In her new book, Revolution of the Soul, social activist and yoga teacher Seane Corn details how ill and awkward she felt during her first yoga class and what kept her going back for more.
After hearing about yoga for years and witnessing the changes it made in David Life, owner of Life Café in New York City, where I waitressed, and Sharon Gannon, the head waitress, I’d decided to see for myself what the hoopla was about. I’d come to Integral Yoga, where everyone dressed in white and everything was absolutely pristine. Except for me. I looked down at my gray sweatpants, grease stains on the thighs from where I had wiped my hands after working on my motorcycle. I hadn’t showered and knew without a doubt that black eyeliner and mascara lay smeared under my eyes. I was a bit of a mess.
I was told to sign in and remove my shoes, so I kicked off my black-leather Screaming Mimi combat boots and tossed them toward the rest of the shoes on the floor, but I left my socks on. Going barefoot in a public place that wasn’t a park or beach kinda grossed me out, plus I often cut and peeled the skin off my big toes and heels when I was anxious and I didn’t want anyone to see that.
The woman behind the counter, also wearing white, looked calm and sweet. I noticed, when she raised her arm to reach for something, that she had a thick patch of armpit hair. I wondered if Sharon shaved her pits. Note to self: Stop shaving, buy something white and… take a bath.
The 20-year yoga student chatted with us about Gloria Steinem, pranayama, and finally perfecting her Scorpion Pose.
At 5’2”, Danica Patrick is a force to be reckoned with. The only woman to have led laps in both the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500, Patrick is no stranger to staring down her fears. The 37-year-old author and longtime yoga practitioner retired from race car driving last year, and today she’s channeling her take-no-prisoners attitude into an inspirational podcast, aptly titled Pretty Intense, in which she interviews famed guests such as Neil deGrasse Tyson and Alex Rodriguez about tough topics like what it takes to win, spirituality, and what makes us human. We caught up with her to talk about her new career goals, her yoga practice, and what she dreams about at night.
Yoga Journal: Why a podcast?
Danica Patrick: I just spend a lot of my time listening to inspirational podcasts and watching these types of videos, and I thought that it would be really fun to go deep with people and find out more about the parts of their lives that were difficult or transitioned into something good and find out how they did it. When I watch something or listen to someone speak, I want some action points. What did it take to get where they are? What techniques did they use? How are you going grow—not just as an idea but how are you going to do it. So now I talk to people to find out how they did it.
YJ: What guests are you most excited about so far?
DP: I loved the conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson. We talked about religion a lot it was int bc he’s an astrophysicist. What a cool and smart guy. I feel like it’s going to …
Forero Puerta starts her workshops with a shaking practice, which she leads to the beat of up-tempo, rhythmic music.
Stand and close your eyes if it feels safe, or soften your gaze, relaxing your eyelids. Forero Puerta starts her workshops with a shaking practice, which she leads to the beat of up-tempo, rhythmic music. Wiggle all of your fingers, rotate your wrists, and raise and drop your shoulders. Shake your arms and legs. Start jumping and continue for the length of a song while tapping (head, collarbone, or another area) to invite more sensation to various parts of your body.
Try this short meditation when you need a reminder that you are, and have, enough.
I come back to this meditation whenever I feel depleted in some way—from what’s happening in the world or on social media, or if I simply haven’t been able to cultivate the energy I need to get through the day. With this exercise, we remind ourselves of all the things that bring us joy, wonder, and awe. I hope you enjoy it.
First, find a comfortable seated position. Notice how your body feels, connected to the earth, in whichever way you choose, and allow yourself to be here, in this moment, in this breath. How does it feel to be here now? It may feel scary or uncomfortable or just right. Allow it to be without judgment, without shame. Notice how the present feels in your breath. Allow your breaths to be short and shallow, or long and deep. And as you breathe, notice if you have space for a little bit more air with every inhalation, perhaps drawing in and out through your nose. Give yourself permission to take in a little bit more air, and release it. Allow your breath to fill in through your nose, through your lungs, down into your belly, and then out again, exploring all of the space and capacity that you have.
Fill yourself with breath and then gently let it go. See if you can give yourself more time, allowing for a few more seconds to slow your inhalation and exhalation, making the most of each magical moment of breath.
Now with each inhalation, allow your body to fill the space around you, drawing up through the crown of your head, breathing into the widest parts of …
Nicole Cardoza is making the world a little bit nicer by bringing yoga to kids in schools and altering the face of wellness.
Imagine if all playground disputes were dissolved by group meditation and breath work. What if students could coach themselves and others through the stress of a big test with mindfulness techniques? How many fewer road-rage incidents and hostile Twitter rants would there be if elementary schools gave kids the tools to manage their emotions—to be kinder, wiser, more mindful, well-adjusted people—from the start?
That’s the environment Nicole Cardoza is cultivating through her nonprofit Yoga Foster, bringing yoga into elementary schools by offering teachers the training, lesson plans, and resources they need to practice with their students—many of whom come from low-income families and struggle with grown-up problems like hunger and sleep deprivation. “Yoga is a practice of self-inquiry,” Cardoza says. “And that’s not something that’s often taught to children or in schools.” But hopefully that will change. In just five years, more than 60,000 students in 2,500 classrooms across the United States have benefited from Yoga Foster—improving flexibility, strength, coordination, and concentration, and instilling a sense of calmness and relaxation.
“I love the idea of making yoga equitable and accessible from the get-go,” says the 30-year-old social entrepreneur, “so it isn’t introduced to future generations as something exclusive that comes with privilege—something that only certain people with certain bodies and financial capacities are able to practice.” Kids who take up yoga are much more wellness-conscious as they grow, she says: “They can then continue to advocate to make sure the practice remains as accessible as it was when they were in school and they did it between recess and reading in the …
Follow your Savasana with a short 8-minute meditation from Jana Long, increasing the duration over time.
Follow your Savasana with a short 8-minute meditation from Jana Long, increasing the duration over time. Sit still and quiet and become aware of how your breath feels. If you find you are thinking or clinging to thoughts, let them go and return to feeling your breath.