Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People

The way we present our unclothed bodies says a lot about us, especially to Kate Bartolotta. Bartolotta is a massage therapist who contributed this great article, "Eight Things I Learned from 50 Naked People," to Elephant Journal back in September. As she says, our muscles and our skin tell a story of ourselves, so it's best to be truthful at all times, no matter how difficult it may be.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The "Curvy Yoga" Debate

It's been a trend recently for studios to offer "full-figured" or "curvy" yoga classes, based on the idea that some poses in yoga are not easy for people of all shapes and sizes as perhaps we would like to believe. Many in the yoga community have opined about the subject, stating that yes, curvy yoga is a good way to diminish self-esteem issues that a typical yoga class might present for a full-figured person; or no, that having separate classes goes directly against yoga's philosophy of unity. Check out this article on YogaDork for more information. How do you feel about the subject?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"An overly brief and incomplete history of Yoga flowchart!"

As those of you YogaDorks know, the site often features a yoga-related infographic. We especially like this one, designed by Allison Hinks, which shows a brief history of yoga through to today!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Teacher of the Month: Donnalynn Civello

By Rebecca Merritt

Any student taking class from Donnalynn Civello is a lucky one. She is always fully present, ready to support and offer words of wisdom. She is a teacher who offers something new in every class and will always leave you pondering life. Because of her philosophy and grace, students come back to their mat week after week seeking more knowledge from this beautiful teacher.

Donnalynn teaches a challenging class that pushes you to experience your practice and be the poses. You will leave class renewed – in part from her aromatherapy massages but more so – from the love that Donnalynn puts into her classes.

Come visit Donnalynn at New York Yoga: Mondays at 6:20am for Vinyasa All Levels, Wednesdays at 7:35pm for Vinyasa All Levels or 9:05pm for Candlelight Vinyasa, and Sunday mornings at 8:20am for Vinyasa All Levels.

When did you first discover yoga?
 I would have to say 1995. My ex was a vegan and a yogi.  He got me involved in the Jivamukti community.

How long have you been teaching?
Officially since 2005 but unofficially since 2003. I worked with Raji Thron at Yoga Synthesis. He was in Colorado for a while. He’s in New Jersey now. It was a certification in five different kinds of yoga. – Ashtanga, Iyengar, Viniyoga, Classical Hatha and Anusara.

What makes your class unique?
I like to try to make my class a place of respite from the day to day because the world out there is crazy. I try to create a space where students can just be and where they don’t feel judged. I want them to feel supported and feel special. I give them words for wisdom of living, to help the live the best life they can, and I also try to create this sort of sanctuary with aromatherapy oils and lotions. I very purposefully use five senses. I really try to give them a full sensory experience. But the most important is to help them de-stress and to feel special, supported and inspired.

What is your favorite pose to teach?
Tripod headstand. I love teaching tripod because its one of those poses that is so rudimentary but everyone’s intimidated by it. But once you break it down its really easy and people get excited and inspired that they can do something like a headstand. It encourages them.

What is you favorite pose to practice?
Pincha Mayurasana. I love inversions. This one in particular is such a subtle balance. The tendency is to arch the spine and it takes such a subtle adjustment to tuck the tailbone towards the heels. When you straighten out and all the vertebrae stack you catch the air and the balance – you feel weightless. You send the feet to the sky; you let the sky take it and all the weight transfers. I cold just hang out there. I love it. 

Best advice for beginners?
There’s no competition. Your practice is between you and your mat; don’t worry about what your neighbors are doing. No judgment. Listen, and be, and allow your breath.

I tell my students, I just want you to listen to me and let your body express itself. I just care that you listen and let your body have fun with it. I try to make my students feel nurtured and supported – I only care that they try.

Best advice for more advanced yogis?
Don’t think you know it all, because there’s a big difference between doing the pose and being the pose. There’s always room to take a pose deeper. Most people stop at doing the pose, but you need to breathe it and open up the chakras. Stop thinking “is this right, is this right.” It’s not about that. Once you know how to do a pose – that’s when the work starts. Knowing how to do it is just the beginning.

What is your biggest yoga pet peeve?
Celebrity yoga egos. I just feel like yoga is not about me. It’s about my students. The ego doesn’t have a place in yoga. If the egos there it becomes something else.

Reader questions…

How does being a nutritionist and Holistic Health Coach affect your practice?
Everything comes down to the fact that yogis need to have a clean diet. You are what you put into your body. And if you’re putting toxins in the body, the body is never going to achieve the subtle body connection of yoga.

Diet, mood, stress level, the amount of sleep you’ve had – are all part of your yoga practice. Understanding a holistic approach to life helps your practice. Everything comes out on your mat and it helps you understand what is going on in your life and your body.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My dad was my teacher, he taught me everything. One of the best is that life is a game, and it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it only matters how you play it. I remind myself of that when things get hard. The only things that really matter are our connections to each other. It doesn’t matter how much money you made, but it does matter who you stepped on to get there. Learning to relax and learning to not take life so seriously helps things to be and flow easier. Allow what’s meant to be or come to you, come to you.

Sounds Like Yoga, Volume 9

Sounds Like Yoga is back with another installment of our yoga teachers' favorite tunes from class. This week is a great one from Donnalynn Civello, featuring Train, Beyonce, and Blue Mitchell! Catch Donnalynn's classes on Mondays from 6:20am to 7:20am (Vinyasa All), Wednesdays from 7:35pm-8:50pm (Vinyasa All) and 9:05-10:20 (Candlelight), and Sundays from 8:20am-9:35am (Vinyasa All), all at the York Studio.Visit the playlist on our YouTube channel and zen out!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New York Yoga's Jenny Gammello is a Lululemon Ambassador!

This past Sunday New York Yoga's own Jenny Gammello taught her first class as a Lululemon Ambassador at the new Lululemon Athletica location on 85th and Madison. We're so proud of Jenny, and we're excited to see what else she'll be up to. Who knows? Maybe she'll be able to score us some free gear...

Here's some insight from Jenny on her experience so far:
It is a beautiful feeling in life to be supported and encouraged by community. I found that at New York Yoga, and now I'm expanding my family tree by becoming an Ambassador at Lululemon on Madison Avenue. At the opening of the store the excitement and positivity in the air was electric as we met the team and all the Ambassadors got to see our photos on the wall. Our new Lululemon on the UES offers the opportunity to reach out to and inspire even more people to find bliss and peace through the practice of Yoga, and our community so much richer for it!

Jenny Gammello, right (and above in the photo!),
with General Manager LeighAnn Monteith, left.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Got the Yoga Munchies?

I don't know what it is, but savasana brings out the hungry in all of us. If we're not jumping right into a meal, though, what's best to snack on in the meantime? We've posted before about various post-yoga snacks, and here are some more for you. A recent article on FitSugar gives some great suggestions that are not only good for you, but tasty too, like bananas and chocolate peanut butter! For more information, check out the article here. What are your favorite post-yoga snacks?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

How Yoga Won The West

Hey New York Yogis,

Check out this interesting article, "How Yoga Won The West," by Ann Louise Bardach in The New York Times. It highlights the Indian monk Vivekananda and how he brought yogic spirituality to the west. Vivekananda popularized the practice at the end of the 19th century, preaching simply "work and worship," and was almost instantly a hit here in the States. When we're on our yoga mats today, we have him to thank.