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Not Yo' Momma's Yoga Blog

  • Stories of Strength: Natalie's 30-Day Dare

    We all have stories.

    Each year, the 30-Day Dare brings out amazing stories of strength, courage, and perseverance from Funky Buddha Yoga students, new and veteran. Natalie, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing yours.

    "I never took myself for a yogi.

    Since committing myself to leading a life focused on fitness and wellness, I have gone through several phases (or obsessions…) with different workouts. There were times when all I wanted to do was run for days, when I loved conquering (what felt like) a near-death experience during every INSANITY workout, or when lifting the heaviest weights possible was all I could think about.

    But never yoga.

    When it came to working out, all I really cared about was the calories I was burning. I clearly recognized all of the physical benefits of exercise, but never considered the mental and emotional benefits it could also bring—that it should bring. Until I gave The Funky Buddha a try.

    Before coming to The Funky Buddha, I had some experience with hot yoga, but not much. For months, I figured one class a week was enough to grow my practice. And then I abandoned my practice for about six months, ironically, when I needed it the most.

    This year has been a difficult one for me—coping with several deaths of close family members and friends, and my dealing with my dad’s cancer returning after 5 years of remission. I first heard about the 30-Day Dare when I was starting to feel like I couldn’t handle the emotional turmoil any longer. As much as the thought of committing to my practice for 30 straight days intimidated me (yoga is not easy), I knew this was just what I needed to gain a different perspective and feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. Funky Buddha dared me, and I decided not to back down.


    Natalie at the Eastown Funky Buddha Yoga studio.

    I would be lying if I said the 30-Day Dare was a breeze. Of course I expected the Dare to be physically challenging; holding chair pose and half-pigeon for minutes on end, 30 days in a row definitely prompted some extra-loud ooji breaths now and then. However, I did not expect to experience as much of an emotional release in one month than I did.

    It really all came together for me on the first Tuesday evening of the Dare during Katie’s 7:30pm class. She told us how yoga is perceived solely as a tool for relaxation, but what most people don’t realize until they get deeper into their practice is how yoga brings up things we couldn’t see before, or ignored to see. In short: Yoga exposes underlying truths, and can make us downright pissed off. I immediately burst into (silent) tears and could not stop for the rest of class. I was angry and sad, and it finally revealed itself. My entire practice changed forever that night.

    Now that the 30-Day Dare is over, I can say that I am now 100% addicted to yoga, physically stronger, but most importantly, much more mentally and emotionally stronger than I have been in a long time. I cannot wait to continue on this journey as a Funky yogi.

    To all the fabulous instructors and participants who inspired me every day, thank you. I am honored to have been able to share my practice with you! Namaste." - Natalie

    Halloween fun during the last day of the Dare.

    Halloween fun during the last day of the Dare.

  • Another name added to the Yoga Wall of Fame

    Yoga Wall of Fame - 1000+ classes at Funky Buddha Hot Yoga in Grand Rapids

    What does 5 years of dedication and 4+ classes a week look like? Jason Miller can tell you - he hit 1,000 classes at Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse this August!

    We are like proud parents—a HUGE congratulations to Jason on this giant feat!! Be sure to give him a high five next time you see him at the Eastown studio (which is often).

    We asked the Yoga Wall-of-Famer questions about his practice and any sage wisdom to offer:

    When and why did you start coming to Funky Buddha Yoga?
    I started on Day 1 with the Funky Buddha... I had noticed the sign for a while before the grand opening and couldn't wait to try it.

    What's it feel like to hit 1,000 classes?!  
    It feels great, like something worthwhile. I also believe my Massage clients have benefited from the physical strength and peace of mind I've gained doing hot yoga.

    What's your favorite yoga pose?
    I love half moon!

    What's one piece of advice you'd give to newbie Funky Buddhas?
    The same advice I was givenDon't quit. It may take a while, but the benefits will come. I'm 20 lbs lighter than when I began and I'd like to think I'm a lot more stable as well.

    Congrats x's a 1,000, Jason!

  • Tunes to Flow By | Funky Buddha Fest

    Funky Buddha Fest - Yoga Festival in Grand Rapids, Holland and Forest Hills

    The Funky Buddha Fest

    Funky Buddha Fest is almost upon us! Next week we'll flow to local, live music at the Eastown studio every day. You ready?

    Here's a preview of 5/7 of the musicians playing during our first-ever music fest!

    Tom Hymn is taking over our Sunday, August 23 Outdoor Community Class. Here's the folky goodness that's in store.

    Here's the full schedule of bands and details in the links below:

    Monday, August 17 Megan Dooley & Delilah DeWylde | 7:30PM
    Tuesday, August 18 | Rick Chyme w/ Special Guest | 9:15PM
    Wednesday, August 19 | Valentiger | 7:30PM
    Thursday, August 20 Vox Vidorra | 9:15PM
    Friday, August 21 | AJPASCHKA | 5:45PM
    Saturday, August 22 Drew Nelson | 9AM
    Sunday, August 23 | Tom Hymn | 7:30PM

     See you Monday, Tuesday, Eastown!

  • That's What's SUP (Yoga)

    SUP Yoga Gear - Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

    SUP Yoga

    The sun was shining, the water was clear and Funky Buddhas were ready to dip their paddles in the water during the first Funky Buddha Yoga SUP Yoga Class of the year on Reeds Lake!

    Jen teaching SUP Yoga 101 - Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

    Fresh from SUP Yoga training in Colorado, Jen W. started the class with a little water safety, SUP 101 and then it was time to glide into class.

    Here's a glimpse at the awesomeness that is a SUP yoga class and find us on Facebook for even more photos (and tag yo' self)!

    SUP Yoga Tips - Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

    A few more tips and we're ready to glide.

    Doggie paddling - SUP | Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

    Doggie paddling.

    Down dog, SUP yoga style | Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

    Down dog, SUP style.

    Fish Out of Water - Funky Buddha Sup Yoga Holland, MI

    A fish out of water (get it).

    More wheelies, more water, more fun - Funky Buddha SUP Yoga Holland, MI

    More wheelies, more water, more fun.

    If you missed the first Funky Buddha Sup yoga class, never fear! There are a ton of classes left at Reed’s Lake and options at Lake Macatawa in Holland until September 5. Classes are $30 for Funky Buddha Yoga members and $40 for the public, and don't forget to pre-register.

    Water warrior - Funky Buddha SUP in Holland, MI

    Water warrior.

    For more info on dates, times, and how to sign up, check it here.
    #funkybuddhayoga #ThatsWhatsSUP #SUPyoga

  • Triangle Pose: Yoga Pose of the Month

    Every month Funky Buddha likes to focus on a different pose; one that shows up in our every day practice and sometimes deserves a little extra attention.

    June's Yoga Pose of the Month is Triangle (Trikonasana).

    To get into Triangle Pose from Warrior II, straighten your front knee and reach your bottom hand to the outside of your front foot and bring your top arm up to the sky. You can place your hand on your shin, a block or the floor. Keep your chest open by stacking your arms in one vertical line and see if you can keep your entire body - hips, head and heart - all in one plane.

    Triangle Pose - Yoga Pose of the Month | Funky Buddha Hot Yoga

    With every pose comes its own set of benefits. Triangle pose sculpts the legs, hips, butt and creates an overall opening through your chest and back.

    Triangle Pose Variation - Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse

    As a modification, if it's hard to keep your torso stacked, use a block under your lower hand or gaze down to collect your balance.

    To kick it up a notch, lift your bottom arm parallel with your top arm... try that one on for size (look, Batman's doing it!).

    How do you Triangle pose?

  • Take a Deep Breath

    We take them between poses when things get hard.
    Let’s take them with us outside the studio.

    Take a Deep Breath - Funky Buddha Hot Yoga

    Deep breaths. We’re talking Ujjayi or deep breathing through the nose (not to be confused with sighing, although that also feels really good). This is intentional, I-need-to-focus-on-this breathing that can not only get us through a challenging pose, but through any tough situation.

    Let’s face it, life is stressful sometimes. It could be a reaction to getting cut off on the highway or any of those moments when you’re at your wits end. We’re all prone to feeling the heat – and not the hot yoga, Funky Buddha kind.

    When we reach that breaking point, our brain is hardwired to go into “Fight or Flight” mode. Our bodies react the same as if a bear were chasing us or after getting a nasty email. We’ve all heard of it and know how our bodies immediately react. Stress is stress.

    So before those swear words leave our lips or we find ourselves running as far away as possible, let’s think of Ujjayi and how freaking good it feels to just take a deep breath. It’s the perfect time to consciously choose to take a breath in order to shift our reaction.

    So next time you want to crack some skulls:

    1. Hold up. You freaking got this.
    2. Take in a deep breath. Literally.
    3. Start breathing those deep, soulful breaths. Use your gut with each inhale and exhale. Feel your shoulders and whole body move up and down with each breath.
    4. Do that for like 3 breaths or maybe 3 minutes, if you have the time.
    5. Feel better?

    Sure, there might be an initial reaction, but in the moment, gain some clarity by stopping and taking those Ujjayi breaths. Trust yourself—the strength you use on the mat will help tenfold off it.

    Use it. Feel it. Breathe it.

  • #SpringBreakItDown Instagram Challenge

    It’s Spring Break for some. For others, it’s just Spring and time to start anew!

    Take this time to break down 12 yoga poses with us during a #SpringBreakItDown Instagram Challenge starting Wednesday, April 1 through Sunday, April 12!


    To enter:

    1 Follow us @FunkyBuddhaYoga on Instagram. Poses will be posted daily starting April 1.

    2 Replicate each day’s pose.Tag your daily pose photos using #SpringBreakItDown and @FunkyBuddhaYoga.

    3 Yogis who participated in all 12 days of the challenge will be entered for a chance to win a $150 shopping spree at Funky Buddha Yoga (1st place) or a new mat of your choice (2nd place)!

    4 Winners will be randomly selected and notified via Instagram on Monday, April 13.

    Now let’s #SpringBreakItDown!

    Please note, this challenge is only through Instagram and no other social media channels will count toward participation. 

  • Why Right is Oh So Right

    Why Right is Oh So Right - Funky Buddha Yoga

    So you’re almost done with practice.

    The sweat is finally starting to cool your skin as you’ve been laying in heavenly savasana for the last five minutes. This is the greatest. As you slowly start to wiggle your fingers and toes, the instructor says to lay on your right side. It takes all your strength, but you do it.

    Why? Why the right side? Why don’t we just sit up and end class? Why do we lay in a fetal position to wrap up an energizing flow? And why don’t we balance out on the left?

    Well, you aren’t alone in wondering why.

    There are many reasons why laying on the right side is oh so right for us at the end of our practice. Most of it has to do with the physiological benefits it offers as our bodies wake up after savasana.

    First, did you know our lungs have lobes in them – two on the left and three on the right? When we lie on our right sides, the extra lobe in our right lung can allow for a higher volume of oxygen to get into our lungs. Science, man.

    Another small but mighty anatomical reason for rolling on the right is to elevate and take pressure off the heart. When your heart is on top, it remains open and free from pressure – a signal for the body to wake up after being in a restful position. You’re literally and figuratively leading with your heart.

    The kicker of all reasons for why being on our side is beneficial to not only our practice, but during other stressful times, has to do with our nose! Did you know we typically breathe out of one nostril at a time and our nose cycles between nostrils throughout the day? WHAAAAA?!

    Take that, and the fact that the right side of the brain is wired for calm, creative and emotional feelings. When we lay on our right side, our left nostril can allow oxygen to reach the right side of the brain, which engages our imagination, expression and peaceful emotions. Who knew!

    There’s a reason for everything in practice. So next time you’re on your right side after a strenuous class, know you’re bringing that beautiful oxygen to your lungs, brain and heart. And why you feel so euphoric after.

    Pretty cool, right? 

  • Happy Birthday

    Thanks to our wonderful community and staff we just celebrated a birthday!  Eastown turned 4 years old, Holland turned 2, and Forest Hills turned 1.  A lot has changed over the years...4 years ago in Grand Rapids it was difficult to find a vinyasa class much less a hot yoga studio.  We have mementos around Eastown that remind us of the years gone by...a poster from our opening, a piece of the wall we tore down for our expansion, the cover of Revue Magazine in 2011 among other things.  Any birthday or anniversary always makes you look at years past but also at the future, and we ask ourselves "what am I building now?"  What will I look back and remember from this year, from this time, what am I creating now?

    In Grand Rapids at our Eastown or Forest Hills studio or in Holland, the answer for us is the same as its' always been, the highest quality yoga experience we can provide for our students.  We'll keep growing and evolving as a studio to offer the absolute best yoga in Grand Rapids and Holland and wherever else we find ourselves.  To another year...Happy Birthday Funky Buddha!

  • A Skyscraper Life

    It’s September 11. This day always makes me pause.

    Yesterday I saw the Facebook status of a friend that said, If you want to live a skyscraper life, you must have a foundation that goes way beneath the ground.

    That made me pause too. I looked at those words again and again. They pricked at me for reasons I couldn’t pinpoint.

    In 2002 I visited lower Manhattan with some friends. I thought the biggest impression would be made  by standing and looking out over what, in a matter of hours, became an unthinkable mass grave. Death is difficult to process in and of itself, and even more so within the confines of such a dense cityscape.

    The massiveness made its impression, yes, but what sideswiped me even more were the city block size holes left in the ground where the Twin Towers had stood.

    I remember standing there, trying to force the wheels in my brain to go around faster so I could understand. I’d only ever seen the twin structures on a television screen or from the outdoor deck of the Empire State Building.

    I’d never once considered what might be beneath them, deep under the surface of the city. If you want to live a skyscraper life, you must have a foundation that goes way beneath the ground.

    Today, in the pause, this idea has a prickly resonance. I see how when I am most easily toppled, it’s because I’ve not built a strong foundation.

    Society trains us to value the glitz and the glamour, the overt and the flashy, the shiny glass and the impenetrable steel. That seems like putting the skyscraper before the foundation.

    Today, something new is stirring in the pause. It’s a quiet certainty that while I am still alive, I serve humanity best by tending faithfully to my own personal foundations. I’m okay with setting aside my skyscraper motivations for the more important, beneath the surface work that must come first.

    I’ve found myself on my knees enough to know this is the better way. Time and experience are wise teachers, and from them I've learned I am most vulnerable in the places where I seek to be elevated, and therefor am furthest from what stably grounds me.

    In honor of the beautiful souls who never made it home thirteen years ago today, humbly, I commit to pay better attention to what's beneath my life's ground.


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