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    My New Travel Companion

    By Lydia Zamorano


    I've found my favorite yoga and bodywork prop. Not only is it made of wood, but it's perfectly portable, fits into the side of any backpack or duffel bag, and takes up next to no space in a van.

    It works kind of like other massage canes would (but it's not plastic, is way cheaper, and you can make it yourself), and a bit like a foam roller (but it's not foam and I lie on it instead of roll on it). I use it to apply deep pressure to sticky, stuck and tight places in my body. It's also great for supporting the spine or joints in different yoga positions, like a mini yoga block. Once the hips are quite open, it also gives just enough height to become a support for sitting meditation—placed just behind the sitting bones.

    [Above: Mid-back (rhomboid) release. All photos Lydia Zamorano Collection]

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    Van Yoga

    By Lydia Zamorano


    13 tips for on-the-road yoga when it's too cold to practice outdoors:

    1. Have at least a 6 by 3 foot level floor, and a nice traveling companion who doesn't mind making space for your swinging limbs.

    2. The more height the better. A fiberglass raised roof works well. Being 5 feet tall works very well.

    3. A little buddy.

    4. A pee bottle if it's cold and your partner doesn't mind you getting too comfortable with them.

    5. A small broom to keep it free from last nights food crumbs and hair. Where does all the hair come from!?

    [Above: Morning meditation in Bishop, California. Photo: Andrew Burr]

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    Confessions Of A Yoga Non-Believer

    by Brittany Griffith


    It started off benign enough: Walker sent out an email to all the ambassadors inquiring who did yoga and would be willing to test out Patagonia’s new yoga line. Of course, I bristled at this. Yoga? That’s for girlfriends. I’m a climber, have a black belt, and have raced on the professional downhill mountain bike circuit. But, that noted, I’d be damned if one of the other ambassadors was going to get to test out the newest bra top before for me just because they “yoga’d” and I didn’t.

    So I responded to Walker’s email that yes, I “yoga” and in fact hold bi-weekly yoga classes at my house – which wasn’t a total lie. My neighbor, Porter, who had attempted to espouse the benefits of yoga to me countless times and try to get me to go to a class with her, would come over to my house a couple of times a week for living-room sessions of grammar school PE-style sit-ups and push-ups, and loosely follow a late '90s Rodney Lee “Yoga for Athletes” DVD (fast-forwarding through the parts I didn’t like). No “Oms” or “Namastes” with Porter and I – just general rants about life in SLC (like the local hoodlums’ uncreative tagging of garbage cans, fences and the nearby Mormon church’s dumpster). This was my yoga. No need to pay someone to show you how to stretch, breathe, and recite poetry while you lay on the floor. [Above photo: Porter Teegarden]

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    On Yoga


    By Lydia Zamorano

    I don’t know when it started for me, but somehow, over the last ten years, yoga as a practice has melted into everything I do, as a continuous flow. My favorite translation of the Sanskrit word Yoga implies that everything is already united. The practice part is learning how to pay attention to this wholeness in every waking moment.

    [Editor's note: Today's post comes from Lydia Zamorano. Lydia is the co-owner and director of The Yoga Studio in Squamish, British Columbia. She has traveled to India twice to study and practice Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, meditation and yoga philosophy. She loves rock climbing, hanging out with her boyfriend Sonnie, and is inspired by people who have a strong pull toward community building and sustainability.]

    Yoga usually starts with the most perceptible and tangible aspects of life: breathing and the body. The way people experience yoga in our culture today is usually in a studio setting where one is led through a sequence of postures to promote health and wellbeing. However, the practice of yoga does not have to be confined to a formal room or an hour-and-a-half time slot. It can be as simple as the act of listening. When playing outside, it’s amazing to me how this mindset can unmask a dull experience and expose a brilliant one. It has been a way for me to realize that boredom doesn’t exist.

    [Meditating. Lydia in Baddha Padmasana on a granite boulder by the Stawamus River. Photo: Sonnie Trotter]

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    Yoga in the Park + Fitness World = Sushi

    Leaves If you are visiting Squamish this summer and you enjoy a refreshing session of conscious-breathing and tension-releasing exercises, then go to The Yoga Studio on 2nd Ave any day of the week. But if you are here only for a Sunday, then you gotta check out “yoga in the park.” My girlfriend Lydia taught yesterday's class and there will be a different teacher there each week, as there have been different teachers in weeks prior. The fee is by donation only, so whatever you can afford. But imagine this...

    …unfolding your mat onto a perfectly cut lawn of green grass and three-leaf clovers at 9am in the morning. The sun filters through the tall trees, warming your skin and illuminating the park. 25 people in a circle wrapped around the teacher, with a gentle breeze behind your ears and the occasional cyclist riding by. The ground beneath you is not a hardwood floor, but the earth itself; you can feel the subtle bumps under your toes, but it makes you smile. The class is rhythm and flow, a constant state of moving, bending and twisting, lunging and holding -- all the stuff we know we should be doing but just can’t seem to make the time for. Then, after about an hour and fifteen minutes, the heart rate comes back down slowly. You invert into a shoulder stand, headstand, whatever you like, and feel the rush of newly oxygenated blood surging through the stream. The abdomen releases, the tension disappears, you are weightless and calm and the sound of each chirping bird in the distance falls quiet. The sound of your breath is the only thing you hear. You take a deep inhale of the freshest mountain air and unwind into corpse pose, eyes closed, hovering above the ground until the electricity in your body is reduced to nothing more than light waves of energy scanning over you. Ten minutes pass -- it may as well be a lifetime. Your lids open tenderly and look up to see the bubbling white clouds taking shape. You are now ready to begin your day. Your perfect day.

    [That is the best way I can describe yoga in the park to you -- that’s what it was for me. Here’s what it looks like when you look up into the leaves. Photo © Sonnie Trotter]

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