To The Left, To The Left…

 

The logo of Charm City Yoga is none other than Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. If you notice his trunk is pointing to the left and this is a common depiction of Ganesha, but why? As it relates to Ganesha: his trunk sweeping left is grabbing a laddu (a sweet ball of flower and sugar) which symbolizes a lunar (cool as opposed to warm) representation of ida nadi in our bodies. Nadis are the channels by which energy flows through the subtle body. Ida controls the mental process of the body. Ganesha is, by reaching for the laddu, granting us access to the fruit or the sweets of our work and more specifically our practice in the material world. So next time you walk into your favorite CCY location, you’ll know what Ganesh is reaching for.

Food in the RAW at Zia’s in Towson!

Looking for a delicious alternative for your Saturday night dinner? Head over to Zia’s in Towson to join Charm City Yoga’s very own Director of Nutrition, Shawn Paterakis! He will be there leading a workshop all about the benefits of eating RAW FOOD! Yum!

During the workshop you will discover the unending benefits of eating at a higher vibration and maximizing your nutritional intake. The workshop begins at 6:15pm and the cost of attending is $5. Sign up by going to http://www.charmcityyoga.com/workshops and don’t forget to bring a friend! To view our facebook event, click here.

Five Reasons To Go To The Charm City Yoga Fest

Have you purchased your tickets the Charm City Yoga Fest yet? The early bird pricing ends soon! Click here to purchase tickets and if you are still on the fence here are five great reasons you should join us:

1. The Star Studded Cast! Yoga Fest provides a very rare opportunity to practice with our beloved CCY instructors and world renowned Master Teacher, Dharma Mittra in the same space.
2. The Chance Try Something New! This is an opportunity to diversify your practice, and take advantage of unique workshops like Acro Yoga, Hooping Yoga, and Budokon Yoga.
3. Practice In Fresh Outdoor Air! Yoga Fest will be held at BaltimOrganic Farm located in beautiful Monkton, Maryland. Escape routine, and allow nature to enrich your yoga experience.
4. Bring Your Friends & Make New Ones! Charm City Yoga Fest is a celebration of community. This event is one that should be shared, so bring your friends and family, set up camp, and enjoy three days of joy.
5. Boogie With Your Yoga Smile! Baltimore’s own Telesma will be bringing the beat. Experience their ecstatic trans-cultural sound with a interactive show that blurs the line between performer and audience. Every Telesma performance is a vortex of creativity; a celebration of body, mind and spirit.

 
What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now!

Five Reason to do an Urban Yoga Trek

Join Kara this sunday from 9 – 10:30 for Urban Yoga Trek! Click here to sign up.
1. Fresh Air - Doing yoga is great for your body and mind but sometimes your nostrils take a beating in a busy hot class. Get outside and do your yoga with an open mind and an open nose.

2. Sunshine - With the many references made to the all mighty Sun during a yoga class it is a huge treat to actually soak up some vitamin D rich rays while you Salute the Solar Sphere.

3. Shoes – Usually you can’t wait to run around barefoot, but if this is your off week for a pedi then maybe it should be your on week for an Urban Yoga Trek. This also saves you the distraction of thinking, “Should I get a new pumice on my way home?” while you paschimottanasana.

4. Space - Without walls to hold us in we will be practicing with lots of area to work with. No cactus arms or minding your neighbor to get to your full expression of a pose.

5. Fun – Yoga is fun in many forms but once you take it outside and combine it with walking and a little talking it is a new way to get to know your own practice and your fellow Yogis. What is more fun than trying something new?

Respond to every call that excites your spirit – Rumi

Join Kara this sunday from 9 – 10:30 for Urban Yoga Trek! Click here to sign up.


About Kara


Kara encourages students to bring all levels of practice and wellness to the mat. With a background in running and martial arts, she loves the depth and focus that yoga brings to other physical activities. By using breath and movement to balance out the mind, body and spirit, she believes that the calming effects of yoga have a benefit for everyone.

She completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training under Kim Manfredi at Charm City Yoga. She is also the Charm City Yoga Federal Hill Studio Manager.

Post Practice High Protein Meal

Shawn, our director of nutrition, suggested this recipe to help you re-charge after practice.

For more nutrition info from Shawn like our CCY nutrition page.

Shawn with CCY Nutrition is hosting a FREE TELECLASS this coming Wednesday 5/28 at 7PM where you will be educated about why sugar is harmful and how you can reduce the intake of it in your diet. The call is limited to 50 people reserve your spot now!

Click here to sign up!

Post Practice High Protein Meal

PROTEIN PAKED BLACK BEAN AND QUINOA SALDA (* THIS RECIPE WAS ADAPTED FROM AN IIN COLLEAGUE OF MINE, ELIZABETH RIDER )
Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry quinoa yields about 2 cups cooked)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove fresh garlic, pressed, grated or finely chopped
Juice of one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2-4 Tblsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for heat)1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained well
1 red bell pepper, quarter inch chopped (about 1 cup)
6 green onions, root removed, white and part of the greens chopped (about 1 cup)
1 handful of cilantro, rough chopped (about 1/3 cup)

Directions: Put all spices and liquids in a large salad bowl and stir to make the dressing. While the quinoa is cooking (see prep tips below), rinse and drain the black beans, chop the veggies into small pieces (or use a food processor). Add the cooked quinoa, beans and veggies to the bowl. The quinoa can be warm, room temp, or cold. Because this has vinegar in it and will taste like a salad, you may enjoy it chilled.

Preparation Tips:
To prepare the quinoa, rinse it well with in a fine mesh colander and let all of the water drain. Add the rinsed quinoa to a pot and add double the amount of purified water or veggie stock (e.g. 1 cup dry quinoa needs 2 cups of liquid). Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. It is always a good idea to make at least double the quinoa you need so that you can use it for another recipe. This same thing holds true of other grains or pastas you cook. Make more the first time and end up making 2 or more dishes.

$6 Community Workshop: Detox and Twist

Every two years, Charm City Yoga is fortunate enough to host incredible community workshops led by those participating in our 500 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program.

These diverse $6 workshops are a fantastic opportunity to practice and learn with new teachers.

Marissa Walch’s “Detox & Twist,” workshop will be taking place on Sunday, May 18th from 1-3pm at our Midtown studio. In this cleansing workshop, Marissa will practice detox specific asana, geared towards stress reduction, improved lymphatic function, digestion, and circulation.

She will also instruct students on self-massage techniques and body-heating pranayama techniques. Receive delicious detoxifying juice and smoothie recipes and work with a community dedicated to wholesomeness and overall wellbeing.

Click here to sign up today!

FREE YOGA @ Severna Park Open House!

WHO You and your friends!

WHAT Come to the Severna Park Open House to meet your teachers, win tons of cool prizes and do some FREE yoga!

WHEN: Sat, May 3rd, 1-3 pm

WHERE: 160 Ritchie Highway, Earleigh Heights Plaza, Severna Park

Here’s whats happening!

1-2 pm – Meet your teachers
2-3 pm – FREE yoga class

*Door Prizes
*Half Priced 30 Day Trial Membership ($15!)
*Discounts on retail
*Light Fare and Tea Served
*Learn about Yoga Teacher Training Programs

Bring a friend! If they sign up, you get a coupon for 30% off one regularly priced Under Armour garment!

Need Help Juicing? We Got You!

Don’t have time to juice? No worries! Shapiro’s Cafe joined Shawn Paterakis, CCY Director of Nutrition, last night and brought delicious juices along with them! Shawn has a great 3-day reset program going on right now for free! If you are interested in this or other programs we offer, check out our Nutrition page here. Shapiro’s Cafe is located at 7 W Preston Street – just a couple blocks up from Charm City Yoga’s Midtown location. Extremely convenient for a delicious post-yoga meal!

For more information on the Nutrition program, join Shawn and Gabrielle Sulc for Yoga on the Farm Saturday, April 26th from 10am – 12pm. For more information on this workshop, click here.

On the Joys of Process: The Inner Journey of Ashtanga Yoga – by Heather Hax

I have been practicing Ashtanga yoga since September 2001. Like many new students, I experienced the exhilaration of progressing very quickly: my tight hamstrings got longer; my tight shoulders got, well, a little less tight; my binds got deeper; my handstands got more “handstandy” (you see, when I started practicing, many of my teachers taught handstands during boat pose and/or in the closing sequence after wheel)! My physicality made it so that I advanced in the primary series of Ashtanga yoga with relative aplomb.

Then there were drop backs

We all have those poses that vex us. I started learning how to drop back in 2004, about three years after I began yoga practice. I am not a natural back bender so any progress I made at first was a lot of fun and brought me a deep sense of pride. Eventually, however, I started to look around and see so many flexible, young yogis achieve this pose much more quickly and easily than I was.

The frustration and striving began.

The paradox is this: the more I pushed, the more I beat myself up, the more I draped my chest over blocks and tried like hell to stretch my ankles and release my psoas – that is, the more I gripped my sights on the end result – the more my body gripped and, in fact, the more I hurt myself. I forgot to enjoy the process. My practice, and my body, became a battle ground rather than a joyful space for exploration.

 

Then something happened that seemed terrible, yet turned out to be a blessing. My MCL was completely torn by a sweet but overly rambunctious dog. I could barely walk after the accident and my knee would only bend about 70 degrees. I thought my days of lotus and squatting and sitting on my heels were over. So, I got on my mat, with a straight legged cast, and I breathed. Eventually, the cast came off and the brace came on. I got on my mat with a thick heavy brace in the middle of summer, and I breathed. My physical therapist then allowed me to practice without the brace. I bent my knee a little more each day and I breathed. It was thrilling!

 But not for the reasons you think.

I was thrilled to be relieved of my ego-driven ideas of what “should” be. Instead, I meditated on what is. My practice became a space of observation and attention rather than a space of frustration and pushing.

This is not to say that there are not days that I get on my mat and feel frustrated or stiff or achy. There are days where I am angry with my body for not complying or when I wonder why on earth it took me 12 years to drop back into a backbend from standing (and why on earth I still can’t stand up!). Yet, I get on my mat, I observe the punishing thoughts when they come, and I breathe. I am grateful for this body, this practice. I’ve never learned as much from what came easy as from the process struggle. The Ashtanga practice has allowed me that space for deep reflection.

I have been practicing long enough to know that whatever form my Ashtanga practice is taking at this very moment is fleeting. The body changes. Sometimes it changes in the ways we want it to. Yet all of us will experience inevitable decay. Yoga practice teaches us to let go of our idea of what is in favor of what actually is. It asks us to do the work regardless of the outcome. Mysore class is a wonderful container for this work.

 What a gift.

Using Yoga as Therapy for the Visual Impaired: an interview with Dr. Pam Jeter

Today I had the chance to sit down with Pam Jeter, a devoted Ashtangi who has been practicing Mysore at Charm City Yoga.  For the past 4 years, Pam has been conducting a study to establish the feasibility of an Ashtanga-based yoga therapy program for visually impaired students.  I sat down with her to learn a little more about her program.

 

When did you begin practicing yoga? Ashtanga?

I started practicing yoga in 2002 in Southern California. I began practicing Ashtanga under Diana Christensen and Tim Miller in 2004 and was attracted to the flow and breathing components of the practice as well as the emphasis on cultivating an inner focus and self practice.  I was practicing mostly Led Primary classes until I took the leap and began a Mysore practice in 2006.  I was instantly hooked.

 

Tell Us About your Time in California

While living in Southern California, I studied Cognitive Science at University of California, Irvine, where I received my Ph. D.  I also began teaching yoga to blind students at the Braille Institute in Los Angeles.  I wanted to be able to continue my work with the blind population, so I began thinking about out how to incorporate yoga into my research, specifically to help symptoms related to severe vision loss.

 

What led you to Baltimore?

I came across a survey that had been done at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on visually impaired patients seeking alternative medicine (acupuncture, yoga, meditation, etc.) for stress, anxiety and insomnia.  I contacted the faculty member (who is now my supervisor) to see if there had been any previous studies done with yoga and the visually impaired population.  There hadn’t been any so I applied for a fellowship to work with him at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

 

So your research is the first of its kind?

Yes, to my knowledge.  My specific research evaluates yoga as therapy for symptoms related to vision loss, such as balance impairment and stress.  Despite the fact that the blind population is increasingly seeking out yoga as a treatment for stress, anxiety, and overall physical and emotional well being, it has not been systematically studied for safety and efficacy in this clinical population.  Many people have asked, “Why do we need research? I know that yoga makes me feel good.”  Research is important for working with clinical populations.  For example, we hope that in the future, insurance companies that require evidence of effectiveness will provide coverage for those that need the healing benefits of yoga the most.  Yoga therapy and research is growing and the medical community is getting more involved but funding is still hard to come by.  I am so thankful for this opportunity and for my supervisor who has taking a strong interest in my research and has really helped support me through this whole process.

 

Why did you specifically choose Ashtanga for your study?

Ashtanga is an integrated system of asana, movement and breath.  Ashtanga is very accessible to any population when taught with its traditional intent, practicing movement with steady breathing.  If you lose the breath, then the posture is incorrect.  In this sense, practicing asana becomes the vehicle for teaching proper breathing techniques.   Strength and flexibility come as a result of regular practice.   We are also taught to cultivate inner focus through our ‘drishti’.  For blind students, instead of a visual focus point, they can use the sound of the breath as their Drishti to cultivate inner focus.   When it comes to visually impaired conditions, we all want to find a cure but we also need to focus on the many symptoms related to vision loss.

 

Were there any personal reasons you choose to work with the blind population? 

Yes, my mother has a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa, an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment and often blindness.  Fortunately I did not inherit this disease, but unfortunately for my mother, like most conditions affecting vision, there is no cure.

 

What was your research question for your study?

We use vision for balance.  Think about your drishti in a pose, you loose your balance when you close your eyes or look away.  Legally blind students are also at risk for falls due to the loss of visual input for postural stability.  And when you combine vision loss and decreasing physical fitness due to aging, falls that result in injury (such as breaking a hip) can be really detrimental.  My research question was “can yoga teach people who are blind to access other sensory input like proprioception or awareness of your body in space to compensate for vision loss?”  Adopting yoga as a strategy may aid in the development of awareness of the body through strengthening poses and breathing techniques as it assumes a stable stance or moves in space.  And if you think about it, Ashtanga cultivates our bandhas, which are energetic locks, but also directly related to our core strength, therefore, the asana practice can help strengthen those components critical for maintaining good balance.

 

Who participated in your study and what did that include?

For my most recent study, 17 legally blind adult participants were randomized to an 8-week Ashtanga-based yoga therapy program or a control group.  They convened for one session per week with an instructor and preformed two home-based sessions per week using an audio CD.  The participants were administered tests to gauge their balance using the Wii Balance Board as well as stress and anxiety levels.

 

Please explain what you discovered in your results

The results of the study suggest that the somatosensory contribution to balance (e.g. proprioception) and general mood improved in the yoga group but not the control. These are preliminary data in a small sample but I think it’s promising.

 

I am very thankful I had an opportunity to meet Pam and that she has become apart of our Charm City Yoga community. Her work has helped bring attention to the therapeutic and beneficial aspect of yoga and how they can help you overcome adversities and achieve inner peace and mindfulness.  I hope there will be many more studies like hers, so that the scientific and medical community can aid in the process of spreading the joys of yoga.

Namaste.