Welcome to our Blog, the Yoga People Santsang! Satsang meaning "Community" in Sanskrit, was born of the idea that all beings on their own individual path come together harmoniously to experience peace on this planet, one moment at a time.

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Are you new to yoga? Here are the top 5 lessons I learned as I began my practice.

Coming to a yoga class for the first time can be very intimidating. 
I actually began my yoga practice at Yoga People about 5 years ago on a whim. I was super stressed out at work and needed a break. I was a bootcamp and spin addict, and was thinking yoga would be a nice “off day” workout for me, but after coming to Julia’s beginner lunchtime classes once or twice a week, I began realizing that yoga was so much more than just a nice lunch break. 
Here are the top lessons I learned as I started my practice. 

1. Ignore the other people on other mats.

Open classes are typically going to have a variety of levels. One of the biggest life lessons from yoga that I have learned is that it’s totally, 100% perfect to be where you are right now and it is always a practice and a journey. Many beginner students often admit that they feel intimidated or even silly in classes where there are more advanced yogis. Here’s the secret: no one is judging you! Stop paying attention to everyone else in class and focus on yourself.

2. On that note…. avoid advanced classes! 

There are certain classes on the schedule that are designed for more advanced yogis. The classes tend to move quickly, there is an expectation that you know the names of the poses without seeing the instructor demonstrate, and some of the more basic poses are not explained. When you are starting your practice, it may be a good idea to avoid these classes. It’s not you, it’s the class! At Yoga People, we indicate what level the classes are (i.e, beginner, slow flow, open, power yoga). Opt for the beginner, slow flow, and restorative classes at first and then work your way to an all levels or power yoga class. If you have any questions at all, ask someone at the front desk. We are here to help you navigate the schedule and the classes to find teachers and times that are just right for YOU! 

3. Breathe!

Your breath comes first. Before starting a class, set the intention of remembering to breathe. The more you practice, the more you will start to synchronize your breath with your movements. This is Vinyasa, linking breath with your body and mind. This may not come easy at first, but if you deepen your breath, it will guide you through the asanas (poses) and even more challenging poses can become easeful. As long as you are breathing, you are practicing yoga!

4. Laugh at yourself

You are going to fall. Your belly may make noises, you may pass gas. That’s OK! You might be on the other side of the pose or on the wrong leg. That’s also OK! You might slide off your mat. That’s cool too. Don’t worry; even the most advanced yogis are experiencing these things, I promise you. Experiencing silly moments is a natural part of yoga and sometimes it’s pretty darn funny. You have the choice to either add laughter into your day or beat yourself up. Choose to smile, and go with the flow.  

5. Commit! 

When you make yoga a part of your weekly schedule, you will build your skills without a doubt! Plus, you will get to know the teachers and they will help you on what it is you are here to work on. One of my favorite parts of Yoga People is the community here. I began falling in love with the teachers, the students, and the staff. When you make a yoga studio your home, coming to class stops being a tick box on your to-do list.

Still feeling a bit timid? No fear, Yoga People has an amazing Absolute Beginner course to build your confidence, strength and flexibility! 

Develop Strength, Flexibility, and Balance

4-Week course, 4 Sundays, 3:30-4:45 
Next Session: June 1, 8, 15, 22
$90 Pre-registration required.
Click HERE to register.

This course is designed for those who are brand new to yoga.
Call us to reserve your spot in class at 718-522-YOGA 
or register online.

See FAQs about the Absolute Beginner Course and learn more here

Join Yoga People and Julia Haramis, Brooklyn Yogini, for a Blissful Mediterranean Yoga Retreat in Greece!

The retreat will take place from June 21st-28th, 2014 on the Island of Naxos at the Lagos Mare HotelSpend 7 nights at a 4-star hotel on the unforgettable island of Naxos! 

We will practice yoga, meditate, enjoy luxurious Yoga Nidra practices, sun ourselves on beautiful white sands beaches and dine on deliciously healthful fresh Mediterranean food. 
 

The retreat includes:

•7 nights accommodation (balcony with sea view)

•2 yoga classes per day

•All Breakfasts

•2 Dinners at gourmet “1924” Restaurant

•Wine & Cheese tasting

•Mountain Village Tour 

Why you should go:

Spend a week in serene and picturesque settings around the Mediterranean while you practice yoga, make powerful new friendships, explore, relax, sweat, wine, dine, and experience…and of course eat amazing cuisine, meditate amongst gorgeous surroundings, and bliss in vinyasa and restorative yoga poses.

Please let Julia or Yoga People know if you have any questions and if you are interested in joining her for this blissful adventure in paradise!

CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE

About Julia Haramis, your retreat guide

Julia K. Haramis, E-RYT 500, is an NYC native of Greek heritage. Julia speaks Greek fluently and is committed to providing an authentic Greek experience for all retreat students. Julia completed her 200 Hour RYA Teacher Training in the spring of 2007 at Yoga People in Brooklyn Heights. Julia has also studied with Seane Corn and completed her Yoga, Purpose and Action Intensive with Off the Mat, Into the World. In March of 2010 Julia completed her 500 Hour RYT at ISHTA Yoga with Alan Finger, Mona Anand and Sarah Finger. Julia is also certified in Restorative Yoga through two programs - Relax and Renew Restorative Training with Judith Hanson Lasater and ISHTA Restorative and Yoga Nidra Training with Mona Anand and Gina Menza. Julia’s classes are a blend of all of the teachings she has enjoyed and benefited from over the years. 

Julia is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor. She is certified through Purchase College of SUNY, the AADP and the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She completed her training in Health Counseling at IIN in 2009.

Spring has sprung in Brooklyn Heights! Join me and Sarah Anne Stewart of Introducing Wellness this Saturday March 15 for a cleansing vinyasa flow yoga class packed with lots of twists and backbends to expand the chest and open the heart! Plus, we’ll be sharing our top 10 tips to stay healthy as the seasons change, all while giving back to the amazing nonprofit, Africa Yoga Project! To thank you for supporting this great cause, all guests receive a FREE 3-month membership to the premier holistic health center, One Medical Group.
After class, we’ll be enjoying delicious, healthy refreshments generously provided by our friends at sweetgreen & TumericALIVE!
Want to contribute to this cause? Grab your ticket for Saturday here.

Spring has sprung in Brooklyn Heights! Join me and Sarah Anne Stewart of Introducing Wellness this Saturday March 15 for a cleansing vinyasa flow yoga class packed with lots of twists and backbends to expand the chest and open the heart! Plus, we’ll be sharing our top 10 tips to stay healthy as the seasons change, all while giving back to the amazing nonprofit, Africa Yoga Project! To thank you for supporting this great cause, all guests receive a FREE 3-month membership to the premier holistic health center, One Medical Group.

After class, we’ll be enjoying delicious, healthy refreshments generously provided by our friends at sweetgreen & TumericALIVE!

Want to contribute to this cause? Grab your ticket for Saturday here.

Are you a new mom or mom-to-be in Brooklyn Heights?

Yoga People offers a wonderful pre- and post-natal community for new moms and moms-to-be. Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with Yoga People’s lovely prenatal yoga teacher, Tymaree Cook. 

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Tymaree Renaud LMT, CD(DONA), began her journey as a birth doula in January 2010. She has been fascinated by birth since she first picked up “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin in 1994. An avid traveler, she has lived, worked, and wandered in 43 countries. She marvels at synthesizing all these experiences and being present; appreciating the uniqueness and universal in every moment. Tymaree is also a Licensed Massage Therapist! She trained at Swedish institute in NYC in 2002 and with Susan Rachel Condon for her Pre/Post Natal certification in 2006. In 2009, she did her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at the Nosara Institute in Costa Rica. She studied Prenatal Yoga with the Prenatal Yoga Center in New York.

Along with teaching prenatal yoga at Yoga People, Tymaree offers one-on-one sessions. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in Printmaking and also has a deep love for photography. Her next adventure in education has beenpursuing certification as a childbirth educator with ICE. She is deeply interested in women’s health, nutrition, movement, and rite-of-passages. Her experience with touch and movement can help you to have a more comfortable and empowering birth experience. Learn more about Tymaree at the NYC Doula Collective, a community of doulas serving New York City and the surrounding areas with labor and postpartum services. 

Tymaree smiled and told me that even when she is not in the birthing facility with her clients, often after the birth, they “I heard your voice during my labor.” 

Tymaree is passionate for supporting women during and leading up to birth. One of her main focuses is empowering women with strengthening exercises, breathing, and meditation that will help them their own labour process and early parenthood. 

Tymaree also is a certified Prenatal massage therapist and loves the synergistic effect of prenatal yoga, massage, and working as a doula. These different modalities enable her to reach and touch more women, as there are only so many women can help as a doula or as a massage therapist. In her prenatal classes, she is able to help more women feel nurtured, strong, and supported during this special time. 

Join Tymaree for prenatal yoga at Yoga People and the mother’s group which is open to all moms-to-be and new moms in the community. The mother’s group at Yoga People is a safe, sacred place where women share issues, challenges, and milestones. It is completely mom-led, where Tymaree is simply the facilitator. Because there is not a post-natal class here just yet, this group is a great way to stay connected with the other women from the pre-natal class.

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Have questions about preparing for birth? Connect with Tymaree on the NYC Doula Collective’s Facebook page and check our class schedule to find a prenatal class that works for you! Happy birthing!

Meet Kat Blandino, Yoga People’s lovely new Prenatal yoga teacher + Top 8 Reasons why Prenatal Yoga is amazing for moms-to-be!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of sitting down for tea at Vineapple with Kat Blandino, a Brooklyn Heights mom and Yoga People prenatal yoga teacher. 

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Kat became impassioned about teaching prenatal yoga after witnessing the transformative ability of yoga during her own pregnancy, birth and early years of mothering. 

Kat is originally from London and has a sweet and nurturing aura. She is immediately one of those teachers that you can just feel comfortable around. I could get swept away by her voice and could have tea with her for hours! 

So you’re right down the street from Yoga People? How nice!

Yes, I live in North Brooklyn Heights with my husband and son Luca, who turned 3 at the end of last year. I love being teaching and living in the same neighborhood, there’s such a sense of community which is really important when raising children and its great being able to walk to ‘work’!

Did you practice prenatal yoga when you were pregnant with Luca? 

Yes! I started practicing yoga years before I became a mother but the importance of the practice in my life was solidified when I became pregnant. We had recently moved to California and all my friends and family were back on the East coast and in the UK. It was within the prenatal yoga community and later in my postnatal/mommy and me classes that I found my support group and deep friendships that guided me through the joys, frustrations, worries and everything in between that you experience as a new mother! Community is such a wonderful part of the prenatal journey and I love seeing bonds being made in my classes. I credit prenatal yoga to being able to enjoy a pretty much aches and pains free pregnancy and prepare me for birth.

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So you think prenatal yoga helped with your birth too?

No doubt! it was by practicing prenatal yoga that I developed not only the physical strength and stamina but more importantly the understanding of how to surrender and soften. I felt so connected to my body and to my baby that was able to work WITH my body to birth my baby. I gained a better understanding of myself and how to listen to that inner voice and trust my instincts. In the end I was able to have the birth I had hoped for – a water birth at home. 

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and then you decided to teach yoga?

Exactly! I took my 200 hour yoga teach training after Luca was born and then went on to take the 85 hour Yoga Alliance Prenatal teacher training and the advanced 500 hour training! I am very passionate and dedicated to offering every mother-to-be a yoga practice that builds the confidence, strength and ‘tools’ to have a pregnancy and to birth in the way THEY want to. There is no one size fits all, right or wrong way when it comes to pregnancy and birth, it is a highly individualized journey. What matters most is that the mother is able to connect to herself and baby, be healthy and feel confident to voice her desires and wishes. As we know we can have the best laid plans but baby and birth can take us in a whole other direction! and that’s the other great thing about yoga, it aids you having the ability to be adapt when things change, and to stay calm and centered amongst changing circumstances. image

What can moms-to-be expect from your class?

My intention is always to provide students with a warm, welcoming and sacred space to focus on their pregnancy in a deeper way. Creating the space and time needed to adjust to the changes taking place, bond with baby and celebrate themselves. The asanas, breathing practices and deep relaxation techniques in my classes are designed to alleviate the physical discomforts of pregnancy, understand emotional ups and downs and prepare the body and mind for pregnancy, birth and beyond. Pregnancy can be exhausting, overwhelming and a hormonal roller coaster as well as a time of excitement and joy. I want women to be able to come to the mat with whatever they are experiencing that day and feel supported and loved. In short ,I want my students to leave class feeling really good!

Kat’s top 8 reasons why prenatal yoga is so important for a smooth pregnancy.

1. Really learn to let go! The breathing techniques and asanas we practice tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, (the opposite of the fight or flight feeling) which helps smooth out the emotional roller coaster of pregnancy AND aid in more restful sleep for when that snoogle body pillow just isn’t cutting it anymore!

2. Prenatal yoga helps to relieve the general aches and discomforts of pregnancy. Shoulders, back and hips hurting? That pregnancy waddle setting in? We’ll take care of that! Good posture = good pregnancy.

3. Prenatal yoga improves circulation, gets the muscles working effectively which helps to avoid varicose veins, hemorrhoids and fluid retention. Puffy ankles be gone!

4. Prenatal yoga creates a mama community, not only important during pregnancy but in those early weeks and months after birth too, having a sisterhood of support helps reduce the baby blues. 

5. Prenatal yoga creates a scared space to bond with baby and nurture yourself. In general we need to slow down and create space, especially as New Yorkers. Catching up on your Netflix shows with a bag of popcorn doesn’t count! Prenatal yoga is solely about honoring yourself, your growing baby and your pregnancy journey together.

6. Prenatal yoga helps mamas prepare for the big BIRTH DAY by increasing stamina and strength, it’s called labor for a reason. And just as importantly, your time on the mat will help unveil a deeper understanding of the self including any fears or doubts. Knowing the self more fully and dealing with these fears before birth can help avoid having them arise during labor and inhibit the birth process. 

7. Prenatal yoga teaches pregnancy-safe modifications for your yoga practice. Some mothers-to-be still want to go to their regular yoga class and/or continue a home practice, prenatal yoga will give you knowledge of how to safely do that.

8. Know thy Pelvic floor! I can’t stress how important that is not only for birth and labor but long term health.

Anything else you would like to add?

I am so excited to be a part of the Yoga People team and to join YP’s existing yoga teacher and my friend Tymaree to expand the offering of prenatal yoga within the community. I look forward to meeting all the mamas on the mat!

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See you on your mat with Kat, Saturdays from 2-3:15pm.

What to give yourself or your beloved for Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the perfect time to treat yourself or a loved one to a massage. If that’s not a good enough reason, how about this: Not only can massage therapy evoke relaxation and relieve stress, it can lessen chronic pain, reduce muscle soreness, increase blood circulation and flush out toxins. That’s reason enough for me!

Today I had the pleasure of sitting down for juice and brunch with Yoga People’s lovely massage therapist, Yves Cedano. 

Yves’ mission is to explore the profound and infinite rewards of natural health and encourages clients and students to find balance and health through self-love. After all, we believe massage is a necessity, not a luxury! 

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Tell me about yourself:

With a desire to further understand the benefits of natural healing and compassionate self-care, I began studies in Massage Therapy and Traditional Chinese Medicine at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in 2009. I am a licensed practitioner of massage therapy including modalities such as Thai Yoga Massage, Sports and Rehabilitative Therapy, Reflexology, and a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. I continue to explore the profound and infinite rewards of natural health and massage therapy.

What inspired you to become a massage therapist? 
My 7+ years of yoga practice and study lead to my curiosity with natural healing and the mind-body relationship. I am not quite sure why I chose Massage Therapy as I had never received nor given a massage prior to enrolling in school. I think I just answered a calling and it was the best decision I’ve ever made- being a therapist has made me the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever felt and I get to help others in the meantime which is the real reward. I read once in Psychology Today that massage therapists and those with jobs requiring touch have the lowest levels of stress surrounding their careers. I whole heartedly agree. My job is my stress relief at times and a huge part of my own personal wellness therapy!
Why is Thai Massage your favorite type of massage to give, and who is it helpful for?
Thai massage is hands down my favorite modality to offer, it’s unique in how it is performed: on a mat with the receiver fully clothed without the use of oils or lotions. The modality appealed to me in particular because the techniques applied in a Thai Massage treatment are similar to those of Yogic postures. It is often called Thai Yoga Massage and it feels like someone is doing Yoga to you. When I first learned the modality I felt I had found my work in the world. With movement and breath being at it’s core, I thought, Bingo, That’s the one for me!  For both receiver and practitioner this treatment makes for a truly healing experience. And much like Yoga, it takes a lifetime of study, practice, self-care and also patience and mindfulness, I mean- it’s a 2,000 year old practice!
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You’re a huge advocate for self-care, and it shows, because you’re always glowing. Why is regular massage such an important part of your self-care ritual? 
I receive massage regularly because it helps me to re-connect with my self, body and soul. Sometimes while receiving bodywork, I experience very strong emotions from crying to uncontrollable laughter! I just let it happen and listen to what my body is trying to say. I often gain more mental clarity from massage and have experienced huge reduction in just plain old pain if nothing else. Massage helps to eliminate the terrible effects that stress hormones wreak on the body by creating a surge of endorphins (which naturally eliminate pain) and improve your emotional outlook. Often body work facilitates restful sleep, which we all know is supremely important for health, and I find when I take the time out for myself I experience more productivity in my day to day life. 
I know you make lotions and beauty products using organic essential oils. Tell me more!
I make my own lotions, lip balms and body oils because, well, I am a spend thrift primarily but also because I like to know what’s going in my body from what I eat to what products I use on my skin. I have a love affair with essential oils, they don’t just smell great they offer a multitude of healing benefit from pain relief, to wound care and even divine spiritual connection. To really gain a full understanding would take another interview on just essential oils!

Have you been to the Yoga People Healing Room?

Learn more about our massage offerings and membership in the Massage Club here

Twist Your Way Into Spring Workshop

 

WHERE: Yoga People 160 Montague St, Brooklyn, NY

 

WHEN: March 15, 2014

 

TIME: 5-7pm

 

CHARITY: Africa Yoga Project

 

COST: $30 Early Bird Special Booked by March 1st | $35 After March 1st

REGISTER: Please call (718) -522-9642 or sign up online

THE DETAILS:

WELLNESS is your greatest gift and greatest asset. And everyone who has lost it needs to be re-introduced to it.

Most of us  - especially in the hustle and bustle of NYC - have lost our health compass.  We’ve lost the mere understanding that every single person and every single body is different. Instead, when our health disappears, we frantically seek out unrealistic quick fix, fad diet, intense cleanse solutions that statistically just doesn’t work.

The great news is that true WELLNESS is a lifestyle and actual can be taught - to anyone with a desire for it. 

Join Fern Langham, Registered Yoga Instructor and Sarah Anne Stewart, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner for this special, 2-hour workshop that will re-introduce you to the world of health and wellness, empower you, raise awareness, and teach you healthy detox and cleanse principals that can be used every single day. The principals from this workshop will be your go-to practice whenever you feel the need to “lighten” up and refresh your mind, body and soul.

A percentage of all proceeds for this event will be donated to the Africa Yoga Project.

WORKSHOP INCLUDES:

*A special twisting-detox class designed to teach you specific postures to rejuvenate and cleanse your body

*Guided meditation

*An optimal cleanse + detox workshop

*Three months FREE membership to One Medical Group NYC

*Healthy drinks and snacks

Spots are limited! Sign up online.

 

TOPICS COVERED:

 

*Healthier eating and living habits


*Practical approaches to mindful eating for the busy person


*Sustainable nutrition tips
and lifestyle choices

*Ways to improve digestion and increase energy

*Why diets don’t work and how to stop counting calories

*Principles of cleansing & detoxing

*The merits of a plant-based diet

*The benefits of raw foods & superfoods

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ONE MEDICAL, YOUR WELLNESS HOSTS + THE AFRICA YOGA PROJECT:

ABOUT ONE MEDICAL GROUP:

With 6 Manhattan locations and dozens more across the country, One Medical Group has designed their practice around your needs. Their doctors deliver high-quality, hassle-free care through excellent customer service and efficient use of technology. Convenient and flexible, they’re in-network with most insurance plans and offer same-day, on-time appointments; email access to your doctor; and online/mobile appointment scheduling, prescription renewals, and more. Perfect for a life on-the-go.

 

To help you maintain optimal health and wellness, One Medical Group is offering you 3 free months of membership at their innovative, patient-centered medical practice (normally $199/year). Simply use code WELLNY14 during online registration at http://onemedical.com. (Valid for new NYC members only – expires 7/1/14.)

 

Whether you have an immediate health need or are simply overdue for a “tune-up,” we know you’ll enjoy being a member of One Medical. Experience the difference firsthand and join online at http://onemedical.com

 

ABOUT YOUR WELLNESS HOSTS:

Fern Langham, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200)

Fern is a registered Yoga instructor, wellness and lifestyle consultant, writer, blogger, presenter and self-love advocate. She is humbled by the love and support of all her teachers, especially Donnalynn Civello, Julia Haramis, Katelin Sisson, Andrea Dershin and Lindsay Buehler who guided her through Yoga People’s 200-hour Teacher Training. Fern’s mission is to inspire you to become aware of your movement and breath as you become more vibrant and at ease on and off your yoga mat. As she has done with her own body, Fern aims to empower you with the tools you need to heal what ails you – whether that might be anxiety, digestion distress, weak immunity, a thyroid condition, adrenal fatigue, or low energy. Her approach to yoga is nurturing and playful, with a strong attention to the body and breath. Connect with her at http://yogawithfern.com and http://blissoutretreats.com.

 

Sarah Anne Stewart, Holistic Health Practitioner (AADP)

Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (AADP), writer, speaker, world traveler, free spirit & lover of life. Founder of Introducing Wellness LLC and co-founder of Bliss Out Retreats, Sarah Anne passionately invites others to experience a new-found “love for life” and WELLNESS through holistic healing. While helping her father cure terminal cancer with alternative medicine, Sarah discovered a hands-on approach to healing. Hundreds of hours of training and coaching later, she now empowers individuals to adopt wellness as a mindset and develop an all-encompassing lifestyle that is in complete balance –mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She enjoys writing about her down-to-earth life experiences and de-bunking conventional misconceptions about health and wellness. Connect with her at http://introducingwellness.com and http://blissoutretreats.com.

 

 

ABOUT THE AFRICA YOGA PROJECT:

Africa Yoga Project is a non-profit based in Kenya, that educates, empowers, elevates, and employs youth from Africa using the transformational power of yoga. The vision of Africa Yoga Project is to deliver free teacher trainings and create opportunities for youth to step into their greatness, become self-sustaining and leaders in their communities. The organization employs almost 100 Kenyan yoga teachers who empower over 6,000 people a week through its 300 free outreach yoga classes.  Visit www.africayogaproject.org for more information. To get involved, email info@africayogaproject.org.

Sign up online today to reserve your spot or donate. 

Pure Wisdom for the New Year from Kat Colla: “Be home within yourself.”

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Today I had the lovely treat of moving, flowing, and breathing in Kat’s Friday morning class, followed by a juice date down the street at Siggy’s. 

If you haven’t taken one of Kat’s classes, I highly, highly recommend rolling out your yoga mat on Friday morning with her. Her classes are creative and make me feel open and spacious in my body. In one of Kat’s recent classes, she read a passage from “Pure Wisdom, The simple things that transform everyday life” by Dean Cunningham:

If your confidence is built on your actions and the subsequent outcomes - a title, a qualification, a spouse or any other prize - then it’s standing on shaky ground. You see, confidence isn’t all about being successful. Genuine confidence is built on knowing you’re like every other human being on this planet: fallible, unique and constantly changing. Sure, parts of who you are may be different, better or worse than another person. But that doesn’t make you superior or inferior to them.

Understand: genuine confidence isn’t built on success alone. And it can’t be undermined by external circumstances - the way you look, failures, mistakes, or other people’s opinions.

So accept yourself unconditionally and your confidence will be as firm as the ground you stand on.

One of the reasons I find myself gravitating to Kat’s class is because she is an authentic teacher and her classes feel authentic. My body craves the creative flow that she seems to weave together seamlessly. 

Kat says, “My role is to help you experience yourself: your feelings, emotions, physical things like pain, the last think you drank, all the offshoots of who you think you are and help get you to know who you are essentially, to help you realize why you may have stopped breathing for a moment, to notice your tendencies and your habits. I’m hoping the more you get to know your self, your unconditional love and confidence for yourself grows infinitely.

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Kat on Confidence:

Eventually the ultimate goal as far as confidence goes it that we need to begin to inspire our selves. YOU become the person you can be proud of, floored over. It’s hard. People don’t feel like that’s success, but self-worth is the key to it all. I am learning this by watching my own behavior.

In my classes, I aim to build your confidence so you have an ability to do things for the pure sake of trying and feeling them. Confidence is being unsure of the future and still walking forward through the fear, without limiting ourselves to expectations of what it may be or feel like. 

We have to examine ourselves. Confidence is a changing thing. As soon as the rug is taken out from under our feet, our confidence changes and we need to adapt to that. We have to see the confidence in ourselves unconditionally.

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Thank you, Kat, for being a light and showing our yoga community how to feel comfortable and loved in our own skin, exactly as we are. I am so grateful to know you and have the opportunity to work with you on becoming the best version of myself. 

Kat teaches at Yoga People: Tuesdays - 8:15 - 9:30pm and Fridays - 9:30 - 11:00am.  See the full schedule here.

Stressed and can’t sleep? How Julia Haramis found the perfect antidote.

Today I caught up with Julia Haramis for some green juice and brunch at Siggy’s Organic Foods down the street from Yoga People. Like many students here, I’ve been captivated by her Bliss Out Restorative classes and Yoga Nidra workshops and just dying to know how she discovered this healing practice. 

"The first time I experienced restorative yoga was during my 200-hour yoga teacher training. I couldn’t relax, I think I literally was laying there with my eyes open. I didn’t think it was "yoga" if it was basic or slow, and I felt like I had to break a sweat in order for it to count. I would even take a second class if the first class was too relaxing. I soon came to realize that the difficulty to relax meant I really needed to do it! It was a symptom in my life I needed to overcome at the time, as I was working in a high-stress career and never slowed down."

Sound familiar? I can totally relate. I tend to find myself also gravitating toward dynamic flow classes, also known as Vinyasa yoga, where we are moving quickly as we link our breath with movement. Although this is my favorite style of yoga to practice, I’ve also noticed the benefits of a more grounding, restorative class. 

"Prior to a restorative yoga class, I found it really difficult to not move and it was a challenge to be quiet and still. Restorative yoga is the entree to being quiet and still and therefore is a great entree to meditation. I’m not a great sleeper, and yoga nidra has changed my life. My teacher, mentor, and dear friend, Mona Anand says "We are ancient beings living in a modern world." Our bodies aren’t equipped to deal with stresses in modern society. In many cultures, siestas are part of the daily ritual. In New York, we are perpetually moving. We crave rest but we aren’t giving ourselves what we need. 

Looking to try restorative yoga? Here’s one thing to note.

"When we come off the street and enter into the yoga space, we shouldn’t go "1, 2, 3, restorative yoga." There is no such thing as instant bliss after coming inside from the stress of New York City. To allow the body to fully relax, we come into a dim room and practice poses where we are close to the ground and are experiencing gentle movement in the body to release stress. For the first 15-20 minutes of a restorative class, we are targeting stress spots in the shoulders, neck, and back, and are focusing on gentle movements linking our breath and our bodies. Once we have allowed the stale energy to move out of our bodies, we can fully relax. This is where we can truly experience bliss in our yoga practice."

Who could use a restorative yoga practice?

"EVERYONE. Benefits of this restorative yoga and nidra include a serene mind, calm nervous system, improved concentration and an improvement of chronic conditions such as stress, insomnia, asthma, pain, migraines and depression." 

Can you tell me about yoga nidra? I heard it’s also been called ‘yogi sleep.’ What exactly can I expect?

"In Sanskrit "Nidra" means sleep. In Yoga Nidra we bring ourselves to the place between sleep and dreaming known as the hypnagogic state. Remaining in this state for an extended period of time allows us to experience total relaxation and to tap into the unconscious and subconscious mind. In this state we are able to release emotional, physical and mental tensions that we have been holding onto in our taxed city lives. This is the most restful state of the sleep cycle. For this reason, twenty minutes of yoga nidra is equal to four to six hours of deep sleep!
Go to Bliss and Beyond in Julia’s upcoming Workshop that will combine gentle asana, restorative postures and Yoga Nidra. 
Saturday January 11, 2014 from 4-6pm at Yoga People
(160 Montague Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn Heights)
You will start with 30 minutes of slow flow to open up the energy lines in the body and relieve tension in the joints and muscles. From there you will move into 60 minutes of luxurious restorative postures to calm the nervous system and relax the mind. The workshop will culminate with a 30 minute Yoga Nidra which is a guided meditation technique practiced in Savasana. Our practice will be geared towards finding balance in the physical, mental and energetic bodies. 
 
Through the perfect combination of a tranquil atmosphere, supportive prop use, essential oils and nurturing hands-on adjustments, this class will enable you to relax, renew and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.  Restorative poses are set up so that the body is held by the props and can completely surrender. 
All levels are welcome. Space is limited. 
To sign up: Online Registration or call Yoga People at 718-522-9642.

Tapas and finding the lesson in healing from an injury

In your yoga classes, you may have heard the word tapas, a Sanskrit word meaning discipline. We often refer to tapas when we talk about generating discipline to challenge ourselves on our mats and in our daily lives. Yoga helps us to realize that there is a fire inside each and every one of us, a fire igniting our creativity, our desire to move and grow in every aspect of our lives, our careers, our relationships, and our awareness of our selves.

When we talk about tapas, as much as we talk about an internal fire and moving with passion, we also need to talk about slowing down and working on things we put at the back of the shelf, things we may know we need to work on, but are too busy to really dig deep. For me, this means working on my Chaturanga Dandasana, or four-limbed staff post.

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Correct alignment in Chaturanga, Illustration by Sharon Ellis

Earlier this year, I think the universe needed to tell me to slow down. I was feeling pretty confident with arm balances and inversions, taking vigorous Vinyasa classes seven days a week, sometimes paired with a spinning class beforehand. I didn’t know I needed to slow down, but the universe did. I wasn’t being careful in my Chaturanga, and by dipping my shoulders and nose-diving forward I was setting myself up for chaos. The result was a labral tear in my rotator cuff, spasms starting in my tricep, up around the shoulder, and trigger points around my neck and cervical spine. Unable to lift my left arm or carry even an empty water bottle, I was feeling depressed and bummed out. Taking ONE day off my yoga practice felt like a nightmare. My ego was getting the best of me - I was attaching myself to the physical practice of yoga asana. I was distraught and worried about when I could start working on my headstand practice again or how my audition would go later in the week if I couldn’t even lift my arm.

I had to take a step back and realize that the road to recovery is indeed a road, a road which requires patience (something I need to work on) listening (something also I need to work on) and baby steps instead of leaps. I also needed to focus on my alignment in Chaturanga!

Yoganonymous mentions that for most yoga practitioners, Chaturanga is a classic series of unhealthy movements: “As people begin Chaturanga by bending their arms, their elbows start to drift away from the ribs, shoulder blades move toward each other and they crane their necks down, moving their heads lower than their torsos.  Repeat 20-30 times per class, 3 classes per week. This is a hot mess.” (Do you need to brush up on your Chaturanga Dandasana? Here’s how.)

Properly executed Chaturanga can give you deliciously strong, healthy and shapely shoulders. Yoga related injuries are preventable. If you do suffer from an injury, though, do your best to learn the lesson.

Yoga teaches us to be patient, to be faithful, and to be kind to our bodies. When we are recovering from an injury, we have to remain optimistic and thankful for the body’s amazing potential to heal. The biggest lesson I learned when healing from my injury was that when I stopped living in my emotions, and when I detached from the pain and the negative emotions of feeling limited from my practice, I was able to truly find peace within myself. Right here, in this space, is where real healing occurs. 

Our lovely teacher and studio manager, Arielle, also experienced a recent injury. She talks about her recovery and lessons she learned in our November Gratitude Post.

Post a comment below and let me know about your injuries and how you healed. 

What lessons have you learned from an injury?

5 Lessons I Didn’t Expect To Learn In Yoga Teacher Training

"Something magical and mystical happens when a group of high-intentioned individuals make the decision to gather together for 200 hours with the purpose of uplifting their lives & expanding their consciousness into radical authenticity." Silvia Mordini

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I recently caught up with Daisy Shi, a radiant yogini who graduated from Yoga People’s Teacher Training this past summer. Daisy never expected to evolve so deeply in so many facets of her life when she enrolled in the program several months ago.

5 Lessons I Didn’t Expect To Learn In Yoga Teacher Training - by Daisy Shi

It was this March, when the spring came back to New York City, that I started my yoga Teacher Training. It is about yoga, but what the training brought to me is much more than yoga.

About Life

Before Teacher Training, I didn’t know about yoga philosophy, in particular the ancient science about body, mind and principles of life. Teacher Training opened my eyes to a new spiritual aspect of yoga. One of our teachers told us that Master Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is a guide to enlightenment. To me it is actually a practical life guide! Reading the Sutras helps me to learn how to keep a calm and kind mind, how to treat other people, and how to be a better person.

About Lifestyle

Nutrition as part of the training is not surprising. But connecting it with body types, or the doshas, makes it more informative and convincing. It is also fun to explore new things in the city, like vegan restaurants, raw food, and fresh juice. I have been inspired to make better choices in my diet, cook healthy meals, and work towards a healthier lifestyle. As a yoga teacher, this is so important! 

About Teaching

At first, I thought teaching is just simply making alignment calls and breath calls! Oh goodness, I found teaching yoga is much more than that. We learned to chant, which uses the beautiful Sanskrit language to call the inner self and to resonate with each other… we learned about physical body and subtle body, which enables us to set the intention and assist energy flow…. we learned about anatomy and injury management, which teaches us about consideration and compassion…. we learned about the Chakras, which reveal the wisdom in sequencing a flow… All of these components were unexpected aspects of teaching that I previously was unaware of. I am so deeply appreciative of this new knowledge I have in my teaching tool kit. 

About Teachers

Teachers, our gurus, are special and strong connections that should be respected and treasured. The word guru applies not only to yoga, but also to anyone who has taught or is teaching us in any aspect of our life. The student is the one who gives the teacher power. I found this lesson to be very inspiring.

About Friendship

This cannot be called as unexpected, but beyond expectation, because after the training I got five new friends! During the training we got to know each other, and since we all came from such different backgrounds, we got to become familiar with different styles of practicing, teaching, and learning. Although now we don’t see each other as often, the memories of us studying and practicing yoga together, making green juice together, complaining and being nervous before the exam together, assisting and helping each other never fade.

Our three months together passed rather quickly. The Teacher Training was a short period in my life, but what I’ve learned from the training, and the impacts and changes the training facilitated will remain with me for a lifetime. I recently left New York and moved to sunny Honolulu, many miles away from my yoga teachers, trainee friends, and our lovely studio, but what doesn’t change is that I’m still practicing yoga, meditating, and preparing myself to be a better yoga teacher in the future. 

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Feeling inspired? You, too, have a teacher inside of you. Yoga People offers an intimate Vinyasa training program designed for students who want to deepen their practice or teach yoga. Learn yogic philosophy and asana instruction, transform the way you practice and hone the tools necessary to teach.

Yoga People’s 200-hour Teacher Training Winter 2014 program runs from January 31 - May 18 2014. Click Here to learn more and download the application.

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What is the meaning of gratitude?

Gratitude is our teacher. Gratitude teaches us to look at the full spectrum of life, from the highs to the lows.

In your next yoga or meditation practice, try using this mantra, with every inhale, silently say. “Thank you.” With each exhale, “Thank you.” 

In yoga, we practice a breath of fire and talk about burning away things that no longer serve us. I know there are many places in my life where I can embrace the growing pains with gratitude. Through the practice of yoga, I’ve learned that the darker moments allow the lighter times to glow ever more brightly. I have realized that giving thanks on only one day a year is not enough for the benefits of gratitude to take root. Show you’re thankful not just only on Thanksgiving by sharing acts of kindness, compassion and love all year long.

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I was able to catch some of our lovely Yoga People teachers off their mat to ask what they are most grateful for…

"I’m grateful for that bright dot in space we call home: "a mote of dust suspended on a sunbeam" in a universe that extends out in all directions into eternity.  It’s humbling and extraordinary. When I’m down I just look up at the sky to remember what a gift this life is." - Kathryn

I am thankful to my family for their unconditional love and faith in me. I am thankful to all the teachers, who have shared and continue to share their wisdom with me guiding me along my journey of life. I am thankful for the beautiful people in my life, who each have made a difference with either a word of encouragement, a kind blessing, or a helping hand. I am thankful for the unlimited opportunities to grow as a person, help others, and learn.” - Karina

“I am grateful for my yoga mat. Whether it’s my own faded and well loved Jade travel mat or another that I’ve borrowed from a studio or friend, my mat always inspires me to let go, to play, to open my mind and heart, to check my ego, to drop my drama, to take myself and everything around me less seriously, to smile, to grow, to inspect, to relax, to take a deep breath, to process, to reset. What a miraculous relief that little rectangle has provided, again and again and again!” - Lindsay

“This season, I am grateful for my physical health and the knee injury I received 4 months again. I appreciate how far I have come since August, when I injured my knee and was completely immobilized. I am thankful for the doctors and therapists who helped me recover, and most especially for the dramatic way our bodies heal. I pause to appreciate all the difficult lessons learned as I healed, such as slowing down. I was on crutches, so I was literally moving slowly, working hard to maintain my balance and safety. I also had to slow my thoughts and plan ahead more precisely before taking any actions. My limitations helped me appreciate simple things I took for granted: stepping up and down stairs, walking and holding something in my hand (purse, phone, grocery bags). I am deeply grateful for those who reached out to me with warm wishes and helping hands. I am humbled by the kindness that surrounds me - family and friends volunteering to help with every day tasks, acquaintances who asked after me and wished me a speedy recovery, and strangers who held a door open, gave up a subway seat, or excused my clumsiness with a sympathetic smile and “I’ve been there” or “Feel better soon.” My knee injury and subsequent recovery has been a humbling experience that shifted my perspective and opened my eyes and heart. I am grateful for the healing power of our bodies and the kindness that surrounds us.” - Arielle

"I’d like thank the breath for giving us life!" - Kristin

"I am thankful for so many things! But I guess I would have to say I am most thankful for all my beautiful students and clients in my life who have helped me to find my path. They have helped me to find the true work I am meant to be doing. They give me purpose everyday. They feed my soul. They are truly the light on my path. And it is to them, I am eternally grateful.” Donnalynn

"I am grateful for love that is unconditional. I experienced this my whole life growing up with strong and affectionate parents, and hope that my actions in life serve as tools to amplify this feeling to others." - Kat

"I am trying to not sound like a hallmark greeting card. I am grateful that I have the practice and study of yoga to look deep into myself and then share any insights that arise. There is always something new to discover in ones own mind." - Martha

"I always like to say that "I am sometimes a teacher but always a student". I am grateful for all that my students and teachers teach me each day, once you think you have learned it all you are surely mistaken and clearly off the yogic path!" - Julia

I’m grateful for having made teaching yoga my life’s work. There’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.” - Rachel

I’m grateful for other creators.  It’s through other teachers, writers, musicians, really anyone that is creating, that I find inspiration and meaning in my own life.  How nice to think that each of our own ‘practices’ has the power to uplift and support each other.” - Ali

"I feel gratitude everyday to be able to work with women before, during and after birth. It is an honor to help women through this profound rite of passage. It is humbling, deeply gratifying and inspirational." - Tymaree

"I am thankful for the fact that i literally have infinite reasons to be grateful.  okay, so i know that’s a cop out, but the truth is, on any given day i could think of something worthy of my gratitude for each step i take, bite of food i eat, or even breath i breathe. today, i am grateful for the winter afternoon light, moments spared for hot tea on cold days with old friends in crowded cafes, my most fearless yoga students (the ones who feel the fear and do it anyway), laughter with strangers, a body that keeps on fighting and healing no matter what, new york city magic, and people who love me for who i am." - Grayson

"I am grateful for my roommate and friend who is one of the most generous and insightful people I have ever met.  She recently helped me overcome a huge obstacle by offering me support in the form of a great pair of ears, astute advice, and enormous hugs.  On top of that, she treated me to a day at the spa with her, and surprised me with a vegan cupcake.  She inspires me to take better care of myself, to be more generous and loving to those who need, and just to be a better human in general!" - Katie

"I am grateful for the gift of yoga! And for the time, the space, the luxury of being able to explore life and what it means to be a human being on this earth." - Mimiimage

Be YOU. This is gratitude. You have gifts no one else has. Go live. Truly live this life. Bless the world with your beautiful spirit.

With love and gratitude,

Fern
Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.
- Rumi

Welcome to our blog, the Yoga People Satsang!

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Hi yogis and yoginis!

I’m so excited to be your new Yoga People Blogger and welcome you to our Blog: Yoga People Satsang.

Satsang in Sanskrit means “community”.

That is what Yoga People has become to me. I had passed the studio hundreds of times hurrying from one place to another. One day, something caused me to look over to the side of the street and notice the sign telling me that there was a yoga studio upstairs. The first time I walked through the door, I found a calming sanctuary. I remember feeling this new sense of permission to leave everything that didn’t serve me outside that door for a little while. I have come to realize that the warm embrace I felt was the energy of the connection between the students, teachers and the space that Wendy has manifested.

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It was no coincidence that I walked up the stairs at 160 Montague Street a little over 4 years ago. That day, I had been overwhelmed with stress at work and just wasn’t feeling nourished in any aspect of my life. My head was all over the place and I was constantly fighting with my body, struggling with a myriad of digestive conditions I was unaware of at the time. All I knew is that a pill wasn’t helping and I had a hope that maybe yoga could help me find a better way to feel better. Upon my first class at Yoga People, I was welcomed into a grace-filled community comprised of yoga practitioners, seekers, healers and amazing teachers who come together to experience the joy of yoga. Through my studies here with Donnalynn, Katelin, Julia, Lindsay, Kat, Karina, Kathryn, Martha, Andrea, and Kristin, I have made my practice a true ritual, coming to my mat daily and finding comfort, balance, and ease in my body. My teachers here have empowered me to become my own inner guide. 

One day when the yoga hook started to sink in deeper, I realized I was meant to share the gift of yoga with the world and it was only natural to complete my 200-hour teacher training with Yoga People. Ever since, I have committed to cultivate a steady daily practice on and off my mat. I feel even more connected as I learn and grow with my teacher training class, and am feeling proud and inspired as Arielle and Nicole are already teaching classes of their own here. I’m excited for you to grow with us, too, as we twist, backbend, and maybe even fall down flat on our face sometimes. We’re here together, learning, growing, and finding our place in this crazy urban jungle we call home. 

If you are new to Yoga People, say hi to your teachers and staff here, and of course, your new friends in class. We are all so excited to help you cultivate your yoga practice, whether you are a beginner or seasoned yogi!

Have you met our newest teachers?

Nicole Romito

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Favorite quote: 

"You can tell how rich you are by trying to find how many things you have that money cannot buy" - Radhanath Swami

Advice to beginner yogis:

Go in with no expectations. Pick a basic, beginner, or slow flow class. Let the teacher know that it is your first class and if you have any injuries or limitations. Listen to the teacher carefully, go with the flow, if it seems strange, do it anyways. Save your judgments for the end of class, the way you feel when you leave will speak for itself!

Classes:
Mon & Weds, 7:00-8:15am All Levels

Ali Van Putten

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Favorite Quote:

My teacher Rima shared with me one of Sri K Pattabhi Jois’s favorite lines, “Practice and all is coming.”  So often it seems we struggle with time and focus, when I remember this one line, everything else falls into place, just as it should be. 

Advice to beginner yogis:

I still consider myself a beginner when it comes to yoga.  It’s helpful to be a beginner because than we’re able to remain open and receptive, I know for myself I can easily turn into a know-it-all once I think I “understand” something.  This puts labels, opinions and judgments’ on top of experiences and pretty much takes the fun out of it. 

If you’re a beginner to the asana practice, I always find it helpful to look for a studio or teacher that I feel comfortable with.  Once I have a connection and trust, any feelings of nerves or inadequacy melt away.  The asanas themselves are designed to do this, they take us out of the ‘thinking’ mind and drop us straight into the physical body.  Again, it’s magic.:)

Classes:

Saturdays, 3:30-4:45pm All Levels & Sundays, 8:30-9:45am Sunday Detox

Mimi Visser

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Favorite quote:

"When consciousness and the body are brought into union with one another, the energy of consciousness becomes still, and when the energy of consciousness is still, consciousness too is still, and the soul pervades the entire body." - B.K.S. Iyengar, "The tree of yoga"
Advice to beginner yogis:

"Don’t think "I’m too stiff, fat, thin, impatient etc. to do yoga. Start from where you are. Move forward from there; slow and steady." 

Classes: 

Sundays, 2-3:15pm Iyengar Restorative

Learn more about Teachers at YP and discover how you can deepen your practice with a supportive, compassionate group of students and teachers. 

And if you’d like to connect more with your Yoga People blogger, join me  for more tips and yoga inspiration!

Om Shanti

Fern