2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Sup yogis?

    Tue, July 29, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Me (on the right) in half pigeon pose at Underwater Connection. Photo courtesy Holly Sciorra.

    Me (on the right) in half pigeon pose at Underwater Connection. Photo courtesy Holly Sciorra.

    Chaturanga dandasana (half push-up) on a stand up paddle board is a whole other pose than the one you bust out on a yoga mat. Same with warrior two. And don’t let me catch you trying to flip your down dog.

    Last week, I took my first stand up paddle board yoga class at Underwater Connection. It was taught by Holly Sciorra, a local yoga teacher, who recently completed training in Boulder.

    There were four of us on an early Friday morning. One of us had done it before, though in the actual ocean. She was a pro, even bursting up into a wheel pose toward the end of class, which is challenging on dry land, too. I stayed in my nice, sweet, steady bridge pose while she did that.

    It was more challenging than I expected. There was a constant wobble factor that kept me focused — one of the initial perks that brought me to the mat. It’s good for forgetting anything that’s troubling you.

    Practice was very slow and very modified. We dropped to the back knee for standing poses and didn’t do much in the way of big balance poses, like dancer or eagle.

    My favorite part? Resting in corpse pose on my back on the board. The gentle movement of the water was super relaxing and comforting, and I could let my arms dangle off the side of the board and in the water.

    I would do this class again. They also hold some weekend classes at Prospect Lake, but those will end relatively soon, when the weather gets cold.

    Check out the site for details: uwcscuba.com.

  • It’s all cyclical

    Thu, July 24, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Ever since I interviewed the sleep expert for a Live Well column, and he talked about sleep cycles, I’ve noticed them in my own pattern of sleep.

    I can tell I’m at the end of a sleep cycle when I wake up slowly and naturally, with the remnants of a dream still floating behind my eyes. We get about five of those 90-minute cycles every night if you’re aiming for eight hours of sleep, which I definitely am.

    The sleep expert also told me it’s better to just get up naturally at the end of a sleep cycle, versus trying to go back to sleep for another 20 minutes. If you do that, you’ll wake up in the middle of a stage of sleep, and not feel as good. So, I took that to heart over the weekend when I woke a little too early for my liking, but I didn’t have enough time to go back to sleep for another 90 minutes.

    With thoughts of cycles floating in my head, I trotted off to teach yoga, where I took the sleep cycle though a bit further, and talked cycles of life, the seasons, our practice on the mat (we often begin in child’s pose and end in corpse pose).

    Clearly, this attention to cycles is the lesson I’m to learn this week. I did an interview Wednesday with singer/songwriter Mary Gauthier, and she talked about her latest album – eight songs on the devastating breakup of her last relationship. She reminded me that grief, too, has a beginning, middle and end. Just like everything else.

    It’s prompting  me to reflect on my life, and any apparent or subtle cycles I’m in the middle of. What about you? Ponder that this Thursday. Feel free to share: jen.mulson@gazette.com

  • Shoulders back, people

    Tue, July 22, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Did you instinctively improve your posture when reading those words? I hope so. Don’t let the rounded shoulders of today turn into the dowager’s hump of tomorrow. That’s the severe rounding of the upper back in elderly people, if you weren’t sure.

    I consistently see people with some very poor posture. And it’s really no wonder. We’re all so hunched over all the time – over our phones as we sit and text, over our keyboards, over the video game console, driving around in cars with no back support.

    Let’s straighten up and fly right, people!

    Here’s one little trick I’ve employed while sitting at my work desk. I have a shawl and roll it up into a ball that I place between my back and the chair back. It reminds me to sit up straight.

    bound angle poseI recently read a memoir in which the author practiced a heart opening yoga pose with a block every day for at least a few minutes, if not much longer. She placed a yoga block longwise on the ground, then lay so it was right underneath her back, with the base of the block at the top of her sacrum.

    She found reclining bound angle pose by bringing the soles of her feet together, letting her knees fall gently out to the sides and letting her arms rest on the ground beside her.

    This position can help reverse all the forward hunching you do during the day. You can also use a sturdy pillow or cushion instead of a block. 

  • Oil pulling vs. brushing your teeth

    Fri, July 11, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    This is not me.

    This is not me.

    Have you heard of oil pulling as a means of dental care?

    It’s not some new fad, but a folk remedy that’s been around for centuries, and mostly practiced in India and southern Asia, according to the American Dental Association’s website.

    Everywhere I turn these days, I read another story about it. And I’ve heard of a couple of acquaintances who decided to give it a go.

    Oil pulling goes like this: You take a tablespoon of an edible oil, like sesame, olive, sunflower or coconut, and swish it around slowly in your mouth for up to 20 minutes.

    The theory is the oil collects all the toxins and other garbage in your mouth, which you then dispense of when you spit the oil out. It’s also said to whiten the teeth.

    Gross. I’m sorry, people, the thought of doing this for 20 minutes makes my tummy turn over. And what if you accidentally swallow it?

    For the most part, I’ll try anything once. But not this. I’m sticking with my fluoride and floss.

    I’m going to write a column about oil pulling soon, and would love to hear from those who’ve done it. Do you give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down? jen.mulson@gazette.com

  • Yoga: Exercise, spiritual practice or both?

    Thu, July 10, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    This is something I’ve considered and struggled with over the past few years. It was recently brought to my attention again.

    Why do we do yoga? Why do I do yoga? Do I do it just for the physical exercise it provides? Or do I do it for more? And what are my students there for?

    There is no denying yoga is a great way to exercise your body, but sometimes I wonder if that’s the only reason students come to class. And I guess that’s fine. I’m not complaining. I like having students in class. And I also believe that practicing yoga postures works this magic on people, sometimes sooner, sometimes later.

    Like I did, way back in the day, they want to know more about what this yoga stuff is, and why it feels so good. That often leads to the discovery of the other seven limbs of yoga, which include breathwork, yamas, niyamas, meditation and more.

    I admit it – sometimes I get frustrated when students only seem to care how hard the posture sequence or the core work is. I want them to care about the other stuff, too. I want them to learn about ahimsa (non-violence), aparigraha (non-hoarding) and santosha (contentment). I want them to appreciate the journey toward pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) and dhyana (meditation).

    But I also feel like I should be grateful for people coming to class no matter what reason they’re there for.

    We could spend quite some time talking about this. But what do you think? Why do you go to yoga? jen.mulson@gazette.com

  • Don’t become a fireball this summer

    Wed, July 9, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Almost me

    Almost me

    Last weekend was not a good one for this pitta dosha/Aries fire sign girl.

    With temperatures in the 90s, the situation was rife with danger. In summers past, I’ve made poor choices. I would go to a heated yoga class, where the room is heated to 95 degrees and humidity is set to 35 percent.

    I’ve gone hiking at noon in the sun’s penetrating, endless glare. And in both circumstances, I’ve been miserable, cranky and generally ill-feeling.

    I promised myself I would make better choices this summer, and last weekend, I did. I went to the air conditioned gym to exercise and did yoga in my house under the ceiling fan, where it’s relatively cool. I got myself over to Cheyenne Canon, and found a secret spot on a large, flat rock right next to the running creek. I soaked up the negative ions that running water sends up into the air, and felt at peace.

    Finally, finally, I listened to my body.

    Maybe you’re wondering what pitta dosha is. It’s from Ayurveda, the traditional system of medicine in India. It’s been used for thousands of years, and seeks to balance the body through diet, herbs and lifestyle choices. Ayurveda says we are each one of three doshas (body constitutions), or a mix of two doshas.

    Pitta dosha is the fiery one. Its qualities include heat, light, intensity. Add to that the sign under which I was born – Aries. A fire sign, of course. I don’t necessarily put full stock in horoscopes, but I do find it interesting that there’s a lot of fire in my constitution, according to these two belief systems.

    It’s all about balance in Ayurveda, and not aggravating your dosha. For me to go practice in a super hot yoga room at noon on a 95 degree July day is the definition of insanity for me. Maybe not for you, but definitely for me. And if I followed that up with a hot cup of coffee and a spicy bowl of soup? Just stick a fork in me, because I’ll be done.

    I encourage you to research your own dosha. There are lots of quizzes online, or find an Ayurvedic practitioner in town.

    Here’s one: http://doshaquiz.chopra.com/



  • A case of Inclineism

    Wed, July 2, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    I have a crazy friend. Okay, I have lots of crazy friends. I like them.

    manitou-incline-12-16-12-0265But one in particular has ventured across the line. Last night he did the Manitou Incline THREE, count them THREE, times. In a row. Can you even fathom that?

    Did he see Kevin Bacon? I forgot to ask! Shame on me.

    Okay, granted, he’s training for a bunch of bike and running races, but still. Hey, I was proud the other when I walked/jogged through Monument Valley Park, and ran a set of stairs that connect the trail to the street. I did that three times. It took about five minutes. Maybe I need to try a little harder.

    How many times have you climbed the incline in a row? My friend also told me an ex-coworker once climbed it SIX times. In one day! That’s more times than I’ve done it in the past three years.

    Let’s all compare notes, shall we? jen.mulson@gazette.com

  • Local stars at Wanderlust yoga festival

    Mon, June 30, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Colorado Springs yoga teachers are representing at Wanderlust over the Fourth of July weekend.

    Wanderlust is a yoga festival that’s held in multiple locations across the country through the summer, including Aspen-Snowmass.

    Becca Roodhuyzen

    Becca Roodhuyzen

    And I think we should be proud that some local faces will be there, guiding masses of yogis through workshops:

    • Becca Roodhuyzen, owner of the local Playoga yoga studio
    • Dylan DiPrima, who is CorePower Yoga’s Northern Colorado and Colorado Springs regional manager
    • Chelsey Korus, an ex-Colorado Springs CorePower Yoga teacher, who is a pro AcroYoga teacher and practitioner

    Are you going to Wanderlust or any other yoga festival this summer? Let me know what you think: jen.mulson@gazette.com

    Dylan DiPrima

    Dylan DiPrima

    Chelsey Korus

    Chelsey Korus

  • Three Key Yoga new to the city

    Fri, June 27, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    There’s another new yoga studio in town – Three Key Yoga.

    It recently opened near where the old Montgomery Ward store used to be. As an opening special, classes are free through Thursday, July 3. Right now two classes are offered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, including gentle, all-level flow and all-level power.

    They’re also hiring yoga teachers, if you’re in the market.

    Where: 2132 E. Bijou St., Suite 101
    Contact: info@threekeyyoga.com, threekeyyoga.com

  • Cambio. Yoga to offer adaptive yoga class

    Wed, June 18, 2014 by Jen Mulson with no comments

    Local yoga teacher Morgen Thomas is starting a new class for those with physical disabilities and impaired mobility and returning service members who have experienced mind-body trauma. Participants must be able to follow simple instructions and verbal cues, and physical assistance will be provided for those who need it. Caregivers are also welcome.

    The first class is Saturday.

    This could include those with: Spinal cord injury, paralysis, amputated limbs, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, brain injury, spina bifida and arthritis.

    Matthew Sanford

    Matthew Sanford

    Adaptive Yoga is based on yoga techniques developed by Matthew Sanford, a yoga teacher who has been a paraplegic since a car accident when he was 10 years old. His program emphasizes the experience within the poses, Thomas says.

    From her press release:

    “Adaptive Yoga introduces those living with physical disability and mobility challenges to the benefits of yoga by presenting concepts and exercises intended to deepen the connection between mind and body as well as improve balance, flexibility and strength.”

    What: Adaptive Yoga for Disability & Mobility
    When: 3-4:15 p.m. Saturday,  June 21
    Where: Cambio. Yoga Studio, 3326 Austin Bluffs Parkway
    Cost: $10; 229-1188, cambioyoga.com