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

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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

Snow-Fluff

My artwork from a recent frolic through the snow.  :-)

My artwork from a recent frolic through the snow. 🙂

Hey Yogis!!

I hope my fellow New York Yogis enjoyed the fluffy snowflakes today.  I know it’s cold outside, but I do find the powdery snow magical as I walk through the city, hearing it tap the top of my umbrella.  For my Non-New York Yogis, I hope you’re enjoying whatever Weather Magic finds you this March evening.   😀

If in New York, come thaw out with me in a class this week!

I’ll be teaching…

Tuesday, Mar. 3:
Studio 312 * I am now teaching weekly at this new Bushwick studio!! Come check it out!
8:00 a.m. -9:15 a.m. Open Level

Thursday, Mar. 5:
Area Yoga
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. One Hour Express (Montague)

Friday, Mar. 6:
Area Yoga
5:00 p.m. – 6:10 p.m. Happy Hour (Court)

Sunday, Mar. 8:
Area Yoga
8:00 a.m. – 9:10 a.m. Basics (Court)

9:45 a.m. – 10:55 a.m. Open Level (Montague)

12:30 p.m. – 1:40 p.m. Warm Restorative (Court)

Until then, enjoy this Winter Wonderland.  ❤ ❤ ❤

winter wonderland

Reflections on My Journey Through Brazil

 

Hello, Friends and Fellow Yogis!

I have returned to New York City after two amazing months of travel through Brazil. Through adventures of learning Portuguese, learning how to navigate new cities and a new country, learning about the culture, developing friendships, taking leaps of faith, facing many fears and exploring exquisitely beautiful places, I also had the chance to deepen my yoga practice physically, mentally and spiritually.

For one thing, I had to commit to maintaining my own practice throughout my travels, as I did not have access to classes at studios. One thing I learned was the value of consistency and routine. Some days my physical practice was only 20 minutes, or even just 10 at times; but the act of practicing almost every day helped my body to stay mobile enough to regularly practice poses that I used to avoid because of pain. For example, for years I would often have pain in my lower back during or after urdhva dhanurasana, or wheel pose. Because of that I would typically practice other heart-openers instead. In Brazil, however, I found that the combination of practicing asana almost daily (as well as taking a break from some of the other types of movement that I was accustomed to practicing in New York, such as certain dance styles) resulted in my ability to go into wheel without pain and without having to spend a long time preparing my body beforehand.

In Brazil my day-to-day asana practice did not vary too much, although every day was a chance to explore and discover what served me the best. A simple routine of warming up the spine, joints, and core, followed by poses to elongate my muscles and open my hips and heart, did me a WORLD of good while I was traveling in terms of preventing pain, releasing tension, staying flexible, and feeling connected with my body. As it was sometimes hard to find opportunities to venture into the city and move in other ways, being able to maintain a home practice was invaluable. Any poses that feel good to you (no matter how simple), when practiced regularly, can enhance your life. Yoga does not have to be practiced at a studio, and physical yoga does not have to be specific “asana”.  Simply following your breath while moving is practicing yoga. I invite you to take a few moments each day, wherever you are, to move in a way that feels good to you. 🙂

On another note, mental flexibility was a huge part of my yoga practice while traveling, as pretty much everything went differently than I had envisioned. My trip was quite a lesson in the importance of letting go of expectations in order to be ready to take on what actually comes up. While I have tons of beautiful, happy, exciting, rewarding, freeing, loving memories from my time in South America, I also had moments of frustration, loneliness, disappointment, discouragement, confusion and sadness.

Over time, I became aware that some of the frustration, anxiety and depression that I experienced during my travels stemmed from my desire to fulfill the expectations that I had for myself prior to arriving, as well as expectations that I thought other people had for me. Many people had recommended places to visit and things to do in Brazil. I, too, had big hopes of doing certain things, such as taking dance classes at studios that I my teachers had recommended to me. Well, I encountered many challenges in relation to transportation, safety, communication, weather and the fact that my plans were often so on-the-fly, that made it much more complicated to check out some of these places and do some of these things than I had hoped. Due to these factors, I accessed way fewer dance opportunities than I had expected, for example. This was really frustrating and disappointing for me at the time.

At moments I felt pressured to find a way to make certain things happen because I thought that it would be such a shame to return to the States and say, “Actually, I didn’t go there, I didn’t do that and I didn’t even find a way to do some of the things that were on the top of my list when I arrived.”  I felt that I would somehow be a failure if I didn’t follow through with these ideas. A friend in Brazil reminded me of the following truth: “You make your own adventure. Everything everyone else recommends is just a suggestion.” Touché. Yet, it took me most of my trip to come to terms with that and just let go.  In my classes, I often remind my students that part of yoga is constantly adjusting as your receive more information, allowing yourself to stay flexible (with yourself and others) and to embrace the present moment, then let it go. On the mat, this can manifest in the form of being patient to accommodate fellow students who enter into an already-crowded room after class has started, or in modifying a pose if you start to feel pain. In Brazil, this manifested in many forms, especially mental ones.

On the flip-side, MAN did I have some AMAZING times full of AWESOME surprises!!! The diverse places I did check out were so enriching and I would not trade those experiences for the world.  I developed beautiful friendships in unexpected situations.  I got to see things that were exquisitely beautiful and things that were ugly.  I had chances to experience Brazil with locals, allowing me to see beyond some of the tourist attractions and to experience aspects of Brazil that are not advertised.  Through my journey to learn Portuguese, I was reminded that we must be willing to make ourselves vulnerable in order to grow.  I DID dive into the dance scene as best as I could, through checking out clubs and festivals with live pagode and forro music, as well as attending the capoeira and dance classes that were in reach.  My experiences of having a tough time accessing some of the dancing that I craved actually reaffirmed my passion for dance and helped me to realize new horizons that I want to reach with my art.  All of these experiences taught me about the importance of realizing the freedom that you have to dramatically alter your routine, and then finding the courage to risk losing something from your current lifestyle along the way.  I became aware that the things that are most important to your soul will not simply diminish when you change your routine.  In fact you might even come back more driven than you were before.

In addition, I observed how powerful perspective is in shaping the quality of our experiences and altering our reality.  This makes me think about the idea that things are not necessarily positive or negative, right or wrong, helpful or unhelpful, great or small.  Our attitudes in a certain moment can cause us to see a situation in a particular light, and our attitudes can drastically change when we are caught off guard by new information.  If that’s the case, then where does the truth lie in any given situation?  Well, perhaps this can serve as a reminder of the importance of cultivating a steady mind so that we can have the best chance to see life as clearly as possible.  Coming to your mat to draw focus to the breath while tuning into what is happening within your body helps the mind to slow down.  As you move through postures (asana) and breathe through the sensations that arise, you begin to clear and stimulate different channels throughout the body.  This allows energy, blood, oxygen, as well as fluids throughout the brain, internal organs and joints to flow with more ease.  Meanwhile, you begin to release tension, toxins, and even mental clutter.  Through this practice, you are training your mind to be present in the moment, to accept what is and to move forward from that place.  As you practice listening to and nurturing your body, breath and mind on your mat, you are teaching yourself to live in this way throughout your daily activities and interactions.  Through a consistent yoga practice we can cultivate more steady minds, which benefits not only ourselves, but all of those with whom we interact.

I hope to see you soon in the City. Please check out the live calendar to stay tuned for classes.

Peace and Cheers to Adventures!,

Anne

Bali Hai Meets Rio de Janeiro

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Hey Yoginis and Yogis!!!  Boa noite do Brasil!!!  É minha primeira semana aqui!!  Essas fotos são da praira no Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro.

Good evening from Brasil!  This is my first week here!  These photos are from a the beach in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro.

Can you find the paddle boarder in the waves?? Imagine doing SUP yoga in the SEA!!!

Speaking of the sea, anyone remember the musical South Pacific?  As soon as I stepped onto the sand and saw the foggy islands in a distance and the foggy mountain, I started singing “Bali Hai.”  😀  Looking forward to some yoga on the beach.

Sending Love, Light, and Positive Vibes your way,

Anne  P.S.,

In fact, just for fun: Bali Hai

Inspiration– LOTS of it!

Here are some encouraging words that I found on the front of a journal.  Enjoy!

“Be bold.  Take risks.  Live life freely.  Lead by example.  Trust your gut.  Say what you feel.  Mean what you say.  Express gratitude.  Believe in your power.  Exceed your expectations.  Dance the night away.  Skip down the street.  Don’t take no for an answer.  Be your best self.  Don’t look back.”

Gotta Love Life!!

 

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