Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sounds Like Yoga, Volume 2

This week's playlist is from New York Yoga instructor April Evans. It features great tunes from Cat Stevens (below), Peggy Lee, The Ditty Bops and many more! Check it out on our YouTube channel here and get your yoga on. Can you really turn down a face like this?

Monday, May 23, 2011

LeBron Loves Yoga!

In a recent Miami Herald article, LeBron James, a star of the Miami Heat basketball team, is said to have used an offseason exercise regimen of yoga, Pilates, and swimming to amp up the court endurance he is known for.

From the Miami Herald article by Joseph Goodman:
“Does it work for everybody? I don’t know,” James said Friday. “I’m not a guru about how to be in the best condition — don’t let me sit here and tell you that. But it works for me.”

As of now, James is second only to Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng in time on the court, clocking in an average 43.4 minutes per playoff game to Deng's 43.5. In Game 2 of the second Eastern Conference playoff game, James logged 45 minutes. If he keeps up with the yoga, he might be on the court even more!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sounds Like Yoga, Volume 1

The tunes our New York Yoga teachers use in class help us relax, focus, and even give us a rhythm to incorporate into our practice. Don't you wish you had access to the playlists outside of class? Well, now you do! We're going to start adding teachers' playlists to our new YouTube channel, so be sure to check them out. Our first playlist is from NYY teacher Jimmy Burgio is serene, calming, and sure to get you practice-ready.

May Teacher of the Month: Dayle Pivetta

By Rebecca Merritt

Dayle Pivetta really had to think about it when I asked her what makes her class unique. I, on the other hand, can tell you easily that it is Dayle’s warmth, playfulness and awareness that keep her students smiling through their hot vinyasa flow. She teaches alignment-based classes that encourage you to focus on how a pose feels in your body today, because you may not be in the same place tomorrow.

Dayle teaches with grace and ease, while cracking jokes and getting you to go a little deeper. Her sense of humor and rocking playlist may keep things moving and light but she believes yoga is a spiritual practice too. So check your ego at the door and be open to every experience this radiant teacher has to offer. You can check out Dayle at New York Yoga Hot for 90 minute Hot Vinyasa on Wednesdays at 9:30am and for 75 minute Hot Vinyasa on Sundays at 6:30pm.

When did you first discover yoga?
I first discovered yoga in college because I wanted to do it as a credit, but I hated it because the class was really early in the morning. So I rediscovered yoga after moving to NYC in 2007. My first actual yoga class was a naked yoga class. I was so nervous – I just figured that in naked yoga there could be totally no ego, nothing to fear or hide. I only did it once. I learned I liked yoga but that I like clothes too.

How long have you been teaching?
I got my certification at Sonic Yoga in 2008, and have been teaching ever since. I just added on little by little. And I’ve been at New York Yoga for almost a year now. I feel like this is really where I found my niche.

What makes your class unique?
I guess me. I don’t take myself too seriously and I try not to take yoga too seriously either. I just try to bring my experience and my practice to my students. My interpretations of the poses and flow focus on alignment but its more feeling based than anatomy based. Everyone can experience what it feels like to open the back of your leg or to open your heart and it’s a little less technical.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Pyramid pose because there are so many things to teach about it, you can always add on and it’s so opening. Once you’ve done that pose everything feels a little easier after. There is a great balance between effort and ease in the pose. You have to use your muscles from the ground up and then you can surrender your torso over the thigh. There is always that combo of effort and ease in the poses but this is a great one to feel it.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
I always think of my least favorite poses first – they always open something up in me. Like malasana, I hate it, but I do it because I know I need it. For my favorite, it may be triangle pose. It’s come a long way and become a totally different pose for me; it always feels expansive.

Best advice for beginners?
Let go of your ego. Always listen to your body, learning how to listen to your self – that’s yoga. Don’t come in with expectations. Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge the practice, and don’t judge your body. Just let it happen and be open to the experience. Yoga is a very spiritual practice and that’s what will keep you coming back to it again and again.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Same. Let go of your expectations and your ego. Just because you can do a certain pose one day doesn’t mean you will always be able to do it. Every day is different. Keep a beginners mind; keep your mind open.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
When people have yoga pet peeves, or people judging other people in yoga. I don’t want to judge people. They can do what they want, and what they need to do.

The only thing that sometimes bothers me is when people disturb each others’ practice. Like if you’re going to leave class early, for example, leave before savasana. Or just stay the last five minutes. It is worth it.

Reader questions…

What are your passions besides yoga?
For the last two years I have been finding my niche. I’ve been teaching kids yoga and love that. I also love art and music is a huge thing for me. I used to be a performer so music is a very big deal. Let’s see… life, love, and the pursuit of happiness? People for sure – making them smile, making people feel and helping them on their path.

What are the top three songs on your yoga playlist right now?
Mumford and Sons – “Awake My Soul”
Eddie Vedder – “Hard Sun”
Mat Kearney – “Breathe In, Breathe Out”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dating a Yoga Goddess

In her delightful essay "Dating a Yoga Goddess" on Elephant Journal, Alex Smith writes honestly and humorously about the romantic life of the Yoga Goddess: "a woman from a Western civilization who teaches yoga for a living, especially in a metropolis of some kind, is a complicated creature who has elected to remove her Western goggles and instead apply and be guided by Eastern philosophies and practices of self-actualization." The Yoga Goddess is certainly not a force to be trifled with, and thereby requires a set of specific dating principles. Are you a Yoga Goddess? Have you dated a Yoga Goddess? Check it out and tell us what you think!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Yogini TV

One of the reasons we're so excited about our instructors is that they always have cool yoga projects going on! This includes instructor Jenny Gammello's bimonthly yoga series "Yogini" on ClickVisionTV, an online social video channel. "Yogini" features three yoginis--Gammello, another NYY instructor April Evans, and NYY General Manager LeighAnn Monteith, demonstrating varying degrees of yoga practice, strength, and flexibility. Each video is ten minutes and will build on instruction as the series progresses. Episodes one and two are already out, so become a member of the "Yogini" channel on ClickVision TV and watch today!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Surrender into Spring with Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

By Rebecca Merritt

Anjaneyasana will help you build strength and find flexibility but it is so much more than that. This pose encourages an open heart and surrender all at the same time. You surrender and sink into your front hip while lifting your arms and heart to the sky. It is a pose that feels like May. As we start to see Spring life all around, reaching for the sky from muddy roots, many of us will start to speed through the sun lit hours or start to plan way ahead for Summer. Instead, try to think of the focus of Crescent Lunge – surrender to the moment and open your heart to the possibilities of each day.

  • Improves flexibility in your hips, legs, knees and back
  • Strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings and groin
  • Improves balance
  • Relieves tension in the hips
  • Helps relieve low back pain
  • Builds confidence
How to:

1. From downward facing dog, step your right foot forward between your hands on the exhale. Find a low lunge; knee directly over ankle. Bring your left knee to the floor and inch it back until you start to feel a stretch in the left thigh. Turn the top of the left foot to the mat.

2. Inhale the arms up overhead. Lengthen your torso and let your tailbone drop down towards the floor and you draw your pubic bone up.
3. Lunge forward slightly and open your heart by drawing the shoulder blades towards each other on the back. Look up to your hands to find the backbend.
4. To come out of the pose, exhale your hands to frame your front foot, lift your back knee to find low lunge and press back to downward facing dog.
5. Repeat on left side.

Teacher of the Month: Lisa Goldstein Angerame

By Rebecca Merritt

“I am a very highly trained person,” Lisa laughs. She is not kidding! Lisa initially trained with Baron Baptiste, completing his Level 1 and Level 2 programs; today she is considered a senior Certified Baptiste teacher. She also studied with Jonny Kest and took anatomy training with Paul Grilley. In 2006 she did Prenatal Yoga training at New York Yoga; in 2008 she trained at Jivamukti completing her 300 hour certification. She completed a 500 hour apprenticeship later that same year, and in January received Advanced Certification – and these are just to name the few she could remember while walking her son, Luke, through the park as we spoke on the phone.

All the education comes through in Lisa’s classes. She is a teacher of precision and focus offering a challenging class full of heart. “I only teach what I know and what I do myself. I’m still a student; the more I grow, the more I bring into the class as a teacher.” Lisa’s wide range of experience helps make her classes a space to surrender to your mat and also to evolve your practice. You are guaranteed a headstand and maybe even a forearm stand now that she has conquered the pose herself. Lisa will encourage you to go at your own pace, face your fears and to be a better yogi on and off the mat.
Check out Lisa’s 8:25am classes on Tuesday and Thursdays at New York Yoga Hot.

When did you first discover yoga?
I took my first class in 1999. While I was at the gym I saw there was a class being offered and took it not really knowing what it was. I was very emotional after and thought – what is this, this is not regular exercise, and then just had to know what yoga was all about.

How long have you been teaching?
Since 2005. That’s six years this April!

What makes your class unique?
I think it’s unique because my class is focused and challenging. It’s hard, but there’s a lot of love and gratitude in there. There are also years of my own experience being brought to the table; I really like to give all that to my students.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Forearm Stand, Pincha Mayurasana. My experience of the pose is very personal, on all levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. So now I want to give the pose to my students on all of those levels. Forearm Stand is incredibility empowering.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
Forearm stand – it took me many years to accomplish it. I always wanted to know why I couldn’t get into the pose. I wanted to know why I was afraid and what was holding me back. It was a fascinating personal thing for me so I practiced it every day until I had a breakthrough. It actually came while teaching a private student and teaching her Flying Crow. I extended my leg back and had a true awakening about my psoas muscle and moving from my center. This created a new awareness of my body and how I walk through life.

Best advice for beginners?
Listen to the teacher because their insights are invaluable. Allow the whole thing just happen; if you let it, the secret of yoga will unfold before you. Don’t let the practice frustrate you, just let it unfold.

Don’t look at anybody else in the room. Comparing yourself to others in room is the worst thing you can do. The other worst thing is trying to get into a pose without the foundation, the building blocks. It could mean a year of thinking about it and breaking it down and experiencing the different elements of the pose, but you can’t just go for end results without walking the path.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Keep challenging yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
To me it is very defiant and completely unnecessary when students take their own variations of a pose that the teacher has not called out. It is disrespectful to the teacher, the practice, their own practice, and to other students in the room. If someone surrenders to what is happening in room and around them, the magic will arise. If they refuse to surrender their practice, and their life, will remain the same. They will never move forward, never grow.

Reader questions…

How has being a mom changed your practice?
My biggest challenge was rediscovering my body. I suddenly had to deal with tight hamstrings and getting my mula bandha back. The first day I went back to practice I went to inhale, exhale, fold forward and my body did not do what I thought it was going to do. It was like working with a whole new version of me.

How do you bring yoga into your life off the mat?
I try to stay as focused, conscious, and aware in the present moment with everything that I’m doing so that I don’t miss anything especially things that my son is doing. I work hard not to project into the future and worry. I try to walk the yoga talk.

My husband and I also practice a vegan lifestyle so that we do not contribute to any violence in the world. The first Yama in the Yoga Sutras is Ahimsa, or nonviolence. We do the best we can and that is so important in raising our son too. Oh my goodness, Luke is hugging a tree right now while I’m telling you this! I’m not kidding – I’m going to send you a picture.

Why do you teach headstand every class?
Headstand is one of the most important poses. It is called the king of the asanas. It is calming, anti-aging, great for the circulatory system, and turns your perspective upside down. It is a pose that teaches patience, consciousness, and awareness. Headstand represents the fact, that if you work hard and focus, anything can happen.