Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shanghai Turquoise Yoga Mat Bag

SOLD OUT!!!

Description of Shanghai Turquoise Yoga Mat Bag:
Shanghai Turquoise Yoga Mat bag is a rich turquoise brocade that depicts gold, purple, red and silver flourishes and flowers. The inside of the bag contains a golden satin that will allow your yoga mat to slide smoothly into the bag. Each bag contains a handle that is broad and is made out of Shanghai Turquoise fabric. At the top of the bag is an enclosure that contains a white shimmering rope and a black plastic rope closure to make sure that no matter how you pick up the bag your mat will not fall out.

Symbolic Meanings Behind the Bag:
The color blue is often associated with the Vishuddha (purification) chakra. The postures that will help you to balance this chakra are: Postures that Balance Chakra: Fish (Matysasana), Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana), Camel (Ustrasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) and Plow Pose (Halasana).

Availability of the Bag:
SOLD OUT!

Dragon Fire Royal Yoga Mat Bag

Description of Dragon Fire Royal Yoga Mat Bag:
Dragon Fire Royal Yoga Mat bag is a blue brocade that depicts gold and red dragons breathing fire. The inside of the bag contains a golden satin that will allow your yoga mat to slide smoothly into the bag. Each bag contains a handle that is broad and is made out of Dragon Fire Royal fabric. At the top of the bag is an enclosure that contains a white shimmering rope and a black plastic rope closure to make sure that no matter how you pick up the bag your mat will not fall out.

Symbolic Meanings Behind the Bag:
The color blue is often associated with the Vishuddha (purification) chakra. The postures that will help you to balance this chakra are: Postures that Balance Chakra: Fish (Matysasana), Supported Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana), Camel (Ustrasana), Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana) and Plow Pose (Halasana).

Availability of the Bag:
There is 1 Dragon Fire Royal bag in stock. To order please email amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com . Price $79.99 + $7.00 shipping.

Jump Before You Forget


frog7
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
"Sarah-ji, life for an Indian woman is like a frog in a well. You should jump out before you forget how."

-Sara Macdonald "Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure"

This was last month's selection for the Twitter Yoga book club called #YOBC and I just started reading it this week. So far the book is an interesting read and quite unlike other books I have read about people who travel to India.... most of those books make you want to go and experience what the author writes about, but this book is the complete opposite. After only reading 19% of the book on my Kindle I can definitely say that I have never been quite so happy to have my feet planted firmly in the United States. However, I am sure that there is a change coming soon and I have a feeling it has something to do with discovering yoga.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chinese Characters Yoga Mat Bag

Description of Chinese Characters Yoga Mat Bag:
Chinese Characters Yoga Mat bag is a black brocade that depicts several gold Chinese Characters. The inside of the bag contains a golden satin that will allow your yoga mat to slide smoothly into the bag. Each bag contains a handle that is broad and is made out of Chinese Characters fabric. At the top of the bag is an enclosure that contains a white shimmering rope and a black plastic rope closure to make sure that no matter how you pick up the bag your mat will not fall out.

Symbolic Meanings Behind the Bag:
The characters on this bag I have not translated yet. There is a neat little tool online you can use if you wish to translate the meaning of the characters that appear on Chinese Characters Yoga Mat Bag called Chinese Character Dictionary.

Availability of the Bag:
There is one Chinese Characters bag in stock. To order please email amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com . Price $79.99 + $7.00 shipping.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Kapalabhati Pranayama (Skull Brightener Breath)

Who knew breathing could be so hard! This morning I went over to a local yoga studio and took my regular (well as regular as gypsies can be) yoga class. After the last two days of Vinyasa I went in with the full intention of leaving my mind behind and sweating. I should have known better than to expect that from Saturday yoga because I knew that class is more of a strike a pose and hold it to build up strength class than a fast paced create a small lake with your sweat on your mat class. Still as we began and slowly meandered through our warmup and spent time with our breath and in short meditations I could not help but think “When are we going to get to the good stuff???” I was slightly agitated at the pace until we got to Kapalabhati. That is when I felt like I had come upon a wall. For the life of me I cannot get my breath and movements to sync while doing Kapalabhati. I have no idea why this is presenting such a difficult task for me but it is. The directions of “push out on the exhale” is like asking to fly by flapping my arms fast enough...it is just not going to happen. So during the three rounds of Kapalabhati I sat in Full Lotus mediating on why I was not able to make Kapalabhati work. I listened to the powerful breath of my classmates around me and went over and over the instructions in my head. I kept telling myself that is should not be that hard because it is after all just breathing. But just as downward dog is a posture that I just cannot get right even though I believe that the idea of it is really easy, Kapalabhati is something that, after four months of practice still alludes me. Granted in studio classes we do not really focus on Pranayama very often and it really never enters my home practice so perhaps I actually need to learn to breathe. As I write this I cannot help but think of how silly it sounds. But my mind may think it is silly to spend time just breathing, because we in fact breath all day and night, I need to adjust my thoughts on Pranayama and work on detangling the breathing exercises so that one day I can sit in a studio and breathe the cleansing powerful breathes that Kapalabhati produces. If I am honest with myself I realize that I may learn to do a lovely handstand before I learn Kapalabhati. Either way as long as eventually I can accomplish both I will be very pleased with myself.

How to do Kapalabhati:

1. Send your focus to your lower belly. If you are new to Kapalabhati you can place your hand on your stomach so you can feel the movements.

2. You will quickly pump your hand against your lower belly so that you are pushing air out of your lungs. Then just as quickly release your hand so that your stomach will rebound and suck air into your lungs.

3.You should start off slow at first until you can get the rhythm going then you can speed up later. Most instructors will tell you to repeat each cycle 8 to 10 times every second or two seconds.

4. While doing the breathing you should be imagining that you are brightening up the inside of your skull with each exhale.

5. When you first start it is best to do 25 to 30 cycles working your way up to 100 cycles.

Check out more great yoga blogs on:
YIOM2

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dragonfly Yoga Mat Bag

SOLD OUT!!!

Description of Dragonfly Yoga Mat Bag:
Dragonfly Yoga Mat bag is a pale pinkish with gold undertone brocade that depicts several dragonflies in blue, gold and pink. The inside of the bag contains a golden satin that will allow your yoga mat to slide smoothly into the bag. Each bag contains a handle that is broad and is made out of Dragonfly fabric. At the top of the bag is a enclosure that contains a white shimmering rope and a black plastic rope closure to make sure that no matter how you pick up the bag your mat will not fall out.

Symbolic Meanings Behind the Bag: Dragonflies have several symbolic meanings. A few include; emotional maturity, power and poise, defeat of self created illusions, a strong focus on living in the moment, and facing the world with your eyes open. To find out more about the symbolic meanings of dragonflies check out Dragonfly Site.

Availability of the Bag:
SOLD OUT!

Vinyasa Yoga (Flow Yoga)


Bird in the Water
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
Last night was my first Vinyasa class at a studio. Up until last night I had done little bits of flow with the instructors I have had for general yoga and I have done a little in my home practice so I was well aware of what Vinyasa was. Granted my home practice of Vinyasa is limited to mainly Sun Salutations, but all the same I have been working at moving more in my home practice in preparation for a more fast paced class. Last night we did variations of Sun Salutations then some intermediate balances. I was dripping sweat about fifteen minutes into class. It was not too fast paced, in fact it was a perfect pace and I was able to move through the asanas without having to look up at the instructor as I needed to do when I began doing yoga in late January 2011. I now know not only the common names for poses but also some of the Sanskrit names... turns out I HAVE learned something over the last four months.

So as I awkwardly moved from pose to pose sweat dripping onto my mat the only thing that was going through my mind was a line from Claire Dederer's Poser: My Life in 23 Yoga Poses; “Vinyasa makes you thin.” I used this thought as a sort of mantra throughout the class and then another thought went through my head... “I have to add more of this to my regular weekly schedule.” So I was holding onto these two thoughts and chanting my newly formed mantra when something amazing happened, I stopped hearing thoughts and starting really hearing my breath and the breath of those around me. It became easier to focus only on my breath and on my movements because there was not much time for anything else. The constant movement of Vinyasa allowed me to finally just be in the present moment. I know yoga is supposed to be about the union of body and mind but during last night's class I felt as if I left my mind in the car and the only thing I took into class with me was my body and it was moving and breathing and feeling very alive.

My conclusions on studio Vinyasa.... definitely have to up the amount of time I spent doing it for two reasons; 1) “Vinyasa makes you thin” and 2) for at least 75 minutes a night I can leave my mind behind and just be.

Check out more great yoga blogs on:
YIOM2

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bird in a Tree Yoga Mat Bag

Description of Bird in a Tree Yoga Mat Bag:
Bird in a Tree Yoga Mat bag is a deep plum brocade that depicts golden birds in flowered trees with flourishes and flowers accenting each scene. The inside of the bag contains a golden satin that will allow your yoga mat to slide smoothly into the bag. Each bag contains a handle that is broad and is made out of Bird in a Tree fabric. At the top of the bag is a enclosure that contains a white shimmering rope and a black plastic rope closure to make sure that no matter how you pick up the bag your mat will not fall out.

Symbolic Meanings Behind the Bag: Purple,Plum, Violet is typically associated with the Sahasrara (Thousand Petaled Lotus) chakra. Sahasrara (Thousand Petaled Lotus) is the seventh chakra and is associated with thought and is located in the crown of the head. Postures that will help you to balance this chakra include any that encourage you to work on balances such as Tree Pose or Eagle Pose.

Availability of the Bag:
There is 1 Bird in a Tree bag in stock. To order please email amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com . Price $79.99 + $7.00 shipping.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finding Peace on the Water


lotus
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
"Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street." ~William Blake

The last week was spent not really meeting mountains but indeed we went out to find peace out on the water... it was found. While I was away from my blog for a little while I was not really away from the internet (ah the wonders of a Kindle). If you like Weekly Zen and want to get more Weekly Zen (quotes, images and other goodies) make sure to find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter. Have a peaceful day.... ~A

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)

The other day our yoga class was working their way into Kapotasana better known as King Pigeon Pose. We started in Pigeon Prep and then hinged over our front leg and breathed into the stretch. We were then instructed to move into King Pigeon, which if you have never done before can be very challenging. To reach our outstretched leg, that seemed so very far away, we were encouraged to use a strap which we secured around our foot and slowly brought our back leg up to meet the back of our head and spread our arms wide behind our head. It was difficult yet completely satisfying to move into my imperfect Kapotasana. While I was able to keep my grounded leg (front leg) flat on the floor, my back leg was slightly turned out and about a foot and a half from the back of my head. Even with the flaws in my King Pigeon I felt as if it was a complete success. The moments I spent in King Pigeon were filled with nothing but the sound of my breathing and the feel of all my muscles stretching. I could not pinpoint where I actually felt the benefits of King Pigeon because everything felt fantastic. So later when I came home I went over to Yoga Journal and looked it up just to see what the benefits of the pose were here is what I found..

  • Stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins, abdomen and chest, and throat
  • Stretches the deep hip flexors
  • improves posture
  • stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck
Yep that seems about right but there was something else I felt when I did King Pigeon that was not in the list from Yoga Journal... I am going to attempt to describe it here but mostly likely it will sound muddled and weird if you have not experienced it yourself. Okay here it goes... it was a wave of energy. At the moment all my muscles felt as if they were delivering emotion to my brain and they were telling my mind, “We can do anything!” I wanted to stay in that pose the rest of class but as soon as I thought about staying in the pose my body tensed and I thought “How the heck am I supposed to get out of this pose?” Well of course the instructor led us out of the pose and it was easy but the minute I began to think about what I was doing I stopped feeling the openness that only yoga can produce. So at the end of class when the instructor told us to take two things with us that we would use the rest of our practice I made this little list in my mind:

1) King Pigeon is awesome! I must add this into every practice!
2) Stop thinking so much about yoga and just DO yoga.

Very useful pieces of advice to myself and while number one was pretty easy to begin incorporating number two is proving more difficult, so just like my yoga it is a work in progress. :) What are some little reminders you tell yourself after a yoga session?


How to do Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose):

  • Start off in Downward Dog then bring your right knee forward between your hands. You will be setting yourself up to be in Pigeon Pose (right leg bent in front of you and left leg straight back)
  • Bend your left knee and flex your foot and bring your left foot up towards the back of your head with your hand.
  • Flip your left elbow up to the ceiling. Your toes should be pointing straight up and your fingers are pointing down.
  • Arch your head back and reach your right hand over your head to hold onto your left toes. At this point or even earlier you can use a strap to reach your left foot.

Congratulations you are in Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose)! Now to get out...

  • Straighten your left leg out all the way back to the floor.
  • Tuck your toes
  • Place your palm on the floor on either side of your right leg and step back into Downward Dog.
  • Once out repeat the process above this time bringing the left leg up first out of Downward Dog.
Check out more great yoga blogs on:
YIOM2

Be

Be
Be
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

Expedition Everest Challenge 2011

The Expedition Everest Challenge at Disney's Animal Kingdom is by far the best Disney 5ks I have ever done. This one is going on my list of Disney races to repeat (so far that makes a list of 2... Disney Princess Half Marathon and Expedition Everest). At first I thought that this race was a little pricey at $100 for an individual (I did not register early so I paid the most expensive price) but then I actually got there and did it. It was worth the money. Here is a breakdown of the race from packet pickup to the finish line...

Packet Pickup:
Held at ESPN Wide World of Sports this is an outdoor event (although they moved it inside on the day that I picked up because of rain). There is a large board where you will find your name on a list and look up your bib number. Once you have your bib number you will then proceed to your corresponding number and pickup your race packet, they mark your waiver and then you take that over to get your goody bag (pictured below). If you do not have a waiver with you they have a few at packet pickup. At the packet pickup the only race merchandise I saw for sale were “I did it!” t-shirts (which are some of the coolest ones I have seen). If you want an event pin you have to purchase it during registration because they do not have extras for sale at packet pickup. There is also packet pickup on race day if you are unable to make it the Friday before. The only time you can exchange your shirt is 45 minutes before the race starts so make sure you order the right size during registration. I typically wear a medium woman's cut shirt and for this I ordered an Extra Small and it was still a little big. Extra Small is the smallest size.

Expedition Everest Challenge May 7, 2011 Goody Bag

Starting Line:
Since I registered as an individual I was assigned to Wave 1 and got to head into the park first. This was the first time that I have been placed in the first Wave... it was totally awesome! I was 35 minutes ahead of the last Wave! There is a 5 minute delay between each Wave and I believe there were 7 Waves. The start of the race begins in the Butterfly Parking Lot at Animal Kingdom. There is a countdown and then fireworks to begin.

Mile 1:
Takes you through the Animal Kingdom parking lot and into the main gate of Animal Kingdom. On the way through the parking lot I ran into alligators and then came upon the first obstacle... hay bales. The task was to run (or walk if you needed to) over the hale bales (4 sets in all). After successfully completing the hale bales you then run into Animal Kingdom through the main gate. Once inside the park you will go through the Oasis, around Discovery Island and the Tree of Life and into Africa. While you are running through there is music playing that makes you feel like you are in some movie where you indeed are on a race to find the mythical Yeti. It is pretty awesome to run in the dark through the lush vegetation of Animal Kingdom. My time for mile 1 was 13:26 (this includes the time I took to jump the hay bales).

Mile 2:
Continues through Africa and over the train tracks of Rafiki's Plant Watch. Just before you cross into Rafiki's Planet Watch area there is a water stop (#1 of 2). It is in Rafiki's Planet Watch area where you come across your second obstacle... tires! You are to run or walk through the tires which are laying flat on the ground, three sets in all. After trekking through Rafiki's Planet Watch (not the building area, but the backstage area) you double back the way you came and head towards Asia. You go through part of Asia, past Flights of Wonder then you cross a bridge where if you look to your left you can see Everest in the distance looking very ominous. You continue making your way back to the other side of Discovery Island. It was during mile 2 that I saw Mickey and Minnie in their Safari gear on the Safari vehicle they use during the parade at Animal Kingdom. My time for mile 2 was 14:09 (the tires were a little more challenging than the hay and slowed me down a bit).

Mile 3:
During mile three you run through Discovery Island and back through the Oasis area out of the park and towards the parking lot. During mile 3 King Louie was waiting on a curve and reached out to give me a hug. Sort of surprised me, but luckily I was caught up in a little bit of a traffic jam and was already walking pretty slow. I stopped for pictures with him, which I sincerely hope ASI will find and attach to my bib since I did not have my own camera with me. The last obstacle of the course was a 3 choice obstacle. You had the choice of climbing up and over a cargo net, climbing under a cargo net or running around the whole thing in soft sand. I choose to run around because I just could not see myself climbing up the net and really did not want to climb on my hands and knees in the dirt. By mile three I was so excited that I did not realize I was flying. My time for mile 3 was 12:29.

My total 5k time with obstacles (according to my Garmin) was about 40 minutes.

After the last obstacle you cross over a timing device that will record your time for the 5k but you are not done yet and have to grab your first clue, marker and flashlight to begin the scavenger hunt.

Scavenger Hunt:
You are given your first clue right after you finish the 5k. I did not realize what they were handing out at the end because it looked like the maps they gave us in our goody bag of the park so I figured since I already had one I would not take it. It was not until I got to the markers that I realized I missed picking up clue 1 and had to double back and grab a clue. There are five clue in total that you will bring you back through the main gate into the park over to the Oasis, Camp Minnie Mickey, through Africa and into Asia where you will end right in front of Everest to the Yeti roaring. The clues are the hardest part of the race and involve word puzzles that will produce 5 passwords. It is the last password that you will show to receive your medal. If you need help with the clues, like I did then you can talk to the others around you are ask a volunteer. There are several different clues that will all lead to the same final word. The scavenger hunt took me about 22 minutes to complete and added 1.22 to my mileage for the race.

Overall the whole race was 4.22 miles and it took me 1 hour and 2 minutes to complete.

The Finish Line:
Although it is a little chaotic at the finish and sort of a narrow shoot you have to run through while getting your medal, it was one of the most exciting Disney race finishes I have experienced yet. Everyone was screaming and pumping their arms in the air, I almost ran right past the medals. At the end there was a ton of Cliff Bars, bananas, Poweraide (3 flavors) and giant water (1.5 liter). After you grab your goodies you are right there at Everest which was open for the after party.

Expedition Everest Challenge May 7, 2011 Medal

The Post Race Party:
The post race party is music and Disney Attractions in Asia and Dinoland USA. There are also some shops and restaurants open. Here is a list of what was open during the May 7, 2011 race:

Attractions:
Expedition Everest-Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (Asia)
Kali River Rapids (Asia)
The Boneyard (Dinoland USA)
Fossil Fun Games (Dinoland USA)
TriceraTop Spin (Dinoland USA)
DINOSAUR (Dinoland USA)

Entertainment:
Awards ceremony at the DJ stage outside Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures in Dinoland USA (11:30pm)

DJ Dance Party outside Chester and Hester's Dinosaur Treasures in Dinoland USA (9:30-1am)

Food:
Food carts throughout the party area
Restaurantosaurus (Dinoland USA) (Burgers, Hot Dogs, Salads)
Cornivores (Dinoland USA) (Popcorn and drinks)
Dino Dinner (Dinoland USA) (Hot Dogs, Beer, and Soda)
Trilo-Bites (Dinoland USA) (Turkey Legs, Frozen Carbonated Drinks and Beer)

Shopping:
Serka Zong Bazaar (Asia)
Chester & Hester's Dinosaur Treasures (Dinoland USA)
Dino Institute Shop (Dinoland USA)
Garden Gate Gifts (Main Gate)

The Race Overall:
Overall this was an awesome race! The only things I think could use improvement were... the mile markers were hard to distinguish because there were no time clocks just little signs and the finishes were a little confusing. I did not know exactly where the 5k ended and when the scavenger hunt began. Also the bag check was a bit a confusing situation for many. If you checked a bag you did it at the start in a parking lot where they loaded it into a truck and then took it into Dinoland. So when you finish and need your bag you do not leave the park you just go right to the After Party and your bag will be in Dinoland. You will see signs that lead you to the area.

Things to Consider Before Registering for Expedition Everest:
1) You do not have to do any of the obstacles if you do not feel comfortable with them (you will not be able to win however... this does not mean that you will not receive a medal).
2) It is dark and the flashes from cameras can cause distractions to other runners. I did not take my own camera for this reason.
3) Some of the course is narrow and only defined by cones.
4) Three major Animal Kingdom rides are open and the lines are virtually non-existent.
5) Individuals get into Wave 1!
6) The Scavenger Hunt is a little bit of a challenge and you will be running around on the same course the runners are on so be sure to lookout for the runners who are still doing the 5k.
7) Kids can totally do this race and they will love it!
8) ASI photographers are at each obstacle and at the finish. The also will be walking around before the race taking photos.
9) This is such a fun race you will probably want to do it more than once.

Photos from the Expedition Everest Challenge 2011.
Check out the map and elevation chart for this race on my Dailymile upload of the Expedition Everest Challenge

Friday, May 06, 2011

How to Measure Your Yoga Mat


To insure that you get the right size bag for your mat please follow the instructions below to decided what size bag you need.

  1. Roll your mat up as you normally would (not too tight and not too loose)
  2. Take a tape measure and measure the length of the mat (from top to bottom... see image below)
    Measuring the Length of your Yoga Mat
  3. Take a tape measure and measure around the rolled up mat (this will be your around measurement... see image below)
    Measuring Around Your Yoga Mat

If you are ordering a standard mat the bag will fit a mat that is 24 inches long by 15 inches around. If you are ordering a custom yoga mat bag you will need to send an email to amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com that looks like the following...

Fabric: Emerald Phoenix
Length: 24 inches
Around: 15 inches
Special Instructions: Please make the handle the same color as the liner instead of the Emerald Phoenix.

If you have further questions please email me amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dragon Fire Yoga Mat Bag

Physical Description of Dragon Fire Yoga Mat Bag:
Dragon Fire Yoga Mat bag is a rich red brocade that depicts a golden dragon in flight while breathing fire. The inside of the bag contains a golden satin that will allow your yoga mat to slide smoothly into the bag. Each bag contains a handle that is broad and is made out of Dragon Fire fabric. At the top of the bag is a enclosure that contains a white shimmering rope and a black plastic rope closure to make sure that no matter how you pick up the bag your mat will not fall out.

Symbolic Meanings Behind the Bag:
Red is typically associated with the Muladhara chakra. Muladhara (Mula= earth adhara = support) is the first chakra and is associated with the element earth. Postures that will help you to balance this chakra include any that encourage you to ground your feet. For example: Mountain Pose (Tadasana), Side-Angle Pose (Parsvakonasana), Warrior Pose (Virabhadrasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana).

Availability of the Bag:
There is 1 Dragon Fire Bag in stock. To order please email amanda@amandasweeklyzen.com . Price $79.99 + $7.00 shipping.

Looking Within


Looking Within
Originally uploaded by Amanda's Weekly Zen
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." — Ralph Waldo Emerson