Focus of the Month

February, 2017

Love Is All There Is

By Heidi Michel Fokine

Dear Yoga, How long have we been at it, you and me? I’m not really sure. Let’s say forever. I remember thinking how weird you were before we actually met. You looked kinda creepy. When we started hanging out together, the first thing I thought was “you are my future”. I was happy because it meant I  could still go barefoot most of the day. I felt great whenever you were around. You were so exotic…

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Archives

February, 2017

Love Is All There Is

By Heidi Michel Fokine

Dear Yoga, How long have we been at it, you and me? I’m not really sure. Let’s say forever. I remember thinking how weird you were before we actually met. You looked kinda creepy. When we started hanging out together, the first thing I thought was “you …

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Love Is All There Is

By Heidi Michel Fokine

February, 2017

February, 2017

Aparigraha

By Carrie Schneider

But when you turn poses like triangle and revolved triangle on their ear—when you parivritta them, in asana speak…

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Aparigraha

By Carrie Schneider

February, 2017

January, 2017

Groundwork

By Sylvia Channing

It’s the New Year. 2017 C.E., the Year of the Rooster, the Year of the Sun, the dawning of a new epoch in American politics… The coming of the New Year could already mean a lot of things to you. Often times, the weeks leading up to year’s end can be a heavy mix of reunions, celebrations, and deep periods of reflection.

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Groundwork

By Sylvia Channing

January, 2017

January, 2017

An Entry Point To Service

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

“Yoga is a collection of endless numbers of little entry points into mindfulness.” – Richard Freeman We talk a lot about service in the yoga world. Ali Cramer, a teacher here at Yoga Shanti, often says, “If you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” I lov …

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An Entry Point To Service

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

January, 2017

December, 2016

Reflections of Winter

By Rodney Yee

Winter is a time when nature loses its fall colors and exposes the bones and highlights the roots. It is a time for hibernation and deep sleep and a different use of energy. The sun rises late and sets early. We are part of this great cycle of seasons …

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Reflections of Winter

By Rodney Yee

December, 2016

December, 2016

6 Steps to Peace

By Grace Dubery

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. — Buddha You know that feeling — where the world around us may seem at times to be whirling out of control. It feels like too much or not enough. The earth quakes as we walk, and the path feels muddied. …

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6 Steps to Peace

By Grace Dubery

December, 2016

November, 2016

Savasana

By Keely Rakushin Garfield

Once upon a time, I went to a party. There were a lot of other yogis in attendance, and after a good amount of apple cider and vegan carrot cake, merriment was at a high point. Someone asked, “What’s the hardest pose?,” and the challenge was on: One by one, the yogis proceeded to demonstrate their definitive answers, showing off really hard stuff — visvamitrasana, vatayasana, and mukta hasta sirsanana. (Look, Ma! No hands!)

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Savasana

By Keely Rakushin Garfield

November, 2016

October, 2016

The Power of Vulnerability

By YSNY Teachers

Boo! This October, we’re inquiring into what scares you? What makes you feel vulnerable? Although we may not like the feeling of being exposed for having weaknesses, it is often the cracks of vulnerability that allow others to fall in love with us. Per …

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The Power of Vulnerability

By YSNY Teachers

October, 2016

September, 2016

It’s Hard To Be A Beginner

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

My two-year-old son, John Michael, was overwhelmed yesterday, during his first day of school. I kept looking around at the environment and seeing so many things that he loves — trucks! A sandbox! paint! a water table! I wanted him to get involved and have fun, but he wouldn’t leave my lap. He spent the first twenty minutes crying that he just wanted to “go home and see Dada.”

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It’s Hard To Be A Beginner

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

September, 2016

September, 2017

The Realm Of The Beginner

By Joyce Englander Levy

“September feels like a beginning—even more so than January,” Jenny Hudak says, smiling. It’s true—it’s a fresh start after a long, hot blast of a summer. In the spirit of that back-to-school feeling, our focus for this month is beginnings. It’s like a …

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The Realm Of The Beginner

By Joyce Englander Levy

September, 2017

August, 2016

We Ride on the Backs of Giants

By Rodney Yee

T.K.V. Desikachar died on Monday, the 8th of August, 2016. He was one of the great influencers of Yoga in the 20th century.  Desikachar was the son (and student) of the great yoga master T. Krishnamacharya.  Krishnamacharya was also the teacher of Pata …

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We Ride on the Backs of Giants

By Rodney Yee

August, 2016

August, 2016

May the Force Be With You

By YSNY Teachers

Dear Friends, If you’ve been to class with Colleen and Rodney lately, you’ve probably heard them say, “Don’t Force.” What a great instruction to consider for August! The 2016 Summer Olympics are upon us. Consider the rigorous, disciplined schedules and …

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May the Force Be With You

By YSNY Teachers

August, 2016

July, 2016

Falling and Catching

By YSNY Teachers

Dear Friends, We hope your 4th of July weekend was festive, and a break from routine. These moments when we travel, celebrate, and indulge can actually be a key ingredient in a balanced life. But even better than swinging back and forth from extreme he …

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Falling and Catching

By YSNY Teachers

July, 2016

July, 2016

Do It Anyway

By Rachel Saidman

“We have to do our best and at the same time give up all hope of fruition. One piece of advice that Don Juan gave to Carlos Castaneda was to do everything as if it were the only thing in the world that mattered, while all the time knowing that it doesn’t matter at all.” — Pema Chodron This quote by Pema Chodron is analogous to Mother Teresa saying, “What you spend years building could be destroyed in a day — build anyway.”

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Do It Anyway

By Rachel Saidman

July, 2016

June, 2016

Vulnerability

By Jamie Lugo

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blo …

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Vulnerability

By Jamie Lugo

June, 2016

May, 2016

200 Hours

By Rodney Yee

Colleen and I both look back at the first teacher trainings that we took (she at Jivamukti and myself at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco), and remember that we each went in wanting to learn more about yoga with no intentions to teach. A com …

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200 Hours

By Rodney Yee

May, 2016

March, 2016

March Madness

By Leilani Bishop

March Madness is a term you rarely hear in a yoga studio, but one you become quite familiar with when you live with basketball fans. For those of you who aren’t familiar, March is the month that college basketball reaches its peak, and the past year’s …

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March Madness

By Leilani Bishop

March, 2016

February, 2016

Heart Healing

By Padma Borrego

As I have transitioned from massage to Structural Integration, I have been studying anatomy and movement intently for several years. It has strengthened my mind in a new way.  I feel the difference in my meditations and my focus is more grounded than i …

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Heart Healing

By Padma Borrego

February, 2016

January, 2016

Cutting Through Doom

By Colleen Saidman Yee

I woke up very early this morning with a sense of doom. Life is always a bit weird, but right now it’s downright bizarre—I can’t seem to calibrate, or make sense of what’s going on. Nothing was really wrong this morning, but all felt strange: the weath …

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Cutting Through Doom

By Colleen Saidman Yee

January, 2016

December, 2015

Balance

By Leah Kinney

When I was six years old, I loved the balance beam. I felt so proud of myself, and brave, when I walked across without falling. One summer, my dad made me a balance beam out of 2 x 4s. I got a ton of splinters that summer, and quite a few bruises, but …

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Balance

By Leah Kinney

December, 2015

November, 2015

Life and Death and the Art of Presence

By Sarah Halweil

Life is passing too quickly and, frankly, it makes me anxious. According to Richard Rosen, one of the age-old purposes of yoga, which predates many of the modern shapes that we take in class, was to live longer. No method has yet been proven to extend life. Perhaps, the stress relieving techniques do help, even though we never really know when our lives will end.

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Life and Death and the Art of Presence

By Sarah Halweil

November, 2015

October, 2015

The Still Point

By Mary Paffard

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless; Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is, But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity, Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement fro …

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The Still Point

By Mary Paffard

October, 2015

September, 2015

Snapshot From the Map of Love

By Heidi Michel Fokine

Son #1 left for a new college last week. Today I’m on the Cross Sound Ferry issuing Son #2 back to school in Maine, where he will complete his senior year of high school (without incident or infraction, pass Spanish, and fully partake in the gifts and …

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Snapshot From the Map of Love

By Heidi Michel Fokine

September, 2015

August, 2015

Bridging The Gap

By Richard Rosen

When Rodney and I were students in the three-year teacher training course at the San Francisco Iyengar Institute in the early 1980s, we learned the backbends include both “babies” and (though the name wasn’t made explicit) “adults.” Among the former ar …

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Bridging The Gap

By Richard Rosen

August, 2015

August, 2015

An Interview with Richard Rosen

By Joyce Englander Levy

What brings you to Yoga Shanti? Well, you invited me. I enjoy coming to Yoga Shanti. It’s a beautiful place. I find the students very receptive, which makes teaching much easier. I’m already looking forward to my upcoming trip. This year you’re going t …

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An Interview with Richard Rosen

By Joyce Englander Levy

August, 2015

June, 2015

An Interview with Patricia Sullivan

By Joyce Englander Levy

I had the privilege of speaking with one of Rodney’s first teachers, Patricia Sullivan, last week while she was still glowing from a recent trip to Hawaii. Patricia is going to be teaching at Yoga Shanti at the end of this month, so I was hoping to get …

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An Interview with Patricia Sullivan

By Joyce Englander Levy

June, 2015

June, 2015

Your Perfect Offering

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

“Turn my sorrow into treasured gold…” – Adele, “Rolling in the Deep” While scrolling through Instagram recently, I found an image of a beautiful pottery bowl. It was the faded green color of the Statue of Liberty with veins of gold running through it. …

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Your Perfect Offering

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

June, 2015

March, 2015

Self-Care Tips For Winter and Spring

By Menna Olvera

Self-care means taking time for yourself so that you can find a sense of wellbeing and balance in your life. There are three basic types of self-care: foundational self-care, which gives meaning to your life; structural self-care, which gives your mind …

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Self-Care Tips For Winter and Spring

By Menna Olvera

March, 2015

January, 2015

Kāmabandha, Bound to Love

By Richard Rosen

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, most of us here in the West will be reminded of Cupid, whose name comes from the Latin cupido, “desire, love.” One dictionary suggests this word is “perhaps” cognate with the Sanskrit kupyati, “bubbles up, becomes a …

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Kāmabandha, Bound to Love

By Richard Rosen

January, 2015

November, 2014

Fall Was Full Of Yoga

By Colleen Saidman Yee

We hope that your fall was full of yoga, and that the upcoming holidays—and the winter as a whole—will continue to find you inspired. We’ve had a hectic schedule this fall, and haven’t had as much face time with you as we would have liked to. Thank you …

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Fall Was Full Of Yoga

By Colleen Saidman Yee

November, 2014

October, 2014

Samskaras

By Geoffrey Nimmer

The word samskara comes from the Sanskrit “sam”- complete or joined together, and “kara”- action, cause, or doing. “All of our thoughts, words, feelings, actions, behaviors and life experiences create impressions on our consciousness that are sort of like scars, or grooves on a record, or etches on a piece of metal” (from the blog Freddie Wyndam Yoga).

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Samskaras

By Geoffrey Nimmer

October, 2014

September, 2014

The Power of Pause

By Laura Berland

The day after Labor Day is known in these parts as Tumbleweed Tuesday. Yes, the traffic calms and you can eat at any restaurant that has the stamina to stay open. But these are just the visible signs of a giant East End exhale—it’s as if those of us st …

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The Power of Pause

By Laura Berland

September, 2014

August, 2014

Yoga Scholars

By Richard Rosen

My old buddy Rod Yee will often tell people that I’m a yoga “scholar,” which is akin to calling the heavily tattooed, long-haired dude who works over at our neighborhood pizza joint a “gourmet chef.” Rodney, bless his heart, knows a ton about yoga, but …

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Yoga Scholars

By Richard Rosen

August, 2014

July, 2014

True Independence: Freedom to Feel

By Kelly Morris

I danced Shiva Rea-style alone in my dark bedroom last night. Sshh, don’t tell anyone. I barely told myself. Dance, poetry, music…yoga—each of these experiences affords us entry into that special, magical kingdom within, from which we are otherwise bar …

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True Independence: Freedom to Feel

By Kelly Morris

July, 2014

July, 2014

Role Models

By Joyce Englander Levy

I went to visit one of my dearest friends in the hospital the other day. (We met the day I moved to NYC. I taught him yoga, and he taught me New York.) We spent the afternoon reminiscing about our friendship and the ways that our lives have changed since we met. He saw the exhaustion in my eyes and said, “Joyce, in the last year you’ve become a wife, a mother, a new business owner—an adult. That’s a lot for one year.”

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Role Models

By Joyce Englander Levy

July, 2014

June, 2014

Pratyahara

By Heidi Michel Fokine

We all use our five senses to experience and navigate through the world around us. But in order to gain “right relationship” with the world and our highest selves, yogis focus on the inner world. We do this through the practice of pratyahara, which means “to draw the senses inward.” (Pratyahara is one of the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga set down by the great sage Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras—so it’s a pretty important thing to look at if you’re interested in yoga.)

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Pratyahara

By Heidi Michel Fokine

June, 2014

May, 2014

You Are Ready

By Heather Lilleston

In December of 1997, a young woman named Julia Hill, climbed into a 180-foot tall, roughly 1500-year-old California Redwood tree for 738 days until December of 1999. Julia lived in the tree, affectionately known as “Luna,” to prevent Pacific Lumber Company loggers from cutting it down.

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You Are Ready

By Heather Lilleston

May, 2014

April, 2014

A Message from Rodney Yee…

By Rodney Yee

New York City, here we are! Just when you had Yoga Shanti neatly tucked away in your Sag Harbor reality… KaBoom! Yoga Shanti NYC! Nestled in the Flat Iron District of New York City, the second incarnation of the gold ceiling has been raised—a yoga pa …

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A Message from Rodney Yee…

By Rodney Yee

April, 2014

February, 2014

The Yoga of Curious George

By Leah Kinney

I have a four-year-old son, so I read a lot of Curious George. Nearly every book begins with the lines, “This is George. George was a good little monkey and always very curious.” As you all know, this curiosity leads George on many exciting adventures. …

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The Yoga of Curious George

By Leah Kinney

February, 2014

January, 2014

Rooting and Uprooting

By Colleen Saidman Yee

When I was eight years old, we moved from Corning, New York—where all of our extended family lived—to Indiana, so that my dad could start a new job. The move was hard on us all, but it was especially hard for my mom: sometimes I would find her looking out the window of our new house with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other, tears sliding down her face.

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Rooting and Uprooting

By Colleen Saidman Yee

January, 2014

December, 2013

Spontaneous Joy

By Trish Deitch

Usually, our Sunday morning meditation class at Yoga Shanti is just sitting: we come in silently, sit for twenty minutes, walk slowly once around the circumference of Shanti’s beautiful morning-lit room—our attention on the way our feet feel on the floor—and then sit again in silence. Maybe I’ll read something inspiring from Pema Chodron or Trungpa Rinpoche, but nothing long.

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Spontaneous Joy

By Trish Deitch

December, 2013

November, 2013

Helping Hands

By Sarah Halweil

Have you ever practiced yoga in a hospital bed? Yoga teachers in our community—those trained as Urban Zen Integrative Therapists (UZITs), that is—have been helping patients do just this at Southampton Hospital for the last few years. Urban Zen Integrative Therapy is Donna Karan’s brainchild.

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Helping Hands

By Sarah Halweil

November, 2013

October, 2013

Back to Basics: Poses 101

By Rodney Yee

School has started. The new fall clothes are bought—on sale, of course—books purchased, and pencils sharpened (oh, I mean, computers updated with more memory). Yoga Shanti is back to sanity, with no one turned away and mat space to spare. Maybe Colleen and I will get to teach a wall class where everyone gets their very own space around the periphery of the room. As BKS Iyengar said, I have had two teachers—Krishnamacharya and the wall.

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Back to Basics: Poses 101

By Rodney Yee

October, 2013

September, 2013

Autumn Light

By Richard Rosen

I have, hanging in my south-facing office window, four prisms. In the summer, when the sun is high in the sky, no direct light shines through the window, so the prisms hang forlorn, beautifully cut pieces of glass bereft of their true purpose. Come the end of August, though, as the sun swings lower in the sky, then the angle of its light reaches the window and illumines the prisms. Suddenly the small room is filled with rainbows of all different shapes and sizes, and I know autumn is on its way.

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Autumn Light

By Richard Rosen

September, 2013

August, 2013

August Practice

By Joyce Englander Levy

One of the many reasons I have fallen head-over-heels for yoga is that it makes clear for me the relationship between what can be seen and what cannot. It shows me how the obvious and the subtle are actually interpenetrating each other—they’re woven together. We get to witness this phenomenon up close when we show up for a downward dog or two.

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August Practice

By Joyce Englander Levy

August, 2013

July, 2013

Bare Your Soles

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

Last Friday night, I assisted Colleen and Rodney as they taught a yoga class to over 4,000 people in Times Square. Before the big event, lots of logistical emails were exchanged among the assistants. In one email, someone expressed concern over being b …

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Bare Your Soles

By Tracey Toomey McQuade

July, 2013

June, 2013

The Fruit of Tapas

By Erika Halweil

About six years ago, during a very challenging period in my life, I started practicing ashtanga yoga as taught by Pattabhi Jois. I had been a yoga teacher for almost a decade at this point, had been exposed to the practice of ashtanga on several occasions, and often reacted to it with aversion and judgment. But, for some reason, during this particular moment in my life, the practice felt like home.

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The Fruit of Tapas

By Erika Halweil

June, 2013

May, 2007

The Yoga of Motherhood

By Stephanie Livaccari

On our last family vacation, my daughter swam with the dolphins. She was ecstatic, her face beaming bright as these charming and clever creatures pulled her through the water. As you might imagine, dolphin fever took hold at our house in the weeks foll …

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The Yoga of Motherhood

By Stephanie Livaccari

May, 2007

April, 2013

Lie Back and Come Home

By Rodney Yee

Spring comes back to us, and lies down in the bed of winter. There are still flurries of snow in mid-March, but the promise of warm days are airborne. The children come home for their spring break, reminding us that they still long for their original nest; but we also see the independence that is broad across their back. The migration to the East End stretches weekends into months in our reach into the Hamptons’ summer.

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Lie Back and Come Home

By Rodney Yee

April, 2013

March, 2013

Atman. Where Is My Heart?

By Steve Eaton

Recently, I’ve found myself in a confusing place. I used to spend much of my time “listening to my own heart” and “serving my heart”—or what I thought of as my heart. I’d close my eyes and feel my desires, bow my head to the center of my chest and connect with something that felt peaceful, soft, and still. I really felt like I knew where and what my heart was. Now, since my daughter, Harbor, was born just about a year ago, I literally watch my heart crawling around and interacting with the environment from every angle.

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Atman. Where Is My Heart?

By Steve Eaton

March, 2013

February, 2013

The Gift

By Trish Deitch

I have a lot to be happy about: I have a thriving kid, good friends, a fun job, and I live in paradise (that is, Sag Harbor). I do yoga five a days a week, I have the best teachers, I am learning constantly. For the first time in my life, I feel peaceful. But you know how it is sometimes: sometimes you’re just blue or tweaked or crabby for no reason.

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The Gift

By Trish Deitch

February, 2013

January, 2013

Pause and Absorb

By Colleen Saidman Yee

In 2006, Rodney and I had the privilege of taking a few classes with Mr. Iyengar. When it came time for headstand, I informed the yoga master that I didn’t do them—I have a seizure disorder, and I always felt it was aggravated by headstands. He told me, in no uncertain terms, to stand on my head now! And I did. I stayed up, and only came down when he said it was time.

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Pause and Absorb

By Colleen Saidman Yee

January, 2013

December, 2012

Gift

By Heidi Michel Fokine

My mother loved all holidays but she was especially good at making Christmas an extraordinary event. In the nights leading up to the big day, before going to sleep, my sisters and I would place our slippers on the window sill with hopes that St. Nicholas would leave a gift in them.

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Gift

By Heidi Michel Fokine

December, 2012

November, 2012

What Is Grounding?

By Kari Harendorf

Unbeknownst to him, Rodney’s question to the mentors at the beginning of last month’s teacher-training weekend was prophetic: “What is grounding?” I thought about it a lot right after he posed the question, even emailing him a short answer that same day. For me, grounding is not only the feeling of having one’s feet on the ground, and a connection to earth; it is also knowing, feeling, and discovering your place in the world, and feeling comfortable and strong in that.

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What Is Grounding?

By Kari Harendorf

November, 2012

October, 2012

Letting Go, Not Drowning

By Travis Koke

Hurricane season is upon us. Some people may feel a sense of anxiety or fear; others feel excitement, and travel from afar to be near.

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Letting Go, Not Drowning

By Travis Koke

October, 2012

September, 2012

Know Thyself (Svadhyaya)

By Joyce Englander Levy

We ran into Socrates the other day—you know, virtually—and he said, “Know thyself.” Turns out Socrates was a yogi. “Knowing oneself,” or svadhyaya, is one of the foundational practices of yoga. Svadhyaya means the study of ancient texts, as well as the study of oneself: When you delve into the wisdom of the ancients, and bravely dive into the depths of your own soul, an alchemical reaction can occur. And you just might form a lasting friendship in the process.

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Know Thyself (Svadhyaya)

By Joyce Englander Levy

September, 2012

August, 2012

Finding Peace

By Sarah Halweil

Sometimes I am annoyed by much around me. I say things that could be offensive, and then regret it. I wonder why I even left the house. (“I love mankind—” the American cartoonist Charles Schulz said, “it’s people I can’t stand.”)

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Finding Peace

By Sarah Halweil

August, 2012

July, 2012

Are You Enlightened?

By David Swenson

A student once asked me: Are you enlightened? My answer: If I am it is a big disappointment!

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Are You Enlightened?

By David Swenson

July, 2012

June, 2012

Profound Attention

By Leah Kinney

Over the weekend, my husband put in a new kitchen door. The new door is all glass, whereas the old door was only half glass. Now, during the endless cycle of loading and unloading the dishwasher, I am bathed in the warmth of the morning sun, and as I look up to put the plates away, the vibrant green of the outside rushes to me. The extra glass has nudged me out of the deep and myopic rut of routine. My perspective is refreshed.

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Profound Attention

By Leah Kinney

June, 2012

May, 2012

Equanimity

By Aaron Teich

“Watch where you’re going!” That was the immediate, angry response I received after I accidentally bumped into a stranger on the street the other day. I felt a strong surge of emotion arise inside of me, and it required conscious effort to reign in the urge to shout back in my own defense.

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Equanimity

By Aaron Teich

May, 2012

April, 2012

Poetic Justice

By Kari Harendorf

If I had to sum up my world in five words or less, “Dogs” would make the list. They are my love, my work, and my passion. When I lost my dog Charlie last spring, I was beyond devastated. I was truly and utterly heartbroken. It was as if, overnight, the world had changed. For me it had.

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Poetic Justice

By Kari Harendorf

April, 2012

March, 2012

Open Heart

By Stephanie Livaccari

In yoga class we often talk about the benefits of having an “open heart” —in fact, there is an entire category of postures called “heart openers” to help us achieve this goal. We lift into setu bandha, twist in uttitha parsakonasana, and drop back into …

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Open Heart

By Stephanie Livaccari

March, 2012

February, 2012

Oh Vivid Love

By Heidi Michel Fokine

Can you fall headlong into your beingness? What would it take today and everyday to look again and again at what you are? Go deep into the fabric of your humanness and you’ll find connection to the world. Exciting. Breathtaking (you know you don’t own that breath—there’s no holding it. But sometimes we do to keep the desired inside and the undesired out).

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Oh Vivid Love

By Heidi Michel Fokine

February, 2012

January, 2012

Making Peace with Meditation

By Sian Gordon

No one likes to meditate. Certainly not in the beginning. Maybe if you’ve been living in a Himalayan cave for the last twenty years without a modern mind that flips and dips and cries out: “Laundry!” “Have to call her back!” “I don’t like his sweaters.” “I want new sweaters!” Then I can see the ease in meditating.

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Making Peace with Meditation

By Sian Gordon

January, 2012

December, 2011

Spiritual Bypassing

By Jennifer Frasher

Not long ago, I was given an article to read — well, an interview — in which the primary focus was the so called “pitfalls” of long-term spiritual practice. This caught my attention, for we, as yogis, take such pride in our spiritual practice, and rarely speak of the potential downfalls it may have. We see our practice — whether it’s yoga, meditation, or chanting — as a tool to open ourselves, to expand our consciousness, to let go, surrender, witness, observe, find enlightenment, and, overall, be a kind, compassionate, happy person. But what if we are using our spiritual practice as just another distraction?

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Spiritual Bypassing

By Jennifer Frasher

December, 2011

November, 2011

Thanksgiving and Gratitude

By Padma Borrego

Close to the Thanksgiving holiday, the idea of gratitude often comes up. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because of that. Maybe because I am not a “glass half full” person, I have to work at gratitude. I have to put aside time to reflect on what it means to me—how appreciation of the many beautiful and challenging things in my life helps me acknowledge that I am making a choice in how I look at the circumstances that I am in, or the people who I am looking at.

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Thanksgiving and Gratitude

By Padma Borrego

November, 2011

September, 2011

This Is It

By Trish Deitch

The first time I ever meditated was in the early 1990s, at a three-day workshop given at the place where I was studying yoga in Santa Monica. The first morning, I was told to sit up straight and cross-legged, to lay my palms on my thighs, to gaze down at the floor two or three or four feet in front of me, and to put about twenty-five percent of my attention on my breath going in and out.

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This Is It

By Trish Deitch

September, 2011

August, 2011

In Praise of Suffering —And How to Do it Well

By Eve Eliot

Human consciousness is deepening. It is doing so because it needs to during the alarming changes being demanded of so many of us, not only due to an accumulation of sudden, catastrophic developments with our climate, but in emotional climates as well. Our relationships with other people and with our own integrity seem also to need to be renovated. People understandably feel out of balance and “up in the air” and it’s not comfy.

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In Praise of Suffering —And How to Do it Well

By Eve Eliot

August, 2011

June, 2011

Santosha

By Kate Rabinowitz

Two days ago, on my email, I received what I thought was a spam for bogus financial help. It read, “Dear Kate, I am Habib and I am very sorry to tell you I have lost everything when Earthquake and Tsunami happened here in Japan. I am in a very very hard condition. I have no job, no food, and no money. Please help me all of you as much as can.

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Santosha

By Kate Rabinowitz

June, 2011

June, 2011

Art of Attention

By Elena Brower

Consistent practitioner or not, your yoga can provide you with access to your most valuable creative potential: your ability to pay attention.

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Art of Attention

By Elena Brower

June, 2011

May, 2011

Energy and Bandhas

By Rodney Yee

Energy is the subject of many concerns such as efficiency, sustainability, renewability, production, storage and safety. In our own bodies we have many of the same thoughts, problems and experiments. As I am aging, I find that I want to conserve my energy for desired interest.

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Energy and Bandhas

By Rodney Yee

May, 2011

April, 2011

Friendship

By Robyn Moreno

don’t know whether its the underlying melancholy of this never-ending winter, some weird cosmic misalignment, or just because life happens, but it seems like I’ve been giving an awful lot of pep talks lately. I have several dear friends who are experiencing deep relationship trouble ranging from “taking a break” from a partner to full-on to divorce.

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Friendship

By Robyn Moreno

April, 2011

March, 2011

Setting the Foundation

By Emily Weitz

Life is full of new beginnings. Every day, when the sun rises, a new chance. The best way to start anything is to set a strong foundation. When I walked in to Yoga Shanti’s gorgeous Lakshmi studio to teach my first class there last week, I had to go back to the beginning. Even though I’ve been teaching at other studios for four years now, my story at Yoga Shanti is yet to be written. So I came to the mat. I sat down. And I grounded down into the foundation.

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Setting the Foundation

By Emily Weitz

March, 2011

February, 2011

The Gold

By Kari Harendorf

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about your text. No need for shovels. I am beyond blessed and surrounded by gold everywhere I turn in my life.

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The Gold

By Kari Harendorf

February, 2011

January, 2011

The Perfect Light

By Steve Eaton

Farming a piece of land is an incredible illustration of living in harmony with the natural cycles of the earth. The land is now in a state of dormancy. The hard frosts and freezes of the past month have brought all growth to a halt and the soil to solid cement. Every last root and tuber has been pulled from the earth and every last cabbage cut.

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The Perfect Light

By Steve Eaton

January, 2011

December, 2010

Perception

By Rodney Yee

One November wind, in the dark of the night, blew the yellow leaves to the ground. The next morning we woke to bared, naked trees, able to see our neighbors house as if it had landed in our back yard. No longer were we cloaked in fall colors, no longer did we have the illusion of separateness.

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Perception

By Rodney Yee

December, 2010

November, 2010

Gratitude

By Julie Wolfe

The space between the breath… That pause that allows, brings expansive peace and love, a moment to go AH-HA. A moment to gaze at my sleeping son, smell the autumn air, notice the colors, details, the smiles.

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Gratitude

By Julie Wolfe

November, 2010

October, 2010

Discernment

By Robyn Moreno

“On the path of the tiger, we begin to look at our lives with an eye to what to cultivate and what to discard.” ~ Sakyong Mipham. When I was younger, my family used to call me “friend of the friendless” because I would befriend almost anyone. You name it: misfits, nutsos, ex-cons.

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Discernment

By Robyn Moreno

October, 2010

September, 2010

Groundlessness

By Stephanie Livaccari

“This is where tenderness comes in. When things are shaky and nothing is working, we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize this is a very vulnerable and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality. There is definitely something tender and throbbing about groundlessness.”

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Groundlessness

By Stephanie Livaccari

September, 2010

August, 2010

Connect and Disconnect

By Sarah Halweil

I recently heard an interview with author, William Powers, about his new book Hamlet’s Blackberry. He researched historical innovations such as the printing press that disseminated information and connected people but at the same time lessoned the amount of time spent in introspection, reflection and thought. The most recent innovations in this category—the Internet and smart phones.

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Connect and Disconnect

By Sarah Halweil

August, 2010

July, 2010

Balance

By April Martucci

Balance: in harmony or proportion. This is the Goal. It has been said in many scriptures that the goal of yoga is to reach Enlightenment. A person who is ‘enlightened’ is a being who is at One with all other beings, and is ALWAYS present. We work towards this, but we know and discover over and over how challenging this is, especially in today’s world where we are ‘plugged in’—often to a fault.

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Balance

By April Martucci

July, 2010

June, 2010

Concentration. Absorption. Happiness.

By Heather Lilleston

One of the main goals of the yoga practice is to develop ones concentration, known in Sanskrit as dharana. Through a keen narrowing in on a single point of focus, the fluctuating ripples of the mind are lassoed into one giant wave. As all the desires spiraling around in our consciousness weave together, anchoring lightly on one object, we enter the sweet state of dharana

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Concentration. Absorption. Happiness.

By Heather Lilleston

June, 2010

April, 2010

Authenticity

By Heidi Michel Fokine

Being is relaxed. Our deepest self, highest self, essential self, however you want to say it, is relaxed. Not collapsed. Relaxed, open, flowing with life force. All the benefits of yoga practice come by aligning with this essential beingness.

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Authenticity

By Heidi Michel Fokine

April, 2010

March, 2010

And Now, Yoga

By Geoffrey Nimmer

The very first line in the first book of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is “Atha-Yoganusasanum”, which translates as “Now the discipline of Yoga is explained.” The first word of the Sutra, “Atha” means “now.” Another way of interpreting this verse is that Yoga IS now. In other words, Yoga is the practice of being in the present moment.

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And Now, Yoga

By Geoffrey Nimmer

March, 2010

February, 2010

Bhakti Yoga

By Leah Kinney

At first glance, the loftiness of bhakti can seem overwhelming. However, at its base, bhakti is simply devotion initiated by and steeped in love. Bhakti’s loved fueled devotion is steadfast, engaged, mindful and compassionate. This love is modeled after relationships within our realm of understanding and experience.

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Bhakti Yoga

By Leah Kinney

February, 2010

January, 2010

Reflection

By Colleen Saidman Yee

Happy New Year fellow yogis! As 2009 comes to a close, I am remembering what Pema Chodron says, and that is: “At the beginning of every day, reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind. At the end of the day before going to sleep, think over what you have done. If you fulfilled your aspiration even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence and compassion in the days that follow.”

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Reflection

By Colleen Saidman Yee

January, 2010

December, 2009

Seva (Service)

By Kate Rabinowitz

Today I received a gift of service. My guinea pig Butterscotch just had a major surgery (I am not kidding) and I didn’t know how to care for him when leaving on a trip. Just today, my neighbor who cleans the house was here. She is also an EMT and helped when my son got into an accident. However, I never ask anything extra from her, as she works for three hours, does the same thing every week and then gets onto her other jobs. I never dare disturb her routine.

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Seva (Service)

By Kate Rabinowitz

December, 2009

November, 2009

Attitude of Grattitude

By Jenna Minardi

It is essential in life to notice the abundance all around you for it is your awareness of and gratitude for this abundance that attracts more of the same. I remember when the economy “crashed” last year and the fear whirling about it was palpable.

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Attitude of Grattitude

By Jenna Minardi

November, 2009

October, 2009

Listening

By Steve Eaton

being in music is like being in love or riding a wave or seeing a field of sunflowers disappear into Montauk mist on a mid September morning where all that’s left is a feeling

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Listening

By Steve Eaton

October, 2009

September, 2009

Thoughts on Transitions

By Mitten Wainwright

Life is constant transitions as we flow with Grace and live our lives to the fullest. We are born as our first transition into this body and leave it as our last.

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Thoughts on Transitions

By Mitten Wainwright

September, 2009

August, 2009

Tapas—Riding The Heat

By Lois Nesbitt

Tapas, like most Sanskrit words, means many things to many people. Most simply, tapas is heat, specifically the kind of heat generated by certain yogic practices, or a certain approach to yogic practice.

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Tapas—Riding The Heat

By Lois Nesbitt

August, 2009

July, 2009

Growth

By Kari Harendorf

Karma and I planted a root garden. I bought a kit where we plant a carrot, a radish and a green onion in glass tubes that are held in a wooden frame so you can see not only the shoots coming up, but the roots growing down into the soil. She is almost 4 and was so excited when she woke up the next day to run down into the kitchen and check on her garden. Until she saw it.

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Growth

By Kari Harendorf

July, 2009

June, 2009

Homage to Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

By Rodney Yee

I have always scratched my head in wonder at the mystery of how strongly my father affected me in every decision I have ever made without having an everyday contact with him.

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Homage to Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

By Rodney Yee

June, 2009

June, 2009

Embracing Impermanence

By Heather Lilleston

Impermanence is something we usually prefer to avoid facing. We like when things are settled and dependable. We like to know that when we come home it is how we left it, that when we fall in love, we will stay in love; we like the security of knowing who we are and what’s next.

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Embracing Impermanence

By Heather Lilleston

June, 2009

May, 2009

Choosing Happiness

By Colleen Saidman Yee

We heard this great line from a comedian named Louis CK. If you get a chance, check him out on YouTube. It is a wake up call put in a very funny package. I don’t know about you, but I am sick of complaining. We do live in an amazing time, but there seems to be a lack of gratitude. There are so many vehicles for communication, but what is being said?

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Choosing Happiness

By Colleen Saidman Yee

May, 2009

April, 2009

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

By Heidi Michel Fokine

Tadasana, mountain pose, the primary standing posture. Stand tall, legs together, spine erect, arms at your sides. That’s it. Tadasana may not seem super challenging, but understanding its essence is vital to mastering other poses. In this foundation posture we aim to cultivate steadiness within ourselves and in relation to the world around us.

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Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

By Heidi Michel Fokine

April, 2009

March, 2009

Something to Nothing, The Yogic Journey

By Manorama

In Yoga philosophy, the word nothing is loaded with rich meaning. It is not like in English where the word nothing is synonymous with something one throws out. The English dictionary defines nothing as something of no importance or concern. Yogic teachings, however, place primary importance on the idea of nothing.

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Something to Nothing, The Yogic Journey

By Manorama

March, 2009

February, 2009

What Is Yoga?

By Jennifer Frasher

I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t heard of Yoga. Being a yoga teacher I get a lot of questions and comments about what exactly you do in yoga class. It is assumed that yoga is stretching and breathing and by practicing it you will become healthier, calmer and generally a better person. That is all very true but what does Yoga really mean? Where did yoga come from? And what exactly are we doing when we say “oh yeah, I do yoga.”

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What Is Yoga?

By Jennifer Frasher

February, 2009

January, 2009

Shifting Your Perspective (Incessantly Talking Woman)

By Geoffrey Nimmer

A few years back, I went into Manhattan to take a few Yoga classes. In one of the classes the teacher presented the Yoga Sutra 2-33, “Vitarka Badhane Pratipaksha Bhavana.”

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Shifting Your Perspective (Incessantly Talking Woman)

By Geoffrey Nimmer

January, 2009

December, 2008

Santosa (Contentment)

By Colleen Saidman Yee

Holidays! Uggghhh. How do we navigate this season of so many mixed emotions? What is the key to our sanity when all is so chaotic? How can we keep our perspective in check in the midst of the hurricane?

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Santosa (Contentment)

By Colleen Saidman Yee

December, 2008

November, 2008

Ahimsa and Mindful Eating

By Sarah Halweil

The argument for nonviolent eating often gets simplified into 2 categories: “vegetarian” and “meat eater”. But, as I have learned through 18 years of being a vegetarian and now what I might call a mindful meat eater, the task of putting a meal on a plate is multi-faceted and quite complicated.

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Ahimsa and Mindful Eating

By Sarah Halweil

November, 2008

October, 2008

Identity, Sheaths of Being, And Truth (Kosas)

By Leah Kinney

In preparation for writing this month’s focus, I made a list. I wrote down all of my identities, the different roles that I play and identifying characteristics. It was a really long list. A list filled with general personal facts, specific personality traits, accomplishments, possessions, relationships, joys, sorrows, fears and other tidbits that make up “my story.”

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Identity, Sheaths of Being, And Truth (Kosas)

By Leah Kinney

October, 2008

September, 2008

Abhyasa (Practice)

By Jessica Bellofatto

As Labor Day comes and goes, and I (finally) stop procrastinating and sit down to write the September focus, a lot comes to mind. These past few weeks have been extremely difficult ones. We have experienced tragedy very close to home in this Yoga community, and it becomes for so many of us a kind of “wake-up” call. We have these practices of Yoga; these practices of asana, pranayama, meditation; these practices of cultivating mindfulness, cultivating attention.

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Abhyasa (Practice)

By Jessica Bellofatto

September, 2008

August, 2008

Meditate!

By Nikki Costello

I am sitting in a room with many others and we are meditating. At the end of this hour-long session, chimes ring to call us gently back from this space of silent absorption. Our teacher observes us as we all open our eyes and start to move. At first she says nothing. Then moments later she shares her observations. As I listen, I realize that she has seen me.

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Meditate!

By Nikki Costello

August, 2008

July, 2008

Sustaining; Maintaining Your Seat (Asana)

By Sarah Halweil

The Yoga Sutras define asana as the posture that brings comfort and steadiness. Sounds simple enough, right? The only problem is the challenges of everyday life, both physical and emotional, make it difficult to maintain this comfort and steadiness.

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Sustaining; Maintaining Your Seat (Asana)

By Sarah Halweil

July, 2008

June, 2008

Moving in Transition

By Subhadra Fleming

As the sun burns brighter in the sky, as it warms our days more thoroughly, we’re called to move – to walk, to garden, to ride bikes, to get out in the water – to be outside and mobile. I read that Martha Graham used to quote her father, a psychologist, as saying, “movement never lies.”

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Moving in Transition

By Subhadra Fleming

June, 2008

May, 2008

The Balance of Being

By Shana Kuhn-Siegel

I find myself mesmerized by the snapshots that I see: friends lunching together on the benches in Washington Square Park, bodies strewn in wild shapes all over Sheep’s Meadow in celebration of the fences finally opening, the vibrant shades of Green Market offerings in Union Square, lovers entangled everywhere, children clamoring for more time on the jungle gym, and the trees proudly showcasing their latest vivid designs.

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The Balance of Being

By Shana Kuhn-Siegel

May, 2008

April, 2008

Our Natural Breath

By Rodney Yee

We spend years in pranayama trying to free up the breath. It is slippery business. So many times we end up with a manipulated breath from concepts given to us by teachers, books, videos, and countless other influences. This manipulated breath often just covers up our habitual breath, which is a deeply ingrained breath pattern that has been imprinted off our ancestors. What is the breath inside the breath inside the breath? How in our yogic studies are we going to carefully dig out this priceless treasure?

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Our Natural Breath

By Rodney Yee

April, 2008

March, 2008

Grounding—Standing Firm Upon the Earth

By Leah Kinney

Somewhere between San Francisco and Chicago I lean over my sleeping neighbor, crane my neck and peer out of the window hoping to catch a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. I am very much an East Coast girl who gravitates toward sun and sand so the awesome rise of the Rockies never ceases to amaze me.

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Grounding—Standing Firm Upon the Earth

By Leah Kinney

March, 2008

February, 2008

One Love

By Colleen Saidman Yee

We have moments of clarity. We have moments where nothing is missing. We have moments where we are void of competition and fear. We have moments where we are not torn between us and them. They are the moments where we abide in our true state: ONE LOVE.

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One Love

By Colleen Saidman Yee

February, 2008

January, 2008

Inversions

By Sarah Halweil

Winter is a time of old growth passing so that new growth can take form. Trees shed leaves and gardens have ripened most of their fruit. Corn stalks and potato vines that remain in the field decompose and slowly become soil so that their parts can give life to new crops the next year. In the face of the natural cycle of endings and beginnings, it is also a time of looking at the past and future, contemplating regrets and making resolutions.

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Inversions

By Sarah Halweil

January, 2008

December, 2007

Honoring Simplicity in Life

By Erika Halweil

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”—Albert Einstein. This quote reminds me of how Jessica’s son, Jack, once described Vrksasana (tree pose). He advised all eager practitioners to “bring one foot up and keep the other one on the ground.”

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Honoring Simplicity in Life

By Erika Halweil

December, 2007

November, 2007

Gratitude

By Alexandra McLaughlin

The November Focus of the Month is ‘Gratitude,’ and is defined in the dictionary as ‘an appreciative awareness and thankfulness, as for kindness shown or something received.’

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Gratitude

By Alexandra McLaughlin

November, 2007

October, 2007

Practice (Abhyasa)

By Shana Kuhn-Siegel

I took a class with Genevieve Kapuler this morning and was humbled by the precision and the poetry of her instruction. The insightfulness of her teaching inspired me to remain present. There was no escaping.

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Practice (Abhyasa)

By Shana Kuhn-Siegel

October, 2007

September, 2007

Transitions

By Geoffrey Nimmer

Ah September, my favorite time of year. As a gardener and someone who works outside most of the time, I realize that I think that about each season. In the spring, I am preparing the beds and planting. The sowing of seeds and ideas is so exciting.

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Transitions

By Geoffrey Nimmer

September, 2007

June, 2007

Meditation

By Subhadra Fleming

According to Swami Satchidananda, yoga and meditation are one and the same, practiced with the goal of calming the mind. That’s why it can be said that all of yoga is based on the second sutra of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: “yogas chitta vritti nirodhah” Which means, the restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga.

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Meditation

By Subhadra Fleming

June, 2007

May, 2007

Karma

By Kari Harendorf

In order to bring a sense of continuity and cohesiveness to all of our classes and give teachers a theme to inspire and inform their teaching, Yoga Shanti is introducing a “Focus of the Month.” Jessica and Colleen chose to begin with the concept of “karma” and thought that I should be the person to write something about the topic since Karma is the name I chose for my daughter.

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Karma

By Kari Harendorf

May, 2007