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Trying yoga for the first time can be an intimidating experience. But that misses the point of this ancient practice that combines stretching, breath … and peace
Yoga instructor Petri Brill strikes a pose at her studio YogaSport, which provides beginners’ classes for the uninitiated. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
JEF TINGLEY | Contributing Writer
Some do it for their mind, some do it for their body, some do it for both. But all yoga students have one thing in common: Making the first step and taking up the practice. And while this age-old combination of stretching and breathing is meant to calm the mind and strengthen the muscles, a maiden voyage into a posterior-lifting position like downward-facing dog in a room full of strangers can send one’s heart racing. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
“People new to yoga should remember that everyone in class was a beginner at one point,” says Petri Brill, manager of YogaSport Dallas on Lemmon Avenue. “Yoga is a journey, not a destination. There is no perfect practice or perfect yogi or perfect yoga body. I think people worry about they’ll look [or] feel foolish in their first down-dog [and] that they’ll be judged. Our [yoga] community is diverse, encouraging and accepting: no judgment here!”
Mary Pierce Armstrong, who teaches at MarYoga, agrees that you should always look inward. “Yoga will come to meet you no matter where you are starting from. As long as you take the breath and the breaks you need, you will be doing awesome.”
For Wendy Moore, a 44-year-old yoga newbie, has taken these words of wisdom to the mat — literally. Moore recently completed her second MarYoga class as part of her new year regime. Any inhibitions she had about the experience were dispelled during her first visit.
“[I was] concerned about my general lack of bendy-ness, and not knowing where to put what arm and leg,” she says, “but if you look around you will figure out where your limbs are supposed to be by what others are doing.” Moore has continued to work on poses between classes with some slight variations mimicked by “what her cats are able to do.”
Keith Murray, a 37-year-old registered nurse, tried yoga for the first time more than eight years ago and was immediately hooked. He was taking classes three times a week before long. “I was a little intimidated about the whole thing at first,” he says, “but after my first couple of sessions my intimidation grew into excitement.”
A busy work schedule has kept Murray from his regular routine over the years, but he is trying to change that. “I still maintain a crazy life and work routine, but building yoga back into my life has really helped me to find balance again.”
According to yoga teacher Jennifer Lawson of SYNC Yoga & Wellbeing, it’s not just busy schedules and bundled nerves that keep people from the practice of yoga; it’s also our cultural fixation on success. “There tends to be so much emphasis on achievement and perfection that many of us are becoming accustomed to playing it safe in order to avoid the possibility of shame.”
Lawson recommends coming together as a group in a class with experienced and inexperienced yogis to create an environment that emphasizes the experience and process of yoga and not the destination or end result.
For Anisha Mandol, a 42-year-old business development manager who has been practicing yoga for about two years, these words ring true. “Once you understand your expectation from practicing, no one else’s matters. The benefits of yoga are fluid and dynamic, and each person has their own unique experience. Own yours,” she says.
And so it would seem that just as the journey of a million miles begins with one step, the journey toward a yoga-filled life begins with a single stretch on the matt (and maybe a little Namaste for good measure).
SAY NAMASTE: WHERE TO GET YOUR YOGA FIX
Options are plentiful for the budding yogi looking for a class. Get your stretch on at these studios in and around the gayborhood. You can also find information on their class offerings and schedules on their websites.
I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.
Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?
Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,
““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”
Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.
Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.
Update From Autumn: Video from Senate Democrats that folows a timeline: From Dan Choi giving Sen. Harry Reid his West Point class ring at Netroots Nation to keep until DADT was repealed — to video from today when the ring was returned to Lt. Choi.
Three candidates for the chairpersonship of the Republican National Committee recently sat down with Susan B Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and National Organization for Marriage Chair Maggie Gallagher to answer questions pertaining to choice and marriage. Here’s what they had to say (with videos fast forwarded to Maggie’s marriage part):
Because equal rights are for some, “culture wars” are for political gain, and big tents are for hippies.
North Carolina’s Governor, Bev Perdue, is one of those Democrats who takes the easy way out. She talks about how a proposed amendment banning marriage equality in her state would be a waste of legislative resources. But at the same time, she won’t take any sort of principled stand that helps gay, lesbian, and bisexual people shore up the marital rights that are forcibly denied of them on the say that they acknowledge their internal truths:
At this point in time, this sort of stance is simply unacceptable. It’s completely clear, to everyone involved in this issue, that this conversation is not going to stop where it is. Gay people exist, and marriage equality is increasing throughout the states. So the head of our states have no choice but to go on record and determine how he or she wishes to deal with that, the clear reality of 2010 America! A de facto “I’m good right here” is no longer enough.
The choice of those engaged on the anti- side of things is to put a constitutional amendment on the books, and they will not rest until they get it. Just as equality activists will not rest, even if the other side does get such a ban. That is the choice, and it is all playing out in real time, in real states, in real America (or even in Sarah Palin’s fake America). “What we have now” is not cutting it for either side, and neither marriage equality activists or their anti-equality opponents are going to pack up and accept quo as an okay status. So it’s time for elected leaders to take a stand: Ours, or the wrong one.
Most of the other folks associated with the judicial retention campaign are more mealy-mouthed, making it sound as if the so-called “Iowa For Freedom” effort is made up of a non-partisan, non-faith-based coalition that cares solely about civil law and its boundaries. But leave it to Bryan Fischer — an early Iowa For Freedom backer whose employer, the American Family Association, is a major force behind the effort — to come right out and admit what we all know: That the campaign is inordinately dependent on those who wish to cast a religious-based vote against same-sex marriage itself:
It’s enraging, really. Three judges who chose to go to law school rather than seminary and whose duties quite literally require a separation of church and state to adequately do their jobs are now being subjected to the anti-LGBT whims of evangelical conservatives. On marriage equality, there is no way these judges could have shown any sort of sense in the eyes of Bryan and Fischer and company, unless the answer was a firm and flat NO! And because “no” is not the answer they found in the constitution, they are now being punished by a well-financed, well-connected, highly one-sided, vindictive effort to force them into retirement.
Who would Jesus spite? Judicial independents (and independence), apparently.
Just when they were getting ready to make the switch to Cialis, government regulators stepped in: "Spanish police say that for the first time they have broken up a human-trafficking gang that brought men to the country to work as prostitutes, providing them with Viagra, cocaine and other stimulant drugs to be available for sex 24 hours a day. Authorities arrested 14 people, mainly Brazilians, on suspicion of running the organization and another 17 alleged prostitutes for being in Spain illegally, the National Police said in a statement Tuesday. A police official said he did not know if the male prostitutes serviced men or women."