A zero waste adventure: the bathroom

So if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I’ve been trying to limit the waste I produce, and generally how much of an impact on the earth my actions lead to. I’ve touched upon this topic here. I thought it’s time I show what practical measures I have taken and how it changes the look of my bathroom!

This post is not sponsored (I mean, my blog is far from dragging the readership that is required for sponsorship :’D) so I’m only “advertising” the products that I use, because I use them, and in case you’d like to know why I use them and where you can find them.

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From left to right: homemade conditioner / cleaning agent (50% lemon juice or vinegar, 50% water – the label is a wink to my old organic chemistry days and simply indicate it is diluted acid), “Soak and Float” Lush shampoo bar, “Sexy Peel” Lush soap, and Pura Naturals compostable sponge. 

  • I’ve switched from buying liquid soap and shampoo in plastic bottles to soap & shampoo bars. I also switched my deodorant to a solid one you can see on the picture below (pro-tip: I find that wetting it makes the application much easier). All of those right now are from Lush, they are vegan and cruelty-free aka not tested on animals *. I like that they don’t use palm oil, and are generally a pretty conscious company, both in terms of animal testing and eco-friendliness. For more info on their practices I recommend reading this blog post.
    Why getting rid of plastic when you can recycle it, you ask? Well, first, a lot of it just isn’t recycled. Second, plastic can only be recycled a couple of times as it is downgraded each time it is recycled – so it’s truly downcycled rather than recycled. Third, the plastic itself requires a LOT of energy to be made (link is for water bottles). Finally, liquid products weight more and take more space, increasing the transportation energetic cost compared to solid. For exemple, I’ve switched to solid shampoo since last October, and I’m not even through my second shampoo bar ( I shampoo every 2-3 days)!
    However, I have found that with the shampoo bar, I do need a conditioner, else my hair looks greasy. I didn’t use to use a conditioner beforehand, but now I am simply rinsing my hair with a mixture of vinegar or lemon juice and water, which works like a charm.

    * I still don’t understand how you can label a non-vegan product “cruelty-free” and vice-versa – you’d think those would be synonymous but you can have “accidentally” vegan products tested on animals and products non-tested on animals which contain milk, honey or carmine (crushed insects).

  • I am actually using this same “conditioner” mixture to dust most of the apartment off. Any glass, mirror, or wood surface is easily cleaned by this slightly acidic mix and a cloth. And possibly some elbow grease.
  • Sponges. For some reason, it didn’t hit me until I started looking into buying an eco-friendly sponge, but most sponges are made out of plastic, which cannot be recycled, and ends up in a landfill where it will take hundreds of years to decompose, if it ever does. So I switched to a compostable sponge. It’d still packaged in plastic, but at least I can just put it in my compost bin once I’m done with it, and recycle the plastic film (which other sponges would have too).

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Top: face cream from Persistent vegan on Etsy. Middle: Solid deodorant ‘T’eo” from Lush in its tin box. Bottom: Adjustable safety razor from Merkur & bamboo comb bought at a fair.

 

  • One of the easiest switches I made was to get an adjustable safety razor. I actually got it as a present for christmas, and I love it. It shaves so close to the skin, and I don’t get razor bumps anymore! There is a bit of a learning curve as it barely requires any pressure to shave, and it takes a bit more time as I am more careful not to cut myself, but even without the environmental concerns, I cannot imagine going back to disposables.
    I also stopped using shaving cream, I just lather my skin with the soap bar and voila!
  • My comb is not really a “switch” as it is not an item that you replace so often. But my old comb (which was made out of plastic) broke down, so I replaced it with this more eco-friendly alternative – I also like the simple look of it. I would not have replaced it if it didn’t break down as it is better to use up what you have rather than buying something new, even if the new item is eco-friendly.
  • Face products! That was a tough one. As you might know, I have had bad skin issues in the past, and my skin is still pretty reactive and unhappy with most creams – so much that it is often better without putting anything on it. The one exception I have to mention is Matricium. This sh*t is absolutely magical and amazing, and saved my *ss many, many, many times. However, it’s also very wasteful… individual doses, plastic-wrapped 😦 and not vegan. So I had been trying to find a replacement solution for a while, and so far I seem to have settled down for Persistent vegan face cream.
    As for washing, I either use only water, or a bar face soap from Lush, once again.
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Very simple ingredients, yet it seems that my skin has taken a liking to it. Tin packaging is easily reusable (you can send it back to her to get a refill) or recyclable. 

  • Alongside the safety razor, I got reusable pads for my christmas present. I’m not linking any of those, as I realized later that it would have been better to sew my own out of an old T-shirt. Furthermore, I got some made out of bamboo fiber, before I learned that bamboo textile was actually not eco-friendly. Oh well, you live, you learn.
    As you can see below, I store them into glass containers labeled “clean” and “used”. When I go to the laundromat (yes, welcome to NYC, nobody owns a washing machine here!) I put them in my underwear net and wash them with the rest of my clothes. I use Dr. Bronner’s  soap to wash my clothes, which is hypoallergenic.
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My bamboo toothbrush rests into a repurposed liquid deodorant container from which I removed the roller. I repurposed glass jars from bean dips after carefully washing them, removing their labels and relabeling them as face wash pads containers.

  • One of the first things I did was to switch my toothbrush for a bamboo one. Plastic toothbrushes are one of the worst things for the environment, as they cannot be recycled, have very long decomposition times, and are changed pretty often. Bamboo toothbrushes can be composted, however I recently found out that you need to either break the head off or pluck the bristles out, as even the toothbrushes labeled as biodegradable are not truly so, unless they’re not vegan. So to be honest, I’m not sure a bamboo toothbrush is truly better than a toothbrush with replaceable heads, especially since I’m pretty sure most people don’t have the patience to remove bristles or break the head of their toothbrush off.

Finally, some things I’m still working on / trying to find better alternatives to. Both have to do with oral care.

I haven’t managed to find a packaging-free toothpaste that contains fluoride. I have teeth which are very sensitive to tooth decay, so I really want fluoride in my toothpaste. There is a lot of fear-mongering about fluoride in toothpaste, but after looking through the scientific literature, I could not find evidence of fluoride being bad for you unless you actually eat a large quantity of toothpaste, which might be an issue for young children, but definitely not for adults. I could find, however, lots of evidence showing that fluoride prevents tooth decay. So even though I tried Lamazuna‘s solid toothpaste, I reverted to regular toothpaste (I also really didn’t find it practical, as it broke down into pieces about halfway through use). Please leave a comment if you know of an eco-friendly toothpaste with fluoride.

I’m also struggling with finding an alternative to floss. The biodegradable floss I’ve seen is made of silk, so not vegan. I’m thinking of switching to toothpicks instead. Once more, if you have suggestions please please please leave them below.

I hope this was useful! Did it inspire you to change some of your bathroom items for a more eco-friendly option? What is your next swap gonna be?

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Teaching yoga at a homeless shelter

I find this a hard article to write, as there is so much to write about!

It’s been a bit more than a month since I started teaching a weekly class in a homeless shelter in the south of Manhattan. Well, homeless shelter is a bit of a misnaming in this case, since it is a “transition home”, which is mid-term housing for people who used to live on the street. So, technically, they are not homeless anymore.

The shelter is managed by the BRC, the largest association helping the homeless in NYC. There are 32 “clients”, as they are called, living there for a period from 6 to 24 months, until they can hopefully transition to stable housing. This specific location specializes in clients who have a history of mental illness and/or substance abuse.

It’s an interesting experience for sure, very different from teaching at an Iyengar studio.

  • I have very little space and / or props. Four mats, and a wall once I’ve pushed the chairs in that room to the side. I bring my own blocks and belt to help, and of course use the wall and sometimes the very impractical sitting chairs.

 

  • There is no planning possible (thankfully I was never truly a class-planning person anyways…). What I mean by this is that the class is supposed to be from 7PM to 8:30PM. But I never know when people are going to show up. Around 7PM, the security guy usually rings the bell to let residents know that the class is starting. Sometimes one of the students will actually be there at 7, sometimes I just wait until someone shows up. So far I have always had someone show up, but it can be 10, 15, 20 minutes after the class was supposed to start (I’ve put a limit on myself to leave if noone has showed up by 7:30PM). So I start when my first student shows up, and other students might join in (or not) at any point. Thankfully I already had a good training in this when I was teaching at my friend Daniel’s place, since he would regularly interrupt the class to go take care of his dinner.

 

  • The students themselves are very different from what people think as “yogis”. Their fitness level is very low, and the demographic is mainly black males aged 30-70. I actually think it is great, as it shows that yoga is truly for everyone. I’m glad they are interested in trying it, and that they keep on coming back and work hard to improve their lives.

 

  • A funny one to finish. You know how we all fart? It’s actually a question I’ve had a lot from people. What do you do when people fart, or when you, a teacher, farts during a demonstration for exemple? Well I’ve found that in regular classes, people just ignore it and go ahead with whatever was going on beforehand. They might be secretly judging the farter, but we’ll never know. At the shelter however, a fart is followed by a loud “SORRY!” and sometimes a laugh from the guilty and shameless farter, which I find both hilarious and refreshing.

 

Teaching in this setting has taught me a lot about myself as a teacher. I’ve had to let go of my Iyengar perfectionism. If I can get them to stretch a bit and get somewhat of the shape of the pose, that’s good. If I can relieve a bit of their back pain (main complaint), that’s awesome! And since they come back, I assume they find some value in my teaching. It has also stimulated a lot of my creativity, as even “easy” poses are sometimes out of reach. What do you do when child’s pose is a hard pose, and you don’t have props to help? Finally, I try to be more conscious of my adjusting students. Even though in my Introductory assessment I was told I don’t touch people enough, I am especially wary of touching people who have been through trauma, which this specific group of student most certainly has. So I try to ask every time if I can touch the student before adjusting them – but old habits die hard and I’m very guilty of regularly doing before asking.

Grief.com - – Books on Grief

For people interested in trauma and how yoga can help survivors, I highly recommend this book which I recently devoured. 

 

Finally, I’d like to advertise a Gofundme I created to collect money and purchase some more props for my students at the shelter. The money will go towards getting bolsters, blocks and blankets to make yoga more accessible to the students who have knee pain, difficulties to relax and a hard time stretching. I am sure they will be very grateful for any contribution you can make.

 

 

10 ways becoming vegan changed my life

Since the previous article was fun to write and ended up quite popular (maybe because it’s shorter than my usual rants? :’D) I decided to write another one on my other big, life-changing decision. Once again, no particular order…

  1. My skin cleared up. It had already become way better after I stopped eating gluten and dairy, but there was also a certain improvement when I stopped eating animal products.
  2. I lost weight. I wasn’t consciously trying to, though I was certainly slightly overweight beforehand. I sometimes refer to it as losing “guilt weight” since I felt so much better after I took the decision, but more realistically it’s likely because vegan whole foods are less calory-dense, so I was eating as much, but it ended up being less total energy.
  3. TMI, you’ve been warned. I started pooping VERY regularly. Everyday, often twice a day. If I don’t poop in one day, I now start wondering what’s up.
  4. I learned a lot about nutrition and health (I didn’t go vegan for health, and would have likely stopped eating meat before if I didn’t think / had always been told it was necessary for me to be healthy. Spoiler: it’s not).
  5. I started putting a lot more time researching a product before buying it. What it’s made of, what are the working conditions of people making it, what will happen to it once I discard it – things I didn’t think so much about before. I started looking more into the zero-waste movement as well.
  6. I became more assertive and more of my own individual. I’m still not very assertive, it’s just not in my character and I don’t want to be that vegan (I guess my type of activism is simply normalizing veganism and showing that there are good / logical reasons to be vegan, not only pseudo-scientific banter). However, this was truly the first decision I took that showed a true shift from how I was raised, if not in values, at least how I interpret and implement them.
  7.  People sometimes excuse themselves for talking about non-vegan food they’ve eaten or eating animals in front of me. Which I’m not sure what my feelings are about this? I mean, sure, I’d rather they didn’t, but then again, I ate meat for most of my life, so it’s not like I don’t know what it is…
  8. I notice thought inconsistencies / cognitive dissonance much more, not only when veganism is at stake, and also how much people dislike having it pointed it out. Another side-effect of this, is that admitting that I had been wrong by adopting veganism as a new lifestyle & philosophy, makes me more reflective of my beliefs. Since I was wrong once, and for something as big as this, I could be wrong again. So I try to listen to arguments opposite from mine with a non-prejudiced mind. It’s not easy!
  9. I notice how much animal products are in EVERYTHING, often unnecessarily or as cheap fillers, like milk in salt and pepper chips. WHY???
  10. For the first time in a very long time, I am considering changing my career plan. Since my last year of high school, my mind was set on a career in drug discovery. Saving people’s lives by creating tomorrow’s drugs. And it is what I am currently doing, as a postdoctoral researcher in protein engineering, I design antibodies against cancer targets, which will hopefully progress to a personalized medical treatment for patients. However, I realize that the medicines I am making will have to be tested on animals (this is required by law). While I do think that this might have been necessary at some point (like eating meat was likely necessary for our ancestors to survive), there are now more and more technologies, like organs-on-a-chip, being developed which are better for testing drugs than using animals. I think using animals is unnecessary in many cases, as it has been shown in multiple cases that animal testing is often inefficient at predicting human reactions to a product (see this case  in France only two years ago). So I’m considering a possible career switch to science policy in the future.

The first time I saw the top image, or one similar, I was far from being vegan and my reaction was similar to the bottom one. I thought vegans were very stupid not to know that cows do not need to be killed for milk, and that would actually be against the farmer’s interest! The fact that they were two white / slim / seemingly affluent women didn’t help with the stereotype of “they don’t have anything better to busy their days with”.                                                                                                                                                           This is why I think this type of activism isn’t very effective. It didn’t make me connect the dots. I didn’t realize that cows need to be pregnant to lactate, so as soon as the calf is born it is taken away and killed rapidly to be sold as veal. And even though I had always been told to buy beef raised for meat and not beef raised for milk (it is compulsory to write which type of beef it is in France) as it is supposed to taste better, I never realized this what was they meant by “I want to live”. I was the ignorant one, yet I judged them as being ignorant. Tough lesson to learn…

10 ways practicing yoga changed my life

Disclaimer: the idea for this post came while I was in the shower, and I just felt like I HAD TO WRITE IT RIGHT NOW. So there you go, in no particular order:

  1. I reconnected with my body and accepted it for what it is. I fell in love at first practice because of how it made me feel. At the time I was dissatisfied with my body and its refusal to conform to what I thought I ought to look like. Yoga made me accept my body as it was, and made me proud of the things it could do. Funnily, my body did change a lot with practice, losing weight (which I attribute to #3) and  weight training, to a point that I think it is what I wished it was at the time, but I’m not sure whether that it truly the case or whether I’ve just truly learned to love myself.
  2. I stopped wearing make-up everyday. Linked to #1, and also moving to the Netherlands where the pressure to look put together is much less important than in France, especially the South of France. Still a + in my book. I do like to wear make-up from time to time but don’t feel like I have to.
  3. I became vegan. Maybe the biggest # in terms of impact. While I like to say that I initially went vegan for environmental reasons but am now an ethical vegan, I don’t think that’s entirely true. Because I owe my dabbling into veganism to a reflection on yamas and niyamas we has to do during teacher training, and it was definitely an ethical issue.
  4. My back stopped hurting. A combination of addressing my anterior pelvic tilt in teacher training and general strengthening of my core. I used to have really bad backaches which made me consider a breast reduction in university. I now rarely suffer from them, and if I do I know that twisting + supta virasana with a block between the shoulders will relieve the issue.
  5. I met people I never would have otherwise. The whole amazing Iyengar yoga community of the Netherlands, and more recently, my students at the homeless shelter (more on this soon!)
  6. I now breathe through my nose at all times, and am aware of my breath most of the time. My breathing is also slower than most people I know. This is both an advantage and an inconvenient, as it sometimes stresses me out to hear my boyfriends’ semi-erratic breathing.
  7. I am much more self-confident. This came mainly with teaching. It taught me to speak up and be assertive.
  8. I always have yoga pants or shorts in my suitcase at a minimum. Often accompanied by a strapped mat and blocks if possible.
  9. Strangers come to talk to me in the park. Before yoga, nobody had ever come talk to me while I was hanging out in a park. If I practice, there is a 50% chance that someone will come talk to me about it. Also: people trying to imitate what I’m doing. Kids and grown-ups alike, and it’s happened that I feel like I have to intervene and teach them how not to break their neck while they attempt headstand.
  10. I spend a lot of time upside-down and love ropes 🙂

 

Senior teacher Bobby Clennell in rope sirsasana

The ethical journey

Today, a non-yoga post. Or maybe an Ahimsa-related post (is there such a thing as a non-yogicly relevant post?).

Last weekend, I went shopping for boots at mooshoes, as the inside of my previous pair of boots was so worn out that it made my feet hurt, and I had already had them repaired  once.  I found a nice pair of wood and faux-leather boots, made ethically and sustainably in Portugal, for $150. While it’s not cheap, this is around the price I would have paid for “regular” boots (aka leather boots in any fashion shop). And it made me wonder: if the price and quality are the same, why are ethical and sustainable options not more widespread? If faced with two similar-looking boots, one ethical and the other not, would people still buy the non-ethical option?

Thinking about this made me realize how far along the way I’ve come in terms of values. Being ethical has not always been one of my core values, or rather, if you’d asked me I would always have thought it was important but I was not always acting in agreement with it. Simple exemple: I’ve not always bought ethical chocolate. If the supermarket didn’t carry fairtrade cocoa, I would buy the regular one. If they had both, I would have likely bought the fairtrade one, but not really thinking about it.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to live ethically in today’s society. First, everything is aimed at consumption. More, more, more. Buy more things, eat more food, produce more. So it’s kind of weird when suddenly you wake up and want to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. Suddenly, all of your purchases become an act of mindfulness. Do I get the out-of-season veggie that’s not wrapped in plastic, or the plastic-foiled in-season veggie? What about vegan junk food as you want to support vegan brands, yet are obviously more wasteful than eating unprocessed plant foods? Or fruit that might spoil while being transported to work vs packaged dried fruits? What if your ethical item is not available at the moment, do you change your whole plan or do you buy the non-ethical version? And if you order your ethical groceries online, is it really better than buying regular groceries near you?

I realize some of these question are more practical issues compared to not knowing what the best option really is. But even the definition of veganism includes “as far as possible and practicable”. At some point, when you have two hours of your day spent commuting, 8-9 hours of work, one hour cooking, 1.5 hours working out or teaching, spending one hour comparing products at the grocery store feels exhausting. And that’s all the while being privileged, and having enough money to choose what I buy and where I buy it from.

Some days I feel as someone who has the money to support ethical brands, I am morally obliged to do so. And I often do. But there is also an incentive to consume less, get rid of what we don’t “need” and live a simpler life. Which I also try to do. Finding the sweet spot is sometimes difficult. A while ago, I was at a friend’s place for dinner and other friends of this friend I didn’t know asked me about my fairphone, and veganism. They commented that if everyone cared as much as me, the world would be a better place. While on the one hand it made me happy that they acknowledged my trying, on the other hand I just wanted to say “it’s not that hard! Everyone can do it!”, and while that might not be completely true, I do believe that everyone can do something better. We make so many choices everyday, yet we rarely think about them. And I think that’s where the bottleneck is: how do you get people to start to think and be more conscious about all these decisions they make everyday?

Definitely not by retiring out of society, while it sometimes seems like the best way to have the least impact on the planet. I tend to think that leading by exemple is the best option, showing that you can still live “normally” yet make better choices for the planet and its inhabitants. So far, it’s been the extent of my activism. Yet there are issues which this approach too:

  • I’m not perfect. No one is, and I’d like to think that makes me actually relatable, and empower people to change what they can. But I’m clearly privileged, and I flew transatlantic a few times last year due to my boyfriend and me living on different continents. So there’s ground for criticism, and some people would easily jump on the occasion to say that since they didn’t fly, they can eat all the meat / use all the one-use plastics they want / etc. And I get it, changing something you do on the daily  (habits, yogis, habits!) is much more difficult than forgoing one flight. But I think that’s missing the point. We should all be in this together, and if you use less resources than I do, kudos to you!
  • I tend not to speak much about these choices I make, with the exception of a few friends and on this blog. And it can be depressing to see people get a take-away plastic lunchbox and/or coffee everyday. It does feel like all the efforts I make are for nothing…
  • Some things are definitely NOT practical. Or cheap. For exemple this year I wanted to plan holidays without taking the plane. I figured that from NYC I should be able to go to a couple of nice places with the train. One plan is to go to New Orleans. The trip takes 30 hours and costs upwards of $800 for two people in a cabin one way, while the plane takes an hour and is $100. While my boyfriend is on board with being eco-friendly, that discrepancy was a bit too much for him (He’s what you’d call frugal, too). We compromised on going one way with the train and back with the plane (plus some greenwashing donations), yet I feel most people would not hesitate and book a return ticket with the plane.

 

Anyhow, what are some things you feel you could do better ethically-wise? How do you deal with these daily dilemmas? And how far have you gone if you look back a couple of years? What type of activism do you think is most effective? Does your ethical living  bleed into your work too?

PS: I’m trying to gather the courage to become a Terracycle recycling collector for toothpaste and snack wrappers. Will probably do it soon, just need the nudge…

PPS: if someone knows of a solid toothpaste which contains fluoride, please let me know in the comments below!

Don’t be like toothpaste, be like broccoli!

Last weekend, I went to the New York Institute to follow a workshop with Gabriella Giubilaro. Gabriella is a senior teacher from Florence, and she has been spreading the Iyengar yoga knowledge for numerous years, as you can see in the video below:

More interestingly for me, is the fact that she has a PhD in physics, so I can relate to her pretty well. She’s a great role model, and from her teaching you can see she allies the strictness that is sometimes associated with older Iyengar teachers (as yoga is, and should be, serious business) with a softer, caring side and a great humour.

It seemed to me that she was a bit disappointed with the practice level during the workshop (though she did not say anything of the sort). She had planned to work on the hips in headstand for exemple, but made us all come down and look at Bobby Clennel (who was participating) to show what a stable base looks like). I could only go on Sunday, as I am working on Monday, but the whole workshop was open to Level 3+ students. But somehow already previously have I noticed quite a big gap between the practice at Level 3 and Level 4, and a difference between what these levels mean between the Netherlands and the US (or at least NYC). Most definitely the headstand practice is not as strong in NYC. I’ve only been to a Level 2 class  in NYC once, and I was a bit flabbergasted to find out that everyone was expected to do headstand at the wall. In Utrecht, 90% of Level 2 practitioners would do headstand away from the wall, if not in the middle of the room. But then again, I always find the headstand practice too short during classes at the NYC Institute. Now, the Level 4s are true Level 4s, but I was under the impression that these are really targeted at full-time teachers (since who else can make it for a two hour class in the middle of the day?).

Anyways, back to topic. It was a 3-hour workshop, so relatively short. And initially, during the first hour of standing poses, I didn’t feel very inspired. I felt like I wasn’t learning anything, mainly because the cues were going everywhere. She did try to focus on the core / hips and even extension of the trunk, but she constantly was getting back to legs and arms, I guess because stability in the poses was lacking. But once we started working on sitting poses, I starting getting much more out of the workshop.

It was mainly a twist class, with the focus on even extension as I mentioned previously. In all poses (also standing) but especially forward bends, we should pay attention to getting an even extension of the front and the back of the body (true for all lims, but here she was talking about the trunk). As we learn to straighten up and lengthen the spine, the tendency is to push the lower ribs forwards / lower back in, which is fine to do in the beginning to get the lift or when beginners learn to stretch, but once more advanced practitioners bend forward the lift or extension has to be even on the front and back body.

We did Bharavadjasana II and Gabriella was very careful about how we should hold the Padmasana foot and said “it’s the foot that holds the hand, not the hand that holds the foot!” which resonated well with me as giving the power to the foot instead of trying to pull with the hand is not only less risky for the Padmasana knee, but it also left me feeling more even. At this point she was trying to get us to lift the spine more, and so she said this amazing sentence “Don’t be like a tube of toothpaste, be like… (she was looking for an exemple here) a broccoli!”

Would you rather look like this?

Or like that? Look at that extension!!!                                                                                                                           (now I keep on imagining my chest as a broccoli during twists)

After that, we practiced Janu Sirsasana and she mentioned that you do not want to turn the chest towards the straight leg, but instead you want to slide the ribs from the straight leg side out, while you slide the ribs of the bent leg down. Really interesting perspective on the pose, which I found very helpful to keep the chest more even.

Finally, in Paschimottanasana, she mentioned that having weight on the ankles help to improve extension. While we are supposed to keep the ankles heavy by ourselves, she said that we could also put weight on them to help feel the extension ( we did not do that in the class).

So overall I did enjoy the workshop and learn some new things. Gabriella is a great teacher, and you can get some pearls of wisdom in the classes available (for free) on Roads To Bliss on Youtube:

 

Moving on

Sorry I’ve been pretty quiet here recently. But that’s for a good reason: I finally moved to NYC! New country, new apartment, new job, and lots of things to take care of. There is still some furniture waiting to be assembled, but most of the paperwork has been take care of.

What still hasn’t been taken care of however, it my yoga practice and teaching. I bought a 20-class pass at the New York Iyengar Institute, and I’ve been exactly… once. When I bought the class package. I gotta say, even though it is not very far from work, it’s still a good 20′ walking (no subway), which with changing means I would need to leave work 30′ before class. And since I don’t really want to go for a class that’s less than Level 3, the timings simply don’t work. I mean, two level 4 classes are 12:15-2:15PM and the third one is 5:15-7:15pm. I can’t really leave work at 11:45 and come back at 2:45PM (and if I did, I would probably be very stressed out when coming back!), nor can I leave at 16:45! I thought I would be able to go to Level 3s, but it’s the same: leaving at 5PM is too early and arriving after 10AM doesn’t really cut it either. It might be ok if I do that once every two weeks? I’ll see. Anyhow, the last class that I could manage to go to is the Saturday 4PM, but my weekends so far have been busy settling down in the apartment and prepping the rest of the week. Anyhow, if the only time I can go is during the weekend, I’d rather go for workshops, so I’m kinda regretting getting the 20-class card. I feel a bit frustrated to be so close to great teachers and not manage to go to class…

Meanwhile, there’s a yoga studio less than 10′ away from the apartment, and they do offer Iyengar classes! So I’m planning on visiting, since it’s way cheaper and more convenient (also time-wise: Saturday 12:30PM and Monday 7:45PM). But obviously the level might not be the same, so I’ll have to see if it really does bring me something. If not, it might also be an option for teaching, as I am still looking for opportunities. I have applied to teach at the BRC (I am mainly trying to volunteer / teach for free because of my visa) but they have so many applications the next volunteer orientation is mid-March, so I have to wait to see what comes out of it. Another option is the gym in my work building, which has a studio. They already offer yoga classes, so I want to try one out tomorrow, and see what I think of it – but in any case their schedule is far from full so I should hopefully be able to teach some kind of free class there. Just got to figure out the details. This would really be ideal, as I’d like to teach twice a week, and I already have a 50′ commute to work, so I’d rather not add to it.

Anyhow, I’m sure this is gonna be resolved soon, and I’ll keep you updated on what turns out to happen. Meanwhile, I have a lot of space to practice in my new apartment, so I’m enjoying a renewed interest in self-practice: see below!