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Tag Archive | "yoga"

Dafna Fashion Friday: No-Mas-Te to Yoga Pants

From Dafna Steinberg. Follow her @AlizaySteinberg. Email her at dafna[AT]borderstan.com.


Yoga pants: Do NOT walk around in them, unless you’re going to class. (Rachel Nania)

This is another post about one of my fashion pet peeves. I’m only going to say this once: Gym clothes are meant for the gym. You wear them to the gym. You can wear them home from the gym. You can wear them to run errands BEFORE or AFTER you have gone to the gym.

However, you SHOULD NOT wear them out to the grocery store, coffee shop, hair salon, etc, if you aren’t planning on going anywhere near the gym. (And don’t try to tell me that you wear your gym clothes out because you may end up at the gym. You are either going or you aren’t)

But Dafna, you might say, my yoga pants are SO comfortable…why shouldn’t I wear them out? Of course yoga pants are comfortable. You have to bend your body into unmentionable shapes, the least your pants could be is comfortable, not to mention stretchy.

Yoga pants, and gym clothes over all, started out like other horrible fashion trends. They were something practical with a purpose. Look at Crocs. Crocs had a purpose: comfortable footwear for people who had to stand on their feet the whole day.

Doctors, for example. But then people started wearing them at home. And then to the grocery store (because who cares what you wear to the grocery store, right?). And then, people started wearing them all the time. Because they are oh-so-comfortable. Guess what? They are also uglier than one of those hairless cats.

Women, specifically, seem to gravitate towards clothes they can wear to the gym and then, without changing, go out for a night on the town. Maybe it’s because Lululemon’s prices are so high, they feel the need to attach more purpose to their gym clothes. Maybe it’s because they want to show off their firm… ahem… assets after all the hard work they did in Bikram. Who knows? All I know is that whenever I see women out and about wearing yoga pants, it makes me want to scream.

Solution? Wear a T-shirt and jeans. Or funky patterned leggings and a sweater. It’s comfortable, but makes you look like you actually took a shower today.

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Even LeBron James Does Yoga


Yoga training steps from you. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.

Any discussion of the toughest athletes in the world must include New Zealand’s world champion rugby team. The 2011 Rugby World Cup winners intimidate their competition before dominating them on the field. How do they stay on top? Hours of practice, a grueling weight lifting routine and…yoga?

That’s right folks, yoga isn’t just for girls (and guys attempting to impress them). The rugby team, known around the world as the “All Blacks,” is just one example of professional athletes turning to yoga in order to improve their performance on the field.

LeBron James, an NBA MVP, does yoga. So does Baltimore Ravens all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis and Super Bowl champion Victor Cruz of the New York Giants. The entire Liverpool soccer team practiced yoga during their preseason fitness routine.

Yoga is the perfect cross training exercise, and can provide a significant boost to your athletic performance in a number of different ways. Not only does regular practice help improve balance and increase your core strength, but enhanced flexibility can boost speed and prevent pesky muscle strains.

When injuries do occur, many athletes add yoga to their rehabilitation routine since it provides a low impact opportunity to maintain strength and cardio stamina. Other athletes may simply appreciate the opportunity to just close their eyes, breathe deep and relax.

Local Yoga Studios

Ready for yoga to take your game to the next level? Start your training at one of these local Borderstan studios:

  • Tranquil Space on 17th Street NW offers unlimited yoga for your first month for $50.
  • Flow Yoga Center on P Street Street NW, with many options for classes. First month $45.
  • Yoga District has locations in Dupont Circle and on 14th Street NW and offers new students a two-class one-week pass for only $10.
  • The Studio DC has locations in Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan and offers newcomers two weeks of unlimited yoga for $20.
  • Crank up the heat. Bikram Yoga Dupont offers one week of unlimited yoga for $20.
  • Boundless Yoga Studio on 13th and U Streets NW is offering new students a terrific holiday deal. Buy a 10 class pass for $100, and if you go to class twice a week for five consecutive weeks you’ll get your money back in full.

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Yoga and Politics: Red, Blue and Purple Yogis, Unite!


Join YOGAVOTES this weekend for a one-of-a-kind call to action. (Photo credit: Kristin Adair, courtesy of YogaVotes)

From Melanie Hudson. Email her at melanie[AT]borderstan.com. 

What do politics and yoga have in common? Except for both being very popular among Borderstan readers, not much, right? Well the organizers of YOGAVOTES think differently. They believe the same values yogis embrace on the mat – mindfulness, connection, compassion, awareness – should be an essential part of yogis’ lives off the mat, as well.

YOGAVOTES is a project of Off the Mat, Into the World and is a nonpartisan push for greater electoral participation among the 20 million Americans who practice yoga. By motivating people to think about why voting is important, YOGAVOTES and Off the Mat hope to encourage yogis to practice “mindful” voting.

This Sunday that idea will be tested here in DC with an event they are calling “Yoga the Vote: Vote Your Heart.” This “yoga variety show” will include a free yoga class with several teachers including Kerri Kelly, a concert by Mike de la Rocha, who is a musician activist touring with Rock the Vote, and a talk and meditation by internationally known teacher and author Max Strom.

Along with the yoga celebrities in attendance, participants will be encouraged to ask questions of themselves: what do I stand for and how? Why will I vote and what am I voting for? Why is it important to me to be active in my community? Ultimately, the organizers hope, yogis will unite around the ideas of voting from their hearts, getting connected, getting involved – and expressing those values of compassion, mindfulness and awareness.

Kristin Adair, a yoga instructor (in northern Virginia and at Embrace in Adams Morgan) and DC Community Builder with Off the Mat, has said they expect 100-150 people to turn out this weekend. Her background as a Hill staffer, presidential campaign aide, and lawyer and lobbyist for nonprofit causes has prepared her well for this new role encouraging more active civic participation and awareness.

“I had lots of opportunities to see inspiring aspects in my work, but also disheartening aspects. Yoga and politics can go together – they aren’t separate. We need to bridge the gap between knowledge about the political process and our yoga space.”

She is also aware of her critics, some of whom are yogis unconcerned or uninformed about politics. Kristin says that your individual yoga practice can influence your participation, and that you can get involved in a way that is meaningful to you.

For example, when thinking about elections, many of us have a very partisan view and often a very negative view of the other side.  YOGAVOTES encourages bringing mindfulness and unity and compassion into the lens through which we view politics, and actually listening to people on the other side of a debate.

“It’s interesting to think about yoga: everyone is welcome – all abilities, all viewpoints, it doesn’t matter. That is different than politics. So if we bring a mindset of being present and listening to the other side, and not assume because they are on other side they are wrong – this is a revelation for me.”

For me as well.  I could have used that advice so far in this campaign cycle.

To find out how you can get involved:

  • Download materials including a voter’s guide, workshop curriculum, debate watching guide.
  • Visit a VOGAVOTES partner studio supporting the campaign to gather more information and join fellow yogis in debate watch parties and discussion.  Borderstan studios include Yoga District (two locations: 1635 Connecticut Avenue NW; 1910 14th Street NW ) and Flow Yoga Center (1450 P Street NW).
  • Pledge to vote on the YOGAVOTES website and vote in a mindful way in November.
  • Attend the Yoga the Vote D.C. event on Sunday, October 21 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at 23rd and Constitution Avenue NW (near the Lincoln Memorial). RSVP or just show up – it’s free!  Bring yoga mats and water. Beginners and experts welcome.

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Two Men Attacked In Possible Anti-Gay Hate Crime

From Luis Gomez. Catch his photos at One Photograph A Day. Follow him on Twitter @LuisGomezPhotos.

"Crime"Early on Sunday morning, July 21, two local men, Michael Joel Hall and Michael Roike were brutally attacked by a group of three men in their Eckington neighborhood residence near 3rd and U Streets NE. Details about who the attackers were are scarce and the motive of the attack is not yet clear. However, DC Police have started investigating the case as an anti-gay hate crime.

After the attack Michael Joel Hall was taken to the hospital with a broken cheekbone and had surgery. He owns Mid-City Yoga and is an ambassador with the Lululemon store in Logan Circle.

Moreover, the couple had recently lost their Logan Circle apartment when the building housing the Mid City Deli and Carry Out Deli caught fire on fire June 7 (see Fire at Mid City Deli Building, 14th and P NW).

How You Can Help

The community has come together in support of Hall and Roike — Hall has no health insurance to pay for his hospital expenses.

You can find additional information on the attack at the Washington Blade, and at NBC Channel 4.

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Urban Etiquette: How to Avoid Sharing Sweat at the Gym


Avoid sharing your sweat. (Photo by christaki from the  Borderstan flickr pool)

From Mike Kohn. Have an urban etiquette right that needs to be wronged? Find Mike on Twitter at @mike_kohn or send him an email at mike[AT]borderstan.com.

Featured image from christaki in the  Borderstan flickr pool.

Thanks to my sister, who is an avid yoga fan, I finally got on the bandwagon and started my own practice last summer. The athletic nature of it combined with the idea of locating your inner balance was incredibly appealing and got me instantly hooked.

Besides the practice itself, part of the reason I kept coming back for more was that the people at my studio, The Studio DC on Connecticut Avenue at R Street NW, had that sense of warmth and friendliness that made you want to come back — everyone seemed to know the etiquette of yoga already and they were more than happy to educate newbies like me who had no idea what they were doing. Their sense of etiquette was impressive even to me (and, admittedly, I’m a little high maintenance when it comes to etiquette, in case you haven’t noticed).

Since starting my yoga voyage, I’ve been to a couple of different studios and it’s not always the case that people have the sense of common courtesy that you just expect. I’ve seen people take up more than the necessary amount of space, like the jerk who takes up two parking spaces so no one can park in front or behind them, and it’s common to see people leave equipment scattered about. Come on folks, get it together.

So whether you’re a yogi or lifting or running at the gym, here’s some food for thought:

  • Make room. If you want a private gym, invite a trainer to your house. But otherwise, don’t leave your stuff strewn about, particularly if you’re at the gym or the studio or wherever you work out at high traffic times, like post-work or weekend afternoons. Moreover, don’t you dare give me a nasty look when I ask you to move your yoga mat six inches to the right so I can have my own space.
  • Clean up. Have you ever gotten on an elliptical and found it to be wet with sweat? If you have, you know just how disgusting that is. Yes, it’s a gym and I’m going to sweat myself, but I’d prefer to have a clean machine to start with for sanitation purposes. Every gym I’ve ever been to has a spray bottle with paper towels for you to give a quick wipe down, so be a pal and use what they’re offering.
  • Put your toys away. When I go to yoga, I always grab a block and a blanket that they offer. If I go to the gym, a lot of the times they’ll have a towel for me to use while I’m there. No matter what, I put away the stuff I borrowed. Do we need a Kindergarten lesson refresher?
  • Why are you there again? I remember my days at GW watching rows of runners who looked flawless in their tight fitting clothes (of both genders) and makeup (that one is mostly at the ladies, sorry). Are you taking up my machine because you want people to notice you?

Anyone else have any horror stories when it comes to your workout routine?

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Kim Weeks: Boundless


Kim Weeks at Boundless Yoga, 13th and U Streets NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Mary El Pearce.  Follow her on Twitter@CupcakesDC and email her at maryelp@borderstan.com

On a recent chilly Saturday morning, I found myself in an unusually awkward position. Somehow I’d managed to drag myself out of my lovely, warm bed and get over to one of Kim Weeks’ classes at Boundless Yoga, and I happened to be the most inflexible and inexperienced student in the studio that day. Bent over with one leg straight up and thighs trembling, all I could think was, “I’m not cut out for this. Everyone is looking at me. I should just get out of here.”

“Does this feel scary?” Weeks suddenly said, and for a moment I thought she was talking directly to me. “Honor that. Go into child’s pose if you need to.”

At least a third of the students dropped to their mats, me included. It was the first time since I began practicing yoga that I truly felt unashamed to be “that person” — you know what I’m talking about, the one who, along with the 75-year-old and guy with a back injury, just can’t do it, which is infuriating since I can do just about anything else I set my mind to.

As a former Wall Street executive, Weeks understands the stubborn mentality of the DC professional and is passionate about teaching people to listen to their bodies. After 10 years of running Boundless Yoga (and having two children in the process), she’s more than a professional yoga instructor – she’s a professional DC small business owner.

Borderstan: Why did you decide to open up a yoga studio?

Weeks: I was a recovering corporate executive — on Wall Street for most of my 20s and traveling a lot. I found that yoga was a portable practice I could do anywhere. I moved to DC to expand my horizons, and I was burned out from having this ungrounded lifestyle. DC is full of people who are stressed out, so I decided to open a studio and try it for a year. Ten years later, here we are.

Borderstan: What’s your philosophy on yoga?

Weeks: My philosophy on yoga comes from Shavasana (corpse pose). When I began yoga, I was a girl in my 20s doing marathon training, and I couldn’t believe we were given permission to lie there. It was a profound moment in time where I felt like everything could be okay. Relaxation should be an inalienable right. Yoga is not about perfecting the pose — there’s no such thing as a perfect pose. It’s about experiencing your own definition of yoga. Flexibility is a subjective term. I would love for people to let go of any preconceived notion of what yoga is.

Borderstan: How has your life changed since you became a small business owner?

Weeks: The fundamental change is the acknowledgement that by running my own business I have to make critical decisions on a daily basis that are my decisions only. I had to learn how to do everything while managing people well and maintaining my own yoga practice. I can’t hide. You have to be real in ways that you don’t have to when you’re sitting at a desk.

Borderstan: What’s the biggest challenge of being a small business owner in DC?

Weeks: The hardest thing about doing business in DC is getting through the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). It’s myopic, byzantine and filled with people who are saddled with a system that is not digital enough. It’s unintentionally set up to obstruct a business owner from making simple decisions. It took us three business days to get a permit to put an awning on our building. For a small business, that is a huge opportunity cost in terms of what else we could be doing.

Borderstan: What advice do you have to anyone wanting to start a business?

Weeks: Be clear about how much working capital you need. Know your competition, how you are bringing value to people’s lives and your mission. And let go of any idea that you have days off. Running a business is like having a child in that you are totally responsible for its survival and health in the beginning, and ideally you send it away to college and let others take care of it in the far future.

Boundless Yoga is at 2001 13th Street NW, just north of U Street. Follow them on Twitter at @boundlessyogadc.

"Borderstan""U Street NW""Boundless Yoga"
Kim Weeks and students at Boundless Yoga. (Luis Gomez Photos)



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SYMHM: Dragons, Great Walls, Creative Space, Layovers

Lincoln Theatre, U Street NW, Luis Gomez Photos

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens tonight for a four-week run at the Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at michellel@borderstan.com.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Opens Tonight at Lincoln

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo opens a four-week run at the Lincoln Theatre tonight on U Street. The theater has a four-week partnership with Landmark Theatres to show The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; it runs through January 18. You can view the schedule and purchase tickets online. We will have more later this morning on Mayor Gray’s Tuesday press conference on the city’s plans for the venue when the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities officially takes over the theater on January 1.

Great Wall Szechuan House Reopens in Style

For those in search of A Christmas Story style Chinese feast, a fully renovated and reopened Great Wall Szechuan House on 14th Street NW may fit the bill. The Washington Post gives you a sneak peek into the new space — I covet that exposed brick. I am also coveting that pork dish. There are many restaurants battling for your dining dollars on that stretch of real estate, why not give Great Wall  a chance in the new space and help pay off their bills?

Creative Space at Tranquil Yoga

Say what you will about DC regulations, at least they are enhance an ethos?* For owner of Tranquil Space, Kimberly Wilson, the requirements on spa and massage business literally opened space for Tranquil Space Labs inside the yoga studio. As Express (Washington Post) reports, the former spa room is now a space for creative thinking endeavors, which kicked off with holiday crafts and Prosecco. Clove-scented oranges and bubbly? My chi feels better already. (* indicates a reference to a personal favorite Big Lebowski reference and is not intended to support or condemn various regulations that may impact our many small businesses.)

What do We do During Layovers?

Credit the Onion for this gem. As you begin your holiday travel, stay safe and try not to be obvious in your eavesdropping on your seatmate’s family drama. I’m off checking out soda varieties in Connecticut and North Carolina!

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