welcome.

the image on top is "Welcome Home Sweet Sugar" by Kelsey Brooks

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sarah, Shaun and Finding Sukha


I started to fall in love with "Finding Sukha" right at the door. Painted onto the entrance is a cosmically colored figure who is reaching, sweetly and curiously, for the very door knob you are place your hand upon.

The studio itself is at once both cosmically beautiful and modestly simple, a very accurate portrayal of its intent. As students set up their mats, many fall right into meditation, setting their dristi upon the gloriously stained glass at the front. The right wall was dedicated to an array of candles, which scattered light on the hardwood floor.

The most incredible element of the studio: it's incredible friendliness. The studio is intended as a place to gather and share love, light and energy; this message comes clearly across. Some students stand around the sign-in desk, there is an open quality to their gathering. They smile at you, welcome your presence. After class, students may offer you tea, chocolate and conversation. With the incredible minds and earnest hearts that Finding Sukha gathers, you would be a fool to decline.

My first class was with Shaun. Shaun's immediate presence was accepting, kind, calm, mature and contagious. Shaun truly understands the value and responsibility of "holding the room". I felt myself drop deeper through my breath as I gradually took on the same evenness, the same acceptance I was offered.

I signed up for the week, and checked out Sarah's class next. Sarah's presence is one of loving vitality, radiating energy infinitely and impossibly from her tiny frame. She engages both sociable and receptive energy, creating a class where you feel equally engaged in a challenging or restorative posture. Her voice is serene, while her sequencing smart, simple, creative and above all dynamic. I am surprised by how with the lightest touch, she creates deep and mindful adjustments.

Finding Sukha is truly a welcoming oasis that finds it's home in the neighborly Alphabet City & East Village zone. It is truly beloved. Whether you live nearby or not, you should meet this incredible community, take class, and perhaps stay and chat....http://www.findingsukha.com/

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Unknown vs Luck

“I don’t know” is one of my favorite truthful and courageous statements.

We often doubt of how exactly things came to be, how they are now, or how they may be in the future. Often observation- or perhaps manipulation- brings us to identify certain variables and patterns which give a sense of insight and causation. And yet, sometimes our explanations seem flawed, incomplete or fruitless. There are forces at play that cannot be isolated, patterned, seen or understood.

Like most confrontations with the unknown, this is a bit threatening, so one hastens to retreat.

The formula for retreat is simple: agglomerate all that you cannot identify into a box. Give that box uniformity, a single base consciousness, characteristic or intent. Label the box.

Sample labels include “talent”, “luck”, “nature” or “the force”.

Let’s explore this deeper with luck:

What is luck? What is to say that someone or something is lucky? What property can one assign it? At most, one points to previous successes, and without identifying any unifying causational factors amongst them, one shrugs his or her shoulders and says “well, that’s luck”. Luck is precisely the unknown and unpredictable, what happens that is beyond a person’s control.

And just what lies beyond a person's control is unfathomable, immeasurable and most likely infinite.

So how can it be that anyone “has luck”? How can you have the unknown, the unpredictable and precisely that which is outside of you? How can you be without it?

This carries the unfortunate repercussion that luck, through our acceptance of the concept, is something real and tangible, it exists like any object, you can have it, or not. Is luck a quality? But how can anyone have, hold, or seek a quality that is inherently indescribable, mysterious and unknowable?

It reminds me of Richard Freeman’s statement that purusha (the truth of being that is naked behind form) is inherently impossible to capture. The moment you say that anything is purusha or that purusha is any thing or quality, you are hiding it behind prakhti (form).

Precisely so with the example of “luck”. The second you point to anything and say “that is luck”, all you really say is “the causation of that is variables I cannot identify or explain”. Or more simply, “I don’t know”.

There’s a tendency which I’ve noticed to agglomerate all that one does not know and understand into one category, “the unknown”, which quickly gets labeled with something sweet such “talent”, “luck” or “the force”, for example.

I reject the unity of this notion- just because there are an incredible amount of variables in a complex world that are constantly in play and effecting every single action that you can possibly take- does not mean that these variables have one universal consciousness. They may have a billion consciousnesses; they may have infinite consciousness, but to unify them all under one purpose is oversimplification.

I believe there are an unknown number of unknown forces that are at play in any interaction. This makes figuring out what happened, what is happening, or the possibilities of what can happen incredibly difficult. It means that any knowledge, regardless of whether it is past, present or future, is inherently incomplete. That doesn’t make it worthless; knowledge is an incredibly powerful tool in action.

But no matter how much knowledge you have, you always act with variables of uncertainty. You can seek shelter in small mastery; obsess with the identification of every variable. But the unknown is still present; it is inescapable even in moments where you doubt its presence (and even more so in those).

Perhaps we could instead embrace the unknown? Relish in the joy of knowing you live within an infinity of cosmic chaos in constant interaction with your own.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Denial and Toxicity

I truly believe denial is toxic.

Your body and mind store what your consciousness and ego may prefer to brush off. Denial is essentially a fragmenting of one’s experience and a fragmenting of one’s self. I have yet to discover a way to delete experience (and as Spotless Mind fans know, perhaps we don’t want to), yet I am acquainted with my often unconscious attempts to do so.
Denying memories, thoughts and experiences is the fastest way to duality. The denied concepts are alienated from the active consciousness and lurk in (metaphorically) a shadowy pool. Fear and pain fortify the barriers of that pool, denying oxygen to the now rotting experience.
As the mind has to work around the barricaded rot, it builds inconvenient detours that promote irrationality and delusion. One’s outer world mirrors this inner mess, and become smaller, more anxious. The majority of one’s mental function is wasted on contemplating different pathways around this dangerous rot, and one’s life becomes the continual avoidance of some terrible fate.

The rotten shadows begin to poison the spirit, corrupt the mind and deaden the body.
So, that all sounds terribly unpleasant, so let’s move onto the nice stuff….

Why is it so easy to do this? Usually, being busy is the main culprit. Which is why I like my mat. There are times in the practice of yoga and meditation where one is focused on the specifics of body and breath. And there are times to let that go. There are also times to just observe the mind and gain understanding.

Stuff comes up in pigeon. Heart-openers. Meditation. And curiously enough, in conflict and shadow work [shadow work is tracing your judgment of others to the fear in your heart]. I do believe that an active acknowledgement of experience is helpful.

This happened. I felt this. I thought that.

And then comes the best part: And I am letting it go.

And sometimes, a wave of emotion can occur at this moment, but frequently, it’s more of a sense of relief.

Acknowledge and let go, come back to the breath. Acknowledge and allow, return to the moment. Experiences must be received, for all experience is true. And I do believe that any experience is a way to transform your understand of a situation, grow and open yourself up to worlds you could never before fathom.


…..In other news, I read that having an actual physical mat isn’t in vogue anymore, so perhaps my metaphorical mat isn’t so stylish either? Oh no!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Susan Lip Orem

What I've come to expect of my Iyengar classes is a gentle, teasing acknowledgement that this yoga is being done together, that the experience is happening with all of us in this room.

You aren't encouraged, as in other classes, to enter your "own" zone, one that is purportedly removed from everything else in the room, from other people, even from yourself. I will admit I love this sentiment, despite realizing that, whether it is or is not an illusion, there is faulty logic to this.

Iyengar teachers have a tendency to address you often in class, joke around a little, and in general create a presence for the entire room. Susan was very much like this, and incredibly active with her class. Constantly making notes and adjustments, and often joking around with her students, Susan has tremendous amounts of knowledge to offer.

We did an unusual sequence which focused on the connection of the knees behind the shoulders, hip opening related work, and finally ending in lotus. We also practiced getting into lotus from headstand and shoulder stand. Or attempting. All-around wonderful class. I wish I could remember all the little adjustments so I can practice them at home...I probably have a better chance of remembering on my mat than on the computer.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Themes for Class

1. Holding space for the self. I know there have been times, especially if I have a good relationship with the instructor, that I'll set the scene for yoga. I find myself calming down, serious, focused, aware of the creation of sacred space and ready to learn. And I want to practice creating that sense on the street. Notice how your body feels, chest lifts, feet are receptive, hips are free.

2. Creating LOVING sacred space, love without conditions.

3. The clasp knife reflex.....

4. Crunching the fists to lower into a forward bend.
5. For a more comfortable seat, to open the adductors, press on the inner groim.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Raghunath

I need to remember to write, that this keeps me sane and my thoughts organized.

I took Raghunath's class today- it was a spur of the minute decision.

I was going to spend the day sitting, dammit, at the lovely little bird. I was supposed to meet Alex Schatzburg for class at 12:15, but I canceled, thinking I would hardcore hanker down and apply and such all day long.

Instead, I learned how to transition from scorpion to chaturanga in Raghunath's class.

At 11:46, I was on Avenue B.....by 12:15 I magically was transported to Yoga Maya. Despite the fact I'm broke...I just had to. And now I have amazing yoga classes for a week, too.

That was an impressive amount of links for a few sentences.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sun Salutation!!

Good morning.

I am starting my own venture! It's just a project for now, but maybe one day it will turn into a business.

I finally put it all together.

After having an incredible dinner at Cellar 58 with the gorgeously professional Emily Madge and Kate Perkins and Ben Horowitz (of Perkins Film, LLC), I was inspired to merge social media, solar energy and yoga.

The result: Sun Salutation, LLC, a marketing for the solar industry. Sun Salutation will focus on how to merge sustainable living into lifestyle choices. It will encourage particularly well-being oriented business to become more sustainable and generate interest in balanced living.

Good morning.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holding Space

I just discovered Finding Sukha yoga school, located at 638 E 6th st between B and C. Finding Sukha is a calm spiritual sanctuary full of calm, dedicated (and extremely friendly!) practitioners.

Finding Sukha is also a strongly community based school, located right above The Organic Soul Cafe. The Organic Soul Cafe is located in The Sixth Street Center Community Center, and is run by Community Supported Agriculture, a program to unite New Yorkers with local farmers : )

I'll be going there on Tuesday, October 19th (that's tomorrow!) if anyone wants to join me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colleen Saidman's Retreat (Preliminary Thoughts)

Everyone makes me nervous, which is unfair because it's not really their fault.

I just spent 48 hours sweating knee to knee with 36 women- brilliant, bright and insightful, talented and accomplished. I didn't expect that. Perfectly aware of my mistakes in misogyny, I've always seen women of a certain age as unapproachable, alienating. Perhaps I expect them all to disapprove of me, or to frown at the contents of my purse.

There was this funny moment walking down to the retreat when I walked out of my room wearing a bikini and a towel, not thinking too much. Two steps away sits Tracy, who looks at me and says, "Oh good, I think I'll change into what you're wearing if it's ok". She was wearing pants and a t-shirt. I panic, and say, "Uh, well, I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing. Maybe its not appropriate. Actually, I'm going to go change."

"Oh, I'm sure you're fine"
"Well, just in case..."
"Ok, then. I'll meet you down there".

I run and cover myself up with shorts and a t-shirt, and head back towards the sweatlodge. Suddenly I had this terrible realization:

Oh, shit. I just made a being less free.
.....how did I just have that interaction end with both of us wearing more clothes.
(Natti would kill me right now).

So I continue on to the sweatlodge, and there are all my "respectable" women hanging out in bikinis, "See, you had nothing to worry about," says Tracy.

I attempt to apologize to her, but she dismissed it with a smile- which didn't really offer me the dramatic catharsis I was looking for, but that's quite a lot to ask of a person.

The lodge itself was incredible, hearing the individual voices of these suddenly deep and personified people telling stories, singing songs, the rich history imbued in a simple name. Colleen got dropped the million dollar question by the conductor of the sweat lodge ceremony. A solid, fat, molasses voice begging for humor, with a deep respect for his culture and quite the busy schedule. Colleen began with "Yoga is the clearing of the channels that enables us to be with our highest self", and continued to say something eloquent along the lines of putting the body in poses to clear blockages and open space, living with impermanence and coming into the present moment, paying attention to generate love. Not to make excuses, but I'm afraid one's memory suffers in hundred-degree heat.

The theme of the retreat was coming to terms with death and dying, offering our prayers to Kali and burning what has been to make space for our intention. Besides my existentialism teacher Jean Graybeal, Lanny Harrison and mythical (as in, writing) characters, Colleen's one of the only people I've met to discuss death with such frankness and honesty, and it's quite a relief. More on that later.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Death and Rebirth: The Bat

We played with Medicine Cards on Thursday, I pulled The Bat.

An exacting choice, the bat is about the cycle of death and rebirth, the necessity of going through the periodic process to come into a new identity. The medicine card book mentioned rituals when tribal members about to pass into adulthood would spend the night in a grave with a blanket covering them, hearing the sounding threats of prowling animals passing by. The fear of being devoured in your grave. A sleepless night, no doubt. Quite the meditation.

My first thoughts were "Oh, I'd like to try that". Get it over with, you know? I feel that after being in a situation like that, nothing would threaten you. Reason says that's not near truth, yet still. Perhaps it is only fear itself that wouldn't threaten you- after you have known it, tasted it, felt it, it eventually looses its power. (Alternatively, perhaps becomes more powerful still, a long lost friend to pull you in an under to that night near dead? I suppose it depends on the experience and the duration and resolution of panic).

Strangely enough, Thursday night, this passage overwhelmed me with a sense of relief. It gave me a lens, a direction through which I could see my past week with.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cuddle with Chaos...not all alliteration is appropriate

I have always written very good letters of apology, and semi-decent letters of explanation. My mother suggested that I stay in New York on an unnamed "professional" course (professional often seems to be a synonym for decent, worthy and justified).

Dear Ness,

Your suggestion is truly an excellent path to pursue, one that I have indeed considered yet am not ready to commit to. It is one that may manifest depending on my other options. Certainly, New York is always open to me, and, as with my good friends, will greet me with ease upon my ready arrival. It may comfort you that I have often heard rumors that traveling for a year, or any unconventional actions as such, may actually be appealing to employers as someone who thinks outside the box and offers a fresh perspective.

I note a disturbing tone in our conversations: is that I feel as if all of the things I fear are being reverberated back to me in a strong and well-articulated manner.

One of the basic things I believe about fears is that they are in essence inaccurate. If they represented the whole perspective, they would not inspire the feelings of horror and disgust and anger. When we encounter truth that we "don't like" or "would prefer to be different", they do not affect us in this manner. I find it easy when I learn something, such as that I shouldn't stay out here longer or that there is no opportunity here for me until next summer, to move on, shrug my shoulders and continue.

However, many of the things you tell me, that I am lost in the world, no scientist and no artist, that my school did not held me, that it did not pick up a striving for knowledge, that I completed no projects....these are the very things I struggle to face every day. Perhaps it makes me a stronger person to have someone I love so much (you) place them before me each time we speak. Perhaps it makes me weaker to always be brought back to that point, to be caught in the web of that perspective. I don't know. It certainly upsets me.

There is certainly some truth to all of the things you say, or they would not upset me so. Yet taken from a different perspective, they are not all that troubling.

It's true that I feel lost in the world, that I don't know who I am, that I feel like no artist and no scientist, that I am ignorant and know so little and wish to know so much. I wish I was wise and I knew which direction to go in. It's true that I always feel as a child and one of the problems I have is that everyone is urging me to throw my perspective onto the world (to teach, to create, to inspire) and all I feel I have to offer is questions and questions and uncertainty.

Natti thinks I should write a book of questions.

Finding a place in the world feels terrifying. What is this world that I want to create a place for it? Who am I to do so? And how am I to live? I understand so little in the absurd dimensions of reality that to try to establish a place in whirlwind is terrifying.

I do not believe there is shame in acknowledging my own ignorance, confessing my confusion and admitting all that I do not know. I have a brief glimpse of you saying "so study philosophy!" "so go back to school", and yes that is what I want to do, yet, one of the most interesting things that college taught me is that it limits and enlightens at the same time.

I do believe that I have to follow my own curiosity, my imagination and my dreams. No matter how ridiculous and inexplicable they seem to other people. As long as I am not harming anyone (for instance, if my dream is to hurt others or control them, that's not all right in my books), I have that freedom, or at least, until my money runs out.

So you can't understand how I am feeing, what I am doing, and what, if anything, I am creating. Do not be upset by this.

Perhaps it is always like this at the present moment, change seems threatening, values lost and people astray. Yet looking back on it five or ten years later, it is as if it was a perfectly planned story where everything happened at the exact right moment, and couldn't have happened any other way.

If you are confused, give it time. Sit with it. Walk with it. Cuddle with chaos, breathe comfort into your shakes. Wait. Will a phoenix to rise from the ashes, more powerful than the works of imagination, beyond the scope of any reality we can create.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Yoga Mala

Has anyone accidently walked into a yoga mala?

I wonder if she planned to do it. I had heard rumors that Colleen does a 108 sun salutations, a yoga mala, every Labor day. When I walked into class today at 5:30, I expected a full crowd, the usual packed room that a class with Ms. Saidman usually gathers. Yet I was shocked to see no line, no crazy parking, no mat-to-mats. Just me and ten-odd people, a majority of which I recognized as teacher trainers.

We started off moving our arms from tadasana to heart center. A circular moment with the arms, up on the inhale, down on the exhale. Forward fold. Repeat, again. "This will be ten of 108", she says.

Right away, I was excited. I had come to class to shed off some old concepts of self, some people there was no fear to be anymore. My friend Natti came to class with me, after touring China for the past couple off months- I felt like this was a surprise he would appreciate, too.

Throughout the process, I gradually came into the room. My nose was clogged, an expression of how stuffed I felt in my own life, confused, my energy positive but stagnant, directionless.

Flash forward 108 vinyasas, and I feel like I can finally breathe. I may have been observing Colleen's manner at some points of the class, how absurdly present she felt. Each statement precisely practiced yet purposeful, every moment her eye on someone's hips, their throat, so very there. There was a moment I asked for an adjustment in my down dog- not verbally- she came to me right away. A woman sat down in class and Colleen came up to her and asked what was wrong. Upon learning that it was a stomachache, she placed her hands on her belly and just sat for a while.

I take everything with a grain of salt. I'm idolizing, one might say, but the overwhelming waves of respect and admiration are a recognition of a way of being I like. I think that's pretty powerful stuff. Admiration and respect are human emotions that I want to feel. I remember one reading a line; "relief in the feeling of gratitude". Admiration is an emotion I want to experience, much like awe, exhilaration, thrill, passion and all the other things that remind you of how fully you are to be alive.

I believe that life's question, how being a body is experienced and signified, is the most relevant thing I can think of dedicating time to. I think that's fair enough.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Baptiste with Rachel

After nearly a month of nothing to break the monotonous joy of a personal practice, I went to two Baptiste classes. One with Gregor Singleton, who is always lovely, and one with Rachel.

Baptiste is a phenomenon that makes perfect sense when you consider the average lifestyle of a young Bostonian. Just got a nicely paid corporate job that requires sitting still all day, pressure to remain thin and present overwhelming, and torn between the mental benefits of a good workout (which are lovely) and the soothing preaches of yoga (which I'm fairly fond of, as you may know). Today was especially archetypal. It rained all day and after spending the day in a business skirt sitting down at a chilly conference, I was absolutely miserable, irritable and out-of-body. I spend the day not working too hard, devouring free candy, and eating an accidentally expensive three-course lunch. In an other era, this might have been a dream. My generation sees that as a cause for a 10-mile bike ride. Irritatingly lacking challenge.

I love yoga, but I like to have some strenuous exertion each day as well. In a non-corporate lifestyle, this is easy. Life, for millenia, has been an exhausting process, after all. When I was traveling and walking everywhere, for example, I had a very yin yoga practice, because that's what my body craved at the time. Now, sitting down all day, I need intensity.

When I walked into class it seemed like everyone was in the same mood, all at once. From the audible sighs all around (I always saw that as a YTTP phenomenon) I felt myself falling into the rolling waves of class. I felt so much solidarity for the people around me that it overcame my frustration- I was safe, I was somewhere I could move and stretch and work hard (or not!) and that was okay.

If class was difficult, I didn't feel it, because it was nothing but joy. And you know, there was a part where we did a random backward bend that I bet you would be discouraged by any Iyengar practitioner. And I loved it.

for sooth and for shame, that was the part in which I felt myself get slightly dizzy and enter a completely different zone, one in which there was absolutely nothing else but the shimmering physical reality around me. And that for me is yoga. It's about getting to that point, it doesn't matter how or what style or in what manner, where you are nothing but your breath finding its way in space through vivid technicolor.

When I got out of class, everything slowed once more in identity-killing attention-grabbing detail. A sensation I've missed terribly.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Inbetween Times (Perception Post)

Many relevant, strange, story-spacular events have happened in between the last time I tried to make some sense of things and now, but we're going to stick to a few slow, steady trends I've noticed.

The shift in my perception has been absolutely ridiculous. I've been noticing these patterns in my visual perception that emerged after I studied chaos theory and fractals. I'm not sure if its that they were there before, or that I didn't have a concept for them and that's why they didn't fully shift into my consciousness. But that's really besides that point, it's an experience I'm having now and its origin is inexplicable to me thus far. When I spend more time with myself in meditation, this increases substantially.

Overall sense of presence: perhaps its just that I haven't been in the city for a while so its sheer physicality shocks me, but I am pretty sure that this is mostly to do with perhaps overall health and focus. It's hard to describe, it's just that things have more weight and depth to them, I am shocked by the three-dimensionality of objects. I think being an actor would probably create that sense of three-dimensionality, but more so for real life theatre than movies.

Having some time to myself is greatly going to increase the chances of me writing, and I bet if I did it long enough at an hour that wasn't late enough, something sensible would start to come out. And now I'm a bit sad that I didn't bring my laptop with me (I'm about to head to Morocco and Italy) so I can maximize writing potential.

But wait. My brother is bringing his laptop.
A brother is a very useful thing.
As is a lap top.

Love and with,
M

Friday, June 25, 2010

A few lines

from existentialism is a humanism, which is my favorite text next to Irvin Yalom which I also love.

"The existentialist does not believe in the power of passion. He will never regard a grand passion as a destructive torrent upon which a man is swept into certain actions as by fate, and which, therefore, is an excuse for them. He thinks that man is responsible for his passion. Neither will an existentialist think that a man can find help through some sign being vouchsafed upon earth for his orientation: for he thinks that the man himself interprets the sign as he chooses. He thinks that every man, without any support or help whatever, is condemned at every instant to invent man."

And a gift from Lori

I've been reading Abracadabra, Lori's book, and it's truly inspiring. I picked it up pretty skeptical- I'm still a Western minded cynic at heart- but after delving into a few pages, a radiance encompassed me that I just couldn't deny. The book contained Lori's thoughts, a pure stream of consciousness and golden confidence.

Today, she gave me a little orange bracelet and a blessing.

And all of a sudden, on the bike ride home, it hit me exactly what I want to do. What I already do.

I teach existential yoga.

That's what I do.

Not "yoga with a self-reflective focus" not "yoga with some introspection", but pure, outright, existential yoga. That simple.

Guiliana's Class

Just a few hours ago, I came home with my head on fire.

I biked home in a blaze of ideas, and after a long pause to consume a considerable amount of quinoa, started a writing spree that is ending with the entirely of the content of my website.

So, it was a good class.

What happened?

Star pose.

It's the pose on display in MOMA's Abramovic, and the same pose that sent me in a so-called joking "fuck you, Greg!" as my ego refused the possibility of lowering my arms, even for a moment. We slowly lowered and raised our arms for at least half an hour, while the entire class, everybody, broke down. And I would not lower my arms, no matter what. Because even though I thought what we were doing was absurd, despite the fact that I was so keenly aware that this bodily discomfort was caused only by my intense desire to be accepted by these people.....

despite all that, I just couldn't. I would rather yell profanities than lower my arms. Yeah, nice.

Now, Guiliana explained the history and purpose of star pose, which is very nice in and of itself. Adds a certain dimension of respect already.

Then, we kept our arms raised for 6 minutes. And I didn't. I, at multiple times, lowered my arms.

That's a huge sign of trust.

That's a sign that I trust these people will accept me, and most importantly, that I will accept myself, even if I don't do this 'properly'. Additionally, it's the following through of the idea that I actually preach in class: listen to your body, listen to your body, listen to your body...

And I lowered my arms. And raised them. And lowered. And raised.

And by the end of those 16 minutes, I was glowing with pride. I felt like perhaps I had grown into the type of person I had wished to become, at least a little bit.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Next Post

On this site, will be about the incredible OPENING of Guilianna Torre and J.J. Buisucci's incredibly beautiful new space, "Upstairs at the Juicy Naam/ Neo Tao".

It was incredible opening, Naam yoga, meditation, raw fig tarts, venus juice, drumming, and my personal favorite, that funky board that you practice surfing on.

Yeah, today was a nice day. A yoga studio opened. Oh, and a house was purchased. I can't wait for some "office time" to write on Tuesday.

POWER VINYASA:

TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS at 6

Starting this Thursday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

yoga teachers

Here's how to embarrass yourself in front of a group of yoga teachers:

Ten minutes after I walk in the store, I am serving juice to a group of particularly healthy looking men and women ; )

"oh, where do you teach?" I ask.

"yoga shanti"

"oh, that's so cool. I've heard of there- ive been meaning to go- I moved out here to teach as well." I somewhat gracefully blurt out "How did you start teaching there?"

"well, I've been teachin over thirty years. Colleen here is the owner."

"wow." "Pleasure to meet you" I said. "I'm Mona. And what's your name?"

"I'm Rodney"

"Oh. Oh hi. I do know you"

"what do you teach?" asked Rodney.

"power vinyasa"

"and who have you studied with?"

"I trained at yoga to the people"

"that's the donation based studio right?"

I sense I'm about to get grilled. I don't know why I didn't say "I studied with Sam Chase at YttP" or "I also studied with Lilia Mead, Michael Hewett and Nichol Nichols at Go". But, you know, it is what it is. I don't have that much training or experience, and that's true, and all I want is more of both.  I smile.
"yeah. It was a very good training".
(which I believe is true- it's the abrubt ending I wasn't a fan of)

"I also went to NYU" I add, "and majored in existentialism. I fuse a lot f that into my yoga practice, it's very self-reflective".

"i recommend you study" says Rodney "Study for ten years"

"Yes," I say "gladly".

"Come to my class." says Rodney. "If you are dedicated, and you do your practice, all the time, that's all I care about"

"I would love to!" I yelp.

"I can't really afford hamptons priced yoga, though" I add, "could I work/study?"

"absolutely" says Colleen. "you should take Rodney's 4-week advance education series for teachers- it's only two and a half hours a week" 

"wonderful!" I say, "I'll be there at your next class."

Guiliana

Just bought the space above the sag harbor juicy Naam location. It's a yoga studio. He said I could teach there. Did I mention I love my organic juice/ raw food/ yoga people job?

Hamptons

It's far too much work to describe all that's happened in the Hamptons, so I'll summerize by adding that, in addition to trading yoga for Poi, I'll remember these moments from this letter I sent to my parents and brother:

Woohoo! It's office time! I'm on the train to NYC and it's my "office time"- so I can finally make calls! 

What's life in the Hamptons like? Well, I moved to the Hamptons to teach yoga, swim, surf and be with Lauren. When I arrived, I discovered I was living with a compassionate, perceptive, caring, intelligent and articulate lady named Caroline, and our friendship has been growing ever since!

Our house has a DOCK. I kid you not. We are situated on a private BAY, two minutes from the ocean. Our house is amazing. It has a backyard lit by a baseball field sized lamp, YOGA STUDIO, three boats (for which we need the paddles), a brick oven (which we need to figure out how to use), a fire pit and automatic woodcutter(!!!) and a tiki bar (which we need to clean out!). And of course we have the works, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and a damned large screen tv I try to tear Caroline away from.

Caroline has told me her parents are happy to have me stay in exchange for yoga and I shrugged my shoulders and said "ok- I'll teach everyone!"

We are also ten minutes away from Sag Main Beach with soft sand and Drum Circle Parties every Monday! At the last one, I played with Poi (flaming fire sticks!!) AND I turned to the girl who teaches Poi and said-

"Can I teach you yoga in exhange for fire spinning classes?"

And she screams "Yes!! I would love to!!" 

No joke. We got in touch- first class Friday?

Now, by this point in the story, you are probably wondering what I am
doing for work. Am I right?

So, I started work in Provisions on Monday at 8, and by Tuesday at 8:45 I wa fired. Amy explained to me "that I just wasn't cut out to work here" that "I just couldn't move fast enough" (I can move faster! I swear!) that "it took me half an hour to squeeze orange juice" (but I tried so hard!) and that "I had to trust her- I just wasn't the 'type' of person for the job".

I went outside and cried. Then I hung my head back so my neck could stretch, cried some more and took a few deep breaths.

I went back in to Provisions, came up to Amy and told her I understand and completely respect her decision. She ran around the counter to hug me;

"I felt so bad! I'm so sorry! I think you are a wonderful person I really do- it's just not the type of job for you"

"it's ok," I said. "will you compensate me for my training, though?"

"yes of course! Rich isn't in today, but in a few days, of course we will!"

"thanks", I said.

"Listen- do you want a job?" she asked.

"Yes." I replied.

"All right. Go right up the street to The Juicy Naam. It's a much smaller place- raw, organic food- you would love it. The owner's name is Juiliana. Go now"

"ok" I said, skeptical, "can I have your recommendation?"

"of course, honey".

"wonderful! Before I go, Im going to need to buy one of those spelt muffins. They look good"

"oh, no, just take it".

I cuddle my muffin back to the parking lot. A guy next to me is stretching. I forgot how we started talking, but we did.

"I'm on my way to teach a cardio class!" Tony says.

"Oh, at that gym around the corner?" I ask.

"yeah! I've only been teaching a few months- I used to get so nervous before classes, now not so much."

"do they teach yoga there?"

"yeah!"

"that's what I do- think they would hire me?"

"yeah- actually- see that black truck- that's the owner pulling in now. His name is Richard."

We both hoped he would park near us, but he drove away. I bid Tony goodbye as he walked to class, and continued to emmerse myself in my spelt muffin. It was a complicated piece of work, you have to eat the top first, then the middle-

"are you the yoga teacher wandering the parking lot looking for a job?" interrupts a voice.

I turn around to see Rich and his black truck. "yes. I'm Mona." I smile, shaking his hand (hoping I have no crumbs on my face)"

"ok. Listen, I got to run, go inside and fill out an application".

Allright. I go inside and meet staff, whose names I need again (Timothy and Angela?) but who are really sweet and I would love to work with.

I leave and walk up the street to the Juicy Naam.

Healing Juice and Food, Yoga and Meditation. Small place, beautiful- I could definetely understand Amy now. 

Juice at the Juicy Naam costs $10 a cup. A smoothie is $12. We squeeze our own Almond milk.

This is the sort of place studio OWNERS get juice. Seriously, this is hard core juice. 

I find out Juiliana isn't there, so I come back in the afternoon and wait some more. After cleaning my car, a procedure that cost only $40 dollars (phew!). I still need to change my oil. Anyway. 

Juiliana comes in and we chat. She says she's super busy so she'll call me when she gets a chance to breath. 

She called me today on the way to the station and I called her back in my "office time".

I start work Friday at 9 in the East Hampton location. Pay is $12 an hour.....and juice hmm ;)

....and meet some yoga people! Woohoo!.....

Yesterday, Caroline and I went for a run on the beach in search of her slippers and cell phone. We found both slippers- two out of three is pretty good. Luckily, she has a land line.

What did I do today? Bicycled!!

I know, borrowing someones bike is possibly The Most dangerous activity on every level BUT don't panic! I went on a very safe bike path by the ocean!!

Biking is possibly the most fun EVER. What is mankinds best invention? Bicycles or flaming sticks of fire? I cant tell.

Dad would say, books.

I love you!





 

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 19th

The first day of my weekly class starts May 19th. Bam.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Student

I have fourteen more hours of my formal undergraduate education, and I can barely do it. Apart from eating everything in sight, non-stop, and the slight-as-always panic such rapid ingestion always causes me, I feel isolated, and not present to my current experience.

Basically, I just really don't like being tied to a computer for projects. I want to be living/working in an interactive environment, not an isolated work-area.

Regardless, a strange thing happened to me this evening: I got so emotionally hungry. And I could tell the difference, it was profound. I just so badly wanted to be fed with interaction, comfort, closeness.

I think I've fallen into the trap I accuse so many of- placing the responsibility for all their close interaction on one route. There's nothing wrong with this inherently, it just negates the incredible richness of humanity around one. And the ability of the world to provide.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Summer

A very strange thing happens to me in warm weather, apart from an inability to sleep in late and sudden craving for mango and watermelon.

I suddenly became very aware of my own mortality.

This isn't morbid, it's not that I fear I will suddenly die. It's just that I am very aware of how strange, how magical and how mysterious it is to be a real living thing on this planet. I am more honored by the temporary and shocking physicality around me, I am more charmed by how I have grown.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not the last post

But just in case Jean reads this, I think I should sum up what my plans are post-graduation.

1. I am moving to the Hamptons. Yup, I just gave up my apartment May 1st. I'll be renting a room at this artist's house for 500/month in Hampton Bays, which is half an hour from Sag Harbor, which is where my friends are and where my new job (hopefully, finding out Friday) will be. So, potentially this could be really alienating, or liberating, either way, but it's certainly going to be an adventure and there is nothing better than an adventure. Hopefully, I'll pick up some yoga clients!! I'll be there through September (unless things go horribly wrong, in which case I'll be back in NYC), after that I may be moving to California to do marketing for the solar industry and teach yoga!

2. I'm teaching at Yoga Studio 6 in Long Island City starting in May on Fridays

3. I'm teaching at Total Being Fitness at Long Island on other days.

The best scenario would be to leave Provisions (the cafe job) on thursday afternoon, teach a class or two at TBF, go thursday late night to the city, spend Friday in New York, teach a 5:30 class at LIC, stay Friday night in the city (Maybe even catch Michael's Lam Rim course!) and take the train to TBF on Saturday, teach a class or two, then be back in the Hamptons Saturday night! And Sunday night is drum circles and loveliness. I'd pick one more day to go out to TBF, too.

Note: none of my employers have actually ok'd this plan.....yet?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Reminder

Dear Self,

Don't forget you're teaching Thursday and Sunday,

Love,
Me

Imperfect Almonds

I have a passion for imperfect almonds. Short, tear shaped almonds, ones with little nibs, tiny, wrinkled ones, and especially, the carved half-moon almonds.

Imperfections are more commonly found in organic varieties, which have a less "generic nutty" taste and a much more aromatic almond flavor that is highlighted in marzipan.

Half-moon almonds have a little indent, so that you can put rub them between your thumb and forefinger and create an overarching meaning for this simple exercise. I crave half-moon almonds, so much so that I will go through entire pounds of almonds just to find the relevant ones. When I see people eating almonds, I ask for the imperfect ones. I eat all the ones with flaw, first the half moons, then the small ones, then the really thin wrinkled ones, until only the perfect plump ones are left. Often I leave those. Not to save the best for last, but in an act of middle-school-dodgeball-team rejection.

Anyway.

I got a cold. Annoying, but expected. I've been annoyed with myself recently, trying to push my body to exercise more and consume less as I felt the opposite effects happening. And of course, I catch a cold. As I always do at such times.

Taking a break from yoga today...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sleepy

I took Carlos's class at 9:30 this morning. I like my yoga.

I was sweating gallons. I don't think I have been that physically exhausted in a class since...well, probably Carlo's last class. That's what I needed though. I did a bit of meditation in between classes, remembering my goal of meditating (without the use of yoga) at least five minutes each day. I need to go swimming too.

Lilia doesn't want me to sub for now, which is expected and only a little bit saddening. It frees up my May and opens up opportunity there, and I really am not certified or ready to teach the kind of Basics classes that Go offers.

The amazing thing is that she gave me a bunch of commentary that is giving me the confidence to change my technique while teaching. "And flow" for example, is not something I can teach anymore! I wish she gave me more specifics, such as my music being too loud (which I suspected), but she gave me permission- not quite the right word- to demonstrate poses. She wasn't annoyed on my specificity- apart from "and flow" "do your own thing", etc. That's comforting. But I'm going to be changing my class around considerably, because relying on the yttp model is not that helpful. I also want to start starting with a few minutes of sitting meditation.

Lauren is working on my website now. Awesomeness!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Total Being Fitness

So, I'll be teaching there. Yay!

John keeps calling me and offering me classes: I want to hug him every time he does this. Unfortunately, they coincide with my NYU classes, so I have to wait. For....how many more days is it? My last class is next Thursday, my colloquium on Wednesday, and my last papers due the 3rd, and the 5th. My.

Also: I took a hot yoga class in my audition on Sunday. Oh my god. How could I go a month without hot yoga? What was I thinking?

Food Yoga

This is a post about not yoga.

(eek)

I have a daily yoga practice. More often than not, I have an over-daily yoga practice, roughly one hour of yoga for every 18 hours of existence. Preferably two hours of yoga a day, or a yoga class and a brisk jog, or a dance class or a brisk swim. Something of the sorts.

And today, of all days, I have not done yoga yet. Normally, I might have cried- especially as icky as I was feeling today. I spent the whole morning consuming a bag of carrots, half a bag of roasted edamame, two oranges, an apple, a bit of seaweed and papaya salad. Mechanistically and nutritionally, not an abnormal quantity, but physical terms, a whole lot of food. I never stopped eating for a moment, never feeling satisfied, my mind stuck in panicked distraction as I completed some school work.

Worse, the day before that, I spent it all munching on food, and the day before as well. I miss a proper exploratory epicurean meal. I tried yesterday morning, but my breakfast felt mechanistic as well, the eggs a bit too mixed with a mismatch of vegetables, and two slices of toast, robotic. No flavor, taste, intention of experience. I was so annoyed with that. (PS: I must learn how to make tasty eggs or I will go nuts). I tried to remedy it again with ordering thai food and that worked, yet I ordered take-out, and the eating from takeout containers was unsatisfying.

So, today after class, I thought I would take a nap then head to Prana Power Yoga for the 7. Then, I realized it was Tuesday, and that I work at Go. I ran out, hoping to make Nicole's class, but I got into Brooklyn at 6:55, too late for Nicole's 6:30.

So I went for a bit of a walk, munched an apple, ok, fine, I went scourging for more food. Somewhere proper.

I came across a Greek restaurant called Santorini, charmed by a table right next to a flower pot and a street view. I saw they had "grilled vegetables" for 10$ which is pretty absurd, but the waitress then asked me "You can have a take-out menu if you don't feel comfortable?"

"Hmm, I was just trying to figure out if this place is too expensive for me".

"Take a take-out menu, you may be more comfortable than sitting down".

Comfortable? Oh, man.

That's like a dare: I had to sit down.

At first I just got a bowl of soup, but then it was so nice, just sitting there, listening to my breath, feeling absurdly comfortable, that I also ordered a mixed plate of appetizers. And she asked me if I would like some 'mountain herb' tea, which she charged me for, but was so wonderful that I didn't mind.

And there was something that happened, between being served grilled bread and olive oil and soup- like a little click. Let's make this a yoga. After really enjoying each spoon of soup, I was too satisfied for my dinner. How strange. I had to take it with me, for tomorrow.

I felt calm, present... and thin. Odd.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Apt

The following experience just happened to me:

I was babysitting Masami's daughter, Amy, today, and we went to Kate Goldwater's show. Afterwards, it was 6:43 PM, and we all went to catch the 7 PM class on St. Marks.

As I walked into Kathryn's class, I saw Greg walking up to the 4th floor. I asked him if he had a moment to chat, he said, well, only one minute. I said, ok, after class.

Kathryn's class was excellent. Afterwards, I tiptoed out of savasanah and went up to the 4th floor. Greg's class ended a few moments later. As he walked out the door, he saw me and said, "let's go across". "Hmm?" I asked. He signaled to walk downstairs, I followed.

"Shoes?" he asked, pointing at my bare feet.
"Eh," I shrugged. "They're downstairs," I added, after a pause.

"Meet me at my apartment," he said, "you know where it is, right?"

"Yes- no, where is it?"

"It's X St Marks," he said, "apt 3"

"Ok," I said, "I'll get my coat and meet you there".

He must walk very quickly to his apt. I got my bag and my shoes, and walked across the street and buzzed 3. Briefly considering the possibility there would be no answer, but pleasantly affirmed as I was let in.

I walked up the (incredibly nice) staircase into Greg's (truly absurdly luxurious) apartment. He was sitting on his (leather) couch (in front of his big screen tv, next to his private bar). Sit down, he gestures, "So what did you come to talk to me about?"

And the first thing on my mind was that I had a friend who really wanted to work at his studio, who has been work/studying there for an absurdly long time, with dedicated effort and more than enough talent and knowledge to teach. I mentioned that he should teach there.

"That's what you came here to talk about?" asked Greg, with an air I interpreted as complete dismissal.

"Yes" I said.

"If you wanted to say that, you could have sent me an e-mail. What are you in my apartment for?"

"I don't know if you read your e-mail".

"I do".

"Then there is another thing I wanted to say. Soon enough, you're gonna have a new group of teacher trainers. And they are all going to want to work for you. I think it would be important to reply to them. It would be better to tell them no than to ignore them. I think it is important to do that."

"That's what you came here to say?" he says.

"Yes."

"That's all?"

"Yes"

And I got up an left. It felt like the thing to do. I'm not sure if I said bye or not. I felt dismissed, but also calm. I had said what I had intended to, and that's my goal with interactions anyway. -just kidding- There's also the listening part- but I hadn't gotten any material for that, unfortunately.

That did bother me, as I left, I sent another e-mail.

"Why would you consider those two topics as unworthy of discussion?"

-Mona

You can't force someone to explain themselves.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pressure

SO, two really intense experiences in the past 38 hours:

1. Audition (oh man) at Go.

Wow, I could go on for years about this. SO MUCH. I'll post what I sent Lilia, which is .014% of the comments I had for that class. I felt so....incomplete in it. That break, that usually happens during pidgeon. I didn't get it!

2. But before, I do, it is worth noting that last night, I was more scared than I have been in the past 11 months.

11 months. That is a really long time. And I was really, really scared yesterday. More scared, actually, then when that drunk kid showed up at my apt this winter. (link to post here).

I was on my way to an interview in Oceanside, NY. It's an hour and fifteen minutes to get there (sad) but it's an awesome place (happy) and it pays well (happy) but it costs money to get there (sad). Anyway, I got to the train at Atlantic Ave at 6:42.

The train didn't come till 7:59.

By this time, I was sobbing hysterically and trying to hitchhike.

I don't like saying I will be somewhere and then being/having a train wreck.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Verbal Self-Defense

I would like to teach workshops on verbal self-defense at yoga studios.

I could lecture on this with complete and total confidence. It's a subject that's around, it's not that no one has ever taught the matter, but I have never seen such a thing in New York City. And New Yorkers need it. Everyone needs it!

Faire

I always try to make to do lists more appealing by titling them "Today's Events", "Song List" or "Faire", etc. (Headline news is appealing, music is appealing and french is appealing).

1. Write bio.
2. Take pictures.
3. Put pictures up on website
4. Put up website
5. Put up a section for my major on my website.
6. Write an essay
7. Read about Kyrgystan.

woah. makes everything else seem awfully silly, doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Distinction

I've noticed there is a fine line between assertive and aggressive, and that I can tell the difference.

A fine line is an unfair characterization- a line sounds dogmatic, as if there was a rule you could follow or a definition. I'm not referring to that, I'm talking about a little twinge somewhere in your chest cavity that bings something and you try to figure out what. There is a heartbeat between humor and self-deprecation, argument and attack, relaxation and procrastination, all sorts of such things. Without dogma, you can't run on automatic. If you get rid of dogma, you have to stay tuned at all times, to notice the exact twinge where the distinction is made.

Express Subbing at Go

The night before, I had just finished writing an e-mail to Jenn about subbing work/study shifts at Go, when I get an e-mail from Angelica asking for an emergency sub 2-3:05 tomorrow.

Sure, I say.

She sends Ralph and Lilia an e-mail that says "Marie will be subbing at 2 tomorrow!". I send her back an e-mail that says "By the way, I go by Mona, no worries :)"

The next day, I wake up energetic and take Jessie's 12 o'clock class at Yoga Vida.
Once I get out, I walk over to Go, lazily, pausing to eat some chocolate on a bench and enjoy the sunshine.

At 1:57, I walk into Go, and see Lilia, the owner of Go Yoga.

"Hey Mona," she says.

"Hey Lilia"

"Are you here for class?"

"No, I'm subbing!"

"You're teaching?" she asks. (Lilia has always been very kind and supportive of my teaching- she knows I'm a new teacher, but I have never talked to her about teaching at Go.)

"Oh, come on Lilia," I say, comically, "I wouldn't just walk in here and teach classes at your studio!" (subtext: I'm not *that* obnoxious)

"Oh" she says, frowning. "Then who's teaching?"

"What?" I say.

"Jessie isn't here yet, and I think there is supposed to be a sub named Marie but she's not here yet".

"Oh" I pause. "OH. Actually..... I am teaching"

"What?"

"Angelica e-mailed me last night, I figured it was for work/study. But she e-mailed me for teaching. I'm Marie- Mona- same person-"

"Wait, what?"

"So, I am teaching. I mean, that's great- that's what I do, I teach one hour power vinyasa classes".

"Let me talk to Ralph for a moment".

I hear her on the phone "So I'm just gonna have Mona teach..."

I get in the classroom, start playing my music and ponder my good fortune. I'm a little bit nervous, but full of Jessie-like energy from class and I get into a good groove right away.

The only time I get SUPER nervous is when Lilia comes in and sits down for a few minutes. I almost choke. I mean, impromptu teaching, awesome. Impromptu audition...really?? Haha, but she left right after a moment and annoyingly (or, alternatively, luckily) my throat unclenched. Class was AWESOME.

You know the best part? Lilia asked to sit in on my next class so that I could officially sub at Go! WOOT.

Only problem...I'm not teaching class till May. But I'll teach before then, sure thing! Maybe Laria would let me teach just one class at Yoga Vida for this purpose. Maybe?

On a parting note, let me recall "Oh, come on Lilia, I wouldn't just walk in here and teach..."

Most. inappropriate. joke. EVER.

Awkward Sub Experience

Last night, I got an e-mail from Golden Bridge Yoga, asking for a sub for tomorrow morning. I quickly replied back, and called, and then proceeded to check my phone every single minute for an hour.

I kid you not.

Enthusiasm.

Anyway, so no one got back to me. So I wake up nice and early and call the study, and lo and behold, I am teaching. So I get psyched and ready, arrive nice and early so I can stretch out. The classroom I am supposed to be teaching at wasn't empty, yet there was no one waiting for class in the lobby. I was confused by this as it slowly dawned on me that no one was going to come. This is really surprising- such a proud studio in the prime of soho- empty. It was a community class- $12- (extraordinarily high for a community class), but at lunch hour there should be plenty of stressed soho-ers.

I asked the two administrators people-in-charge if I could play my music, they said sure. They said I could go up to the third floor once the prenatal group got out, about 12:09, 10, something.

Sitting there, I noticed this beautiful velvet trimmed painting on the left wall and proceeded to rotate my 'teaching space' so students could use it for a concentration point. But there where no students.

So, eventually, I just decided to practice teaching, sequencing, and proceeded to do yoga for a while. I felt like it would be somehow unprofessional to just leave. I listened to the kundulini class happening below.

I thought about pretending there were students, and that they were all embodied through me, alive in my own actions. I got into quite a zone and played with sequencing ;)

When I got out, it occurred to me that I'm probably supposed to ask for compensation, but I also felt silly doing so. Maybe I thought someone would come up to me and acknowledge the situation saying "Oh, I'm so sorry! That happens sometimes, thank you so much for taking the time to come down. I hope you understand, we pay teachers on a per-head basis...."

But no one said anything of the sort so I thought I would be creative, and say "Oh, does this sort of thing happen often?" And they said yes, and I sent out my empathy to the teacher whose class it regularly is. Then I asked if, as an exchange, it might be possible for me to attend a workshop I saw posted. (It was about the power of words, and one day I would like to teach workshops on verbal self-defense at yoga studios!) They said no, so I said, ok, thanks, well, I can sub for you anytime, et cetera. And I left, feeling a bit awkward. But also, high from my excellent yoga session with my self.

Later, it occurred to me that I didn't really like the way I was treated, and I probably should have at least made it a point to say "Oh, I understand if you can't compensate me..." just to acknowledge that I was there to sub.

After the yoga high wore off, the story started annoying me. As I got dinner, I sort of wished I was in yoga class (ironically, the class I usually go to at 6:30 Tuesdays was canceled!), my mind was a bit off-kilter. I put it off as being really tired, because there was no logical reason I should be upset over an empty class. It's not even my class! There's nothing to take personally! And I'm not suggesting that an empty class is something to take personally- I go back and forth on that- it is certainly a sign something isn't working, it could be price, location, weather, or an element of your teaching- anyway- it's not even my class!

Looking back over this post, I realized that this is the sort of story, that although I try to shrug off, would disturb me if it happened to a friend of mine. (This is a good way to stick up for yourself in general). Hmmm. I'm done with this rant. On to a much more amusing post about Go and Lilia.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Find Your Calling

I went to the second part of Lama Kimberley Theresa's workshop at the Yoga Shala. I had never been to the Shala before, nor ever met Kimberley, but both were very lovely.

Kimberley takes Eastern philosophy within a Western framework, making it easy to relate to for the busy city body.

But really, having a projector and asking people to take notes makes for a shift in the atmosphere to more academic, and serious. Particularly for those from four-year college, or more. For more reminiscence of college life in the city, she asks us all to do more lines, no pun intended.

For example, when discussing the various forms of spirituality, she draws three lines on the paper.

One for "I" spirituality- finding the light within. Meditation, contemplative prayer, yoga, 'focused exertion' I blurted out,

Then there was "You"- God, love, finding the light in others.

Lastly, there was the "We, It" spirituality- finding the light in nature, finding spirit in everything, from shamanism to environmentalism.

A complete spiritual practice, she says, incorporates all three of these elements.

After her class, I have resolved to meditate (out-of-yogic-context) for five minutes each day, go swimming, and SHADOW WORK SHADOW WORK SHADOW WORK.

I'll write a post on Shadow Work in a bit

Did you know?

You can actually bond with other people over your crush on a yoga teacher? Really.

5:30 Fridays

At Yoga Studio 6 LIC!

I can't wait! We are going to start in May, and Alicia may have LIVE music at my class, with chanting and singing. That would be amazing.

Ah, impatience. My old friend.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Employment, and LA

not related.

So. My audition with Yoga Studio 6 LIC was on Thursday and it went wonderfully. As in, we're going to talk about a permanent slot. Maybe Fridays at 5:30. Maybe Mondays at 8:15. I should know this week.

PARTY.

anyway.

So, also Annie came by and will be writing an article for Yoga Vida. It will be up Tuesday. Annie is incredible. Downright amazing. (And she had awesome dress sense. What else can you ask for?).

Other things of relevance that have been taking up my mind.

I have a friend, Paul, STOTT certified pilates instructor (woot!) visiting from LA. Stress as I'm attracted to him: my mind on overdrive as I strive to override the need to be vain, to impress and entertain.

[That was more rhymes that I've used in a sentence in a while. Yeah, slam poetry at the nuyorican subtly influencing my mind.]

But it's so weird. Clearly, this is a new phase in my personal growth (yay?)- learning to deal with this situation.

Loyalty

Angela, owner of Mala, and Tamara emphasized that Mala is looking for loyalty in its teacher.

Here's my thing with loyalty:

1. I am absurdly loyal: in the long run. I will always support a person, or group of people, once I start to do so, in any way that I can. I promote, I help out, I stick by, no matter what.

2. ....in the long run. That means, although you can count on my support over a course of years, I am seriously considering going to the Hamptons for a month or two this summer. I will also be in Italy for two weeks this summer. Is that ok?

3. I am not exclusive. So, that means, I'll be seeing other yoga studios. And with continuing loyalties to Yoga Vida*, Yoga Studio 6 LIC, Yoga to the People (I haven't been there all WEEK. I am going tomorrow at noon) and not to mention I hope Shannon pulls something together for Fierce Club. Before I graduate, certainly, am I going to have time to go to Mala Yoga? (Or any other studio, for that matter?).


*by the way, I asked Yoga Vida if work/studying led to any increase in chances to teach, the answer was "no promises". I did think it was important to let people know that although YES, I want to help no matter what, and although I am quite broke, it's not discounted $5 yoga that's turning me on here. I do hope to take a greater role in the studio, hopefully teaching. And it is important to make those intentions known, so I never regret that.

Pineapple (Mala)

I saw Tamara again today, at Mala Yoga. It was my first time in the space, which I thought was wonderful, and certainly had a sincerity to it which I appreciated. It's tiny, yet developed, each inch cared for and catered to. I came to a community class, and everyone seemed an amiable lot. Taking Tamara's class was awesome- she's Baptiste-style and there is something about that specific type of practice that gets me. Also, Tamara sends you through an intense flow while always emphasizing a 'eh, whatever' that is just such a fun contrast. More importantly, I just get such a sense of authenticity from her. A rawness that's instant attraction. I tease that she's a lucky charm, given the lucky day I had after I met her.

I was a bit nervous because I had sent an e-mail to Mala, sensing an amiable vibe from them, and received a reply "come to class and see the studio". Reasonable. Well, after that I learned from Tamara that she was just starting to teach for Mala. So, I felt a bit like I was intruding on the territory of a new friend, but she just said, "Not at all, I love to share" (or something along those lines).

Wow.

Talk about yogis. Speechless.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Prime

Happy Birthday to me! I'm teaching class tonight at The Fierce Club at 7:45-8:45. First time students, only $10, so come by!

I am also teaching at Yoga Studio 6 LIC on Thursday at 7!

Also, Lauren got me a website for my birthday. It's in beta, but it will be up soon!! Lauren is the most amazing human/ best wife ever.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Malin Landaeus

Owns a hand-selected vintage store on North 6th, and she has a warehouse on 6th and Driggs full of beautiful, amazing authentic period items from the past century. Designers and art directors find these pieces, and use them in movie sets or as inspiration for new lines.

Except, a few days ago, the entire warehouse caught on fire. And I mean, really, caught on fire. All of her wares are now burned, scorched and/or soaked in fire extinguishing fluid.

They are trying to salvage what they can, so if you live in Brooklyn, and read this blog, first off, you are amazing. Second, if you and a friend wanted to head down there, and help out, she'll be out there for a few days....

My principles are the purest of absurdity

Jazz is a synonym of absurdity. As is jive.

(as is the entirety of my existence. anyway)

So, it's turned out to be quite a ludicrous (and wonderful) week. The raindrop's tension broke on Tuesday, and from Wednesday I've been taking mental notes.

Wednesday.

10:00 Rocked my interview. Actually, Alicia rocked my interview. I remained in awe. Alicia seems to embody all the philosophy I strive towards. I feel like I'm learning from her, and I also feel like she's taking care of me, a bit. It's interesting, and I like it a lot.
The G train didn't stall, so I didn't blow my morning interview. This, along with a phobia of having to pee during class, is one of my greatest fear with my new profession. Showing up ten minutes late to your yoga class is not the sort of thing you can shrug off, at least not in this city.

I leave early enough to catch Shannon's 12:30. Shannon's yoga studio is called The Fierce Club, the name speaks for itself, but much more so for Shannon's personality. If you are backpacking across Europe, Shannon is who you want with you.

And then she says, "Hey, I know you're a teacher, so would you like to tandem teach with me? I'll teach a vinyasa and you'll teach a vinyasa..."

"Sure", I say.

(Fuck, I think).

"Augh," she says, checking her mail, "My sub for the 6:30 class just canceled on me. My regular teacher can't come, and now my sub can't come, and it's like "Come on, guys, I have plans tonight!"

"....I can take that class off your hands", I say.

"Would you?" she says, "You're such a sweetheart".

YES. YES I CAN. noooo problem. Woah.



PS: It was the best class I have ever taught. It was incredible.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Comfort Words

I walk into Shannon's studio, after having e-mailed her and checked her schedule, "Hey, you're Shannon, right? I'm Mona- I sent you an e-mail, but I though I would come by.."

And the corners of her mouth pull down as she grieves, "We're closing!".

"I'm so sorry," I say. We talk about it for a little bit, brainstorm ideas for a dance space/studio she could rent. Then she says, I'm exhausted. I've been teaching since 7 AM- can I comp you a class for tomorrow?
Sure, I say.

I head over to the 9 PM and catch Tamara's Baptiste-style hot vinyasa at 38th st. Afterwards, we chat, and she asks me some question to which I might have given a slightly snippy answers- snippy, not snappy, so not mean, just brief. Intuitively, "I don't want to talk about how things are because I am unemployed and I feel desperate and rejected and I think that's negative/ a complaint, I wouldn't want to meet you that way". So I snip.

Tamara must be awful clever because she picks up on, and so we talk about finding yoga work in the city.

And it's hard, she says. It's really, really hard, and it takes a long time, but it will happen. She went through me step by step her own experience and I couldn't be more grateful. It is so nice to actually hear the nitty gritty reality of fuck, having to look for work in the city. In the midst of a recession like this one, it's amazing how much 'looking for work' is a topic that people rarely talk about. How amazing is that?

School

My mom has decided that when she retires, she's going back to school. I am so proud of her I can barely speak.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breathe Me

It's incredible to watch someone's teaching practice evolve. It's a feeling I caught glimpses of during my training, but to know someone's teaching practice over that exact duration of time in which someone becomes is impressive.

Jeremy Green graduated one YTTP teacher training before me, and he has gotten ridiculously good.

I took his class on Friday, remember, the day I embodied rugged individualism by eating all of Jeremy and Emily's food, stealing their clothes, reading their books, using their computers, and getting a free yoga class in the deal. Not too shabby for an amateur.

Jeremy just got hired by a yoga studio that was interested in developing a hot yoga fusion, a mix of poses one might catch in both bikram and vinyasa. He designed the sequence, along with studio-manager-guy (I think) and I got to be its very first test subject.

Jeremy's teaching has changed profoundly, I wonder about the accuracy with which I pick this up. It could be, of course, that the way I was reacting to his classes and the expectations I've placed on myself have lessened. But for the sake of this exploration, let's isolate Jeremy's growth and reduce all other variables to nill. This is an exceptional assumption, not one to be made in other situation, and certainly not one to be gloated over ; )

Previously I've either been concerned or projecting that he was leaning too far towards self-monitoring and commentary, or too close to intense scrutiny- both of these habits now seem gone. Instead, his voice offers a gentle challenge offered while reserving no judgment (only humor) for what I could or couldn't do. Self-consciousness evaporated and ease incorporated.

The sequence started out with the best of bikram, the standing pranayama breathing, spine stretching, and one round of the majority of the standing sequence. The one round encouraged me to work infinitely harder in each pose, though at first I had a difficult time remembering that there wouldn't be another chance to follow. I think Jeremy has perfected a sense of perfect trust while teaching. Trust, elusive and intangible as it is, may be the most important thing a teacher can develop, whether you are guiding students into turtle or tree pose. I lost my temper a bit in a sequence of toe stand, as toe stand is apt to do and this is arguably a good thing. As a fellow teacher myself, I should do well to remember that the ability to balance two inches off one heel is by all accounts an absurd proposal.

I also got into full camel (which I have never done before) and royal pigeon (which I have never done without danger of knocking over innocent bystanders). Jeremy was much more pleased with these developments than I was, and, additionally, displeased that I did not share the pleasure. But I am very happy about it! My spine has never bent quite that much before, and that is certainly a result of either the sequence itself, or the focus I've been placing on squeezing my shoulder blades together and opening up my upper back.

At the end of it, I was completely and totally relaxed. This is pretty shocking, remember that I have actually spend the entire day indoors, and apart from these 90 minutes, I haven't moved. This is also strange because I don't like Bikram (it makes me lonely! and I don't know why!). But, no, I was all set. There was actually a bit of flow in the sequence, too. And a gloriously elongated floor series, and hip openers, and actually, almost anything I could think of was covered. Oh, except a neck stretch. Should totally add in a neck stretch.

Apparently, that whole sequence is being changed around anyway before next week (so it goes), but, hey, I'd like the honor of being the first to try out that one, too.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Child's Pose Visual

It's been a long-term romanticism of mine to be able to convey an experience to someone. This is arguably what the arts are all about, and from there I could proceed with a digression of whether that is a visual, emotional or intellectual experience. (Arguably, classicism, romanticism and conceptualism for visual art, I haven't a clue of patterns in music, movement or film).

This comes up a lot in teaching yoga, after all- you have only the slightest clue of what your students are experiencing. I've seen many teachers assume that what they feel in a particular pose is universal, and although empathy is great, the inaccuracy of that assumption is pretty profound. That's not to say that there are no similarities in our experiences, or that teachers can't highlight those (how boring that would be!). In fact, everything set aside, the transitive experience of yoga is one of the lovely things about it.

I think about this a lot when I'm in child's pose, when if someone snapped a photo of my view (note to self: do this), then they would catch a triangular curtain of black cotton thigh framing a slice of mat and then the rest of the room in all of its various activity. It's sort of fun to watch people in funny poses between your thighs. Just saying.

Mini-existential crisis (II)

Lately, in savasana, I've been having these flashbacks to acting classes I took in 5th grade, martial arts I practiced in high school. Hip openers?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hiding in my friend's apartment.

I forgot to mention that the entirety of Friday took place in the rain.

There is nothing minor about this detail. It is no short secret of human existence that our moods and moves are based almost entirely off the weather. Just thinking about this makes me walk over to my vitamins and swallow Vitamin D.

Friday would have been the most absurdly fun day ever. I mean, come on, going to three classes a day, exploring new studios and an mind-blowing slam poetry session with Potus.

Brilliant. Minus the downpour.

Now, I love rain. I love drizzle, and hazy streets and that feeling of total calm and clean air.

Downpour is significantly less appealing. The only proper way to appreciate a downpour is to abandon time, space and productivity and cuddle on a couch, bed or other soft surface and give homage to the hard work of thousands of actors, producers, writers, art directors and other creative folk that make stuff for people to appreciate on such occasions.

And so I did. Hide, in my friend's apartment, the entirety of Saturday. All of it. I woke up at about twelve, and made banana-pecan pancakes, watched an episode of Boston Legal and then looked up yoga studios and made myself a schedule for the rest of the week. Jeremy left. Jeremy went to the gym, Jeremy went to a hockey party. And I hid in his apartment. I left once, to buy gum. I owe them groceries.

On a productive note, however, as I was huddling around Jeremy and Emily's kitchen table, I sent off e-mails to all the studios which I cannot afford to take classes at to find out if they were looking for new teachers. This is very effective, actually, and a good idea. I'm doing more of that now.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Condensed Yoga

So, yesterday was interesting. I started off with Michael Hewett's 10 AM packed class, which was great as always. Then, walked over to Abhyasa Yoga Center and took J. Brown's class. I read some of his articles online before I went, and I liked his ideas. The breathing-over-asana, practicing the mindset you want to create, non-guru based teachings. I liked it a lot.

I took his class, and he asks me "Do you teach a specific style of yoga?". "Power vinyasa", I said. "This is going to be a lot different than a power vinyasa".

It was. Angela would find it really interesting, it was, in J. Brown's words, "much more like yoga therapy, except that you don't have to be sick, it's for everyone". It was incredibly soothing, and oriented me in the present moment, enjoyable. The only trick with classes like that is that you don't get the little yoga high which is so uplifting, so after class I felt calm, but not ecstatic.

We had a lovely chat about existentialism after class. I got added to the sub list, so, yeah, fun stuff all around.

Then, I went off to Hosh to take a class there, in greenpoint. Hosh (XOS) is a new donation-based yoga in Greenpoint, NYC. I just found out it exists. That's pretty freaking cool. Kyle, a girl with whom I had talked about creating a donation-based space with, has been involved with it since February, which is amazing.

I need lists of creative, positive adjectives. My first yoga class, I couldn't stop using the word "wonderful". Take a half-life- wonderful!, and release. Come up to standing with your arms raised, wonderful!- shoulders down- wonderful!

It may have been a bit too wonderful.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Heart Space & Collarbones

Right after Lindsay's class last night at YTTP, I went straight to Go Yoga to catch Michael Hewett's class. I would like to apprentice under him, and though I'm not sure what that means since I can't adjust his classes or anything like that without a formal teacher training, I really want to learn from him and get some advice on how to be.

Even though it's something I have to figure out on my own. I know. You probably do, too. I know. It can be fun sometimes.

Michael kept getting me to squeeze my shoulder blades together down my back, and open up the area right around my collarbones.

That's your area of self-expression. It's the space you close up when you get hurt.

And, all of a sudden....I felt so abandoned. So incredibly abandoned. I suddenly remembered it being 2 AM in the morning the night before a final paper was due, and this kid- a friend of my roommate's... they were all going out, a whole group of her friends, but they met at her apartment first.

But this kid- I can't even remember his name- asked if he could linger on in the apartment. My first response was "Not tonight, I have to go to sleep and write an essay". But then two minutes later, he asked again, he asked if he could take a nap, just for twenty minutes, because he was so tired.

And I've been exhausted and relatively homeless in the city. Of course I said yes.

He lied down on the couch and then asked me if I had a plastic bag. And in a second I understood that he was not just tired, he was drunk- and dangerously so. He threw up, three times, mostly in bags with shocking accuracy, a bit on the couch and a roommate's boot. I cleaned the boot. I got him some water, and he was pale, and dizzy and either really cold or really warm (I can't remember).

I felt scared. Not scared, as in, someone will be angry, not scared as in, someone doesn't like me, not scared that I can't do it or I'm going to die (You know, my favorite fears). Scared as in, someone is hurt. Really scared.

And I didn't know what to do. Look up alcohol poisoning on my Iphone. Call someone.

"You're going to be ok" I tell him, "Have some water".

"Please don't call anyone" he says.

"I'm scared," I tell him (soothing voice). "I don't know how much you had to drink, and I don't know what to do".

"A lot. Please don't call anyone. Please. I got to go to work tomorrow morning".

"I understand and respect that, but I'm not sure. I'm not sure if I could deal with myself if I didn't" I told him.

"Don't call anyone. Please. Just be with me." (We do drama on the Mott St. Network, kids).

"I'm going to call 311" I told him "Not 911. I just want some advice".

I call 311. They tell me that I should call 911 if it's an emergency. Huh.

I want to call someone else, but I don't know who to call. It hits me: there is no one that I really trust. Any person who answers the phone is going to tell me to call 911, maybe even I would (would I? wouldn't I? would I? ....after a few moments in this hypothetical, I let it go).

You seek the advice of people who generally tell you what you want to hear. I told De La Vega that Sartre said that (he did), that's why I was asking advice at the "Become Your Dream" station.

I thought of calling Rich. He didn't pick up.

And I feel so abandoned. There is no one I can ask to tell me what I need to hear, what I know I need to hear: to trust my judgement and respect this drunk kid's wishes as long as he's coherent enough to make them. In a moment of real crisis, and real panic, I don't know who to call.

Who would I become if I just didn't want to deal with this mess, if I freaked out under pressure, got him taken away? After he said no. I don't do stuff after a person says no. Maybe life/death. I doubt this kid is on death's door.

He's thrown up three times, he's probably fine now, he's not passing out. I put him on his side, on my bed, on the covers. Held his hand. I intended to stay up the whole night, but I was feeling dead exhausted by now, finals week, and I wanted to lie down, too.

I positioned myself right next to him so I could tell if he was breathing, intending to rest my body but not my mind. After a long time of this, him breathing smooth, feeling better, I began to drift in and out of consciousness. I kept poking him to make sure he was ok. (I don't think he liked this).

He smelled like beer and liquor and started to nudge himself closer to me. I pushed away. I simultaneously took this as a sign that he was feeling better, but at the same time decided not to ascribe motives. After all, trying to cuddle next to someone when you feel miserably sick could be instinctual. I have no clue. I don't care. I maintained distance, but kept holding his hand. Drifted in and out of sleep.

In the morning he woke up, 8:40 AM, no joke, and went to work. I asked him if he would come back and help clean the couch later (very jesus-like), he said yes, I have no clue if he did or didn't, I just fell asleep. Roommates came home two hours later, loudly, I'm so beyond caring about anything- how could I explain what just happened and what would be the point? I just want it to be quiet.

- Now, that whole story didn't blow through my mind in my up-dog last night. In fact, I totally forgot about it until I was trying to blog it just now. But the feeling of abandonment did. Mixed with forty different kinds of wishing I could rely on someone. Knowing it's for the best that I can't. Crying through class : )

Michael at one point said things along the lines of "what would it feel like to actually become the thing you want to be? What would it feel like to envision a positive future? If you can't, notice that, what makes it hard. Tired of being in limbo". So much gratitude for those words. I felt like they were directed right at me, and if they weren't, that makes it all the more impressive. Ironically, he said that at the exact moment I was experiencing another kind of abandonment. For one moment of that day. But if you want an accurate description for how I feel when I'm not on top of the world right now- that's it. Dead on.

He also talked about thinking of class as pharmacology.

After class, I asked him "What pill was that?"

"The green one", he smiles.

De la vega

Has a new phone number, lost Greg's, and is generally a neat guy. I need to stop by more often.

Meeting in the park

I met with Megan Mook today. Yes, I got her name right, and she was wonderful. Interestingly enough, talking with her rooted me right in the present moment. She gave me a lot of good advice, a few teachers I need to hit up, and the book "How Yoga Works". She really reminds me of the kind of teacher that I want to be and is both so respectful and respectable. All smiles.

Holly

Holly has successfully bottled joy. That was freaking awesome, and incredibly inspiring.

Also, I ran into Laria on the street today! Guess who's going to Yoga Vida tomorrow?

Even my blog needs a mission statement

I'll look back at these moment and smile thinking 'ah, that was a journey'. I don't expect anyone else to really read this, cept amazin existentialist and body/soul united Jean Graybeal, but maybe one day.... One beautiful indeterminate day in the future, someone might as me "so, how do you teach yoga (read: find a job)?". And I'll be able to say something like "It was absurd. It was exhilarating and depressing, enlightening and anxiety-ridden, magical and challenging. And it was scary, and it took a long time. I took notes."

Monday, March 8, 2010

Patience is like Courage

It's tough for me to see people in my teacher training teaching class when I'm not.

I want to be happy for them. Part of me is. Part of me... not quite jealous, I know everyone's journey is different... part of me just feels left out.

So I came to Lindsay's class and saw Holly teaching, and Holly was so vibrant and positive and so clearly held the space- Why can't I do that, I think...

So I take a break and breathe a bit in child's pose, massage my neck and remind myself of stuff. Such as, Holly is incredible. And she's Holly. And you're you. And you'll get there. And if you allow envy to take over your practice, that's an active choice that's harmful for everyone. Don't do it.

If I truly believed I was on my way to teaching, then I would have only joy.

I grabbed a permanent marker and wrote "Patience is like courage, it just takes longer". A favorite quote that Liz, another YttP wonderful teacher, taught me. I wrote it right on my left hand so that I would see it as I practiced. It worked.

Weekend.

It was a tough weekend. Many of the things and people I love
were attacked by other people I love, which is my least favorite situation. Words are much better than weapons, so theres a lot of gratitude there. But still. Also, my actions and motivations came into questions. Actions that were true, I acknowledged. Actions that were false, I denied. Intentions I didn't hold I made clear of this. Intentions I did hold I maintained.

But that's not happening anymore, as Laria would say. I'm home in Brooklyn surrounded by the lingering presence of the love I've cultivated. I didn't lose my integrity. I didn't yell. I didn't lose my temper. I found things to love, and tried to balance the best I could. Sunday afternoon I ran the Brooklyn bridge, got some frozen yogurt, took Lilia's class, came home, cooked, did homework, had a friend come over and couch surf, went to class and continued.

Seamless. Grateful.

Elation

Out of order, but I think I should dedicate some time to describing the joy that flowed through my Thursday.

The positive deserves mention. Especially because that positive involves giving credit to an incredible array of people and events that deserve, deserve, deserve more love and gratitude than I can ever imagine.

Lindsay for getting me a class (I assume she did), showing me the ropes, the amazing class she taught right before, Natti being INSANELY supportive (Insanely, insanely, double-yoga and almost embarrassingly vocally supportive)- and as always, so much fun-, Jill for exchanging pants, My fantastic world dance teacher Kathryn Posin for giving me an extension, the really cool belly dancing class I taught with five minutes of prep and research, everyone in my dance class for being kick-ass, Roberto and Tyler for helping me clean up, David for getting me set up, Everyone in my class for being magical, Of Montreal for Oslo in the Summertime, the singing bowl, the vegan picante Natti and I got for love.

Patience

I taught class last Thursday. It was incredible, it deserves its own post and many more, actually.

Thursday was arguably the most elated day of my existence, I just woke up that way. And as your mood makes the weather, I found out on Friday that I am a nasty, impatient perfectionist (I will one day be perfectly rid of these qualities, of course). Friday wasn't as kind, but very arguably I didn't give it a chance. I woke up thinking, "Oh, today cannot possibly be as good as yesterday..."

That's not a path to success by any means.


Anyway, it took three hours of yoga to realize this, because I was busy ignoring the less satisfying (satisfiable) aspects of my being in favor of denial.

My first class was with Giada, a basic beginners. It was a slow class, I thought at first, but that's all right because I'll take another later on. Maybe I'll go running. I would really like to go swimming.

Despite the agitation, I should really consider this practice as a learning experience. Giada knows so much, and she's so calm. Learn from her. Learn from her, that's what you should do. Just breathe. It's not that hard, don't think when class will be over. Don't hate cobra. I hate cobra. Don't hate cobra.

And about halfway through it way pretty obvious that it was moving way too slowly.

Just like everything else.

Just like teaching, just like it being fucking March and I feel no where. And yesterdays class was NOT good enough.

David asked me to put on a playlist and I spent 20 minutes picking out songs, who was I kidding.
I didn't even clean up downward facing dog.
I rushed through every pose up till pidgeon, 'cept chair pose.
And maybe Greg had David listen at the door, or had someone in class. But no, of course he wouldn't, that would be an impressive and quite honestly, shocking, show of affection.

And I want to fucking teach, and I want to fucking teach at YTTP because that place fucking matters to me. And I have no way of getting Greg's attention and I want to fucking rip things to shreds.

Namaste.

Crush

I've got crush on a few teachers. And crush, not as in, I secretly dream about banging them (for the most part), nor do I keep my fingers crossed every day that they will invite me to the prom. It's more of an exaggerated belief that we have some magical connection between us, one that is communicated in small gestures, signs and symbols. And maybe, one day, an eternal union of our souls in nirvana. For my own health, I hope I'm joking.

Crush in the sense that someone has an incredible amount of significance and impact, unknowingly, for the most part.

I also justify this by saying that I feel that some teachers are in my karass*, that is, the group of people who lead me to my life's meaning.

Kurt Vonnegut is love, by the way.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Crunch

Woohoo! I free one-week pass to Crunch gym!

Shockingly, I've gone once. Tuesday.

Crunch scares me. Pure sort of scares me, too, but it's so pretty that I let it go. Crunch really confuses me, though. I took a pilates class that made me self-conscious* EDIT: I am self-conscious, the class had nothing to do with it*, and then a pretty cool yoga-with-weights class.

"Buff yoga". It was awesome because I could, as the teacher said, "feel myself getting stronger". It's an interesting concept. I think it's neat, really.

But something about Crunch-as-concept gave me such a bad headache, I haven't even gone back. I don't like places with recruiters, generally.

This is why Sam said go to studios and gyms before you apply....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mini-existential crisis

Thoughts in savasana.

"I wonder what it's like to become part of everything. It seems nice in theory but once I do it I won't even be able to reflect on what it's like to become part of everything! Oh no! Maybe I'll become a new and confused thing- but I won't even realize it! That's not fair! Maybe I've always been new and confused things? That's sort of comforting, maybe? What's that humming in the background? It's so soothing. Is this what it's like to experience pure vibration? But of course not because my experience of vibration has to do with the nerves and things that react to the experience of my body-being being vibrated. Oh my god that is so scary, no relax, breathe. It's fine, remember that everyone is going through this, and they are all fine, or are they?"

At this point, Joy (teacher at Prana) walks over to me and smoothes down my forehead. Was I frowning? Did it show?

Friday, February 12, 2010

I hope her name was Megan....

She had this quality of respectability to her that I have striven for my entire life. It's a way of being that transcends the limits of joviality or seriousness, and ignores the boundaries of free-spirit or stickler.

The way she spoke it was as if she had utter respect for the best of every person.

It also made me feel incredibly ashamed of the way I had been talking. As I entered the studio, probably because of my own insecurity or ego, I was sort of using what Lindsay would call 'my yoga voice'. You know, that voice you use to let everyone know that you are totally calm and in control of a situation. Sort of. Ok, not really. More like the voice you would use on tv if you had to play a character whose role that was.

And what that does is it limits people. It's more a way of controlling them and their emotional reactions than of really encouraging them to grow and be.

I was so ashamed of that. After class, I felt like my head was spinning.

Not the bad kind of ashamed, which is external. Not the sort that Douglas Adams would describe as 'the heat crinkling in your neck as you remember the time you dropped the football in 4th grade', but a more profound kind that leads to growth.

I will to do that. I will to try to notice, emulate and create more ways to do that....

It doesn't really work that way, though. It's not like painting the walls of your living room (which requires various degrees of effort, but is a very straightforward practice). It's more of a letting go process. Letting go of the need to please others, letting go of the need to have them trust me.

You can't force someone to trust you. You can't rationally convince them, you can't beg them, you can't really do much. All you can do is keep your integrity and consider yourself trustworthy and hope it's something like the flu.

That's....really not a good metaphor for being trustworthy..........