Category Archives: Uncategorized

East Yoga Under Fire

I’m very sorry to hear that East Yoga suffered a fire on November 4th, which destroyed much of the studio. As a small, local, independently-owned business, I’m sure this is extra difficult. They’ve been a fixture in Alphabet City for years, and I hope the community can help them get rolling again!

Ways to help them recover:

Support the Fundraising Campaign
We need to meet our $10,000 goal by December 9th to cover expenses related to the fire. Donate through our partners at Lucky Ant. Any amount helps, and we’re offering free classes to reward your generosity!

Attend Classes
We’re holding classes at various temporary locations, including Alphabet City Sanctuary. Check our schedule for the latest updates.

Donate Skills
We are in particular need of legal services and real estate assistance. If anyone skilled in these areas can offer advice/reduced rates, please contact us at with the subject line “Donating Skills.”

Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more.

Why Handstands Are Hard

Yesterday I realized: handstands are hard because you can’t see yourself at all. You stare at the floor between your hands, and even if you wanted to turn and look at your alignment, you couldn’t. Even with a mirror, you can get only cursory information. You need a teacher to tell you what you’re actually doing.

They also take full-body strength. You push your feet towards the ceiling as if you’re trying to leave footprints, squeeze your legs together, contract your whole torso towards your navel, anchor the shoulder blades together, straighten the arms strongly, press through the whole hand… it takes a while for all those muscles to be even.

[I started learning at the wall, to get oriented, and then L-shaped handstands, to get used to having my back towards an empty room, and then full handstands in the park, where the landing was softer.]

Like any pose, they will eventually be easy. You get over the fear. You learn how to fall out of them. You learn to “flow up” — kick up towards the ceiling, not up-and-over.

[That last one I learned Monday at Studio Anya with Derek. He can jump into a floating Crow (knees off of arms), then press up into handstand, before you even figure out where the trip wires are located. Budokon!!!]

And there is something psychological about learning to stand on your own two hands. I’m getting my work life together in a way I never have before, and it’s funny that once I started telling myself “I can do this!” in handstand, repeating it until there was no space in my head for any other option, the same was true for running my own business.

Happy handstanding!

Winter Hiking and Camping

Hike Mt. Wittenberg
Hike Mt. Wittenberg

Last week I was accosted outside the Food Co-op by one of those flyer guys. I managed to shrug him off, but as I glanced at his flyer I realized I actually wanted one. So I went back.

Brooklyn Outfitters, based in Williamsburg, is leading some cool outdoor adventures throughout the winter. This weekend there’s a 7.5 mile hike up Mt. Wittenberg, “the highest vertical ascent from base to summit” around. Later in the month they’re doing an intro to winter camping, and then a door-to-door ski trip for the same price it would cost to buy a lift ticket.

Get out into nature this season, check out their website:

Tips for Winter Biking

Bike Shoveler Needed
Bike Shoveler Needed

So I’m guessing a lot of you yoga lovers bike. Are you getting depressed because the cold weather is forcing you onto crowded trains, and stealing your endorphin buzz? Let’s find some other options! I’m a fair-weather biker, and I’m fascinated by year-round riders. So I’ve been asking each one I meet for their secrets. Here are my favorites, as I remember them :)

On the rain:

“Rain jacket, detachable rear fender.” Ben, Manhattan

“I just wear a poncho. My legs? I don’t care if they get wet.” Ippou, Brooklyn

On the cold:

“Tights and dresses are good, then you can add as many layers as you need. Legwarmers are key. Shoes? I’ll wear anything that doesn’t have a heel. Look at my boots!” Anna, Manhattan

“Wear two layers of tights. No one will notice.” some YouTube video

“Get the ninja mask.” Shelley, Brooklyn [She means this thing.]

“The most important thing is a neck warmer. Sometimes I just wear like three of them. And don’t be afraid to stop, and take off a layer, and put it in your backpack. If you wear too many clothes you bike too slow, you won’t warm up.” Prem, Brooklyn

On the snow:

“Biking in the snow is fun! You slide around everywhere.” Andrio, Brooklyn

“Do you have health insurance yet?” My dad

Do you have any tips for winter biking? Please share them below!

Sanskrit Immersion Upstate With Jo Brill

Sanskrit Immersion Upstate
Sanskrit Immersion Upstate

A New Adventure for the New Year: Beginning Sanskrit
January  4–9, 2011

Immerse yourself in the gorgeous and powerful language of yoga – sign up for the American Sanskrit Institute’s week-long introduction to sound, meaning and symbol. Imagine confident pronunciation, the ability to read devanagari script, and word by word understanding of beloved chants! Commute (45 minutes from Grand Central) or take a residential retreat. No experience needed for this joyful practice!

Get more info and register at the American Sanskrit Institute

Health and Travel Deals at MindBodyGreen

Our friends over at MindBodyGreen, a great site for articles on all things healthy, have launched a couple new resources for green living.

Their New York site,, offers local deals on yoga, cleanses, restaurants, and more. And their travel site,, is like Jetsetter for yoga retreats and eco-resorts. They’re currently running a contest where you can win two nights at “Jamaica’s #1 eco-boutique hotel” — just give them your email to enter.


Don’t Read This. Go Do Your Work.

Yesterday’s Times gave us a long article on the distraction engine known as technology. Kids these days — they’re using tech to find their passions (such as sending 27,000 text messages a month), and ignore their reading assignments.

“I realized there were choices,” Vishal recalls. “Homework wasn’t the only option.”

…Sam Crocker, Vishal’s closest friend, who has straight A’s but lower SAT scores than he would like, blames the Internet’s distractions for his inability to finish either of his two summer reading books.

“I know I can read a book, but then I’m up and checking Facebook,” he says, adding: “Facebook is amazing because it feels like you’re doing something and you’re not doing anything. It’s the absence of doing something, but you feel gratified anyway.”

He concludes: “My attention span is getting worse.”

We’re going to have to come up with some powerful meditation lessons for these guys. (Full article on the New York Times: Growing Up Digital, Wired For Distraction.)