Monday, January 30, 2012

Yoga Together




There has been a real growing trend at the studio of members getting their significant others into yoga. It makes me really happy to see this happening, because it demonstrates that the practice has strongly benefited the individual, so much so that they feel a real need to share it with their partner. Inspired by that, Land Yoga is offering a Couple's Discount all February long. New couples join anytime during February and get One Month Unlimited for $125 each. Members' partners join for just $100 for their first month!

Here are some couples who are going down the yoga path together:

JESSICA AND ALAN

How old are you and how long have you been together?

Jessica is 31, Alan is 33. We have been married for about 2 years and together for a little more than 6.


How long have each of you been practicing?

Jessica: I have been practicing yoga, on and off, for about 10 years. I had a pretty consistent Vinyasa practice for about 4 years when I found Ashtanga through Lara and Land Yoga.

Alan: Only for about a year, but my real practice started with discovering Ashtanga at Land Yoga.


Did the one who started first influence the other?

Alan: Absolutely, I started going to yoga in order to share the experience with Jess… and because my back hurt!

Jessica: Well, I think we were both excited when we saw a yoga place was opening up in the 'hood, but I was the first to go and try it out. I knew I had to be the guinea pig! I was pretty instantly hooked and it didn't take much convincing for Alan to try Ashtanga and become hooked as well.


Does one encourage the other to go on a day to day basis?

Jessica: I think we both encourage each other in different ways. I think when one of us doesn't feel like going, seeing the other one get up early to practice gives the extra push.

Alan: Yes, Jess will push me at 5:30, once the alarm has gone off a couple of times, so I'll get up and get out the door. She is also great at giving me the support and inspiration that I need to keep from letting the practice slip too much. I always benefit from outside encouragement when participating in anything that requires some discipline and consistency over time.

Jessica: Maybe I push him out of the bed at 5:30 because if he goes, I am more likely to go!


How has yoga changed you individually and as a couple?

Jessica: Personally, yoga helps me stay in touch with my physical body and it makes me carve out time in my life to breath, relax, look inward and focus on myself (these things do NOT come naturally to me!). As a couple, yoga has enriched our lives by remaining a positive shared experience we have together. Plus, it definitely doesn't hurt that we each feel better physically.

Alan: Ashtanga has helped me to find a place of calm in what is often a very hectic daily life. Of course, I have also seen a large improvement in my flexibility. My personal practice is deepened by the fact that I share it with Jess. It also adds a shared spiritual element to our lives that was missing before.


Do you talk about the practice at home?

Alan: Jess has been a huge help in starting my yoga practice since I can talk to her about it and ask her questions. Though she usually tells me to ask Lara!

Jessica: Yeah, I think we usually check in with each other on days we both go. Ask how the practice felt today, or tell the other one about a new pose or new accomplishment. It's nice to share how yoga is affecting us on a daily basis.


What changes have you noticed in your partner since he/she started practicing?

Jessica: Alan has definitely become WAY more flexible and I know he doesn't have as many minor aches and pains. Plus he seems more at ease when his practice is regular.

Alan: Jess has been practicing yoga since I've known her, but it feels like it has changed our relationship for the better since practicing together.


From both of us: Beginning our Astanga practice together seems to have come into our lives at just the right moment. It has been a big year for us, what with our first baby on the way, and our shared yoga practice feels like an addition to our daily lives that keeps us healthy, clam, and connected - to ourselves and each other. We are extremely grateful for Lara and Land Yoga.


With a background in art and architecture, Jessica manages a small arts non-profit in Manhattan called Dieu Donné. Founded in 1976, the organization is a unique artists space that specializes in offering artists the opportunity to create contemporary art in the ancient medium of handmade paper.
For information on Dieu Donné visit the organization's website: http://www.dieudonne.org/

A musician and music lover, Alan teaches music at the Bronx Charter school for the Arts where he leads the beginner and advanced school bands. He is also a saxophonist for The Shrine Big Band, which plays the first Sunday of every month at the Shrine in Harlem. Their next gig is Feb. 5th (Super Bowl Sunday).
For more info on Bronx Charter school for the Arts, check out the school's website: http://www.bronxarts.net/
For more info on the Shrine and the Big Band's upcoming gigs visit the Shrine website: http://www.shrinenyc.com/

Alan and Jessica are also expecting their first child mid-March and are thrilled to become parents to a a little girl!



ALLISON AND BILL

How old are you and how long have you been together?
Allison: Together 6 years & going strong!!
Bill: Yeah!!

How long have each of you been practicing?
Allison: I have been practicing since Land opened in June and Bill recently started practicing in November.

Bill: Yeah!!


Did the one who started first influence the other?
Allison: I think Bill was first inspired by my dedication to practice almost everyday and sometimes going very early in the morning before work. In November we watched the documentary Ashtanga, NY together and Bill commented how good movement and stretching is for the human body, a week or two later Bill began to practice. early in the morning before work.

Bill: I also figured, "if it's good enough for Willem Dafoe, then it's good enough for me."


Does one encourage the other to go on a day to day basis?
Allison: Of course--sometimes I come home after a long day at work and he is ready to go and practice. Other days, I am the driving force. I feel blessed to have the encouragement and positivity from my significant other. As I go deeper into the physical/mental aspects of the practice I really appreciate Bill walking the path next to me.
Bill: That is cute, but very true.

How has yoga changed you individually and as a couple?
Allison: As individuals we are much stronger physically and mentally; we can see the change in each other. As a couple we are able to explore our individual challenges separately and enjoy the moment of time we are practicing together.

Bill: Other aspects have changed as well, but they shall remain quiet in case puritanical minds are reading. Seriously though, I broke my left ankle bad in two spots this past April 1st and Ashtanga Yoga has been incredible for brining back the flexibility of my ankle & literally gives me a spring in my step when I am finished with a practice. I sometimes feel like going for a run afterwards, but I'm just not there yet. I also work on my feet all the time as a sound engineer so yoga is improving life there as well, helping my ankle to remain strong & not feel any soreness. Come see me in the Summer(Apr thru Nov) as my main gig is running sound production on the Rocks Off Concert Cruises(http://rocksoff.com/). They are a ton of fun--trust me!!


Do you talk about the practice at home?
Allison: At home we talk about how well we feel after yoga and how different positions make us feel. We also discuss feedback from our instructor & try to commit ourselves toward doing the practice properly & with respect.

Bill: We actually don't speak with one another...we just stare at the wall & wait until we can practice again the next day--kidding!!



JESSICA AND RYAN

How old are you and how long have you been together?
J: We're both 32 and we've been together 4.5 years. We own a business together in Yonkers- a recording studio for classical music. Ryan is a composer and I am a visual artist.
R: 32, together 4.5 years

How long have each of you been practicing?
J: I've been practicing at Land since 13 November 2011. I took my very first class in Spring 2006, and I've been practicing occasionally since. The practice has become more and more important for me over the last year, becoming nearly daily. I tried yoga for the first time because I was attempting zazen and it WOULD NOT WORK (whatever that's supposed to mean), so I just went to a class at the Y in Brooklyn out of 'what could it hurt?'-thinking. Ryan has been practicing a few weeks.
R: I have been practicing 3 weeks

Did the one who started first influence the other?
J: I think so. The business is very demanding and stressful and he sometimes has postural/fatigue issues from sitting at a console for millions of hours on end. Ergonomic chairs can only do so much, so I convinced him to get Rolfed first, which was helpful with pain/tension, but he was resistant to the idea of yoga. After starting a Mysore-style Ashtanga practice and describing it to Ryan, he thought he might find it appropriate.
R: Yes

Does one encourage the other to go on a day to day basis?
J: Yes. We both like going. He's more willing to just get up and go straight to work (the studio), though. I have more trouble going to bed.
R: Yes (sort of:)

How has yoga changed you individually and as a couple?
J: I'm not by nature good with routine, and I've been very unsettled since I was young. I've also suffered insomnia for a long time. I'm in recovery from addiction, and yoga has helped me negotiate a peaceful, positive way of existing with myself, which has been very difficult. My will is extremely strong and I am given to being violent with myself without being aware of it in the moment. When I was practicing with different teachers and with variable styles and sequencing, I started to hurt myself because I'd press forward regardless of my mindstate. I didn’t know how to focus on breathing. I was constantly reacting, and over-reacting. I wanted to find a way of practicing that would be more of a mirror or space of reflection, and Ashtanga has been wonderful for that. I can trust the sequence and breathing, and try to observe daily differences, but not worry about them. The practice is there tomorrow, and will be different again, but also the same. More directly, it's helped me with sleep, it's helped me eat more (mixed blessing!), and it's helped me develop more patience and compassion for myself and others. I'm also finding a better attitude toward duty, routine, and responsibility, especially in work and housework.

As a couple, it's been nice to share this with Ryan and learn his thoughts. He'll probably experience the practice differently, and it might mean very different things to him. For me the changes have been profound but subtle, and they're hard to describe. It's about being present, somehow. Being ok with whatever is there, including negative-seeming feelings. It's nice to have him starting a practice so that he can experience some of the positive effects of calming/focusing the mind too. Explaining the experience is pretty unconvincing- you sorta have to see for yourself, I think. Didacticism doesn't work here, and I'm proving that now.

Right now my practice is longer than his, so he goes off to read while I finish. That's been nice to see; he's been absolutely consumed with work for the last few years and it's great to know that he's taking time to focus on health and interests unrelated to work.

R: How has yoga changed me individually? I was pretty severely out of shape, and so, early as I am in my practice, my attention is still predominantly centered around the basics of the physical experience and endurance. But this has given me a new sense of self-awareness and connectedness that is very empowering and satisfying, and I'm excited to keep progressing. It has also been important for me to have a commitment that isn't work-related, something that I can work on and return to each day that is a separate from my job.

How has it changed us as a couple? I think that in a very simple and immediate way, it gives us a routine shared activity, and this leads to extra time together that we wouldn't otherwise have - driving to and from Land, going for coffee after practice, etc. But I know that the shared knowledge and experience that we're both gaining from practicing together has a deeper significance. It's limited for the moment because Jess is much more advanced and has a longer practice; but I'm hoping that we'll be able to share more and more as I go further.

Do you talk about the practice at home?
J: Yes, definitely. 50% is, "Go to bed! We have to go to yoga!" "Are you coming to bed? We have yoga in a few hours!" "We have to go to bed early so we can go to yoga!" "Why am I not in bed? You're going to be tired!" I don’t want my experience or ideas to color his too much, though. There's a lot to be discovered in just getting up and doing it, and it will be exciting to see what he finds.
R: Yes!

What changes do you notice in your partner since he/she started practicing?
R: I've noticed a profound change in Jess since she started. She is more centered, calm, has more energy and positivity, and just seems generally healthier than ever. I also believe that it has played an essential role in her return to art making, and it has greatly helped her achieve more stability in her recovery. It has really been amazing to see how the practice has played a central role in her transformation.
J: Ryan has been stretching more when he's sore or tired, and he's paying more attention to his posture. The concepts of breathing fully and of mula bandha seem to have connected to some things he learned about in Rolfing, and that's having a positive effect on his respiration and carriage. Our cat Stan was also christened with a new nickname (she has many, and this one is derived from her nickname Stu): Stula bandha. It's entering the household consciousness, or maybe rather the small-collective unconscious! :)

Jessica is in a group show in NJ that opens next week:

From the Mezzanine
curated by Jennifer Dudley
1 Feb – 2 Mar 2012
Kresge Gallery

Ramapo College of New Jersey

http://www.ramapo.edu/berriecenter/galleries/kresge.html

Ryan has a release of one of his pieces on a CD (http://counterinduction.com/season/concert/274) but not until late April.
Here's the link to their studio, www.oktavenaudio.comand
www.ryanstreber.com,

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Week of Kids!



Your child is doing yoga but what is it he/she is doing? Certainly not what they do in adult yoga class, right? My kid can't even sit still for ten minutes!

Kids yoga is very different from adult yoga. The goals/principles are similar: Physically it's about understanding the body, finding balance, strength, and releasing tension. And all ages at some point deal with handling emotions and energy and stress, but the approach is different.

Here's the Land Yoga Kids' Week in review:

TUESDAY 4-7 year olds
This week we sat in a circle and everyone got a chance to ring the singing bowl. The children enjoyed focusing all their energy on holding the stick properly and using the right amount of pressure to make the bowl "sing". They practiced their sharing by passing the stick to the next person when it was their turn.

We stayed very still and quiet to see how long we could hear the bowl sing and we practiced making our own vibrations by chanting OM! and letting the M sound linger on our lips. Then we chanted other words like Love and Peace (the kids's suggestions) and talked about how those sounds made us feel.

THURSDAY TWEENS 8-11
This class is about building confident, kind, creative young people and we love it! We focused on the yoga term, AHIMSA this week, which means non-harm, or peacefulness. We talked about the different kinds of harm that occur in mind, word and action and we spoke about ways to create more peacefulness around us. Our physical practice includes a flowing combination of challenging poses like boat, crow, and pigeon, followed by lots of time for rest, relaxation and breathing.

SATURDAY 2-3 YEAR OLDS
Two and three year olds love moving their bodies like animals and nature and imitating the world around them. This week we used feathers and balloons to explore our breath and then stretched our bodies like a cat, cow, snake, dog, seal and more! Then we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and acted out the parts to music with our bodies. We finished class with relaxation and a nice long foot rub!

SATURDAY FAMILY YOGA
Our newest class brings parents and kids together to bond over a positive activity! We work on lots of partner and group poses and encourage fun and relaxation. Requests are encouraged! This week one child was feeling a little tired, so we built the class with restful poses. The students put their legs up the wall and explored how other poses like butterfly felt against the wall as well.

Spaces are still open in our Kids Classes and series may be pro-rated. Contact Lara at landyoga@gmail.com for more details. Looking forward to seeing you there!