In the air or on the road, yoga is pretty flexible: Motorcycle Yoga
by Theresa Winslow, Photography by Matthew Cole
THE CAPITAL: (excerpt of an article published May 2013; read the full article HERE.)
... But it's not the only unique spin on the age-old practice. Jenny Otto of Body Balance Yoga in Annapolis has been offering motorcycle yoga to interested bikers for several months. She has a free pamphlet on the subject, which she put together this winter. The six-page guide avoids the term "yoga" so as not to drive away reluctant riders... Otto is a longtime yoga instructor. She's been riding motorcycles since 2009, and one of the first things she noticed was how sore some people were after rides. She wanted to help them. "I've been on a mission to teach other motorcyclists to take care of their bodies," said Otto, who has been a yoga instructor since 1990. Her pamphlet, Ride Relaxed. Ride Smart. Ride Safe. features photographs of various stretches with explanations. Lunges as well as poses such as triangle, chair and figure-4 are outlined. Otto also discusses proper riding posture. (Anyone who wants a pamphlet should contact her at her studio). Otto encourages motorcyclists to stretch for a couple minutes any time they get off their bikes. People typically don't feel the effects of a long ride until well after they're finished. Otto hands out pamphlets when she can, and has given a talk and demonstration at a Laurel Harley-Davidson dealership."I don't care if (riders) ever come to a yoga class," she said. "If they take that pamphlet and just do it, my job's done."
BALTIMORE MAGAZINE: (excerpt of a feature published in the March 2009 issue; read the full article HERE.)
On the Right Path:
Incense-burning, chanting, stretching, sweating: How do you find your inner yogi?
By Jane Marion
Though Golden Heart Yoga opened its doors just five years ago, it has quickly established itself as the premiere yoga studio in the Annapolis area, winning Best of Annapolis from What's Up? Magazine three years in a row for best yoga and meditation center. Owner Jenny Otto, who, after 27 years of study, is known to be one of the most skilled yoga teachers in the area (and was one of the first certified Anusara teachers in the country), is nationally recognized for her in-depth understanding of therapeutics and anatomy (even dissecting human cadavers to further her knowledge of body structure) and has trained with yoga masters, osteopaths, chiropractors, and Rolfers (who manipulate the body's connective tissues to release stress). Where other yoga studios are sometimes thinly veiled aerobics classes, Otto aims to introduce the art and science of yoga. "We are more old school in our approach," says Otto. "I consider the style of what we do as more authentic. We are the only ones in Annapolis who explore the poses and break them down.”
FIT YOGA: (excerpt from feature story published in the August 2008 issue; read the full story HERE)
By Jennifer Lang
—“Our feet are like steering wheels of the legs,” says Jenny Otto, senior certified Anusara yoga teacher and owner/director of Golden Heart Yoga in Annapolis, Maryland. (from 2004-2009) “What happens to the feet affects the knees, hips, and, ultimately, the whole spine. Everything starts from the ground up.” And Otto knows: She not only healed her painful heel spurs through yoga but also built up the arches of her flat feet.
— The purpose of the feet is the same in every pose, says Otto. “You can’t create extension without equal and opposite force of gravity,” she says. “It’s a basic law of physics: There must be grounding to create a lift in gravity.”
—“They guide our knees and hips, acting as an anchor to earth,” says Otto. As we press down through the four corners, the arches, which comprise sling muscles (tibialis anterior and fibularis longus), help draw energy up and into the body and communicate with the pelvis and lower-back muscles. When you use your feet correctly and distribute your weight
evenly, the rest of your body responds energetically. If your weight is unevenly distributed, you’ll compensate somewhere else, inevitably causing strain and tension in your body.
— Foot Yoga for a Fine Foundation — Foot Yoga Pampers Your Feet — by Charlotte Bell
(Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and the upcoming Yoga for Meditators)
— Baltimore Sun Article on BBY Teacher Gina Sager
Get Local: An Interview with Jenny Otto
DISTRICT KULA BLOG: (excerpt from a June 2011 interview)
What Can a Student Expect in a Class With You?
"I am very creative and enjoy creating my own poses and variations thereof to benefit the health and well-being of every student. My teaching is practical, authentic and fun. I have been told many times I am a teachers’ teacher. I still hear from people that have taken trainings and workshops with me that say they still use techniques I have taught them in their classes."
What Advice Would You Give to a New Student?
"Listen to your body, and if you feel what is being offered is not a good idea, don’t do it. Ask for assistance or modification. The teacher does not live in your body and cannot possibly know what you are feeling or going through. Do not turn your power over to anybody."
Awards and Recognition:
—Finalist for the The Capital Readers Choice (2011, 2012, 2013) Award for Best Yoga in Annapolis.
— Honored with the Best
Annapolis Yoga Award
(2006, 2007, 2008) while studio owner of Golden Heart Yoga.
Winning Best of Annapolis from What's Up? Magazine three years in a row for Best Yoga and Meditation Center.
— Click HERE for a slideshow of an
Anatomy Trains Dissection with Tom Meyers
in which Jenny participated.
— Jenny Otto’s Yoga For Motorcycling Classes to raise funds for the troops; Old Glory Harley Group Support for the Troops
— Jenny Otto also participates in fundraisers for the Annual Ryan P. McDonald Golf Tournaments
— Jenny Otto regulary donates yoga classes to raise funds for the Annapolis Animal Shelter
Press About Body Balance Yoga Teachers:
— 2011: Melinda Frisch assisted in two yoga workshops for people with MS in A Day of Healing in Arlington, Virginia, sponsored by the National Capital Chapter of the MS Society.
—Sandy Moore participated in the 2010, 2011, 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk for the Cure, a 60 mile walk to fundraise for breast cancer research and help to support local community programs supporting education, screening and treatment. Sandy has taught Pink Warrior Yoga Classes to raise awareness about breast cancer. Look for more Pink Warrior Yoga Classes and Events as Sandy continues this amazing journey in the fight to end breast cancer. Please read Sandy's story HERE.
Press About Balanced Life Skills:
Jenny is honored to be associated with Balanced Life Skills and is proud of all of their community service programs and the important charitable work they continually offer, including:
— Donating funds from the The Christmas Jar Project to deserving families so they can enjoy the holidays
— Preparing meals for the clients of the Lighthouse Shelter
— Out of the Darkness Walk: an important walk to raise funds for suicide prevention
— Christmas for the Foster Children of Anne Arundel County: BLS students giving and wrapping gifts for foster children
Please visit their website at www.BalancedLifeSkills.com