Greetings Yogis! It has been a while but I am back in Los Angeles teaching yoga!!!! I am teaching a Summer Solstice Workshop on JUNE 22nd from 1-3pm at Yoga Daya in Culver City. Early Bird rate (before June 8th) is $35, and $45 after June 8th. Space is limited so secure your spot by calling Yoga Daya at (310)-558-YOGA or sign-up online and click the "Workshops" tab at the top of the page.
Friday, 03 May 2013
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
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
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
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
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
To meditate is to focus your attention on one thing. Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t some cryptic and esoteric task-taking place under a Bodhi Tree out in the wilderness. Meditation can happen anywhere at any time. A meditation practice strengthens our capacity for focused attention. Meditation is a tool to achieve clarity of thought and relief from life’s frustrations and stresses. To experience the benefits of mantra meditation it’s important to practice patience and non-judgment during each meditation session because the human mind, referred to as the monkey mind will undoubtedly wander aimlessly through its vast forests of thoughts and emotional responses. How many times throughout your day do you become sidetracked or distracted from your original intentions? The ability to place and maintain your attention where you choose to is both empowering and liberating.
Mantra meditations are words or phrases that are chanted verbally or mentally. Usually a mantra is prescribed to a student by a guru or teacher. Mantra can also be self-prescribed. For example, by choosing to mediate on the word "love" or "compassion" the mediator invites more love or compassion into their field of awareness and therefore into their life. The word or phrase is the object of meditation giving the mind something to focus on. You will notice your mind pulling your attention outwards, away from the mantra. Sounds in the immediate environment, sensations in your body and of course thoughts will enter and occupy the mind; yet instead of entertaining these distractions, allow them to enter your stream of consciousness and then choose to recommit to the mantra. You will notice these distractions will exit your stream of consciousness as quickly as they entered. With a consistent meditation mantra practice the physical world of distraction begins to gradually fade away and the only thing the meditator construes as reality is the spoken or mental mantra. Ultimately, after a long mantra meditation the mantra itself begins to dissolve until there is nothing but serene and expansive consciousness. No thoughts, no words, no judgment, just space.
YOGI TIDBIT TO TRY:
This mantra was given to me by Julian Walker, a true guru.
Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Close your eyes. Watch the quality of your breathing for a few cycles of breath. Remember that the breath is four-part with the inhalation, the pause after the inhalation, the exhalation and the pause after the exhalation. Begin verbally or mentally reciting the following mantra:
MAY I BE WELL. MAY I BE HAPPY AND SAFE. MAY I BE HEALTHY AND STRONG. MAY I BE FREE FROM SUFFERING AND THAT WHICH CAUSES ME TO SUFFER. MAY I BE WELL.
Begin by reciting this mantra five times. Then build up gradually. Practice this mantra anytime, especially in times when you feel self-doubt and self-conscious.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011
The main goal of So You Think You Can Yoga?® is to demystify some of the common misperceptions people have about yoga. One of them is the notion that unless you are naturally flexible yoga is uncomfortable and impossible. Yes, the asanas do require flexibility but they also require strength. With a consistent practice, flexibility and strength develop together; like a married couple. They are two sides of the same coin. People who tend to be on the stiff side usually fare better with poses that require more strength. People who are more on the flexible side tend to do better with poses that facilitate elongation of the muscles and ligaments. Neither one is more advanced than the other per se. The degree of difficulty really depends on which side of the coin you identify with the most. Yoga is about balance. The goal is to reach equilibrium between the two sides of this coin.
Astavakrasana is an “advanced” asana because there are several elements to it. Astavakrasana illustrates the duality of yoga specific to a yoga practice because it requires core strength and flexibility. Below is a sequence of asanas designed to help prepare your body for astavakrasana. It helps to think about this pose in terms of component parts, which include the core and hip flexibility. The sequence below strengthens the core muscles while simultaneously targeting external rotation of the hip joints.
Thursday, 21 July 2011
Over the last few years, I gained an indescribable sixth sense through my yoga practice. As a ballerina, heightened physical awareness is a given. However, these days my awareness is sharper than the sharpest tool in the shed encompassing my emotional and energetic fields of awareness.
The effects of a regular yoga practice penetrate deep from the outside in since we have direct access to what we see, touch, feel, hear and taste. Yogis begin by contorting their bodies into silly shapes and poses and holding them for what can often seem like an eternity. Many people turn to yoga strictly as a form of exercise as I first did. When physical limitations are met, yogis learn to stay focused, resist aversion to physical and/or psychological discomfort that might arise and as a result a shift in perception occurs. This feeling can be exhilarating and liberating and is considered by all yogis to be where the true yogic journey begins. The yoga poses, called asanas in Sandskrit, are merely metaphors for life. Asanas are situational and subject to change much like daily life. They generate the same aversions or attachments experienced in daily life. We identify and enjoy certain asanas more than others, just like we enjoy certain people, relationships and situations more than others. Yoga is a powerful tool because it brings about a revelation in the practitioner. There comes a point where suddenly one becomes fully aware of hard-wired habits and automated thought processes, which is scary… No one wants to be confronted with one’s self.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Uncertain socioeconomic times leave many struggling to stay afloat. No jobs, no discretionary income and no apparent light at the end of the tunnel. What do you do? Where do you turn? Yoga? Dance? Being outdoors? Yes, yes, and yes. It’s remarkable to see how during such a rigorous economic downturn there are still people out and about everywhere I turn. Cafes bustle with hungry crowds of casually dressed people. I see people walking at a leisurely pace shopping and lunching. Afternoon yoga classes are more crowded and even Runyon Canyon is more packed than usual. Normally I wouldn’t think twice; however this type of suspicious activity caught my attention because it occurs during prime afternoon work hours on a Monday or a Tuesday or a Wednesday or a Thursday! What the heck is going on here?
I stopped to think about this one. Luckily, thinking comes easily to me. Either people aren’t working at all or they are working less and at a much slower pace. How European. If less people are working full time, that means they have more time to do other things. This is precisely what is happening. Summer time in LA is always busy, but I don’t remember the last time I’ve seen it this busy during the workweek. Did I not get the memo or something, because apparently the overworked, overstressed, underpaid and now the underemployed decided to just say “Oh screw it!” The majority opinion changed drastically from “work hard, save your earnings” to “enjoy what you have today, ‘cuz that might be all you get.” I look at this situation as a resting period; it’s hibernation of America’s workforce. People need rest. They need entertainment. They need something positive in their lives amidst all this chaos. Now that there is more time during their day, people are more willing to dip into their savings to enjoy their hobbies. The overworked are stocking up on their well deserved rest. So when we do experience the big economic boom we’ve all been waiting for, we are refreshed and ready. There is something to this philosophy. America is a country where you work hard for what you earn, but these days it doesn’t matter so much how hard you work or how hard you try because ultimately keeping your head above water is for all intents and purposes impossible.
Could these distressful economic times teach us a valuable lesson, a lesson that Europe already learned long ago? When the future is uncertain, what are you left with but the present moment? Yesterday is history. The moment has passed. Tomorrow is a mystery and isn’t promised. The only option available is to make the most of the present situation and that isn’t necessarily such a bad thing after all.
Saturday, 16 July 2011
Yesterday I decided to mix things up a bit. I took a hip-hop class. Don’t laugh! You heard me correctly! Ballerinas can groove too. Instead of trekking all the way across the city, dealing with the pre-carmageddon frenzy on the roads only to cram myself into a room with other sweaty pretentious dancers at a well-established Hollywood dance studio, which shall remain nameless, I decided to check out a new local studio. Moore Dancing Cardio Dance Studio in West Los Angeles offers a variety of classes throughout the day. Classes are basic enough for novices yet have just the right amount of groove and funk to challenge more seasoned dancers. Classes offered include hip-hop, funk, cardio dance, and more. Moore Dancing welcomes all levels of dance and all ages. Located on the second floor the studio gets a ton of natural light overlooking trendy San Vicente Blvd in west Los Angeles. The feng shui is perfect. Classes offered have uniquely funky names describing their individual sass. So if you live on the Westside of Los Angeles, be sure to grab your neon tights, sweatbands and legwarmers for Back to The Future with Matthew where dancers jam out to the funky beats of the 1980's!
Thursday, 14 July 2011