Instructor Highlight: Charlotte and Falon

This weekend's Yogini guides

Photos by Sandi Moynihan

Washington, DC - “Crazy things happen when we let ourselves be vulnerable,” advises Falon Sweeney, one of the two Grip The Mat instructors to lead yoga at this Saturday’s sold-out yoga social event, “Grip The Mat’s Soul & Spirits Presented by Sprindrift.”

If things go as Falon has planned, “crazy things” might happen. Soul & Spirits Presented by Spindrift is an experience created to break people out of routine and shake things up. It’s a time to feel all of those pent up emotions and let loose in the company of great people!

Over 150 tickets have sold to this one-of-a-kind yoga event at Big Chief in Ivy City. With every dollar benefitting the Potomac River Keepers Network, the event offers a feel-good experience attendees can feel proud of.

If anyone is left wondering whether they are capable of joining the yoga social fun, co-instructor Charlotte Bowden encourages, “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” For anyone who still isn't sure, tickets to the 2-hour open bar social hour are available on the event page.

Learn more about the two DC-based Grip The Mat yoga instructors who will guide this weekend’s soul-thumping Vinyasa yoga. You may be surprised at what you find!

Meet Charlotte & Falon

How They Came Into Yoga

Charlotte’s First Experience: In college at the gym.

I remember there was a guy next to me who had also never done yoga before, and we both laughed at some of the things the instructor was asking us to do - not because they were funny, but because we both were struggling so much.

Falon’s First Experience: In high school with her dad.

I took my first yoga class in Hanover, MA at Open Doors Yoga studio with my dad when I was a freshman in high school.

Why they started teaching

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Charlotte’s Reason: Community.

I knew I wanted to start teaching almost immediately after I started practicing in DC. I realized I had found a community that I wanted to become more involved in, and that teaching was an opportunity to learn more, remain accountable,  and practice some creativity.

Falon’s Reason: Service to others.

During my senior year of college at the George Washington University, I took an unconventional spring break trip to India with my best friend Monica. In India, we supported her family's non-profit, India Children's Angel Network (ICAN) by teaching for a week at one of the Orphanages the charity supports. As part of our lesson plan and as active yoga students, Monica and I taught basic yoga poses to the orphans. While I was teaching, I remember so clearly the girls being in tree pose, and thinking to myself, "Wow, I can actually do this - I can make the world a little bit better of a place by teaching yoga." After the trip, I made it a goal to get certified and start teaching within the next six months. Teaching has transformed who I am down to my deepest roots, and I thank the girls at the Home of Hope for that.

Their favorite Washington, DC hangout:

Charlotte’s Choice: Logan Circle

I love the roof of my house in Logan Circle. It's a little bit slanted so yoga is interesting, but it's great for hanging out with friends and just enjoying the sunset.

Falon’s Choice: Lincoln Memorial

The back of the Lincoln Memorial - early in the morning and late at night, and even during peak tourist times, there is a sense of calm and serenity amidst bustling DC life.

Their “other” job

Charlotte’s full-time: Commercial Banking Research Analyst

“It's more interesting than it sounds.... most of the time. :)”

Falon’s full-time: Strategic Communication Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton

Why They Teach for GTM

Charlotte: Authentic interactions.

My favorite part of GTM is getting to meet new people from all over DC who are just looking to have fun. There's no pretenses, no rushing to the mat before practice and then rushing out right after practice is over; instead, people come together to enjoy their practice and each other.

Falon: Community.

The community, hands down. When I come to a GTM event, whether I'm teaching or attending, I always connect with the most awesome people. The other GTM instructors and staff are a huge part of this community, and I always feel so warm, happy, and connected after leaving a GTM event.

 

Favorite Post-Yoga Treat

Charlotte: Whatever is in my path..... but if you've ever heard me talk about the OMG bars at Baked & Wired (pictured above), you know those are my one true love in life.

Falon: A green juice or a smoothie - basic, I know, but truly so good for your mind, body, and soul.

 

Parting Advice to You

Charlotte: If you can breathe, you can do yoga.

Falon: Don't be afraid to show up.

"Maybe you bought your ticket to GTM but are hesitant to come because your friend bailed. Or maybe you're tired after work and don't feel like an hour of yoga + socializing. My best advice is to do it - to show up, do what you wouldn't normally do, do what's uncomfortable and see what kind of magic happens. We've all been there, but you never know who you'll run into at these events, and you might just get to know yourself a bit better. Crazy things happen when we let ourselves be vulnerable."

 

To learn more about Soul & Spirits Presented by Spindrift, visit the event page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcing GTM's Secret Tool to Happiness

Live Music at Soul & Spirits Presented by Spindrift 

Remember the last time you had the time of your life? If you were truly feeling excellent in your body, you had to have been out of your mind. Figuratively.  That's because feeling good is about you.

So, if you want to unlock your inner Buddha, you have to forget caring about what other's are thinking . Our favorite tool for this? Music.

Grip The Mat is stoked to announce that Soul & Spirits Presented by Spindrift will feature live music to shake your soul awake. The smooth vibrations of Washington,DC-based band Hollertown are sure to rewire your brain and facilitate a total sensory experience. 

Hollertown is a badass blue grass band.  Their instruments of choice include a banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, bass and vocals. Mix these rockstars with Grip The Mat yoga and healthy Spindrift cocktails and you have the best, most intuitive event in Washington, DC.

Tickets to this masked-yoga event include the live music and  all-natural Spindrift cocktails open bar.  All levels of yoga experience are welcome. Spoon-playing and other hidden musical talents are not required, but highly encouraged.

 

 

 

 

 

Bubble, Bubble, Tree Pose and Trouble

Venice Beach, Los Angeles -  Trick or treat? How about Champagne or Chardonnay? This Wednesday, October 26th Grip The Mat is hosting Vinyasa to Vino at C.A.V.E. Gallery on Abbott Kinney.

Photo by Sandi Moynihan

In honor of the October harvest season, and all things spooktacular, this Venice Beach yoga and wine experience features a Vinyasa flow yoga class appropriate for all levels followed by a wine tasting social hour for yogis beginners to advanced, ghouls, goblins, and basic witches alike.

Photo by Sandi Moynihan

Thanks to Springboard Wine Company, yogis will enjoy post-yoga sips by Valkyrie Selections wines.

Tricksters’ tastebuds should prepare for Tempranillo made with certified 100% organic and hand-picked grapes, as well as Catalonian Cava.

The flight's finish features red wines from Southern France that are sure to bring you to Cloud Nine.

Photo by Sandi Moynihan

The feel-good GTM yoga class mixed with aromatic wines not only assures a hair-raising good time, but also a little liquid courageExpect to step out of your box, meet someone new and maybe have a "go" at that yoga pose you've been dying  to try. 

The Grip The Mat Family and Crew suggest Lion's Breath (pictured below): a posture equally terrifying to others, yet utterly self-satisfying.

Photo from Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

Photo from Light on Yoga by B.K.S. Iyengar

All yogis and yoginis 21+ are welcome to join Vinyasa to Vino.

It will rejuvenate your spirits and bring you back to life. 

Photo by Sandi Moynihan

Can’t make it this time?

Sign up below to find out about the next Grip The Mat Los Angeles event.

 

 

Vinyasa to Vino With Legendary JBL

Next-Level Soulfulness

Los Angeles, CA - Grip The Mat yoga is a full sensory experience, which is why we're teaming up with the legendary JBL to bring Los Angeles a next-level soulful experience of yoga, wine, and everything fine.  

 

On October 26th, 2016, GTM LA's Vinyasa to Vino will feature feel-good vinyasa yoga in a breath-taking art gallery in Abbott Kinney followed by a mouth-watering wine tasting. The night will be cradled in the smooth sounds of JBL's EON ONE sound system.

Photo by Nate Polta

Photo by Nate Polta

If you're looking for things to do in Westside Los Angeles, this is it. Think mindful and social wrapped up into one sensory, soulful experience that you can share with others. An evening of yoga and wine somehow just got better!

Cheers & Namaste,

GTM

Soul & Spirits Presented by Spindrift

at Big Chief in Ivy City

Photo by Nate Polta

Photo by Nate Polta

Washington, DC - Grip The Mat is proud to announce the next, biggest and realest event: Soul & Spirits Presented by Spindrift. If you’re looking for the best way to spend your Saturday in the nation’s capital, we’ve got you covered.

 

On Saturday, November 5, 2016 Grip The Mat will team up with Spindrift to bring you a badass out-of-body event lineup in DC’s newest neighborhood: Ivy City. Yogis 21+ of all levels are welcome to join this signature GTM event with a special Spindrift + Tito’s open bar and much, much more.

What’s with getting real? Spindrift is America’s first and only line of sparkling beverages made with real squeezed fruit. We’re teaming up to celebrate living life to the fullest and in pursuit of soulfulness in the most genuine, real way.

Here’s how:

#1 Masked yoga.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Permission to get real. All attendees receive a face mask at the entrance and in, true “check your body at the door” style, will be asked to let soulfulness take over. Think of it as permission to let loose and let go of inhibitions for this yoga social experience. Or, as we like to call it, get real.


#2 Live music.

Photo courtesy of Hollertown

Photo courtesy of Hollertown

Get ready to get down. Both the Vinyasa and the beverages will flow in sync to the  live music by local badass band Hollertown.


#3 Open Bar.

Photo by Nate Polta

Photo by Nate Polta

We’re getting crafty with Spindrift's naturally delicious real squeezed fruit sparkling waters and mixing them with Tito's Vodka. Think of it as happy hour revamped for the healthy, mindful, real lifestyle.


#4 Real Food.

Photo courtesy of CAVA

Photo courtesy of CAVA

In addition to the two-hour open bar, this Soul & Spirits features food for all tastes. For the thrill seekers and outdoor adventurers,  Patagonia is bringing their new line Patagonia Provisions, as well as camping gear for a free raffle! For our city-slicking yogis, Buredo, a local DC hotspot, is offering burrito-size sushi rolls to attendees. Even more goodness provided by Cava, Simit + Smith, and KIND.


#5 All for a real good cause.

Photo courtesy of Spindrift

Photo courtesy of Spindrift


Every aspect of the experience is included in the ticket price, which is a donation to the Potomac Riverkeeper Network. As if this event couldn’t feel any better, every dollar raised goes directly to the protection of clean water for all.

Cheers & Namaste,

GTM

 

Please direct press or media inquiries to info@gripthemat.com.

Music for your mind

Mid-week woes have you feeling less than inspired? Time you change things up with a fresh playlist.

"Sound Literally penetrates the human body"

Think about it. Sound is a vibration that enters in through your ear and reverberates your ear drum.  Feeling calmed by a hum, startled by a siren or emotionally charged by an Adele song shows how sound can directly affect the body and the mind. Sound therapy can even help stroke victims regain the ability to speak

Ready to harness the power of sound?

#1. Turn off the Top 40

Let your mind doddle in the grooves of Woodstock Past or try out some music style you've never heard of.  Switching up your playlist and listening to new music stimulates the brain. The next time you're in a rut, turn something new to you. The total brain workout will get the creative juices flowing.

#2. Listen to what you like

Every body is different. Slow down and take time to listen to your body's responses to different music.  Weave music that stimulates positive responses like relaxation and happiness into your self care routine and feel the results.

#3 SHARE WHAT INSPIRES YOU

Find something that really clicks for you? Enlighten us with your by leaving a comment or  using  #CheersAndNamaste to share your favorite "new" music.

Recommended Grip The Mat Playlist

Wednesday Wonder 

Yoga for Election Relief

When the country's fate teeters on one decision, it's natural to feel anxious. Add any personal stressors + maybe the occasional toe stub or traffic jam and you have yourself a recipe for emotional overwhelm. 

To keep you on your path, we've teamed up with the Washington Post. In our Facebook Live event, our DC instructors lead yoga poses and other techniques to keep you calm during the presidential election. Regardless of your level of experience with yoga and/or your political stances,  these tips will help you find your center in this time of stress.  

Introducing... Grip The Mat's 2016 Step-By-Step

Election Relief Plan


#1 Stand Tall 

MOUNTAIN POSE

If you want to be an unwavering force, start with this basic posture.

ALIGN

  • Stand up
  • Big toes to touch or keep your feet separated.
  • Knees track toes
  • Palms faceward

ACTIVATE

  • Spread your toes. Look down and notice if you favor placing your body' weight to the inside or outside of your foot. Sway side to side until you find where you can stand through the center.
  • Press down through your feet to stand up TALL. Feel your quads activate and your inner thighs roll in.
  • Tilt your pubis down and feel your abdominals turn on.
  • Roll your shoulders down and back to lift your chest. Allow external rotation of your shoulders bring yous shoulder blades together. 

#2 Get In The Hips

FIGURE 4

When we tense up emotionally, our bodies tighten and contract. Similar to how shoulders clench and hunch over, hips store trauma, stress and anxiety. If you want to dig out the emotional junk, you'll want t get into the hips.

ALIGN

  • Start in Tadasana with hands at heart center
  • Shift your weight into your left foot.
  • Place right ankle on left knee. 
  • Reach your hands forward so your biceps are in line with your ears. Palms face each other
  • Neck is in line with your spine

ACTIVATE

  • Inhale to contract your abs, pulling your navel towards your spine.
  • Exhale  to shift your weight into your heels.
  • Inhale to reach forward and up with your arms
  • Exhale to reach your hips back and deepen.

#3 Get Grounded

WARRIOR II

In yoga, we learn to balance effort and ease so that we can safely progress. Warrior II is a useful grounding pose that helps us grow gracefully in strength. 

ALIGN

  • Start in a wide stance with both feet on the ground
  • Turn your front toes to point forward with the front knee over the ankle
  • Turn your back toes 45 degrees with the leg extended and hip externally rotated
  • Chest and heart open
  • Reach your arms forward and back
  • Externally rotate shoulders
  • Palms face down to internally rotate the forearms
  • Look towards your front fingers

ACTIVATE

  • Engage your abs
  • Drop the hips
  • Press down firmly and equally through both feet
  • Reach up through the head
  • Drop shoulders away from your ears
  • Actively reach forward and back 

#4 Open Up to Increase Self Esteem

REVERSE WARRIOR

ALIGN

  • From Warrior II (see #3) 

  • Flip front palm up and reach it straight up

  • Place back hand on back thigh, palm facing up
  • Chest and heart lift in direction of lifted arm
  • Legs and hips stay the same as Warrior II
  • Gaze is in direction of your chest and heart
  • *To deepen reach the top hand up and back with the chest following

ACTIVATE

  • Distribute weight equally through both feet
  • Firm your abs
  • Deepen in the legs and reach higher with your heart and top hand

#5 Twist to Eliminate the Unnecessary

LUNGING PRAYER TWIST

Twists help detox the body of physical and emotional blockages. Do this twisting lunge to stimulate your internal organs,  improve digestion, and stretch deeper into your hips.

ALIGN

  • Find a low lunge with the back knee down and your hands at your heart and front knee in line with front ankle
  • Bring opposite elbow to the outside of opposite knee
  • Hips point down as middle and upper back twist toward the sky
  • Gaze follows chest

ACTIVATE

  • Hug your abs in
  • Inhale to press your palms together and engage your arms
  • Exhale to twist deeper

#6 Fold Forward to Shut Off Distraction

STANDING FORWARD FOLD

Just as our body opening facilitates confident self-expression to the outside world(see #2), folding inward gets us in touch with our subtle body.  While out of sight the Achilles tendon, calves,hamstrings, spinal columns and neck should be kept in mind if long-term wellness is your goal.

ALIGN

  • From Tadasana (see #1) step your feet apart slightly
  • Interlace your finger behind your back
  • Fold forward with knees either bent or straight

ACTIVATE

  • Press the heels of your hands together. If interlacing is not accessible, hold a towel or a strap in either hand to help open up the chest.
  • Shift your weight into your toes
  • Relax your shoulders, neck and jaw
  • Exhale to fold deeper

#7 High-Five Your Inner Kid

YOGI SQUAT

We saved this essential movement for the end. Is squatting is painstakingly difficult foryou now? It wasn't always! As a child, your body moved safely and efficiently, bending at the hips to pick up things off the floor. Maybe it was the pencil skirt or the starchy slacks that kept us from bending at the hips. Regardless of the reason, this pose is worth the work if you seek longterm mental and physical stability.

ALIGN

  • From Tadasana (#1), step your feet apart.
  • Keep your feet as close together as you comfortably can as you drop your hips into a squat. 
  • Torso fits between thighs
  • Hands at heart and upper arms around knees
  • *If heels do not stay grounded, place a rolled up towel or blanket under them 
  • *For tighter hips, take a wider stance and turn your feet out (but make sure your knees track your big toes)
  • *If you experience any pain behind your knees, lift your hips or place a block underneath you.

ACTIVATE

  • Relax your front ankles
  • Lengthen your spine by lifting your chest towards your hands
  • Relax shoulders away from ears
  • Press elbows or upper arm into knees to deepen

#8 Sit Back & Relax

RECLINED BOUND ANGLE

When you lay flat on your back, close your eyes and let your hips open, your physical body starts to release tension and your perspective turns inward. When the world around you feels like a tornado is brewing, this is the perfect pose because it calms the nervous system and can help you find something we all seek... contentment.

ALIGN:

  • Lay down flat on your back.
  • Bring the bottoms of your feet together and gently drop your knees open wide.
  • Place your hands on your stomach palms facing down.
  • *If you feel any strain, support each of your thighs on a block or folded blanket. 

ACTIVATE:

  • Close your eyes, soften your neck and shoulders.
  • Allow your hips to soften by relaxing the hip flexers.
  • Feel your breath rise and collapse, and feel any emotions that might be swirling around in your "gut."
  • *The natural tendency in this pose is to push the knees toward the floor in the belief that this will increase the stretch of the inner thighs and groins. But especially if your groins are tight, pushing the knees down will have just the opposite of the intended effect: The groins will harden, as will your belly and lower back

Note: there is a lot of opening going on in your hips, groins, and inner thighs, and for some people the sensations quickly become intense. Don’t overstay your welcome; three to five minutes is plenty.Give yourself some time to settle in and make any adjustments you need.

Photos by Matt Tarro. To see more of his work, check out @Pharroo on Instagram.

Source: www.instagram.com/pharroo

Video: Whip Your Soul Into Shape With This Empowering Video

Do you ever feel weighed down? Like something's holding you back and you're not quite sure what exactly? GTM LA Instructor Nichol Chase gets to the root of the issue and, trust us on this one, it's worth hearing her out! Nichol's voice of reason has some simple, yet powerful advice. If you want to live the most badass life possible, check out this quick video for motivation and inspiration.

Cheers & Namaste!

 

 

 

The Summertime Playlist

Music for Your Soul

Washington, DC - GTM DC Producer Drew Carpenter wants everyone to have a slammin' summer. What's number one on his summertime bliss list?  After his yoga mat and wine glass (obviously) is his playlist.  Let us clarify: 

THE Playlist

Summer Edition

Follow GripTheMat on Spotify to access summer playlists and more! 


 TURN OFF YOUR EMAIL  AND TURN UP YOUR SUMMER PLAYLIST.  

Yoga goes beyond your mat.

While yoga class is place to learn about postures (or "asanas") and practice mindfulness, the real yoga starts when you step out into the world (so much tougher being zen when there's a semi truck, a crying baby and a siren buzzing by you).

To apply yoga is to live with loving purpose!

You are perfect. Right now. In this moment, you have everything you could possibly need to live a life of happiness. What's more is when you do just that, you lift others up in the meantime.

Don't be shy about it! 

You were born with all of the wisdom  you'll need in that tiny little baby head of yours.  That means you have everything it takes to live your yoga because you ARE it. Listen to your intuition and do what your heart tells you to do. If the (Soul &) Spirit(s) moves you, drop it low in Dupont Circle. If you feel the urge, call your childhood friend who you haven't spoken to in years.  Do what makes you feel good.

 Which leads to our conclusion

Feeling Good (AKA choosing happiness) + Helping Others Feel Good (AKA extra Karma points) = Yoga   

Do you want to let go of stress and finally do some yoga? Then do it! Bump your jams and dance like an idiot who loves life and is happy with life just as it is. You might be surprised at how quickly you begin to believe it!

 

Got song suggestions?

Tell us what you like to listen to and we'll spread the goodness together! 

Cheers & Namaste,

GTM


Want good music, great friends, feel-good yoga and fine wine?

Join Grip The Mat in LA or DC at Vinyasa to Vino this Wednesday 7.20! 

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BFmE7pfxJBL/?t...

New GTM instructor Nichol Teaches Her First Vinyasa to Vino

Yoga, wine and everything nice.

Grip The Mat took over C.A.V.E. Gallery for another weeknight Vinyasa to Vino in Los Angeles! This time, new instructor Nichol Chase co-taught with co-founder Christy Skarulis.  The class was contemplative, fun and chalk full of all things GTM: vinyasa flow, fun partner poses, deep juicy holds and a Savasana surprise! 

Not only is Nichol a professionally-trained yoga instructor AND formerly competitive yoga performer, but also a trained opera singer.  After her cool down, she lead yogis through a powerfully sweet lullaby accompanied by Ryan Svendsen on trumpet.

GTM yoga social events are made for you to relax and have fun, but also meet amazing people. 

There's something special about bringing your yoga practice with you wherever you go. That's why GTM brings the events to different spaces around the city. The goal with pairing yoga with wine is to help integrate the practice into your daily life and apply yoga off the mat. 

Thank you to all of the incredible yogis (new and advanced) who attended Vinyasa to Vino.  

For those who could not attend, check out the Facebook page to see the magic yourself!

Cheers & Namaste

Photos by Nate Polta

Why We're Child's Pose Advocates

At the beginning of every Grip The Mat event, we demonstrate one pose because everyone needs a reminder to take Child's Pose. 

 GTMxMiG

Sit down on your heels, take your knees wide and walk your fingertips forward. Don't stop until your head rests on the mat and your belly spills over like a jar of silly puddy. What happens next is wondrous:

1. Gentle stretch 

Sweeeeet. We love yoga poses that don't feel like yoga poses! This one eases hip and back pain by gently elongating the spine and opening the hips. Ya, baby. 

2. Centering

Ever find yourself in the middle of a yoga class with your mind already out the door? Child's Pose folds your body inward, signaling your body to relax and bringing you home. Take it whenever you find yourself distracted.

3. Epic hangover relief

Skip the ibuprofen! Child's Pose helps ease the post-party pain by aiding  in digestion (it's like a thai massage for your internal organs!) and, if you place a block underneath your forehead,  decompresses swollen sinuses.

The list goes on as to why this pose rocks our list of Asanas.  If it were up to us, we would make Child's Pose socially acceptable anywhere anytime... Until then, add in some extra Child's Pose to your routine and see the refreshing side affects yourself!

Soul & Spirits @ Hustle 2.0

To all the hardworking hustlers IN the world's most powerful city: Grip The Mat is a space for you to release stress and inhibitions. 

 On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, GTM Soul & Spirits at Hustle 2.0, a pop-up art exhibit by our buddies No Kings Collective.

Over 70 yogis switched out the pencil skirts and slacks for yoga pants. We could sit together, mat-to-mat, for a collective centering and a post-yoga cocktail-ing. 

The vibe was right as our badass GTM duo Kiley and Brandon led the class through a calming mediation and a steady Vinyasa flow, all to soul-thumping music.

The premium bar was stocked with delicious and healthy cocktails. Menu items featured top notch coffee cocktails with Illy and refreshing vodka spritzers with Honest Tea's Honest Fizz! Could these yogis look any happier?

Attendees walked home with a swag bag full of take-home treats from our supporters. A big thank you to Illy and Honest Tea for elevating our spirits!  As always, KIND Snacks showed up strong and Chelsea Collective, one of our favorite women's fitness boutiques, stuffed the swag bags with items like gym towels, headphones and even glass water bottles!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who showed up! You are exactly what make Grip The Mat events so special.

Cheers & Namaste!