newsletter archive: november 2019

Dear all,

Last month we learned so much from Kate Johnson’s workshops on cultivating a more diverse yoga community. Our aim as a studio is to make the Shala a welcoming and inclusive space for anyone and everyone interested in the practice of yoga.

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Introducing Rocket Yoga

To the Shala, with love from Megna Paula:

It is both a joy and an honor to introduce Rocket Yoga to the Shala! We have a 14 year long history of being the yoga home for both traditional Mysore teachings of Ashtanga, as well as space for Vinyasa classes that honor the foundations of traditional lineages. A few yogis of our community have experienced the Rocket in San Francisco, where it was created in the spirit of the rebellious 60s and 70s. Rocket classes still carry that laid back West Coast creative vibe, in a way that translates as bright NYC energy.

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book club: supplemental reading + listening: the new yorker + the ny times on miriam toews’s “women talking”

read here and here for more on miriam toews, the author of our book club selection women talking. these articles provide useful, detailed context for the novel, and were cited during our discussion on saturday, october 19, at the fort greene studio. you can also listen to this very thorough interview with miriam toews on the “between the covers” podcast. 

newsletter archive: october 2019

every month we issue a newsletter chock full of information about what’s happening at the shala. we know it’s easy for these missives to get lost in the inbox shuffle, so we’re building an archive of our letters to the shala community here. here’s the latest.

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Jocelyne Stern teaching Mysore at the Shala

The Shala is excited and honored to welcome Jocelyne Stern to the Mysore Ashtanga program. She will be teaching Monday through Wednesday 6:15 to 8:15am in Union Square. A wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience, Jocelyne has been practicing and teaching Ashtanga Yoga for over 30 years.

BIO

Jocelyne Stern is an Ashtanga Yoga and meditation teacher. She made her first trip to India in 1986, where she learned yoga from Rudra Gowda in Rishikesh and Swami Gitananda in Pondicherri. She was first introduced to Ashtanga Yoga by Derek Ireland and Radha, and worked with them for several years at the Practice Place, a yoga retreat center in Crete. In 1991, she made the first of many trips to Mysore to study with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois. She has been teaching since 1995, when she co-founded the Patanjali Yoga Shala with her husband, Eddie. After the birth of their daughter, their yoga shala moved to Broome Street and became Ashtanga Yoga New York, and Jocelyne taught there periodically over the following 15 years. In 2015, Ashtanga Yoga New York moved to Brooklyn, where Jocelyne continued to teach and also co-created Sadhu Elixir, a healing oil. She practices Vipassana meditation and has attended many Vipassana retreats. She was given Kamala Masters's blessing to teach Metta meditation in 2015. Jocelyne teaches meditation and yoga alongside Eddie at international retreats, and works with homeless men and other at-risk communities.

newsletter archive: september 2019: practices for whatever life brings

Dear all,
We hope your summer travels have brought you joy and restoration. While we’ve relished the sweetness of the season, we’re looking forward to an autumn full of learning and inquiry. 
Our focuses for this month are yoga and the nervous system, and Tree pose (Vrksasana).
The sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the ANS are always in conversation. Sometimes we need to mobilize and take action, and sometimes we need to rest. Yoga offers us a way to participate in the regulation of our nervous system so we feel steady, clear, and consistent in our lives. In this time of political and environmental upheaval, it is all the more important that we deepen our practice so we are better equipped to respond with equanimity and compassion.
In late September, we welcome Julianna Takacs back for a weekend of practice and devotional singing. Julianna taught at the Shala for many years, and now runs a holistic retreat center with her husband in New Mexico. Her teaching is imbued with the qualities of sthira (steadiness) and sukha (ease). Don’t miss this chance to experience her loveliness firsthand. 
Please keep an eye on the schedule for changes this holiday weekend, and check out our many upcoming workshop offers (more below). We hope to see you often.
Love, 
Kristin + Barbara

newsletter archive: august 2019

Dear Shala family,
We hope you are slowing down and enjoying the long summer days. Our posture focus for the month of August is backbends. We love their energizing effect, and how they represent and bolster attitudes of fearlessness, radical openness, and compassion.
Please keep an eye on our schedule for class cancellations and teacher substitutions on Labor Day weekend, August 30-September 2. We wish you all a safe and joyous holiday!
Love,
Barbara + Kristin

newsletter archive: july 2019: steady breath, steady mind

Happy July!
True summer seems to have arrived promptly with the solstice. We hope you’re enjoying the sun, the park, the sea, and every opportunity to be with friends, family, and neighbors.
To those on vacation, we’ll miss you! To those around town, we look forward to seeing you in class—we’re focusing on forward bends (to balance out all the outward-moving, expansive, solar energy of the season), and adding in more pranayama practices.
Please check the website for additional schedule changes, sub notices, and class cancellations.
Love,
Kristin + Barbara

newsletter archive: june 2019: late spring, early summer

Happy June!
As summer approaches and the days become longer and brighter, we begin to shed the many layers that kept us warm and dry throughout a long winter and a very wet spring.
Yoga philosophy regards the physical body as a big coat enveloping the subtler bodies, and as the vehicle of the soul on its way to enlightenment. We’ll spend these last weeks of spring and first bits of summer exploring how yoga helps us tap into the subtle bodies and sheaths that live beneath and beyond this big coat.
In his book One Simple Thing, Eddie Stern describes the bliss body as shining “through the other two [physical and subtle], but it becomes more and more dim as the outer bodies are thicker and grosser and allow less light to shine through, until we actively work on making ourselves more porous, less shell-like.”
We’ll also focus on restorative postures, as they lend themselves particularly well to contemplation and introspection.
We are super excited to have Tim Feldmann, a kind and gifted teacher, return to teach on the weekend of June 8-9. There’s still some space in the workshops, so please consider signing up and joining us!
Love,
Kristin + Barbara
P.S. One Simple Thing is for sale at the Shala shop in Union Square, as is Jocelyne Stern’s sumptuous Sadhu body oil. We are enjoying both!

Carlota Portella is a holistic nutritionist, health coach, and student at the Shala. Last month she hosted a cooking class at our Union Square location, and was kind enough to share some of the recipes used in her workshop. You can learn more about Carlota’s services here; read below to learn how to prepare delicious, wholesome snacks. 

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newsletter archive: april 2019

Happy Spring!
We are excited for a very energetic season of goings-on at the Shala! This past weekend we began our 6th 200-hour teacher training with a fresh group of students, which means you can look out for TT workshops open to all.
Some happenings in Union Square (details below):
  • An advanced anatomy and sequencing workshop with Annie Piper, Joe Miller, and Maria Cutrona
  • An Ashtanga Yoga intensive with Tim Feldmann
  • An Ayurveda intensive with Maria Rubinate
  • A meditation series with Jocelyne Stern
  • A new art show by our dear friend, Sheila Anozier
In Fort Greene, we are super excited about hosting free yoga classes in the park every Saturday from May 18 until late October, made possible by our partnership with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy.
Whether you’re practicing in the city or Brooklyn, this month we’ll focus on arm balances and the fifth yama, aparigraha.
As always, we look forward to seeing you at the Shala.
Much love,
Kristin + Barbara

newsletter archive: march 2019: learning, growth, and transformation

Dear Shala students,
Sharon Salzberg, our teacher of 20 years, is experiencing health issues. She is reported to be recovering well from a recent hospitalization, and is taking time off to rest. Please keep her in your lovingkindness meditations. With gratitude for her life and work, this month we’ll focus on her teachings—come to class to hear her wisdom!
Happy Women’s History Month. We are fortunate to live in a time and place where the paths of yoga and meditation are shared by so many empowered women.
With love,
Barbara + Kristin

rocky by adam dougherty

if you’ve visited our union square location in the last month, you’ve had the pleasure of viewing artist and shala student adam dougherty’s intricate, exuberant, and reverent animal portraits. shortly after the show went up, fellow shala students jonathan and alene herman reached out to adam to commission a piece honoring their beloved cockatiel, rocky. jonathan shares rocky’s story here.

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virasana: the unsensational hero

a dharma talk by Braeden Lentz

Our focus for the month of February at The Shala is Virasana. The two Sanskrit components are “vira,” often translated as hero, and “asana,” which yogis know well to mean seat, shape, pose, or the way we arrange our body building up from the ground. The names of poses evoke imagery to consider as we make our shape.

The first things that come to mind when I consider the term “hero” are superhuman qualities. I think of someone who engages in unusually daring but necessary actions. A hero might be a charismatic, especially self sacrificing, or visionary person. There might only be a few in my lifetime.

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newsletter archive: february 2019: practice in community

Dear Shala students,
We hope you are staying warm!
This January 26 marked 1 year since moving to the other side of Broadway. Thank you for breathing life into this space—we are so happy to share it with you.
Here is a selection of Shala news and events happening over the next month or so. We’d love to see you at one (or every one!) of these gatherings, workshops, or classes.
With love,
Barbara + Kristin

a statement on our commitment to building a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable Shala community.

We are in the process of developing a clear, comprehensive mission statement addressing our commitment to diversity and inclusion at the Shala. It is a work in progress, and we thank our diversity committee—Sasha, Shevy, and Megna—for their help.

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New Basics Class in Fort Greene with Deidra Demens. Saturdays 3:15 to 4:15. Starting March 9th. Also check out fresh wisdom: an interview with deidra.

How would you describe Iyengar Yoga?

When I started the Iyengar teacher training, I felt like I needed a foundation as a teacher. I had that as a student, because that’s what I was practicing. So many schools of yoga say different things about the different poses. I expected to go into the Iyengar teacher training and they would tell me, this is how you do it. We asked them, In Urdhva Hastasana, should the fingers be spread wide or should they be together? They said, Both. There are times when you spread the fingers wide, there are times when you bring them together. They told us that you are going to have to do both again and again and again and again until you understand what’s happening when you do it this way versus when you do it that way. When you teach class, you’re going to know when to tell the students to spread the fingers wide and when to tell them to bring them together.

What I learned in the teacher training is that it was all about experience. That’s where the props come in. That’s where the different ways to do the poses come in. There’s no one way. When you practice asana, you’re finding yourself. You’re finding yourself in the classic shape, and then you change that up a little bit. It’s finding yourself in this pose but then there’s kind of looking back to, what does that tell you about who you are as a person, or where you are right now in your life, or where you want to be, what this whole thing is to you?

It is structured. It can be strict. I can see how Iyengar Yoga is whole. I don’t know enough about other styles of yoga to see how their method is working to help people that are brand new or open-level or experienced practitioners or teachers or recovering from injury or pregnancy. I really appreciate how Iyengar Yoga strives to make yoga available to everyone.

It’s so interesting how because of the structure, you can find yourself. I am interested in seeing people and finding how yoga can help them wherever they are. In Iyengar yoga, you are taught to see people.

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