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In the February issue of Shape magazine, cover girl (and Victoria’s Secret supermodel) Marissa Miller shares her secrets for a “hot bod”.  And they apparently do not include yoga.

Miller tells the magazine she prefers high intensity workouts as opposed to yoga and pilates:

“I go to a down-and-dirty boxing gym,” says Miller. “I don’t want to worry about how I look or whether I’m wearing the perfect outfit. For me, it’s about focusing. I’ve tried Pilates and yoga, but they’re a little too meditative for me. I need to really go for it, and do it hard!” Marisa said. “For me, it’s about focusing for an hour and a half on my work out.”

Thought I’d throw this up because I usually here about the latest celebrity who swears by yoga.  This was a nice change of pace. Otherwise…Marissa, let us know when your boxing routine renders your shoulders so tight that you’re unable to reach behind your back and pull your Vicky’s Secret thong underwear out of your ass crack.

 

 

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This week’s edition of Yoga Tattuesday comes all the way from Ireland!  That’s right, inked-up yogi and fellow Elephant Journal columnist, Tobye Hillier, was kind enough to share his yoga-inspired tattoo with us this week.  Here it is:

About his tattoo, Tobye says:

The tattoo was a long time coming! I always wanted a tattoo, but knew that it would have to mean something to me and would have to be something I’d be happy to have on me for all my life.  It’s called the “endless love knot” taken from the Buddhist endless knot “shrivatsa” which symbolises Samsara, the endless cycle of re-birth and death. In the tattoo, part of the knot is left out to create the shape of four hearts knotted together and for me it kinda symbolizes my love of yoga and the realisation that love binds us all together. Although Buddhist in origin, it has a celtic feel which sits well with me living in Ireland.  Have to give a heads up to Pat Fish at lucky fish art as I think the design was originally hers, although I have no clue how I came across it!

About his yoga practice, Tobye says:

I started practising in early 2006. Coming from an interest in Buddhism and wanting to exercise my brain as well as my body, as well as wanting a hobby, I decided to try yoga. I loved it so much that 6 months later I started teacher training in Karuna yoga, which is a style very much like Anusara.

Although he has been living in Ireland (a small seaside town call Greystones 20 miles south of Dublin, to be exact) for 16 years, Tobye is originally from England.  He is currently a full-time student studying print journalism, however, he teaches Karuna yoga and runs a yoga studio in Kilcoole, county Wicklow.  Of teaching yoga, Tobye  “likes to bend yoga to suit people and not the other way around.”  As I mentioned above, Tobye is a columnist for Elephant Journal.  You can read his EJ posts here, and visit his personal website here.

Thanks for sharing your tattoo with us, Tobye!

If you, or someone you love, has a yoga-inspired tattoo and would like to share it with the whole wide world, please complete the contact form on my Yoga Tattuesday Submissions page.  I look forward to seeing your yoga-inspired tattoos!

From today’s edition of Barron’s:

With all the momentum behind the name recently, t’s easy to think that yoga-wear juggernaut lululemon (LULU) can only head higher, and naysayers are simply peddling sour grapes.

Yet Gap (GPS), which today said it will open the first store for its Athleta brand of women’s active-wear in San Francisco, may change that, according to Wall Street Strategies analyst Brian Sozzi.

“Athleta represents the first credible threat to Lululemon’s yoga apparel market dominance (wide moat business this is not),” Sozzi wrote in a research report. “Athleta’s product offerings are not the mediocre quality women’s athletic garb increasingly sprouting up at Target (TGT) and Kohl’s (KSS). It’s quality product at an attainable price.”

Sozzi also argues that Gap is “hungrier” than lulu, and its aggressive drive to grow earnings and revenue should make Athleta a formidable player in this lucrative market.

Barrons.com has warned investors previously about lulu’s sky-high valuation, as recently as yesterday, when the stock popped on an increased fourth-quarter forecast.  In November, we also wrote bullishly about Gap.

What do you think?  Will Gap’s Athleta finally be the brand to give Lulu a run for its money?

In this February’s edition of Harpar’s Bazaar, two very famous yogis get it on in some hot and sexy poses…not of the yogic kind.  Yes, Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, grace the cover of the magazine and discuss the details of their romance  and sex life.  The article references that both Sting and Styler, who are 59 and 57, have a daily yoga practice.  Of course, Sting has extolled the virtues of yoga in many an interview, and Trudie has a yoga DVD out through Gaiam.

Good for them.

Over at my personal blog, Yogi, Interrupted, I write a regular series called Yoga Tattuesday.  It is a collection of the yoga-inspired tattoos, and personal stories of inked-up yogis all over the world.  I was inspired to start cataloging yoga-inspired tattoos because every time I would attend yoga class I would see beautiful artwork on people in class.  It amazed me that so many people had been so inspired by yoga that they were compelled to have a symbol, chant, prayer, image, etc., permanently sketched onto their bodies. Each week on my blog, I feature a new yogi and his/her yoga-inspired tattoo. This series has become something I look forward to doing every week.

Read the rest at Elephant Journal

 

photo credit: paul kitagaki, jr., sacramento bee

 

Yesterday’s edition of the Sacramento Bee profiled 50-year-old mountain climber Gabriel Amador, who, during his December 2003 attempt to summit New Zealand’s Mt. Tasman was caught in an avalanche that killed four climbers in his group.

Amador, one of only two survivors, spent a week in a coma after suffering from a broken neck, a fractured spine, two broken hips, brain swelling, and other injuries.

Despite two artificial hips, which makes the simple act of bending over to tie his shoes quite difficult, Amador has made an unbelievable recovery. He continues to be active hiking, skiing, biking, and in July of 2010 summited Stok Kangri, a 20,135 ft. Himalayan peak.

What does he credit a large part of his recovery to?

You got it.  Yoga.

“It’s just been phenomenal,” said Amador, a pension administrator in Roseville. “The biggest reminder of how it’s helped is every day, just putting my pants on. I can actually do that without holding on to anything for balance.

“Really, I’m not supposed to be bending more than 90 degrees. My doctor tells me that. But he also tells me, every time I see him, ‘I can’t stop you from doing what you love doing, but just be careful.’ ”

Part of that care is taking up yoga to improve his limberness.

It seems that Amador’s yoga class, a hot yoga class taught by veteran teacher Ping Yu, is filled with students recovering from physical and mental maladies.

Indeed, at one recent class Amador attended, several students came for help with assorted maladies. John Padrick of Fair Oaks is recovering from lower-back surgery. Jeff DeGroot of Citrus Heights is trying to avoid back surgery after he injured three disks several years ago.

Meanwhile, Julie Flora, a junior at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, said yoga has cured her insomnia, and real estate agent Nancy Knuth and nurse practitioner Holly Kirkland said the practices help them cope with stress.

Ms. Yu has admitted that Amador might be her most difficult project.

Hips are arguably the key to the balance and flexibility needed for yoga – throughout the two-hour workout, Yu repeatedly admonished students to “open your hips” – but the metal in Amador is anything but supple.

When he started attending yoga classes 10 months ago on the advice of a friend, Amador said he felt rigid and found it nearly impossible to follow Yu’s admonition to let his body “flow.” With diligence, Amador strengthened and elongated the muscles, tendons and fascia around his hips enough to nail nearly every pretzel-like pose Yu could throw at him.

For Amador, like many students of yoga, just getting a hang of the breath is a big challenge.

“Ever since the accident, I’ve just been fighting my body the whole time,” he said. “Yoga’s helped me to just relax. When you breathe, it’s amazing how much more you can do. She reminds everyone to keep breathing. When I’m grunting, I’m not breathing.”

And Yu, a slight, lithe woman who looks more 38 than 58, is not afraid to call Amador on it. She admits she was a little intimidated when she learned of Amador’s mountain-climbing exploits, but she knew she could help him acquire the grace and balance to go with his well- cultivated leg and cardiovascular strength.

“You can tell he’s very competitive,” she said. “So babying him is not going to work. You need to challenge him to bring it out. When I first saw him, I thought, ‘This guy doesn’t breathe.’ I go, ‘Come on!’ I put my fingers on his belly and say, ‘Give me some movement.’

“I say, ‘That’s not real breathing; that’s survival breathing. Bring it from deep.’ We go over this issue every time.”

That’s something Amador is likely to work on for a long time. Even though he’s back reaching summits, flexibility and breathing are mountains still to conquer.

“She’s right, you know,” he said. “When I surrender my body, everything just goes and flows.”

Yet another example of the healing power of yoga!

 

I haven’t read Claire Dederer’s memoir Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses, just yet.  But it is on my list.  I’ve been following the reviews, though, which have ranged from the positive (The Seattle Times called it “absorbing” calling Dederer’s voice “unusually genuine” and filled with “ubiquitous wit and honesty”) to the downright harsh (Rowan Pelling from The Telegraph declared that reading Poser solidified his New Year’s resolution: never to try yoga!)

Here’s the review from my hometown paper, The Los Angeles Times, written by Judith Lewis Mernit:

“Going to yoga was part of my goodness project,” writes Claire Dederer in her memoir, “Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses.” In the liberal Seattle community where she begins that project, it’s also the thing to do: Doctor, neighbors, even a homeless guy tell her to get on the mat, in part to heal a bad back after having a baby.

But goodness as it turns out is elusive and not terribly interesting for the same reason most books about yoga are unreadable: No one wants to hear about how good you are. We want to hear about how you tried to be good and fell short. And by doing just that, “Poser” achieves something rare: It’s a contemporary book about yoga that doesn’t leave you squirming, suspect or bored.

A significant part of “Poser’s” readability comes from Dederer’s willingness to own up to trivial but self-exposing details — how her belly went soft after two cesareans, how she struggled not to resent her husband’s expansive writing career, how one night she denied her two children a peek at the falling snow because “I didn’t want to deal with their joy.” She frames each testimonial with a yoga pose: She convinced herself she was too weak to do chaturanga, the slow descent from push-up to the floor, just as she had believed her marriage “was too fragile to hold up to the rigors of the truth.” Hanumanasana, or splits, represents Dederer and her family’s return from a two-year sojourn in Boulder, Colo., and the “feeling of energy, and connection, and difficulty and joy as I leaped over mountains toward my old life.”

The yoga analogies aren’t all airtight: There’s something reckless about Dederer having shoehorned a reverie about foehn winds — those hot breezes that rip down mountain slopes — into a chapter named for seated forward bend, which is perhaps the least windy of all yoga’s asanas. But the fact is, foehns are fun to read about, and so is Dederer’s over-examined life: “Poser” is the output of a curious, vivid mind, one that opens every box and asks questions about its contents. Sometimes the answers are confounding. Often they’re maddeningly simple.

I flatter myself that I enjoyed Dederer’s book so thoroughly because we have so much in common — I too had a feminist-influenced mother who defected from married life in the 1970s; I share her suspicion of American yogis who suddenly embrace all things Eastern. I’ve also followed her same rough yoga path — from discovery (when the poses deliver “a dossier of information you’re not sure you really want”) to goal-seeking (I will get this leg behind my head if it kills me!) to the humble acceptance that yoga makes fools of goal-seekers (“The longer I do yoga, the worse I get at it,” Dederer admits. Oh, yes.).

But factually speaking, many other women will locate themselves in Dederer’s words much more precisely than I do, and people who never do yoga will too. The illusion of commiseration here is really just a triumph of truth-telling, of a writer having the courage to confront her limits and sit, uncritically, in the messy present. Like a yoga pose, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be exquisite.

When I initially heard about Dededer’s book, I thought, ugh! This is just the latest edition of gimmicky chick-lit riding the Eat, Pray, Love wave. The arrival of this book officially signals that yoga has  become the vehicle for delivering the latest hackneyed story of self-discovery and near mid-life crises.  While Dederer very well may be riding the EPL wave, I somehow think Dederer seems to have more to offer than Gilbert did…But I’ll save the rest of my thinking and sharing until after I read it.

I’ll let you know what I think.  Anyone out there read it yet?