Sunday, July 31, 2011

Inspiration and Peace on the Path

Fireworks have been going off in my head about my new direction in life. I went back to Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck,NY (where I worked 4 years ago) to participate in Seane Corn's workshop Off the Mat Into the World. It was a trip to be roaming again on the Omega campus, where my life was enriched with life as yoga years ago. Now again I am back to reboot my life as yoga- this time through true meaning. I have been practicing and committing fully for the past 4 years to study the 8 limbs of yoga. The last 3 I have also been teaching, which has been an incredible journey. Now I find myself back in the seat of the student, and am completely humbled and grateful for this opportunity. A boddhistava is one who dedicates their life to service and helping others; the most famous being Gandhi,Wavy Gravy, Martin Luther King Jr, Jesus, etc...This is the path I vow to embark on. I will be teaching yoga and service, the mission of Off the Mat, at Warren Wilson College this fall where  I will study as a full time student. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but my vision for life bright and fulfilling. I will be writing about my life as a yoga student, teacher, and conscious activist on this blog and hopefully many publications to come. There is so much work to be done, so many flowers to smell and paths to walk, the light is so bright for many years to come. So much gratitude to all my teachers and friends in my life.
Tip of the day: Go watch the new Wavy Gravy video and take a Kripalu yoga class. Also, give some love to a friend in need.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Boston yoga and Amma

2 highlights of the week: Master class with Natasha Rizpolous at Back Bay Yoga and attending the Amma experience. My friend and fellow yogi Vito Napolitano (teacher at many studios in the Boston area including Kismet Wellness in Andover, where I sub for the summer) told me about Natasha and highly recommended her class. On Friday I took the train into Boston to Back Bay Yoga. The studio is located right off the T and in the upstairs to a nondescript building. The room we were in was really long, and not as wide, with a beautiful statue of Shiva. The class was 2 hours, not heated, with about 50 students in attendance. Natasha is in her 40s or 50s, a very well practiced yogi who has spent years studying and practicing alignment. Her class reminded me of Kofi Busia, which made me so happy. I also corrected my up dog (make SURE your wrists are under your shoulders, not pitched forward like mine = really sore wrists). No music, all yoga. Loved it.

My other highlight is Amma, the hugging saint from India. I have heard great stories about her from several of my friends, and she was in Boxboro, MA yesterday, just 30 minutes from my house. It was certainly a sight! I arrived early to wait in line next to the chlorine filled pool at the Holiday Inn. Half an hour later I was inside the huge function room with booths of clothing, jewelery, Amma dolls etc. We received tokens to wait our turn to hug the saint. A half hour later Amma came in and sat on the stage on a cushion where she would stay for 6 hours without a break while she hugs people. We opened with a short meditation and then commenced the hugs. I was N1, which meant I waited for about 2 hours until it was my turn. I walked around outside, laid down in the grass, looked at stuff for sale. I did find it ironic that there were clothes for sale when she advocates for buying only one outfit a year. The crowd there was interesting to say the least. Some cool folks, but also a lot of Indian families, and a plethora of middle aged white women. I was skeptical of the hug- I almost left a few times. However my turn arrived and I waited in line and came up to her where her helpers sat me down on a chair and pushed me into her bosom. She smelled AMAZING because they brushed some stuff on her before each hug.
I melted. Literally as soon as I touched her I felt like I was melting into her and my judgment of time was gone, my judgment of her dissipated and I felt wrapped in a love so great my heart ached for her as soon as my turn was up. She put a hershey kiss in my mouth that honestly was the most amazing thing I have eaten. As soon as you see her, smiles abound. As soon as you touch her, you melt.
After that I made a donation to her funds (of which there are thousands of communities she helps including orphanages, educations, building houses, etc. Check it out) and got a delicious Indian lunch.

Great day. This next week I am working at Beyond Soccer teaching at risk youth the love of soccer and moving your body. Of course, the forecast is nearly 100 each day this week.

Tip of the week: Give someone you love a huge, heartfelt hug. And go take an alignment focused yoga class, it will help prevent injuries.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Post Kripalu blues!

I woke up this morning ready to go to  630 am yoga followed by a simple breakfast in silence. I opened my eyes to remember I was not at Kripalu anymore ( I spent this past weekend participating in Toni Bergins and Wah!'s "Divine Journey: A Weekend of Journey Dance and Chanting". The name of the workshop captures most of what it was; a divine journey. Two yoga classes daily, dancing and chanting, eating DELICIOUS veggies, and spending time with my mother. It is so beautiful to be able to share and enjoy yoga, dance and chant. Kripalu yoga is wonderful I highly recommend attending a workshop or Rest and Relaxation (no workshop, you simply get to enjoy being there and the daily classes offered which include yoga, Qi Gong, art, etc). The yoga follows the tradition of Swami Kripalu: 3 levels offered of gentle, moderate (with meditation) and vigorous. I chose vigorous every time because it was the right level for me, and the classes included pranayama, a few chattarungas, and an intelligently sequenced quickly paced flow. Each class had a peak posture, and the class built the foundation to get to it. Very solid classes, hour and 15 minutes.

Toni Bergins, creator of Journey Dance, is an amazing dancer, person and friend to all. I fully support her mission to "make everyone fall in love with each other". Love love love her and dancing with her.
Wah! is a character for sure, a yogi and amazing voice. She played bass and harmonium.

I also met Donna who has the clothing line B by Donna M ( She is a really sweet woman who lives in Venice (was there for the start of the yoga superstars Bryan Kest, Seane Corn, etc) and was visiting Kripalu with her clothing line for sale. Organic, chic and made in California. Definitely cute clothes, and good people to support. She will be at Omega next week selling her clothes, check it out Omegans!

Definitely missing Kripalu! Will return for sure.