Video

Yogis, Artists, Radicals: Demonstrate in Solidarity with Turkey

14 Jun

Saturday, June 15, 10 – 11am
Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland

Bring your mat and your heart for an hour of peaceful yoga practice in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Meditate, lay in savasana, do multiple sun salutations, or extend your daily ritual.

We will dedicate one hour of communal self led practice to demonstrate solidarity with protesters in Turkey.

On May 27 people peacefully gathered in Istanbul to protest the development of Gezi Park, the last remaining green public space in their district. Within days, protests expanded out to a dozen other cities and have continued for more than two weeks. The protests have all been met with violent government opposition: more than 5,000 people have been injured by tear gas, water cannons and brute force. On June 5, protesters organized a massive yoga demonstration in Gezi Park in this ongoing effort to protect public space.

Come return the love, OAK > TURKEY.

Extra mats available. Signage encouraged.

Video

Question Bridge

11 Jun

http://questionbridge.com/

This is an amazing project by Hank Willis Thomas delves deep into the norms of race in our society and seeks to explode our assumptions about people.

It gives you the opportunity to see yourself where you are and at the same time transform your ideas about the community that you live in.

Boundaries and Intersections

10 Jun

ImageImage Credit: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/creative-world-maps/ I work with a lot of artists. In fact, some days I remember that I am an artist too. Not just the days that I am struggling to make a sequence beautiful as well as functional, but also the days I arrange my garden, or redecorate my living room. Sometimes, I am reminded that I made bonafide art, in the form or ceramics and textiles, and it blows my mind. It’s so different from the life I currently lead. Or so I thought… I was talking to one of the artists I work with, a very close friend Guillermo Gomez Pena, we were discussing the overlaps between performance art and Yin Yoga. Guillermo and I often have very interesting conversations ranging from airport security to race to gender politics, but what was different about this conversation was that it overlapped a number of topics: love, borders, spirit, faith, endurance, strength. Our words and verbal images danced around the edge of discomfort and the explosion of intuitive knowing. It is no mystery that many performance artists are Buddhist. You can read about Maria Abramovic’s and a number of other artists personal feelings about faith and spirit and how it moves their work, enabling a commitment that they would not be able to find with just their own shear will. What we were dissecting was the idea that at takes the performer as well as the audience to the edge and it is through the breath that you are allowed to stay there, suspended until the next movement brings you back. We dissected the need for humanity to push boundaries in order to make the world a more inclusive space. We explored the ache that we all have to explore the raw edge of human physical being and what each of us explores at that edge. It was not the first conversation of this type, nor will it be the last, but it has given me a moment to think about my directions and where my heart feels most full. I am drawn to art that explores the edge of humanity, yoga that explores the edge of physicality, theory that explodes paradigms around race and equity. While I frequently exist at the borders or in the margins, I am beginning to envision that middle ground, where lots of border crossers can rest comfortably and recharge their souls. What is your boundary, where do you cross?

Tightropes and Sages

9 Feb

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My teacher Emily is amazing, wonderful, insightful, and really really tough. Since she is at Laughing Lotus in New York, I don’t get to practice with her as often as I  would like, but on Tuesday she happened to be in San Francisco, so I had the opportunity to learn from her deep wisdom. Her class focused on how we are attached to certain outcomes. She used myth and metaphor but kept bringing us back to attention around our insistence on fulfilling a certain set of desires. She used poses as examples, specifically Visvamitrasana. It is a more advanced version of a compass pose, encapuslating a side bend, back bend, twist, and balance. Look it up, it’s crazy hard, and stunningly beautiful. It is also too advanced for my current ability, but she showed a couple steps to get there that make it seem more accessible.

The thread of the teaching, though, was not the pose but rather our attachment to how we felt about our attempt of the pose; our need to do it perfectly or our refusals to try for fear of failure.

It got me thinking about all the challenges we are presented with everyday. Some people hold theirs deep and hidden and others wear them for the world to see. I’ve mentioned before that I am 50lbs overweight. I have been doing a lot of  soul searching in relation to my body. I can be pretty self conscious about it, especially when faced with challenges like Visvamistrasana. I beat myself up about not having enough self control  or comparing myself to others that I will never be like. Emily’s class left me with some food for thought, constant focus and and practice should not be obsession. Her mantra was the tightrope between acceptance (of a pose, a habit, a physicality, a situation), where you are at with it, and the daily practice to meet your edge everyday.

Visvamistrasana is one of the sage poses and like any person that embarks on a journey to understanding, has so much to teach if you are open to the lessons. My challenge for 2013 seems to be the delicate balance of constant attention and letting go, not just for my body but in most parts of my life.

We are all broke! Chicago

18 Nov

Hey Chicago friends and readers. I did some digging for you and, you don’t need my list. Amy of FreeYogaChicago.com has already done it!

I wish I knew about this when I was living there. Not to mention that some of the classes are at my favorite studios like Moksha and Bloom.

Now Chicago, as winter engulfs and you are enveloped by the dark long night, get your butts to some classes.

Get warm in your body, mind, and soul. Then share it with a loved one. You’ll be better for yourself and your homies.

Buddha is peeking out from under the stairs.

9 Nov

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Photo Credit : Indrajohnson.com

I have many lives. In one of them, I am a yoga teacher. In another a writer, during the day a mommy and on Friday afternoons I am MFA faculty; that is just to name a few. As I was putting together my class outline for Friday, I pulled out a wonderful favorite article by Twyla Tharp in “ The Creative Habit.” I am opening class with an exercise challenging my students to think about their creative DNA. Where there creative impulses come from and how they best express them. The article takes them through 33 questions to answer in rapid fire and gives them something tangible to hold on to. It is kind of like a window into that place between sleep and awake. Where you can hear your subconscious or true self-speaking. Telling you to get off your duff and mediate, or that you need to continue to heal, whatever yours tells you, that’s what mine says. I try to listen, but I, of course, am only human and so sometimes I roll over and go back to sleep. Only to question what it was saying to me when I woke up. Ugh, another wasted message!

Much to my delight as I was scrolling through Facebook, I happened upon a pic of my nephew on a beach in Chicago with a Buddha head’s eyes, peeking up over the sand. The head was submerged about 6 inches, the chin and mouth covered. Just his eyes peering over the landscape, giving the impression of something buried from your past ready to emerge if you only focus on it for a moment. Just like those between state messages to love yourself more, stop drinking wine, or work harder on yoga poses that you just don’t like. Turns out, artist and cultural worker, Indra Freitas Johnson, is asking herself some of those same questions and her current project Ten Thousand Ripples is the source of that head and many others throughout Chicago.

In her bio, found on her website she says “The process of spiritual growth has been an ongoing preoccupation for me, especially as it relates to working in the community. I have found that in the search for a personal truth one discovers universal truths that bind us to each other to the past and to future generations.” Which flipped my brain back to my MFA students and their artwork. Not a strange leap for me, in my multiple identities, I change my course of thought 100’s of times a day, sometimes hundreds of times a minute.

Between you and me, it is one of the many reasons I started a yoga practice.

When putting together my class outline and thinking about the trajectory of learning, it brought me back to that greater search. We are all trying to find those universal truths, figuring the best and most effective way to express ourselves. Delving into those late night messages and sometimes hitting the mark, but often missing.  

Those eyes peering over the sand are enough to remind me that we all have the same things hidden and we are all experimenting, trying to determine our DNA and where we are linked.

We Are All Broke!! SAN FRANCISCO

31 Oct

Knowing San Francisco well, I understand that there are classes all over the city that are donation based, less than $10 or even free. But these are the ones that I found links to. Most of them are in Studios, so the amenities of studios go along with it. And, most are suggested donation of $10. San Francisco is expensive, yoga teachers are broke too!

Here is the list!
Monday
7 am, 10 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, 7:30 pm, 9 pm, Yoga to the People, suggested donation $10
7 am, 6 pm, 7:30 pm, Sun Room ,Sliding Scale $10-$20
9 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:15 pm, 8 pm, Urban Flow, Accepts what is given, suggested sliding scale of $12 to $22
2:30 pm, Laughing Lotus, Donation to a different non-profit each month, $1 minimum

Tuesday
7 am, 12 pm, 2:30 pm, 6 pm (bilingual), Sun Room, Sliding Scale $10-$20
9 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:15 pm, 8 pm, Urban Flow, Accepts what is given, suggested sliding scale of $12 to $22
10 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, 7:30 pm, 9 pm, Yoga to the People, suggested donation $10
2:30 pm, Laughing Lotus, Donation to a different non-profit each month, $1 minimum
6:15 pm Yoga on the Labyrinth, Suggested donation $10
6:30 pm, Integral Yoga Institute of San Francisco, Donation

Wednesday
7 am, 10 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, 7:30 pm, 9 pm, Yoga to the People, suggested donation $10
7 am, 2:30 pm, Sun Room, Sliding Scale $10-$20
9 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:15 pm, 8 pm, Urban Flow, Accepts what is given, suggested sliding scale of $12 to $22
2:30 pm, Laughing Lotus, Donation to a different non-profit each month, $1 minimum
7 pm, Yoga Mob, Donation based

Thursday
7 am, 12 pm, 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm, Sun Room, Sliding Scale $10-$20
9 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:15 pm, 8 pm, Urban Flow, Accepts what is given suggested sliding scale of $12 to $22
9:30 am, Integral Yoga Institute of San Francisco, Donation
10 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, 7:30 pm, 9 pm, Yoga to the People, suggested donation $10
2:30 pm, Laughing Lotus, Donation to a different non-profit each month, $1 minimum

Friday
7 am, 10 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6 pm, 7:30 pm, Yoga to the People, Suggested Donation $10
7 am, 12:30 pm, 4:15 pm, 6 pm, Sun Room, Sliding Scale $10-$20
9 am, 12 pm, 4:30 pm, 6:15 pm, 8 pm, Urban Flow, Accepts what is given, suggested sliding scale of $12 to $22
2:30 pm, Laughing Lotus, Donation to a different non-profit each month, $1 minimum

Saturday
8 am, Integral Yoga Institute of San Francisco, Donation
9 am, 11:30 am. 4:30 pm, 6:15 pm, Urban Flow, Accepts what is given, suggested sliding scale of $12 to $22
10 am, 12 pm, 5 pm, Yoga to the People, suggested donation $10

Sunday
9 am, 11:30 am. 4:30 pm, 6:15 pm, Urban Flow, Accepts what is given, suggested sliding scale of $12 to $22
12 pm, 5 pm, 7 pm & 8:30 pm (candle-lit), Yoga to the People, Suggested Donation $10
8:30 pm, Sun Room, Sliding Scale $10-$20

If you don’t see your class comment and I’ll add it.

Otherwise, get your butt to a class and be better for your homies!

Political Yogi

29 Oct


Image Credit: Dieder Ruef

Know all objects to be impermanent

Let not their contact blind you

Resolve again and again to be aware

Of the Self that is permanent.

-T. Krishnamacharya

I was a political junky for years. I worked for both the cities of Chicago and San Francisco. Very left leaning municipalities, they served my progressive spirit to a t. Spending more time now with my family and in my studies, I’ve found that my political passion has waned some. Not because I no longer find it important to support progress in my city, country, or world but because the coverage of politics is too much like reality TV.

I love heated debates, perceived difference, quick witticism and pointed arguments. Some days I live for them. What I can’t get over right now is how our media seems to be embracing this as politics.

From where I see it, we are all in this together. What happens to you is also happening to me. It may not happen today, I may have a few more dollars in my pocket or some additional comfort in my walk from public transport to my home. I may even have better healthcare or options for elderly support. The thing is, at some point, I will be affected by my disregard for you or my attitude that you alone are responsible for your circumstances.

We are a system, democracy (not capitalism) is built on the idea that we all get a say in how things work and how our system shakes out. For me it is working from a collective idea of what is good for us all. It’s hard to totally parallel with the idea of the eternal Self, since we are still talking about humanity, but in there is the idea of recognizing the suffering of all as the suffering of one, and in turn the solution for one as the solutions for all.

As a youth what I loved about out political system was that those on opposite sides of the aisle worked together, they compromised and made slow change based on what was often good for a larger majority. What I see today is both parties marginalized, trying to make policy that serves them singularly and others that they perceive to be like them.

Here, in our humanness, we all have the same fears and anxieties, our politicians play on those enabling us to more effectively demonize the people we see as not like us. In the end, we all go back to the same place; this is just a moment in eternity.

We can choose to work together, make things happen or we can let people play us into thinking that our shells should determine how we treat each other.  I’m giving up the political drama, but I am still a junky for democracy. A junky for people working together to support a larger human family, for making this a space that will lessen the physical suffering of generations to come, or for an opportunity to develop a place and practice to learn about the Self: individual, collective and eternal.

How are you playing out your politics?

Easy Like Sunday Morning

28 Oct

Image Credit: Zazzle.com

Flow on Saraswati, you rad chic, you awesome totem for the arts and knowledge for using both logic and creativity.

When I teach class that focuses on the energy of Saraswati it is grounded and ascending, contracted while reaching, and deep while remaining light. What I love about her is that she is the essence of the middle, beautiful and brainy, crabby and cordial. Saraswati represents the ability to use your creativity in a constructive way, because you have taken the time to build a solid foundation.

You are able to flow, change your perspective mid-stream, open up to what the universe has to offer. Jodorowsky says in Psychomagic, “The active imagination is key to expanded vision. It allows us to envision a life according to points of view other than our own, to think and sense things from different perspectives. This is true freedom: to be capable of leaving ourselves, crossing the boundaries of our little world to open the universe.”

Flow on Saraswati, paintbrush pusher, dance dealer, radical revolutionary and transformative teacher.

We are all broke! EAST BAY

26 Oct

With a little internet research and elbow grease, I found multiple classes a day that meet the Yoga for the Masses criteria, awesome, fun, and less than $10.

No excuses, get your butt to a class, take some deep breathes and be better for your homies.

Mondays

7 am Square One, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
6:15 pm, Lake Merritt Community Yoga/Yoga for the Masses, $5-$10 Oakland
6:30 pm, East Bay Community Yoga (Starline Social Club), $5-$15 Oakland

Tuesdays

7 am, Square one, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
4:30 pm, Yoga Kula, donation Berkeley

Wednesday

7 am Square one, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
9:15 pm, Flying Yoga, donation Oakland

Thursday

7 am Square one, $6 Emeryville
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
4:30 pm, Yoga Kula, donation Berkeley
6 pm, West Oakland Yoga, $10 Oakland
6:30 pm, East Bay Community Yoga (Temescal Arts Center), donation Oakland

Fridays

7 am Square one, $6 Emeryville
9 am Adeline Yoga, $5-$15 Oakland
10 am, 12pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30 pm, 7:30pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley

Saturday

10am, 12pm, 5pm, Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley

Sunday

11 am, Lake Merritt Yoga, donation Oakland
12pm, 5pm, 7pm (candle-lit!), Yoga to the People, donation Berkeley
6 pm, Yoga Kula, $8 to $16 Berkeley
Please pass this on and post a link. I have had so many questions about low cost yoga, let people know it’s out there.

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