Category Archives: Events

East Yoga Returns

East Yoga

Really happy to hear that East Yoga has reopened after last year’s fire, in a new space that’s bigger and brighter than the last.

When flames and smoke destroyed our sanctuary, students and teachers stuck with us. We practiced in hair salons, park lawns and community centers. People organized fundraisers, donated money and generously gave their time and expertise. It was a year of perseverance, but also one of togetherness and love for which we are forever grateful and inspired.

They’re having a reopening party this Saturday, November 2nd, as well as discounts on new monthly passes:

Reopening Party!: On November 2nd, the one year anniversary of Sandy, we invite everyone to our new studio: old and new students, friends and family. The party will feature a free yoga class open to all levels, followed by food, drinks, music and fun.

Discounted Monthly Pass: During all of November, we’re offering one month of unlimited yoga for $111 (normally $180) for both returning and new students

The new space is at 96 Avenue B (btw 6th & 7th), 2nd Floor.


Laughing Lotus Summit

Laughing Lotus

I had a wonderful time at the Laughing Lotus summit this weekend. Valuable lectures, powerful classes, healthy food, and exuberant people. Their press team had invited me to attend, and I was very happy to join the teachers, alumni and community there. Laughing Lotus was my home studio for a couple years after I did my vinyasa training (at Atmananda), and I am a big fan of Dana Flynn. It was a pleasure to return, after a few years of Anusara, and enjoy the non-stop dancing flow once again.

An early start to the day (7am) was a good excuse to take it easy Friday night, and prioritize health for the weekend. Empty sidewalks created a feeling of retreat, right within the city.

The studio was as warm and welcoming as I remembered. Every badge said VIP :) Jamie Lyn started us off with simple chanting, and then a silent meditation. So nice and centering. I always forget how much stronger meditating in a group can be.

From there I went to Sun Celebrations with Mary Dana Abbott and Kate Duyn Cariati. They are both so vibrant and smart, it was a blast. We warmed up with lots of sun salutation variations (and great tunes), and they kept us sweating as they tag-teamed teaching. People were dancing, laughing, singing throughout the class. Annie Mulgrew assisted and the three of them made me feel very well-adjusted :)

Kate also taught the prenatal lecture after that. I’ve not ever had prenatal training, and she gave us great notes on her experience from private clients, group classes, and her own practice through pregnancy. I learned a TON and am looking forward to passing it on to my mama friends!

At the lunch break I chatted with the crew, and then headed to the big room to quiet down for a while. Dana told us a story of the previous tenants’ refusal to vacate the new space, until she showed up with a copy of the lease and a bullhorn! True lotus spirit :)

For my afternoon session, Alison Cramer taught Ayurvedic approaches to Lotus Flow. She gave a clear and entertaining overview of the doshas, and practical tips for adjusting our lifestyles. We closed with an hour or so of cooling asana for Pitta season. (Slower tempo, fewer poses, quieter music and cues, fewer inversions and backbends, more forward bends, hip and heart opening.) I was expecting a typical restorative class but she gave us a full vinyasa experience (to keep those strong pitta brains engaged), with a gentle closing. Delicious.

I was filled up and wiped out (in a great way) by the end of it — asleep before 10pm, and still asleep through my alarm the next morning ;) Very grateful to receive all this wisdom, great big thanks to Lisa Merckle and crew for organizing a wonderful weekend!

(This year’s summit sponsored the Lineage Project, a great initiative to bring yoga to at-risk and incarcerated youth. Consider a donation?

Next weekend: Laughing Lotus staycation

I’m really excited to be attending the Laughing Lotus summit/conference/reunion/staycation next weekend (June 14-16). Do other studios do this? It’s a great idea. Bring your community back together for a yearly reunion, and provide continuing education at the same time. There are 2-3 options for each main time slot, so you can personalize your studies. Topics include safety in inversions, Ayurvedic approaches to sequencing, guidelines for prenatal classes, setting up a teaching website, how to teach basics — and of course lots of fun asana. And chanting.

Classes will be taught by  Dana Trixie Flynn, Alison Cramer, Sheri Celentano, Mary Dana Abbott, Lauren Magarelli, Kate Duyn Cariati, Emily Stone and more.

And this year the Summit sponsors the Lineage Project, which provides yoga and meditation to at?risk and incarcerated youth (age 10 to 21) as an alternative to stress, violence and incarcerations. I’m really happy to see efforts to expand the diversity and accessibility of yoga in the US.

I’ll be there Saturday and Sunday, say hello if you’re going!

More info

Yoga Union opening new studio next Friday

Yoga UnionI’m very excited to hear that Alison West, senior Iyengar teacher and co-founder of Yoga for NY, is expanding her NYC presence. Yoga Union Center for Backcare & Scoliosis will remain open on 28th Street, and the new Yoga Union will open across the street.

Offering both the largest number of rope wall stations in New York City, as well as ceiling slings that allow practitioners to take the discipline to a “higher” level, Yoga Union provides a unique setting for “Cross-Over Yoga,” where students can take both Structural and Flow classes.

They’re having two events next weekend:

Opening Party and Kirtan
Saturday, September 10th
7:00 PM

9/11 Memorial Yoga Flow Class and Meditation with Alison West
Sunday, September 11th
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Congratulations Alison!

10% off Prenatal Teacher Training this weekend

Carrie Parker Gastel
Carrie Parker Gastel

There’s a growing (ha) need for prenatal teachers — if you’ve been thinking about getting the certification, there’s a deal this weekend. YogaWorks (Union Square) is offering a prenatal training for “yoga teachers, doulas, labor and delivery nurses, childbirth educators, midwives, and pregnant women interested in deepening their practice.”

Taught by Lamaze certified Childbirth Educator / yoga instructor Carrie Parker Gastel, the training will cover the physiological process of pregnancy and birth, asanas for “optimal fetal positioning” and easier labor and birth, asana modifications and contraindications, pelvic bodywork, kegels, pain coping techniques, vocalization, mantra, and more.

Yogoer readers get 10% off!

Download the flyer

June 4-5, 2011
Saturday, 12:30-8:30pm
Sunday, 12:30-6:00pm

YogaWorks Union Square
138 5th Avenue, 4th floor

To register call Nicole Montes at 646.442.6203


What Exactly Do You Learn At A Yoga Conference Anyways?

Last weekend, 2,000 yoga teachers and students gathered for five days at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. I was lucky enough to attend the gathering: the Yoga Journal Conference 2011. It was a last-minute opportunity. I’d never been to a huge, multi-teacher yoga event before, and the whole idea of a “yoga conference” seemed kind of weird — I usually do yoga to retreat from the world for a bit, not to pick up goodie bags and chat with friends. But my eyes were soon open wide. I learned an immense amount in two days, and they weren’t just lessons about alignment or breathing. Some teachers shared information straight from ancient books; some gave wholly modern takes on yoga lifestyles.

from Rod Stryker
The path of yoga is to clear the mind (as taught by Patanjali) or to clear the energy (as taught in Tantra). In yoga we usually feel better because we’re doing the latter. You’re probably doing more Tantra than you think! As we age, we focus less on a physical practice and more on an energetic one. We can learn to hold our energy in, to keep it from going to our heads or out through our senses. Muscular locks (bandhas), combined with mental intention, are one of the most important yoga practices. The senses are actually places where energy is lost, not gained.

from Seane Corn
The sign of an advanced practice is not strength or flexibility. It has everything to do with breath and intention. If you’re a beginner, and you find yourself in an advanced class, remember your sense of humor. Look around and learn. Breathe. How you react to a difficult situation might be a reflection of how you react to many things in your life… I was often using food to anesthetize myself from emotions that were rising. To move forward took self-reflection, recognition, standing in discomfort rather than disconnecting. But also honoring the impulse that needed comfort.

from Matthew Sanford
The principles of yoga don’t discriminate. The poses do. But the principles are universal. We must move inward in order to move outward. Root the heels in order to lift the head. Strength in service of a sense of direction is grace. What is the true nature of your strength? Where does it truly reside? What has yoga taught you about that? The best part of yourself is not a psychological realization. The best guarantee of presence, of connection to the world, is your body. When my son comes to me for a hug, he doesn’t want sympathy. The hug gives a boundary to the suffering, so it can be less… In yoga poses, you’re integrating what you can feel and can know with what you can’t feel and can’t know. I call this the silence. The conduit of the inner body is not the muscular action. It’s the silence. What you’re seeking in a yoga practice is the ability to synthesize the silence with daily life.

from Shiva Rea
In our twenties we think that we’re supposed to burn through everything, but as we grow older we learn how to keep the fire inside.

from Cameron Shayne
The way you do anything is the way you do everything. Find your stable base in any pose: keep the attention on the perimeter, and hug into the midline to grow light. Initiate movement from the ground up. What we think of as yoga comes mostly from one man, Krishnamacharya. If someone else had gotten there first, our practices would be very different. His style was very linear, and this is reinforced by the shape of our mats. In Budokon (yoga plus martial arts), we move in circles, spirals, waves. We leap, like all other animals… At some point you have to innovate. You don’t have to make up poses; you make your own voice within the poses.

from James Murphy
In order to turn, to twist deeply, we must first stretch and lengthen up. We must either ground one end, and extend the other, or stretch both ends away from each other. Access the periphery, and feed it back into the core. Start by pressing through the heels; feel the difference it makes. Raise the arms above the head, and feel how it helps the chest. “It’s impossible to be depressed with the armpits open.” –BKS Iyengar

from Ana Forrest
How do we learn to address our own needs? My bottom line is: what brightens/feeds my spirit? My yoga practice has drained a lot of the numbness, so that I feel the effects of everything. It gave me a sense of trust in my ability to discern my truth for myself. In healing my bulimia, I had to ask myself questions. What is contentment? (Especially for one who is so intense, and strives?) What is it I’m really needing? (Doing my best to stop, take some major deep breaths, and assess what’s really going on.) What is a correct relationship with food, for me? (What, when, how much, why?) Come back to what works for you, and find something better to obsess about.

from Aadil Palkhivala
A body in balance craves that which keeps it in balance. A body out of balance craves that which takes it further from balance. What we need to do is not to stop the craving, but bring the body back in balance.

from David Romanelli
A “yogic diet” is one that focuses on savoring food, slowing down, instead of speed and efficiency… There are many ways to reach yoga (that comfortable, relaxed state). Chocolate is one of those ways.

from Judith Lasater
How do you define a senior? BKS Iyengar is 92, you wouldn’t put him in a senior class. The real definition is someone 10 years older than you. Slowing down is the same thing as waking up. Everything you do in yoga should be a metaphorical speed bump, to slow you down. Your homework is to do everything 10% slower.

The physical classes associated with these lessons were of course wonderful — you get to feel these lessons, as well as understand them intellectually — but the parallel principles of teachers from all over the world will keep me thinking for a while.

All photos courtesy of

Yoga Journal Conference This Weekend in NYC

Yoga Journal Conference 2011Did you sign up for the Yoga Journal conference this weekend? There are a few days left to register. Classes happen all day on Saturday and Sunday, as well as single day intensives on Friday and Monday. Study with senior teachers like Cyndi Lee, Seane Corn, Judith Lasater, Alan Finger, Leslie Kaminoff, Rod Stryker, Ana Forrest, or Shiva Rea.

Curious to learn more? Here are a few cool talks and events that are free and open to the public:

Keynote Address by Matthew Sanford (Saturday, May 14, 1:30pm – 2:30pm). Matthew Sanford shares his remarkable story of surviving a devastating car accident and living with paralysis for the past 32 years–and how, through yoga, he has discovered new levels of sensation within his entire body. His story not only changes how one thinks about yoga and yoga poses but also shows how yoga can practically transform the world around us.

Panel Discussion: The Yoga of Food. (Sunday, May 15, 1:30pm – 2:45pm). What does it mean to eat like a yogi? Is there such a thing as a yogic diet? Join Aadil Palkhivala, Ana Forrest, Seane Corn, David Romanelli as they discuss how the practice of yoga affects our food choices. Moderated by Yoga Journal’s Dayna Macy, author of the new book “Ravenous: A Food Lover’s Journey from Obsession to Freedom.”

Closing Savasana with David Swenson (Sunday, May 15, 5:45 – 6:15pm). Let go of fatigue and adopt a state of profound meditation as Swenson guides you through a simple inward journey designed to show you how to relax, release, and unwind.

There’s also a Business of Yoga workshop, for those learning financial balances, and special events for both teachers and new beginners.

If you’ve been in the past, I’d love to hear about your experience, leave a comment below!


Kirtan this Saturday at Om Factory

Gaura VaniFor you chant-lovers out there: Om Factory has a special guest this Saturday.

At the age of six, Gaura Vani left the US to study sacred music in a gurukula or temple school in the timeless town of Vrindavan, India. He learned ancient prayers in Sanskrit and Bengali and to sing and play ethnic instruments like the harmonium and mrdanga. 25 years later, he continues to share the magic he received and performs extensively throughout the world with As Kindred Spirits, his ensemble of musicians, dancers, and performers.

Kirtan with Gaura Vani, Ananta Govinda Das & Acyuta Gopi Dasi
Saturday, April 16, 7:30-10:30pm

Om Factory Yoga Center
265 West 37 Street, 17th Floor – 212 616 8662

$15 pre-registered / $20 at door / or by donation

Amazing Anusara Immersion in Costa Rica

Boca Sombrero
Boca Sombrero

Tara Glazier, the brilliant anatomy and philosophy teacher I am lucky enough to study regularly with, is leading a retreat to Costa Rica next month. I just booked my ticket! There are some budget spots left — only $900 to share a beach cabana — as well as some larger, gorgeous rooms with pools and things for $1700–$2200. She’ll be accompanied by James Bae, a healer and acupuncturist.

The days will be filled with two complete Asana practices, meditation, breath work, and individual healing sessions with James where he integrates his knowledge of Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, yoga therapeutics, and acupuncture. Three organic, whole food meals will be provided daily. There is the option to take part in the many activities the Osa provides such as surfing, bird watching, rainforest hiking, waterfall tours, or simply relaxing in a hammock near the beach.

I can’t recommend Tara highly enough; she’s translated the sometimes murky language of Anusara into real benefits in my yoga practice. She corrected the habits that were causing my sciatic pain, and has totally reshaped poses like Pigeon, Down Dog, and Handstand so that I’m feeling secure and healthy in all my joints. If you’re a seasoned yoga practitioner, you’ll learn a lot of great details; if you’re newer, you’ll learn them correctly. And I am always impressed by her ability to dish out complex Indian philosophy without losing the rhythm of sequencing at all.

Come play in the sun with us! (Buy a ticket to SJO before the weekend, they’re starting to go up.) February 13th–20th, 2011. Get the details and reserve your spot at