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Warning, you might get stuck on this page.  YOGA LAGNIAPPE will unglue your stickiest yoga questions in our Sticky Mat section.  You’ll hear from local teachers and students about the challenges they find on and off their yoga mats.  Plus enjoy great articles on all things yoga and wellness related. If you have a question or suggestion for the Sticky Mat contact us.

From Mamas to Babies, Tots & Teens: Yoga for All Ages and Stages

By Betsy Goldin Becker

Unlike other physical activities, yoga has no limits. People of nearly all ages and abilities – from pregnant moms to tots to teens – can reap the benefits of a yoga practice… with proper instruction, of course. Here in New Orleans, options abound for different yoga classes to suit different moods, ages and stages.

Key Benefits
Prenatal Yoga – I practiced yoga throughout my two pregnancies, so technically, both of my sons were practicing along with me before they were even born.  Although my babies didn’t arrive in this world chanting “om,” prenatal yoga did help strengthen my connection with them, while relieving the aches and pains of my growing body. I was also lucky to experience two relatively quick, seamless labors and deliveries, which I attribute in part to the mental and physical strength I gained from yoga. For more on the benefits of prenatal yoga, read Brooke’s YL article: “Prenatal Yoga: There’s More to it than Om.”

Baby Yoga  – Postnatal yoga classes are a safe way for new moms to get back into shape, meet other moms, bond with their babies and even pick up some great baby-soothing techniques. One trick that I picked up from a “Mommy & Baby” yoga class was to calmly chant “om” several times to a fussy baby.  Miraculously, it helped to distract my baby from crying, and helped me stay calm as well. Read this Gambit article for even more postnatal yoga benefits.

Yoga for Toddlers & Kids – My son, Jackson, loves to show off his downward dog, upward dog, plank, camel and child’s poses to anyone who cares to watch. Not only is it ridiculously cute to see a two-year-old boy practicing yoga, it’s also a great way to help him channel his boundless energy – and temporarily stay out of trouble! Kids of all ages can benefit from the mental, emotional and physical strengthening of a yoga practice. Yoga can also empower children with healthy self-esteem, citizenship and leadership skills, through innovative programs like NOLA’s Yoga Power Play.

Yoga Power Play photo courtesy of Chelsea Hylton

Yoga for Teens – Anyone who has ever lived with a teenager or who has ever been a teenager knows that the adolescent years can be filled with significant physical and mental transformations, anxiety and drama. However, a recent study has shown that yoga can actually help teens ward off anxiety and moodiness. The study followed a group of high-schoolers who took yoga classes or a regular school PE class for 10 weeks. The students took a set of psychological tests before and after the program. As a result, anxiety and negative emotions stayed the same or improved among yoga students, but grew worse among those taking regular PE. Plus, nearly three out of four participants said they’d like to keep on doing yoga. Read on for more info on the study and the benefits of teen yoga.

Local Resources
This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of the local yoga programs for moms, babies, tots and teens. If you know of other classes or events, send us a note or post on our Facebook page.

Book Review: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

By Nikki Carter 

An alternate title for this book could be “A Skeptic’s Guide to Meditation”

In 2004, Dan Harris experienced a life-changing event that I’m all too acquainted with myself: he had a panic attack. Working in a highly demanding position as a television anchor, Harris was live on-air for Good Morning America at the time and had no idea what had just happened to him. This experience sent him on a convoluted quest through a maze of self-help and spiritual gurus, with the landscape of the book ranging from scenes as varied as a psychiatrist’s office, a massive evangelical church, and a 10-day meditation retreat.

As someone who has been on a similar journey and was also inspired to seek answers because of my anxiety, I very much enjoyed reading Harris’ take on authors and experts I am familiar with: people like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and Joe Vitale. The fundamental question that drives Harris throughout the book is a variant on: Can we be calm/well-adjusted and still be successful/ambitious? I’m a “Type A” personality, so I can definitely identify with this struggle and the feeling that our neuroses are what make us successful.

I’d say this is a good read for everyone, whether you’ve got a meditation practice in place or not. It can give you scientific tidbits to help share the benefits of meditation with people in your life as well as encourage you to start or deepen your own meditation practice – personally, I was introduced to the concept of “metta,”or compassion meditation, and plan to undertake this very soon. The book also seems to be pretty popular at the moment, which is a good sign that an increasing number of people are interested in meditation – my boss requested to borrow my copy after I finished, and the next day I found out YL’s founder, Brooke, had just read it too!

Overall, I found this book to be enlightening, encouraging, funny, and insightful. Harris delves into issues with which many of us struggle: attachment and identification to our emotions, longing for the past, living in the future, and feeling overwhelmed by our minds. The one criticism I have is that I would have been interested to see what he thought of trying out a physical yoga practice alongside his meditation, since the physical asanas were originally intended to clear the mind for meditation.

Think about what being just 10% happier could mean for your life; then, if you’re interested in learning more, check out my article on meditation and consider reading Harris’s book. I’d love to hear what you think about it!

Yoga for All Ages and Stages

From Mamas to Babies, Tots & Teens: Yoga for All Ages and Stages By Betsy Goldin Becker Unlike other physical activities, yoga has no limits. People of nearly all ages and abilities – from pregnant moms to tots to teens – can reap the benefits of a yoga practice… with proper instruction, of course. Here… [Continue Reading]

Book Review: 10% Happier by Dan Harris

An alternate title for this book could be "The Skeptic's Guide to Meditation"

  In 2004, Dan Harris experienced a life-changing event that I’m all too acquainted with myself: he had a panic attack. Working in a highly demanding position as a television anchor, Harris was live on-air for Good Morning America at the time and had no idea what had just happened to him. This experience sent… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: Ayurveda

Ayurveda is a system of holistic healing that began in India over 5,000 years ago.  There are many components of Ayurveda, but I became interested in having a consultation a couple of years ago because I wanted to know what dietary changes I could make to improve my well-being.  I chose Jessica Blanchard, a New… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Acupuncture?

Monica Gilliam administers acupuncture to a patient (photo courtesy of Monica Gilliam)

Acupuncture is a practice in which specific points of the body are stimulated, most often with thin needles. I tried acupuncture myself for the first time last year, with good results for the management of anxiety and muscle tension. If you’re interested in trying it for yourself or looking for a practitioner, I highly recommend… [Continue Reading]

Book Review: Awakening Shakti

By S. Brooke Bailey Sally Kempton’s most recent book, Awakening Shakti: The Transformative Power of the Goddesses of Yoga, explores feminine energy from the tantric perspective. My yoga book club has been reading the book for several months now, usually discussing one goddess at a time. I must admit that I wasn’t drawn to knowing… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Cupping?

Cupping involves skin being drawn into glass or plastic cups via suction (Photo: Valerie Viosca)

You may have seen celebrities with the trademark circular bruising that is caused by cupping and wondered what in the world had happened to them. I talked with Valerie Viosca, a New Orleans licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist who is certified to perform cupping therapy, to gain more insight on the practice. Valerie says, “In… [Continue Reading]

5 Things to Add-In to Help You Clean-Out!

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By Sheena Mannina of Raw Republic It’s generally simple to advise on internal cleansing as our bodies naturally begin to detox in the absence of the inflammatory items we consume regularly, namely processed foods, caffeine, sugar, soda, meat, dairy and medications. For this reason, we cleanse when we sleep. Though you would benefit significantly by… [Continue Reading]

Alternative Healing Series: What is Reiki?

Amberly Fox is a Level-II Reiki Practitioner in the New Orleans area (photo courtesy of A. Fox)

By Nikki Carter January 29, 2014 Each month in 2014, YL will seek to help you understand a certain type of alternative healing method. For this feature post, I chose Reiki and spoke with Amberly Fox, a local yoga teacher and Level-II Reiki practitioner. Reiki is a Japanese technique that literally means “spiritually guided life force… [Continue Reading]

5 Yoga Poses to Do at Work

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By S. Brooke Bailey Working at a desk all day can have negative effects on your body, breath and mood. While going to a yoga class a couple of times a week or more is a wonderful way to undo the stress of the workday, it’s also helpful to take the skills that you learn… [Continue Reading]

3 Tips for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolution

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By S. Brooke Bailey January 8, 2013 It’s a new year and you’re ready to create a new you, or maybe simply make one lasting positive change this year. Now that you’re a week or so into this commitment, you may feel as if there is already a brick wall standing between you and your resolution(sankalpa… [Continue Reading]

Let’s Talk Competitive Yoga

krystall snemyr

An Interview with Krystall Snemyr, by S. Brooke Bailey Together with USA Yoga, Bikram Yoga New Orleans is hosting the USA Yoga Southeastern Regional Championships in New Orleans on January 4, 2014 starting at 5p.m. This is the first time the championships will be held in New Orleans. Participants will come from Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky to compete in… [Continue Reading]