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

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.



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."


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?


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?"


"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!