The power of COMmunity at IPY!

Click HERE to see the October edition of the IPY newsletter.

Inside this edition:

– A Breast Cancer Survivor Story
– IPY Challenge and Challenge Plus
– Autumn Kale Stew Recipe
– Tomato Barley Soup Recipe
– Isauro Fernandez
– Class Changes

See you at the studio!


Perfictionist, anyone?

Having lived most of my life raveled up in the world of a perfectionist (in my mind), I have come to know the anguish and anxiety that comes from this perspective.  In this space, the words “I should have” are playing in an automatic replay mode that is too common for comfort.  Sure, being a perfectionist has driven me in many areas of my life and this “push” has contributed to my growth and development.  But the toll of this mindset is also noticeable; having gone unchecked, the perfectionist begins to ignore a crucial aspect of the yogic path – ‘Ahimsa’, the self observation of non-violence and compassion towards others and ourselves.   When I drive myself so much and beat myself down when perfection is not reached than I am not living ‘ahimsa’ towards myself.  Likely, the result is the same when we expect so high from others around us.
Side Crow - Carlos SalazarRealizing that not being perfect is true perfection and being mindful that self acceptance is the path to joy, I have began to integrate these qualities into my life.  When I notice the patterns, I step back and remind myself of who I am: a spiritual being having a human experience.  At that moment the weight lessens, self compassion sets in, and I feel alive.


What do you eat when you do yoga? by Helen Pratt

We are right in the middle of the second IPY Commit to it Challenge. Everyone involved is working on practicing yoga as much as they can AND eating healthy! It seems like a lot of people get involved in yoga to try and lose weight, but Vinyasa yoga isn’t a walk in the park type exercise, it makes you sweat. So, what do you eat to still lose weight and have enough energy to do a vigorous practice? Well let me tell you a little story….

Helen and Daniele

Helen and Daniele

My good friend Daniele is also a part of the IPY family. We are very similar in a lot of things but also in the way we look. We are both short, petite, curvy women. At a glance you’d assume we eat the same type of food, however our diets are completely different. Daniele is on the Paleo diet – which basically means she eats like a caveman. I eat vegetarian over 90 percent of the time and would love to be a vegan. Our diets couldn’t be any further apart but they both keep us looking very similar.

I recently read Baron Baptiste’s book “Journey into Power” which has a chapter on mindful eating. This is a process you do when you pay attention to the food you eat and how it makes you feel during and after eating it. Are you tired? Do you have a ton of energy? Are you bloated? Does your skin have a healthy glow? This list goes on and on. Luckily the more yoga you do the more in tune with your body you become so it makes this discovery process even easier. Over time you will begin to notice your natural state and eat what YOU need to eat to make yourself look and feel fantastic.

Now I know some of you are reading this thinking, “Well my body told me I needed to eat that double cheese burger and chili fries.” Sorry to disappoint you but that’s not mindful eating. That’s more along the lines of emotional eating. For me personally I love to eat food when I am having a problem. I can eat a ton of crap and go into a food coma so I can wallow in my own pity. But when I get back to the Yoga mat my practice is very different than when I eat to make myself feel good. My arms feel like rocks, my twists give me cramps, and my energy and concentration levels are minimal.

As different as Daniele and my diets are, we both eat real food. In caveman years there wasn’t any processed foods, bread, or cream cheese makers. Eating vegetarian obviously means you eat a lot of fruit and vegetables but I have to make an effort to stay away from potato chips, banana nut muffins and mass amounts of chocolate. We both have to listen to our bodies and eat accordingly. And remember a cheat day is always OK! My Granddad used to always say, “Everything in moderation.”

Helen at Love Your Body Day 2012

Helen at Love Your Body Day
Photo by James Martin

So to answer the question – what do you eat when you do yoga – the answer is whatever makes YOUR body feel GOOD. Fad Diets don’t work, and unfortunately there isn’t a magic yoga pill that will make you look like the cover of Yoga Journal. You just have to listen to your body and let your intuition be your guide. If you want to eat a steak or a sprout taco it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are true to your true self.

Happy eating fellow yogis!

– Helen Pratt


Early to Bed, Early to Rise

Early to bed, early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise
-Benjamin Franklin

Photo by James Martin

Between teaching IPY’s new 6:30AM classes and working towards my goal of waking up ach day to get my meditation practice going again, I’ve been waking up before sunrise mch more than usual. I know how the yoga community feels about getting up early (they ove the idea!), but what does the rest of the world think? It turns out that rising early is highly recommended if you are interested in living a healthy, productive, and fulfilling life.5 Reasons to get out of bed early:

  • Psychiatrist Tracey Marks, author of Master Your Sleep, states that sleep is more efficient when we go to sleep and wake up early. When we minimize amount of time sleeping while the sun is up, we are able to align our sleep cycle with the earth’s circadian rhythm, which results in more restorative sleep.
  • Harvard biologist Christoph Randler has found that early risers are more likely to identify themselves as proactive people and are more likely to anticipate problems and solve them effectively.
  • Rising early gives us plenty of time to exercise, whether it be to step onto a yoga mat or go for a jog. Exercise boosts energy and elevates the mood. A bonus to early morning exercise: more time with family in the evening!
    We simply have more time in the day to do what we want.
  • Getting out of bed early brings instant feelings of success which we can carry with us through the day. It always feels good to do something you put your mind to, especially when that something is also good for your health and success!

I can say from experience that, as a former nightowl, waking up early is not always
easy. Like anything, the more you do it, the more natural it feels. Add regular yoga and meditation on top, and the benefits are boundless!

The Secret To Being A Power Woman: Wake Up Early
10 Advantages of Waking Up Early


Grace in Greece

Having recently returned from an amazing to trip to Greece for a yoga workshop, and since it was impossible to bring you all along with me, I thought I would share some of my experiences with our wonderful IPY community.

 When I first booked the trip with my daughter Caroline months ago, I was a little skeptical about sending the final deposit. Greece had been constantly in the news with dreadful reports about the economic disaster and possible collapse of the government.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t listen to these warnings, sent In the money, and off we went!
Vicki & Caroline in Greece
We only spent 24 hours in Athens, visiting the acropolis, walking around the city and stopping for dinner at a lovely outdoor cafe.
Vicki & Caroline at Acropolis
What struck me most was how normal everything seemed. Stores were open, cabs and buses were running and life went on.  People were friendly, people were busy, people seemed to have hope.
View in Greece
When we asked our waiter about how life had changed under the new austerity it was a fairly typical answer. The tourist business had dropped some but the main change was that the Greek people no longer visited the restaurants and cafes. Business that used to bustle well into the wee hours were now shuttered at 9pm. Very sad.
But even through this sadness there was this great pride in being Greek, almost a sense that they were so lucky to have been born in this magical place and they were not ready to give up. I expected to find anger, bitterness and rage but was given laughter, kindness, hope and grace, definitely grace.Magical
We spent the majority of our time on Santorini and Mykonos. The islands are even more beautiful and magical than any photos could capture and fortunately are relatively unscathed from the current economic woes as tourism is still very strong.Beautiful Greek Island
The yoga workshop was amazing, set in a pristine white washed low, rambling hotel clinging to the side of a cliff high above the sea.  The views were dazzlingly beautiful.
Yoga Workshop in GreeceThe two hour morning yoga classes were on the terrace.
Yoga Workshop in GreeceThe Afternoon classes were on the tennis courts, somewhat shaded from the sun.
Partner Balancing Pose in GreeceThe instruction was incredible as the classes were split between Kathryn Budig and Tiffany Cruikshank each with their own very different teaching style that gave their classes such personality.
Teachers at Greek WorshopThe food was delicious:  We had Greek salads (who knew!!!) every day as well as everything thing else that we wanted.  After all, we were doing 4 hours of yoga a day!!!

That still left time for lots of exploring. Caroline and I joined a gang!


Lots of beach time.
Beach Time!And lots of laughs and memories.

Arm Balance

Yes, the Greek people have a tough road ahead of them. But if the beautiful people that we met are truly representative of that Greek spirit, then there is hope.  They were the true yogis, displaying grace, warmth and peace amidst a sea of uncertainty and turmoil.  As you can see by our faces, we can’t wait to go back!

We don't want to leave Greece!