Gentle Yoga in the Park

What we want out of a yoga class in our twenties is often different than what we require in our fifties. We can’t always hold those difficult poses anymore. So I was looking for something a little easier on my body, a practice that incorporated breath with the poses, and didn’t leave me in pain the next day. I found just what the doctor ordered in a Gentle Yoga class offered at the Cultural Arts Center in Pleasanton, taught by Beth Fox.

BackBreathing

Connecting to the breath with the strap

Beth uses a combination of traditional Hatha Yoga and Iyengar Yoga in her practice. Hatha Yoga uses the breath and asanas, or poses to attain a relaxed state. And Iyengar Yoga supports the achievement of relaxation with the use of props – blocks, bolsters and straps. In the photo on the left, the strap facilitates breath connection to the back. The photo below shows the use of the strap in quad stretches. And below left- how the strap is used to create Hammock Pose.

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Quad Stretch

 

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Hammock Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Spring turns to Summer, Beth’s class moves outside. Yoga in the Park multiplies the wondrous effects of Beth’s practice with the senses stimulated by the outdoors – like a visit by a hummingbird, or a toddler stopping on her walk to catch the class in child’s pose…or rolling around like happy babies…

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Child’s posing using bolsters

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Happy Baby Pose

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child’s Pose feels fabulous with the support of a bolster-above, as does the use of blocks to support your head in Pigeon Pose – below left.  And finally, below right, we are grateful that Beth incorporates Yogassage in to her classes – a combination of massage and therapeutic yoga bodywork. 

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Yogassage

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Pigeon Pose

 

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Springfield/Money/Loverboy Score Triple Play!

MoneyLoverSpringI never purchased an album featuring any of the performers whose concert I recently attended, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan. Most people of my generation have heard at least one song from Loverboy, Eddie Money, and Rick Springfield – musicians popular in the late 70’s and 80’s. And if you don’t know the hit Jessie’s Girl, you might have seen Rick Springfield portray Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital during the Luke and Laura days. Most women find him attractive, but I’m psyched that Springfield just published a novel called Magnificent Vibration.

Hot factor aside, I was more impressed with Springfield’s humbleness. Musicians and actors typically go to great lengths to keep their fans at bay. And Springfield certainly has some pretty die-hard Rickaholic groupies. So I was pretty impressed when the performer decided to take a foray out into the fan-filled frenzy. There was no runway added to the stage; Springfield actually took his fan’s arms as they guided him across their chairs. It was a very cool Human Touch. You can see here as he comes closer and closer to my cousin and I…

I had seen Eddie Money in 2007 at a show to benefit St. Luke’s LifeWorks, a non-profit for the homeless, where I worked in Stamford, Connecticut. Back then, I appreciated that the “Moneyman” took the time to do a meet and greet after the show and sign merchandise. He did the same at the Thunder Valley Amphitheater, with his philanthropy efforts benefitting wounded veterans. And for a 65-year-old guy, he can still belt out his hits, like Two Tickets to Paradise seen here

The energy was high with the Canadian Band Loverboy’s performance. Who hasn’t sung the words to Everybody’s Workin’ for the Weekend or The Kid is Hot Tonight? And at 100 degrees, it was a hot night for sure, but this Triple Play was totally worth bearing the temp.

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Farmers Market Frolic

farmerstopsMy husband and I appreciate the sunny weather in Pleasanton, allowing us to get our happy on by walking to the local farmers market.

It’s a win/win for all…We get our exearthappyrcise in —
with a view of some funky art along
the way — and support our local
growers, their fresh produce winding
up on our table.

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The colors and sounds of the market
are vibrant and soothing,
making for a pleasant
experience while walking
down the canopy lined street.farmersmusic

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Our bounty included
arugula, avocado, basil,
kale, tomato, and zucchini. And we
couldn’t resist a couple of chocolate
croissants for the kids.

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The Big Draw benefits the Arts in Pleasanton Schools!

I attended a cool event called The Big Draw today in downtown Pleasanton.  The Pleasanton Arts Council holds the celebration to raise funds for arts in the schools. Local businesses sponsor artists who create beautiful sketches on Division Street for regular folks like me to enjoy. Families also get involved in the event by purchasing their own 2×2 blocks to make fun creations. I was enamored with a mermaid playing guitar and a Rangoli design, an Indian art form typically created with colored sand to bring good luck…there was rangoli in the entry to my in-laws house after my husband and I were married.

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I also enjoyed some Indian dancing in front of the Firehouse Arts Center and a high school rock band too.  In addition to the chalk art, many artists sold their work at stalls, including jewelry, photography and floral art. I purchased this plant for my sister…Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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Sweet Rewards

ReesesNow and then, we all like to reward ourselves with a treat, especially after a difficult accomplishment.  As a kid, I would ride my bike to Brooks Pharmacy after delivering 42 Bridgeport Post newspapers, where I would buy myself a package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  There was nothing like the satisfying taste of chocolate and peanut butter in my mouth. The perfect combination!  Now I savor this treat on Halloween, try as I might to hide the pre-purchased bag until the actual occasion;-)

Pop Tarts

As an adult, one of my favorite treats is Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts – Unfrosted.  I don’t like the frosted kind.  Why ruin a healthy dose of sugar with added sugar?  Totally unnecessary.  But this unique attraction makes the unfrosted, sweet-treats very hard to find.  I had already checked in three stores to no avail.

Last week it was my turn to post my story for my masters portfolio class.  I’m always nervous when it’s my week, and usually wait until the very last minute to post. Then I wait until all my classmates and the professor have commented before I read my suggestions. This time I did it right; I read each suggestion as it was posted and wrote a gratitude response to each person. I was pleased and decided a reward was in order.

So when my son and I went to the store yesterday to buy bread, I decided to take a detour (this was the fourth try).  On our way to the check-out line, I went down the aisle where they keep the sinful treats. I pointed to the frosted Pop Tarts and told my son that I wanted those, only without the frosting.  He looked around and Ta Da!  There they were, hiding below and to the left of the frosted tarts. He pointed to the find, “There they are Mom!” I scooped up two boxes and couldn’t get home fast enough.  We toasted them up and savored every bite of our just rewards.

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Bridge School Benefit Show Reunites CSNY

BridgeSchoolShirtSince we moved to California a little over a year ago, I’ve discovered numerous concerts at many easily accessible venues.  I have a cousin here who has become my concert buddy, so when the performance and timing are right, she and I get together to enjoy an immersive musical experience.  So far, we’ve seen Bon Jovi at the HP Pavilion in San Jose and Bad Company at Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln.

This past Saturday my cousin and I attended the Bridge School Benefit concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre, featuring one of my favorites: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Now in it’s 27th year, the show presents a variety of bands who perform gratis to benefit the school.  This year it included Heart, Elvis Costello and fun., among others.

Shoreline AmphitheatreIt was a beautiful 75-degree autumn day and the drive to the venue, located in Mountain View next to the sprawling Googleplex, took just 40 minutes. The show started at 5:00p.m. when Pegi Young, Neil Young’s wife, came onstage and explained that Young founded the Bridge School for children with physical and verbal disabilities. After a video about the school, Neil came on stage and played Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, followed by his own popular hit “Heart of Gold”.  Then he and his wife sang a beautiful duet on “Comes a Time” before the other bands came on.

I was thrilled when Heart performed an amazing rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Rain Song” along with their “Crazy on You”. Other memorable performances included fun.’s “Carry On” and Elvis Costello’s “Alison”.  It was cold and near midnight when CSN&Y came on stage but the wait was definitely worth it. The band proved they could still harmonize with beautiful renditions of “Deja Vu” and “Long May You Run”. The highlight of the show for me was an awesome performance of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” “Teach Your Children” with many of the performers and students from the school on stage, was an apropos finale.

Here’s a little treat for those who care to listen/watch…

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