All posts filed under: Uncategorized

Mommy Belly: A Physical Therapist’s View

This is a guest post written by Dr. Kailee Venzin, Women’s Health Physical Therapist, specializing in pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum services.  She is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Did you bounce back easily after your pregnancies? Or does your belly seem to just “bounce” instead? Many new and not-so-new moms find themselves tucking the soft mound that used to be their baby into their high-waisted yoga pants and still get asked at the grocery store if they’re pregnant. Many feel like their bellies are “unstable” or like “jello” and try countless ab exercises to try to feel more “pulled in” or get back their pre-pregnancy bodies, egged on by the various Instagram models and trainers. Many of these women, too, try exercise programs that claim to “heal your core” or “only do one exercise, 10 minutes a day”.  Most of these women eventually find their way to me. After 9 months of stretching to accommodate a growing baby, your abdominals have to quickly adapt to new tasks and skills of picking up your baby, breastfeeding, and …

Professional Development for Yoga Teachers

In April 2013, I closed my brick and mortar yoga studio, Yoga Matrika, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and pioneered yoga and meditation studies through distance learning.  In the process, I tried a number of different platforms for holding classes and teleseminars and worked with hundreds of very patient yoga teachers who agreed to work with me to provide constructive feedback while also getting high quality continuing education. I am really delighted that Yoga Alliance has recognized the potential of distance learning for professional continuing education for Yoga Teachers. They permit up to 25 of your 30 required CEU credits to maintain registration to be earned with non-contact hours.  I am honored to be a YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) and have a number of online courses just for yoga instructors.  These courses allow teachers all over the world to learn more about Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan yoga practices, meditation skills, subtle body anatomy, women’s health and yoga, and prenatal yoga and meditation. I have put over 25-years of practice, teaching, and research into all of …

What Can You Do with $100?

Right now, if you act before May 1, 2012, you can purchase a summer of UNLIMITED YOGA for $100.  Just for the sake of comparison, I thought you might want to consider all the things that you can buy for $100: $100 of Unlimited Yoga in June, July and August a strong, flexible and toned body greater endurance and cardiovascular health injury prevention better sleep studio is air conditioned so you get a break from the heat and humidity less stress and related concerns (headaches, back problems, insomnia, high blood pressure, etc.) Or, $100 will buy you: almost 1 Bon Jovi concert ticket ($112 for the worst seat in the house) one dinner for two at one of these select NY restaurants most of a 10-class pass at Om Yoga in NYC ($140 on sale! Regularly $165.) this lacquer gold fu dog is just $89.99 a John Hancock lego set ($99.85–in the gift ideas for women over 30—you know, a lego set….what every woman over 30 really wants but just doesn’t know how to ask …

Community Supported Yoga

Yoga Matrika is a unique yoga community.  For the past five years, Yoga Matrika has changed location (here, there and back again…..) and some of our most beloved instructors have moved away, drifted away or gone and come back.  But, what has remained the same is that we are a community-based studio that serves the needs of this particular community for: healing and wellness through yoga friendship and support gentle yoga and meditation mindful movement and freedom of expression classes and services for expectant and new moms and families with young children resouces for the development of creativity, kindness, compassion and awareness in a world that does not always value these qualities Yoga Matrika is now offering the unique ability to invest in the studio through the selling of CSY shares.  Community Supported Yoga gives students the ability to invest in an economical way in both their personal practice and the studio. $30 CSY Investment Share/per month Guaranteed Space in One Class per Week Minimum One Year Contract Required $50 CSY Investment Share/per month Guaranteed …

Thoughts on Cloth Diapers

Are you interested in an alternative to disposable diapers? Pittsburgh is very fortunate to have Pittsburgh Cloth Diapers as a great resource for learning about the many different cloth diapering options that are available. If you are thinking about cloth diapering and live in the Pittsburgh area, then I highly recommend “shopping local” at Happy Baby Company whenever possible.  They provide great customer service and cloth diapering support and it is great for the economy and more “green” when you shop local.  This being said, I bought a lot of my starter supplies at Green Mountain Diapers because they offer such wonderful package kits for starting with cloth diapering.  Also, they sell incredibly high quality pre-folds that are economical and easy to use.  Green Mountain isn’t local to Pittsburgh, but it is a small business that is owned by a mom who is passionate about cloth diapering.  Wherever you are, please always consider the impact of shopping local and supporting small businesses.  On the other hand, if you are expecting and need to create the …

Zen Sitting Group of Pittsburgh

Hogen Green has recently posted the new sitting schedule for the ZSGP.  Everyone is invited to sit with this group that meets by donation at Yoga Matrika in the Peace Room on some Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings.  The Zen Sitting Group of Pittsburgh has been very generous to Yoga Matrika and it is their beautiful Buddha that creates a sanctuary out of the Peace Room.  If you are interested in Zen, I encourage you to contact Hogen directly.  He provides orientations for those in the community who are new to Zen if you let him know ahead of the meeting that you are coming and require this introduction. Here is the focus for the next group of sittings as communicated by Hogen in his most recent e-mail to the group: The Bodhisattva is the model of practice in Mahayana Buddhism, and our model of how to live a life in the midst of the turmoil and challenges we face both in personal relationships, the life and death of those we know intimately as well …

Cabin Fever & Yoga in Pittsburgh

There was one very brave student at tonight’s class.  She was new to Yoga Matrika and was curious about what the class title, Mindful Yoga, really meant.  I prattled on about Vajra Yoga and not making a distinction between asana practice and meditation and how we create a moving meditation through our practice……….but during our practice together, I started to question the whole thing entirely.  You see, that’s the problem with having an answer to everything—-you miss opportunities for reaching a greater understanding.  In this case, I was incredibly inspired by the clarity of this student’s practice and she taught me a lot about mindfulness.  So, thank you dear student, and hope you come back soon! What I realised is that what I don’t know about mindfulness is a lot.  While there are so very many things that I hope that my Mindful Flow classes mean, the real mindfulness is in the interpretation.  I asked my student to choose an intention for her practice and to anchor that intention with awareness of the breath or …

Zen Sitting Group of Pittsburgh

Update 4/16/12: Please note that the Zen Sitting Group of Pittsburgh no longer exists as the leader has moved away from Pittsburgh.  This is an older post from 2009.   The Zen Sitting Group of Pittsburgh (ZSGP) meets at Yoga Matrika  on alternate Sundays.  Please see the schedule and more information about ZSGP below.   What is ZSGP?  What is Zen practice? Who can participate?  The Zen Sitting Group of Pittsburgh (ZSGP) is a member of the Society of Mountains and Rivers (SMR), a network of Zen Buddhist sitting groups and affiliates of the Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO). The MRO’s spiritual founder and director is John Daido Loori Roshi, abbot of Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York. WWW.MRO.ORG  Zen practice can help us to wake up to who we are and to live out of that understanding. The questions that we take up during the course of our practice are the questions of our human existence: What is life? What is death? How can we truly be alive and live and die in a …

Changes in the Light

A little bird was making the most glorious call outside my window at dawn this morning.  It sounded like a last hurrah or a gathering of spirit for the change in season.  While life is a series of transitions, a study of seasonal changes provides a glimpse at the delicate folding and unfolding that occurs on the spectrum of tremendous change.  As the birds sing a different tune and the evening light comes to cloak our homes at an earlier hour there is a gentle call to return your focus to your own folding and unfolding process.  What does the autumn wind call to you?  How will you use your voice this season?  Is there something that should be uncovered?  Covered? This is a most exciting time for the studio as new instructors start and beloved instructors return and we welcome new students into the supportive community of those who already share their practice at “The Mat.”  If we haven’t seen you for a while, don’t be shy!  Just dust off your mat and shake …