thirty minutes later I was in child’s pose for the third time, making deals with the universe. If I didn’t throw up, I’d be nicer to my husband. If I didn’t pass out, I’d call my mom. I promised myself I would never come back.

The next day I only went into child’s pose twice.

The day after that I thought I was going to die again.

The day after that, I only got a little dizzy in eagle pose.

My body hummed in a way it hadn’t since I was a child. Yoga was some sort of miracle tonic: I was eating better. I was more patient. I could touch my toes!

Two weeks later after coming to class five days a week, I went up to Kent and nervously asked if he thought I was ready to take a vinyasa class.  He nodded. “You’re in the club, Kid,” he said.

I tried to control my smile so my face wouldn’t split in half. I was in the club!

For the next thirteen years, I went to Willow Glen Yoga at least three times a week, often more. I memorized the marks on the walls, the small holes in the ceiling before Kent ripped it out and made the room bigger. It was my church, my playground, my home plate. I made many of my most significant friendships at that studio.

I haven’t even mentioned the yoga. Nothing matches Willow Glen Yoga for the quality of the classes it offers, and I know this because I moved away.

I lived in Palo Alto for three years—I still live there, and I stopped going to a yoga studio regularly because the classes I attended in Palo Alto were more of the gym, sweat-it-out mentality, with none of the attention to alignment or emotional well-being so key to a solid yoga practice. I walked instead. And this is what happened: I got really sick. I went to the doctor and she told me, among other things, to eat more meat and to do some sort of vigorous exercise to counteract the stress in my life. “You mean like yoga?” I asked. She nodded. “Yoga’s the best.”

And guess what: my husband’s office changed location, and we are leaving Palo Alto as of this Friday, and we’re moving to…Willow Glen. I will live .7 miles from Willow Glen Yoga. My doctor thinks this is great news. My husband is excited to try out his new mat. I stay awake at night thinking of triangle, upward facing dog. What I think is: soon I will be practicing yoga regularly again; soon I am going to feel like myself. I am so grateful for Kent Bond and for all that he has brought to my life.

This is what I know:  Monday morning after we move I can do Yoga Flow with Tom. Or that night I could do Vinyassa at 6:00 with Kent. I could even stay on and do Yoga TuneUp at 7:30 with Nathania and sing all the way home. For heaven’s sake! Wednesday I could stop by at 2:00 and do an hour of Chair Yoga with Kyczy! Are you kidding me? Yoga in a chair? That is awesome.

I asked Kent if I could do a blog celebrating Willow Glen Yoga. I told him I wanted to give word space for the classes and the teachers and the students, and he said yes. So here I am, chronicling this coming year at Willow Glen Yoga. I look forward to practicing with you. I look forward to feeling better.

– Anne

Namaste.

Intelligent Life Begins with Intelligent Feet

“Intelligent life starts with intelligent feet” !

YogaTuneUpFeet

The Yoga Tune Up© method has a complete regimen to “Roll Out” your feet; massaging acupressure points and addressing a multitude of issues such as plantar fascitis It also eases the pain that can occur when our feet become too tight and restricted from putting them in boxes, i.e. shoes. Rolling out the feet with YTU balls not only returns suppleness to the feet by working the foot’s 26 bones (did you know we have 26 bones, 33 joints,107 ligaments,19 muscles and tendons. The 52 bones in your feet make up 25% of the bones in your body.)

The YTU method insures that the “sliding surfaces and connective tissues” are moving optimally. Intelligent life truly starts with our foundation and happy feet.

Yoga Boosts Brain Better Than Aerobic Exercise

your_brain_on_yoga_header_web

 

Benefits from a yoga session include increased brain speed, mental agility, and memory according to a new study (http://news.illinois.edu/news/13/0605yoga_EdwardMcAuley.html) . In a recent study University of Illinois researchers show that yogis were significantly quicker to answer test questions and had better memorization skills overall. A group of 30 individuals participated in a 20 minute session of yoga,  standing and sitting postures w/meditative deep breathing. The aerobic group were given a treadmill workout. The aerobic groups results were not significantly different than when participants did nothing. Yoga helped people focus and increase awareness while decreasing stress. And the participants seem able to take the benefits off the mat and into their lives.
What are you going to do for your brain today?

Do your gut (belly) feelings REALLY “know”?

Article on the importance of your gut feelings

Read this article about recent research and treatment for emotional disorders.  You will be surprised to learn that a healing modality may lie in prudent uses of probiotics.  Dr. Greenblatt, M.D. in twenty years of research has found “that the connection between body and mind was more important than conventional psychiatry assumed.”  In fact his finding go on to demonstrate that negative emotional states can be ameliorated with prudent uses of probiotics.  But before you go out and hyper-dose yourself,  the team also states “Whether all of our mental woes respond to probiotic treatment as dramatically as Greenblatt’s patient Mary remains to be seen. “We have to be very cautious in this field not to be too hyperbolic about what we promise.”

So – listen to your gut warnings!

Read the article and look for more information as more trials are run.  In the meantime – have a yogurt.

 

It’s Like Breaking Up

 

Breaking Up

 We are in the process of changing to a new online student registration system.

We hope it will be easier for you to see your records, update the information, and purchase new classes.  On our side we are hoping for a more streamlined process for accounting and reporting.  It will be web / cloud based which will be more convenient for Kent and the team – we will be able to access all aspects of the system from everywhere.  That is the promise of the first date glow with our new “intended”.

In the meantime we have to break up – with a system that has served us well for two out of the last three years.  We were able to better keep track of classes attended, we added online charging, and we were able to interface with our newsletter program.  With these improvements we were able to streamline many of the administrative tasks and bring a higher level of professionalism to the studio management.

This was for two out of the three years.

This last year we have had a couple of snafus.  Website hacking of their servers, system slow downs, and lately the difficulty – ending with impossibility – for online charging had thrown us back into the dark ages of 2008.  So, we had to break up.  It has been painful; the loyalty we had built feels compromised.  We are seeing one another’s unlovely traits and are becoming more easily annoyed.   The difficulty in letting go is resulting in snippish words and pouty interchange. It is sad.

In the meantime – our new suitor and now paramour – who was all attentive with flowers and phone calls, is now a little silent.  We haven’t had a date in a while and we are still circling one another wondering if this is a fling or “the real thing”.   Of course the lament “did we do the right thing” comes up as the fear of change manifests.  And then – we get another email from someone who wants to set up an account, pay online, register for a workshop, and could not and we say “YES – I needed to change!” but is this new “one” the ONE???

So bear with us as we make this transition and know that if we seem a little shaky – it is because we ARE.  This new pose is not yet comfortable.  We will start with the feet, the foundation, and build up from there. It will take a few repetitions to become comfortable with this new asana. The only way to get there is to BREATHE.

 

 

 

It’s All Practice

Just breathe
The yoga practice is a practice of immersion. In cultivating a focused calm state of serenity we tap into balance or unity with our being. When in the realm of immersion we are not troubled by fear, anxiety,desire or anger.

We attempt to foster this state in whatever we do. Cleaning house, doing the yard or walking the dog.

Attempting calm focus in any activity beckons immersion and the Yogic state.

As Swami Satchidananda told a student who complained about not having time to practice because of his active child and home life, “Its all practice!”

Meet Our New Teacher

 

 
Can you believe who we just hired?
(In case you missed this funny video)

Take What You Need

 

take what you need

Sometimes we come to the studio needing a little comfort, needing some space and time to rebalance and reconnect with our selves.  If that is what today is like for you, know that WGY can be a source of soothing contemplation as well as a space to move, stretch and sweat.  Get into your body TODAY and find out more about how you are feeling.  And while you are here; practice what you need: love, hope, faith, patience, courage, understanding, peace, passion, healing, strength, beauty and freedom.