“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
Location: International Sportsmedicine Institute
3283 Motor Avenue
2nd Flr (above Elizabeth Taylor's Aquadic Center)
West Los Angeles, CA 90034
COST: $15/Class (CASH or CHECKS ONLY)
I invite all of you to enjoy your Friday mornings with me at this lovely space. Investing $15 for a one hour and fifteen minute yoga class where you will learn to move with maximum efficiency and minimum risk for injury is a drop in the bucket
Wednesday, 04 April 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
REMEMBER TO JOIN ME TOMORROW AND EVERY FRIDAY FOR:
MORNING FLOW @7AM & RELAX, RESTORE, REJUVENEATE AT 5PM
Where: RaKsa in Culver City
Cost: 1st Class is FREE!!!!
Check out my bio on the RaKsa Wesbsite
See you in Down Dog!
Thursday, 05 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
This post goes out to all my yoga junkies who love to shop for anything yoga! I came across Yoga Rat as I was driving down Pico Blvd in West Los Angeles and made a mental note to check it out. I finally went in today and discovered that Yoga Rat isn't just the next "trendy" active-lifestyle brand; it's also the first yoga product outlet store I've ever seen. What does this mean??? Affordable yoga clothing and accessories made from non-toxic materials! Isn't it every yogi's fantasy to put his or her best "toe" forward while staying on budget and without squandering on the environment? Ahhhh, solace in shopping, Yes please! As the holiday season quickly approaches forget about purchasing yoga gear as gifts at an overpriced yoga studio where a single block can cost up to $20! Compare this with a yoga block from Yoga Rat at $11.99.
Yoga Rat is especially kind to certified yoga instructors! Whether you own a studio and/or teach, whether you practice yoga at a studio or in the privacy of your home take advantage of the 10% discount for ALL first time customers. Prepare for a friendly greeting from Wendell or Dave as you enter the space and don't forget to mention that you are a yoga professional (if you really are one...ASTEYA) and the friendly duo will throw in some free goodies.
Tuesday, 29 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
It's really unfortunate that many gyms that offer yoga classes don't offer yoga props! Props like blocks and straps help make poses more accessible. Props can transform active poses into restorative poses. For example, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana without a block is more active which means you actively use your muscles to hold yourself up in the pose. However, placing a block underneath your sacrum in Setu Bandha feels wonderful. The block transforms this backbend into a milder one and it is quite delish. When coupled with pranayama, the benefits of practicing a restorative bridge pose span from physical rejuvenation to mental revitalization.
Monday, 17 October 2011
As a movement professional I take verbal cues very seriously regardless of whether I am the one giving them or receiving them. The ability to articulate movement to a student is the difference between good instruction and great instruction. I had many ballet teachers in my career yet only two of them were able to articulate their instruction in such a way that I immediately understood what to do with my body to achieve the desired lines. The same clear, concise and most importantly individually tailored verbal cues are necessary to proper yoga instruction. Whether you are an advanced yogi or a beginner or whether you are a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet or a ballet enthusiast, everyone needs a fresh pair of eyes. I call this the "spinach in between your teeth effect." If you have a piece of spinach stuck in between your teeth, wouldn't you want someone to tell you about? If you had your skirt tucked into your underwear in public wouldn't you want to know about it? How about if you had a piece of soiled toilet paper stuck to your shoe at a trendy nightspot, wouldn't you want someone to tell you???
Wednesday, 05 October 2011
Many thanks to those of you who attended my workshop yesterday on Getting Grounded at the beautiful Shakti Sanctuary in Palos Verdes. I am so excited to say that I will be teaching there now. The class schedule is to be determined; however, I am officially accepting new clients for privates and semi-privates at this AMAZING space. Please contact me for more information if you are interested in getting your yoga on with me in this stunning setting. I can say with utmost certainty and authenticity that practicing in an environment like Shakti Sanctuary will take your yoga practice to the next level allowing the benefits of your practice to fully soak into every cell of your being.
Check out my bio on the Shakti Sanctuary website.
See you in Down Dog!
Monday, 03 October 2011
Here's something worth waking up for: Coffee is actually good for all you! Especially for all the physically active folks! Yes, this is true; I am a yogi after all and this means practicing satya or truthfulness in every aspect of life. And to all the yogis out there who catagorically oppose the ingestion of caffeine I say LIGHTEN UP and practice what you preach, non-judgement and acceptance of factual information.
I heard about the positive effects of caffeine on muscle recovery many times but considered it an anecdotal piece of advice, but it is actually a verifiable fact. According to a February 2007 issue of The Journal of Pain, a team of University of Georgia researchers found that moderate doses of caffeine, roughly equivalent to two cups of coffee, cut post-workout muscle pain by up to 48 percent in a small sample of volunteers. Another study conducted by the University of Georgia in 2003 found that caffeine mitigates inflammation in the body by blocking adenosine receptors in the brain.
Monday, 19 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
Every yogi needs a mat to practice on, so why not get a cool one like this one? The Trainer Mat by Trainer Brands is the first yoga mat of its kind with 28 illustrated instructional drawings of yoga poses printed directly on the surface. This is great for a beginner and for those trying to establish a regular home practice.
Other Trainer Brands products include stretch/yoga mats with printed instructional drawings for stretches and excercises for golf, maternity, aquatic sports, stretching, pilates, weight loss, etc... printed right on the mat. Trainer Brands also makes gym balls and foam rollers with printed instructional drawings on how to use these gym toys. Best Idea EVER!!!!
The only drawback I see to the Trainer Mats is its lack of grip. If you practice vinyasa or hot yoga where you sweat profusely, you need to put a towel down or a Yogitoes Skidless Mat Towel down. Trainer Brands might consider tapping into this market and use their creative and informative approach for a Trainer Skidless mat with instructional diagrams drawn on the skidless mat.
Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Yoga instructors, listen up! Do you ever find yourself recycling the same words to convey important instructions to your students? It can get pretty annoying hearing “just let go,” or “try to relax,” or “pull your belly in.” Expanding your yogic vocab is essential to the flow of a good yoga class. Using verbs instead of adjectives is more beneficial for students so consider this when scrolling through your mental Rolodex of yoga instructions. Students come to yoga class for instruction on what to do and how to do it, not for a description of postures or moving body parts. For example, “Draw the tailbone towards your heels” concisely communicates an action to the student versus “The tailbone is drawing to the heels.” Ability to communicate the same idea using different language is what distinguishes a good instructor from a great one.
Friday, 26 August 2011
This past weekend I went to the IDEA Fitness Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center with a couple girlfriends and we had a blast! So many awesome products (and so many bizzare ones also). If you are a fitness professional or even a fitness enthusiast, (and especially if you are single) I highly recommend visiting the next Fitness Expo!
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
I recently watched Did God Create the Universe? the latest episode on the Discovery Channel series Curiosity. The topic was fascinating and prompted the rusty wheels in my brain to start turning. Being the philosophy junkie that I am I researched this esoteric topic further. The discussion of black holes is what really did it for me. Theoretically, black holes are regions in space where the gravitational pull is so extreme that all the particles within it are crushed together so that nothing, not even light can escape. Air, the essential element sustaining all living and breathing creatures on our unique planet cannot exist without space. Space does not exist inside a black hole; therefore neither does movement. The need for perpetual motion is shared by many professional athletes, dancers and yogis alike because movement makes us feel alive. If Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant scientific minds of our century is correct and we are in fact mere collections of fundamental particles of nature, the same particles that comprise all matter, what makes us so remarkable? The fact that we have come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is incredible! If such impressive strides in the unveiling of the great mysteries of our universe have already been made, can science ultimately piecemeal a theory for Creation or a Divine Creator? If scientific reasoning leads to the discovery of our own creation is it safe to say we are responsible for our own destiny?
Monday, 15 August 2011