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Archive for June 3rd, 2008

Tonight in the Yoga Works Downtown Vinyasa Flow 2 class, in true yogi form, the instructor tried to convince the class that furniture is a scam- after all, any of us who sits all day knows that furniture is not conducive to healthy joints and muscles. Hm, so very true! This is really how the class went. Dana Strong is light-hearted. Very much what you would expect from a yoga instructor (- a wonderful stereotype). The class is not a true level 2- she caters more to the lowest common denominator. But the class was taught in a way that stripped yoga down to its most basic fundamentals- in a good way! No pretense, no illusions, just yoga. It actually felt like a “practice” rather than an aerobics class on steroids. There was instruction and demonstrations, questions were asked openly, and we moved about the room freely. All in all it was just a very nice, pleasant class. It was certainly no workout but I broke a bit of a sweat and felt well stretched- and hungry for dinner. Not bad for a Tuesday night!

-Eliza

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I realize that this blog is not supposed to be a place for non-yoga related opinions or politics (both of which I have a hard time keeping to myself), but I find it hard to not comment on what I have just witnessed. Regardless of your political affiliations, tonight we witnessed a disconnect at a time when we should be standing in awe of a critical moment in the history of this country.

In yoga we are told to find our edge in asanas- to not push too hard, but not to sail through our practices without challenging ourselves. This lesson is often repeated by yoga instructors and transfers to life off the mat. To do this, one must know oneself, one must be conscious of what our mind tells us, be conscious of what our body tells us, and the recognize how these parts are relate. Knowing my limits and boundaries has been a lesson I have learned from yoga. This recognition shows strength both physically and mentally- in all aspects of life.

Every once in a while I practice yoga on my own at my apartment. In theory, it should be great- I get to play my own music, pick my own poses, skip what I want. But there is always something missing when I do this. I’m a strong believer that as yogis and as humans we feed off of each other’s energy. Whether or not we speak to anyone in a yoga class, we know that the group we join are people that share at least some values with. For an hour or however long, we lose ourselves as individuals and let ourselves be led by someone who we believe has greater knowledge than ourselves. After all yoga means to unite- to unite with ourselves, but also, I believe, to unite with others. And uniting sometimes means being led. Tonight Senator Clinton showed that she does not know herself. She does not know those who surround her. She does not know the strength in humility.

One of the beautiful lessons that I have learned in yoga is that my practice is constantly changing. I might be familiar with poses, be able to hold arms balances and even at times quiet my mind, but I always know that there will be something else that will challenge and humble me. But that is why we practice and why yoga has been a part of my life for so long. The change is what keeps me interested, keeps me coming back, keeps me looking to the next thing. And that is good. Because when one day a pose is harder than it was the day before, I know its because each day I change. Which is all I can really hope for. And is all what we as conscious American citizens can hope for.

“I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith…”

-Barack Obama, 6/3/2008

-Britt

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I have been eager to write more posts, but have been a busy bee the last couple of days…hopefully I will have some time tonight! BUT! I just got an email from yogaworks saying that Steve Ross (the guy I talked about in my first post) is teaching up at the yogaworks westside studio next weekend- June 14 & 15th. It will be fun, fun, fun and a refreshing change to the usual New York yoga… Sign up!

-Britt

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Shiva Shakti Yoga in Northampton, MA

Shiva Shakti is one of my new favorite hot power vinyasa studios. It is a much needed, happy addition to downtown, Northampton, Massachusetts. It used to be that when I went home to visit my parents I suffered from the yoga void. I tried a few studios but never found anything close to what was being offered in New York. Shiva Shakti, recently opened on Strong Avenue, certainly fills this void. Brandon is the primary instructor. He comes from Boston (accent and all) and has extensive training under Baron Baptiste. Brandon brings charm and attitude to all of his classes. When you think you can’t hold a pose any longer he tells you to breathe deeper, and keep it up- and you just can’t help but do what he says. Finally, a place where you feel empowered to leave that stodgy old comfort zone you’ve been clinging to for so long!

-Eliza

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