Alignment and technique. After seven seasons as a professional soccer player and countless years practicing yoga, I recently came to the realization of how dependent my technique is on proper body alignment.

Wrapping up the 2022 season I had residual mobility issues in both my ankles. I dealt with it – but when I started to do extra technical work I realized there were parts of the training I physically could not do. My touch would be poor because my ankles were incapable of moving the way I needed them to.

I also have had hip impingement for years. I was down in Florida for offseason training and I couldn’t do an outside of the foot touch on my right side. My leg couldn’t move the way I needed it to.

The technical work was bringing into focus the limitations of my game that were the result of my body (hips, knees, and ankles) being misaligned.

Enter Stefano Allegri.

Stefano moved to Costa Rica from Italy where he first started practicing Asana Yoga. The passion for union between opposite energies brought Stefano to his first teacher training in Ubud, Bali in 2003 with master Luise Serss. In 2005, he travelled to India where his Mysore and Ashtanga studies unfolded with Sre. K. P. Jois. Since then, he has spent time in California and Colorado practicing and learning from Master Tim Miller and Master Richard Freeman. In 2013, Stefano returned to India, to go deeper with one of the most recognized yoga masters in the world, Mathew Sweeney.

Meredith in action!

I did my first yoga class with Stefano on January 1st. The 2 hr class was profound and his mastery as a teacher was literally a game changer for me. Through his emphasis on proper alignment I was able to pay attention to my body in new ways. The constant gentle and light hearted reminders – “no banana ankles,” “tuck in your Kardashian” “like a shish kebab” – were really resonating with me. The sequences opened up, strengthened and aligned every inch of my body.

Five yoga classes in, I asked my sister to help me do some foot work at a local field. My outside of the foot touches were significantly better – faster, cleaner. My ankles weren’t letting me down. Now for the real test, I tried an outside of the foot volley with my right foot. A technique I haven’t been able to do for years. It wasn’t quite perfect but it was a drastic improvement. I had the strength and mobility I needed for proper form, or at least enough of an improvement to see the potential. In one week in my body and the technical aspect of my game had changed.

I am hooked. I have a new perspective on the value of yoga as a professional athlete and I am grateful to Stefano for preparing me for the 2023 season.

Today Id like to explore with you that very human experience –   expectations 

What do we mean when we say expectations? 

Expectations are the state of looking forward or anticipating. Imagining a future is a lovely and very human phenomenon, especially around the holidays. I imagine the cheerfulness of a holiday lights, long held traditions – a brief turn from the mundane to the magical. If we’re lucky we have this love in our lives all year, but I know I’m better at savoring it during the Christmas Holiday.

I’ve read, however, that “unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments”!

 Sometimes I’m sorry to admit, my unrealistic expectations have led me to feeling disappointed and even resentful. 

So why do our expectations sometimes end in disappointment?

For me, its often my unrealistic expectations of other people that leads  to disappointment and resentment. The miscommunicated understandings of social contracts and resistance to change. I’m attached to my expectations. The lesson is life rarely can deliver in the way we imagined.

I got to experience this strong attachment to my expectations at our annual Holiday outing Families a great classroom. I have 3 children, Liz, Amy and Meredith and 1 son-in-law, Blane and 4 stepchildren Jessie,Harry, Reed and Wyatt.. All wonderful people whom I love dearly. I plan an annual holiday event where we all gather for a dinner out and a show. I say it’s a gift I give myself because I love that night. We chose someplace festive to eat. Everyone gets dressed up and we have this experience together. We’ve had great meals and seen some wonderful productions,like Hamilton, and had some awful meals and seen some terrible shows, like the Humans and made some great memories. Needless to say, I place a very high value on the night.

As the family got older, busy lives started to interfere. Meredith couldn’t make the 18th, Amy had a work event, Reed wasn’t going to be home from school until the 20th,but still I persisted. (Did I mention attachment to our expectations causes the suffering), I’m sure I made it clear that opting out was not an option and my family dutifully compromised, rearranged, and otherwise moved mountains to make the night.

As you can imagine, when the last weary traveler arrived at the dinner table I looked around and saw the damage of expectations. It basically looked like a table of hostages. Lesson learned.

Was my expectation of a magical evening met. Absolutely not.Was it  fair of me to place my expectations for a “special night “ on everyone else. Also no.I realized I had missed the point, that if love and joy of the season was what I was seeking, all I had to do was extend a little compassion to my own family. A very good lesson indeed.

The following 2 years were pandemic years, and like everyone, we had no choice but to change our traditions, let go of some things and introduce new traditions. (Christmas Eve in the back yard?) Sure!

This year we are resuming our dinner and a show tradition, but its come if you can. Whether its post pandemic response to having done so little for too long, or the lack of the weight of my “expectations” everyone can make it this year. Im working on holding it all a little looser and I pray the lesson sticks.

What does it take to soften around expectations? I suppose a bit of self-awareness. I  recognize the contracting in my chest when I start to grasp. Thats an “uh oh “feeling for me. Time to pay attention. It takes courage to drop the expectations and allow what is to be and accept it with an open heart. These are reminders that life is unpredictable , and that’s  what creates possibilities in our life. 

My hope today for all of us is we can be curious about expectations, both those we internalize and those we place on others. 

By Dr. Ed

It is a common misperception that the wear-and-tear of regular exercise is bad for joints by damaging and thinning cartilage.

Actually, the opposite is true.

Cartilage is a firm, flexible rubbery connective tissue found in many joints. It’s main function is to protect the bones that meet (articulate) together in a joint. It acts as a shock absorber and a solid lubricant allowing for almost frictionless movement of the bones in a healthy joint.

Cartilage lacks a direct blood supply (Meaning that there are no small arteries delivering blood to the tissue and no small veins draining blood from the tissue). For many years, cartilage was erroneously thought to be an inert, non-metabolic tissue lacking the capacity for repair or further growth. This, however, is not the case. There have been many studies over the last years that have shown that cartilage has a capacity to grow and repair limited damage and respond to a variety of biologic mediators.

Synovial fluid (a viscous straw-colored  fluid that occupies many joint spaces and can bath the cartilage) is the Source of nutrients for the cartilage. Synovial fluid is secreted by the synovial membrane which lines the inside of joint. It is a product of filtering the blood  and contains many nutrients and supportive factors.

There have been many studies both in humans and an animal models that have demonstrated that moderate, regular weight-bearing exercise that takes the joint through its full range on motion  does not lead to thinning of cartilage and probably improves over-all health of the joint. MRI studies of a cohort of middle-age people who exercised regularly for at least twenty minutes three to four times a week overtime revealed thickening of the articular cartilage. It is thought that when A joint moves through its full range of motion, especially with weight-bearing, the increased pressure of the synovial fluid ‘pushes’ nutrients into the cartilage improving its health. 

The key here does seem to be moderation.  It is known that high impact activities that involve a lot of twisting can lead to accelerated damage of the cartilage of a joint. Examples of these activities would include basketball, football, tennis, soccer.

Besides improving cartilage health regular Exercise or activity can help joint health in at least two other ways.

One is by improving muscle strength around the joint.  Stronger Muscles will help stabilize the joint and And help absorb more of the shock relieving the cartilage of some of it’s work.

And regular exercise can Lead to weight loss or may help maintain A healthy weight which again will mitigate some of the stress going through our joints.

So it appears there’s a great deal of truth in the old adage —MOTION IS LOTION.

PLaY is so happy to offer you this fun and interesting day here in the beautiful Catskill Mountains!

Start your day with a wonderful Yoga class at 10am with none other then our beloved @YogaDan. Yoga Dan (Daniel Gottlieb) is a NYC-based Detroit transplant specializing in Sports / Performance / Recovery Programming. NPI-Certified Posture Specialist (NPI-CPSTM) With 20+ years’ experience, YD started his athletic career playing college basketball. Due to a severe back injury his basketball career was cut short. Frustrated with the lack of progress using conventional methods YD discovered yoga and healed himself back to recovery and full strength. It is through this experience that he honed his knowledge of bio-mechanics. Today he’s developed a practice that brings together his passions for sports and yoga to create a wholistic approach to wellness with a focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation.

https://www.sproga.com/about

Then we’ll break feeling restored and renewed and share a meal and stories with like minded friends.

After lunch , we follow the inimitable Moe Lemire for a fascinating snowshoe through his beloved catskill mountains.

MOE LEMIRE, OWNER & LEAD GUIDE

Moe Lemire is a Licensed Guide by the State of New York (#7788).

Moe is an experienced hiker and camper with experience hiking and camping throughout the eastern and southwestern United States, along with experience hiking a number of long distance hiking trails.

In 2016 Moe thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. On his thru-hike of the entire trail, he spent 179 days traversing a total of 2189 miles. He has also hiked the 358 mile Long Path, the 170 mile Cohos Trail, and the 138 mile Northville Placid Trail.

Moe is a Catskill 3500 Club member, having climbed all 35 peaks in the Catskills above 3,500 feet, both in the summer and in the winter. He is currently working on his Catskill Park All Trails Patch and the Catskills Grid.

Moe is the New York State Advocate for the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. His goal in this role is to spread knowledge about the seven Leave No Trace principles in New York.

Learn the ins and outs of snow showing, the catskill mountains, and the wildlife that makes its home here.

Expect the day to end by 4 PM

Learn More about Moe Lemire and Hikes on Guides!

https://hikeonguides.com/about

Cost $75 preregister and $85 day of.

Yoga + Hike

Yoga + Hike

$75.00Buy now