Shifting With Grace

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Photo Credit Longtower Photography

 

Friends,

I hope you’re loving this weekend and that you caught sight of the full moon last night.  Come celebrate the last days of Summer and the beginning of Autumn with me at a yoga class!  As always, you can find my most up-to-date teaching schedule on the calendar tab at the top of this page. I’m also excited to start teaching yoga next week to Pre-K students at DREAM Charter!  If you or someone you know is interested in a mix of yoga/dance/mindfulness-based learning at schools, give me a shout out! I’m really looking forward to helping empower Young Souls.

As for my Grown Friends, I’ll be teaching….

Sunday Sept. 18 – Area Yoga
10:45 Open Level – Court St.
12:30 Gentle Flow – Court St.

Monday Sept. 19 – Area Yoga
5:30 p.m. Sweat, Stretch and Relax – 5th Ave.

Thursday Sept. 22 – Urban Yoga Foundation
12:30 Basic Hatha

May this transition into a new season bring welcomed shifts, new perspectives and opportunities for growth into your own life.  Remember that every season offers its own magic.

Peace,
Anne

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Little Miracles

butterfly on finger

 

“Living well is an art that can be developed: a love of life and ability to take great pleasure from small offerings and assurance that the world owes you nothing and that every gift is exactly that, a gift. ”

– Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing From My Journey Now

“…and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

– Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

 

Dear Friends,

Hope you’re noticing and enjoying the special gifts that each day has brought you this week.  Maybe they have been coming in the form of unexpected encounters you had with a loved one or a stranger.  Perhaps an opportunity arose that you had hoped for but didn’t necessarily expect to see manifested.  Or maybe a situation caused you to confront a pattern in your life that you are ready to let go of.  When we begin each day with gratitude for what Life has provided us, and choose to see each experience as an opportunity for growth, we pave the way for Life to bring us more of what we desire in our hearts.

This week, I have had opportunities to speak my truth in situations where I felt uncomfortable, but compelled to use my voice.  I had the chance to connect with passersby over a book I was reading on the train.  Today I witnessed a butterfly perched on my coworker’s shoulder at an event (I happen to have an obsession with butterflies).  On the way home, I saw a pigeon perched on the shoulder of a man in my neighborhood.  This paved the way for a beautiful conversation.  As we become more attuned to our experiences, we start to notice more the wonder that each day offers.

If you want to add some delight, healing, and rejuvenation into your schedule, come join me for some classes these next few weeks.  In addition to teaching weekly at Urban Yoga Foundation in Harlem, I will be subbing lots of classes at Area Yoga in Brooklyn (note the location for each class, as this school has three locations).  Please check out my calendar for my most up-to-date class schedule, as  I frequently add classes.

Weekly:

Thursdays:
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Hatha Yoga Basics – Urban Yoga Foundation, Harlem

Classes I am subbing over the coming weeks:

Sunday, August 7:
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Open Level – Area Yoga Brooklyn, Court. St.
12:30 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. – Gentle Flow – Area Yoga Brooklyn, Court St.

Friday, August 19:
5:00 p.m. – 6:10 p.m. – Flow and Restore – Area Yoga Brooklyn, Court St.
6:15 p.m. – 7:25 p.m. – Open Level – Area Yoga Brooklyn, Court St.

Sunday, August 21
9:20 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Power Yoga – Area Yoga Brooklyn, Court St.
11:05 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – Open Level – Area Yoga Brooklyn, Montague St.
12:25 p.m. – 1:35 p.m. – Basics – Area Yoga Brooklyn, Montague St.

May you cherish what each new day brings the rest of you week.

Peace,

Anne

blue-butterfly-shoulder

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

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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

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Monster in the Closet

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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

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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!!

Butterflies and Coccoons

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With the new warmth of this season, I’m getting excited to see Butterflies.  While they haven’t yet emerged in New York City, I bet they’re making their way around town in Baton Rouge, LA, my first home.  And if not, I am sure that there are lots of fuzzy caterpillars squirming around near the oak trees there, as they prepare for their next stage: chrysalises in cocoons.

Picture a garden with a plethora of flowers, plants, colors, birds , and insects.  Imagine a butterfly gracefully fluttering through this garden.  It has radiant wings, with a unique design.  Watch the butterfly land on a flower and sip its nectar.  And watch it soar to another flower, helping spread pollen.

Notice the life, the colors, the grace, the UNIQUE beauty that this butterfly shares with the garden, and notice how this creature went through several stages of metamorphosis before it could spread its wings.  Each stage was vital to bring it to this moment.

It began as an egg, supported by a leaf that would later become its food.  It hatched into a caterpillar or larva, whose job was to eat and grow, and store nutrients.  When it was full, it wrapped itself in silk, becoming a chrysalis in a cocoon.

This stage was so important, as the chrysalis began to develop its legs, eyes, and wings.  Even though major transformation was taking place, the chrysalis was isolated from the rest of the garden, from the world, because it was tightly wrapped inside its cocoon.

A moment came when the chrysalis had become a butterfly, and was ready to meet the world, to connect.  If it were to stay in its cocoon, no one would ever know its beauty.  It would not be able to connect with and inspire others, or make the garden even more colorful, more alive.

So when the time was right, the butterfly came out of the cocoon, spread its wings, and began to fly.

Today, I invite you to tap into your inner beauty, your gifts.  I invite you to cultivate them, nurture them, open your heart, come out of your cocoon, and share your light with those in your midst, so that you can connect with others and experience community.  As you inhale, expand and open.  As you exhale, share.

Sometimes we struggle during transformation, as challenges arise.  But that’s OK! Through this process we grow wings, a new perspective, and beautiful, colorful patterns.

Come spread your wings with me at the yoga studio this week.  Check out the schedule below.  You can always check my live calendar for the most up-to-date schedule, as well.  I often pick up extra classes at the last minute when subbing for fellow teachers.

Radiate as a unique, exquisite creature.  Spread your wings, soar, and share.

Peace,

Anne

Classes this week:

Tuesday April 21
8:00 a.m. Open Level – Studio 312

Friday April 24
5:00 p.m. Basic – Area Yoga (5th Ave)
6:30 p.m. Warm Restorative – Area Yoga (5th Ave)

Sunday April 26
8:30 a.m. Slow Flow – Area Yoga (Montague)
9:45 a.m. Open Level – Area Yoga (Montague)
12:30 p.m. Warm Restorative – Area Yoga (Court St.)

Monday April 27
9:20 a.m. Open Level – Area Yoga (Court St.)
12:30 p.m. Express – Area Yoga (5th Ave)

Tuesday April 28
8:00 a.m. Open Level – Studio 312

Risk to Bloom

risk to bloom

“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.”

—  Anais Nin, Author, 1903-1977

This is the Element of Freedom.

Picture a tight flower bud, so full of potential, so full of beauty, awaiting the moment to open, to share, to express itself fully.

Opportunities continue to present themselves in our lives as we continue to grow.  Sometimes when a dream is born, when change is in the works, when a beautiful opportunity arises, we begin to have second thoughts, and think, “Maybe I don’t really want that after all.  Maybe I’d be better off staying right here.”  Sometimes we cling to the familiar, the thing that we can already see, out of fear of the unknown, or fear of not discovering something that is even more enriching for us.  Sometimes we fear losing what we already have, or what we had.   The opposite of fear is love.  When we believe that we are worth venturing into unfamiliar territory in order to explore something spectacular that awaits us, we can grow.  We can expand, freely.  We can bloom.

When we can recognize that each moment holds its special place in our hearts, then we don’t have to be afraid of growing, of developing into an even fuller expression of ourselves.

Just like the spring flowers that are beginning to blossom, each breath offers the opportunity for expansion, for something new.  Where in your life are you ready to bloom this spring?

Life is love.  Choose love so that you can grow.  Don’t hold back– expand, radiate, soar, bloom!

Come tap into your potential and bloom with me this week at the yoga studio!!

Tuesday April 14
8:00 p.m. Evening Yoga – Studio 312

Wednesday April 15
8:00 a.m. Morning Yoga – Studio 312

Saturday April 18
9:20 a.m. Power Yoga – Area Yoga (NEW Park Slope location!)
10:45 a.m. Basics – Area Yoga (Park Slope)

Sunday April 19
9:45 a.m. Open Level – Area Yoga (Montague)
12:30 p.m. Warm Restorative – Area Yoga (Court)
5:00 p.m. Basics – Area Yoga (Court)
6:20 p.m. Open Level – Area Yoga (Court)

Breathe in, see yourself bloom.  Breathe out, feel free.

Namaste,

Anne

Spring’s on its way!!!

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WOW!  How LOVELY it is to be able to take a walk with only one sweater today!!  I know Winter is still in our midst, but Spring is on its way!  What a great reminder to embrace each moment, and then let it go, as circumstances are only temporary.

Come play this week and celebrate the New-ness of the changing season.  Here’s where you can find me this week:

Tuesday, Mar. 10
8:00 a.m. Open Level (Studio 312)

Thursday, Mar. 12
12:30 p.m. One Hour Express (Area Yoga – Montague)

Friday, Mar. 13
5:00 p.m. Happy Hour (Area Yoga – Court St)

Sunday, Mar. 15
8:30 a.m. Slow Flow (Area Yoga – Montague)
9:45 a.m. Open Level (Area Yoga – Montague)
12:30 p.m. Warm Restorative (Area Yoga – Court St)

Wishing You Peace, Warmth, and Excitement this week,

Anne