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Cup and Journal

Back in my corporate days, I dreaded the annual year-end review with my boss. Who doesn’t? But sitting down with her to go over what I’d accomplished and set goals for the year ahead gave me major anxiety. Of course, this probably had something to do with the fact that my boss was a lunatic known as “Vomiting Vicky” 😉

Now that I’m out from under her corporate dictatorship, I actually love finding some silence and solitude to sit down with a cup of tea and reflect and set goals for the year ahead. Here’s my take on the previously dreaded, now delightful process: I hope it works for you too!

  1. Set aside some solo time: You in a quiet place with a cup of tea (or coffee or wine!), your favorite pen, and a journal.
  2. Take 5 minutes to calm and center with meditation. Set a timer. You can focus on your breath or use a mantra. Centering first is the key to clarity and focus so take the time to do it.
  3. Begin journaling. Think back to a year ago and, without censoring or judging, just write about your year. What did you do over the past 12 months? Highlights? Challenges? How do you feel about your year? What did you accomplish? What did you love? What did you wish you did–or did more of? As you take stock of the year behind, you’ll flow naturally into thinking about the year ahead. Write about what you’d like to do and…
  4. Set concrete goals. How will you know when you’ve achieved a goal unless you make it specific? “Write magazine articles” is a little vague. At the end of next year even if you wrote “more,” it may not be enough to make you happy. Try “Write my first article” or “Write 1 article per month” –it’s more specific. You’ll KNOW when you’ve done it and can celebrate that success! (Remember to celebrate!)
  5. Dream big…and keep it real. I always support dreaming big. Write your book. Launch your business. Travel somewhere exotic. But don’t try to write and publish 3 books, launch a business in a month, and travel to all 7 continents. Antarctica, Asia, and Australia in one year would be pretty darn ambitious, but one of those sounds great! You get the point.

If you’ve taken a workshop with me, you know I custom-blend corporate tools, yoga tools, eastern thinking and western thinking to create what I’ve found to be the most effective (and enjoyable) processes. So…I guess tou can take the girl out of the corporate world, but this girl is taking the best of the corporate world with her. And one of the most effective tools I still use is this year-end review…with a twist. I hope it works for you too. 🙂

Got questions? Comment below or message me on social media! I love to chat about this stuff!

 

Sara DiVello at the MFA Seated Janusirsana

I’m thrilled to kickoff #NamasteattheMFA on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016 at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston!

As part of this super-cool program, you get to grab your mat and get into the musuem BEFORE it opens (!!), stretch, breathe, and drink in the stillness of having the place to ourselves…then stay and enjoy the beauty of the museum at your leisure after calls.

Friends, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you can be there!

http://www.mfa.org/programs/special-event/namaste-saturday-with-sara-divello

Here’s my latest from our National Yoga Month Q&A: Two Quick Ways to Relieve Neck & Shoulder Tension. (Watch the vid here: https://www.facebook.com/SaraDiVelloOM)

1: Release the Upper Back with Eagle Arms
Bring the arms in front of you at a 90-degree angle, elbows at shoulder-height. If this is enough of a stretch for the shoulders/upper back, stay here. If you need more of a stretch, drop the left elbow below the right and twine the forearms, pressing the back of the palms together. The key to releasing the upper back muscles is to keep the elbows lifted–equal height to the shoulders–and the shoulders as relaxed and low as possible. Take five to ten deep breaths and switch sides.

2: Release Tight Neck Muscles with a Gentle Stretch
Drop your right ear toward your right shoulder and hold for 5-10 deep breaths. You can then gently turn the gaze toward the floor and hold there for 5-10 breaths. Don’t forget to do the other side too!

Bonus: Schedule “Breathing Breaks” throughout the day! Set your phone or calendar to remind you several times through the day to take cleansing and calming breaths!

 

Friends, grab your camera, bathing suit, camera and even a yoga mat. I am SO excited to announce I’ll be teaching yoga as part of a private tour through beautiful BALI Oct. 3-10.

Join us as we breathe fresh island air, take in lush landscapes, explore rice fields, bike through back roads of charming villages, eat nourishing, healthy meals, partake in an ancient meditation ceremony, hike up Mt. Batur (pictured below), take a Balinese cooking class…and of course optional daily yoga with me 🙂

The amazing Jess K. at My Adventure Travel put together a holistic tour to make sure you leave the island refreshed and inspired. I can’t wait and I hope you’ll join us.

Did I mention it’s really affordable?

Learn more here.

Need more inspiration??

Read all about my single-girl search for the ever-elusive trifecta of perfection: the tall, dark, and handsome, single straight guy who also does yoga! LOLs welcome 🙂

 

If you’ve been shoveling snow lately (thanks, #Blizzardof2015!), here are the five most important post-shoveling stretches to minimize an aching back and sore muscles later.

1. Release your upper back: Eagle Arms.

Bring the arms in front of you at a 90-degree angle, elbows at shoulder-height. If this is enough of a stretch for the shoulders/upper back, stay here. If you need more of s stretch, drop the left elbow below the right and twine the forearms, pressing the back of the palms together. The key to releasing the upper back muscles is to keep the elbows lifted–equal height to the shoulders–and the shoulders as relaxed and low as possible. Take ten deep breaths and switch sides.













2. Stretch your lower back: Modified Half Moon Pose.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Place your right hand on your right hip. Lift the left arm up and then to the right. Take ten deep breaths here, using your breath to expand the left ribs, deepening the stretch. Switch sides.
















3. Release your psoas: Crescent Lunge.
The psoas is the largest hip flexor muscle. It runs up the front of the hip, cuts through the abdominal cavity and attaches to the lower lumbar spine. Stretching the psoas not only gives you a hip flexor stretch, it can also release lower back tightness. Stand in a lunge position, with your right foot forward and the right knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Tuck your tailbone forward to intensify. Stay for 10 deep breaths and switch sides.
















4. Stretch your arms: Forward Bend with Arm Twist. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend forward to a comfortable level, lifting your arms up behind you.  Rotate the thumbs in (toward the center line) and then out to stretch your biceps.








5. Release your chest muscles: Doorway Pose.
As you head in from all your hard work, stand in the doorway and put your right arm out at a ninety-degree angle. Press your palm, forearm, and elbow against the doorframe and twist your chest gently to the left. Stay for 10 deep breaths and switch sides.




Taking time to stretch all the major muscles you’ve just worked will minimize soreness and increase your chances for the quickest snowpocalytic recovery possible. Stay warm, stay hydrated, and remember the most important pose of all: couch-asana, which should be done lying down and for an extended amount of time. 🙂




*Thank you to my co-snowga photographer and model, STC

Whoa! I’m so thrilled to be part of this awesome article, “How to maintain your yoga routine while traveling” featured in USA Today’s Travel Section! It was written by journalist Nancy Trejos, as part of her Thriving on the Road series, which is all about staying healthy while traveling.

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How to maintain your yoga routine while traveling

Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY

October 24. 2012 – Roseann Day can’t go without yoga, especially when she’s traveling. That’s when she says she needs it most, what with cramped seats on airplanes and luggage to haul.

“Yoga’s a wonderful exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment yet helps with strength and flexibility,” she says.

If she can’t find the time to take a class, the Massachusetts-based information technology consultant will do yoga in her hotel room in the morning.

Now, more than ever, yoga enthusiasts have plenty of options for maintaining their routines on the road, yoga instructors and hospitality industry experts say. A number of hotels offer classes or in-room equipment. And if they don’t, yoga instructors say, there are many ways to practice the craft even on a plane, in a hotel room or outdoors at a park or beach.

“Yoga is one of the most feasible ways to exercise while on the road — limited amount of equipment: You lay down a towel if you don’t have a mat. (It) can be practiced indoors or outdoors,” says Marshall Sanders, a registered yoga teacher at VIDA Fitness and EPIC Yoga in Washington, D.C. “And you don’t have to worry about bringing multiple pairs of shoes because you practice barefoot.”

Interest in yoga has grown over the years. A 2012 study by Yoga Journal, a national yoga publication, indicated that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, up from 15.8 million in 2008. And they spend $2 billion a year on yoga retreats, up from $630,000 in 2008.

In an Omni Hotels and Resorts survey last year, 26% of respondents said they wished their hotel would help them find nearby yoga or spinning studios.

Equipment to go

Many hotels are doing better than that by offering classes or equipment.

Kimpton Hotel guests can request a yoga bag at the front desk that contains mats, straps and exercise bands.

In Washington, the Mandarin Oriental offers yoga mats and videos upon request. The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, a Marriott property, has Saturday-morning yoga classes in its Urban Garden when weather permits. In Boston, the Liberty Hotel offers “Yoga in the Yard” with instructors from the Equinox gym.

Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Northeast Florida has a yoga treehouse, where guests can practice yoga while overlooking the water.

Hilton Worldwide is testing a dedicated “Yoga Room.” The guestroom, available at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in Virginia and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, has a designated space to practice yoga, a full-length mirror to check poses and yoga accessories.

“It’s yet another way to empower our guests and motivate them to maintain their healthy lifestyle on the road,” says Jodi Sullivan, senior director of global fitness for Hilton Worldwide. “We’re seeing more and more travelers, individuals, guests, consumers realizing the importance of yoga as far as breathing, meditation, stretching.”

Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of NYU’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, says hotels are trying to appeal to both younger and older guests.

“Yoga cuts across all age groups and many demographics, so it’s kind of universal,” he says. “Yoga and other types of exercise and fitness and health are all good messages for hotels because people feel stressed traveling.”

Start your trip off right

Yoga instructors recommend practicing some moves as soon as you arrive at the airport.

San Francisco International Airport recently opened a dedicated yoga room. Other airports have fitness centers on-site that offer day passes.

But there’s much you can do even while sitting in your seat at the gate or on the plane. Try an Eagle Arm pose while sitting, says Gabrielle Benoit, a yoga and pilates instructor and founder of Core Club LA in Los Angeles. All that is required is positioning your right arm under your left arm, then vice versa.

“If you are stuck on an airplane or in the airport, there are many different yoga poses you can practice in a chair to keep the blood flowing and get a little workout in as well,” Benoit says.

If you arrive at your destination and discover that your hotel doesn’t offer yoga amenities, there are other ways to get in your workout.

Many travel mats are now lighter than the ones you typically get at a studio.

If you can’t remember all your poses, online classes are available at such websites as YogaGlo.com. Pay an $18 monthly fee, and you can get instruction anywhere you go. Some websites allow you to download classes onto your iPod. Many instructors offer free instruction in YouTube videos.

If you prefer the physical company of an instructor and classmates, there are plenty of studios that let people drop in for about $15 to $20.

Sanders recommends calling the studio ahead. “Confirm the style, time and request feedback on the instructor and find out if a reservation is necessary,” he says.

Fresh air is refreshing

For a cheaper alternative, take your mat to a local park or a towel to the beach and practice while getting some fresh air, he says.

Sara DiVello, a registered teacher with classes in Boston, recommends travelers develop a routine for the road. Ask your favorite instructor for a private lesson, and have him or her customize a travel routine, she says.

DiVello says traveling yogis shouldn’t push themselves too hard when on the road.

“You don’t have to do a full 90 or even 60 minutes,” she says. “If you’re crunched on time, you can do an abbreviated practice.”

The best strategy, Sanders says, is to practice your routine first thing in the morning.

“Travel schedules tend to throw us off our routines, so doing your practice first thing in the morning will ground you (and) help reinvigorate normal body functions,” he says.