Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall 2010 Retreat Highlights: It was a Yoga Miracle

  • Beginning the day with a car rental pick up 'Um, excuse me sir, you want me to fit 3 people, 11 mats, 11 bolsters, blocks and straps in a Volkswagen beetle?'. Thankfully, we were given a larger car, at least where trunk space was concerned and got on the road. Not without first leaving the trunk open as we pulled away and then noticing that I had inadvertently popped the hood somewhere on the Harlem River Drive. Road trips are not without their bumps, right?
  • Hot apple cider upon arrival at The Waterfall House. Thanks Chad!
  • Tag team yoga with Jenny and Jimmy first night followed by the first of many amazing meals by Paco. Rain? What rain? 
  • The. Hot. Tub.
  • Waterfall hikes!
  • No cell service! Eep!
  • Saturday night Kirtan - Thanks Sarah for getting creative with the bouncy ball
  • Paco
  • Yoga photos for all! 
  • Wood burning fires
  • 5 amazing yoga classes
  • Perfect Durga Puja to close the retreat

Thank you to everyone that made our first retreat wonderful!
  Save the Date! - Summer 2011 - Mid-June!

Meet the Teacher of the Month

Cari Friedman has been teaching at New York Yoga for many years and is currently teaching 4:45pm and a 6:30pm class on Fridays. Cari delivers an Anusara class that is both challenging and gentle all in one. Class is challenging because you will have an invigorating class, and probably get to practice your handstand, and gentle because she provides a supportive space for students to meet themselves on the mat and explore.

Cari will encourage you to find the good in all things. She teaches from a place that incorporates personal experience, fun and the Universal Principles of Alignment. She is a busy mom, devoted yogi and one of New York Yoga’s shining elite.

Cari, when did you first discover yoga?
When I was 21 – my best friend was becoming a teacher and I wanted to support her.

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching for 10 years; under Max Strom, in 2001, and experienced my first Anusara training with Jimmy & Ruthie Bernaert and Ellen Saltonstall, in 2001-2002.  I’ve continued to study with John Friend and other senior Anusara teachers since then.

What makes your class unique?
I encourage my students to step into their authenticity while offering humility, and playfulness.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Handstand – because its one of the most exciting poses, its fun, it shakes you up. By taking you upside-down the pose makes you approach yourself. For most people it’s scary but that’s all in the mind. I like that handstand makes you step up to yourself and face that fear.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
No one pose.  Inversions are definitely a favorite, I like backbends because they are challenging and twists because they are healing and replenishing.

Best advice for beginners?
Remember that you are your own greatest teacher. Listen to how you feel and trust it. Do not be shy to ask questions and always state your concerns.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
To stay humble and to always honor the beginner’s principle – remember you are always a student; always try to have a beginner’s mind.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
I don’t think I have a pet peeve – but it’s always distracting when a mobile devise goes off in class.

How does teaching in an Anusara style influence your class?
When we open to the first principle “Open to Grace” we can open with a pause, a breath, to expand and find ourselves back to our most subtle and honest space.  From there we can apply the following Principles of Alignment to support us in coming back to our true nature. When we align to that nature through our bodies we empower & stabilize which encourages our freedom.  When we feel this from the inside out, we walk away remembering we are a part of something greater.

Has being a mom taught you anything new about yoga?
Being a mom is the ultimate yoga of patience and presence. Having a child makes you step up; as a mother you can’t be passive, you must participate and a child commands every second you have. You are alive, awake and as present as possible.

I have found that being a mom is one of the most incredible ways in which you can heal yourself. It has supported me in my own healing process as a woman – I have become a better person by having my daughter.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Surrender to Savasana

October - Pose of the Month

Changing seasons force us to adjust to different weather, schedules, clothing, et al. In our yoga practice and daily life, its important that we take the time to be still and accept the changes. Savasana, or Corpse Pose, allows us the time to physically and mentally accept all that is changing around us.

Benefits of the pose include but are not limited to:
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Relaxes the body
  • Reduces headache, fatigue and insomnia
  • Helps lower blood pressure
How to - 

1. Rotate your legs in and out, and then let them fall gently out to a neutral position

2. Let your arms fall alongside your body, slightly separated from the body, palms facing upwards.

3. Rotate the spine by turning your head from side to side to center it.

4. Then start stretching yourself out, as though someone is pulling your head away from your feet, your shoulders down and away from your neck, your legs down and away from your pelvis.

5. Breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen.

6. Stay in this pose for 5 minutes for every 30 minutes of practice. To exit, first roll gently with an exhalation onto one side, preferably the right. Take 2 or 3 breaths. With another exhalation, press your hands against the floor and lift your torso, dragging your head slowly after. The head should always come up last.