Tag Archives: audio

Podcasts, audio downloads, radio, recordings and CDs

My theme song for 2015

Sara Bareilles sings Brave

Closure for Yoga: The Art of Transformation in Cleveland

Yoga: The Art of Transformation will end its stay at the Cleveland Museum of Art on September 7. It opened on June 22. It also had a term at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, February 21-May 25.  Thus will end the ground-breaking exhibit of Indian art and yoga that the Smithsonian’s Freer-​​Sackler Gallery put together.  Debra Dia­mond, the exhibit cura­tor, and a long list of collaborators and supporters should be pleased with its reception around the country. The videos from the “Yoga and Visual Culture: An Interdisciplinary Symposium” in November last year are available online.

Sonya Quintanilla, the Curator of Indian and Southeast Asian Art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, narrated the exhibit, accompanied by some pictures of the displays.

Continue reading Closure for Yoga: The Art of Transformation in Cleveland

Mindfulness as an instrument to hone attention

We could all stand to pay attention with more regularity, but that requires you to actually notice when you’re wired. Now at least one university class is making students more aware of their mental habits.

The Chronicle of Higher Education You’re Distracted. This Professor Can Help: “The e-mail drill was one of numerous mind-training exercises in a unique class designed to raise students’ awareness about how they use their digital tools. Colleges have experimented with short-term social-media blackouts in the past. But Ms. Hill’s course, ‘Information and Contemplation,’ goes way further. Participants scrutinize their use of technology: how much time they spend with it, how it affects their emotions, how it fragments their attention. They watch videos of themselves multitasking and write guidelines for improving their habits. They also practice meditation—during class—to sharpen their attention.”

And as an added bonus, here’s a recent New York Times article, In Mindfulness, a Method to Sharpen Focus and Open Minds along the same lines. Both articles have some useful links to other resources.

There’s another article, Why Mindfulness and Meditation Are Good for Business out of the Wharton School of Business, which is an extended interview with Katherine Klein, vice-dean of Wharton’s Social Impact Initiative. There is also an audio file for download.

I also came across this More than Sound: art and science of the mind, which brings together a lot of like-minded people and products (audios, books, podcasts). It’s worth some time to explore the full span of resources.

A new face and name for an online resource

I tapped into a resource that helped me understand my body better.

I’ve been a fan of Yoga Spirit as it pioneer the use of online audio and webinars with leading yoga teachers and other experts, like Amy Weintraub, Leslie Kaminoff and Judy Hanson Lasater. It disappeared from the web for a while only to come back to life as part of YogaTherapyWeb.com. In January, the site turned itself into Yoga U. Most content requires payment for downloads, but there are a lot of free resources that can wet an appetite for the for-pay material.

I signed up for Tom Myers‘s two-session webinar: Fascial Fitness – An Emerging Revolution in Movement Science (January 25 and February 1). It also comes with other material, including some videos of fascial fitness routines. He wrote Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists, 2nd edition and I plan on reading it as soon as I get through the dozen other books piled up on my desk. That’s why I signed up for the webinar — I can capture the essence of what Myers is teaching in a couple of hours. The first session clarified in my mind that I am on the right track in trying to deal with my peripheral neuropathy. He has an elegant compelling conceptual framework for parsing the body and its internal matrix, backed up by the latest scientific research on the role of fascia. In this webinars, he is tailoring his message specifically to yoga instructors and giving suggestions for optimizing sequencing to improve fascial fitness.

This webinar, along with other webinars and interviews, will be recorded and available for purchase at a later date at YogaU Online.

Broga is latest rage in Martha’s Vineyard

WBUR Boston Flexible Men Try Broga — Yoga For Bros is really about one guy teaching a class for men.

Broga is not a money maker yet and adding a class on the mainland is a huge commitment for Sidoti. Every Saturday he takes a 6 a.m. ferry from Martha’s Vineyard, which takes him to a bus, which takes him to a subway. Then, after a 20-minute walk, he arrives at the studio for a 10 a.m. class.

If they develop a regular following at the new location, Sidoti and O’Neill say the next step for Broga is finding and training instructors in other cities. Eventually, they’d like to offer a full range of instruction videos online.

Doug Tribuo, the author, probably did not do enough research into yoga in America to learn about all the male infiltration that already exists in mainstream yoga in America, from Diamond Dallas Page and his Yoga for Regular Guys: The Best Damn Workout on the Planet to Hot Nude Yoga. So this is not the first time that a studio or teacher put together a routine that meant to attract men to the mat. It’s just that a reporter who usually focuses on sports discovered  this marketing angle, which may seem catchy a first glance, but won’t build up much market momentum after the first jokes have died down.

I felt compelled to blog about it because I am a male doing yoga (I believe that a 61-year old does not qualify as a “bro.”

Mindfulness’s impact on healing explained online

Photo: a relaxed hand rests on a knee during meditation
A relaxed hand rests on a knee during meditation

Mindfulness techniques are appearing everywhere, with incredible data showing the health benefits of developing a meditation practice. Meditation is proven to be a reliable practice for managing the stress response. Since stress has been linked with most forms of chronic illness, this may account for how meditation is so therapeutic.

Health Promotion LIVE has an audio recording of a recent webinar Mindfulness in Medicine and Healing with Dr. Deborah Norris, who is the Executive Director of Science for Health Energy, Inc. and Founder of The Mindfulness Center in Bethesda. Norris packs a lot of scientific information into the open remarks (20 minutes) and webinar playback shows the PowerPoint presentation (Deborrah, you need some graphic relief: too much white, small, text on blue background; gets some photos). An excellent summation of the most recent research findings and their impact on healing and medicine. In the second half, there’s an interesting exchange among several panelists and several participants who tuned into the webinar.

The Mindfulness Center is a “wellness center providing Meditation, Yoga, Massage, Acupuncture, Tai Chi, Aerobics, Nia Dance, and other Mind-Body programs to bring mindfulness to all dimensions of life,” Deborrah’s site says. The webinar confirmed in my mind that The Mindfulness Center is an invaluable resource to have in the DC area. It opened up recently so it’s good to see that it’s finding its following (I assume from the crowded schedule of classes and workshops).

Giving American yoga a bad name

USAToday Western influence turns yoga on its head in Mumbai: The veteran writer Gail Sheehy writes about how American yoga is feeding back into Indian culture and subverting the traditional discipline, but she gets something wrong:

Power yoga, an aerobic deviation, was launched in 1995 by an American woman, Beryl Bender Birch. It ignores the original concept of yoga, which was to be done in silence so the mind can develop awareness of the body.

Photo: Beryl Bender Birch signs a book after class
Continue reading Giving American yoga a bad name

Keep it simple, Eve

I keep having to remind myself that for most people, yoga can appear really intimidating, complicated and alien. After six years, I love to plunge into the history, anatomy or psychology of yoga, but most beginners are worried that not nailing trikonasana as on the Yoga Journal cover will somehow impair their practice. That worry, bordering on fear, impairs their practice more than incorrect alignment.

So I appreciate a resource that tries to make yoga accessible. Today, I chanced across Five-Minute Yoga, belonging to Eve Johnson, a Vancouver-based Iyengar yoga instructor. Another reason for liking her blog is that yoga is her second career: she worked as a journalist  mostly for The Vancouver Sun and CBC radio, similar to my case. She has a set of no audio tapes of five-minute yoga sessions left aimed at beginners. You can even get it on a USB flash drive and take it anywhere.

Eve Johnson published a insightful review of Stefanie Syman’s book, The Subtle Body, in the Vancouver Sun [no longer available / MLS], which is how I came across her site.

Mindful listening

Photo: meditators sitting cross-legged on the floor
Meditating after taking a master class at Thrive Yoga

At lunch hour, I checked out the Diane Remn Show and realized that I had missed several shows that I wanted to listen to. Since giving up my FM-receive cum cell phone a year ago, I’ve gotten out of the habit of listen to NPR. Thanks to the marvels of the Web, I was able to go back and find find the following two shows:

June 22: The Power of Meditation with Josephine Briggs, a researcher, physician and director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Jonathan Foust, senior teacher, the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW); and Richard Davidson, director, Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior and the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Briggs is more of a NIH administrator who shied away from doing more than outline areas that the NCCAAM was funding. Davidson is a leading neuroscientist who is a trail blazer on the power of the mind and has been mentioned repeatedly in this blog. I’ve heard Foust give a short talk and lead mindfulness session and also heard him give a dharma talk at IMCW recently.

August 25: Relaxation Revolution with Dr. Herbert Benson who was the first scientist to identify the relaxation response as an antidote to the “fight-or-flight” response (i.e. stress). Benson recently brought out a book, Relaxation Revolution: Enhancing Your Personal Health Through the Science and Genetics of Mind Body Healing, which brings together much of the scientific and medical thinking since he started in the field 35 years ago.

A great video source for beginners

Yesterday, I reviewed Trudie Styler’s Warrior Yoga and said that it was not appropriate for beginners. It occurred me that I knew exactly where to refer novices interested in good beginner videos, and it’s at Gaia Yoga. About a year ago, I was asked to use the service for a month and comment. I wrote one entry and then my knee injury blew up my practice and diverted my energies. My trial pass ran out, and I forgot all about it.

But thinking about what makes a good beginner-focused video, I remembered the weekly videos of Rodney Yee and Coleen Saidman and realized that the online service offered nine hours of video, plus audiocasts, handouts and other assistance so it fits practically all the needs of a novice. Saidman and Yee demo all the poses, showing modifications and adjustments, progressing from simple to more complex. They fully describe all the “invisible” details that you need to know but will not see in a video. They keep up a steady banter, letting their joy in yoga shine through, while moving through sequences and stopping to emphasize details. You never got a sense that they’re talking down to you. The filming was confined to a studio so the videos are not as spectacular as the garden vistas in Styler’s DVD, but they are still quality productions.

Although Gaiam Yoga Club is charging $5 a week, which works out to about the price of a video per month or $65 for the full 12 week cycle, it really fills a gap in the instructional area. There is a free trial period and discounts. The videos can’t be downloaded, but you can save all the other material for later reference. Saidman and Yee also have a Gaiam DVD, The Practical Power of Yoga, which was broadcast on PBS last year as part of bonus gift in a pledge campaign. I didn’t see it so I don’t know if it’s similar to their Gaiam Yoga Club videos. I assume so.

Yee may not be the most highly esteemed yoga master instructor because he’s been at the forefront of commercializing yoga in books, videos, conferences, and workshops, as well as some flawed personal conduct that has offended the sensibilities of some, but is common, though not acceptable behavior outside the yoga scene. Yee and Saidman make an exceptional team in explaining yoga’s innards to novices.