Sunday, January 12, 2020

Embracing Silver Hair and Elder Care




Robin Downes’ 
Yoga FlavaTM
The Silva Edition
Embracing silver hair, and elder care
with yoga, style and grace.
Robin Downes is an Emmy Award winning journalist since 1981,“Outstanding Individual Achievement in National News and Documentary” for “ABC News 20/20”. Since 1996, Robin is Hollywood’s certified Yoga instructor to the stars with clients such as Vanessa Williams, Brandy, John Salley, LisaRaye McCoy and Russell Simmons, to name a few. In 2004, she became the first African American woman to have an internationally distributed video through Wal-Mart (Yoga Flava for Relaxation, Vol.1). Awarded The “Trailblazer In Yoga” award by the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers.  Currently developing content for Yoga Flava TV on YouTube (youtube.com/yogaflava)
Author, Robin Downes
November 5, 2019

Yoga Flava Silva 
It was my travels to India, where my gurus encouraged me to take the Yoga practice and interpret it for my people.  In 1996, I felt my people had “Flava” and created Yoga FlavaTM classes that embrace urban culture with ancient moves to contemporary grooves.  

Looking forward to a new era, as I embrace turning 60 and outliving my mother’s age. Celebrating my silver hair and elder care with Yoga Flava Silva Sessions moving into 2020. At this point the chair yoga sessions have been inspired by my Father as something we could do together.
 In 2021 it will be the 25th (Silver) Anniversary of Yoga Flava and I am excited about celebrating with a pop up tour in association with special events. Let me know if you would like to learn more about collaborative opportunities. email:robin@yogaflava.com

Embracing Aging
I’m 59 years of age, my mother passed away at the age of 60 from breast cancer, twenty one years ago.  Watching her fight a losing battle with her health, led me to the practice of Yoga. Yoga helped me cope with the stress of watching her body decline, while building a strong connection to her spirit as she transitioned. Understanding we are all spiritual beings having a temporary human experience. 
I continue my Yoga practice to survive and thrive.  It was my travels to India, where my gurus encouraged me to take the Yoga practice and interpret it for my people. 

Take Care of Yourself While Caring For Your Loved One
Thank goodness, my Yoga practice has given me the tools to cope with the stress of honoring my aging parent.  Becoming, my 85 year old father’s, primary caregiver was an emergency that turned into a lifestyle. If this is what it’s going to be… let’s live our best lives.  I amazed myself to see the healing transformation, through a Yogic lifestyle, that my father has benefitted from.  Yoga saved my Father’s life.
In my daily journaling writing and mediation, I scan my body daily to see wear I may be holding unconscious stress in my body.  Being present with my body, despite the long list of caregiving responsibilities, help me sort out priorities clearly. There’s a Sufi expression, “Never give from the depths of your well, but from your overflow.” Like in your Yoga practice, know when to take child’s pose… rest break from the practice of caregiving.
My silver strands began to pop up in my forties.  Due to agism in our society, I didn’t embrace my natural crown until age 55. Once I did embrace my natural crown, a whole new kingdom opened up.  I was asked to model for Iman cosmetics, featured in Essence magazine, BlackDoctors.org and here I am representing in in Black Yoga Magazine.
Elder Caregiving As A Practice
It’s a challenging balance between self care and elder care.  The journey continues with mindfully being aware how precious our living mind, body and spirit is and needs to be cherished. When I didn’t have enough energy to share my Yoga practice with my father, I would make sure we got massages. The massage would make me more aware of the massive amount of tension I was unconsciously holding in my body.
Simple breath work (pranayama), restorative, yin yoga and chair yoga are all nurturing for elder caregiving.
Food as medicine has been a huge process in the healing and well being for myself and my father.
Go home look in the mirror, look into your eyes and send love to your soul, and send love to your body as it is, be present in this moment. 
Affirmation: I exist in this moment only. I listen and feel with full attention and love.
Community
One of the first things my friend who worked at an assisted living community told me was to not try to do it by yourself.  I am fortunate that my father put some plans in place for his long term care and I have been able to help him reap the benefits he deserves.  There is also ElderDignity.org that is shining a light on the dark side of elder abuse with predatory guardianship and ways to protect yourself and your loved one.  It takes a village to avoid burn out.
Pace yourself and enjoy the journey.  The journey is the reward.
Don’t regret growing old, it is a privilege denied by many.
Let’s get old together!
Having the ability to relax, give you the ease to be dynamic. - Robin Downes



Emmy Award Winner | Multi-Media Producer Wellness / Media Personality / Model
Robin Downes is an Emmy Award winning journalist since 1981,“Outstanding Individual Achievement in National News and Documentary” for “ABC News 20/20”.  She is a talk show host, radio personality, featured blogger, model and certified Yoga instructor. Additional credits include: Music Coordinator For The Cosby Show, Production Coordinator on Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing.”, C.E.B.A. Award winning MTV Producer of the Rockumentary “Racism Points of View,” Development Associate at Paramount Pictures, Digital Producer / Host Sirius Satellite Network and Interactive One’s “Hello Beautiful”.  Most recently, the Model for Iman Cosmetics 2019 Spring/Summer campaign - the first silver haired model for the line!
Ms. Downes provides updates on health, wellness, spirituality, entertainment and lifestyle through her YouTube web series Yoga Flava and What’s Up With Downes (Robin Downes Network). She is the creator of Yoga Flava, a Hatha Yoga based tasteful blend of ancient moves to contemporary grooves. 
Since 1996, Robin is Hollywood’s certified Yoga instructor to the stars with clients such as Vanessa Williams, Brandy, John Salley, LisaRaye McCoy and Hip-Hop business guru Russell Simmons, to name a few. She is the first African American woman to have an internationally distributed video through Wal-Mart (Yoga Flava for Relaxation, Vol.1). 
Additionally, Essence magazine recommended Yoga Flava in its 2010 Wealth and Wellness issue. Robin has also been featured in the “The New York Times,” “Yoga Journal,” “Shape,” “Heart and Soul,” “Black Enterprise,” “Ebony,” “UPN News,” “BlackDoctor.org and “CBS News” to name a few. Additionally, she is a syndicated health and wellness digital journalist, servicing various media outlets. Additional information can be found at www.yogaflava.com




Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Warm Up Your Spine This Winter


Warm up your spine this winter with this beginner back bend.

Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaiasana/Bitilasana)
Start in tabletop and move through Cat-Cow, going with the flow of your breath. Inhale for Cow pose, exhale for Cat.

Benefits of Cat-Cow

Cat-Cow is a gentle flow between two poses that warms the body and brings flexibility to the spine.This will warm up your spine, which is perfect during winter months.  It stretches the back torso and neck, and softly stimulates and strengthens the abdominal organs. It also open the chest, encouraging the breath to become slow and deep. The spinal movement of the two poses stimulates the kidneys and adrenal glands. Coordinating this movement with your breathing relieves stress and calms the mind.
This sequence also helps to develop postural awareness and balance throughout the body. It brings the spine into correct alignment and can help prevent back pain when practiced regularly.
Flow along with this video and subscribe to Yoga Flava TV


S23: Ep3 Cat Cow | Beginner Back Bend | Yoga Flava TV
Produced by Robin Downes Vincent Myers
Subscribe: http://www.youtube.com/yogaflava

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Warrior 2 Pose

During autumn, try to schedule your yoga practice at the same time every day and for the same length of time. This will help to build a routine and calm the chaotic vata energy. Do yoga poses that focus on the lungs and large intestines, as these are the two organs associated with the fall season.

Warrior 2 Pose Affirmation: I am strong. 
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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Autumn Sun Salutations [VIDEO]

Autumn Sun Salutations

During autumn, try to schedule your yoga practice at the same time every day and for the same length of time. This will help to build a routine and calm the chaotic vata energy. Do yoga poses that focus on the lungs and large intestines, as these are the two organs associated with the fall season.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Autumn Equinox Spiritual Cycle [VIDEO]




Time to align with a new season. Before we even notice the changing of colors with our eyes, our senses tell us that the reign of summer has come to an end in the northern half of the world. 
The Autumn Equinox is a meaningful time of year to honor the harvest. Whether that be a "real" harvest of the things planted in your garden or the harvest of efforts and intentions for your life path that you set earlier in the year.
The changing seasons are key points in the cycle of life in nature, and within this cycle many ancient cultures perceived a powerful deeper message for humanity.
Indigenous cultures recognized earth-based wisdom and understood that the four focal points of the year: the Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Autumn Equinox; illuminated stages of an inner spiritual journey – a spiritual cycle that the individual takes within themselves.
As we consciously link our awareness to nature's cycles, our understanding of our own cycles begin to deepen.
Spiritually speaking, fall represents the Harvest time of year, a time to acknowledge abundance as our natural state of being. Our lives go through cycles of growth, harvest, death, and rebirth just as we see in nature.  By becoming quiet and listening to what is trying to emerge from within us.
The significance of the Autumnal Equinox for the person walking the spiritual path is the time of year where we activate our new growth cycle. As we become silent and rest we are allowing space for our greater vision to emerge.
Take some time this Autumn to acknowledge your life cycle and spiritual path. In doing so, you are honoring, not only your own growth and light within, but the ancient wisdom that has served our health and wellness for thousands of years.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Preserve Your Summer Yoga Memories in a Photo Collage [VIDEO]

Preserve Your Summer Yoga Memories in a Photo Collage

This was such a fun summer photo shoot with Dr. Boogie and that was the point to simply have fun!

Photos are one of the best ways to induce positive memories. Think about how happy you are when you look back on pictures of yourself and your loved ones enjoying the summer season. Surround yourself with fun photographs that will keep you in happy spirits for months to come. They're also a great conversation piece when friends and family come to visit.
Put together a collage of photos from the summer that you can put in your home or office. Perhaps you can select one photo from each of the fun times you spent time journaling about to represent your "Summer 2019" memories.

Journal Your Summer Memories Gratefully [VIDEO]

Gratitude or Happiness Journals can retrain your mind to focus on the positive.  Put a new spin on the gratitude journal and spend 20 to 30 minutes (or longer, if you like) writing about each of your top 10 favorite memories from summer.
The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit, and feel. Journaling about positive memories from your summer can evoke a state of mindfulness as you close the chapter on summer and focus on the present.

SUBSCRIBE: Check out the following Yoga Flava TV Playlist:  
Hemalayaa's Mastermind Retreat
July 26th - 29th, 2019 in LaJolla, California. - video playlist that documents the highlights. 
Shout out to my Secret Sauce Sisters (J.Han, Monica Adams, Kelley Snyder, Roni Yari,) 
On Day 4 we were all given a journal by Monk Manual.