“Let go,” “release,” and “undo,” are terms loosely thrown around by many yoga instructors. Are we really spending $20 per class to have someone tell us to relax? No wonder I can’t get rich! The theory goes that if you are able to momentarily step away from the outside world placing it on hold and turn your attention inward that you will finally tap into that inner child that you so dearly miss. As a yoga instructor I agree with this theory only somewhat because then there are those of us who “do” in order to “be.” Somehow through all of this “doing” or “undoing” (which is still doing something) you will supposedly find your true creative spirit. Isn’t going to your local yoga studio and practicing yoga in and of itself doing something, even if you are laying in Savasana (Corpse Pose)? My point is we cannot NOT do.
Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Brilliant minds unlock invaluable information that you and I take for granted. One of those brilliant minds is Stephen Hawking. The man needs no introduction.
Several months back I wrote Existence, A Verifiable Reality where I discussed the nature of existence. My main reference for this post Steven Hawking.
A few days ago a team of people building a graphic dedicated to Mr. Hawking and his achievements approached me. I was asked to provide my personal feedback on this graphic. If you are reading this post, then I would also like to ask you for your feedback on this graphic. If anyone is a shining example of "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it..." its MR. HAWKING.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE FULL GRAPHIC DEDICATED TO MR. HAWKING. PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR FEEDBACK IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST. YOUR FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED
Graphic Created By: OnlinePhD.org
Wednesday, 04 April 2012
Why search for inspiration anywhere else other than nature. This is an actual lemon from a tree in my backyard. Only nature could design something as awesome as this!!!! To me it looks like a mother with her child in her lap... or Buddha?
What does it look like to you? Tweet your answers to @SYTYCY or post them to our facebook page for So You Think You Can Yoga?
Thursday, 23 February 2012
Dear Yogis, Dancers, and Lovers of the Movement Arts,
It is my pleasure to personally extend this invitation to all of you. I have been involved with the City of Angels Ballet for almost two years and what a truly remarkable experience it has been. Since the inception of City of Angels Ballet nearly 20 years ago, Artistic Director Mario Nugara has been providing selected youth from underprivileged communities in Los Angeles with professional level ballet training, shoes, leotards, and tights at no cost to the children's families. I am on the faculty at CAB in addition to being a dancer with the company. After two successful Nutcracker seasons under Mr. Nugara's artistic direction (and under the name California Riverside Ballet) we are hopeful of adding a Spring repertoire. This would provide professionals like myself with a quality repertoire in Los Angeles and allow the children from our school more opportunities to perform.
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
"Don't sweat the small stuff" is an all too familiar cliché that’s thrown around. Sounds great! Sign me up! But wait, here’s the fine print: Putting these five little words into action is exasperating when daily life consists of dozens of small things to fuss about. I consider myself a highly educated individual and understanding the idea of not “Sweating the small stuff” on an intellectual level is pretty simple; however, internalizing and actually living by these words is a whole other story.
The notion of kaivalya in yoga philosophy describes the effect of being in a continuous state of samadhi. Samadhi is only attainable by following the eight-limbs of yoga. “Kevala” translates as "to keep to oneself" so it is often described as isolation or an aloofness. When in a state of kaivalya, an individual becomes so keenly aware of the world around them that they begin to exist within it without being subject to it. Unaffected. There is no good outcome. There is no bad outcome. Things are as they are and the only controllable is the individual’s reaction to any given situation. This isn't to say that worldly circumstances cease to apply, only that wherever this individual may be, he or she ceases to become a victim of those circumstances. The material world is as it is. It has no other meaning beyond what we as humans ascribe to it. The material world is a social construction.
Thursday, 12 January 2012
Often I find myself on the brink of judgment…judgment of others. Yes, I am aware that this is not exactly a desirable quality for a yoga instructor, but I am human. Keeping your cool in this hot, hot world is a challenge for everyone, but where do you draw the line between judgment and compassion? Let’s say a co-worker who comes across as lazy and professionally inept confides (or complains…depending on how you wish to interpret it) in you about a myriad of personal problems including his financial losses and inability to pay child support to two different ex-wives. Is he reaching out for help by phishing for advice, friendship, or maybe even a compliment? Another co-worker who rendered herself as completely useless and incompetent by asking questions like “will the internet being down affect the fax machine?” irks you to your very core. However, you learn that this poor woman’s son is extremely ill and despite the bleak circumstances of her personal life she shows up to work with a smile on her face every day. Does your perspective change? How can you go from “what an absolute idiot!” to “Oh, that poor woman?”
Wednesday, 04 January 2012
SO YOU THINK YOU CAN YOGA WISHES A HAPPY, HEALTHY AND, PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR TO ALL THE YOGIS OUT THERE!
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I spent the holiday weekend in beautiful Oregon with my beau and his fam. Albany is a rural town in about 70 miles south of Portland. The scenery was vast and the air as clean and crisp as the wine I indulged. Time appeared to slow down in this quiet setting, which seemed ironic since my beau and I slept on the pull-out sofa in the living room amidst a cachony of coo-coo-clocks his mother collects. The clocks went off every hour on the hour simultaneously. Some may have found this annoying or even strange but I embraced it. The synchronicity of sounds was soothing. The subtle symphony of chiming bells were comforting. I knew I was in as safe place.
Saturday, 31 December 2011
With the New Year almost here, we could all use a little more yoga and little less stress... STARTING JANUARY 6th JOIN ME BRIGHT & EARLY FOR MORNING FLOW YOGA OR IN THE EVENING TO RESTORE AND REJUVENATE YOURSELF. Where: RaKsa (10846 Washington Blvd in Culver City) When: Morning Flow from 7am-8:20am /// Restore, Relax, Rejuvenate from 5pm-6:20pm FIRST CLASS IS FREE!!!!!
Thursday, 29 December 2011
Your cell phone rings yellow. WTF?!?! Imagine sounds stirring up colors in your mind or visual patterns eliciting sounds. This is not that uncommon. Synesthesia is a condition where information gathered via one sensory organ like the eyes is accompanied by a totally different sensory experience. This condition is completely involuntary and affects about 1 out of every 23 people. Since synesthetics enjoy a broader sensory experience many of them can re-ascribe incoming sensory information to other sensory organs. How crazy is this? The confines of daily experience do not apply to synesthetics. For a list of famous people with synesthesia click here.
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
I watched a mind blowing BBC Documentary the other night on The Man Who Los His Body. Ian, an Englishman woke up one morning and found himself unable to move. He was not paralyzed but he experienced nerve damage in the part of his brain responsible for proprioception. His sense of touch was gone completely, yet he was not paralyzed. Doctors were baffled. There was no diagnosis for this odd condition (only 10 cases reported in the world!) and doctors concluded that Ian would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Through tedious hours, weeks, months and years of rehabilitation Ian was able to bypass his own nervous system relying solely on his vision and his memory of movement. Eventually Ian was able to teach himself to sit up, stand and walk again. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Yoga, pranayama, asana, dharana....these words generally do not elicit anxious and hormone ridden middle school or high school students. Why not? Yoga isn't an 18+ modality. On the contrary, yoga is beautifully available to anyone and everyone at any time and now Y.O.G.A. for Youth is making this possibility a reality!
Between now and November 15, 2011 Y.O.G.A. for Youth is giving away a FREE quarter (10 weeks) of yoga classes to ONE lucky Los Angeles County School on Sunday, December 4th, 2011.
Tuesday, 08 November 2011
It's been a busy fall season with rehearsals for The Nutcracker but I am excited to share with all of you that I added another class to my schedule! Beginning this Sunday November 6th restore your nervous system and prepare for the week ahead with a slow yoga flow, gentle stretching and restorative postures.
A restorative approach to yoga coupled with intentional movement techniques induces relaxation. Relaxing the physical body allows blood vessels to dilate improving circulation, digestion and elimination. Conscious relaxation also allows for mental expansion leaving you open and receptive for the week ahead. We will focus on using yoga props to alleviate sensation from pressure, compression and tension on the physical body to achieve a fully rested state. We will also use pranayama and mediation techniques to dim the infinite fluctuations of our "monkey minds."
WHAT: RESTORATIVE YOGA FLOW CLASS w/Susy Vishmid
WHERE: SHAKTI WELLNESS SANCTUARY 27113 Indian Peak Road Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
WHEN: Every Sunday From 5:00pm-6:15pm
Shakti Wellness Sanctuary is a peaceful and nurturing environment, which is an ideal setting for a restorative yoga practice. A consistent yoga practice in a safe, clean and sacred space with access to yoga props will undoubtedly change your perspective on "gym yoga." When it does, observe the benefits of your practice fully soaking into every cell of your being. Ditch the gym and give yourself the gift of yoga in the proper setting. Namaste
Tuesday, 01 November 2011
"Do as I say, not as I do." These are the famous last words from people who appear to be wiser than they actually are. Last week while practicing at Yoga Works I witnessed something that blew my mind. The class I was in was a popular level 2/3 vinyasa flow class taught by one of the most popular instructors; however my gripe wasn't with the instructor or the sequencing of postures. I was standing one row behind another prominent, yet younger, Yoga Works instructor and I noticed her continuously stopping her practice to turn around and scope out the class in a way that was well… let’s just say it, bitchy. I was shocked! I totally get it if you have an injury or need to modify certain poses to take care of your own body, but that wasn't what was happening here. Don't get me wrong, the instructor in question is a great instructor and has a rock solid yoga practice herself; however her entire aura was tainted with attitude and judgment. Additionally, the instructor in question was practicing next to a friend and kept chatting with her friend loud enough for the row behind to hear. Did I mention there was music in the class? Yea, that’s how distracting the energy was. This is yoga not social hour at Urth Cafe down the street. When we step into the yoga studio and especially onto our mat aren’t we supposed to focus our attention on arriving and staying present mentally, physically and spiritually? Yoga teaches us to release judgment and quell the ego but I guess some people fell asleep during that lesson, which is fine if you aren’t then teaching others to do the very thing you gloss over.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
I am thrilled to announce that I am now accepting new clients at Shakti Wellness Sanctuary in Palos Verdes, CA. Clients will enjoy natural lighting and unique East Asian decor while gazing out into the Sanctuary's lush gardens. When practiced in a proper setting, yoga is a deeply intimate practice, which allows one to reconnect with their true creative spirit. Unlike a haphazard and noisy gym atmosphere, Shakti Sanctuary is an inviting and nurturing space where clients will grow physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Yoga props including blankets, straps and blocks are provided at Shakti Wellness Sanctuary. Using props enhances your yoga practice by modifying postures and making them accessible for all yoga practitioners. Unfortunately most gyms do not provide yoga props. Enjoy a cup of tea and some healthy snacks provided for clients after completing your yoga practice at the Sanctuary.
So ditch the gym for a sanctuary!
Friday, 21 October 2011
Do you relish the hours, minutes and seconds leading up to yoga class or do you approach your yoga practice as another task to check off the "To-Do" list? So many of us, myself included, correlate our self-worth with how much we can get accomplished. The more tasks we check off our "To-Do" lists the more productive we feel as members of society and the more valuable we feel as individuals. The connection between what we accomplish and our perceived self-worth is totally arbitrary and artificially constructed by Western culture.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
As the month of September comes to a close, I want to remind all my loyal readers that September is National Yoga Month. Yup, yoga is so popular these days it gets its own month! Why is it so popular? Why are you reading this post? What connection do you have to yoga? Why do you step onto your mat to practice the same set of poses over and over again?
Let’s face it, as humans we are guilty of being creators of habit. We like routine because it feels safe. We seek out routine because it brings a sense of comfort. Consistency and the certainty of knowing what happens next keeps us grounded. Taken to the extreme these habitual tendencies can be detrimental to our optimal existence but a dose of habit in moderation is a good thing. Each time I step onto my mat to practice I am fully aware that I am about to execute the same poses over and over again; however, each time I step onto my mat I am just as aware that it is a different day with a different set of circumstances. Each day my body is a new and different body than the day before. Although I probably practiced Bakasana hundreds of times in my life by now I know that on this particular day something about the pose will feel different than the last time I practiced it. For example, if I feel more connected to my core on a given day I will feel lighter within the pose. On the other hand, if I feel mentally frazzled and disconnected to my core on a given day it makes it more difficult to find my balance and to hold the pose for as long as I desire. Circumstances. All of life is circumstantial. Being able to navigate through the various layers and sensations on this day during a yoga practice is a metaphor for maneuvering through a thing called life. Celebrate by stepping onto your mat...even if that is all you do.
Monday, 26 September 2011
What is this crazy idea of “oneness” that lies at the heart of each yoga class and is prescribed by every piece of yoga literature out there? How the heck are you supposed to experience wholeness, balance, “oneness” (insert your own adjective here) if some aspect of your life is always out of whack? All right, so maybe you’ve nurtured your personal relationships with utmost diligence and finally your personal and social life is falling into place. Nonetheless, and similar to a game of Jenga, the moment a single puzzle piece actually fits nicely into the manifold of bullshit we call life another piece slips out propelling us into yet another hot mess. Whether you are dealing with professional purgatory in our weak-sauce economy or social isolation because your last beau was a badass, and not the sexy kind. When one door slams in your face another one will open. I hope. It is impossible to control or to foresee the little games life plays with us, or shall I say on us.
Saturday, 17 September 2011
I knew I wanted to discuss success today, but was unsure where to start so I turned to my trusty dictionary for help and here is what it told me:
the accomplishment of an aim or purpose : the president had some success in restoring confidence.
• the attainment of popularity or profit : the success of his play.
• a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity : I must make a success of my business.
• archaic the outcome of an undertaking, specified as achieving or failing to achieve its aims : the good or ill success of their maritime enterprises.
All four definitions involve attachment or expectation of a specific result. I suppose the question then becomes how do you define your goals? I am not interested in this, at least not today. I want to know how do you define success and why? Maybe you drive a really nice car, does that make you successful? Do you dine at McDonalds or at McCormick & Schmick's? Which one do you associate with success? Duh!!! When I teach yoga I always offer students options with the hope that they will pick an appropriate one for their level. About 90% of the time the less advanced students push themselves to the maximum. Not only do I see how their physical bodies suffer, but I also see it in the way their faces wince from physical discomfort. Ironically, the more advanced students pause more often during their practice and take time to honor their body and rest during their practice. Does success in yoga mean contorting your body against its will into a given position just to please your ego? Attaining the final version a yoga pose might arouse a brief sense of accomplishment; however, this will fade all too quickly for if the process of positioning the body into these postures is miserable one will not look forward to the next yoga practice. So this is when I pause and ask the question: why do you do what you do? Are you on auto-pilot? Do you do what you do out of physical, financial or social necessity? Do you do what you do because you actually love it? I insist that success in yoga is not executing all the poses perfectly, but only those who want to listen actually do.
Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Most people begin their yogic journey for the physical benefits and only later realize yoga's positive mental and emotional side-effects. Aside from feeling rejuvenated and experiencing reduced stress levels many yogis also report feeling a state of blissful euphoria after a deep practice. The experience is similar to being in love. Studies show that a regular yoga practice produces dopamine--a neurotransmitter responsible for eliciting deep pleasure in the most mundane of details and endorphins--natural mood enhancers responsible for reducing stress and generating a more focused state of awareness. In essence, yoga and love have a similar effect on the brain. When we love with utmost purity we are truly happy because this kind of love is unconditional. Pure love has no expectations attached to it. The love struck one experiences a change in behavior observable by the rest of the world because when we find love, whether through the practice of yoga or through a deep connection with another person the love is reflected in a willingness to offer 100% of yourself to whatever is. To whatever happens. Love, yoga and dare I say love through yoga opens up the soul and renders an individual as receptive. Being able to welcome the unknown with open arms and open eyes demonstrates that hope is alive and to me this life's greatest gift.
Thursday, 08 September 2011
This is one of the most prolific things I have read in a long time. It is an excerpt from Carl Sagan's book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. Sagan reflects on the appearance of the Earth the above photograph taken by Voyager 1 in 1990 at that he himself requested.
"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Look again at that dot. That's here, that's home, that's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
Wednesday, 17 August 2011