Friday, December 10, 2010

New 6 week Yoga session starts Monday, December 27th.

Please scroll down to view the complete schedule of Yoga classes being held at 
Align and Stretch Studio in Topeka.

Why wait until the new year to start Yoga?  

Take care of your health and wellbeing (and get out of the house) by attending a Yoga class.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Yoga Props and More!

After using Yoga props for over 16 years, I will have to say that I have some opinions, for sure.  One opinion is that I don't like making bolsters!  I made a cover for an old friend (a bolster that I have had for 16 years) which wasn't really a problem.  Now making a bolster from scratch is another issue altogether.  I don't recommend it.  

Recently I attended Judith Hanson Lasater's Relax and Renew Workshop (and I am currently putting together my project to get certified).  I saw a lot of props (and used them) at this workshop.  I think there was one pose that I counted 10 blankets, one bolster, and two blocks being used!  Fun.....truly.

Basically, after looking around at what yogis and yoginis were using, I was curious about the Manduka company so I looked them up on their website.  I was quite impressed with their desire to not only make long lasting products but also to use recycled materials in their props, like wool in their Yoga blankets.  I was hooked.

Like most people, I was looking for an affordable yet kind on the environment product.  That's when I found the company It's Simply Zen.  Wonderful customer service and, of course, wonderful products to choose from.  I will have to be honest, though.  The deciding factor was the free shipping.  Shipping, as you know, can be more expensive than the products bought.  

It's Simply Zen has free shipping.  Check them out if you are interested in great products.  I will have them in my new studio, to be sure.

Happy holidays to all!



Monday, December 6, 2010

New Topeka Studio Pictures

 I am still waiting on Yoga props I ordered over a week ago, but the room itself looks gorgeous.  I am very happy with the results.  I think it looks inviting and welcoming.  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Session in Topeka Starts Monday, December 27th

6 week session = $90.00
Make-ups are within the session
Drop-ins = $ 20.00

Mondays: 6 pm - 7:30 ~ Level I
Dec. 27th - Feb. 7th
No class on Jan. 24

Thursdays:  1 pm - 2:30 ~ Yoga for the Young at Heart
Ages 50 and over
Dec. 30th - Feb. 10th
No class on Jan. 20th

Thursdays:  6 pm - 7:30 ~ Level I
Dec. 30th - Feb. 10th
No class on Jan. 20th

Fridays:  1pm - 2:30 ~ Intro to Yoga
Dec. 31st - Feb. 11th
No class on Jan. 21st

Fridays:  3 pm - 4:30 ~ Restoratives
Dec. 31st - Feb. 11th
No class on Jan. 21st

Foundations:  Saturday Yoga Workshop Series  
1pm - 3
$30.00 per class

Dec. 4th:  Foundations in Yoga, working with Tadasana and Dandasana

Dec. 11th:  Core Basics, working with the abdominal muscles

Jan. 1st:  Vinyasana, Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) and more

Jan. 8th:  Twists to squeeze and soak the muscles and vital organs

Jan. 15th:  Ayurveda and Yoga, basics on these ancient sister sciences



Monday, November 29, 2010

New Yoga Classes Start this Week

Yoga Classes at Barrington Village
5638 B SW 29th Street, Topeka

We are located just to the left (west) of Pilates Performance and Rehab.  The studio is called Align and Stretch (no sign yet).  Yoga and Pilates mat classes will be taught there.

**I only teach Yoga, but please go to the Pilates Performance and Rehab website if you are interested in Pilates classes.

Yoga class schedule:

Mini Sessions:  2 classes = $30.00

Thursdays:  December 2nd and 9th
                   1 pm - 2:30 pm ~ Ages 50 and older
                   Yoga for the Young at Heart

Thursdays:  Dec. 2nd and 9th
                   6 pm - 7:30 pm
                   Level I

Fridays:  Dec. 3rd and 10th
              1 pm - 2:30 pm
               Intro to Yoga

Fridays:  Dec. 3rd and 10th
              3 pm - 4:30 pm
              Restorative Yoga

** Check out the Foundations Saturday Focus Classes Series.  Something for everyone!!  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Yoga and Pilates Classes Now Being Held at New Location

As with all renovations, we still have some minor things to complete before it is where I would like it to be.  Nevertheless, the room is ready to teach classes in.  I am excited for the change in the right direction!

The address is 5638 B SW 29th Street (at Barrington Village).  We are just to the left of Pilates Performance and Rehab.  The Studio will be called Align and Stretch.  Hope to see you there!

P.S.  The only class being held by me this week is tonight's Monday 6 pm - 7:30.  
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Monday Yoga Classes Start November 15th

Yoga classes are still being held at Great Plains Running Co. until further notice.  We are still renovating, but I am very happy with the results.  I am hoping that we will be teaching at the new space by November 22nd.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Please look below for the list of Yoga classes being held in November and December.  
Lots to choose from!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

End of the Year Yoga Classes in Topeka Start Soon!

Since the end of the year 
will be filled with family and holiday fun, 
the Yoga schedule will be shorter than usual.  
More time to play....

New location is in Barrington Village
which is on SW 29th Street 
and east of Arrowhead Street

5638 B SW 29th Street

The new Yoga & Pilates Studio 
is not open yet.
I will be painting this upcoming weekend, 
so hopefully soon!

Mondays:  6 pm - 7:30 pm, Level I (1.5 hrs)
November 15 - December 6th
 4 weeks = $ 60.00

Thursdays:  1 pm - 2:30 pm, 
Yoga for the Young at Heart
Ages 50 and over (1.5 hrs)
December 2nd and 9th
2 classes = $ 30.00

Thursdays:  6 pm - 7:30 pm, Level I (1.5 hrs)
December 2nd and 9th
2 classes = $ 30.00

Fridays:  1 pm - 2:30 pm, Intro to Yoga 
(1.5 hrs)
December 3rd and 10th
2 classes = $ 30.00

Fridays:  3:00 pm - 4:30 pm, Restorative Yoga (1.5 hrs)
December 3rd and 10th
2 classes = $ 30.00

Saturdays:  1 pm - 3 pm
Foundations workshop
***For Advanced Yoginis and Yogis***


Monday, November 1, 2010

I am in need of Yoga class helpers

Please spread the word.  

I am looking for a few yogis or yoginis who would be willing 
to assist me in a prop heavy Restorative Yoga Class in Topeka.  
These assistants would receive reduced tuition
 in my Yoga classes and workshops.

The duties would be aiding the students in the class with their props.  
Knowing the Iyengar Yoga discipline is a plus but not essential.  
Assistants would be taught the various poses 
and requirements of the class.

Thank you!  



Sunday, October 31, 2010

New Studio for Yoga to open soon!

Exciting news!  Desima and I are in the process of opening a studio in Topeka, of course.  The space needed a wall removed among other important changes.  I will be painting the walls this week, and we hope to have the space finished before my new session starts.  Yay!

Also, since the holiday season can be a time of stress, I will be offering some relaxing Restorative Yoga classes.  All levels are welcome.  These classes will focus on relaxing, which is different than sleeping.

Check back next week for details on more workshops during the holiday season.  

Take care and see you soon!


Cat McMahon, CTY, RYT 500

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thursday night Yoga in Topeka!

7 weeks of Yoga for the price of 6!
What a deal for only $90.00

Session starts tomorrow 
Thursday, September 23rd - November 11th
6 pm - 7:30 pm

No class on October 11th and 14th
I will be attending the much anticipated Yoga workshop with  
Judith Hanson Lasater and her 
"Relax and Renew" certification 
in Overland Park at the Yoga Studio of Therapeutics.


Just to the right of the former Great Plains Running Company.
South east side of 29th and Wanamaker.  Between the BP gas station and the Sheridan's Frozen Custard in a strip mall.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Art of Asana

I had a newer student ask a very good question the other day in the Yoga class I was teaching.  Basically, she wanted to know if I “made up” the postures (or more specifically, the sequencing) as the class progressed or did I have a list of poses that we worked from.  I smiled.  As we were folding forward in Parsvottanasana, I attempted to convey that there is a method to the sequencing of the Asana (postures) but I also observe what my students need for that class and then adapt accordingly.  If my students were fatigued, I would not choose to put them through Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) which is a rigorous series of postures used to greet the morning and to wake up the body.  If I made the mistake of overworking my already tired students then most of those students would not come back to next week’s class.  How could you blame them?

Sequencing was something that I studied in the books of the Iyengars.  B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Yoga, and Geeta Iyengar, Yoga:  A Gem for Women, were the two books I studied before and after the classes I taught in the early days eleven years ago.  Father and daughter, respectively, who are masters of a discipline that has allowed me to become a better person as well as teacher.  If you want to know something about how to sequence your asanas then I suggest not only studying those books but also practicing their sequences.  It is through performing the postures, or asana, that you become aware of the profound influence of the masters of Yoga and sequencing.

Without divulging names, I have attended a workshop where the Senior Iyengar teacher had us perform a long backbend backbend series.  His method getting the body prepared for backbending wasn’t the problem.  His teaching has always been fun and informative.  But because of the lack of time at the end of the class, we didn’t do any counter poses to either soften the arch that we created in the back nor did we even cool down the nervous system.  What that meant for me was probably the worst Savasana (Corpse Pose) I have ever experienced.  I was lying on my back with my eyes closed and even though I just did a very strenuous Yoga class, my eyes were darting back and forth behind closed lids.  I was not relaxed!

Please note that the backbending class was early on my Yoga path so I also did not have the tools and the knowledge available to me now.  If I were to attend such a class now, I definitely would do something like Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall) with either a block or bolster after such a strong series of postures.  I would expect that my mind would be very Vata-like, so I would keep my eyes open and my breath cooling.  I would also choose not to teach such a class to my students.   

So sequencing does matter but so does listening to your body.  If that is the lesson that you receive from Yoga, then you are truly blessed!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Yoga Session in Topeka Starts Monday, September 20th

Seven week session for the price of 6 weeks!  

What a deal, only $90.00.  
You save $15.00

Classes start next week.
Mon., Sept. 20 thru Oct. 25th

6 pm - 7:30 pm
All levels welcome.


Classes in the room just west of Great Plains Running Company close to the intersection of 29th and Wanamaker.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just a little info about what I teach and for how long.

Cat McMahon has studied Iyengar Yoga since 1995, and has taught yoga since 1999, with over 1,900 teaching hours. She is currently testing for the 500 hour teacher certification with the Yoga Studio of Therapeutics in Kansas City, and then will also be certified through Yoga Alliance at the 500 hour level. Her dedicated yoga practice has fostered an investigation into yoga’s sister science of Ayurvedic Medicine which is an invaluable tool within the realm of holistic medicine. With humor and attention to detail, Cat helps the student progress personally while making the class a learning experience that is challenging as well as fun.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

We should all listen to our body's inner wisdom.

Poses for Sacroiliac Pain

September 2001

The late Esther Myers' 10 years as a student of Vanda Scaravelli inspired her to find her own unique, organic approach to yoga. Esther taught classes across Canada, Europe, and the United States before her death from cancer in 2004. She left behind a practice manual for beginners and a book titled Yoga and You, as well as two videos, Vanda Scaravelli on Yoga and Gentle Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors, both of which are available through Esther Myers Yoga Studio,

What are good poses for people with sacroiliac pain? Which poses should one avoid? ...Natalie

Esther Myers' reply:

To begin, I would like to refer you to Judith Lasater's article Out of Joint," which is an excellent resource.

practice Before I suggest ways to work in your yoga, I recommend an accurate assessment and diagnosis of the cause of your pain by a qualified professional such as an osteopathic physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist. It may be challenging to diagnose since the symptoms of sacroiliac problems are often similar to those of other lower-back problems.

A qualified professional will try to determine if your discomfort is caused by a misalignment of your pelvis, tension in the large muscles of the hips and pelvis (which may cause the joint to jam or stiffen), or a strain (which is often due to looseness or hyper-mobility in the joints). Very often one sacroiliac joint is stiff and the other is hyper-mobile, creating an imbalance that can cause discomfort in either side. The discomfort itself may not correspond to the cause.

In her article, Judith Lasater notes that a higher percentage of women experience sacroiliac pain than men. She attributes this to "the hormonal changes of menstruation, pregnancy, and lactation [which] can affect the integrity of the ligament support around the S-I [sacroiliac] joint."

Another potential risk factor for women is that yoga poses were developed by and for men. The pelvis is narrower in men than in women, which makes it more natural for men to stand with the inner edges of their feet together in standing poses. Although I was taught to do Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and other standing poses with the feet together, I now practice and teach with the feet hip-width apart. Widening the stance creates more space in the pelvis and provides a wider base of support.

Finally, stiffness in the hip joints in combination with the unusual stresses placed on the joints through asana practice can strain the sacroiliac. If you push yourself beyond the natural range of movement in forward bends or twists, you may strain your sacroiliac joints, lower back, or knees. It can be very frustrating to hold back in class when you want to do all of the poses, but it is essential that you respect your body's limits.

If your sacroiliac joints are hyper-mobile, your first task is to strengthen and stabilize the back of your pelvis. Backbends lying on the stomach such as Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Salabhasana (Locust Pose), and Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) are particularly effective, although you have to be careful not to compress your lower back. If your back feels tight or achy after you've performed the poses, you've gone too far.

When the joint has been stabilized and you are pain-free, begin to gradually reintroduce forward bends, being careful not to overstretch the back of your pelvis. Interspersing forward bends with small backbends (listed above) may help prevent overstretching in one direction or the other. I recommend introducing twists and Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) last.

If the pain is caused by muscle tension in the back of your pelvis or by compression on the joints, then forward bends and seated poses that stretch the back of the pelvis will be beneficial. Raja Kapotasana (King Pigeon Pose) forward bend, Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose), and Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose) are very effective. Remember that you may find that you need to strengthen one side and stretch the other, which will make for an imbalanced practice while you are healing.

Although the recommendations sound quite straightforward, you will have to be patient and experiment for a while to find the balance of strengthening and stretching that is right for your body.