Something New at NOURISH

I just wanted to take a moment to introduce a new item we got at NOURISH this morning.

Jim Gallas, one of our massage and yoga practitioners, has created his own Zen Tai Shiatsu DVD which illustrates and teaches the viewer some new and interesting massage techniques which he has developed throughout his career.

The DVD contains an easy to learn session that will leave your clients, friends and family deeply relaxed and revitalized.

Done on a standard massage table- zen tai integrates well with other forms of bodywork. It is ideal for on-site work, including corporate events, conferences and festivals. Proper body mechanics are emphasized for safety, strength and ease.

The DVD also boasts an appendix with user-friendly meridian charts, as well as Spanish and English language options.

Although this DVD seems to be geared towards practitioners, I think we call can benefit from learning a few basic massage techniques. Enjoy this video with a friend or loved one and practice the techniques together for a fun and relaxing time!

Jim is a highly practiced massage therapist who had trained other practitioners in Santa Cruz, CA. He is available for massage appointments by request only at NOURISH in downtown Santa Cruz. His DVD is currently for sale at NOURISH’s boutique.


Laughing Yoga

I’ve been curious about Laughing Yoga since our Sing Along Yoga Workshop here at NOURISH. It was briefly mentioned before the workshop started and since then I’ve been thinking about what it might be like to participate in a Laughing Yoga class.

After some reading online, it seems that laughing yoga can be very similar to our Sing Along yoga class. Everyone being a little apprehensive at first, not knowing what it’s going to be like, how much they will actually sing aloud, etc. As it turns out, everyone sang their hearts out to every word that they knew and it seems the same is experienced in Laughing Yoga. The participants usually begin tentatively until you just can’t stop yourself from laughing even if you tried. By the end of the class everyone is feeling refreshed, more clear headed and feeling like they just had a really unique yoga experience.

The class begins with grounding and centering, then the laughing is introduced as an exercise. For example, try to give the deepest belly laugh you can, or add in a body movement that is in sync with your laughs. Soon enough you’ll be watching as those around you can’t help but join in the laughter. Can you imagine the potential health benefits from all the laugther? This can be a really fun yoga class to try out! (lol)

The Downward Facing Dog

I heard someone in class ask the other day, “Why’s the downward facing dog so special?”

I completely got where they were coming from. Even before I really knew anything about yoga, I had heard the name. It seems like it is one of those yoga words everyone knows. But why?

Victor explained to the curious student that it is a pose that is used regularly and is often one of the very first stretches beginners learn. It’s a transitional pose that is fairly comprehensive in its benefits to the body; having a positive effect on the shoulders, legs, spine, arms and feet. Furthermore, it’s thought to improve digestion, increase the blood flow to the sinuses, build strength throughout the body and even help your immune system.

However, Victor was also quick to point out that despite its fame, it is not considered a superior stretch. There is no technical reason why downward facing dog has become entrenched within the mass public’s notion of what yoga is all about (alongside Sting and herbal teas).

So there must be some other reason. I would be so presumptuous as to suggest it’s good branding. It has dog in the title.

You may laugh, but a large portion of the population love dogs. Sure there are other “cooler sounding” poses (Warrior pose, Cobra pose etc.) but at the end of the day we are all suckers for a cheeky-looking cocker spaniel.

Perhaps on some level we also like the idea of copying the movements of a dog. I know at various points of my life I have watched a lovable mutt go about his day and thought to myself, “a dog’s life… they’ve got it pretty sweet!”

And there’s even a case to suggest it brings us closer to lost friends. I read about one lady who enjoyed the pose because it brought back fond memories of her very first puppy and made her feel closer to him in some way.

Whether any of this hits a chord, or you think I’m barking up the wrong tree, I think it’s fair to say… for a number of reasons… the downward dog is a special pose.


Sing Along Yoga

I had the pleasure of listening to the sing along yoga class tonight while working at the Nourish reception desk, and I have to say that it was the MOST FUN class that Nourish has ever offered. I got to sing while I was working! I can’t even imagine how awesome it was for everyone who attended to sing while doing yoga. So for all those who missed the class, but still want the fun of yoga with a karaoke twist, or for all those who attended and can’t wait to do it again, here is the playlist from tonight:

Love’s In Need of Love Today by: Stevie Wonder
This Little Light by: The Montgomery Improvement Association
The Circle Game by: Joni Mitchell
Every Breath You Take by: The Police
Hey Jude by: The Beatles
Three Little Birds by: Bob Marley and the Wailers
Wonderful World by: Sam Cooke
Joy to The World by: Three Dog Night
Into the Mystic by: Van Morrison
Your Song by: Elton John
59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) by: Simon and Garfunkel
Lean On Me by: Bill Withers
You’ve Got a Friend (featuring special guest star James Taylor) by: Carole King
Bridge Over Troubled Water by: Simon and Garfunkel
Sunshine On My Shoulders by: John Denver
Imagine by: John Lennon


Why We Do This

Jocelyn works late on Thursday nights. It’s the schedule we’ve had for a while now (Dalia in preschool all day M/W/F; On Tues. with me during the day and Jocelyn at night, on Thurs. with Joc during the day and me at night).

Most Thursday’s she’s in the office seeing clients who need after work hours appointments, or taking someone on a guided grocery shopping at New Leaf/TJ’s/Staff/Whole Foods. Tonight she was in Monterey at CHOMP giving a presentation for the American Cancer Society, “Fight Cancer With Your Fork.”

Until February of 2009 Jocelyn worked part time at the Monterey Bay Oncology Center doing in person and phone consultations with cancer patients. In that capacity she mostly helped patients find foods they could keep down during chemotherapy, find nutrients to support getting well, and for some simply find joy in one of the basic pleasures of life during their transition into death.

Tonight, the spouse of one of those patients came to the presentation in order to meet Jocelyn in person and share how much the sessions his wife had had with Jocelyn in the last weeks of her life had meant to them and their family.

While she told me this my eyes swelled with tears. Tears of pride (I am so proud of my wife). Tears of sorrow (suffering and loss). Tears of gratitude.


What do Photographers Blog About

For over a week, I have been wracking my brain for something to say on this darn blog. I have literally sat down twice and begun writing things, only to get distracted and never finish. Let’s just say that my attention span is limited to visual appeal. I am of the kind that can remember your face, what you wore, if you smiled, how you smelled, and generally everything about a person except their name and ‘how they were that day.’ With this said, I think it is very suiting that I recently finished my bachelor’s degree in photography. So, what do photographers blog about…

This past weekend was one of great enjoyment for me. I spent all day Friday at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur listening to a slew of bands, two of which really caught my eye, War Paint and Sleepy Sun. War Paint is a band I had never heard of before, but will definitely see again. Consisting of 3 women and one man, this psychedelic folk group captivated the audience with their soulful and melodic tunes. Their style blended the teenage angst of Minor Threat and the saucy vocals of Crass with heavy psychadelic riffs more influenced by Phish and later Anastasio projects. Sleepy Sun is a local Santa Cruz band who I have been following for a quite a while. There is no way to put my finger on their sound and style other than saying that they are the high minus the drugs. I saw them once, and have gone to every show since for over a year now. Here is my favorite picture of the week of their lead singer, Bret.