By Heidi Michel Fokine, December, 2012

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. Each morning we would run to see if he had visited. I can no longer remember what gifts we discovered, I can remember the feel of my chilly, smooth, red leather slippers and the look of absolute joy on my mother’s face, reflecting our wonder at the magical visitation.

Gifts are exciting. They are full of energy and have momentum. They can carry emotional power. At best, they are freely given and fully received. A little something wrapped in paper, tied with a ribbon can be a token of appreciation, a commemoration of time spent together,of energy expended and ideas exchanged. Gifts are a kind of punctuation in a relationship and signify connection.

In terms of our natural born talents, what are these gifts if not shared? In this realm where there might be no concrete object, the line between giving and receiving is less defined, more fluid. Musicians needs listeners, teachers needs students and vice versa. Gratitude is the fulcrum upon which our gifts turn.

The looping exchange of what we have to offer creates the fabric of our community at Yoga Shanti, in other words…our Kula. For me, being part of it really has been the gift that keeps on giving.
In the spirit of the Kula we hope you will join us in helping to brighten the lives of children affected by hurricane Sandy. We will be sponsoring a toy drive. From now until December 20th there will be a box at Yoga Shanti where you can drop off an unwrapped gift for a child age 0-16.

Thank you, every one of you for what you bring to our community.

Heidi Michel Fokine

A daydreamer by nature but not lacking the determination to pursue technique as a means to realize the dream, Heidi studied modern dance at North Carolina School of the Arts, graduating with a BFA in 1981. While working as a professional dancer in New York City she discovered yoga at Jivamukti in 1991, which led her to study in the Iyengar tradition with Genevieve Kapuler and Rodney Yee. She has also studied Light Body energy work and meditation with Diane Goldner, and movement with Martha Yoshida. She is currently studying Q'ero Shamanism with The Four Winds Society and is a full mesa carrier. Heidi acknowledges the influence her wonderful teachers and students have had on her life including her parents, sisters, husband Chris and sons Elias and Wyatt. She has been teaching on Shelter Island since 1995 and at Yoga Shanti in Sag Harbor since 1999 and was part of the faculty of the Yoga Shanti Teacher Training 2009-2014. She leads retreats and offers a 200hr TT at The Giving Room in Southold, NY.

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