Posts Tagged ‘New York’

“Enlighten Up!”

A Skeptics Journey into the World of Yoga

Directed by Kate Churchill

The film follows Nick Rosen, through mainland United States, Hawaii and India as filmmaker and yoga enthusiast Kate Churchill documents his increasing immersion in the world of yoga. Her goal is to prove that yoga can transform anyone, even Nick. Before he can say “om”, Nick finds himself twisted like a pretzel surrounded by celebrity yogis, true believers, kooks, entrepreneurs and some dedicated teachers. The more Nick investigates yoga, the more contradictions he discovers. Tensions run high as Nick’s transformational progress lags and Kate’s plan crumbles. What unfolds and what they discover is not what they expected.

The film features well-known yoga teachers from India and the U.S. including B.K.S. Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar Yoga, Pattabhi Jois of Ashtanga Yoga, Norman Allen, Sharon Gannon and David Life of Jivamukti Yoga, Rodney Yee star yogi in Living Arts videos, Cyndi Lee of OM Yoga, Beryl Bender Birch of Hard and Soft Yoga, Natasha Rizopoulos of Yogaworks and Boston’s Baron Baptiste of Baptiste Power Yoga.

To Premier at The MFA, Boston

The MFA Film Program is presenting a 5-show engagement of Enlighten Up!, September 12-14, Boston-based filmmaker Kate Churchill’s irreverent look at the world of yoga through the eyes of novice practitioner and skeptic, New York City journalist Nick Rosen. Director Kate Churchill will be present at all five screenings and star Nick Rosen will be present on Sept 12, Sept. 13, and at Sun. 14 morning screening. A reception follows the opening night show on Sept 12.

Also showing September 19 – 25 at the Kendall Square Cinema

Date: September 19, 2008
Time: 1:45, 4:15, 7:15, 9:15 Free Yoga Classes with Aaron Cantor: 3:30, 6:30 weather permitting, these classes will be done outside the theater, please bring a mat

Visit the official website http://enlightenupthefilm.com/

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So I quite my job recently and in efforts to have something to occupy my time, I’ve been looking for different websites/blogs to write for. One of these start up sites has me as their yoga/green commentator- the editor is open to ideas from me, but also asks me to do certain things. So far she has suggested reviewing a kundalini class (not really my thing, but I’m down to review it), different things I do in my life to be “green”, some nutrition stuff, etc. And then this weekend I got a request from her to write about “doing yoga in the dark to world/ethnic music”. I was a little thrown by this, just because I wasn’t really sure what she was looking to explore. Actually the yoga I practice is generally done is a dark-ish room, not pitch black, but dark, and always to different types of “world” music. I’ve actually wrote about this before. So I sent her a note back, asking if there was something she was trying to get at- I figured this request had to come from somewhere. Her response:

“I have only seen it done with the light on and wondered if the experience would be different with the light off so yoga in the dark. Would you personally feel somewhat liberated, would it be the same, do you lose your focus or concentrate even more. I continued my pondering and had the thought what would it be like to do yoga in your birthday suit? Would it be comfortable or feel awkward, does yoga still feel like yoga? Finally I wondered if you can listen to music while doing yoga and if certain kinds of music would influence your yoga experience. You’ve done yoga for awhile and it seems to be an important part of your life, but how powerful is it? Can you still feel centered, in the dark, naked and with the music on?”

Dear readers, naked yoga must never ever be done. Never. Never. Think of happy baby pose. Naked. Think of half moon. Naked. No matter how hot you are, some things should never be done naked. Ever been to a nude beach? Not like in France where every beach is topless, but like a NUDE beach. The people are not pretty…not at all.

Oddly there are SEVERAL places in New York that one can practice nude yoga:

Naked Yoga NYC– this site doesn’t give out the location of the studio. You have to email them. My favorite quote: “Honor and CELEBRATE your menstrual cycle in all its phases and respect your body how and it wants to be honored in this practice. Women on their moon cycle in the past have used sea sponges, The Keeper, tampons, sarongs, traditional undergarments or placed a towel over their mat and free flowed”

EW, EW, EW, EW, EW!!!!!!!!!

There is also, Hot Nude Yoga, which is only for gay men. Its in Chelsea. Shocking. Its actually an ingeniuous business idea… and there is no one on their “moon cycle” here, so I guess that’s a plus. While Naked Yoga NYC has a strict no touching policy, that isn’t the case at Hot Nude Yoga, “You will have the opportunity to meet other physically fit men and discover, through partner yoga, how to touch other men energetically and sensually.” Yowza.

I was talking on the phone with my mom last night about this naked yoga request, and she reminded me of a similar experience that we both found to be ridiculous.

We were in class together and one of the practitioners (who is a teacher that I have wrote about before, but will not mention her name now) was doing her class blindfolded. The entire class. With a blindfold on. Now, I’m sure you have noticed, I have the sense of humor of a 4-year-old, and of course, I could not keep myself together during the class. Every time I looked up at the blindfolded yogini, I raised my eyebrows to my mother, who then started to laugh, which made me laugh…not a good chain of events for yoga.

I understand the sentiment behind practicing blindfolded, or naked, or in the pitch dark, or blindfolded while naked in the dark (which maybe isn’t yoga, but a good Friday night)- people are trying to find a new, deeper connection to their bodies. They want to bring their physical consciousness to an even higher level. And I dig that. So if thats your thing, touche my friend, I’m all for it.

Though I am now reminded by another event- My dance teacher when I was a teenager was a man, a sort of weird man, he taught ballet to young girls and wasn’t gay, so you get my drift, but was nonetheless a mentor and someone I spent a whole lot of time with. He once recommended that I come to the studio when I knew no one would be there (I had my set of keys he said), and dance in the nude (no one else would be there or drop-in by chance he said). This skeeved me out. Of course, I never did make it to dance in the nude. And soon after, I left the studio because this was just one of a series of dodgy suggestions. So perhaps my adversion to nude yoga is just some deep-seated teenage/father-figure/bizarre-o land issue and in reality is just AWESOME. But I doubt it. Think about it. Nude bird of paradise.


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Jaime Epstein, this week’s writer of the On Language column for the New York Times (who also happens to be a certified instructor at Jivamukti in Manhattan), wrote a very fun and funny article on the language of yoga-Namaste– published in the New York Times Magazine this weekend.

‘At the beginning of class, we stood at the front of our mats and let out a long, dirgelike moan,” the first-time yoga student recollected. “Then the teacher yelled, ‘Chili-pepper pasta,’ and everyone hit the floor.” Sanskrit, the language of yoga, is said to unite sound and meaning; that is, saying the word gives the experience of its meaning. But for the novice yogi (the word for male as well as female practitioners), whose ears need to be tuned to a new frequency, that experience can be as elusive as an overnight parking spot in Manhattan. Thus, chaturanga dandasana (four-legged staff pose, which looks like the bottom of a pushup, your body hovering inches above the floor) might become “chili-pepper pasta” if you’ve got dinner reservations at the latest outpost of the latest fusion craze. And the ear-twisters don’t end there.”

Very much worth a quick read!



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Yes friends we get a whole month-

No really, what the heck is Yoga Month you might ask?

Yoga Month is a grassroots, community-based national campaign to educate people about the health benefits of yoga and to inspire a healthy lifestyle.

Yoga Month is a year-round campaign and will peak Sept. 2008 with the 10 City Yoga Health Festival Tour and with millions of health & social conscious individuals practicing yoga at thousands of yoga studios and homes around the world.

The Yoga Health Festival is covering Denver, Miami, Boston, New York, Chicago, Austin, LA, San Diego, San Fran and Vancouver.

Boston on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at the Cambridge Masonic Hall

New York blow out on Sunday, Sept. 7 at Metropolitan Pavilion on 18th and 6th.

In New York, $88 gets you a VIP pass to all workshops, events and David Newman’s benefit concert in the evening. You can also pay a la cart and just go to the events that interest you most. Featured instructors include Beryl Bender Birch, Elena Bower and Timothy McCall among many others. Workshops range from The Beginners Mind to Hip Hop Asana to Kundalini & Meditation. If that wasn’t enough to interest you, there will be yoga, health and green related exhibitors- uh, who doesn’t love free samples, common people! And for my penny pinchers out there, FYI many of the events are free, including all day activities for kids.

Proceeds benefit the National Yoga Alliance.


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So Miss Liza is out camping in the woods with her family for the weekend (meditating on a rock somewhere I’m sure) and has no access to internet.  What does this mean to you, my down dog loving friends?  Well it means I’m hijacking the blog for the weekend and writing about whatever I want!  For those of you who read my posts, you know I rely on very loose associations between whatever I talk about and yoga…Liza usually then goes in, cleans up my language, takes out the nasty things I say, etc.  But, fellow yogis and yoginis…not this weekend!  So I will start my rants with something I just saw on Huffington.  It’s actually not been all that hot in New York this summer, with the exception of a few days- I’ve tried to conserve by only turning on my air-conditioning when necessary.  I also have this weird thing where I’m convinced that air-conditioning makes you sick, is responsible for bad moods, could give you cancer, and will eventually kill you.  Alright, so maybe not, but it most definitely is a luxury that we really don’t need and is baaaad for the environment.  But whatever, I use it sometimes too.  However, as anyone who has walked around Soho with me this summer knows, I find it AWFUL, HORRIBLE, ENVIRONMENTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE and DISGRACEFUL for stores to blast air-conditioning and leave their doors open.  I get the technique they are using and it sucks balls.  That’s right camping Liza, it sucks balls.  So imagine the pleasure I felt today when I saw the following:

“The [New York] City Council is expected to pass legislation on Thursday that would impose fines on stores that leave their doors wide open with the air-conditioning on.

Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer, a Manhattan Democrat who is co-sponsoring the bill, said she gets a lot of mail from residents complaining about these stores. She said electronics stores are the biggest offenders, though there are plenty of other shops on Fifth Avenue, 34th Street and other popular areas that keep their doors open.

“I’m calling it the Clyde Haberman bill,” she said, a reference to the NYC columnist for The New York Times, who has written about the topic on several occasions.

Ms. Brewer and 18 other council members signed on to the bill, which would affect any business with at least 4,000 square feet, or small stores that are part of a chain with five or more stores in the city. The Department of Consumer Affairs would issue a warning to first-time offenders who kept their exterior doors open while an air-conditioning system intended to cool the area was in use.

Stores would be fined $200 for a second offense and $400 for subsequent violations within an 18-month period.”

HA!!!!!  Take that!!!  Karma, my friends, karma.  Read the whole article on NYTimes.com


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