“Whether we’re eating or working or meditating or listening or talking, the reason that we’re here in this world at all is to study ourselves. In fact, it has been said that studying ourselves provides all the books we need.” ― Pema Chödrön
Svadhyaya translates to “self study,” and it’s the fourth niyama listed in the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
To fully understand the application of this practice of awareness and self examination into your daily life, it’s important to recognize that svadhyaya meant studying the ancient philosophical yoga texts -- reading the texts, reciting them, committing them to memory — embodying those philosophies.
So how can you incorporate the practice of svadhyaya while practicing asana [poses]?
Listening to your yoga teacher during class is part of the practice, but what happens when a teacher instructs you to move into a pose that feels really uncomfortable or asks you to stay in an asana longer than you can stand? Chances are your internal dialogue kicks into high gear: begging, sometimes demanding, that you provide your body with some relief.
If that’s the case for you, then that inner dialogue is what you should be paying attention to if you want to practice svadhyaya.
Svadhyaya on the yoga mat means studying the “what”, “how” and “why” to your thoughts and feelings while flowing from pose to pose and then comparing that to your daily life. Consider asking yourself some of these questions:
There's loads of questions and answers you can constantly explore in your practice; notice if it really is an exploration or a judgemental take.
Not only can doing this form of self observation improve your asana practice during a yoga class, but gaining this self knowledge can change the way your mind deals with self judgment and expand your capacity for introspection both on and off the mat.
The term gratitude yoga is not limited to the mat...
If we remind ourselves to be grateful for what we do have, we lose the negative impressions that often take up our head uninvited. By selecting a tone of thankfulness,fear, sadness, anxiety, and even anger gets pushed aside and our gratitude makes room for strength, happiness, confidence, and peace.
With the Holidays just around the corner... memberships and giving the gift of yoga is a great present to a family member or loved one. Discounts for gifts, referral offerings are also available.
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As of December 31, 2016, Prana Power Yoga closed its doors for good at both the Brooklyn location and its long time New York space in Union Square. Prana was a vital piece to the hot vinyasa yogi community in the Big Apple for many years. With its departure from the scene, many long time practitioners have been left with an empty space in their hearts and scrambling to find a new home to get their asana fix.
Spearheaded by accupunturist and yoga instructor Deborah Stotzky, and long time client of Prana Barri Budin, the Prana community of teachers will be hosting classes at Athleta on 5th avenue and 18th street.
The chain retailer, which offers amazing sportswear and accessories, has a lower level studio at their 5th avenue location that will be the home for displaced Prana teachers, clients and all yogis looking to hone their practice with some of the best teachers NYC has to offer.
There will be a schedule of classes throughout the week at the heated space which offers dressing areas, free props, mats, changing rooms, lockers, bathroom, free filtered water (B.Y.O.Bottle) & music set up.
The suggested donation is $15 at the door, cash only. Spread the word, bring a friend or two and lets foster a safe and fun home for exploration and practice. Whether you practiced with us at Prana, or not... if you are looking for a new home for your asana practice or just looking to get start the New Year learning more about Yoga, the team put together for these classes would be a perfect gateway for you to get started or advance your practice.
If you want to learn more about the space, you can check out Athleta's web site here.
On Facebook, Prana at Athleta has set-up a page to keep a tab on scheduling, teaching times and other news as we transition into Athleta and eventually, into another space when that's available. Click here and place like, subscribe and follow us on Facebook.
I'll be teaching classes there weekly and bi-weekly over the next few months. You can keep track of that on my Schedule page here as I update daily where I will be and at what times.
As of today, here are my current dates at that space:
Peace & Love,
STRIKE A 'CAT POSE'
We started with some cat poses, attempted some trees and rested in savasana with friendly felines circling our rested bodies. It was a fun time at the Meow Parlour -- a 45 minutes mindful flow while free roaming cats looked on at the invaders that transcended yoga shapes in the cat playground.
It was a pleasure leading a group of wonderful yogis through an asana practice and even more fun hanging out with them post-class and enjoying some playful times with the adoptable cats.
But prior to that, as if someone cued the inhabitants of the Meow Parlour, our four legged friend sabotaged the mighty tree poses and took a few down with their cuteness and ownership of space. We didn't end with a roaring ohm, but with a playful "MEOW."
Thanks to the cool peeps there, Amy Apgar and the wonderful yogis who sold out this event. Future dates at this venue will be announced as they roll in.
Don't forget; Sept. 18th, I hook up with Dina Ivas again for our second Yoga 'House Party' -- the theme this time… the 1980s. REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT HERE. We're also heading up to Heathen Hill for a Halloween retreat in October; yoga classes, spooky themed events, seasonal fun, awesome meals and a chill weekend before we hit the Winter months. For more information, click here.
Bringing Yoga into the Classroom
I'm very excited to announce the start-up of a yoga program for students with developmental delays and varying disorders and disabilities, that I will be installing in private pre-schools in Flushing and the Bronx.
I'll be working 3-days a week at the pre-schools, installing and carrying out all the protocols, record keeping and all things related to the program, in conjunction with the schools and their administration.
For years, I've worked as a Occupational Therapy practitioner, working with a wide ranging population of students of different ages, habilitating and rehabilitating, including adults and geriatrics.
This is a venture I'm excited about because its working with a segment of our population that is near and dear to me.
The students will be lead through groups in the classroom during assigned times, and will be provided, as needed, smaller groups and/or individual sessions per their needs. During the yoga groups, students will be given another setting for learning, while enhancing their focus and attention span, sensory processing abilities, motor planning, balance, coordination, muscular development and address behavioral needs. Bringing the practice of yoga to the school will give them another physical outlet to grow and develop, while giving them another social environment for them to hone their life-skills.
The yoga program also will help facilitate happier and healthier habits, train the students to manage their emotions, regulate their behavior and achieve academic success and personal development.
I can't wait to see the students practicing, combining elements of yoga, and incorporating them into their daily curriculum.
Wish me luck...
Peace & Love,
I was welcomed back to Intermediate School 204 the last few weeks for more yoga and meditation.
Back in April, I introduced yoga and meditation to many students at that school, as part of the City Year after school program.
This time around, leadership and development specialist for Beacon, Ms. Kaychell, invited me back. The students moved, breathed and relaxed their way into varying yoga postures.
During the sessions, I grounded the students early in the practice, facilitating their active engagement in breathe control and relaxing the body and mind. We then moved into "heat building" poses to wake-up and invigorate the body. The ensuing poses were balancing asanas to dive deeply into their focus and enhance their body awareness.
At the close of each practice, a few minutes of silence, in savasana (corpse pose), left the students in internal bliss.
The smiles on their faces and the effort put into engaging in these poses were outstanding.
The mats provided were cut out of fabric from MFTA (Materials for the Arts).
Students from varying schools attended these sessions at I.S 204, including P.S 112 & I.S 126.
I would like to extend a special thanks to everyone involved and to those that initiated these great afternoons. I'll definitely see all of you again in the Spring.
Can't wait to see the staff and the students, and their beautiful smiles.
Peace & love,
Summer of Fun at Cooper Park
I would like to thank everyone that participated, joined me and supported the yoga in the park classes in Brooklyn all Summer long. Cooper Park was the perfect location for 75-minutes of movement, awareness and complete bliss every Sunday. A special thanks to Down to Earth Markets for hosting the event, along with the backing of Makara Studio.
The market will remain open till November 23rd, providing the best in seasonal fruits and vegetables, pantry staples and high quality products, along with great services such as textile recycling.
Also, special thanks to the periodical AM New York for featuring us in their weekly health calendar. Big shout-out to KeVita, which provided their Sparkling Probiotic Drinks for free during the summer.
It was quite the experience teaching yoga in the park. With complete acknowledgement, I was honored and truly blessed to lead so many people through their asana practice.
Peace and love,
PS -- check out this great slide show, with some captures from the weekly sessions. All photos by Veronica L. Photography.
That could be you in the above picture!
Join us every Sunday for vinyasa yoga at Cooper Park in Brooklyn, brought to you by Down to Earth Markets and Makara Studio. I'll be there until September 28, from noon to 1:00 pm, weather permitting. Bring family members and friends... oh and your own mat, water bottle and a willingness to move and explorer your practice outdoors.
Try to get there 10-15-minutes prior to sign-up, as we'll meet in front of the farmers' market stand, or join the group of yogis with their mats rolled out inside the park.
Remember, these classes are donation based, and we'll only be there for a few more weeks!
Four years ago today was the first time I ever stepped onto a yoga mat at The Yoga Room. It was hot. It was tough. Real and perceived limitations hindered my mind. Now ... the possibilities are endless. Thank you to everyone who has helped and guided me through this continuous journey.
A Week in Action!
Extra, Extra …
This upcoming week is a busy one. You can catch any of my classes all over the city starting on Monday. Want your vinyasa hot?
Then on Monday and Tuesday, head over to Earth Yoga for some Hot Power Flow. August 4th and August 5th, I'll be leading one-hour hot vinyasa classes at the beautiful studio on 328 East 61st Street in the city.
On Wednesday, my weekly class at Anthea Yoga & Healing Arts Center in Astoria, from 8:00 to 9:15pm, could be your mid-week pick-me-up.
Thursday, head back into the city -- uptown to be exact -- for some vinyasa at Beloved Yogi Harlem, from 6:00 to 7:15pm.
Makara Studio is the site for my weekly donation based class from 4:00 to 5:30 pm on Fridays. Oh, I'll be subbing again for Hannah Harpole this Saturday August 9th, intermediate/advanced vinyasa at Makara, from noon to 1:30 pm.
The week closes on Sunday August 10th in Brooklyn, again at Cooper Park, for a weekly 75 minute donation based class with the fine peeps at Down To Earth Markets. In addition to that, from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, after your brunch break, you can meet me at The Yoga Room in Long Island City for some hot vinyasa to book-end the week.
Got it? Go get it!
Any updates can be found on my SCHEDULE page.
Have a wonderful first week of August!
If I'm doing it, I'll be talking about it. Yoga chatter & more.