Festival of Fun

halloween owl

Hello Friends,

I hope you are enjoying autumn and getting ready for the festivities of this weekend.  I’m still putting together my costume!  If you’re looking for a fun way to spend Halloween, come check out the Village Parade on Saturday!  I am pumped to get to dance in the parade with fellow party-ers to the rad live music of the fabulous samba reggae percussion band, Batala!!

After the magic of the night, come join me for some classes at Area Yoga on Sunday as we welcome in Daylight Savings.  Yay for another hour of sleep!!! I’ll be teaching:

10:45 Open Level (Court)
12:30 Gentle Flow (Court)
3:00 Basics (5th Ave.)

I would love to see you there!  Feel free to bring friends.  😀

Happy Weekend and Happy Halloween,

Anne

halloween trick or treat

Autumn Magic

autumn-equinox

Hello Yogis!  Autumn is bringing about transition and beautiful change.   As I continue to transition into creating a new, regular teaching schedule, I will be teaching a spontaneous class this afternoon at 5:30 at Area Yoga (5th Ave. location)!!  Please come join me for a fun and rejuvenating practice.  Peace and light to you. 🙂

On To New Adventures

Photo Credit: Longtower Photography

Photo Credit: Longtower Photography

Hey My Friends,

I wanted to let you know that this will be my last weekend teaching my regular classes at Area Yoga.  I am excited to see what new opportunities unfold in my teaching life, and just in life in general. Cheers to change!!  May we all embrace the moment, and then let go when the time is right to open our arms to something even more spectacular that is ready for us.

In the meantime, please come join me Sunday at 8:30 a.m. or 9:45 a.m. (Montague St.) or 12:30 p.m. (Court St) for a chance to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.  And keep in touch if you are interested in private sessions (individual or group), yoga at your work space, and beyond. I look forward to seeing you soon!

Have a brilliant weekend!

In Light,

Anne

Nocturnal Illumination

dark night in motion

Happy Summer, Friends!

I hope you are finding chances to enjoy the season, regardless of the heat (if you’re in my neck of the woods) or other challenges that arise.  I hope that you are finding time to embrace what this season has to offer you.  On that note…

Picture a dark night. You are driving a car down a road with no street lights toward a destination that is full of light, joy and promise.  You can only see two hundred feet ahead of you with the help of your headlights.  While you cannot see far, you are still able to behold colorful flowers and plants along the side of the road as you pass them.  You stop the car in order to take in the view of some particularly vibrant flowers. Once you exit the car, you realize that the darkness actually allows you to see the stars much more vividly than if you were in the midst of the city lights. After witnessing the beauty of the foliage around you and the night sky, you get back behind the wheel, refreshed, and you continue toward your destination.

As we move through challenges each day on the road to our goals and dreams, sometimes we feel anxious about the fact that we can’t see all the way to the end of the dark road.  We may fear that if we slow down we will lose momentum and will miss the chance to fulfill our mission, or arrive at our destination.  Maybe it’s a job you are after, or reaching a certain milestone in your education, or maybe you are waiting for an answer to a question that is really important to you.  At times, in pursuit of our dreams, we forget how important it is to let ourselves celebrate the here and now.  We can develop the illusion that we don’t have permission to relax, or to experience pleasure, or to celebrate, until we have arrived at our destination.

But what if it takes years before you land that job, or before you receive the answer you seek? Does that mean you’re not going to enjoy life for the next several years? Life is NOW. We need to be present, to embrace THIS moment. Joy is here. Peace is now.

Of course, we need to take steps each day that lead toward whatever it is we seek. Maybe you really need that solid job and having it will truly help to reduce your anxiety and will enable you to focus more of your energy on other areas of life that might currently feel neglected.  But as we take those steps, let’s celebrate all along the way!  Let’s give ourselves permission to take chlid’s pose, to do something we really want, to go out with that friend, to take that mini-vacation, to read that book. Let’s celebrate life every day, in the midst of our daily challenges.  Let’s tap into peace, joy and light in the midst of the chaos, hard times and darkness.

During your asana practice, every moment is an opportunity to celebrate life.  Notice the ability of the breath to help you find peace right here, right now.  The breath offers a foundation: When we breathe fully, we can experience greater joy in every pose.  Holding the poses can be challenging. Choose joy!  I am happy that I am invigorating and strengthening my body!  I am happy that I am able to practice this posture. I am happy that this pose offers me the chance to grow.  At other moments, we need to modify the pose.  I am happy that I have a space where I am reminded and encouraged to listen to my body and my breath. I am happy that I am connecting with myself today. I am happy that I am practicing being a good listener.

Throughout the rest of your summer, I invite you to celebrate life each day and to take the time to appreciate what each experience offers you.

Here are some tunes to help keep the party going:

“Celebrate Good Times” — Kool and the Gang
“504” — Soul Rebels

I hope to see you soon!  Come join me for a class at Area Yoga, or if you are interested in having yoga at your work space, or private lessons, let’s talk!

Off to look at the moon,

Anne

New Fire

the_dancing_flame_by_elemental_war

Picture a fire with vivid flames that dance through the air. This fire produces so much light, and serves as a source of warmth, passion and inspiration. At times, the flames can grow weak.  But the fire is still a source of light; it just needs to be rekindled.

In life, we are always returning to a state of balance. We never simply have it all together, at least not for long. If we did, there would be no room for growth.  Sometimes when we struggle in a certain area we feel flustered and unsure of what to do next, or of what to change.  The fires of our souls can grow weak. At times we need to reflect on the strategies that we are currently using, so that we can let go of them, and try new ones.

Moments come when we receive new insight about how we can improve our lifestyles.  This awareness can be accompanied by feelings of vulnerability, failure and inadequacy, or thoughts such as: “Wow, I have so far to go. I feel so off track. I should be further along than I am.”   Without checking in and gaining this insight, however, we might keep repeating the same old strategies, expecting different results, while getting frustrated, discouraged and burnt out when things keep going the same way.  Another way to look at this insight is to say: “How awesome it is that I have this information, this spark, so that I can rekindle my fire!”

Each day we encounter challenges on our mats. Some days we step onto the mat feeling on fire and excited, other days we arrive feeling as if our flames have grown weak. Either way, we keep the flame of breath burning. From there, the other elements fall into place.  Gradually we are able to move deeper into the poses. Gradually we teach our bodies new ways to express themselves. Constantly, we adjust as we receive new sparks.

In your yoga practice, not only on your mat, but also in your daily life, I invite you to be open and receptive to the new sparks, the new flames of insight that come your way, so that you can stoke your fire, or perhaps even start a new one.  It’s a new day; it’s a new chance at life.  Let’s celebrate it!

Come join me for a class this week and rekindle your fire.  You can find my up-to-date teaching schedule on my calendar. It is always changing, as I add different classes here and there. Please check it out.

May you be open and receptive to the sparks that come your way this week, so that your fire can burn with passion, inspiration, encouragement and light.

Here are some tunes to get that fire burning:

Feeling Good – Nina Simone
New Day – Alicia Keys
Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys

Keep the fire burning, y’all,

Anne

dancing-flame-paul-wilford

Fireworks

fireworks

Happy Fourth of July Everyone!

I wish you all a fun, safe and joyful weekend of celebrations!  I’m pretty pumped about the fireworks on the levee of the Mississippi River tonight. However you choose to spend your time, I hope you live it up!  Every day is a new chance at life!

Louisiana yogis— come join me for some classes next week at Blooming Yoga in Prarieville!  I am delighted to get to sub a few classes for my dear friend, Marifer, while she is away.  Hope to see you there!

Monday July 6
10:00 a.m. – ABC (Absolute Beginner’s Class)

Wednesday July 8
6:00 p.m. – ABC
7:30 p.m. – Gentle Flow

Enjoy the fireworks in your life, in whatever form they manifest.

In Light,

Anne

The DNA Of A Tree

Giant banyan tree in Haleakala National Park

Giant banyan tree in Haleakala National Park

Welcome, Friends!

I am writing you from my hometown, Baton Rouge, LA. I will be here for a few weeks, soaking up the semi-tropical climate, exploring nature and spending time with loved ones. I hope to cross paths with my fellow Baton Rouge yogis and I wish my New York yogis a blissful next few weeks. Check out my calendar for the most up-to-date teaching schedule.  In the meantime…

Picture a seed planted in the soil. It rests in the middle of a lush terrain with a variety of vegetation, including many types of trees.  This seed already contains the DNA that will determine the type of tree it will become. Still, it needs to be nurtured in order to grow. It needs the right amount of sun and rain as well as the right type of soil in order to transform into a tree.

Each element plays a central role in this tree’s growth.  Yet, it’s not the job of the sun, rain, or soil to decide what type of tree the seed will become. The DNA is already there. Still, each element contains information that it needs to share in order to help the tree develop. Each element is a messenger. If the sun were to refuse to shine, if the rain held itself back in the clouds, or if the soil withheld its nutrients, the seed wouldn’t be able to become a strong tree. It could still grow, but it wouldn’t have the chance to express itself fully.

In our lives, we all have seeds that we need to nurture. Some of these seeds are ready to become relationships, situations, or other opportunities. We all have our truths— our messages, the information that we can share with others— in order to help these seeds grow into trees. Perhaps some of us can offer the sun, others the rain and others the soil.

Sometimes we hold back from speaking our truths, or from delivering our messages, because we fear or dislike the consequences of speaking up.  At times we want to control what type of tree will grow.  We might think, “If I say how I really feel, this seed might grow into an apple tree. But I really want it to become a pecan tree, so I’ll hold my tongue.”  That is actually beyond our control, however. Perhaps, in a relationship, the other person is waiting for you to offer your words which serve as the spark that will propel the two of you forward in either direction. Maybe speaking your truth will result in a great opportunity for change, or even in two people going their separate ways.  Even that is beautiful, if that is what the opportunity holds.

Of course, we need to speak with compassion and  mindfulness as well as sensitivity to the right timing.  If the sun shines too harshly, if the rain floods the terrain, or of the soil offers the wrong type of nutrients, then the seed will encounter some trouble.

What we can do is offer our sun, rain and soil in the best way that we know how so that the seeds in our midst have the greatest chance of developing into the trees that they are meant to become.

During your yoga practice I invite you to speak your truth through your body.  If you cannot breathe fully in a pose, if you experience pain, or if you are misaligned, then your body is telling you to adjust or to rest. If you ignore that information and try to force a pose, then you are not being truthful. Instead, when you tune into the breath and respond to the information that your body offers you, you can find your true edge in each posture— that place where your energy can flow freely, you can expand and open, safely.  May you practice speaking your truth through your yoga practice on your mat so that you can prepare yourself to speak your truth in other aspects of your life.

Here’s a video to get you pumped as you get ready to speak your truth: Sara Bareilles – “Brave”

Peace, light and Happy, Healthy TREES!

Anne

diverse trees water

Monster in the Closet

Where the wild things are 1

Take a moment to notice your breath, without judging what you observe.

One night, as a little girl gets ready to go to sleep, she hears a sound coming from her closet, and concludes: There’s a monster in my closet!  She won’t open the closet door, because the fear of what she might find is too intense.  If there’s a monster in the closet, it must be big, scary, and overpowering.  The risk of not being able to handle what’s on the other side does not feel worth taking.  So, the child has to scurry to her bed, pull the covers over her head, and she can’t relax because she has to be ready to run if the monster comes out. The sounds continue to keep her awake.  Finally, the little girl concludes that the only way she’ll be able to sleep is if the monster leaves her closet.  She bravely approaches the door, opens it, and shrieks as a moth flies out.  After watching the moth that was searching for a way to get outside, the little girl opens the window, and the moth flutters out.  The child closes her closet door, takes a proud sigh of relief, snuggles under the covers, and falls fast asleep.

Sometimes we attach a certain meaning to something about ourselves, some factor in our lives, some idea, some possibility.  Sometimes we are too afraid to look at what’s there to even consider what it is.  Maybe, after giving ourselves the space to consider it, however, we’ll begin to see ways that we can deal with what is there.

Today I invite you to increase your awareness, without judging what you see or attaching meaning to it, so that you can truly see.

A yoga practice provides a space to observe without judging.  We draw our focus to the breath, which helps the mind to slow down and helps to take attention away from the stories that we tell ourselves, or the monsters that grow inside our closets.  In addition, as we practice mindfulness with the breath, we also practice mindfulness with our bodies and movements.  We learn to breathe through the sensations that arise and to be present.  Sometimes this means adjusting the pose so that we can find our true best or “edge”, rather than push beyond it to our expected edge.  We practice this constant communication between the body and breath without judging ourselves for not being able to achieve a certain expression of the pose that we might desire.  Through this practice, we train ourselves to remove some of the stigmas that we attach to our experiences in life so that we can embrace them, learn from them, and move forward.

Notice your breath again.  During your physical yoga practice, or asana practice, observe what’s going on within you in each pose.  Observe when you reach your edge, if you need to modify the pose, if your breathing changes and the thoughts that come.   Maybe certain thoughts need to come to the surface, so that they can then pass on by, or so that we can deal with them in another way.

What monsters in your closet are you ready to face this week, this month?  We Got This!!!

Check out my calendar for my up-to-date teaching schedule.  Hope to see you on the mat!

Peace and Sweet Dreams,

Anne

where the wild things are 2

Surf’s Up!

surfer huge wave

Picture the beach. Feel the warmth from the sun kiss your skin. See the blue-green water. Hear the waves that roll toward the shore, then pull away from it. Picture a surfer riding the waves. Even though the water is turbulent, notice how by tapping into the breath, the core, and by staying flexible, the surfer has the power to balance, to find strength and fluidity, and to dance across the waves. Now see yourself as the surfer standing gracefully on the surfboard…

Happy Friday, Friends!

It’s beach time! Although the past few days have been on the chilly side here in NYC, I have seen folks strutting through the streets with their surf boards lately, perhaps on the way to the Rockaways (a peninsula out in Queens with surf-able beaches). Have you ever been surfing? If not, have you ever watched other people hit the waves? I have not yet explored surfing, although I have a feeling this is the summer that I will. However, I used to teach SUP Yoga (Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga). Balancing on a board in the water is an awesome experience in which no moment can be taken for granted, as the simplest movements become much more challenging. I have noticed that in the moments where I try to stay totally still and hold my breath, I actually am more likely to fall. However, once I accept that the water is going to keep moving, and that I am going to keep moving, I can relax and actually become one with the waves. Of course, I must apply effort, as well. When I combine steady breathing with a strong but supple body, I get into a groove with the water.

On our yoga mats, we need to be strong as well as flexible with ourselves.  We must activate the core to keep us safe and to find the strength to practice the poses.  When a posture does not feel right, we need to adjust. Sometimes, we need to push ourselves a bit further, and other times, we need to tweak our alignment or give ourselves permission to rest.  Meanwhile, the breath helps us focus and find ease.

Off-the-mat, we need to be both strong and flexible in our lives.  We must learn when to apply more effort and when to let go of attempts to control a situation.  We need to have a solid foundation as well as open hearts.  A regular yoga practice is one way to train ourselves to balance effort with ease.  Come join me this weekend for class as you prepare to dance across the waves this summer.  When we accept that change is coming, that the water will keep moving and that WE will keep moving, we can find a greater sense of balance in our lives.

Happy Surfing,

Anne

Check out my calendar for my up-to-date teaching schedule.  😀

Castle in the Fog

castle in fog

Hey Friends,

I hope you’re having an awesome week.  Over the past few days, my fellow Louisianians having been encountering some tornadoes, lighting storms and intense rain.  Here in NYC we’ve had some wind, a chill and sun. Perhaps where you are, you’ve been encountering some fog.

Imagine that you have a dream of reaching a mystical castle. You can see the castle ahead of you, at the end of a foggy path. You begin walking, briskly, through the fog, believing that you can reach the castle shortly. Soon, you realize that there is more than fog separating you from the dream. Through the fog, you see that you are actually in the midst of a community. Beyond the community, you see a river, then more fog, leading to the castle. You must find a way to cross the river. The members of the community teach you that there are special stepping stones that will float, and carry you over the river. They also offer you food, explaining that this trek will take some time. They lead you to the magical stepping stones. You stand atop one, and float over the river, toward the fog. Once the stone lands, you see that the castle is still a distance away.  Again you see through the fog. You have arrived in another community.

You begin to think, “Will I ever reach the castle? Why didn’t I see through this fog when I first had the dream?” But as you move forward, as you soak up what you need from each experience, the next stepping stone is ready for you. And you continue, until there is no more fog between you and the castle. As you behold this mystical place, you realize that you actually saw through each foggy spot at just the right time.

In your physical yoga practice, or the asana practice, each pose can be a stepping stone for something more complex. It is important to prepare the body for what’s coming, and when the body is ready, the more complex versions of the poses will happen, maybe that day, maybe a few weeks later, maybe months later. All that matters is that you tune in to your community, your body, your breath, and take the steps that are available to you at each moment.  Maybe you think, “Yesterday I could do this pose easily. But it’s not happening today.” That’s okay. Since yesterday, you have moved on through the fog, into a different environment. Honor that. Right now, work with the tools in your midst and be patient with yourself.  Trust that the pose will evolve as you evolve.

Inhale, see the castle.  Exhale, press through the fog.

In your daily life, what does your castle look like?  What communities have you been encountering?  What stepping stones are there for you to discover?

Throughout your journey, take time to delight in how far you have come. May you press on through the fog, toward your dreams, one stepping stone at a time.

Let’s press through the Fog this week at the yoga studio!  Here’s where you can find me. And come check out the new Area Yoga studio on 5th Ave. in Park Slope!!! We have lots of fun classes and teachers!:

Friday May 1
6:00 p.m. Open Level – Area Yoga (5th Ave.)

Sunday May 3
9:45 a.m. Open Level – Area Yoga (Montague)
12:30 p.m. Warm Restorative – Area Yoga (Court)

Monday May 4
9:20 a.m. Open Level – Area Yoga (Court)
12:30 p.m. Express – Area Yoga (5th Ave.)

The Light in Me sees and honors the Light in You,

Anne  P.S. Check out “Everything is Everything” by Lauryn Hill to get you dancin’ and encouraged as you move through the fog toward your Castle.  Hang in there, and keep your gaze at the horizon!!