Have Yoga, Will’s Travels: Parte Tres

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A lot of people ask me about traveling to, from and in Brazil. If Brazil was something you could buy in the supermarket, the shape of the bottle would be mysterious, the label bright and sexy, and the contents unknown but with an amazing sweet aroma. All of those things are true, but there is a lot more to the country, both good and bad, that you can’t see unless you buy the bottle, so-to-speak.

The country is in a melee with the impending arrival of the World Cup soccer tournament which is less than 100 days away. There are an untold amount of unfinished constructions projects, from bridges to airports to the stadiums themselves, and there is no way they will all be completed on time. Despite their love of soccer, the people of Brazil are unhappy with the Cup as their government is spending billions of dollars on the cup including security, construction, and bribes, and most Brazilians won’t be able to afford a ticket to enter a single game. Then comes the very dark side of the country; according to a recent ESPN article which sited sources in Brazil, 35,000 people in the slums of Rio de Janeiro have been killed by police or have gone missing in the last six years in an effort to rid the city of gangs and drug trafficking before the arrival of the Pope (2013), the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016). I asked my wife’s family about those deaths while I was in Rio, and most people there were unaware of the statistic.
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Have Yoga, Will’s Travels: Parte Dos

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Greetings from South America!

This morning finds me in a tiny apartment with nine people, all of whom slept here overnight on couches, beds, mattresses and any cushion they could find after celebrating the first night of carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

My wife and I arrived in Rio in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and crashed at her aunt’s apartment in Botafogo near Copacabana beach. After a few hours of sleep and a delicious Brazilian breakfast we hit the beach.
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Have Yoga, Will’s Travels

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I have been in Ecuador for almost a week and already have had so many amazing experiences that it is hard to pick a few to write about.

My wife and I will be traveling for a total of a month, starting in Ecuador for a wedding and then moving on to Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, and then to Florianopolis, the Hawai’i of South America, which is also my wife’s home town.

Ecuador is amazingly beautiful. There are two regions in the country, the coastal plains and the Andes Mountains. We are planning on staying in the Andes during this trip, but hear that the coast is lovely. It is very green here. It is the rainy season and rains every afternoon around 4 pm, so we have been trying to get out and be tourists in the morning.
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Oh, the places WE’LL go!

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Hi Team Dragonfly!

I don’t get a chance often enough to write on this blog, but I’ve been feeling very grateful and inspired lately and wanted to make sure to take some time to send you all a note.

For the past two and a half years, Dragonfly has developed into one very special community. We — our staff, instructors, clients, even vendors — are a team. No part of the team can exist without all of the others, and no one person is more important than any other. For this, I am extremely proud.
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Breaking Busy

Chatting recently with my business partner, Will, we started wondering why so many people seem to be obsessed with being busy. Inevitably, of course, there are going to be those days – maybe even weeks – when life is truly busy and crazed. But more often than not, if we sit down and actually look at our circumstances, this does not have to be the case. So why do so many of us feel the need to be busy – to bring chaos where there is none, to fill our days and brains with more than is necessary? And do we truly make ourselves busy, or do we revel in the idea of feeling busy and appearing to the rest of the world that our days are non-stop chains of activity and importance?

We all have acquaintances that lead extremely full, maybe overfull, lives – full-time job, multiple kids, dance, soccer, dinner, cleaning, volunteer work, etc. fill their days. These people are often actually too busy to mention to the world how busy they truly are. But we all probably know a lot more people that talk loudly and at length about how busy they are, while not really being truly busy at all. Instead, they throw their “busy schedules” and “hectic days” out to the world for sympathy, to excuse their inattentiveness or aloofness, to attempt to justify their existence. Not only do we all know others that travel this path, but at some point, we have all been that person. The question is, “Why?” Is there anything so wrong with living a calmer life? With having time for conversation, friends, self-reflection, reading a book, learning something new — for doing absolutely nothing should the spirit so move us? Where is the shame in admitting that you have free time – that you actively pursue and make free-time – and then reveling in it?
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Fly Girls Flew…

…soared, and achieved liftoff! What an amazing group of girls ages 11-14, came through Dragonfly doors for our first tween girl workshop. We had about 25 different girls take part in this 3 day endeavor over Winter Break.

Each of the days offered a different yoga focus. On Day 1, we learned Sun Salutations, and Balances. Day 2 was devoted to Inversions and Back Bending. Day 3, was about our Core and Arm Balancing. The girls were so eager and ready to try anything I threw at them. They all loved showing me their wheels, tri-pods, head stands, and handstands. Some were very excited to show me their cartwheels and round-offs as well. (Hee-hee, wrong class, but funny none the less). We spent time playing yoga games, moving through different yoga “centers” and the girls were awesome at creating their own sequences too!
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Thank You Groupon!

Here’s a story about a girl named Tiffany

(did you insert Brady Brunch theme music? If not, feel free to restart). I have to admit, I was……a groupon junkie (insert gasp). So when the first groupon for Dragonfly Fitchburg was launched last summer, my friends and I decided to give it a try. My first thought was, yoga…and it’s hot?????…Yikes, but why not? I’m just out a few dollars if this doesn’t pan out, and maybe my friends and I can make a night of it and go to BW3 or better yet, Target. I took my first flow class on a hot summer afternoon, not really knowing what to expect. I was not prepared with what I experienced within the first 10 minutes of that flow class. I was up dogging and down dogging and saluting the sun, and balancing on body parts I didn’t know were there, and yes sweating!!! I LOVED it, I was hooked.

My 10 pass groupon lasted all of a week. Then I bought another 10 class pass, then I bought a 20 class pass, and then I saw the light….and bought a membership!!! Yea, freedom!!! I could come every day if I wanted, I could try every class!! Halleluiah! Bring on the flow; whether fast, slow or chakra, bring on fusion, fire, fit, power, core, yin. There’s no stopping me now!! I was about 6 months in, and just soaking it all up, when I started thinking about becoming an instructor. I finally said it out loud to Megan, Tola, Amber and other fabulous instructors. I got nothing but support and encouragement from everyone in the Dragonfly community. My yoga practice and my peeps, gave me the strength to follow through with an amazing 200 certification course with Deb Williamson in June. So here I am, one year later after buying my groupon; teaching, growing and learning in two fabulous Dragonfly studios.

Thank you Groupon, thank you Megan, thank you to all the fabulous instructors and staff. To my Dragonfly friends old, new, and ones I have not yet met, come roll out your mat in one of my classes and ride along with me as I continue to grow and spread my wings as an instructor. Or roll out your mat next to me, and practice alongside as I continue to grow and learn as a student. Hallelujah, I’m hooked!


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Practice Your Yoga Practice

“We are always practicing something and most of us practice suffering.”
-Natalie Goldman

I came across this quote while I was at a particularly frustrating time in my yoga practice. Frustrating in the sense that I was not practicing enough yoga. Oh sure, I was in the hot room 4-5 hours a day sometimes. But I was not practicing my yoga.

And as a result, I was practicing suffering.

Suffering in the way of joint pain, irritability, jealousy, short-temperedness, you name it.

Amy Weintraub, author of “Yoga for Depression,” and a senior Kripalu teacher recommends practicing yoga every day so that it is as part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth.

But how many of us can commit to practicing every single day?

Start small. Classes are a great way to hone your skills and learn from a qualified teacher, but your yoga practice doesn’t have to stop once you step off your mat.

There are many ways you can practice your yoga practice. Here are just five you can start with.
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Look Into Your Own Eyes

I recently read the book “Women, Food, And God” by Geneen Roth. In it, several women spoke about their daily eating habits and I could not believe how many of them talked about how much they hated themselves after a day of binging. How low is low? What’s rock bottom? It doesn’t have to be smashing up your car or losing your job. For me, rock bottom is when you come to the point of self hatred.

Three years ago I made a life change where I went from self hatred (or close to it) to self love. I’m not talking about egotism. I’m talking about self love, loving myself. Caring what I did to my body, my mind, my spirit. What guided me through this transition was mainly a (close to) daily practice of hot yoga.

What drew me to this particular type of yoga was the dialogue. The teacher didn’t always demonstrate, she inspired us through her words. One of her most inspiring phrases was “look into your own eyes.” I try to bring it into my classes now at Dragonfly when I teach.
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10 Things I Love About You When You Walk Into The Hot Room

1. The fact that you walked in the hot room.
We just experienced an unprecedented heatwave in Madison. That didn’t stop some of you. You walked in to the 105 degree studio from the 105 degree parking lot and sweetly exclaimed how little a difference you felt between the two.

2. Your quiet focus.
At the beginning of class during the breathing exercise, you begin to quiet your mind. You find your eyes in the mirror, you focus on your breath. Distractions may occur, but you brush these aside and keep your mind calm.

3. When you fall out of a pose, you dust yourself off and get right back into it.

Falling out of a pose is proof that you’re going beyond your comfort zone, which is magnificent! Nothing brings me more joy than to see you not take yourself too seriously when you lose your balance. You give herself a rueful grin and then get right back into the pose. How else do we learn?
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