How long have you practiced yoga? How often per week? My wife and I started 5 years ago, and we were practing twice a week until we moved to Alexandria in June. Now we’re only practicing once a week, on Saturday morning at National Harbor with Cathy.
What made you decide to practice yoga? I’ve always been a spiritual person, and have known there was a link between body, mind, and Spirit. But I was never able to really experience that until I started yoga.
What do you like most about practicing yoga at National Harbor? I love water, so what could be better? And Cathy gently pushes me and never does the same thing twice! It’s a perfect setting with a great teacher.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why is it your favorite? Warrior Two pose allows me to keep my body strong and my mind focused.
Describe how yoga has enhanced or changed your life? I have a driven, type-A personality, and yoga allows me to relax, to clear my mind, and to rest on the moment. It has also increased my balance and flexibility.
Yoga is an amazing practice! It addresses one’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being. At its most practical, Yoga is a tool for awareness. The physical postures bring about an awareness of the misalignment, weakness and tension in the body. The breathing practices bring awareness of the more subtle realm of the inner body. The meditation practices bring awareness of the mind and its busyness. As humans, we are searchers and those who seek Yoga find the gift of awareness which can lead to change. Awareness is a function of change. Only by first being aware can change happen.
Another inspired Yogi shares her story…
How long have you practiced yoga? How often per week?I have been practicing yoga for about 6 years. I generally practice twice a week.
What made you decide to practice yoga? I was looking for a way to relieve stress and to do some exercise. The very first class I went to, I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the instructor doing the poses. I didn’t have a lot of upper body strength. It has been an amazing process of transformation over the last six years. I have gained so much strength and inner peace. It actually kind of sneaks up on you. You change and you don’t realize it.
What do you like most about practicing yoga at National Harbor?I love doing yoga outside but especially by the water. There is a certain peaceful feeling I get just being near the water. The other reason is Cathy. She is a tremendous teacher. I have been to many yoga classes with many teachers over the last six years. She is the best. Her style of teaching is unmatched.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why is it your favorite?My favorite pose is Warrior II. I like it because you feel such strength inside when you do it. It has helped me get through many things that life has thrown at me.
Describe how yoga has enhanced or changed your life?Yoga has helped me get physically stronger. It has given me inner peace and has helped me deal with many issues. If I go a week without practicing I can tell I need to do it. My mind and body just feel better after a session.
Wow! It has been an amazing opportunity to teach the Free Saturday Morning Yoga at National Harbor this summer! Here is a short clip from one of our sessions. Thanks goes to Chris, our videographer, who did an amazing job producing this video.
The Free Saturday Morning Yoga runs through October 26th…come join us! For more information CLICK HERE
How long have you practiced yoga? How often per week? I started in high school about 35 years ago for about 1 year, then started back up about 10 years ago. I may attend 1-3 times/week.
What made you decide to practice yoga? In high school, I had to attend because it was something we did as a family. As an adult, I needed to find ways to calm myself (highly energetic) and explore ways to relax, meditate, and focus on my inner self.
What do you like most about practicing yoga at National Harbor?: I enjoy practicing outside near the water, feeling the breeze and the open air. The instructors are very giving of their time especially for those new to the practice or those who cannot afford classes.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why is it your favorite?: I cannot say I favor any specific poses as I feel that each one contributes something different to my physical, mental, and spititual well-being.
Describe how yoga has enhanced or changed your life?. Yoga takes me to a place outside my everyday life where I can focus just on myself. There is no competition with myself or anyone else. It gives me peace, tranqulity and relaxation. I would feel inundated without the practice of yoga.
The inspired yogis who have shared their stories thus far all expressed a common sentiment – practicing yoga outside was enjoyable because it brought them in contact with nature. The nice breeze, the beautiful water … a stillness and inner peace is evident when we observe the beauty of nature.
The mind can only be in the present moment when we observe something beautiful. The amazement of nature reminds us of the amazement of the inner workings of our own body. We are reminded that we didn’t create our body, our breath, reminded that the same thing that created nature also created us! The practice of yoga is a practice of that remembrance. In bringing awareness to our breath as we move into our practice, we are brought into the body and all its sensations where we’re fully alive and in the present moment!
Here another inspired Yogi shares his story!
How long have you practiced yoga? How often per week? I started practicing yoga in 2005. Back then, I practiced twice per week. I recently returned to consistently practicing yoga after not practicing for the last three years. Now, I practice 3 times a week.
What made you decide to practice yoga? I began practicing yoga to reduce stress, to build flexible, internal strength and energy, and to reduce the chance of injury, since I was very active in multiple sports.
What do you like most about practicing yoga at National Harbor?
I enjoy practicing outside on the pier. The view and the breeze really enhance and inspire the workout.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why is it your favorite? My favorite pose is the triangle pose. The triangle pose is very therapeutic for me.
Describe how yoga has enhanced or changed your life? Whenever I travel on work assignment, I always enjoy going to the beach to view the ocean and reflect on life. On one occasion while in San Diego, CA, a guy came by, and we starting sharing stories about life. He told me he had recently recovered from a life of drug addiction. He shared how he enjoyed swimming in the ocean, and almost drowned after being caught in a vicious rip tide. The tide tossed, and turned him, and pulled him under many times, and the only thing he could do was to “get that next breath” before being pulled under again. He fought, and struggled to “get that next breath”. He told me that during some periods of life, it might only be about “getting that next breath”. That next breath allows you to keeping going, to keep moving, to figure something out. When I find myself being tossed, and turned in life, I find yoga allows me to “get that next breath”.
Yoga is also analogous with the concept of truing (straightening) a wheel on a bicycle. After putting many miles on a bicycle, the rim may become wobbly and unbalanced due to wear and tear. Life also puts wear and tear on us and places us out of balance, or not true. Yoga returns me to true.
How long have you practiced yoga? How often per week? I started practicing regularly in April 2013– so about 4 months on average 3 times/week.
What made you decide to practice yoga? I was looking for a regular form of exercise that I would enjoy– I found that in yoga. When I moved from Florida to Washington about 4 years ago, I left behind the beach which was the only place I could truly relax and enjoy my own company. Since starting yoga my mat has become the place I go to when I need to retreat and reflect. An added benefit is that yoga allows me to strengthen and align my physical and spiritual body at the same time!
What do you like most about practicing yoga at National Harbor?Practicing on the waterfront allows you to be closer to nature, to feel the gentle breeze on your skin as you focus on your breath and practice. It’s a nice break from the confines of the gym or indoor studio.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why is it your favorite? I love tree pose (Vrksasana) because its so basic yet the variations you can do with your arms and legs are limitless and impose a challenge if you try something new every time! I also love forearm stands because I can manage to get upside down and hold myself there for several breaths. Inversions are fun and challenging and have so many benefits to our health. Again, I find these challenging and i’m having fun working on improving mine over time. I really enjoyed the dolphin with one raised leg hop exercise you guided this morning, now I understand how to work on getting my head fully off the ground (thanks!).
Describe how yoga has enhanced or changed your life? Yoga has taught me to live in the moment and not worry so much about what other people are doing or what I cannot do. I’ve made a promise to myself that the moment I step on to my mat I will let go of judgement toward myself and others. Instead of feeling weak, I honor the strength I do have. Instead of worrying about all the things I have to do after practice, I focus on the present moment. One of the favorite mantras I’ve heard during practice was “You’re here. So be all here, and give every movement and moment all you’ve got.”– I try to live by that on and off the mat.
For many of us, Yoga turns into a life-changing event. If and when it does, we remember the time and place where it transpired, just like we remember any other big world news event. Why – because it really does change us! There is the physical aspect, becoming stronger, gaining balance and experiencing flexibility, but there is also that more subtle, more internal change where we end up calmer, less stressed, and a better person for it!
I thought it would be interesting for others to share their Yoga experience. An opportunity for me to get to know YOU, for you to share your journey to inspire others, to share hope so many more can experience that peace within that Yoga brings.
Here the first volunteer to share her story, won’t you share yours!
How long have you practiced yoga? How often per week?
It has been more than 10 years and I practice yoga every day ranging from 30 minutes to an hour. What made you decide to practice yoga?
I started off with the idea of seeking relaxation and happiness in life. With my Banking job as a Bond Trader, life is so stressful and under pressure all the time. At some point, I was hospitalized and the doctor recommended yoga for me. My cortisol level improved, my cholesterol level came down. Since then, I never want to give up Yoga.
What do you like most about practicing yoga at National Harbor?
Be able to do yoga outdoors with a beautiful view and a nice breeze. Especially the best yoga teacher like Cathy. It’s almost like a dream. Her cue is wonderful that you can do the yoga with your eyes closed.
What is your favorite yoga pose and why is it your favorite?
I love Triangle Pose. Trikonasana.
I have a SI Joint problem and Triangle pose is one of the best to help strengthen my pelvis and hips.
Describe how yoga has enhanced or changed your life?
Yoga not only has helped me with my health issue but it also helps to give me strength and flexibility. A day or two without yoga, I feel like my life is not complete.
Photos By Greg-The Forever Yogi
Click HERE to complete questionnaire and tell your story!
Wow! It’s been an amazing experience teaching the Free Saturday Yoga at National Harbor! Never did I imagine I would be teaching yoga to a crowd of 125! I’m so grateful to be able to share yoga through my teaching and to get the opportunity to meet new yogis! Even more amazing, from the very first class, I’ve had the feeling of being at HOME! I had anticipated being nervous teaching to so many but, as in the past, the love I have for yoga took over and I felt completely at ease.
Helping to create that comfortable feeling is having my Team of experienced students by my side; modeling the poses for the crowd allowing me to be free to move about the crowd and provide hands on adjustments. It makes me so proud to see students that I have been teaching for years, up front and center with me, beautifully demonstrating for the crowd. This teaching experience at the Harbor has opened up possibilities for not just me, but it has inspired some members of my Team to step up their practice and get their teaching certification. I couldn’t be more pleased!
Let me take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to my Team: Angie, Robin, Kevin, Greg, Terri, and Kim. Thanks for making me feel at ease every Saturday morning and sharing with me that Yoga High at the end of each session!
Here are some pictures from our Saturday sessions….enjoy!
Here are pictures from the last free yoga session at Fort Washington Park. I was very happy to see new faces. Lucky for us, the rain held off until the end of the session. The breeze on the hilltop was so nice!
On April 12, we lost one of our own – Vera. A short but touching email, sent by her husband Jim to Val, delivered the news of her passing:
My wife, Vera, passed away today at Walter Reed Hospital. She suffered from the effects of a ruptured aneurism in her brain. I don’t know how best to let Cathy know that Vera’s Yoga is now ended, but she did enjoy and value the experience, and she held Cathy in high regard. Please pass that on to her.
This is how I remember Vera:
When I first saw cute, petite Vera walk into my Yoga class more than two years ago, I realized she looked familiar. She had been a regular customer of mine about 10 years prior at a hair salon where I worked. She soon became a regular Yoga “customer” of mine, amazed at the odds of her walking into my class.
Vera was what I call “old school”. She reminded me of my own mother…always moving, always sweet, and never complaining. She came from the generation where the simple characteristics of quiet determination and hard work were common. This is also how she practiced her Yoga. Many times during class I would see Vera doing her best to perform a pose, no matter how challenging; her face always soft and sweet looking and never did I hear her struggle to breathe. She took it all in her own stride and knew when to skip or modify. I never heard her complain about not being able to perform a pose or complain about aches and pains after class. She would simply thank me for the practice and tell me how good she felt and then she was out the door! She’s what I call “good people” and I feel grateful to have spent time with such a good soul.
This brings to mind something I read by Eckart Tolle. He said, ” Death is not the opposite of life. Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth. Life is eternal.” The universe gives our minds the gift of memory and as long as we remember Vera, she will forever be “alive”.
Our heartfelt condolences to Vera’s husband, Jim, and to her family! For those of you who knew Vera, please share your memories by leaving a comment.
Here some pictures of Vera taken at our past Yoga retreats:
A passing thought to teach at National Harbor becomes a reality, how awesome is that! I can’t deny, I was thrilled to have been given this opportunity to teach the Free Waterfront Yoga on Saturdays, 9 a.m., between May 11 and October 26, at National Harbor, MD. I am grateful to everybody who played a hand in making it possible!
So who set the wheels in motion? None other than Wally, my incredible friend, who, with absolute selflessness, sent my resume, along with a heartfelt email, asking the Peterson Company to just “give her a try”. Wow!
Thinking about what transpired made me realize:
1. how the power of thought and the vision can become reality, where the invisible becomes visible with absolute ease,
2. how this opportunity is a stepping stone with endless possibilities for me to continue to fulfill my intention to share my love for yoga with as many people as possible, and
3. how Val, a dedicated student, shares that same intention
We both know the benefit of the practice; we both know the rewards of keeping our intentions clear, and we both are making the baseline motivation for what we do to be of service to others.
Here a link to National Harbor’s event calendar. Free Waterfront Yoga is offered three times a week, if you’re currently not committed to your practice, take this opportunity to get back on track. Also, keep checking this website periodically as I will be adding events including free Yoga at the Park (Ft Washington Park, Ft Washington, MD).
If you follow my blog, you already have seen Diane’s recent ‘Block Blog’ (see post on November 30, 2012, My First Guest Blogger: Diane – Yoga Block Guru). I would like to expand on that and share a few more interesting and unique ways on using the yoga block!
In the following demonstrations, the block is used as a balancing tool to create awareness for proper alignment on arms and legs in some common standing poses. Even though the yoga block weighs next to nothing, balancing the block on these parts of the body requires focus, concentration and steadiness and it challenges the muscle to build strength.
The following are areas of alignment the balancing block can help with:
– Creating and keeping a right angel bend to the knee
– Creating and keeping a parallel thigh position when knee is bent
– Creating and keeping a straight knee/leg position
– Maintaining level hips and sacrum
– Creating and keeping a balanced inward and outward rotation of the thigh when leg is fully
– Creating and keeping full extension of the arms
– Supply four blocks per student
– Since it can be challenging to balance your own block when in the pose, have students pair off in twos with one student doing the pose and the other placing the blocks on the respective body parts
With the help of two Yoga Beauties, Angie and Robin, I put together the following to help demonstrate the use of the balancing block:
Using the blocks helps to create the parallel thigh in Warrior II which will allow the block to balance. The blocks balancing on the arms encourage full arm straightening and raised fingertips.
HALF MOON POSE
Balancing the block on the top hip requires parallel /stacked hips and flat sacrum. The block placed at the ankle reinforces the straight leg, flexed foot position.
HALF SPLITS POSE
In order for the block to stay balanced on the hamstring, the inward and outward rotation of the top thigh must be balanced and a flat sacrum maintained.
Balancing the block on the upper thigh teaches the student to create and keep a right angle bend to the front knee as well as a parallel thigh which requires the knee to track toward the pinky-toe side of the foot.
Photos by Greg-The Forever Yogi
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