THANKSGIVING YOGA

THANKSGIVING DAY from 9:30-11.

Put that turkey in the oven, then take a break and join Lauren for this Thanksgiving morning flow gratitude practice. Class will be 65 minutes of yoga asana, with a gratitude meditation and luxuriously-long savasana. Please come join us. Items for the Alternatives to Violence pantry will gladly be accepted.

EveryBODY Yoga with Erin Wittman (begins 9/20)

Friday Mornings (beg. 9/20), 9:45 All Levels with a special welcome to Beginners!

So…have you’ve been told or have you read that you should be doing yoga? However, the idea of walking into a studio seems like the last place you want to go. What if you could enter a room and be welcomed regardless of age, gender, your size or even fitness level? What if you didn’t even have to be flexible or wear fancy yoga pants? What if there was a studio and a class that welcomed you just as you are? You’ve probably heard that yoga is good for you and indeed it is! The benefits physically and mentally are numerous. So, why not take that leap and join the Aloft Community on Friday mornings with Erin where EveryBODY is welcome to breathe, stretch, move, increase strength, calm down and maybe even laugh! If you are already a part of the Aloft crew, come check out this new class regardless of where you are on your yoga journey. Hope to see you there!

 

Rise and Shine yoga

Thursday mornings, 6:30-7:30am

Awaken the body and mind with this all level, floor-based class. The class will include breath work, some meditation, foundational yoga poses during the warm-up and cool-down, gentle flow, and one “focal pose,” which will be taught at different levels. Students are encouraged to take the poses as deep or as gently as they like to honor how their bodies are feeling each day as we move through the class.

This class is taught in a Hatha yoga style, which is a balance between warming up and cooling down the body. This practice will help students stretch out the body and awaken and re-focus the mind after sleep. The intent is for students to leave the class feeling ready and energized for their day.

All levels of students are welcome and encouraged to join Lauren on Thursday mornings when Lauren is in town – please double check the weekly calendar to be sure Lauren is teaching.  She also maintains a texting group to let yogis know when the class is happening, when it is cancelled.  Leave a message on the Aloft website if you would like to be on Lauren’s “Early Rising Yogis” text message group.

Dance with Me . . .

5100025281_c125e2c49e_zI think that most of you know that, very soon, I am heading out to Boston to have brain surgery to attempt to remedy my epilepsy. I am very fortunate to have a talented and loving community of teachers to teach and substitute while I’m away, although classes will be more limited, so please be sure and check the schedule every week. I feel incredibly graced to have such a wonderful group of friends/teachers who have agreed to teach while I’m away, and also to have a loving community of students who have been understanding and supportive. I’m convinced that it takes a village to face up to brain surgery . . . Thanks for being my village.
I’m going to write a separate post about this, but one of the things I find myself wanting to do, as I face this surgery, is dance, and dance, and dance. I have loved having the opportunity to do Nia with many of you, and the joy and the freedom of dancing together seems to be keeping me in just the right, hope-filled space, living in the moment of now, that I need to be in to deal with what is coming up. So keep dancing with me while I’m away and send me your good energy!
Another thing I’ve learned a lot about is the incredible power of the stillness that yoga and meditation/prayer have taught me. About a month ago, I had an extensive series of brain scans at the Martinos Center, a research center of the Mass. General Hospital. Turns out I have a strong ability to make my body and mind very still for long periods of time, which makes for great brain scans. It has been interesting to “see” the images of my own meditating mind, and to discuss with researchers and doctors the power of learning stillness and how it does create a different looking brain.
So dance with me, or be still with me, in the weeks ahead. If you want to follow the details of what’s going on, I have another blog, epileptica.com, that is specifically about the surgery. My husband Jonathan as well as myself will be posting about my journey. In the meantime, I am grateful for the presence of all of you in my life, and it is an honor to teach you . . . One that I don’t take for granted.

Finding Your Quiet Place

IMG_1162Let’s face it . . . We all need a break sometimes.  We need moment to step back, gain some perspective, recognize that we are more than the thoughts and emotions we are having in the immediate moment.  We need a moment to realize that we are more than the physical pain, the grief, the fear, or the illness we are experiencing.  It’s no wonder that, within the traditional path of yoga, four of it’s eight limbs are dedicated to learning to quiet and focus our minds.  In yoga, it’s sometimes called “cultivating the witness.”  We use our breath, our ability to focus and concentrate, our posture, and our intention to become familiar with that part of ourselves that can “witness” our thoughts, feelings, even our discomfort.  We initially learn to recognize, and then gradually to be at home with, this witnessing part of ourselves.  Once found, the witnessing place within us can be a powerful reminder that we are more than the sum of our immediate strong feelings, thoughts, story-lines, physical pain, even illness.  Cultivation of the witness within ourselves empowers us to make choices where before we felt victim to circumstances and situations beyond our control.  We meet the witness as a loving, non-judgmental place within ourselves.  Spending time in this witnessing place creates a sense of sanctuary and peace.

We begin learning this process early on in yoga practice, and then we integrate it into our asana practice.  Once we are able to consistently find it in yoga, it has the benefit of expanding outward into the rest of our lives.

Yoga for Strength and Flexibility

Nervous about yoga?  Tight hamstrings?  Want to build arm and core strength?  Thursday at 5:45 is the class for you.  It’s a class that meets the particular needs of men and those new to yoga.  We use chairs and other “props” to move more deeply into yoga poses.

Can’t touch your toes?  No problem!  Can’t sit on the floor?  Okay!  Have no ideas what yoga pants look like?  That’s just fine!  All are welcome.  All levels invited.  No experience  necessary!  Wear comfortable clothing you can move in.  Taught by Kristine Zakarison.   THURSDAYS, 5:45 – 6:45,  COME JOIN US!

Hands that hurt (a bit), thoughts that heal

So, I’ve been working on the new space (now officially called “Kiva Space,” because it feels like a kiva to me — a Native American dwelling used for spiritual purposes, that one usually climbs into via a ladder!).  Rather than painting the walls, I’ve been using 3 colors of a beautiful product called American Clay.  It’s fabulous to work with, in a labor-intensive kind of way — you put it on with a roller and a trowel, and then you lovingly go over it, many times, with trowel and hands, to compress it and shape it to the wall.  If you were going for quick, it would be an aggravation.  However, I decided awhile ago that touching every part of every wall in Kiva Space would be a loving practice of intention, meditation, and prayer.  So, as I’ve worked, I’ve thought and dreamed to the lively and healing community space I want to bring to life in this funny, L-shaped space.  I’ve thought/held/prayed for many I know who have been in need of . . . well, the things we all need, trusting the beautiful place where we all connect to one another and far beyond our individual selves.  I’ve simply allowed myself to be intentionally open to yes, as I work in this little southeastern corner of Gladish.  As you can see, my hands are a bit weary, but my heart is full of the beauty of many of you.  The rainbow walls hold lots of love, and are waiting to hold the community we will become!  With a heart full of love and gratitude today — Kristine