(Featured above is Janice O’Toole’s excellent cat, Stanley Swaggybuns, waiting eagerly for his glute excercises)
We don’t care how you look, or how “cool” you are (as long as you don’t over heat!), but we’d love to have you join us for on line classes. Kristine is working to expand her on line offerings. If you cannot join live, Kristine can send you a link to a recording (available to view for a limited period so you can practice at a time that works in your schedule. Please join us for an online class and stay tuned for new offerings! PS-if your pets join you for class, please send a photo so we can feature our Aloft support animal staff!
July 22 – 24 Have you ever wondered about deepening your yoga practice? Join Kristine for a mini-retreat that will take your practice deeper as you learn more about yoga, asana, meditation, and the rich philosophy of yoga. We will take the time to explore the practices of asana, yogic breathing, and yogic meditation, as well as being introduced to yogic philosophy. COST: 238.00.
SCHEDULE FOR THE RETREAT
July 22 (Friday)
5:30 – 6:00 PM: Welcome/Introduction
6:00 – 7:00 PM: Yoga Class
7:00 — 8:00 PM: Meditation and Yoga (citta, purusa, prakriti, vrittis)
8:00 – 8:30 PM: Closing Yoga
July 23 (Saturday)
8:00 – 10:00 AM: Yoga Class
10:00 – 11:00 AM: Meditation and Yoga
11:00 AM –12:00 PM: Pranayama (yogic breathing)
1:00 – 2:30 PM: Yogic Philosophy
2:30 – 3:00 PM: Meditation
3:00 – 5:00 PM: Asana
July 24 (Sunday)
9:00 – 10:00 AM: Meditation
10:15 – 11:15 AM: Yoga Class
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM: Break
12:15 – 4:15 PM: Yogic Philosophy: Overview of Patanjali’s yoga sutras
We are college students, retired types, professors, moms, dads, men, women, professionals, able-bodied and living with disabilities, pre-teens and teens . . . We are young(ish) and old(er) . . . We are a whole lot of different types of people, and we get together to engage our bodies, minds, and spirits through exercise, stretch, yoga, and dance. Mostly, we are an open community that welcomes you to come and try a class and find a fit. We laugh together, and we also enjoy the practice and discipline that yoga and Nia bring into our lives. We support one another and we take things at our level. Our teachers make it a priority to help you find you body’s way in yoga and Nia. We have a variety of classes . . . Why not give it a try?
I 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.
Do you remember these days? If you were lucky, maybe it was yesterday, or this morning — when you could just get together with a dear one and laugh and laugh, sometimes about nothing at all. There are times when I’ve been teaching yoga when it’s happened to 2 people on adjacent yoga mats. One of them starts giggling, and it’s just like second grade again. I attempt to play the part of the “stern” teacher, just to keep the whole thing going — that kind of laughter needs the counter part of the teacher — but I actually delight in it, because, when the laughter is genuinely from the heart, that’s the whole body joy that yoga is all about. And sharing it is the stuff for which we are made! I love a yoga class that has some laughter in it. Somehow, it rounds out the beauty of it for me.
My friend Michael, who is by day a husband, dad, teacher, and a bunch of other things, but also a philosophizer and (I would say) yogi, recently wrote: “When you make someone laugh, it’s a double gift . . . One for me, one for you.” Share the joy!
Now imagine being asked this four times a week by a rather intense East Indian gentleman/ yogi, who expected an answer. I was telling one of my yoga classes that my first yoga teacher liked to start us off in this manner. Being a graduate student at the time, it was easy to fall into a passive sense of “I’m here because I’m supposed to be . . .” which did not fly at all with my teacher (this just got intense breathing and a fierce stare). “But why are you HERE? I mean really HERE?” He would ask. I was never sure if he meant in class, in divinity school, or on the planet. I don’t think he was really quite sure, either . . . Or that the answer was any different, in Ravi’s mind.
The Sanskrit word is “samkalpa” a resolution or intention formed through an informed conversation between the body, mind, and heart, and we were expected to have one for most things in life, including yoga class.The yogic value of samkalpa begins with awareness, and as much acceptance as we are able to embrace, of where we are. It is not unmindful of our current condition, in fact, it dwells in the “is-ness” of our body, mind, and spirit, and suggests that this is the beautiful path that we will have the joy of journeying on our way to our intention. And it is, all, indeed, considered beautiful. We step onto the mat, we set our intention, and we trust that we’ve got exactly what we need for that moment to go where we need to go. That’s the journey of samkalpa. So happy to share it with you!
“Spanda,” is the idea of all things existing in a rhythmic state of expansion and contracting, of pulsating energy. We live with this pulsation constantly — from our first inhalation and cry of exhalation at birth, to the final inhalation and exhalation at death. We are able to work with the flow of this as we hug our energy inward and expand it outward. And, let’s face it, the sanskrit word “spanda” sounds a lot like “spandex,” which both expands and hugs, all at the same time 🙂 Come to class and join invite the flow of spanda into your practice!