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5 Yoga Poses for Fall

With the kids back in school, moms can carve out a little time during the day to tone their triceps, gain a little flexibility, and find a moment of inner peace.

Whether you’ve never gotten into a yoga pose in your life or if you’ve worn out a mat or two, give these 5 yoga poses a try at home. It’s not that hard to squeeze in 15 minutes sometime before afternoon pickup, right?

For each pose (asana) focus more on trying than on perfecting and don’t stress about how “good” you are — non-judgment being one of the tenets of yoga.

Child’s Pose

Also known as “wisdom pose,” balasana connects your heart and your intuitive center to the earth, from where we draw feminine energy as we seek inspiration and creativity.

Soybu Activewear Mama’s Night Out: Denver Moms Celebrate New Flagship in Grand Fashion

When Soybu contacted me about collaborating on a grand opening for their flagship store in Greenwood Village, I was all-in after a quick Google search revealed huge fan base for this darling women’s activewear. How had I never heard of this Colorado-based company that is a popular national brand, particularly among  Yoginis? Simple: though I love wearing yoga pants I hate yoga.

But that is what I’ve come to love about Soybu. They are so much more than a yoga line. Their entire brand of clothing–from bathing suits to dresses to skirts to jackets–exudes confidence, a positive self image and a message aimed to empower all body types to live a health-conscious lifestyle. Their “Life is a Workout” messaging particularly resonates with moms; their feminine, stylish and comfortable clothes are perfect, whether you’re chasing a toddler around the house or fitting in a hardcore workout.

Because let’s face it: a lot of us live in comfortable activewear!

On Wednesday night, more than 40 social media moms gathered to toast their grand opening “Love Your Body, We Do” and what a night it was! As we tweeted and modeled, we were treated to a wellness recharge with “Aspen Juice” champagne cocktails with raw juices, goodies from The Bundt Shoppe and a blow dry bar and make-up station. soybu1

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Soybu also has a popular girl’s activewear line “Gracie” and founder Tina Schmitt’s daughter Gracie also made a guest appearance (bottom left). soybustorefunsoybustore

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Funny side note: A couple of months ago, I fell in love with a darling dress at Sports Authority that I absolutely had to buy for our trip to Hawaii. Because it’s winter and I don’t really wear tankini dresses in sub-zero temperatures (go figure), I tucked it away in  my closet for safekeeping until I bought it out to pack for our trip last week. Lo-and-behold, it was a Soybu-brand dress. It’s like we were meant to be.

And I suspect there are a lot of women in Denver who will be discovering its glories in these coming months.

Sad you missed out on the fun? Visit Soybu online and receive 25 percent off your order now through Sun., Feb. 23, 2014.

The new Soybu flagship store is located at Cherry Hills Marketplace, 2500 E. Orchard Rd Unit 2500 A, Greenwood Village, Co (next to the Pancake House and the NEW Trader Joe’s). Thanks to Soybu for partnering with us on this promotion.

The Tao of Gratitude

My yoga teacher is hung up on gratitude. Got something good going on? Show gratitude! Got something bad going on? Show gratitude! She focuses on opening our hips and expanding our hearts because “open hips = happy heart.” And a happy heart is a grateful one.

After a stretchy sequence to eke open our hips more — more — MORE — the instructor closed our practice with this quote during savasana, the pose of total relaxation at the end of class:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

— Melody Beattie

Those words led to big emotions on my mat.

My journey through infertility and adoption flashed before my eyes. My sickly, failure-of-a-body has evolved into something I love, both in the way it looks and functions. The dark days during which I nearly lost the will to live were juxtaposed with the brilliant light I found in an online infertility community. My empty arms and longing heart gave way to a fantastically full home — basketballs, laundry, toys and the two children who leave those things all over. Everyday chaos is balanced by the calm stillness I find when I draw my attention solely to the space on my mat.

Yin yangIn my mind’s eye were a thousand tao symbols, each one symbolizing the duality of yin/yang becoming the unity of The Tao.

  • Day + night = a day
  • Good + evil = humanity
  • Passionate Democrats + passionate Republicans = Americans
  • Broken + forgiveness = wholeness
  • An Infertile + a superfertile  = open adoption
  • Self-loathing + self love = me

It was bliss. I felt gratitude for every single thread in the tapestry that is my life.

May your November be full of things to be grateful for.

Images: LavenderLuz.com and digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Lori blogs from metro-Denver at LavenderLuz.com. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom, will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2013.

Five ways yoga makes you grow as a mom

I had my annual physical and I’m happy to report that all tests came out great. One vital statistic came out better than great: I am a half-inch taller than I used to be.

I attribute it to yoga. A steady yoga practice can put space into one’s spine to counter the compression that comes over time. I began practicing yoga more than 5 years ago and I’m aiming for 6’2″ before I die. So that’s a lot of yoga (and a lot of years — I’m clever like that)!

In honor of this half-inch, I share with you today a story by mom and yogini Kim Shand, a yoga teacher who writes about finding the calm within the storm that is parenting. Her grown-up secret? Balasana — the pose of the child.

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I’ve been a mother for 23 years. My husband and I have raised two children to the point to adulthood, if not complete independence. We navigated pee-wee soccer, teen acne, and way too many prom nights. We survived the transition when they left for college. We endured the roller coaster ride toward degrees. We are now waist deep in the ”kids are back home” adventure.

When your children are babies you feel the excitement and the trepidation of not knowing what’s ahead of you. Having conquered the unknown, I had a perception of myself as an experienced parent. Now, with two 20-somethings in the house full-time, I am once again facing down the ravine of unknown territory. As I enter this new phase of post-parenting parenting, I find myself once again leaning heavily on the lessons of my yoga practice to find the calm within the storm.

#1 – Child’s pose is always an option. It used to be that time outs were a useful tool for the children, giving them time to calm down and choose a better course of action. Now they are an appropriate tool for me. On the mat child’s pose is an opportunity to pull back from the intensity of the practice and check in. Off the mat, a mental child’s pose steps you back and take a few deep breaths.

My husband and I had taken a long weekend away to reconnect and recharge, leaving our house in the hands of our children who needed to remain on their work schedules. Although I love to travel, I always have a sense of joy in returning home to my own kitchen, my own bed and everything familiar. Walking through the door of our home on a Tuesday afternoon, I fully expected the comfort of the familiar. I was greeted with something I’d never seen before.

The kitchen sink was piled with dirty dishes. The smell of rotting food pervaded. The family room had piles of laundry.  For some reason I couldn’t possibly fathom, a soaking wet towel was lying on the wood floor of the kitchen.

It was time for child’s pose.

#2 – Maintain a beginner’s (child’s) mind. No matter how long you’ve been practicing, your body is different every time you step onto the mat, and what you need is different. Approaching each yoga pose as though it is your first allows you to stay open to new possibilities without predetermined ideas of what works and what your limits are.

My child’s pose allowed me to call my son at his office and and resist the temptation to launch an assault. I asked what had happened in the house. He explained that there had been a power outage leaving them without electricity for 3 days. They couldn’t run the dishwasher. The ice in the freezer had started to melt, so each morning they put a towel in front of it before leaving for work. They were showering at friends’ houses at night and then changing into work clothes in the family room because it had the most windows and natural light at dawn.

#3 – Release your attachment to the outcome: Each time you try a yoga pose you get stronger. Mentally and physically you create change by putting out effort without your ego demanding a specific outcome. It makes no difference if you stick the pose perfectly or struggle and fall. The benefits are always there.

Could my grown children have emptied the ice from the freezer to avoid the flood? Maybe used a bigger towel (or several)? Would I have washed the dishes by hand in the same situation? Was it feasible to neatly fold the clothes they walked out of before putting clean clothes on? It’s all possible.

On the other hand, their effort created a benefit. My vision of an outcome was not their vision. My kids have very distinct personalities all their own, and (hard to believe) not everything about them is a reflection, or indictment, of me. The dishes got washed. The clothes found the laundry room. The wooden floor dried out. Two young adults didn’t end up feeling like they came up short.

#4 – Relax with what is: This is simultaneously the most difficult and the most useful single lesson a yoga practice can offer.

Kim Shand is the founder of Rethink Yoga. She travels nationally on a mission to inspire people to take control of their health, how they think, and how they age, through yoga. Follow Kim on Facebook, on Twitter, and on YouTube.

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Lori (#5 – at 5-foot 9 and a half) of WriteMindOpenHeart.com is a mom to Tessa, 11, and Reed, 9. She and her family live in the Denver-area where Lori is writing her first book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption in, yes, her yoga pants. It will be published by Rowman & Littlefield and available in mid-2013.