Friday, December 30, 2011

Paper cranes in vain

I love making paper cranes. It's therapeutic and meditative. I've always wondered what to do with all the paper cranes I make...check out what someone did...I loves it!


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vinyasa with me in Bushwick!

Come visit me in Bushwick!
Jai Yoga Arts
Thursdays 9:30 am
Saturday January 7th 4:30



Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Make your body your temple!

The physicality of Yoga is often related to Asana, or the postures. Many people come to yoga looking for the physical. Its what opens us to the other aspects of Yoga. Whether it be for exercise, weight loss, relieving stress, or meditation...its all physical. This physicality also has a great deal to do with "being present". The cool part about this is that we've accomplished that as long as we've made it to class and made it onto the mat. On some days this part of asana is more challenging then others but that first step is always key.

Let's further look at this idea of "being present". The whole idea can sound kind of ambiguous especially after you've already made it to class and your Yoga teacher keeps using this catch phrase "being present" no? Sometimes its as simple as letting everything else go. Getting comfortable with your mat and letting go of anything and everything that exists outside of it. Just let it be you, your breathe, your mat, your practice. Its important to let go of the citta vritti -mind stuff so your practice is truly yours. This allows your practice to transform from just physical exercise into a moving meditation.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Life is humbling

We make mistakes all the time. Some are small and insignificant...others are big and really hurt people. How do we reconcile these mistakes? How do we make it ok within ourselves to know that we hurt someone? How do we make it ok in ourselves to admit we did something wrong? How do we move forward when the damage is already done?

One of my teachers once said "It's not about the mistakes we make in life, its about what we do to repair them."

The ultimate surrender is to do what we can to make things right in the world...the rest is up to the PTB.

Ways to say sorry.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Asana is a steady comfortable posture

Says Patanjali. Just remember that the next time you're making the scrunchy face in a difficult pose.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let it Flow!

My theme lately is to reference things about my teachers. I have a teacher who always tells the class to shhhuuush. He is totally not afraid to treat a bunch of adults like kindergarten children and I think its seriously so awesome! He is also absolutely not afraid to lecture a person for showing up to class late. That is one of my most favorite thing to see him do. I just find it so great that he has no problem with doing this while other people are so afraid of offending people that they forget that people need to learn boundaries and respect. Either way...this is and old Shhhh sign I made when I used to teach Yoga behind a curtain while people were bouncing basketballs, playing loud video games, having loud conversations or just walking loudly through the space...reminded me of how he shussshes us. Shusshing is awesome, do it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

More on Niyamas

Its been suggest by 2 of my teachers to keep a journal...this blog is the best I can do so far! I've been making a more conscious attempt to study the Sutras since I currently have really good teachers in my life. Something to be grateful -continuing with being thankful after Thanksgiving :)

Yoga is many things...its asana, its breathe work, its devotion, practice, surrender, being mindful. My favorite definition for Yoga is union. Its a union of all these things. Its a coming together, such as coming together in a class practicing as a whole. Its wholeness and its community.

Ishvara Pranidada, the last of the Niyamas is about surrendering to something bigger than yourself. I previously had a hard time digesting something that is written in such a religious matter...but I like these kinds of things because when you examine them, they can really be applied to everyday life. Surrendering even for a moment, your ego. Just letting it go in order to participate in something bigger.

Its the idea that we are all here as part of a community...be it your neighborhood, your gym or your yoga studio that you practice at. The union is doing your Ujjai breathing together...beginning and ending class with OMing together and finding the same sounds and vibration, each persons breathe or OM carries you until you here one sound in unison. If its only for the hour or hour and half of your Yoga class, just close your eyes and breathe, listen and breathe...everyone breathing in the same air.

A lot of times we talk about Yoga as a personal thing...we say things like "this is your practice", "focus on your alignment" and we should not be comparing ourselves to our neighbor wondering if her trikonasana is better than mine. Well, it is personal, however talking about practicing Yoga throughout life, not just in class, its about how you fit into the world around you. We are all unique individuals, but we're part of something bigger than that. Creating something that is treaded together and interconnected. Creating union and surrendering to the PTB, or whatever it is that brings you together to class. This type of surrender gives us lightness. Physically it can lift the burdens that we carry from trivial worries of our day to day.

Ultimately whether or not my phone bill was paid on time or I missed the buys on any given day, it is what it is. There is a bigger picture that we're a part of. Just like when you're exhausted in a Yoga posture and the ujjai breathe and energy of the room keeps you going. We all flow in class together!

As we flow through the poses we are also embarking on and experiencing a journey as a whole, despite our personal journeys.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Be a Merman!

Or a Mermaid :)

On of my favorite seated poses to begin or end with. Stretches out the side body and psoas.
Sit over onto your right side, with your feet to the left of you
Put your bottom/right toes, on top of your left foot/heel.
Left hand comes to the floor by your feet
Reach your right arm, up and over. Palm faces down, bicep by your ear.
Look up at your hand, or your feet-pick one.
Breathe.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Boys doing Yoga

Dear Boys,
It's officially ok for you to do Yoga now. So get your butt to class because downward dog is good for you! Just because you can't touch your feet doesn't mean you can't do yoga. Get over yourself and grab a strap. Have fun, don't clench your teeth. You will be in headstand in no time! Touching your toes? That will take practice -often, consistently, for a long time and with earnestness.

Namaste to all the boys and men I teach!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where?

Well I am sort of here...but I am also sort of here.

Hoooooly Capoeira!

I went to a party at Jai Yoga Arts and played Capoeira. :)

The End.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How do you find your center?

In studying the Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga I find great importance to the idea of Ethics. Yamas and Niyamas are all about how you treat the world around and you and how you treat yourself.

"Ethics is the glue that binds earth to Heaven. One cannot serve two masters. The only way a human being can reconcile the paradox of the demands of earth and soul is through the observation of ethical principles." From Iyengar's Light on Life

I am a person who relies on ethics in life. I find it important establishing what my limits are and how I treat the world around me. I am constantly checking and re-checking myself. Where is the boundary of right and wrong and how close do I allow myself to be to it? Does this boundary still work for me? Do I need to change my limits?

I also find that being so ethical ties me very closely to the earth. This can sometimes be a heavy and burdensome. I'm by nature and over-thinker. So, I have this breathing exercise for meditation in which I imagine I am inhaling in heaven -not religious heaven but more like the universe, the air and sky that is infinite. And on the exhale I imagine rooting in to the earth.

And with this exercise I think about this Heaven and Earth thing and what lies between...us, people. Some of use are more Heaven oriented -have you ever met someone who is so up in the clouds? Flighty? Free spirited? And then there are Earthy types...myself -very grounded and realistic, easily brought down. There is this great middle path that has a little of both of these concepts. I like this breathing exercise because I'm overly grounded it helps me to breath in the heavens and take something in that is lighter. I feel lifted and freer. For my flighty heaven people, the rooting and grounding helps balance them out as well.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pain in the neck

Everyone around me is coughing and sneezing and I am just getting by here. So I am taking my zinc with meals and doing my sesame seed oil ritual to keep things in check. Nonetheless the cold always gets into my muscles and here I am with back and neck pain. OK, to be fair, it also could be from sparring with some of the fighters the other day, but the point is my neck and upper back is all kinds of tight and painful. Red Flower Oil to the rescue! This is great for sore and tight muscles. Please don't cover your whole body in it though...that is actually really bad for you! A lil Red Flower goes a long way! So next time some one punches you in the face and it snaps your neck back, drags you by the neck or maybe you just slept all funny...try rubbing some Red Flower into your aches and pains.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo!

I am not venturing outside today in honor of the frozen eggs that they used to throw on Halloween in my old neighborhood. Granted that I do not live there anymore and I have no idea of kids still do such childish things...I live too close to the parade to want to deal with the hordes of people outside! Though I do love Halloween and seeing all the costumes...I will save that for when I run out to get dinner later :)

I'm sure there will be many awesome Halloween themed Yoga classes like at Jai Yoga Arts and Iwona Yoga...and even more amazing Halloween Rodas for Capoeiristas. But This year I will pass...In other news, I will be staying in to hand out candy to the kids in my building. Boooo!


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yoga in Bushwick

Jai Yoga Arts is one of my new favorite Yoga studios. Living in Manhattan amongst many many yoga studios, though its amazing,it makes me appreciate the community feel you get from a Yoga studio in Bushwick or Ridgewood, where having a Yoga studio feels extra special. Vinyasa in Bushwick!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Rush hour takes years off your life!

Ever since I stopped living a 9-5 life, though I am much poorer, I am much more mentally sane. Have you ever come in contact with that person who shoves you out of the way to get up or down subway stairs, or a crowded sidewalk only to find they are walking at the same speed as you. Or the person who plows into the subway before you've even had the chance to step off? Wait, have YOU ever been that person? Admit it! Cause that used to be me. I always thought I was going to be late and...I never was late. However, had I been late a minute or two...five minutes...I mean what was so important that I need to shove people aside for? When I stopped commuting during peak hours I realized how I had just given myself 10 more years of life!

Seriously, its amazing. I traveled on the subway today during rush hour, and watched as all these people piled into an already crowded train. Some people ran down the steps just catching the door to hold it open and squeeze in, then another 3 people did the same, and then another person. They were relieved to get on while 4 people on the train shook their heads and one person actually said "OH COME ON!" while the last person held the door. Watching this from the sidelines made me think...wow, its not that big of a deal to get on the train...next one comes in 5 minutes, remember its rush hour? And if people want to hold the doors open to get on a train what's another 30 seconds of your life? Will it really kill you? I promise you it won't.

Next time you find yourself being the person who is shoving people aside OR the person who is pissed off that someone held a subway door to delay your life for 30 seconds...breathe. Because..its not that big of a deal!

If only we could get some MTA workers to do this in the mornings...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Consistency

I have been so reflective lately its odd...because I miss my unreflective time...like watching Jersey Shore! Anyways, I have been running over all these themes that I am proactive about in my life. Another one I have been thinking about lately is consistency. I like having consistency in my life because it gives me a basis and a structure in my everyday. I also like for my relationships to be reliable and consistent. There is so much comfort in this!

The thing I love most about my regular yoga practice is that it always happens on Monday and Wednesday mornings and there are only about 3-4 variations in the sequence that my teacher goes through. He will run through one sequence for about 3 months before he decides to only switch one small section for another 3 months or so again. This might sound boring but I think its amazing because I can really see how I improve. This is why I always make a point to show up to my Monday and Wednesday morning classes even if they are at 7am! Sometimes I am really lost without my Yoga practice. If I practice it outside studios its always fine but I lose my regular routine and I also lose track of my goals. This is why Yoga is a PRACTICE!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yes I am still here

I hate to do a whole lump of picture postings all at once but here we go....match the picture to the occasion: Moon Festival, Angry Birds for my BFF's bday, Prajiats give fighters good luck, Yummy Luke's Lobster truck sandwich and studying for school.





Connections

There is an awesome thing about living in New York City that I've highlighted in my life. Connections. You will always see connections between people. I joke that there are only really 3, sometimes 2 degrees of separation between the 9 million of us here. Despite that there are so many of us, we're always on top of each other. We all...kind of know each other. Being a New Yorker, I've made connections a sort of theme in my life in general. I love bringing people together and having connections that make sense be made.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pigeon Variations Part 3. Do the twist.

Relaxing in your pigeon pose? Now, wanna make it harder? If you have flexible, open hips and want to go further, this is for you. If you LOVE twisting, this is for you. If you don't have flexible hips and just started doing yoga...maybe hold off on this -don't worry, you will get there in time.

First follow the last post on pigeon to get to your nice relaxing place. Right foot/leg is forward, left leg is elongated behind you, pushing the top of the left foot into the mat, and folded forward over and past your right leg, forehead resting on the floor or on a block or stacked fists. Breathe it out.

1. Come up to your forearms, press palms and forearms down as you pull your shoulders back and down. Chest forward. Think sphinx or baby cobra upper back.
2. Take your left arm and thread it under your right arm. Bring your left shoulder all the way to the floor. Side of your face and head should be resting on the floor. You can prop a blanket under the side of your head if needed, especially if its your first time twisting.
3. Take your right arm, and reach it behind and around you and either find your left hip or hold onto your right foot. Inhale deep into the back and around the kidneys, exhale let it all go.

















Want to go further?
4. Bend your left knee towards your butt.
5. Left shoulder still on the floor, now left hand reaches for the left foot. Yeah, you're gonna feel that. Breathe with a slow exhale.
6. Take the tip of your tongue against the roof of the mouth behind your 2 front teeth, relax your jaw.

Next post; half pigeon bind, full pigeon bind and the choke hold.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Yoga Scams

Dear Yoga teachers,
There have been a bunch of Yoga scams going on lately. Funny because the first one I actually thought was someone I knew who is just crazy and kind of a jerk pulling some sort of manipulative game on me. So, I actually wrote back waiting to see what he would do...then went on Yoga Alliance and found out he was an actual Yoga scammer! Just got another one today. Anyways...be on the look out for:

ronalddearing@yahoo.com
murrayhj@ymail.com

Or anyone else asking for privates and wanting to send you fake money orders.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pigeon Variations Part 2.

I used to hate pigeon pose because my leg would go numb. I remember my teacher saying "Hold for 8 breaths". That 8 breaths would feel like ETERNITY. I always felt so antsy and I couldn't relax in the pose. After having a consistent practice for a long time, pigeon became my FAVORITE pose. Weird how things turn out that way, yeah? Because I love it so much here are all the variations of it that I like doing:
















How to get into pigeon pose.
1. From downward facing dog, lift your right leg up into the air in a 3 legged dog. As you exhale bring your right knee forward towards your nose as you come forward into a plank.
2. Place your right knee behind your right wrist. Flex your right foot a lot. Try to get your right ankle behind your left wrist so that your right shin is parallel to the front of your mat -p.s. its not likely it will actually be that parallel but you get it.
3. Now, look back at your left leg, it should be coming straight out of your left hip behind you. You don't want it to be crooked. Also, check to make sure your left foot is straight, top of the left foot should be pressing into the mat, with pressure on your big toe and second toe, you will feel a stretch in your left hip here.
4. Walk your hands by your hips and stack shoulders above hips. Square your hips a lot, and flex your right foot a lot. You can place a blanket or block under your right hip if you feel you need some extra support. Option: interlace your hands behind your back and press your palms together to open up your chest.
5. Walk the hands forward in front of you. Option: take a pause when you're on your forearms. Take them into a sphinx position and pull your chest slightly forward, as your chest pulls back, shoulder blades stay on the back. Flex the right foot more. Now walk the hands more forward as far as you can comfortably go. Options: rest your forehead on the floor if it feels good to go down that far and reach your arms forward. OR rest your forehead on a block or stack fists and rest your forehead there.
6. Stay here for 8 breathes. Keep flexing your right foot but relax everything else. Think savasana. All your muscles are melting into the floor except your right foot is flexing and your right shin is pushing into the mat. Breathe and repeat on the other side.

Next post will cover half pigeon and full pigeon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

You can always go deeper

What I've learned from my Yoga teacher is, no matter how long you've been practicing, or how far you think you've gone...you can always go deeper.

I worked for about a year to get my first pigeon half bind and then another year to get full pigeon. I didn't think there was anything after that and have been comfortably struggling to get my full pigeon better. Last week upon my return from vacation I was surprised when my teacher told me to go deeper. I am sitting there already shaking from being out of practice for 2 weeks and just barely holding a full pigeon. I didn't even know what deeper meant.

Behold, the pigeon choke hold. What is it called in sanskrit? I have no idea...is this a real pose or did my teacher come up with this to torture us? This could be the case...Today in class in this particular pose I actually brought my elbow all the way down to my chest. It feels pretty insane. Break down of getting into pigeon, full pigeon and choke hold pigeon will be coming soon! :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just when you thought you could relax

In your King Pigeon pose...stay tuned for the "choke hold" kapotanasana.

Recharging

Germany for 2 weeks was a good long break for me. As a New Yorker, any vacation over 5 days is pretty long. Although I packed my jump rope and vowed to practice Yoga every day..that really only lasted the first 4 days. However, the rest of the time was a much needed break from over-training. This post is dedicated to over-training because I am constantly around people who are always over-training, including myself. When I teach Yoga I am constantly reminding Yogi's in class to check in with their bodies. Don't go into a full back bend if your body doesn't want to do it. There is no reason to push yourself into an injury. And some of you..you're addicted to over-training so...please, REST!

You know you're over-training when:
1. You have a nagging injury that is just not going away...because you can't stop training. Stop now before it becomes something serious!

2. You're actually getting weaker and your definition is losing its form. You can't complete workouts in which you normally could and you're suddenly not just plateauing but now you're starting to lose muscle mass.

3. You're tired and fatigued no matter how much sleep you're getting

4. You forget what its like to not feel sore.

5. You're joints and bones are starting to feel sore

6. You're nagging injury is actually starting to make you feel depressed.

In conclusion, don't let this be you. Take a day off! Just one won't kill you. :) You're body will thank you for it. Because if you don't take care of your body you will lose the ability to do all the crazy rigorous physical activity you're obsessed doing, right?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Major Hiatus

I wish I could say I came back from vacation with words of wisdom or some new ideas but I really have not.

Here are some small thoughts I've come up with...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dragon eyes: Longan

One of my favorite fruits in the summer time is Longan -dragon eye. Though I've been eating it since I was a kid I only recently learned the medicinal properties of it. It is considered to be a sweet, astringent and warm. When dried its used to sooth anxiety. The fruit raw, can be good for heart palpitations and for weakness during pregnancy. The leaves can cool the system and the flowers and seeds aid the kidneys.


Notable sites of NYC

Times Square. Hello Kitty AND Spiderman














Astor Place

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yo!!!

Yo Yoga on 59th Street is pretty awesome. I just finished trying it out for a month. I like that they offer 2 7am classes during the week. I would probably go to this studio more if it was in a more convenient location in relation to where I live. However, the studio itself is beautiful, especially when they hold outdoor classes on the roof deck. I highly recommend the 8am classes on Mondays and Fridays. Its difficult to find morning classes that are fun and challenging..I find that many early morning classes tend to be easier paced and not as hard. I went to the class this morning thinking that and thinking to myself...I really wish more open leveled classes would still include harder poses, especially headstand..and we did headstand! I love when that happensS! Thanks for the headstands this morning Yo Yoga!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Thanks IWONA Yoga in Ridgewood!

The calm before the asana...





Teaching in Ridgewood, Queens!

Super last minute subbing...Friday Aug 5th 10am at IWONA YOGA. My dear dear friend's beautiful yoga studio.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Down dog on Astro turf!

Rooftop Yoga has to be one of the best ideas...of course only when weather permits. I took my first rooftop class at YoYoga today. Which is not in a very convenient location (near 59th St bridge) but its worth the trek for a outdoor class on astro turf. It really challenges your sense of balance and its only $12 a class.