Friday, January 25, 2013

Finding Women's Strength with Yoga by Michelle Goitia

     Last night I watched, "Birth Story: Ina May Gaskins &The Farm Midwives" with my "birth" friends. What I came away with is a confirmation of why I do the work that I do. As many of you know, I LOVE teaching pregnant women, women and their partners and women with babies and/or toddlers. The movie shared some births that simply took my breath away. I HAD to take the cleansing breath that I ask my students and birth clients to take many times during class and/or their birth.

     Tapping into the women's strength is what I try to cultivate in the yoga practice. Asking my students to let labor happen and be strong for the birth of their baby as we hold our 1 minute chair pose! In class,  we celebrate the woman who has endured pregnancy the longest by allowing her to pick the poses that feel the best in her ever changing body. In Yoga for Labor & Delivery, we find comfort measures and peace to take with them into their labor. Labor is hard but we do not have to fear it. We need to find our inner strength and peace to cultivate the birth we envision.

     The movie closed with a woman in labor. Surrounded by someone playing a Cello(REALLY), her husband, her children, Ina May and her midwives as she labored in her living room in a tub. We watched as everyone around her was present but not intrusive. Calmly, the baby was born and her "support" group was there to welcome him to this world. AMAZING and yes I had to take another cleansing breath!

Here is a trailer of the movie:

- Michelle Goitia teaches Prenatal Yoga at the Urban Sanctuary on Monday's at 11am.  She also leads our Itsy Bitsy Series on Tuesdays at the Urban Sanctuary and Thursdays at the Uptown location.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Community of Yoga

         On Decenber 23rd, I was HONORED to be part of the benefit that was held at Devotion for Sandy Relief.  As I looked at the assembled group of yogis, I couldn't help but smile, because in row after row, I saw faces I knew.  People who have been in my class, folks that I have practiced next to, souls whom I had passed coming in and out of the amazing place that Devotion Yoga is.  I knew before the words came out of her mouth that day that Liza, our studio owner, would speak of community.  I remember, like it was a moment ago, how, when I was interviewing to be an apprentice, she said the reason she started the studio was because she wanted to establish a community.  And while I always liked the word community, always thought - "Yeah, it's nice to have have like minded souls around you, so you don't have to worry about what you say."  I never REALLY got what community was all about until I began the practice of yoga.
          One of the tenets of Bhakit Yoga (bhakti being the sanskrit word for devotion) is that we acknowledge and celebrate that we are all a part of something bigger.  We may think of ourselves as little islands of "me-ness," but the fact is, we are all made up of the same stuff of the universe.  The life force, what yoga texts call prana, is all around us, and within us.  I like to think of it like we are all cups of different shapes and sizes, but we're all filled with water from the same ocean.  And nothing brings us to that awareness better than community.
           When we act in community - like at this benefit to help those poor souls whom Hurricane Sandy hurt so deeply - we are a part of something that isn't just about us.  It isn't the "ME SHOW!"  We are reaching out, we are coming together, we are UNITING - and UNITY is what the word yoga means.  When we think of commUNITY like that, we can see what a powerful thing it can be, when people come together for others.  We can then, as my main man Ghandi so beautifully said, "Be the change we want to be in the world!"

- Julie Pasqual teaches at our Urban Sanctuary on Monday's at 6:30.
Along with being a 200 hour RYT with Yoga Alliance, Julie is also a dancer, storyteller, clown, and chimney sweep (okay just joking about that last one!) with a strong commitment to serving her community in any way she can. Her classes are infused with the joy of movement from her dance background, touches of yoga philosophy phrased in her storyteller’s voice, and straight out, big time JOY from her life as a performer in pediatric hospitals for the Big Apple Circus. She is lucky enough to be a graduate from the Bright Spirit Yoga Teacher Training Program, studying under Jillian Pransky and Carrie Parker, and was part of the Devotion Yoga Teacher Apprentice Program, with Patrick Franco as her mentor. Yoga has brought self awareness, inspiration, lessons, and fun into Julie’s life, and she tries to share those with her students in each and every class!!