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

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


Dear Self,

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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


"That's all?"


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?"


You can't force someone to explain themselves.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


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!


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


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"


"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.


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.