Sunday, November 21, 2010

Off The Mat

My Dear Friends;

Last year I participated in a 29-day gift giving challenge where I gave to friends and family, charities of your choosing, and to those I came across on the subway and streets of New York. This year I am once again taking on this beautiful one-month commitment and I am launching it on Saturday, November 27th with a very special yoga event. The details are below and I hope you will attend or make any contribution you are able.

It has been almost 2 years since I returned from my trip to Rwanda, but the impact of that experience has remained. This year I am taking part in a special charitable yoga class to raise money for Off The Mat And Into The World, an organization which works with children in South Africa touched by the HIV/AIDS crisis.

The yoga event is being held at Pure East on 203 E 86th Street from 3:30-5:30 on Saturday, November 27th. Suggested donation is $35. RSVP to pureoffthemat@gmail.com. Make a donation even if you can not attend by mailing a check made out to Off The Mat And Into The World to Jordan Marinov, 81 Olive St. #9, Brooklyn, NY 11211.

Our goal is to raise $5,000 in the next week! It is a big goal, but with your help, I know it can be achieved. Let this blog go VIRAL. Forward it to your contact list. And let's see what we can do!


In addition, I would love to once again support your favorite causes, so please send suggestions my way.

And finally, I am setting another commitment to have 10 people join me in the gift giving challenge this year. Please join me in this amazing experience. You will get back more than give, I promise.


Wishing you a joyous and healthy holiday season! Lara


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lucky Number 7 or New Year Starts Now



I am writing to announce the the official launching of my Mysore program at Usha Veda Yoga in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. As of September 7th we are on a six day a week schedule respecting Saturdays and moon days as rest time. (Please contact Usha Veda for our moon day list.) Classes are Monday - Friday from 6.45 AM - 9.00 AM and students may come anytime during that period as long as they are able to finish by 9. Sundays are 12.00 PM - 2.00 PM. Look for Fridays to become led classes as of Jan 1st. I am now teaching a half led primary on Wednesday nights from 6.45 PM - 8.15 PM. This class is open to develop into a full led if able students attend.

Please allow me to share a little about the space and why I have decided to make it my home. I know to many of my Manhattanite friends, Brooklyn sounds like a far away country. Perhaps parts of the borough are, but it is certainly not the case here. We are accessible by the 7 train which easy to get to from any part of Manhattan. You can take that lucky line to the Vernon-Jackson stop in Long Island City, just one stop out of Manhattan. From there it's a short walk over the lovely Pulaski Bridge to 1104 Manhattan Ave. I come from west Harlem and walk it daily. It is a great way to relax the mind and prepare to practice. Join me in my morning stroll and see for yourself.

As for the actual space, the first word that comes to mind is sweet. The atmosphere is simple and gentle and welcoming. It is a great place for both old and new practitioners. I think you will find it very easy to relax into a meaningful practice and make it your home.

For those of you still unconvinced, or looking for another option, I am adding two open classes in Manhattan to my schedule. These are half led primaries at Bread and Yoga in Inwood on Thursday nights at 8 PM and Saturdays at 11.30 AM starting with a special class on Saturday, September 11th. Bread and Yoga is located at 4951 Broadway directly off the A train. (No walking necessary.)

I hope to be seeing all of you very soon. Remember, you don't have to wait for January 1st to commit or recommit yourself to healthy living. The beginning of the school year marks a rhythm cycle deeply ingrained in our hearts and minds. Take advantage of the natural shift and breath fresh spirit into your life.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Certificate

"If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter - if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental, and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self."

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


It is Sunday morning and I have just finished my last led class of this trip. A couple of days ago I went to visit Sharath (my teacher) to remind him that I am leaving on Wednesday to be home in time for an important wedding. At that time he informed me that I will get my certificate. I, in turn, informed my family and close friends.

But what is a certificate and why has everyone been asking me if I will get this paper? After fielding many inquiries about the document, I too began to talk to friends and family of its importance. But what does this paper prove? To many, unfortunately, I think it signifies an ending, a completion. To me, it is a beginning.

I return home to teach with my teacher's blessing, an Authorized Ashtanga teacher. But my learning continues. My teachers, my students, and the One Ultimate Guru, will guide me, and India has her lessons as well. I look forward to returning to her as a student instead of as a teacher, and surrendering to her timely trials.

To those who have supported me in this leg of my journey I give my deepest gratitude. Please reach out to me, especially for yoga therapy, for those who are sick or have pain physically or mentally. I am here for you and I pray you will take the benefit of my learnings.




Thursday, July 8, 2010

I'm only happy when it rains.

It's about to rain. The storm clouds are ominous and the crows are sweeping overhead. It's the first time I noticed them in India. They were unavoidable in Rwanda. This time there is a warning, but often there is none. One moment it is bright with promise and the next, westerners are running to their clotheslines to save what is savable. I must admit, I have more than once left clothes on the line through two or three rainfalls. The sun is always so deceiving here in its magnificent brightness. And running seems unfairly difficult in our culture here of afternoon laziness.

It's my fifth visit to Mysore, India and I'm staying in an apartment referred to fondly as "the bird perch". It's like a little dollhouse studio plopped on top of an apartment building roof. I have a clear view of all the clotheslines, and treelines, and skylines in the distance.

Perched in my perch waiting for rain I imagine the girl I might have been had I been born in Seattle. I see myself brooding and poetic. I like this version, this slice of me. I can play her very well. She strums one or two chords on an old guitar. She writes lines on scraps thrown carelessly across the bed.

So much has been said about travel, but one of my favorite aspects is the fantastic opportunity to play out the dormant slivers of myself. I've been here a hand full of times now and my Mysore self is beginning to mold. She has her own separate wardrobe which I store here for her in an old tin trunk. She has a special diet and a unique way of sleeping and eating and doing all the things a human does. More and more people know her now and slowly she's being expected to be somebody. And even though that somebody is so very fun and different from the the New York somebody I frequently embody, I am still so divinely grateful for the anonymity left to me here. In a place where new students come and go, some never to return, I am hopeful that I'll always have some space to play out the way I might have been. And today, I'm only happy when it rains.