Book & NY Times Articles – Benefits & Risks of Yoga

This recent New York Times article was sent to me by a friend – it is a good read and discusses a number of important aspects of practicing yoga.  It is an opinion piece as well as a book review on William J. Broad’s new book, “The Science of Yoga”.

Yes, an experienced teacher is very important – one who interacts with the class and counsels students on respecting personal physical limitations.  A capable teacher will offer asana modifications and remind students to adopt a non-competitive approach to their yoga practice.   I am certified E-RYT through the Yoga Alliance, as mentioned in this article.

This Jane E. Brody article links to New York Times Magazine article, How Yoga Can Wreck your Body and Glenn Black, a yoga teacher of nearly four decades correctly states:

“…a number of factors have converged to heighten the risk of practicing yoga. The biggest is the demographic shift in those who study it. Indian practitioners of yoga typically squatted and sat cross-legged in daily life, and yoga poses, or asanas, were an outgrowth of these postures. Now urbanites who sit in chairs all day walk into a studio a couple of times a week and strain to twist themselves into ever-more-difficult postures despite their lack of flexibility and other physical problems.”

Here are several important “takeaways” from this book and these articles:

  1. Mr. Broad concluded, based on his research, that the benefits of yoga “unquestionably outweigh the risks. Still, yoga makes sense only if done intelligently so as to limit the degree of personal danger.”
  2. Good scientific studies, including many supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an arm of the National Institutes of Health, have demonstrated that regular yoga practice can improve cardiovascular risk factors like elevated blood pressure, blood sugar, blood cholesterol and clot-inducing fibrinogen, and it can raise blood levels of protective antioxidants.
  3. Yoga was shown to improve balance in elderly women and thus may reduce their risk of falls, a leading cause of injury-related death in older people. And, I was pleased to learn, perhaps by enhancing blood flow and the production of growth factors, yoga can counteract the deterioration of spinal discs, a plague of millions of Americans, young and old.
  4. Possibly through its stimulation of the vagus nerve, yoga appears to counter inflammation throughout the body, and may reduce the effects of diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. And by relieving physical and mental stress, which can erode the tips of DNA, which are called telomeres and program cell death, yoga may slow biological aging and prolong life.

Gentle Yoga with Naomi is designed specifically for people who are plus-sized or dealing with physical limitations.  I have developed this Gentle Yoga format through decades of training and experience, with student safety (while deriving the benefits of a yoga practice) a primary concern.  If you have any questions or concerns about the benefits and risks of your yoga practice, please feel free to ask!



Fitting Exercise into an Already Crowded Schedule in 2012

It’s much more than good time management!

First, take some time and think about what is really going on with you — Allergic to exercise, but you know you should?  Too much demand, not enough time?  Lack of control and discipline?  Too much caring for others?

What are the secrets to fitting in exercise?  Find out what makes you happy!  What delights you!  What do you look forward to?  Be willing to ask yourself, “How can I better care for me?  What is it that I truly need?”  Give yourself permission to enjoy your exercise.  Seduce yourself into calling it “creative movement” or whatever works for you.  For example, call walking (for aerobic exercise) a “moving meditation”.

Conventional wisdom is that a good exercise program includes stretching, strengthening, aerobic activity and relaxation, ideally, all aspects in the same routine, but sometimes it is necessary to break up these parts into separate activities.  Decide for yourself the type of movement you will do.

Then, make an appointment with yourself – write this activity in your calendar or planner.  Start with realistic goals and get support for doing it.  Find a walking partner or a fitness coach or a friend to attend classes with if this might help keep you accountable on the exercise program you are designing for yourself.  Set consistent times and keep these appointments with yourself, as you would keep any other commitment.  If you are just starting out, once a week is a good start.  Ideally, exercise three times a week, in the morning if possible.   I have also heard recommendations from health care providers to do some form of exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days per week.

If you are going to exercise at home, find a location that is conducive to exercise and see that as your special time for yourself.  Get your props (mat, DVDs, etc.) ready, and pick a time that fits into your schedule.

Enjoy yourself, and remember that starting can be the hardest part.  And remember to breathe!  Keep your sense of humor, and give yourself rewards and positive acknowledgments on the way.  Always be gentle with yourself as you make progress, and you will!  There are no shortcuts, but you can empower yourself to design a program on your schedule that will include stretching, strengthening, aerobic and relaxation!

Please visit my website at and check out my class schedule and DVDs, books and mp3s available for home practice. If I can help you meet your goals in 2012, it would be my pleasure to do so!  Namaste and Happy New Year!


Joke of the Week: Why Parents Drink

   The boss wondered why one of his most valued employees was absent but had not phoned in sick one day. Needing to have an urgent problem with one of the main computers resolved, he dialed the employee’s home phone number and was greeted with a child’s whisper.

   “Is your daddy home?” he asked.
   “Yes, he’s out in the garden,” whispered the small voice.
   “May I talk with him?”
   The child whispered, “No.”
   Surprised and wanting to talk with an adult, the boss asked, “Is your Mommy there?”
   “Yes, she’s out in the garden, too.”
   “May I talk with her?”
   Again the small voice whispered, “No.”

   Hoping there was somebody with whom he could leave a message, the boss asked, “Is anybody else there?”
   “Yes,” whispered the child, “a policeman.”

    Wondering what a cop would be doing at his employee’s home, the boss asked, “May I speak with the policeman?”
   “No, he’s busy,” whispered the child.
   “Busy doing what?”
   “Talking to Daddy and Mommy and the Fireman,” came the whispered answer.

   Growing more worried as he heard a loud noise in the background, the boss asked, “What is that noise?”
   “A helicopter,” answered the whispering voice.
   “What is going on there?” demanded the boss, now truly apprehensive.
   Again, whispering, the child answered, “The search team just landed a helicopter.”

   Alarmed, concerned, and a little frustrated, the boss asked, “What are they searching for?”
   Still whispering, the young voice replied with a muffled giggle… “ME.”

    Do you have any other jokes you’d like you share? Please send them our way so that the yoga classes can benefit. Make it a great weekend, and see you in class!

Joke of the Week: The Psychiatrist & The Proctologist

    Best friends graduated from medical school at the same time and decided that, in spite of two different specialties, they would open a practice together to share office space and personnel.

     Dr. Smith was the psychiatrist and Dr. Jones was the proctologist; they put up a sign reading “Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones: Hysterias and Posteriors”.

     The town council was livid and insisted they change it.

     So, the docs changed it to read “Schizoids and Hemorrhoids.” This was also not acceptable, so they again changed the sign. “Catatonics and High Colonics”… No go.

     Next, they tried “Manic Depressives and Anal Retentives”… thumbs down again. Then came “Minds and Behinds”… still no good. Another attempt resulted in “Lost Souls and Butt Holes”… unacceptable again! So they tried “Analysis and Anal Cysts”… not a chance. “Nuts and Butts”… no way. “Freaks and Cheeks”… still no good. “Loons and Moons”… forget it.

     Almost at their wit’s end, the docs finally came up with “Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones: Specializing in Odds and Ends”.

     Everyone loved it!

    Do you have any other jokes you’d like you share? Please send them our way so that the yoga classes can benefit. Make it a great weekend, and see you in class!

Joke of the Week: Blonde at a Football Game

   A guy decides to bring his new blonde girlfriend to a football game. After the game is over, he asks her if she liked the game.
   She replies, “Oh it was great. I loved watching those men in tight clothes, but there is one thing I don’t understand.”
   He asks, “What did you not understand?”
   And the blonde says, “Well, at the beginning of the game, both teams flipped a quarter to see who would kick off first. Then the rest of the game everybody was yelling ‘Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!’ So I thought to myself, ‘Gosh, it’s just a quarter!'”

    Do you have any other jokes you’d like you share? Please send them our way so that the yoga classes can benefit. Make it a great weekend, and see you in class!

Joke of the Week: The Arrogance of Authority

   A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas and talked with an old rancher. He told the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.”

    The rancher said, “Okay, but don’t go in that field over there…” as he pointed out the location.

   The DEA officer verbally exploded saying, “Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!” Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher.

    “See this badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish… on any land!! No questions asked or answers given!! Have I made myself clear?! Do you understand?!!”

   The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores.

   A short time later, the old rancher heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher’s big Santa Gertrudis bull…

   With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he’d sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified. The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs…

   “Your badge! Show him your BADGE!!”

    Do you have any other jokes you’d like you share? Please send them our way so that the yoga classes can benefit. Make it a great weekend, stay cool, and see you in class!

Joke of the Week: Polish Sausage

A customer asks, “In what aisle could I find the Polish sausage?”

The clerk looks at him and says, “I take it you’re Polish?”

The man, clearly offended, says, “Well, yes I am. But let me ask you something. If I had asked for Italian sausage would you ask me if I was Italian? Or if I had asked for German bratwurst, would you ask me if I was German? Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was Jewish? Or if I had asked for a taco, would you ask if I was Mexican? Or if I asked for some Irish whiskey, would you ask if I was Irish?”

The clerk says, “No, I probably wouldn’t.” 
With deep self-righteous indignation, the man says, “Well, then why did you assume I’m Polish just because I asked for Polish sausage?”
“Because you’re in Home Depot.”

   Do you have any other jokes you’d like you share? Please send them our way so that the yoga classes can benefit. Make it a great weekend, stay cool, and see you in class!

Joke of the Week: Lutheran Airlines

This is one of the funniest voice recordings I’ve heard! Enjoy it and I’ll see you in class next week.

Click this link to hear the joke:  

Lutheran Airlines

   Do you have any other jokes you’d like you share? Please send them our way so that the yoga classes can benefit. Make it a great weekend, stay cool, and see you in class!

Joke of the Week: Trip to Italy

   A young New York woman was so depressed that she decided to end her life by throwing herself into the ocean, but just before she could throw herself off the docks, a handsome young man stopped her.

   “You have so much to live for,” said the man.  “I’m a sailor, and we are off to Italy tomorrow.  I can stow you away on my ship.  I’ll take care of you, bring you food every day, and keep you happy….”

   With nothing to lose, combined with the fact that she had always wanted to go to Italy, the woman accepted.  That night the sailor brought her aboard and hid her in a small but comfortable compartment in the hold. 

   From then on, every night he would bring her sandwiches, a bottle of red wine, and make love to her until dawn.  Three weeks later she happened to be discovered by the captain during a routine inspection.

   “What are you doing here?” asked the captain.

   “I have an arrangement with one of the sailors,” she replied.  “He brings me food and I get a free trip to Italy .”

   “I see,” the captain said.

   Her conscience got the best of her and she added, “He’s also taking advantage of my womanhood.”

   “He certainly is,” replied the captain.  “This is the Staten Island Ferry.”

   Do you have any other jokes you’d like you share? Please send them our way so that the yoga classes can benefit. Make it a great weekend, stay cool, and see you in class!