Dana Boulanger and Marilee Burrell in Montauk
Last month Dana and I went on a work retreat to reset, recharge and have fun. We stayed in a cute little cottage by the shore, explored new towns, walked on warm, sandy beaches and played in the waves. It was both relaxing and reinvigorating. We brought our garden produce, juicer and NutriBullet, and we also splurged on eating out a couple of times. I brought my yoga mat and started each morning outside on the deck—eyes closed, breathing, centering, listening to the birds and insects, doing sun salutations—creating my own mini yoga retreat. I also rode a bike for the first time in probably 25 years. Ahhh, it was so nice. I’m already dreaming of my next trip.
This month we celebrate National Yoga Month with, not coincidently, an article about yoga retreats. Most are all-inclusive—you just show up and enjoy—so they’re totally relaxing. Read “Stretch, Relax and Connect: Yoga Retreats Tap into Energy of People and Place,” on pages 36-39 and consider joining in. Discover local yoga studios, teachers, news and articles on pages 30-53, and to find classes near you, turn to our calendar sections (pages 66-74).
I’ve practiced yoga off and on for more than 30 years. It’s ideal for all people and all ages, even children. I love the deep, rhythmic breathing that stops the mind chatter and activates the parasympathetic pathway, inducing bliss. I love the gentle stretching and the gradual increase in heart rate during a slow-flow class. There are so many different types of yoga offered now, from restorative yoga, which heals through relaxing, to classes that are seriously challenging.
When I was younger I gravitated to more rigorous forms—although I happened into a gentle yoga class and was amazed to find that the style actually did more for me. In my 40s, I couldn’t get enough of Kundalini yoga. Now that I’m in my 50s, gentle and slow-flow are my favorites. It’s nice knowing there are many styles to choose from. Recently I went to a chair yoga class and was surprised by the workout I received. In fact, the chair helped me go deeper in downward dog without stressing my wrists, which I appreciated.
If you’ve always wanted to try yoga, let this issue of Natural Awakenings be your inspiration. Remember, you don’t have to be physically fit to do it, and it’s never too late to begin. In fact, studies show yoga improves bone density and cognitive function, combats chronic illness and reduces depression in those over 60—good reasons to start if you aren’t a yoga enthusiast yet. In this issue you can learn about different yoga styles and find classes, studios and teachers near you. If you find a class you like, you can stick with it or mix it up with different classes or even mat time at home. Just try to practice at least three times a week. That’s what research suggests brings the best results.
Big news for us! This month we’re launching our new dynamic, search-engine-optimized website. By mid-September, you should be able to join the Natural Awakenings community online by uploading your own free directory listing and info about local events. Just as the print magazine has become a go-to resource for all things natural and holistic in our area, we’re taking our website to the next level by connecting readers to even more local resources and by integrating the site with our large Facebook following for games and contests. Visit WakeUpNaturally.com to upload and connect.
Happy September, everyone!