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Transformation

September 10, 2011

We are constantly evolving creatures.  I often say to live is to learn and I mean it in the simplest way possible. If we are not learning, we are not living.

Every choice, relationship, experience, and encounter is an opportunity to refine our own voice and sense of who we are and what our responsibility to society is in this lifetime. Approaching each and every moment with courage, exploration, humility and consciousness allows for the natural discovery of our unique and divine essence.

Let the process be the guide and the destination..

Imitate..Integrate…Innovate.

Alana

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Compassion

September 7, 2011

“So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh

You Are India

August 30, 2011

Tapasya (tápasya) – “essential energy”, referring to a focused effort leading towards bodily purification and spiritual enlightenment.

Discipline, austerity, internally generated heat all contribute to the goal of burning through the distractions of the mind, supporting the individual in the search for peace and enlightenment on the physical plane.  So much is said and defined as tapas and I often find myself wondering if there is a see-saw where tapas meets attachment and aversion and they actually represent a shadow of one another depending on the light shone upon it.  Can it be possible that the action taken to rid the self of suffering ultimately becomes the cause of it all together?

Ultimately nothing exists without an intention, and the perspective in which an action is being utilized can make all the difference in the ultimate transformative power of an experience.  And to add to that, if consciousness is truly present in action no experience can offer the same opportunity twice.

Some feel that travel or drastically compromising one’s lifestyle is the most authentic way to experience tapas.  Yes, this can and is a direct method in which to access this teaching, however there comes a point where the discomfort becomes comfortable and the new teacher can be found in humbly investigating the authenticity of the intention.  The act of seeking out external experiences separate from our “regular lives” in which to cultivate silence can become the noise if care and consciousness is not applied.  As a novice practitioner, where one is learning to differentiate between sensation and intuition, or a dedicated practiioner seeking a study intensive with a chosen guide, it can be nice to contrive an experience to allow for tapas to manifest.  However, it is important to remember that the destination is not the source of the practice or the reward.  It is the willingness to remain present in your truthful life experience, re-examine the relationship to the choices you make and the stories, expectations and identity attached to them which provides the most abundant opportunity for tapas, awakening and transformation.

-Alana ❤

{Upcoming Workshop} Yoga for Vocalists with Aude Cardona

August 18, 2011

This workshop is dedicated to singers and people who want to improve their voice through Yoga.

Students will work with Asanas (postures) aimed at improving posture, breath control, and cultivating an awareness as to what the vocal apparatus requires to function naturally and without obstacles. Attention will be given individually as every person is different and presents different patterns.

A major emphasis will be given to breath and to practicing Asanas that free the throat and breathing channels. Pranayama, the regulation of the breath,will be introduced as a way to relax, open and warm up the voice. We will conclude with a routine of asana and pranayama the performer can employ as a means to prepare the body and mind before performing.

“The singer must have some knowledge of his or her anatomical structure, particularly the structure of the throat, mouth and face, with its resonant cavities, which are so necessary for the right production of the voice. Besides that, the lungs and diaphragm and the whole breathing apparatus must be understood, because the foundation of singing is breathing and breath control.” Luisa Tetrazzini, Soprano

About the Instructor:

Aude started practicing Iyengar Yoga in Rishikesh, India, in 2001. Since then she has continued to deepen her practice in France with S.F Biria, and in the US with Kevin Gardiner, Genny Kapuler, Carrie Owerko and Joan White – eventually choosing to complete a 3 year training where she obtained her Iyengar Yoga teacher certification.

Audeʼs interest for Iyengar Yoga was instantaneous. Her mind was able to focus and her physical awareness increased, helping her tremendously with her opera singing. She later graduated from Manhattan School of Music where she studied voice.

Aude practices both Yoga and singing and enjoys exploring the link between them when teaching Yoga as they are both vibrational arts, echoing one another. Aude’s classes refelct a focused, calm yet energetic environment. Aude is grateful to share Yoga, a vehicle that keeps her going more gracefully through life, an endless path of wonderful discoveries.

“Yoga releases the creative potential in life.” BKS Iyengar.

Sunday, September 18th

1:30-4:30pm

$45

Please RSVP by Thursday, September 15th

Click here to sign up!

Paradigm Shift

August 18, 2011

Practice is a constant exercise of learning, identifying, integrating, unlearning and starting over again.  Our lives are a continuum of experiences challenging the ideas and expectations accumulated over time.  There are two roads to approach this truth.  The first being attachment to the paradigm chosen for us based on upbringing, society and culture while the second is to connect with an inner intention and have faith that the path will unfold as it should.

Lets use travel as an example;

One can plan a trip and have all the destinations, hotels, restaurants and day trips planned months in advance ensuring that everything gets seen, done, eaten and spent according to plan.  Check, check and check.  Or one can decide they would like to travel to a certain area of the world and allocate a time frame and appropriate funds to finance the trip. A two way ticket is purchased with a general idea of the sights and places desired to experience, all the while leaving room for spontaneity and exploration.  Yes.. its true, that the latter approach may result in the restaurant or activity not having the availability upon request , however at least the experience, now grounded in the present moment, allows the opportunity for an authentic decision rather than a predetermined assumption.  Who knows?  Maybe an even loftier experience is waiting in the wings now that there is space to investigate it.

Its scary though, to leave that much open for interpretation, and sometimes fear and overanalysis prevent us from completely committing to the unknown.  Its an oxymoron that a concept so full of space can feel so cluttered, however science teaches us the same lessons through osmosis and diffusion.. If there is an empty space, matter will distribute into it without fail.

Its important to find peace in the pieces without having to assemble the whole puzzle at once.  I try to offer the same teaching in my classes. It can be overwhelming when faced with the idea of all the actions and alignment instructions, and sometimes everything just feels like its falling apart.  Somehow everything that was learned and understood has disappeared and feels misunderstood.

This is not the case though.  In fact like a puzzle, the body and mind are just organizing the pieces and processing them in a way that makes sense while constantly creating an opportunity to practice as a compassionate beginner.  It is not up to us to decide how or in what order things should fall back together or even to define what falling back together means as everything is ultimately falling apart again.  We can try, but ultimately real transformation can only be had when we let go of the control, projections and expectation, and embrace discovery and patience as the guide.

Alana

{Upcoming Workshop} Partner Yoga for Labor & Birth: A Hands On Exploration of the Birth Partners Role

August 16, 2011

Sunday, September 25th

1:30-3pm

$70 per couple

Led by certified Doula and Pre/Postnatal Yoga Instructor Aimee McCabe

The presence and participation of a birth partner can have an enormous impact on a mother’s satisfaction with her birth experience. Through partner yoga postures, breathwork, massage and other comfort techniques, this workshop will give partners tools to confidently support their lovely mommas-to-be. Connecting with our partners during this deeply important transitional time, this hands-on exploration will help to open up a new way of looking at the process of labor. With an emphasis on a practical approach to helping labor progress more smoothly, we will workshop breathing techniques, intuitive touch for partners, as well as positions for labor to help manage pain and cultivate a relaxed state during birth.

This workshop is open to pregnant women at any stage of pregnancy and their birth partner.

*No experience necessary*

Click here to reserve your spot!

About Aimee:

Aimee originally moved to New York from Kansas to pursue acting. She noticed that as her acting career progressed, she was continually more drawn to yoga because of the generosity, ease and sense of calm that her own practice cultivated in her life off the yoga mat. Aimee particularly enjoys working with women in particularly challenging times–teaching prenatal, Baby & Me yoga, and yoga to women through and after cancer, as well as working as a labor support doula. Bringing more than a decade of personal practice and teaching to her students, she infuses lightness into the practices that have brought her through difficult times.  She is endlessly grateful for the support and compassion shown by her teachers and feels blessed for the opportunity to teach and learn from her students.

Certifications: Women Cancer Survivors Training: Tari Prinster, Pre and Postnatal Certifications: Deb Flashenberg & Nikita Maxwell, Baby & Me: Jyothi Larsen, How to Teach Restorative: Margi Young, Pranayama Teacher Training: Cyndi Lee & Joe Miller, 200 hour certification: Cyndi Lee, Joe Miller, Frank Mauro,  Sarah Trelease, Margi Young, Christie Clark

Radical Honesty

August 5, 2011

When is too much?  What is the line between constructive and destructive? How do you know, when offering an opinion, where you end and the person you are advising begins?  What is the difference between stubbornness and integrity?  These are questions I ask myself on a daily basis.  As social creatures, we are employed to engage in relationships with other people.  Unless an intentional solitary lifestyle is chosen, these dynamics are unavoidable and offer us an opportunity to truly explore our deepest selves and are poised to become our greatest teachers.

I am a passionate person.  My opinions and beliefs, marred by personal life experience and standards tend to influence me when conversing with others.  My fierce conviction is both part of my appeal and my biggest blindside.  In the exalted state, I am disciplined, focused, clear minded and will stop at nothing to achieve my intention of moving through life authentically and compassionately. On the flip side I can be impulsive, judgmental, arrogant and offensive which on occasion has thrown a curve ball into my purposeful plans.  The truth is, I only in the past few years have come to recognize these shadows on my path and befriended them. They are not pretty and I have found myself in more than one instance in which I wish I had paused before reacting or handled an interaction with someone differently. I used to be hard on myself – spending days, months and sometimes years trying to make up for and get forgiveness and approval from the people I felt were slighted by my radical honesty.  I felt the need to prove I had changed, that I was empathetic and compassionate and not “that person” who hits and runs.  But the truth is, I was lobbying to the wrong people… it was myself I needed to get real with and offer compassion to.

I began to investigate the sensations that arise when using language as a means to communicate with others.  What emotions trigger my behavior?  Is it fear, insecurity or just plain old foot in my mouth. Taking responsibility for the delivery of my words, understanding the reasons behind them and allowing the space for conversation and listening has helped to dull some of the edges of my sharp tongue, offering up a sense of accountability, confidence and peace in my actions.

The qualities in nature are transient and constantly changing.  It is our job as humans not to try and manipulate or control them, as that will result in attachment and aversion, but rather to embrace and allow our unique attributes to offer us a daily lesson plan so we can graduate into our most productive and evolved selves .

Alana