Kallisti at Moonlight Tribal Lounge, February 9th

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A new monthly event that showcases fusion and experimental styles of belly dance as well as American Tribal style.

Saturday, February 9th

Doors open at 8pm

$10, plus American cuisine from the menu

Loafers Bar and Grill

6518 Baltimore National Pike 

Catonsville, MD 21228

This month features:
Eugenia
Kallisti Tribal
and Alyssum Pohl

The show will be from 9pm-11pm but the restaurant remains open until 2am so come party with us and experience live performances from some of the area's finest.

RSVP at the Facebook Event

Flissy at DC Tribal Cafe January 27th

I'm pleased (and admittedly, a bit terrified) to share that I'm performing a solo set at DC Tribal Cafe on Sunday, January 27th!  This monthly event is the best place to see Tribal and Fusion bellydance in the DC area.  I promise you will have fun.  This show also features Hot Ink and Mavi!

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DC Tribal Cafe

Saturday, January 27th

Doors 5pm, Show 6pm

$10

The Reef

2446 18th St. NW, Washington, DC

Platypus Water Bottle

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I just got back from traveling over the holidays and wanted to share a new travel goodie with you.  It's a Platypus collapsible water bottle.  I have the .5L/17oz. size., and as you can see, when it's full of water, it is (roughly) the shape of a normal water bottle.  When it's empty, it's completely flat and can be folded or rolled up on itself to stash in a pocket or a handbag.

One thing I was afraid of is that it would be easy to squeeze the bottle too hard and spill water all over the place.  That doesn't happen because, apparently, the plastic is some magically perfect balance of rugged and supple. It will hold it's shape when you're drinking out of it, yet it will squish around to fit whatever space is available in your bag.  It hasn't leaked a drop, and will stand up like a normal bottle even if it's only partially filled with water.

I'm used to carrying a larger (27 ounce) bottle as my everyday water bottle, so it does seem a bit on the small side.  Still, 17 ounces is plenty to get you from one water fountain to the next if you're just running around town or in and out of airports.  Water is actually pretty heavy to carry, so if you're really trying to cut down on how much you're dragging around, it's worth the extra refill stops.  Overall, it's a good size for traveling, and a real bargain at only $8!

Yang Yoga Practice for SI joint dysfunction

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UPDATE: I now have video for this practice! It's in two parts. Enjoy!

As I have mentioned previously in this blog, I’ve had chronic issues with my sacroiliac joint.  When I had my most recent flare up, I couldn’t manage on my own and went to a physical therapist, and I also saw a yoga therapist/structural integration therapist (AKA Rolfer).  One of the things I learned that I had suspected for quite some time is that I am more flexible than I am strong.  My yoga therapist recommended that I avoid yin yoga and hot yoga.  Guess what kind of yoga I teach?  Oops.  I had to dramatically change how I practice and how I teach.  I still teach both hot vinyasa and yin, but I am a lot more careful about it.  I avoid demonstrating complex or advanced poses and I no longer hold poses with my students when I teach my yin classes.  Is it kind of a drag? Yes.  But as this article articulates beautifully, the goal is balance in asana practice, not the most flexibility ever.  It’s become more important in my yoga classes, especially for people new to yoga, to teach them to create more functional movement patterns. Often that means limiting range of motion and doing “easier” variations of poses so that there is no way to cheat your way into making the shape of a pose without using the muscles I want you to learn to use.  I’m sneaky like that.

I still recommend my yin practice for SI issues, and I find the forward folding to backward bending sequence helpful for adjusting any misalignments.  One of the funny things about my SI issues is that my IT band and glutes would be really tight feeling so pigeon-family poses feel awesome on my tweaked out side.  But I learned from my PT that the tension was those muscles hanging on for dear life and not really operating in a functional way.  I had to retrain those deep core musces to work properly.  It’s still OK for me to do those super-satisfying yin style poses but they must balanced with strengthening excercises, otherwise there’s no way the sacrum is going to stay where it’s supposed to be. 

Here’s a complementary therapeutic “yang” practice that is a mashup of physical therapy, viniyoga, and pilates that I’ve found helpful for stabilizing the SI joint.  I might do this after a short yin practice or before dancing when I know my sacrum and low back is likely to take a beating.  I also will use a sampling of these poses and variations before a vinyasa practice to wake up the psoas and other deep core muscles so they will support me throughout a vigorous practice.  Like many injuries and conditions, one solution isn’t going to work for everyone.  This is just what has worked for me.  Hope you find some things in here that work for you, too.

Therapeutic Yang Yoga(ish) Sequence for SI Joint Happiness

  • Apanasana: Startign on your back.  With hands on knees, exhale knees to chest, inhale knees press away.  8 times.
  • Hip Flexor Thing: Keep hugging one knee to chest.   Inhale free leg extends straight and low an inch from the floor.  Exhale leg reaches straight and high.  Inhale straight and low.  Exhale knee to chest.  5 times on each side.
  • Heel Taps: Knees over hips, shins parallel to floor.  Inhale tap heel to floor.  Exhale back to starting position.  20 times, alternating legs.
  • Supine Marching: Knees over hips, shins parallel to floor. Inhale, extend one leg straight and low an inch from the floor.  Exhale back to starting position.  20 times, alternating legs.
  • Apanasana: 8 times.
  • One Leg Bridge Lifts:  Feet on floor close to hips.  Hug one knee to chest.  On inhale, press other foot into floor and lift hips.  Hold 5 seconds and lower on the exhale.  5 times on each side.
  • Viminasana:  On belly, hands close to lower ribs.  Inhale lift chest and lift legs, spreading legs wide.  Exhale lower halfway and squeeze knees together.  Inhale lift and legs wide again.  Exhale squeeze legs and lower all the way down.  Note: Squeeze your inner thighs like your going to crack a walnut! Fierce! Make sure your knees rotate to face towards the floor as you lower back down.
  • Chakravakasana: From hands and knees.  On exhale, pull in your low belly and press your hips back TOWARDS your heels but don’t go all the way back.  Inhale back to hands and knees, lifting chest.  Viminiasana is super stabilizing for the sacrum, so we don’t want to wreck any nice adjustment that happened by pulling it out of alignment again for the satisfaction of pressing all the way back to child’s pose.
  • Clamshell:  Lie on your side, knees bent. Inhale, lift top knee up without tilting your hips.  Err on the side of keeping it small and stabilize your core.  Exhale lower. 30 times each side.
  • Bridge Lifts:  On your back, heels close to hips, feet parallel.  On inhale, press into feet and lift hips, low back, upper back.  Exhale, lower upper back, lower back, hips down.  Try to isolate each part of spine as much as possible.  Four times, then widen feet about two inches.  Repeat two more times, widening feet a little each time.
  • Apanasana: 8 times.
  • Supta Baddha Konasana:  On your back, heels close to hips, let knees fall open.  Take 5-10 breaths to close them again.  5 times.
  • Supported Savasana: Bolster or blanket under knees for at least five minutes.

 

Yogini Travel Essentials, Continued

Are your hitting the road for the holidays?  Here is another installment of my Travel Essentials.  Go back and read part one if you missed it!

Travel Essentials:

Wool. I’m a knitter so I already have a healthy appreciation for wool.  When we went to Yosemite this summer, my husband I bought a whole bunch of lightweight merino for hiking because it is great for regulating your temperature as it's both breathable and warm.  It’s resistant to stinkiness, is easy to wash and dries quickly.  By far, my favorite brand is Icebreaker because the fabric is rugged enough for hiking but stylish enough for general wear.  I also picked up the Villa Dress in red, which is now my official travel dress.

One wrap to rule them all.  I’m still on the search for this thing.  In the meantime, I’ve had my eye on the Lucy Om-Azing scarf, and will bring a wool or cotton shawl depending on the weather.

Nikon J-1 I love this camera.  We are apparently Nikon people, because we also have a D-7000.  The D-7000 takes amazing photos, but when we were hiking, it was a little too heavy and bulky to deal with carrying and pulling in and out of the pack. I have no problem keeping the J-1 over my shoulder and ready while hiking, and as a result took way more photos with that on our big hike at Yosemite.  It’s also small enough to stash in my purse.  It takes great photos and video and is easy to use.  The little 10mm pancake lens would be even more compact for travel.  I know a lot of people use their phone to take photos, and I do too, but I like the control and quality a “real” camera offers.

Here’s a photo hubs took with J-1.  I’m modeling a Smartwool top here:

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See the rest of our Yosemite photos on Flickr.

Travel Self-Care and Beautification:

Water.  Drink a lot of it, especially if you're flying!

Emergen-C & Tea.  Emergen-C is great for an energy and immune-system boost when my system is stressed from travel.  Add it to all that water your drinking on the plane.  And yeah, I BYOT and will also buy teabags when I get to my destination.  I live in hope that someday properly brewed cup of tea will be as easy to obtain as coffee.

Rinse Skin Stick. Lotions take up precious space in the 3-1-1 bag.  This product is genius.  It’s a solid that comes in a tube that looks like a glue stick that softens when you rub it on your skin.  Awesome.  It’s really moisturizing, and especially great for chapped hands, but not at all greasy or sticky.  The scents are pleasant and not too strong, and it also comes in an unscented version.

Red Lipstick.  Red lipstick instantly makes me feel more dressed up and glamorous.  Buxom Big & Healthy in Barcelona or Lipstick Queen Sinner in Red will do the trick.   See also big sunglasses.

Meditation to-Go:

Do I really need to tell you that you can meditate anywhere?  Still, there are some things to make it  easier, because traveling is stressful, yo.  

Podcasts and Jams. I make sure I load up my pod with episodes of the New World Kirtan Podcast and talks by Erich Schiffmann. Erich's also got an iphone app!  The Ambiance app is also great for drowning out unpleasant noise so to make it easier get some rest.

Mala beads. I hate to admit it, but in spite of the fact that I'm a seasoned traveler, I can also be a nervous one.  It can be really calming to have a go round the mala beads and focusing on the exhales to chill out and get grounded.

Safe travels if you're hitting the road this holiday season!  Share your travel tips with me, too!