Thursday, December 29, 2011

Yoga in the Art World

People sometimes forget that yoga is an art form, but luckily artists like Katie Grinnan and Meghan Currie are here to remind us. Take a look at Grinnan's sand sculpture and Currie's timelapse video on the Colossal design blog and we guarantee you'll have a newfound appreciation for the practice.

Thanks to yogi Sarah Calandro for sharing!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cats are the Most Helpful Yogis

There's no point in denying it: here at New York Yoga, we love a good cat video. Especially when it's a yoga cat video. Check this adorable video and you may soon start to teach your own cat to do yoga! After all, who doesn't love a little company in their practice?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Boutique Blowout, Holiday Style!

Hey New York Yogis, check out the sweet sale happening in our boutiques right now!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Top 5 Yoga Holiday Gifts

The holiday countdown has begun, and with mere days until we're exchanging gifts, why not shower your yoga friends and loved ones with yoga gifties? We've chosen some of our favorite for the season, all of which are available at our Hot Studio and York Studio boutiques.

1. Jade Yoga Mats
Eco-friendly and skidless, these yoga mats last a long time. In a variety of colors and thicknesses, you can't go wrong!

 2. Indego Africa Yoga Mat Bag
These fair-trade yoga bags from Indego Africa come in a variety of patterns, and are perfect for the yogi on the go. All bags are made by the Cocoki women's cooperative in Rwanda.

 3. Toesox

Strengthen foot muscles, increase circulation and improve posture with Toesox for yoga! "Toed" and "un-toed" Toesox with grips are available in a variety of colors, too.

 4. Happy Yoga by Steve Ross

Master Yogi Steve Ross traveled the world to better his practice, and found along the way that a lot of the humor the Eastern masters used was missing from Western yogic culture. In this book, though, he instructs us on how to find it again.

5. New York Yoga Bandanna

Beat the heat and snag a cotton New York Yoga Bandanna for your favorite New York Yogi, also in a variety of colors.

Happy holidays!

Teacher of the Month: Linda Winnick

Linda Winnick has had a very blessed, busy decade. She has been teaching yoga constantly over the past ten years. She is apprentice to Glenn Black, a multiple studio owner, a Teacher Training Director, has a Master of Arts in Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Philosophy, and has developed her own style called Shakti Yoga… and that’s just to name a few of her accomplishments.

Linda is also directing the next 200 hour Teacher Training course here at New York Yoga! If you are interested in becoming a teacher you can not go wrong in the loving hands of such an experienced yogi. She will help your practice grow, encourage your creativity, and shape you to be the yoga teacher you are meant to be. Linda’s teachings are based on her commitment to the discipline of yoga, with a focus on form, alignment, philosophy, and the cultivation of Shakti (Inner Power).

Linda, when did you first discover yoga?
Besides satisfying my bizarre interest at a young age by reading books at the library about yoga and martial arts when I was in elementary school, I was introduced to Sivananda at FIT. We did it in the gym with dimmed lights in a circle on gym mats. I remember visiting the ashram center in NYC and knew one day I would be ‘one of them’. I just had to burn off some necessary karma. I became a more dedicated student after I studied Oyama Karate with the founder of that school. I needed to learn respect and how to bow first. Then I dove into Jivamukti when it was on Second Avenue.  That was when Sharon and David would teach morning classes almost every day! I was in love with the philosophy, the smells of incense, the colors and images of the deities. I probably had no clue about doing asana properly. It was all about this mystical experience.

How long have you been teaching?
I have been teaching since 2000. I graduated from Sivananda as all the teachers I respected had this as one of their first certifications. I had just completed my Master of Arts in Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Philosophy and I gave myself the gift of going to an ashram for a month. I had a three-year-old son, so being on the ashram and its rigid schedule was refreshing in comparison to the incredible responsibilities of mothering a young child and completing a 225-page Master’s thesis. I began teaching in a hospital where I was doing my research on using ayurveda and yoga to treat addiction. The patients of the detox/rehab at the hospital were my first yoga students/victims. I taught them on gym mats in their dining hall in scrubs (very much like the Sivananda deal I was used to!).  I can say I have had an amazing teaching streak ever since it took off.  I would teach 25 classes a week and privates between classes for 8 years.  In my first year of teaching I got offered a faculty position at the Omega Institute, which I still enjoy. They have offered a variety of my workshops for 10 years in Rhinebeck. I taught for them in Costa Rica for four years as well. 

Most of my experience has come from the thousands of hours of teaching (over 10k at this point). I have had a lot of students who have give me the opportunity to really understand asana and the body.  I don’t have a large collection of certificates, but I have been studying with Glenn Black who has such a unique approach to yoga that it has morphed away from what we commonly know as “yoga asana.” I really like the pioneers who were brave enough to believe in what they see and not have blinders on because tradition dictates consistency and conformity to the tradition (aka dogma). I am very Aquarian in my inability to conform to a particular style. As an Ayurvedist, I need a lot of freedom to manipulate the variables in teaching asana in order to make an effective and hopefully intelligent sequence. I am also a bit of an anatomy and physiology nerd.

I have recently been offered to take over another yoga studio in Woodstock, NY making it my fourth studio. Besides being offered the Director’s position for New York Yoga’s Spring Teacher Training, I was also asked to be the East Coast Director of an Ayurvedic Certification Program. I have been bestowed with some wonderful gifts in my decade year of teaching!

What makes your class unique?
I am really about fun and creativity. I enjoy being entertaining as well as educational. I am incredibly enthusiastic about Yoga and Ayurveda, freeing ourselves from our own and self-inflicted pain, making the philosophy and Ayurveda accessible, and self-empowerment. I try to bring this to every class because having a really good time while we get healthy will encourage and motivate us to practice. My classes are improvised. I have worked so closely with asana for so many hours that I really like creating new patterns. I also like to go beyond the “normal” asanas. This is a skill I have developed by studying with Glenn Black. He has “given” me the freedom to work like this because of the freedom he has for himself as a non-conformist yogi.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Strangely enough, bhujangasana - Cobra. I think I have seen the most postural breakthroughs with understanding the placement of shoulders, arms and sternum for students that reduce back pain.

What is you favorite pose to practice? 
Anything that is upside down, on my hands balancing, combined with a twist!

Best advice for beginners?
Make it your business to find an experienced, loving, safe teacher who is patient and really knows how to teach you about yoga.  Stick with them once you find him/or her!

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Keep keeping it real. 

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
“Yogatude”. We try to get freed up and then we get trapped in another box.  Our egos get wrapped up in our views of false superiority by aligning to a particular way. I believe in intelligence and correctly introducing all aspects of yoga, but nobody has any ownership or a specific angle. I think the trade marking is so wild. Aparigraha in its "parigraha" form (Non Grasping in Grasping) is so ironic and so un-revolutionary. Though, I do also believe it shouldn’t be a free for all and we should respect each other’s efforts and not say we are from lineages that we truly don’t have rights to claim. I guess we need legal protection until we all become enlightened!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Specials at New York Yoga!

Still need something for that special someone this holiday season? Try a New York Yoga gift card or stocking stuffer special and give the gift of Om!

Yoga in New York, featuring New York Yoga!

Check out this beautiful video by Wari Om, featuring yoga teachers from (and practicing) all across New York. Can you spot the New York Yoga teachers?? : )

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Yoga Gets into Med School

In this fascinating article from BU Today, the Boston University student newspaper, writer Leslie Friday profiles a new yoga class for medical students in her article "Yoga Gets into Med School." So far, the class has shown the students have not only reduced stress levels but increased positive thinking. All you med students on the Upper East Side, this one's for you! Come to class and let it all go. 

Crumpled and Uncrumpled

By Elyssa Goodman
New York Yoga Social Media Manager

If you've been at New York Yoga for more than a year, then you know you get a lovely little message celebrating your yearly anniversary with the studio. I recently got my own message for the first time (yay, one year at New York Yoga!) and it made me reflect about the first time I went to the studio. It was such a great experience that I actually wrote about it on my blog, Miss Manhattan, in a post entitled "Crumpled and Uncrumpled." To celebrate my one year anniversary with New York Yoga, I wanted to share it with you here, so take a look and enjoy! Have you had a similar experience at the studio?

Holiday Lovin'

Hey New  York Yogis! We're so glad so many of you were able to join us at our Holiday Party last week. Here are some photos from the event, so be sure to check them out. A big shoutout to our Hot Studio Manager Ryan Lile for throwing such a great party. Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

New York Yoga Goes International!

Saskia Slaaf is not only an avid New York Yogi, but also a model. Dutch television program Niveau TV featured Saskia in a recent "Day in the Life" segment, featuring her practice at New York Yoga (starting at 6:05)! Check out the video here.

Finding a Home to Practice

We all know how important it is to feel at home at a yoga studio because the practice is so personal. Personal trainer and blogger Michael Baptiste writes about this experience in his blog, Scales on Fire, in regard to his new home at New York Yoga. Thank you so much, Michael, for the lovely review, and we look forward to seeing you again! Click here to view the post.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sounds Like Yoga, Volume 13

We've got another Sounds Like Yoga playlist from Teresa Harris this week, so get ready to rock your yoga practice with tunes from Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and many more!

Our Holiday Party is Tomorrow!

Hey New York Yogis,
Don't forget our annual Holiday Party is tomorrow! Stop by from 7pm-10pm at our York Studio for delicious food from Candle 79, a membership raffle, music, fun, and much more. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pose of the Month: Vasisthasana

December – Vasisthasana or Side Plank

By Rebecca Merritt

Let Vasisthasana help you balance instead of juggle holiday stresses and schedules. It is the perfect pose to help you regain focus, and maybe even stretch your limits.

In a text called Yoga Vasistha, Sage Vasistha helps Prince Rama discover spiritual revelation and wholeness. In the story Vasistha encourages Rama to move away from the physical, material, reality and towards a more satisfying spiritual life.

As the Holidays approach, we tend to think of gifts only as those things we receive wrapped up in boxes. Perhaps this year, take the time to think of the gifts wrapped up in you and in all the wonderful loved ones of your world.

Let Vasisthasana remind you that you have the steadiness to handle whatever the Holidays throw your way and the vastness to add to your joy every year!

  • Improves balance
  • Strengthens wrists, arms, legs
  • Encourages strong core and lower back
  • Stretches the hips
  • Full Variation: stretches the groin, inner thigh and hamstring of the lifted leg

How To:

1. From Plank Pose, roll to the outside edge of the right foot and stack the left foot on top of the right. Reach the left hand toward the sky or to the hip first as you find your balance. Make sure your right hand is directly under shoulder to ensure proper support.

2. Stretch in one long line, reaching with the feet and lengthening to the crown of the head. Roll the shoulder blades together down the back to broaden the chest. Stretch long through the right hand. Ground into the hand to help lift the left hip toward the sky.

3. Hold the pose and breathe. When you are ready, return to Plank and take the pose on the other side.


V1. For help with balance, the stacked foot can step behind to provide more stability.

V2. To move deeper into the pose you can play with taking the stacked leg to the sky – either just lifting the left leg away from the right, flexing the foot and working the legs or by bending the knee and grabbing the toes in yogi toe-lock with the left hand, to stretch even further. See pictures below.



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sounds Like Yoga, Volume 12

This edition of New York Yoga's Sounds Like Yoga series is brought to you by New York Yoga instructor Teresa Harris. It's an indie-licious playlist, featuring the likes of Bon Iver, MGMT, Beck, and so many more. Click here to listen. Catch Teresa's 90-Minute Hot Vinyasa class on Saturdays from 11am to 12:30pm at our Hot Studio on 85th and Lexington.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Teacher of the Month: Juliana Mitchell

By Rebecca Merritt

Juliana is caring, devoted, and motivational teacher who will have a major influence on your practice. She will meet you at your level, explain how perfect you are in this very moment, then inspire you to take your yoga practice a little deeper simply by being her sweet self. At New York Yoga, Juliana specializes in Restorative Yoga but can also be found teaching Vinyasa, Prenatal Yoga and various workshops (including a Yoga & Chocolate workshop when we are particularly lucky). She is also on the faculty for New York Yoga’s 200 hour Teacher Training Program.

You can join Juliana in sharing her love for Restorative Yoga every Thursday at 3:05pm and Sunday at 7:15pm, both at our York Studio. For those of you who have not yet experienced Juliana’s Restorative classes you are truly missing out on a treat. Restorative Yoga is the dessert of your practice; it will help you lengthen your breath, de-stress, heal and (of course) restore.


 When did you first discover yoga?
When I was 6, I saw the gymnast Nadia Commaneci do a routine on tv and I was in total awe! Deciding to practice every day until I could do splits and backbends like her, I concocted some intuitive way of teaching myself. Unwittingly, I had begun my asana practice. Then when I was about 10, my Mom found Yoga and practiced for a time under Gurudev (aka Amrit Desai). She and I are extremely close, so witnessing the way Yoga brought her joy and balance was incredibly impactful for me. Mom taught me some more poses, introduced me to the concepts of non-duality and non-attachment, and exposed me to the practices of meditation and chanting.

How long have you been teaching?
In 2001, I was practicing Sun Salutations under a tree by myself and in an instance there was a distinct shift like a crack of lightning: This. This path. This path of Yoga. My life has been consciously committed to this path ever since. In 2004 I underwent a Yoga Teacher Training at OM Yoga and was blessed to find opportunities to start teaching right away. Since then, I’ve continued to deepen my studies with a teacher I love named Judith Lasater as well as with some time studying in India (primarily Atma Vikasa Yoga and a little bit in the Swami Rama tradition), and through many other paths as well.

What makes your class unique?
My teaching style is both precise and playful. I like to use rich, evocative language as a teaching tool, blending an encouragement to connect the Inner Wisdom with detailed explorations of anatomy & kinesiology. Paying homage to the breath one moment at a time, my classroom is a non-competitive, non-judgmental arena. Above all, I offer each class as an adventure, a journey back toward that part of ourselves which is already and always has been whole.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
I love to teach so many poses. Hip openers, forward bends, twists. Gosh! Tadasana. Anjeneyasana. Dancer. Eagle. So many poses. But, let us not confuse the poses for the Yoga. That is like confusing the diamond ring for the marriage. That’s my favorite ‘pose’ to teach.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
It changes. Right now, Cow Face and Pigeon.

Best advice for beginners?
There is no such thing as being good at Yoga.
And there is no such thing as being bad at Yoga.
Just show up, exactly as you are.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
“In the life of the spirit, we are always at the beginning.” – The Book of Runes

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
While perhaps different than a peeve (and perhaps not!), I would like to call out to my vast yoga family (teachers and students of all lineages, all styles, all traditions): Let us please remember that we are all One under the great tree of Yoga. May we show grace, humility, love and respect with our words and our actions when we speak of traditions of Yoga or of other Yoga teachers, whose ways we may not understand. May we forge a unity of diversity within the Yoga community, and in doing so light a beacon of possibility for the world!
“Peace is every step.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Reader questions…

Why is a Restorative yoga practice important?
We are, by and large, a culture of compulsive do-ers and think-ers. And this compulsive doing and thinking of ours creates a monstrous stress that impairs the body and squelches the spirit. If we look at many of the faces on the subway and see what you see, I expect we will find a great deal of culturally normalized fear and gripping and hardness. While Restorative Yoga draws us back into the cradle of ease that is our true nature, this is a place from which the body can heal and the spirit can lift. Now, look around at the faces of a roomful of Yogis after they’ve practiced Restorative Yoga, and see what you see. You’ll see openness and ease and beauty.

How does yoga affect your everyday life?
The yoga practice has infused me with a light heart, a healthy body and a resilient spirit. This treasury is there for me every day. Jai!

Passions besides yoga?
The biggest passion in my life is my husband Travis, and celebrating and building our marriage. Also, I have an amazing family and phenomenal group of friends. I love time with family and friends, doing anything or nothing. Also, I love cats. I love all cats. And I especially love the two Zen Master cats with whom I live, Spock & Thor. I love to laugh. I love New York City. I love good food, love veggilicious food. Love to read. Love Yoga. D’oh! It all comes around back to that for me…

Jenny Gammello in Forbes Magazine!

Hey New York Yogis! Our one and only Jenny Gammello is featured in the December issue of Forbes! Check out a blurb and the link below!

"After graduating from Carnegie Mellon in 2005 Jenny Gammello spent two years in New York City struggling to launch an acting career ­before deciding to make her peace with grown-up job reality—and study for the LSAT. But a funny thing happened on Gammello’s way to law school. She answered a Craigslist ad from a local yoga studio and found she could make a living doing something she enjoyed even more than acting."
-"How Millenials Can Survive and Thrive in the New Economy," Forbes

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sounds Like Yoga, Volume 11

This edition of Sounds Like Yoga comes from instructor Aubrey Lampkin, featuring the sounds of Massive Attack, Handsome Boy Modeling School, Broken Bells, and much more! Catch Aubrey's hot vinyasa class on Thursdays from 6:30pm-7:50pm at our Hot Studio on E. 85th Street. Check out the playlist here on our YouTube channel!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Power. Yoga. Power Yoga.

Check out this really interesting article by Paul Kendall in London's Telegraph, "Power yoga: how money has changed a spiritual pursuit," about the relationship between people of power and yoga. Here's a preview:

"Suddenly, it’s not only acceptable for alpha males to do yoga; it’s considered by many to be a badge of honour. Billionaire investor Guy Hands, the British chairman of EMI, is a fan. So too are Peter Mandelson (who’s admitted a penchant for “hot” Bikram yoga) and Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former chief-of-staff. Russell Simmons, the multimillionaire founder of the hip hop label, Def Jam, does a one-and-a-half hour yoga workout every day and Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was a devotee of the Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda. When he died last month, it’s claimed the only book Jobs had downloaded on his iPad 2 was Yogananda’s Autobiography Of A Yogi."

babybites Babies' First Halloween Party at New York Yoga

We were so excited to host the babybites Babies' First Halloween Party at our studio this past Halloween! Check out some photos below.