Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More New Classes!

This week I'm subbing for Jessie at Eyes of the World Wednesday 9:30 AM and Thursday 7:30 PM.  Also, starting March 2nd I'll be teaching an adult vinyasa class at the East Side YMCA 9:15 AM - right before Family Yoga at 10:30 AM.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Teaching Saturdays at the YMCA - two weeks only

For those of you who love supporting the YMCA (like me) and love affordable yoga, check out my class at the Eastside YMCA this Saturday January 21st and next Saturday January 28th from 8 - 9 AM.  Y Members free, drop in $10,

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Yoga Cannot Wreck Your Body, ASSana Can.

Ok people. I know it's five pages long, but you must read the New York Times article "How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body".  The warnings are real, and the detail is gruesome - yoga postures driven by the ego is a recipe for disaster.

If you read through the online comments for the article, however, many fellow yoginis go on the defensive, blaming the practitioners themselves for the pain and suffering "yoga" may have caused.  And while practitioners need to be mindful, when swept away by pseudo-religious, "seems like they know what they're doing" teachers or studios - it's difficult to discriminate.  So, I wouldn't just blame the practitioner and be done with the discussion.

To be completely clear - yoga cannot wreck your body. Yoga means union or to yoke. (Yup, this link goes to Wikipedia ... it's clearly written and easy to understand.  Don't judge me for it!).  Moving on.

Yoga is an experience and is much, much more than the physical postures described in the article. While I commend the author and agree with mostly all the warnings - indeed you should never hang out in shoulder stand for five minutes on a wooden floor - I do not agree with Mr. Glenn Black that: “Yoga is for people in good physical condition. Or it can be used therapeutically. It’s controversial to say, but it really shouldn’t be used for a general class.”

Perhaps certain styles of hatha yoga, where physical postures are taught as a means to detoxify, strengthen and lighten the body and mind, are not proper for many body types. Agreed, jumping on someone's back in 115 degree heat to get them "deeper" into the "experience" of yoga is absurd. As my teacher Tom Gillette jokes, "if you can't do a full split, you'll never reach enlightenment."

So while we need to warn people of ego-driven yoga styles that promote hurtful or extreme postures or in sanskrit called "asana", it is not wise to denounce yoga altogether. Yoga, as a practice, brings together a variety of technologies (some thousands of years old, others only a few decades really), that seek to heal the fractured mind - to bring peace and unity to one's life.

So please, if you're looking for a little enlightenment, don't do this:



or this



or this



or this



or this



But rather, connect to the earth through your sitting bones, rise up through the crown of the head, and close your eyes. Find your breath and steady the mind. Perhaps move and stretch your body appropriately, finding space, strength and ease. Slow down and step firmly into the present moment. Drop the story, stop blaming and get real. Practice non-violence, promote truth, and study your intentions. Cultivate compassion and chant OM. That's a yoga practice. And yes, yoga is for everyone.  

PS - thanks Tom for the pictures :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Teaching an extra class this weekend

YMCA East Side of Providence - free to members, $10 drop in 8-9 AM Saturday January 7th!  See you there :)

And don't forget - 7:15 - 8:30 AM every Sunday at Eyes of the World.

Family Yoga - Going on a Hike!

I need a mental break from the cold so tomorrow we're going on a yoga hike through the Santa Monica Mountains (here's looking at you Point Mugu!). 

Family Yoga at the East Side YMCA in Providence attracts the best 1-3 year old yoginis (and sometimes their wise older siblings) - so as their yoga instructor it is my job to trick them into breath work, interesting postures and lots of fun focus.  Taking a trip into the woods is one of the most rich ways to lay out a yoga class in a cunning way.  We do lot's of pretending.

For example, morning routines make a great warm-up.  Yawning, stretching, brushing teeth, putting on clothes and shoes.  We forward bend, make fun sounds, and let the tension roll away.  When we're ready to rock, a drive in the car or train to the mountain is necessary and helps get the kids off the mat for a moment - allowing them to explore the room within the confines of semi-structured movement.  Once you get the the mountain, it's only up from there!

Stretch the quads (modified dancer) and get ready to climb.  You can use classic yoga postures to inspire each experience along the hike - from watching birds, mimicking trees, and taking a dip in a nearby lake.  Don't forget to eat your lunch in a shady circle of trees you found!

We singe lots of songs throughout any class - and this theme lends itself to any songs about bunnies, frogs, sunshine, fish - it's endless.

What's your favorite part of hiking in the woods?  Maybe it can serve as inspiration for you and your little one on the mat.