Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Journey to St. Johnsbury, Vermont

It is quite possible that Vermont is the most beautiful place on Earth, and that is why it was very important for us to showcase a studio there. Our most recent studio road trip took us to a town called St. Johnsbury, located in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont that borders Canada. The autumn leaves shone in jewel tones against the bright blue sky, and the mountains were so tall that the clouds lingered around them, unable to make their way over. As the open highways brought us more and more north, we spotted covered bridges, tiny villages, old mill towns along rivers, and bright white church steeples piercing through the foliage. Every new mile marker brought a new sight to behold. 
When we eventually made it to our destination, Heart Space Yoga, we had the pleasure of meeting with owner and head yoga instructor, Andrea Thibaudeau. Andrea recently returned from a week-long retreat at an ashram in Portland, OR. Although she was still getting back into the rhythm of her everyday life after being away, she graciously invited us to meet with her and visit her studio, which we found to be among the most beautiful ones we have ever set foot in. We were also introduced to Ashley Warwick, who teaches at Heart Space as well, and was just finishing her class when we arrived. You can imagine our amazement and delight when we learned that she was a teacher at Black Dog Yoga Studio in L.A. - our SECOND Featured Studio back in May! And not only that - Andrea told us she is friendly with Amanda Giacomini and MC Yogi, and recently visited them when she was out west! We continue to marvel at how widespread yet interconnected our yoga community is!
Heart Space Yoga will be featured in November, along with Yoga Harmony Nashville on our site. This is the first time that we are featuring more than one studio at a time, as we continue to expand in response to interest.
Finally, thank you again to Happy Belly Studios of Houston, TX for being our October Featured Studio. There is still time to purchase your own Happy Belly tee, currently shown on our homepage. It is undoubtedly the cutest logo we have ever seen!
Ashley Warwick and Andrea Thibaudeau
Heart Space Yoga ~ St. Johnsbury, VT

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Our Featured Studio of October

We are pleased to announce that our Featured Studio of the Month of October is Happy Belly Studios of Houston, Texas. Happy Belly Studios is a private Pilates, yoga and wellness studio in Oak Forest. They offer personalized attention that allows their instructors to focus on individual clients' needs for the best, most direct possible workout. From assisted stretching, Pilates and yoga private sessions to meditation and nutrition coaching, Happy Belly Studios offers an all-encompassing approach to health.
Happy Belly Studios was flooded by Hurricane Harvey in late August, which left most of Houston underwater. The owners, Tasha and Michele, were able to rebuild and re-open, which is all the more reason to celebrate the existence of this wonderful studio. Please check out our site at www.RealYogaStudioTshirts.com to see pictures of the space, and get your Happy Belly Tshirt today!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Spiritual Graffiti Book Tour & Yoga Class led by MC Yogi

This past week, Dan and I took a trip to Hoboken, NJ to take a class led by MC Yogi. The class was held at Devotion Yoga in a very old and very statuesque building. When we arrived, the studio was filled with what seemed like fifty or sixty yogis on mats placed only about six inches apart. Like us, all of these people had jumped at the chance to practice with this nationally-known yoga teacher, hip hop superstar, and author.
MC Yogi did not disappoint. He was a wonderful instructor, and he led a beautiful class as his wife, Amanda Giacomini, assisted. They were both knowledgeable and experienced, and it was obvious that their intent was to make the practice of yoga fun. I found myself laughing and filled with inner joy among a group of strangers as we clapped our hands and snapped our fingers to their upbeat music and bopped to the beat, lunging up and down in Warrior II. MC Yogi was able to create a happy, relaxed community while keeping us challenged and supported by his direction.
After his seventy-five minute class, which concluded with a delicious savasana, we remained on our mats as he read an excerpt from his recently-published book, Spiritual Graffiti. He went on to share his personal story of how he found yoga during a time in his life when he least expected it. He also shared how he met his wife Amanda while they were both in yoga teacher training in San Francisco. It made me think about how everyone seems to have their own special story of how they found yoga - or how yoga found them - and how that marks the beginning of a very personal journey.
After a short Q & A session, we rolled up our mats and headed into the lobby to have our books signed. MC Yogi was gracious enough to have pictures taken with us and chat for a bit. We also had the honor of showing Amanda the Sun & Moon Tshirts we made up for Leza Lowitz's studio showcase this month. Amanda was the artist and creator of the Sun & Moon logo, and she reminisced about how, at the time, the bamboo motif in her curtains had inspired her logo design. Dan and I are so excited to send her and MC Yogi Sun & Moon Tshirts of their own.
After another book signing in D.C., MC Yogi and Amanda will be heading back to their own little studio in Point Reyes, CA, where they teach every day. We are so grateful to have met and practiced with them a mere hour from our home town. We have Leza Lowitz to thank for introducing us, long after we found out we had been on Santa Monica Pier during MC Yogi's concert and had our photo taken in front of a mural from Amanda's 10,000 Buddhas Project during our trip to California back in Spring. We also found another mural of Amanda's during our trip to Asheville, prior to having the honor of meeting her. We are amazed by the release of good energy since the start of our project, and all that continues to transpire. We are forever in gratitude to Leza Lowitz and her studio, Sun & Moon Yoga, and the positive vibrations that emanate - all the way from Japan!
Till next time, Namaste.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sun and Moon Yoga, our September Showcase

Having the opportunity to feature Sun and Moon Yoga of Tokyo during the month of September is truly an honor. I must admit, I am a little starstruck since finding out that Leza Lowitz, one of my favorite yoga book authors, is the owner and head instructor of the studio. 
Some of you may remember earlier this year when I blogged about poetry and yoga. I happened to reference one of Leza's books, Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By, a sweet little book that lives in my yoga teaching basket, one I often use to seal in the practices of my classes. You can imagine my surprise when I reached out to Sun and Moon Yoga and saw who had emailed back! I could not believe that I had become a pen pal with one of my yoga heroes - not to mention all the way from Japan! Among many subjects of our conversations, Leza shared that her studio logo was designed by world-renowned artist and Yogi, Amanda Giacomini, who has dedicated her life to uplifting people and creating more beauty in the world through yoga and art. Wow! Also exciting, since Dan and I had had our photo taken at our first yoga festival in front of Amanda's art at Wanderlust 108 on Santa Monica Pier, as well as in Asheville when we attended the yoga festival there.
To add even more magic to this story, Amanda Giacomini is the wife of hip-hop musician MC Yogi, who teaches yoga and performs all over the world. So naturally, Dan and I jumped at the chance to attend MC Yogi's Urban Retreat yoga class and new book-signing celebration in Hoboken this month. 
We are so grateful to know and work with Leza Lowitz and Sun and Moon Yoga, as well as her amazing circle of people. The good energy that has transpired from our partnership is yet another reminder of how far-reaching and positive our worldwide yoga community is.
Until next time,
P.S. Sun and Moon shirts featuring Amanda's logo design can now be purchased on our site. They are beautiful!

Leza Lowitz, owner of Sun and Moon Yoga and author of Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By, as well as many other books

Amanda Giacomini, Yogi and world-renowned artist

MC Yogi, hip-hop star, Yogi, and author of Spiritual Graffiti: Finding my True Path

Here we are in front of Amanda Giacomini's Art in Santa Monica, CA

Here is Dan, in front of of Amanda Giacomini's Art in Asheville, NC
Our Featured Studio of September Tshirt

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Emphasizing the Exhalation

I recently led a yoga class with the theme of emphasizing the exhalation. Have you ever noticed how much a nice, long exhalation can trigger a feeling of relaxation in the body? Whether you are practicing pranayama (yogic breathing) techniques or relaxing at the end of a physical yoga practice, extending the exhalation of the breath brings more control to the parasympathetic nervous system. The more this system is in control, the more the body is able to recover from effort, and again becomes ready to begin to expend energy.
The effects of long, slow exhalations are not only physiologically beneficial. To extend the exhalation a beat or two longer than the inhalation forces us to take pause, slow our often-racing minds, and bring on a decrease in blood pressure. This is healthy to do off the mat, whether it be during conversation with others, between bites of the food that sustains us, and even during times of conflict. On the mat, taking that extra second or two to elongate the exhalation can help us to go deeper into a yoga posture and enjoy a more meaningful connection with our personal practice. The benefits of emphasizing the exhalation of the breath are endless.
Many yogis silently chant the mantra, 'Inhale peace, exhale tension,' but I wonder if this mantra could be altered to 'Inhale peace, exhale peace.' Sometimes there is nothing more deliciously peaceful than a long, soothing exhalation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Empowering the 4th Chakra

In a time when our shared world is experiencing dark times, I look to the power and energy of the 4th Chakra, the Chakra of the Heart. It is called ANAHATA (AN-nuh-HAH-tuh), and the literal Sanskrit translation is 'unhurt, unstruck, unbeaten.' 
When balanced, this Chakra shows emotions of joy, gratitude, conscience, compassion, and trust. It is the ruler of the way we manifest love. When it is out of balance, it can show emotions such as over-loving to the point of unhealthiness, jealousy, abandonment, anger, bitterness, and fear of loneliness. This Chakra is extremely powerful as it is the 'Center of the Seven' - three above and three below. Matter and spirit are united in this location, which beholds profound potential. 
Practicing yoga helps to balance and open the energy of the Seven Chakras, the subtle anatomy system of our bodily energy. Heart-opening asanas like Ustrasana (camel pose) and Bhujangasana (cobra pose) are equally as important to nurturing the Heart Chakra as those that protect and harness the immense energy of the heart, like Garudasana (eagle pose) and Marjaryasana (cat pose). Just as yoga creates space and alignment in the physical body, it opens our hearts and minds to spiritual growth, and provides a feeling of peace, contentment, and harmony. The yogic work we do both on and off the mat spills over to our relationships with others. 
With the guidance of our strong, balanced, compassionate hearts, let us share our light as powerful leaders with the ability to give and receive love, and show compassion to ourselves and others. As a result, we will benefit all of humanity. 

Image result for heart chakra

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

RYST at the Asheville Yoga Festival

Dan and I just returned from the Asheville Yoga Festival, ten hours away in North Carolina. It was a fantastic experience. Traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway was unbelievable. Both sides of the road seemed to just drop off into what seemed like thousands of miles of mountains, just layers and layers of watercolor indigo. At the festival, we met so many great new friends and fellow vendors. We could just feel the positive vibe of the city of Asheville, with its progressive-minded people. They all seemed so full of light as they struck up conversation with us, eager to connect with total strangers. Now I know why Asheville is a yoga mecca. 
At the festival, we were elated to have received such a positive response to our business concept, a Tshirt-of-the-Month club that sends logo tees from actual yoga studios around the world to its members. Everyone loved hearing that we also promote our monthly featured studios with a showcase on our site, RealYogaStudioTshirts.com where viewers are invited to take a photo tour and read about what makes each studio unique. 
As of today, August 1st, our featured studio is Afterglow Yoga in Maui, HI. We feel so fortunate to work with the kind and enthusiastic owners of Afterglow Yoga, and they seem equally excited to be a part of this collaboration as well. Their logo looks terrific on our vintage navy tank, as it is reminiscent of the oceans surrounding beautiful Hawaii. We think you will agree when you visit our site, and see why their logo was one of our best-selling tanks at the festival. Till next week, Namaste.

Journey to St. Johnsbury, Vermont

It is quite possible that Vermont is the most beautiful place on Earth, and that is why it was very important for us to showcase a studio th...