Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quote for the Day ~

"Yoga believes in transforming the individual before transforming the world." - Sri Swami Satchidananda

Monday, February 21, 2011

TAO came to Bamboomoves in the Bronx

The amazing Tao came to Bamboomoves in the Bronx this Sunday. Tao is a 92 years young yogini that touches the hearts of every person she encounters. The first day I mentioned her workshop, our sign up list filled up, leaving many people on the wait list. As always, Tao was brilliant! She is a total inspiration to any and every human being. She personifies the essence of Yoga in every word she says, every posture she demonstrates, and her joyful smile. There are not enough words to describe this amazing lady. Originally, from Pondicherry India, Tao studied Yoga with many of the great Yogis in India, walked side by side with Gandhi at 19, and was the first person to create a Teacher Training program in NY. The students were led in an amazing class, while various members of the press filmed and took notes. Many people think that Yoga would not work in the Bronx, however, studio owner Michael Baez, made sure to dispel the myth by creating a lovely space for people to deepen their mind-body-spirit practice. Members at Bamboomoves have embraced the yoga practice so much that we are on our second batch of eager Yoga Teacher Trainees. This workshop was part of their Teacher Training experience, and they were truly blessed to study from an authentic Yogi like Tao. Along with Yoga, Tao does ballroom dance, and she is amazing at both. We look forward to having her back in the Spring, so if you missed it, be sure to stay on the website and sign up quick. It truly is a blessing to take a class with Tao. Thank you Tao for enlightening & inspiring the students at Bamboomoves, thank you students for being receptive to the practice, and thank you members of the press (Channel 12, Bronx Net, and Bharati) for bringing awareness to the massive health and wellness movement that is happening in the Bronx, and thank you Milta for snapping some awesome pictures for the blog post. ~ Om Shanti

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day Two of Yoga Teacher Training - Like a Virgin

Day two of Yoga Teacher Training began at 7:45 am. Trainees came ready to learn and deepen their practice. With three previous Teacher Trainees who are now Certified Yoga Teachers, the energy was awesome. Maritza came in for morale support of her lovely sister, Denise came in to lead the Bows, and Ricky came in to join and lead the bows. It was really beautiful. Our current 8 candidates learned the concept and act of Bows, which is specific to Bamboomoves Teacher Training. After the 100 bows, we progressed into pranyama, chanting, Level 2 class, more pranayama, break down of sequencing, Level 1 class, lecture on the importance of a healthy diet, abiding by Ahimsa, and watching the Film "Meet Your Meat", finally ZOGALATIES! Their bodies were sore after the bows, so when it came time to our packed class of Zogalaties, it was amazing. We were still in 80's week, so I changed into my Madonna shirt, and instructed the sweat fest! Lots of laughs, sweat, singing a long to the 80's music...but the absolute best part ever was when they were in HAPPY BABY pose, and the song was "Like a Virgin" (of course), and they all sang along!!! The power of good cues as an instructor has never before been as amazing as that moment!!! I wish I had a video camera to capture the volume and soul behind nearly 20 people belting out "Like A Virgin" while in Happy Baby Pose! Amazing!!! Is there any song more appropriate for that pose? Amazing Day for our budding yogis, and our Bronx Yoga Studio. We are looking forward to seeing Tao tomorrow for her workshop!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Heart Chakra fun for Valentine's Day

Bamboomoves had our Heart Chakra Workshop this Valentine's Day weekend. The Heart Chakra (Anahata) which translates to become unstuck, is one of the most powerful of all chakras. This governs our energies of love, compassion and forgiveness. We must let go in order to restore balance to this energy vortex, and then energy can flow freely from the lower chakras to the upper chakras. With the amazing Sitar playing of Giann, we went through meditation, chants, and yoga asana to open, balance, and heal the heart chakra. Many participants experienced the power of this chakra with visions, warmth, and an increase of love in their hearts. Our back bending practice becomes stronger, our ability to smile becomes more frequent, and our love shines when this chakra is harmonized. To witness the look in their faces before and after was enough to decipher that the workshop was incredible! Special thank you to Gian for the amazing music! Thank you to everyone who participated. Thank you Denise for capturing some lovely photographs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day One of Teacher Training at Bamboomoves BX

Day one of Yoga Teacher Training in Pellham Bay, BX. An amazing group of aspiring yogis gathered together tonight to start their journey on deepening their practice. With my lovely student Denise (recent Bamboomoves Warrior Teacher Graduate) at my side, the students all explored the subtle body with a guided chakra meditation journey. They shared their reasons to join the teacher training which went from deepening their practice, deepening the knowledge of yoga, to gain patience, to become healthier, to overcome stress, to help students in schools, to help co-workers, to teach yoga and to learn more. They were introduced to the chant that they will be singing "Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevya" (loosely translated as supreme invocation, surrendering to aspire towards the divine light, the Light of Lord Krishna, son of Vasu), this chant is often used to celebrate the energy of the divine. When I was meditating early in the day, this was the chant that came to me for this particular group. This chant chose them. For the purpose of our training, we are celebrating the energy of divine mother. The previous Yoga teacher training group had used "Shiva Shambo" as their chant, and since Parvati was Lord Shiva's first yoga student, we are honoring the divine mother, and celebrating our own mothers. Everyone of the participants has a unique relationship, some strong, some broken, some lost, some grieving so healing this will be part of their yoga journey. For me personally, I shared with them how the loss of my own beloved mother was what brought me back to the yoga mat. She was the first person who introduced me to yoga, my best friend in the world, and my queen. When I lost her, I spent many days literally weeping on my yoga mat, until my mind, body and spirit found healing and found God, which is why to this day my every experience on the yoga mat is an offering and prayer. The guided meditation, the chant and the overall energy of the room brought out many tears in all the trainees, which symbolize the beginning of a powerful experience. Trainees then joined the regular 7:45pm Level 2 yoga class which was a sweaty, lovely class. I am so thankful and happy to be part of this amazing journey with all of you. Margie, Amber, Jessica, Latesha, Nicole, Armondo, Carolann, and Stephanie, welcome to the beginning of an amazing experience~ Om Shanti

Jamaican Inspired Zogalaties class

This past week, in honor of our lovely Kick box teacher, Leon....Zogalaties had a Jamaican inspired class. This week was Leon's birthday, he is Jamaican, I love Reggae and Dancehall music, and theme classes are fun.....especially when the class is a guaranteed sweat fest like Zogalaties. I took the opportunity to dress in Jamaican attire, and other students were encouraged to dress in shades of green, yellow, and black. I will admit I may have been a little over the top, but since my right toe was recently fractured, I wanted to play full out in every other way. I did not let my toe keep me from participating in the sweat fest though, plank pose on one foot, chutturunga, and core work were in my practice YEAAAA!!!.....We went through our amazing class and felt the riddum of the music. Periodically through past classes, especially after the burning exercises, I like to ask everyone "how are we doing?" the encouraged responses in the past have been a unanimous "oustanding", "awesome", and "sexy"!!! Since it was Jamaican theme, I asked "Wha Guan?" like saying "what's goin on?" and students responded enthusiastically "Irie Mon!". It was like we all went to the beautiful Island of Jamaica. When it came time to the favorite part of class "cherry pickers", one student said, "Cherries don't grow in Jamaica".....luckily we had a beautiful authentic Jamaican lady in the class, who confirmed, yes in fact they do grow in Jamaica. Thank you Paula! I LOVED IT!!! We not only picked Cherries, we picked Jamaican Cherries!!! When we did our melon twists, we were using Jackfruits. When we did our wall squats were some students joined me in a little dutty wine. Zogalaties, is fun, sweaty, challenging workout, awesome music, themes and you learn about another culture!!! WOW!!! This week will be 80's music week!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Awesome Inversion Workshop with Dice and Bri

This weekend was full and amazing! Friday night at Bamboomoves we were blessed to have Dice and Bri (the dynamic duo) fly in from California to teach an inversion workshop. These two are awesome yogis with such a brilliant practice to watch. The studio was filled with people eager to learn the joy of flight. Dice and Bri had students warm up with a flow, and incrementally introduced various arm balances. It was awesome. The best was watching Yoshio just float up with his amazing yoga practice. I was also so proud to watch some of my students approach and do arm balances like crow, handstand, scorpion, forearm stand and other poses with such joy and ease. Dice and Bri have such an amazing way of co teaching a class. They both demonstrate poses with incredible anatomical awareness, and assist students in a lovely compassionate way. For some reason, I am uninterested in doing a handstand against the wall, but if someone stands behind to catch my legs, I will hop up. So I attempted to recruit a student to be my catcher, and I wasn't kicking high enough. I guess Dice saw how I wanted to be upside down, so he talked me through it, and I was on my hands. Thank you Dice for catching my legs. Both Dice and Bri have inspired me to be a "handstander". For a long time I had fear hang ups about re-injuring old injuries in my wrist, back etc......but that is so silly.....fear is silly. This year I want to be a handstander. I myself had overworked my body the day before, and was literally shaking and nauseous, but I still participated in the workshop as best as I could. When I went to do my crow, my arms were vibrating, and my knee left a nasty bruise on the backside of my arm. Three days later, the bruise is still there. The lesson I learned this last week, was to slow down a bit. While it is awesome to take a lot of classes, it is awesome to rest as well. Thank you Dice and Bri for being such an incredible inspiration to the students of Bamboomoves!

Yoga with the Amazing Tao Porchon-Lynch

Soon Bamboomoves will be blessed to have the amazing Tao Porchon-Lynch teaching a workshop on Sunday February 20th @ 2:30. From the first mention of this workshop the sign up list filled up, so we most likely will offer another workshop with Tao in the future as she is clearly in demand. This Past Sunday, I experienced why she is so amazing. I ventured out to Westchester to take Tao's class, as I wanted to meet Tao in person and thank her for graciously offering her time to teach the students at bamboomoves. It was amazing! I did not know that Tao is also Indian, she was born in Pondicherry. We were speaking and she mentioned how her favorite place in India, and in the world, to travel is Kerala which is where my family is from. Tao has studied yoga with some of the most amazing and revered yoga instructors in the world including B.K.S Iyengar and the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She has walked side by side with Gandhi, made many films, danced ballroom dance and lived the life everyone should live. The reason why her life and her practice is so inspirational is because Tao abides by the philosophy "nothing is impossible". She is brilliant. Her classes were so wonderful. She teaches with such understanding of alignment (which is typical Iyengar style), she teaches with delightful stories, and demonstrates with ease and joy! At the young age of 92, Tao is an example to everyone that life can be amazing, if you live amazing! Thank you Tao for enlightening my yoga practice! I look forward to learning from you more in the future, and maybe even traveling to India with you.

Shiatsu Certified!

It's official!!! I am Shiatsu Certified!! After many months of training at the world famous Ohashiatsu Institute, I am certified. Shiatsu is a wonderful body work modality that follows the ancient meridian lines, hara diagnosis, and element theory to treat and diagnos the body. It is my favorite style of body work, and in my oppinion the best! The receiver lays on a comfortable floor, sometimes futon mattress, clothing on, and experiences a touch of peace, as the "giver" crawls, knees, elbows and thumbs along various meridian lines, tsubo points, and stretches the body into bliss. It really is awesome! I am so thankful for my training with the amazing instructors I had, including Ohashi himself!

Surprise Happy Birthday......again!!!

At Bamboomoves after teaching my 12 noon Yoga class, in walks the owner of the studio, Michael, saying he wants to play a special mantra for us. Michael is usually on some kind of a positive energy kick, so I just went with it. The students in class looked amused and confused as Michael set up his IPod with excitement. He began to play what sounded like a Stevie Wonder song. I recognized the song right away, and started to giggle and feel a little embarassed for Michael, thinking, Oh my goodness he totally put on the wrong song ha ha ha! but...some of my amazing students walked in with balloons, an amazing Vegan Chocolate cake and gifts for me!!! WOW!!! Surprise Belated Birthday Party for me!!! What an amazing experience! The love at Bamboomoves is more than any other studio I have ever encountered. Thank you to all the students who secretly planned this lovely party for me, went to Queens to get the most awesome Vegan Chocolate cake, had special Vegan Pizza made, and showed up with so much genuine love and kindness! This Birthday party ROCKED! It truly was a surprise, since my birthday was actually January 26! The snow storm allowed me to have my personal favorite "low key" birthday celebration of my own, and the February forecast allowed my loving studio to have an awesome party!!! I guess we will just celebrate my birthday every month!! Also, mad respect goes to the students who ate a ton of food with me, and still took Zogalaties at 4pm! YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME! I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am to have learned from all of you, received your love and kindness and grown in my own yoga practice with you, thank you! I love you all so much!

Thank you Michael, Carolann, Joy, Denise, Sandi, Martha, Margie, Doris, Amber, Mary, Deanna, and everyone who made such a beautiful experience for me

Pictures: Amber, Denise, Mary, Ambria, Martha, Sandi, Carolann, Pic 2, Vegan Grandmas Piazza YUMM, Pic 3, Carolann and Ambria, Pic 4, Ambria getting floating away with the beautiful balloons!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Yoga with Yoshio

One of my favorite teachers to practice yoga with is Yoshio. From my very first class with Yoshio I was amazed at his mastery of the Yoga practice and his humble generous spirit. He leads a challenging class with nurturing adjustments that facilitate the deepest experience for your mind-body and spirit. He is a Dharma Yogi, and an amazing human being. Last year, I was sadly unable to take classes with Yoshio, as his classes were scheduled at times when I was teaching my own classes. Sometimes, I would see Yoshio and his beautiful wife, when I had the opportunity to take Master Class at Dharma Mittra's studio, and myself and many other yoga enthusiasts would be in awe of Yoshios practice. Just when you think you have done an advanced variation of a pose, Yoshio will show you a deeper variation, WITH EASE. Key words in that statement, is WITH EASE, unlike many people who push and pull into poses, Yoshio shows people how prana connection is done right. Floating from crow to handstand, to crow to handstand, to headstand to anything really, he does it all! If you want to witness a teacher who flows through poses, with grace, strength, brilliance, humility, excellence, and reverence for the Supreme force of love in the Universe, you want to take class with Yoshio. This same brilliance that Yoshio has in his own personal practice is always present in his yoga classes. This friday, I took the opportunity to take Yoshio's class alongside my students at Bamboomoves. Yoshio led us through a brilliant dynamic Yoga class with an energy that only a Dharma Yogi can bring, an energy challenges your body and inspires reverance for God. While in class, my body was incredibly sore from taking a few too many classes this week, along with my own practice and teaching, Yoshio still adjusted me deeper into poses and abolished any sense of fear, or awareness of soreness that I entered the class with. I felt so much amazing towards the end of class. This is the kind of trust that an excellent yoga teacher creates with their student. I am so grateful to take class with a teacher like Yoshio, he is an inspiration for all yoga instructors and students in so many ways. If you have a question regarding your practice, Yoshio's response is guaranteed to be compassionate and wise. While I always write about my experiences on my journey, and have highlighted some of my favorite teachers in past articles about Dharma Mittra, and Isaac Pena, Yoshio is also one of my favorite teachers, and I recommend everyone to take at least one class with this brilliant Yoga Master. As a yoga instructor it is important to maintain the heart of a student, and when you find a teacher that creates an amazing class experience you always want to have your mat rolled out in their class, Yoshio is that amazing teacher! He teaches two evening classes every Friday at Bamboomoves,BX. Thank you Yoshio for always providing an amazing Yoga experience!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Yoga For Amazing Kids

The amazing thing about teaching yoga, is you can always learn and grow from your students. While taking classes is also inspiring, students can teach a teacher so much. Some of my greatest teachers, have been the kids who take yoga with me. Kids display so much kindness, energy, enthusiasm, and freedom of ego that I love to be around. Recently, I was asked to teach a group of amazing kids diagnosed with special needs. It was part of a family therarphy group. While the parents had time with a Therapist, I had the privilage to work with these amazing kids. The boys had various diagnosis from Aspergers, ADHD, and autism. The issue and complaint of their schools is that they lack focus. Here I am about to lead these boys in yoga, and without any regard to the clinical evaluation, I let yoga work its magic. These boys displayed tremendous focus, listened, moved their bodies, socialized with eachother, and as expected, had fun!!! We did various breathing exercises, yoga poses, yoga games, and more! They showed so much compassion for one another, encourgaed each other, and had a blast! After the session, one of the therapists, introduced an altnernative theraphy of Accupressure/Accupuncture. A tiny magnet was placed on all the boys ears, including myself and the parents to support the boys. The magnet was on a pressure point called Shen Men, meant to bring a sense of calm to the body. As a former NYS teacher, I can honestly say that the lack of arts, physical education, and the governments constant adjustments to the quality of education inspired me leave the field, and pursue teaching yoga full time. It's so easy to blame the kids, diagnos them, and blame the teachers or even the system. How about modelling the countries that seem to be excelling in education? How about acknowledging HUMAN NATURE? Kids have a lot of energy, they need to be stimulated, they need to move their bodies, especially little boys. We are so quick to diagnos a child with a "special need", or to suggest medication, but did schools ever take the time to analyze gender? Meaning, how about acknowledging the little boys have a lot more energy than little girls, are different hormonally , are stimulated differntly, and learn in a differnt way. Forcing a little boy to sit in a desk all day, color, and talk about their feelings, when you do not provide daily recess or physical education is ridiculous! This was the case for the one little boy diagnosed with ADHD. From my one experience with him, he displayed a wonderful amount of focus, listened well, and moved his body with energy that adults only dream of. This topic is one of frustration to me, because on a global scale, our kids in North America do not meet the standard, not even in ELA, when English is the primary language, and obesity rates are soaring. As I want my posts to inspire, and be positive, I want to encourage schools and teachers to take some time in the day to let kids move their bodies. Have kids do yoga, have them jump up and down, have them dance a little. The bad weather should not be an excuse. Kids are amazing teachers, provided we create a forum for them to grow. I am so grateful for this experience, and hope to watch and witness these boys grow and excell in all areas with their new found love for YOGA. ~ OM Shanti