The Desire Issue YOGA MUSIC FOOD
WELLNESS MEDITATION AND MUCH MORE...
Envision your best self.
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PUBLISHER /FOUNDER Juli Rathke NEW YORK EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Iana Velez NATIONAL CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sami Lea Lipman NEW YORK ART DIRECTOR Iana Velez FEATURES EDITOR Ko Im FOOD EDITOR Justine Ma MUSIC EDITOR Tawny Lara ADVERTISING & SALES Annie Fisco Veronica Beltran SUBSCRIPTIONS Please visit us at www.nyyogalifemag.com for a list of locations or to order a magazine online. ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Contact our corporate office or request a media kit: www.nyyogalifemag.com Sales: email@example.com FEATURES If you would like us to consider featuring your business, event, or contributing content please contact Iana Velez at firstname.lastname@example.org OPPORTUNITIES Please contact our publishing office to inquire about adding new regions and titles to our network of lifestyle magazines. www.yogalifemagazines.com Email: email@example.com
2016 Yoga + Life Magazines. All rights reserved. No portion may be duplicated, in whole or in part, without the written consent of its publishers. Every effort has been make to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this publication. The publisher assumes no responsibility for accuracy of information or omissions from the material provided. Company cannot be held liable for the quality or performance of goods and services rendered by the advertisers published in this magazine.
YOGA & MINDFULNESS
Jennifer Cohen Harper is a gentle and experienced guide into the artful practice and practical science of yoga for children." Daniel Siegel: Author, Brainstorm & The Whole Brain Child
TEAM // TEACHERS // CITIES // LOCALS
Our editors, regional leaders, team, and contributors
12. COFFEE. HUMOR. MANTRA.
Daily medicine for our publisher, Juli Rathke
14. WHO WE LOVE
Inspirational teachers in New York
18. OHM ON THE ROCKS
Your urban sea-vibe adventure
20. MEDITATION INSPIRATION
Dina Kaplan shares her favorites
23. EXCAVATING OUR TRUE DESIRES
An interview with Chrissy Carter
ART // TRAVEL // HOME // DANCE // MUSIC // PRODUCTS
24. NYYLM BOOK CLUB
Flip the page, not the dog
25. ART TO INSPIRE
The Rubin Museum
26. FLIP THE CAMERA
A look behind the camera
31. CUBA LIBRE
The essence of a country unseen
33. A DAY IN THE LIFE
Working in wellness: Leo Rising
34. LIVIN’ LA PURA VIDA
Eco-chic luxury at Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort
38. SPRING CLEANING…
…for the soul
40. SPILL YOUR DESIRE
To love and be loved everywhere
41. THE TRANSFORMATIVE QUALITY OF DESIRE
And how it brings me home
42. JOGO BONITO
Yoga in action
44. DESIRE IS THE FUEL
An interview with MC Yogi
46. LYRICAL DESIRE
An interview with GuyZhon
48. STUFF WE LOVE
What our team adores
ASANA // BUSINESS // PHILOSOPHY // MEDITATION
50. DESIRE IS FIRE
The body as a house
54. SO YOU THINK YOU CAN HANDSTAND
Mastering the arm balance
58. TRAVEL YOGA
Yoga to go
60. ASHTANGA 101
The student and the teacher talk
The yoga teacher training
64. BODY IMAGE
Lauren Cap talks self-acceptance
67. RAISE YOUR VIBRATION
…and manifest your desires
68. TANTRA & DESIRE
Moving through the chakras
70. MOM & BABY YOGA
The benefits of class with your little one
…and the art of the onion
75. MEDITATION IN THE CITY
Ten places to visit to add meditation to your life
AYURVEDA // THERAPEUTICS // FOOD
76. SPRING IS KAPHA SEASON
An ayurvedic detox guide
78. SHAKTI SALON
Tips for springtime beauty
80. SOUNDS AND THE CITY
82. THIS IS FARM TO TABLE
Restaurant reviews from our food editor, Justine Ma
84. HOLDIN’ DOWN THE HIVE & INFUSED HONEY
Things to know about urban beekeeping and honey
86. CHOCOLATE CHIPOTLE CAKE A deliciously sweet recipe
88. SHIFT THE PERSPECTIVE
Cinnamon Snail chef talks veganism
profiles / Team
FROM OUR EDITOR IANA VELEZ
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” – Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
and mental energy, the fire needed to indulge every desire. In my early 30s, I was introduced to yoga which had a huge impact on my relationship to desire. Suddenly, this desire was “good” and that desire was “bad.” I thought yoga meant I shouldn’t desire that thing, that person, or that feeling of extreme bliss. I struggled, and thought desiring anything at all meant I was a bad at this yoga stuff. But something was still not right, and it felt unnatural to repress what I felt were primal urges to fulfill and express my desires. PHOTO: PAUL UNDERSINGER
Welcome to our second issue of NY YOGA + LIFE! I am beyond thrilled we made it this far. In our first issue we celebrated INSPIRATION. That was easy people light up when you say the word, and everyone gets excited. For our second issue I wanted to dig a little deeper and explore a word that kept showing up everywhere I looked: DESIRE. What is the difference between inspiration and desire? Is desire inspirations uncontrollable, lusty, selfish alter ego or could desire also be spiritual? Is desire the question and inspiration the answer? Is desire the fuel that rockets us through life? I am excited to explore this theme with our NY YOGA + LIFE community. In my 20s, desire was something that just, was. It burned in me and through me. Back then, desire was a bratty child that never took no for an answer. I was ruled by impulse, which more often than not produced a fleeting moment of bliss that was without depth. Acting on every impulse turned out to be not nearly as satisfying as I hoped. But in retrospect, isn’t that what your 20s are for? Those are the years when most of us have the physical
My 40s have been the greatest gift I could have ever received. Suddenly my relationship to myself and my desires shifted dramatically when I took a long hard look at the people and events in my life I had manifested through what I claimed to be my desires. Becoming clear about what I truly desired allowed me to slowly reclaim the power I’d had all along. Desire, and my relationship to it has evolved over many decades of living, loving, and hopefully learning. Nothing more clearly represents everything my heart desires from yoga, and life for that matter, than our beautiful Spring/Summer cover...Alan Finger’s peaceful presence, Mike Aidala’s infectious joy, and Juan Gamboa’s focus and dedication. Thank you all for sharing your desires with me, and continuing on this journey called NY YOGA + LIFE magazine.
OUR APOLOGIES While every effort is made to deliver a perfect product, we are human and mistakes do happen. Our apologies for not crediting Claire Sheprow/FindOrion photography, and misspelling Matt Fricovsky’s name in our premier issue.
Thank you to the businesses below who support our publication. Their support keeps us free to the community, please support them as well. Swing by, thank them, and pick up your complimentary copy of our Spring/Summer issue!
WANT IN? Be in our partner directory online and in print, and grow your business with us. Receive copies of NY YOGA + LIFE at your place of business to share with clients and help our readers know where to find their complimentary copy! EMAIL: INFO@NYYOGALIFEMAG.COM FOR DETAILS
ALIGN BROOKLYN 579 Fifth Avenue 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11215 www.alignbrooklyn.com
JERSEY SHORE HOT YOGA 622 Main Street Avon by-the-Sea, NJ O7717 www.jerseyshorehotyoga.com
OM SWEET OM YOGA 12 Irma Ave Port Washington, NY 11050 www.omsweetomyoga.com
SKY BABY YOGA 75 Main Street Cold Spring, NY 10516 www.skybabyyoga.com
ANANDA ASHRAM 13 Sapphire Road Monroe, NY 10950 www.anandaashram.org
KAMADEVA YOGA 15 Lumber Lane, 2nd Fl East Hampton, NY 11937 www.kamadevayoga.com
PURE YOGA EAST 203 E. 86th St NY, NY 10028 www.pureyoga.com
THE THREE JEWELS 61 4th Ave 3rd floor NY, NY 10003 www.threejewels.org
ATHLETA (SOHO) 121 Wooster St. NY, NY 10012 www.athleta.gap.com
KARMA KIDS 25 West 23rd Street, 3rd fl. NY, NY 10010 www.karmakidsyoga.com
PURE YOGA WEST 204 West 77th St. NY, NY 10024 www.pureyoga.com
YOGA NANDA (GARDEN CITY) 55 Hilton Ave. 2nd Floor Garden City, NY 11530 www.yoga-nanda.com
BODHI TREE YOGA RESORT Nosara, Costa Rica www.bodhitreeyogaresort.com
KRIPALU 57 Interlaken Road Stockbridge, MA 01262 www.kripalu.org
REX (Chelsea) 251 West 23rd Street NY, NY 10011 www.rexcoffeenyc.com
YOGA NANDA (LONG BEACH) 52 E. Park Ave., Suite 202 Long Beach, NY 11561 www.yoga-nanda.com
LAND YOGA 2116 Frederick Douglass Blvd NY, NY 10026 www.landyoga.com
REX (Hells Kitchen) 864 10th Avenue NY, NY 10039 www.rexcoffeenyc.com
YOGA ON THE ROCKS 90-16 Rockaway Beach Blvd Rockaway Beach, NY 11693 www.yogaontherocksnyc.com
LIBERATION YOGA 862 Route 6 Mahopac, NY 10541 www.liberationny.com
SATYA (West Village) 330 Bleecker Street NY, NY 10014 www.satyajewelry.com
HOSH YOGA 55 Nassau Ave Suite 1C Brooklyn, NY 11222 www.hoshyoga.org
YOGASHAKTI YOGA CENTER 114-41 Lefferts Blvd. S. Ozone Park, NY 11420 www.teachyoga.org
MORGANâ€™S ROCK Nicaragua www.morgansrock.com
HOT YOGA ROCKAWAY BEACH 181 Beach 116th St 2nd Fl. Rockaway Park, NY 11694 www.hotyogarockawaybeach.com
NUEVA ALMA YOGA AND WELLNESS 799 McLean Avenue Yonkers, NY 10704 www.nuevaalma.com
SATYA (Brookfield Place) 200 Vesey Street NY, NY 10281 www.satyajewelry.com
BREATHE N FLOW YOGA 361 Atlantic Ave Freeport, NY 11520 www.breathenflowyoga.com CROSSFIT SOLACE 38 East 32nd Street NY, NY 10016 www.crossfitsolace.com
ISHTA YOGA 56 East 11th Street NY, NY 10003 www.ishtayoga.com
O CAFE 482 6th Ave NY, NY 10012 www.ocafenyc.com
SATYA (Time Warner Center) 10 Columbus Circle NY, NY 10029 www.satyajewelry.com SAVOR SPA 327 West 11th St NY, NY 10014 www.savorspa.com
profiles / Team
NY YOGA + LIFE MUSIC EDITOR
NY YOGA + LIFE FEATURES EDITOR
NY YOGA + LIFE FOOD EDITOR
NY YOGA + LIFE MANHATTAN REGIONAL
Tawny moved from Texas to New York City to develop her two passions: music journalism and motivating people. She contributes to Elite Daily, Next2Shine, and GrooveVolt. When she’s not writing, she’s goal coaching, Instagramming, and creating community events for the one and only lululemon Men’s Store. IG: @tawnymlara
Ko is a creative spirit. A 200 hour yoga certified teacher, she guides classes at Crunch and has led workshops around the nation as well as overseas retreats. The features editor and author is a graduate of Columbia Journalism and has contributed to Yahoo! Travel, ForbesLife, washingtonpost. com and CBS News. IG: @konakafe
Justine is an international food, health, and wellness expert. With her background in education, communication, culinary, and leadership, she works with chefs and fitness professionals to promote cleaner, healthier lifestyles. Justine specializes in meditation and hosts wellness workshops for children and adults to advocate healthier tomorrows. IG: @littlemisslocal
Maggie is a yoga teacher, writer, and goober. A 500 hour certified yoga teacher, Maggie trained at YogaWorks with Chrissy Carter. Maggie writes for New York Family magazine, and is passionate about the health, wellness, travel, and education beats. She is a guacamole aficionado and an aspiring amateur welder. IG: @seekingsatya
NY YOGA + LIFE LONG ISLAND REGIONAL
NY YOGA + LIFE MANHATTAN REGIONAL
NY YOGA + LIFE WESTCHESTER REGIONAL
NY YOGA + LIFE SALES
Angela Williams-Jones, E-RYT is a genuinely energetic & nurturing soul with a deep love of networking, people connecting, goal crushing, elevating & empowering people. With over 1,000 hours of training, she can be found teaching classes, hosting events, publishing specialized articles, training teachers and leading workshops. IG: @corpyogi
Lauren is a writer, certified yoga instructor, Yoga Tune Up® teacher and therapy ball practitioner. Her goal is to empower women to feel confident in their bodies while working towards their goals. Lauren’s writing can be seen on yogatime.tv, mindbodygreen, and yoganonymous. IG: @laurenalannac
Veronica Beltran, a fiery Aries, ex-marathoner, triathlete and wellness consultant holds certifications in several fitness modalities including yoga and WWP Moon Circle Leadership. She keeps it real by breaking a sweat on the dance floor, traveling to the sea, and shedding salty tears to clear her soul —Wepa! IG: @verobel12
Annie is an 800 hour yoga teacher who teaches privates, corporate classes, retreats, workshops, meditation, yoga, and motivational speaking for Fortune 500 corporations all over NYC and beyond. Annie empowers her students to find their own greatness, and to live their best life! IG: @anniefiscoyoganyc
PHOTOS: PAUL UNDERSINGER
MEET THE TEAM!
PHOTO: PAUL UNDERSINGER // CLOTHING: HYDE // JEWELRY: MALA COLLECTIVE
profiles / Team
Contributors With Soul, and was named one of the “Top 100 Websites for Women” by Forbes. www.daniellelaporte.com
Dina Kaplan is founder of The Path, which teaches ancient meditation techniques in a modern way. Request invitations to their meditations and events online. www.thepath.com
Andrea is a writer and yoga teacher in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, Wanderlust, Sonima, mindbodygreen, and other online publications. www.andrearice.info
ALI CRAMER Ali is the Director of the Ayurveda Program at Laughing Lotus and a Senior Teacher in their 200 hour teacher training program. Ali is honored to have led the first Yoga Teacher Training Program in the Sudan and to be a guest teacher on the faculty for Columbia University’s Psychology and Spirituality Program. www.alicramer.com
World Arts and Cultures, UCLA while attaining her master’s degree in Dance Movement Therapy. She is currently writing and producing a series of short films that integrates her knowledge of yoga, dance, Pilates and Capoeira. www.luzemma.com
Danielle is a photographer and multimedia artist. She received her B.F.A. at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and is currently helping build Europe’s first underwater museum, the “Museo Atlántico.” www.daniellestackphotography.com
training in Rishikesh Yog Peeth, and continued her education in Bali at Zuna Yoga’s 300 hour teacher training. She is passionate about inspiring yoga through practice and art. www.miriamcastillo.com
ASHLEY ROSE HOWARD
Kelsey is a freelance graphic designer, lettering artist, and yoga novice, born and raised in NY State.
Ashley is a 500 hour vinyasa based yoga, meditation teacher, and contributing writer for YogaCity NYC and Wanderlust. She is the creator of Universe Hear Me, a yoga and journaling blog. www.universehearme.com
Mom, teacher and creator of Karma Kids Yoga, Shari has been sharing yoga with infants through teens since 2002. www.karmakidsyoga.com
DIANA BEZANSKI DANA TRIXIE FLYNN
JESS ARNAUDIN Jess is NYC-based ecomakeup artist, holistic esthetician, social media strategist, product stylist photographer, and writer. www.jessarnaudin.com
SARA AUSTER Sara is a certified Sound Therapy Practitioner, yoga, and meditation teacher based in NYC. www.saraauster.com
SARAH PLATT-FINGER Sarah is co-founder of ISHTA Yoga, and is on the Board of Directors for non profit Exhale to Inhale that teaches yoga to survivors of domestic violence. www.ishtayoga.com
Dana is a “teacher’s teacher,” celebrated for her uplifting, innovative, and soulful Lotus Flow. She is the eternal student, ever-present, grateful and spiritually turned ON.
Diana is a lifestyle and food photographer and vegan recipe blogger. See her daily postings of inspirational food and recipes on her Instagram page @fogwoodandfig. www.fogwoodfig.com
DANIELLE LAPORTE Danielle LaPorte is the creator of The Desire Map: A Guide To Creating Goals
Jeffrey’s attitude for yoga is intense and uplifting. You can find him training and teaching in the greater NY area. His classes are described as fun and challenging providing “toolbox” techniques for approaching asana and inversions alike. www.jeffreyposner.com
LUZ EMMA CAÑAS MADRIGAL
Luz was a Graduate Fellow in the Department of
In 2012 Miriam completed her 200 hour teacher
For more than 15 years, Muri has taught cycling and interval training classes in NYC. He’s now a
Master’s candidate at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. www.muriassuncao.com
over 20 years and maintains a private practice in NYC. She also offers a variety of workshops which combine yoga, meditation, and discussion. www.miscallbrown.com
Kay Kay now resides as lead teacher trainer at PURE Yoga NYC for their 200 hour teacher training program. www.kkyoga.com
specialist, yoga teacher, author, fitness model and founder of the Ode to the Moon project.OTTM brings awareness to domestic violence and empowers victims of abuse through yoga and art. www.eleonorazampatti.com
Cover about our
CHAS KIMBRELL Chad is a yogi and photographer with over 40 years of experience shooting rock concerts, beauty, fashion and fitness. He has now turned his creative focus to yoga and fitness photography combining his two passions. www.shotbychas.com
LARA LAND KRISTEN COPHAM K. Mae Copham is a visual artist, RYT 200 and the creator of Yoga Teddy Bear. She is based in NYC and New Paltz, NY. www.yogateddybear.com
Lara is a Level 2 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher practicing since 1998. She opened Land Yoga in 2011 and recently formed non-profit, Three and a Half Acres Yoga. www.landlaraland.com
TARA MARIE HOXHA Tara has worked in the spa and wellness industry for over 15 years and graduated as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
PHOTO: MATT FRICOVSKY PHOTOGRAPHER MATT FRICOVSKY: Matt Fricovsky is an internationally published sports and fitness photographer. His work has been published in a variety of media, from magazine covers and books to movie posters and ads. More: www.mattf.me
MODELS ALAN FINGER: South African Tantric and Kriya Yoga Master Alan Finger began studying yoga at the age of 16 with his father Mani Finger and renowned swamis of the past century. Alan and Mani created ISHTA Yoga. More: www.ishtayoga.com
MURRZ LARISSA HALL CARLSON Larissa Hall Carlson, E-RYT 500, Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda, guides retreats, directs Kripalu Yoga Teacher Trainings, and provides Ayurvedic consultations. www.larissacarlson.com
Brooklyn based artist MURRZ combines her 7+ years of working in advertising with her love of street art and fashion. @_murrz
PAUL UNDERSINGER Paul is a NYC based photographer, musician and graphic artist. His photography is centered around music and concert photography. @paul_undersinger
JUAN GAMBOA: Teaching since 2008, Juan’s background is in Ashtanga and vinyasa. Juan teaches at Sonic Yoga, Pure Yoga, and Mercedes Club in NYC. More: www.juanyogi.com
ABBIE H. GALVIN AND CAROL S. PRATT Since the womb Carol and Abbie have shared life’s tumults and mirth. Abbie is a yoga teacher in NYC best known for the power of her teaching. Carol designs handmade clothing manufactured in New York City.
MIKE AIDALA: Mike is passionate about helping people have a better conversation with themselves while moving their bodies. He works as a movement and lifestyle coach for athletes and people of all levels. More on IG :@mike.aidala CLOTHING: lululemon men
KAY KAY CLIVIO
KRISTIN MISCALL Kristin has worked in the field of mental health for
For the past 20 years, Kay Kay has studied with such luminous teachers as Ana Forrest, Baron Baptiste, John Friend, Gil Hedly and Shri K. Pattabhi Jois.
ELEONORA ZAMPATTI Eleonora is a native of Milan, Italy. She is an international body movement
profiles / Locals
COFFEE. HUMOR. MANTRA. Daily medicine for a passionate female entrepreneur
JULI RATHKE Female Entrepreneur & Founder of: Yoga + Life Magazines Juli TV, GOYO Adventures Motivator, Speaker and Presenter
PROFILES / Team
What motivates you? I tend to answer questions with questions. I do laugh a lot and ask myself often, “Self... what’s the worst thing that could happen?” Identifying the worse case scenario during adversity shifts perspectives immediately to the positive. I also require a huge daily dose of coffee, humor, and my mantra “why not”. Most often people only see reasons why they can’t do something. This separates many from achieving what they desire in life. This intrigue is part of what keeps the fires burning for more. When starting a new business, how do you know if it’s right? There is no guarantee you will succeed but I would always bet on myself before I would bet on others. I have learned a lot about myself along the way. Go with your gut! I’ve been judged, ridiculed, I’ve failed, been ripped off, hurt, lied to, and cheated. Being an entrepreneur is not for the thin-skinned, and few are encouraging you telling you how amazing your ideas are. So... you truly need to believe in the power of you and the gift you have to share and then create a powerful filter to protect it from selfsabatoge and then build a team around that. That is what we have done with Y + L. Only believers allowed. The rest are likely not our customers anyway. (Well, not yet!) What was the inspiration for Y + L? I started teaching yoga at a very young age. But what I didn’t know is who I would become as a teacher. I think a lot of people still struggle with this. As a teacher I packed the house (and still do) but I truly felt I deserved to be on the big stage. But what I didn’t know yet, was my message. It has taken years of practice to listen for my calling and
living my life has helped me to find my story - other ventures, travel, family, and karmic connections. I knew I needed to create the niche that I was seeking. So I merged my ideas from all other aspects of my yoga, magazine, and TV ventures. On a long road trip home a few years back, I wrote the business plan for Y + L and I set out finding the right team. Now with five markets, more in the works, and nearly 100+ ambassadors and contributors in less than 18 months, people seem to really understand where we are coming from and I am forever grateful. Give me a hellz’ya! What makes Y + L different from other yoga magazines? Well, I guess I am here for the lynching. Judge as you will, but I don’t think we compete with the YJ’s of the world, in fact I think we complement them. The difference between “us” and “them” IS IN FACT the people in the magazines AND the people who MAKE the magazines happen. They are not your typical “experienced” authors and editors. This industry is saturated at the top, in other words, tough to break into at the level of the “Shivas” and “Seanes” and the “YJ’s” (no dis ladies) of the world. But there are so many amazing people doing amazing things in their communities who also deserve their voice to be heard. I felt it my calling to bring about this opportunity for everyone - including myself. There is nothing more paralyzing than climbing that mountain to the top of your platform to find few are listening. Well, we are! We also believe in giving. We have a karma ad program that I haven’t been able to replicate anywhere else in the industry. It just feels right to give an ad for each ad sold.
What is Juli TV and where did it come from? There is an online community I have met in which we are all a part of (thanks to social media) including fellow teachers, entrepreneurs, aspiring yogis, family, and friends who want to practice and learn from one another, hear from my experiences both on and off the mat about living life fully, uninhibited and as healthy, happy and productive as possible. As a mompreneur, I know this community is essential to thrive - and so JuliTV was born. I spent a decade on the TV airwaves hosting a live morning show in the past and this medium allows me to share authentically and facilitate with a bigger impact a message that all things are accessible with the right help and community. How do you juggle the vision, family, and your work? “It is all in the practice.” as Yoda would say. Seriously though, my priority is always family first. That means things may take a little longer and I accept that and I let others know this as well. When I am working I try to choose only meaningful work. That means farming out stuff that I am no longer learning anything from (like social media or databases and newsletters). Don’t get me wrong, I rock a killer spreadsheet, but visionaries need to get out of the trenches often. This is one of my top 5 lessons when mentoring other entrepreneurs master and move on. How do you incorporate your yoga into making money? For some this is quite counter intuitive and again takes practice. We pay rent, right? We have to feed our families, right? If we all worked for free, then it would make sense. But we don’t and we can’t. Value what you do. I have a strict “yes” filter, and if
the criteria isn’t met, the answer is no. It is part of establishing your core values in you, your business, your life, and even your marriage. Mulhadhara people. What does the word “create” mean to you? Create to me means opening up to all possibilities while removing expectations or limitations. Whether I’m creating a layout in a magazine, preparing an interview, or a yoga flow for my class, I am open to the energy and new interpretation as it comes to me. My mind is a blank canvas, this allows for totally unique and new masterpieces each and every time. When someone removes the hold an expectation has on them, it is only then they are able to truly tap into their creative flow. Choose to ride the wave - I have. To learn more about Juli and her teachings, retreats, and offerings, please visit: www.julirathke.com www.yogalifemagazines.com www.goyoadventures.com
in New York Desire has sometimes felt like a fleeting and forever intangible reality. With desire there can be blind or naive expectation, which can often bring pain. In the yoga sutras we learn that pain, which has not yet come, is avoidable. The feelings of desire have drawn so many other emotions and thoughts to the surface. Observing the ebb and flow of these fluctuations has luckily brought me back to float in each moment of life’s beauty.
HEATHER SEAGRAVES THIS PAGE: HEATHER SEAGRAVES (PHOTO: RENEE CHOI) OPPOSITE PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT) LISA TATHAM (PHOTO: WILDJAY PRODUCTIONS), KRISTIN LEAL (PHOTO: LARYSA SENDICH), CAROL KUSALA BEN-MOSHE (PHOTO: ETHEL KAMBOURIAN), LEAH HARTOFELIS, IRENE PAPPAS (PHOTO: BRANDON SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY), MILES BORRERO (PHOTO: MATT FRICOVSKY), FRANCESCA BOVE, KRISSY SHIELDS (PHOTO: NGOC-TRAN) CENTER: ERICA GARCIA (PHOTO: ROBERT STURMAN)
To me, desire is a measurement of how badly I want something, and how hard I am willing to work for it. I think desire and passion go hand in hand, because if you donâ€™t have passion, desire wonâ€™t get you very far.
Desire is the child genius who will not obey, who remains unconcerned with your reprimands - yet has the power to heal the world when nurtured properly.
RALPH DE LA ROSA
THIS PAGE (FROM TOP): KAT FOWLER, ERINN CHANG (PHOTO: HAROLD CHANG) OPPOSITE PAGE (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): SAM HARRIS (PHOTO: KIMBERLY HURST), LUZ EMMA CAÑAS MADRIGAL (PHOTO: ADRIAN MILES), GINA DE LA CHESNAYE, ALI CRAMER, CHRISTINE MAMMES, RALPH DE LA ROSA, JENNIFER CAVALIERI (PHOTO: DANIELLE STACK), BIANCA FISCHER
LouLou Piscatore M.S. L.Ac LMT Acupuncture & Massage 917 686 6602 firstname.lastname@example.org | louloulac.com NYC and the Hamptons
profiles / Cities
OHM on the rocks
BY: VERONICA BELTRAN PHOTOGRAPHY: CHAS KIMBRELL
For some time now, a palpable mist of excitement has been flowing from Far Rockaway, a neighborhood in Queens, New York — and it’s not only coming from the sea. “On the Rocks” as it is referred to by the locals, serves as the perfect, quick summer day trip, only a ten mile subway ride from Manhattan. The Rockaway community’s desire to pick itself up from the shambles left by Hurricane Sandy is evident by the renovation and emergence of businesses in the area. This resilient neighborhood is catching a wave of curiosity for anyone craving to experience that mix of sea vibe with urban swagger that the Rockaway community provides.
It’s no surprise urbanites seeking a little relaxation to unplug would intuitively gravitate towards the ocean. After all, H2O is vital for life and what our bodies are largely made up of. Spending time by the ocean can produce meditative effects, so enjoy a cognitive break in nature away from the usual overstimulation of life and work in the city. With the sounds and views from the ocean, one doesn’t need to know how to meditate — it just happens. Our nervous system downgrades into a focused state of mental clarity, rewiring our senses to feel free of stress, anxiety, pain, and depression. Many people claim to have stumbled upon their best ideas when they allow themselves to let go. Spend the day exploring this buzzing beach scene with activities that include surf lessons, stand up paddle yoga, yoga, skateboarding, biking and running. Carve out some leisure time to explore Rockaway’s art scene, bars, foodie pop–ups, film festivals and music. Escape the incessant hustle and bustle of the city to catch your breath as you watch, hear, and play with the waves.
OUR PICKS FOR YOUR URBAN SEA-VIBE ADVENTURE
YOGA Yoga on the Rocks www.yogaontherocksnyc.com Hot Yoga Rockaway Beach www.hotyogarockawaybeach.com
SURF Locals Surf School www.localssurfschool.com Skuding Surf www.Skudinsurf.com New York Surf School www.surflessonsnewyork101.com A-Team Paddleboarding www.ateampaddleboarding.com
See New York like never before!
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profiles / Locals
MEDITATION INSPIRATIONS We asked Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path in NYC who her meditation inspirations were. This is what she shared with us. One day at the corner of Broome and Lafayette I had to cross the street to get to my office, and I couldn’t do it. In that moment I decided all the press from my company and all the future accolades weren’t worth feeling unhealthy. I couldn’t cross the street. I decided to leave the company I had founded, booked a one way ticket to Bali, and ended up traveling around the world for two and a half years. During that time I studied and practiced different types of meditation all around the world. One day during a strict silent retreat in the scorching heat of India, I visualized a flash of lightning shooting up
BY DINA KAPLAN ILLUSTRATIONS: KELSEY COLLINS
from my feet and exploding above my head. It was a message. Meditation was changing my brain, making me more compassionate and giving me mental agility—the ability to choose my responses throughout the day rather than reacting automatically. In that moment I said to myself, “I’m going to come out of this retreat a better person. Everyone should have the chance to do this, but it doesn’t need to be this hard.” Two years later, I founded The Path.
The Path hosts weekly sits, workshops, courses, social events and retreats. We’ve built a beautiful community of meditators. It’s a blessing to share the gift of meditation with people like the old me— stressed-out founders and CEOs, people in film, fashion, publishing and more. And, the panic attacks are long gone. I can cross intersections with no fear. My mission now is to help others find their calm and to teach meditation in beautiful environments, so it’s fun, easy and a joy to learn and maintain a daily practice.
Ally Bogard Ally is an incredible yoga teacher and also runs a yoga teacher training school. Her gifts at leading meditations are difficult to put into words. Her presence, her gift at language, her ability to read an audience—it is so beautiful the only way I can describe it is to say she has magical talents. It is a privilege to partner with her. Ally embodies grace. She is kind, authentic, cool and just—so her. You feel her soft presence the minute she walks into a room. In addition to being wildly talented and intuitive, she maintains a humility that is infectious and inspiring.
Biet Simkin Biet is a musician, an artist and a meditation leader. She teaches for The Path and runs her own meditation company, Center of the Cyclone. She teaches in a very modern way—she moves locations, like we do, and like us she attracts a young, modern, dare I say sexy community. She engages them by being herself—very fun and cool. I think of her as the Rock ’N Roll star of meditation in NY. Biet makes it sexy to meditate. She is so authentic, it makes her shine from the inside in a beguiling way. Her meditations are like events. There are always great people, and she makes it entertaining and lively. I’m inspired by Biet’s ability to stay grounded in her feminine energy even while running a business, and I love how she embodies her motto of radical kindness — she is the real deal.
Light Watkins Light is an incredibly gifted Vedic (we call it “mantra”) meditation teacher. He’s also the author of The Inner Gym, a workout book to strengthen your “inner” muscles to make you happier. Light launched an event series called The Shine, an evening of meditation, music and storytelling by super talented performers. It’s a hot ticket in L.A. and everywhere else he brings it. He could do this for profit, and it would do really well. Light has decided not to earn a dollar from it, all the money goes to support good causes that someone in the audience chooses. Light inspires me because he is such a gifted teacher, because he runs The Shine as a nonprofit, but mostly because he walks the talk. He is incredibly generous not just on a macro level but in small moments throughout the day. He is one of the most kind, thoughtful and humble people I know - and has so many reasons not to be.
PROFILES / Locals
On e- of - a -k i n d S umm ert i m e Day R e t r e at
EVOLUTION SOUL IS IN SESSION FOR THE SUMMER
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For more information check out dates and video on our website under
Gradually develop yourself into all you want to be. A green organic mind, body, soul and home 22
A GREEN MIND, BODY, SOUL & HOME
PROFILES / Local
Excavating Our True DESIRES BY: MAGGIE FINN RYAN
ur desires are often perceivably external — a svelte body, a killer apartment, a luxury car, or a “perfect” job. As our yoga practice reveals, we are not defined by these changing variables. Our true (eternal) Self is constant, and the rest is in flux. With this in mind, how can our external desires illuminate and awaken our true passions? Is it possible to be both highly motivated and deeply fulfilled? We asked Chrissy Carter, YogaWorks senior teacher and teacher trainer, to examine how our yoga practices can reveal our true desires. After leaving her job on Wall Street, Carter appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, and Whole Living Magazine. She stars in two Gaiam DVDs, and is a featured teacher on GaiamTV.com. She strives to live her yoga everyday, and is passionate about teaching how to live an authentic and inspired life.
What is desire? Desire arises from a need for fulfillment. It can represent a deep longing for connection — with some aspect of our soul that we’re trying to access by means of an external source.
How do we discern between desire from within and external desire? I think it comes down to purpose. If we approach desire from a place of lack, we will never be satisfied, even if that desire is met. If, on the other hand, desire arises from a need to experience aspects of ourselves manifested in the outside world, then desire may serve to remind us that we already have everything we need within ourselves. Ask yourself this: Is your desire bringing you closer to yourself, or is it reiterating your own deep fears of inadequacy? If desire serves the desperate search for your missing piece, it will fail you.
What yoga sutra best describes our relationship with desire?
I think Sutra 1.12, abhyasa and vairagya (practice and non-attachment), speaks to the balance of desire and surrender. In order to prac-
lifestyle / Art
tice, you have to show up, be present, and face the music. That desire to work towards something, to be all in, is often the impetus for us to come back to the practice again and again. Practice helps us cultivate the strength, skills, and wisdom we need to abide with what is — to let go of our attachment to the results and simply practice contentment in the moment. Without desire, without the spark that initiates action, it’s easy to slide into complacency. Contentment is not complacency. You need the strength gained through practice to stand in the truth. Practice prepares us to surrender.
What did you learn about desire during your days on Wall Street? Wall Street taught me a lot about listening to my inner voice. I tried so hard to be the person I thought I should be, but the longer I sat on the trading desk, the more I realized that my desires weren’t aligned with what I was doing. I could feel in every cell of my body that I was on the wrong path. I had everything at my fingertips, but I wasn’t satisfied. In fact, I was deeply unsatisfied.
What was the wakeup call to your true desire? Coming to terms with my unhappiness and accepting that I was pursuing the wrong path. Yoga helped me face my discomfort. Every time I stepped onto my mat, it felt like I was plugging into an outlet, not realizing at the time that the source I was plugging into was myself. My practice led me to a place of deep, albeit terrifying clarity — something had to change.
How can we practice excavating our true desire? It’s not always easy to hear our inner voice — it gets drowned out by fear, shame, and expectation. Sometimes, in order to excavate our true desire, we just have to show up and be open and really pay attention. Only then can we see where we are. If we insist on coming to the table with our idea of who or where we should be, we may miss the point.
What is the point?
The point is to be yourself, with a capital “S” — your Self. The process of life helps us chip away at everything that is not our truest Self. But to participate in this process takes a real willingness to be present for the unfolding. We must have faith that whatever we feel is missing is actually within us always, and that our practice is the key to seeing that truth. If you hold that mantra close to your heart, then all of your experiences hold the potential to lead you back home to your Self.
Is it possible to be both deeply fulfilled and highly motivated?
Yes, I believe we can experience both. I feel like I’m very much a work in progress, but that at each stage of the process, I can’t be anything other than myself. The practice is to continue discovering; just when you think you know yourself, you discover a deeper layer. That’s what’s so joyful about life: it’s this infinite process of becoming more of who you are.
BOOKCLUB BY: KO IM
Instead of flipping your dog, start flipping the pages. Here’s a selection of titles to start stacking up, depending on your desire to… BE PASSIONATE: The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. Want to chart your course? One guide to manifesting and strategizing BE CREATIVE: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. The Eat Pray Love author encourages expression without fear. BE HAPPY: 10% Happier by Dan Harris. The ABC News reporter/anchor shares how spiritual self-help reduced his stress level. BE COMPASSIONATE: Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg. The spiritual teacher shows us the Buddhist path to happiness. BE FREE: Yoga for Life by Colleen Saidman. Yoga Shanti cofounder candidly tells the story of how yoga saved her life. BE INSPIRED: On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace by Michael O’Neill. More than a coffee book, this collection of photos showcases poses and portraits of yogis worldwide.
Art to Inspire THE RUBIN MUSEUM
INTRO: IANA VELEZ AND THE RUBIN MUSEUM
So often in yoga and spiritual studies we encounter images of Buddha, Gods, and Goddesses, but oftentimes we are unaware of the rich symbolism in these images. New Yorkers are fortunate to have access to The Rubin Museum in Chelsea which inspires visitors to experience and learn more about vibrant artworks from the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions. In Sanskrit the term shakti refers to feminine energy that creates life and animates all existence. Each Hindu goddess represents a personification of shakti in its many manifestations, from loving mother to raging warrior. In Himalayan Buddhism, the feminine also represents wisdom, one of the two aspects required for enlightenment. The other aspect compassion, is represented by male deities. When a male and female deity are depicted in an embrace, they demonstrate the union of wisdom and compassion. One of the most popular deities in art from the Himalayas is Green Tara. Green Tara Tibet: 13th century, brass with inlays of silver is part of The Rubin Museum of Art collection.
SYMBOLISM IN THIS IMAGERY In images and statues showing her with a lotus in her left hand, she is Shyama Tara, or Green Tara. An extended right hand, symbolizes a gesture of supreme generosity. An extended right leg symbolizes she is ready to rise instantly to action if needed. This pose is also known as the “pose of royal ease.” One translation for Tara is “Star” and she is associated with the North Star—one of the clearest heavenly bodies used universally for safe navigation.
GREEN TARA TIBET 13TH CENTURY // BRASS // THE RUBIN MUSEUM OF ART
Tara protects people from the Eight Fears, which can be physical world problems or inner psychological difficulties. Tara represents the potential for life, and with life, the capacity for people to change and even transcend.
Visit The Rubin Museum: www.rubinmuseum.org 150 West 17th Street, New York
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FL IP lifestyle / Art
CA ME RA
PHOTO BY: AARON SANTORO
PHOTO BY : © 2015 MICHAEL O’NEILL/TASCHEN
PHOTOGRAPH BY © MICHAEL O’NEILL, 2015 TASCHEN
lifestyle / Art
PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN BY EDDIE STERN OF MICHAEL O’NEILL
YOGI EDDIE interviews + photographs PHOTOGRAPHER MICHAEL EDDIE STERN // MICHAEL O’NEILL
Isn’t India the most amazing place? Amazing! Yes, still so many years later, she is shocking, confronting, exquisite, sensuous, unbearable and always a puzzle. She smells, she dances, she challenges, she stretches all your senses and being towards a profound surrender. Are there any photos that you felt you missed, that you want to go back for? My wife Bia and some friends finally convinced me that there were, in fact, enough images to finish the book (On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace, TASCHEN books). On the other hand, I had a script in my mind that was long enough to work for many more years. Surrendering to the reality that it was complete became necessary, yet to me it is a work in progress with dreams and images flowing through my mind’s eye. I am fascinated by that photo (above right) of the Sadhu balancing the two devotees on a stick that his penis is twisted around - especially the expression on the faces of the devotees. What’s the story behind that photo sequence? In many instances one senses a desire to perform, to express prowess in a good way, in a childish sense, not a showing off, but rather “Hey, look at this!” Dunagiri is holding a stick with his penis and two hands. Apparently these lifts work on the lower chakra region turning lust inwards so it doesn’t control him, rather the sadhu controls the lust. Their expressions are simply how they chose to reveal themselves in balance. We had always wanted an image of a sadhu holding a stone
on a cord from his penis, and many sessions eventually provided this example, which is priceless because of the total puzzle of the devotees expressions. Perhaps you can find an answer. I just find it endearing. Both Guruji Jois and Guruji Iyengar are no longer with us, how lucky do you feel that you were able to photograph so many now departed masters? Was this part of your mission, to capture the masters on film (or digitally) before they passed away? Yes. So many of the masters and gurus have left their bodies during the project. I don’t think there was ever a conscious thought that I had to do this before they would pass. In fact, it was quite natural to always feel while in their presence that they would never pass. And in a sense they are here in spirit with us in the images. So that said, it was serendipitous that it unfolded in this fashion. The timing of the project was on the cusp of change of the masters leaving, of their “teachings” forming the basis of yoga in modern times. As the years rolled on the realization hit that the timing was perfect, almost that it was meant to be.
PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN BY ELEONORA ZAMPATTI OF AARON SANTORO
YOGI ELEONORA interviews + photographs
PHOTOGRAPHER AARON ELEONORA ZAMPATTI // AARON SANTORO Where does your love for photography come from? I’ve always loved and studied art. However, my passion for photography started when my father handed down my grandfather’s film camera to me. This was during the digital age of photography but I enjoyed learning how the mechanics of the camera worked, and then being able to make art with it. I’ve been obsessed ever since. What inspired you to start photographing yogis? I like creating photographs with a human subject. Yoga adds a sense of emotion to my work that I haven’t been able to capture any other way. How has your personal yoga practice influenced your work as an artist? Yoga has provided me with a deeper appreciation for the present moment, that moment is what I try to capture with photography.
Which photo is your favorite you have taken so far and why is it your favorite? What camera did you use to shoot it? I like to label my favorite photographs “zen within chaos.” I try to capture the calm of a yogi/yogini in an atmosphere that seems rushed and chaotic. I use a Leica Digital Rangefinder for most of my work. It gives me the convenience of digital, but the feel and nostalgia of shooting the film cameras I learned with. How would you define desire? Desire, to me, is an intense passion for something. I’d like to think that what you desire is achievable, if you work hard enough for it. I desire a lifestyle that escapes the 9 to 5, eludes stress, and let’s me live free. I don’t just want this, I crave this, and so I desire it.
IG @aaron.santoro // www.aaronsantoro.com
PHOTOGRAPH BY ERIN FOGEL OF MATT FRICOVSKY
lifestyle / Art
YOGI ERIN interviews + photographs PHOTOGRAPHER MATT ERIN FOGEL // MATT FRICOVSKY What was the first camera you ever had? Please tell me it was a Polaroid... Sorry, not a Polaroid. My first camera was a Canon AE-1 which my uncle gave me when I was a kid. I think this is why I have stuck with Canon for about thirty years now. Showing my age here, aren’t I? In this crazy smart phone filtrated, photoshopped post produced society, how do you manage to maintain your clean, crisp point of view? I’ve refined my lighting so it’s perfect. There’s rarely a need to post process if you put in the time to do it right initially. I pay attention to background and subject exposure as one, so there’s no need to push the Photoshopping and end up with a strange, fake looking image. I also think, being an oil painter as well, helps me to foresee my images and know my possibilities before ever even taking a shot.
What is it about athletes that you want to communicate to the world with your photography? Whether it’s shooting the New York Red Bulls, a bodybuilder, or a lone yogi, I love showing their dedication and determination, which often shows through in the image quite easily. To be able to do what they do so effortlessly takes years of hard work! I love seeing it, I love shooting it, and I love sharing those final images. If you had a superpower, what would it be? A nice superpower for me would be the ability to teleport myself and my photo gear! I have many shoots, sometimes back to back. Traveling through NYC with lighting gear is no easy feat! So if I could just snap my fingers and be at the next location with everything. Wow, what a help that’d be!
lifestyle / Travel
hrough stunning yoga-inspired portraiture, the “Cuba Libre Yoga Project” captures the essence of a country that until now remained unseen by many Americans. Through this collaboration, Robert Sturman and Rina Jakubowicz hope to inspire mindful travel among other yogis who will undoubtedly travel to Cuba now that restrictions have been eased—especially those who plan to lead yoga retreats there. In November 2015, Rina Jakubowicz, a halfCuban yoga teacher from Miami, accompanied esteemed yoga photographer Robert Sturman to Havana for the first time. With diplomatic relations restored between the U.S. and Cuba, the artful Sturman envisioned Jakubowicz as “the bride” who would marry Cuba with the rest of the world. Jakubowicz understood the value and honor of her trip—for professional, artistic and personal reasons. “I’m really glad I had the
balls to take this on,” Jakubowicz said, “but I’m also glad I had the epiphany I did while I was doing it—that it wasn’t for popularity or more social media followers, but to connect to my roots by doing something that I love.” In Havana, Sturman and Jakubowicz connected with a thriving yoga community—one that stretches beyond the city to the outlying provinces. “I wanted to photograph the beauty and timelessness, the architecture the people walking in the streets, the murals—with the beauty of asana in the compositions. I wanted to meet with the people who’ve been practicing and teaching in Cuba for a long time, and celebrate them,” he said. They spent time with Eduardo Pimentel, a prominent teacher known throughout the country as “The Godfather of Cuban yoga,” who single-handedly shaped the community
BY: ANDREA RICE PHOTOGRAPHY: ROBERT STURMAN
there. Pimentel explained to them that for Cubans, yoga ought to be a mutual exchange of giving and receiving—that many yoga teachers from the U.S. and Europe go there to preach, rather than work together and collaborate. In the time spent with the Cuban people, Jakubowicz honored this newfound alliance. While she had some technical insight to offer a student named Maykel, in return she was taught a sense of love, or bhakti, for the practice that she had not quite experienced before. “There is a sense of community that is created when you’re able to co-teach,” Jakubowicz said. “These people have so much to teach us about perseverance, about dedication, consistency, and hope—about not breaking their spirit.” Jakubowicz admitted she initially expressed
lifestyle / Travel
“Now I really understand who I am.” -Rina Jakubowicz
some concern when she decided to take on the project, citing worry over exploiting Cuban culture for what would seem as her benefit. She was cautious of protecting her family and her people. But the duo acted in reverence, gaining trust among Cubans prior to taking pictures, and supporting the locals while they were there. They stayed at a casa particular, a private home that although is governmentapproved, supports the people of Cuba. They always asked the locals where to eat, and stayed away from restaurants affiliated with government-sanctioned hotels. “The one thing I will tell people going to Cuba is not to stay at a hotel,” Jakubowicz recommends. “You’re giving money directly to the government.” Her Cuban mother had also expressed some apprehension over her daughter’s decision to travel back to their homeland, but Jakubowicz insisted on re-establishing a connection to a part of her heritage that was always a bit of a mystery. When her mother was a child, she
and her parents left Cuba for Mexico, leaving the rest of the family who were in support of Fidel Castro. Jakubowicz explained that to this day, her mother is still uneasy about returning to Cuba—that she and her parents had been labeled traitors for having fled the country so long ago. Jakubowicz’s experience may have shifted her mother’s perspective. While in Cuba, Jakubowicz looked up some of her distant relatives whom she met for the first time, including a cousin she did not know existed until recently. “As soon as I saw him I knew he was my cousin,” she said, “He immediately felt like family.”She visited the house where her mother spent most of her childhood, and is now the home of her cousin, his girlfriend and their young daughter. The house reflects a simpler time—riddled with the same appliances from the 1950s, many of which appeared to be broken. There seemed to be little, to no food or drink in the house. Her cousin told Jakubowicz stories of Communist mandates, like turning off the
electricity for twelve hours a day or having to sleep on the porch because it was too hot inside the house; they couldn’t use fans because there was no power. “It’s a reality we can’t even fathom,” she reflects. Moving forward, Jakubowicz attests that she finally understands where she comes from, and why she’s so fiery and passionate: because it is the Cuban way. She realizes that her innate problem-solving nature also stems from her Cuban background—that they’ve always had to make a tough situation work and figure out a way, because there was never any other choice. She greatly admires the Cuban people for their heart and emotional triumph over adversity despite a lifetime of oppression. She reminisces on the wonders of their continued sense of hope, connectedness and community. “For me it was just so rooting,” she said. “Now I really understand who I am.”
A Day in The Life Working in Wellness: Leo Rising 4:40 AM SEATED IN TWILIGHT Before sunrise, an awake being can exist between worlds. As I shift from sleep unto the waking world shared within New York City, I recite proverbs, poetry, or sutras. I open doors to clairsentience and clear guidance from God, through the breath. I experience my mind in a new room, on a new day, with a renewed body. Grateful for ONE.MORE.DAY to LIVE FULLY. 5:00 AM MINDING MY BUSINESS Drink my lemon water and mind my business. Listen to an inspirational lecture on YouTube, as my body is helped by the citric acid which interacts with various enzymes in my body and stimulates the secretion of gastric juice. Yup, I poop at 5:00 a.m. almost every day. 5:30 - 6:50 AM SHOWER TIME I cleanse my energy with my Chakra Pouf and some essential lavender smells. As I dry, I treat my body with Shea Moisture coconut oil, and hair with some organic homemade products. 6:55 - 7:00 AM COMMUTE TO WORK On the subway, the communication from my Cosmic Personality “Leo Rising” springs to life and the love of connection funnels through social media. I’m conscious about whom I follow so I can be inspired. 7:15 - 8:15 AM #COMMITTOSOMETHING Teach Power Vinyasa at Equinox 19th & Broadway. One of my favorite yogis comes in and gifts me with her presence as I guide the flow.
What is a day in the life like for people that work in the yoga/wellness field in New York City? Most are up at the crack of dawn, running from one borough to another, uptown, downtown, teaching back to back classes - if they are lucky. Juggling work, family, relationships in a field where emotional and physical health is the focus can be especially challenging for these busy people. Welcome Leo Rising to the second installment of our feature: Working in Wellness, where wellness professionals share their day with us.
9:00 - 10:15 AM MY LIFE’S WORK Spiritual Mentorship/Private Client via The Roarrior Shift sessions My client is a beautiful being with amazing energy and sensitivity spirit. The focus is on refueling her energy and attuning body to be a vessel of strength, empathy, and might. I nick-named her #MyRoarriorQueen. 11:00 - 12:00 PM ATTUNING MY OWN ARTIST Singing, strength training, and vocal warm ups, Kriyas, and recharging yoga nidra. 1:00 - 2:30 PM SELF-BUSINESS MANAGEMENT Complete calls, invoices, scheduling. Lately, I am organizing my new website and working with a brand consultant, always evolving. 3:00 - 3:30 PM ENGAGE THE PARENTAL UNIT Call my mom. Laugh a lot. Love her up, and smile. 6:15 - 7:15 PM YOGA Vinyasa flow at Equinox TriBeCa. 8:30 - 10:30 PM FINALIZE MY PEACE Journal about my day, connect with the experience of being in my body after an active day. Take a bath, sip something warming and just be receptive to most loyal companions I know: my body and my breath. 10:35 PM - 4:40 AM BED Teeth are brushed, hair is tied down, bed time.
LIVIN’ LA PURA VIDA BY: JENNIFER DERHAM, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, MN YOGA + LIFE MAGAZINE
lifestyle / Travel
Eco Chic Luxury at Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort Nestled in the hills of Nosara, Costa Rica, Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort appears magical from the moment you arrive. The grand staircase upon entry is both grand and beautiful, yet it is far from pretentious. It seems to have existed there since ancient times, and blends seamlessly into the natural environment. A statue of Ganesh greets you as a testament of the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature here. Just about everything is mindfully executed at Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort — from the food, to the building materials, to the flora. Gary Edwards, former cement contractor from Canada, a yogi, and the sole owner of Bodhi Tree says, “I have put my heart and soul into this place.” Gary should be more aptly titled, Curator. His eyes shine proudly as he tells me about how he’s done everything from pouring cement, to designing chairs, building furniture, planting trees, and operating a backhoe. After learning about the smallest of touches and considerations put into Bodhi Tree, it’s readily apparent that he indeed has put forth his heart and soul. His goal: “to make Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort one of the most sought after places to enjoy a yoga retreat.” He is on the right track to do just that. Gary went to great lengths to preserve the naturally hilly environment of the property while building Bodhi. He built around the Guanacaste trees to preserve the natural terrain. Stone terraces, bridges, waterfalls, and walkways reminiscent of a fairy tale take you where you wish to go. The stone was brought in from a nearby quarry. The wood used for building is local, as is the majority of the staff. They’re warm, unassuming, committed, and friendly. Bodhi Tree utilizes solar power, and collects recycled rainwater to maintain all of the native plants and trees. Bodhi Tree does not use any plastic, herbicides or pesticides. These finer details don’t go unnoticed. The water features, Balinese statues, and winding walkways, set among a lush green backdrop
THE WATER FEATURES, BALINESE STATUES, AND WINDING WALKWAYS, SET AMONG A LUSH GREEN BACKDROP WITH PURE BLUE SKIES AND GOLDEN SUNSHINE, MAKE BODHI AN ENCHANTING PLACE TO EXPERIENCE.
PHOTOS: JENNIFER VAN ZEIPEL
with pure blue skies and golden sunshine, make Bodhi an enchanting place to experience. Specific fruit trees and flowering trees were planted to keep the resident howler monkeys happy. You can see and hear them throughout the day. Though luxurious finishes and amenities abound, the Howlers and cameo appearances by Guillermo the resident Iguana, are surreal reminders that you are residing in the heart of the jungle. All meals are provided at Bodhi Tree, each of which offers indulgent yet nutritious delights, whether you’re an omnivore, vegan, or need gluten free options. The fish is caught from nearby Garza Beach, and the wonderfully fresh and potent coffee is from nearby Nicoya. If you get hungry between meals, swim to the end of the salt-water infinity pool, and visit the juice bar where you can enjoy a variety of freshly pressed juices, smoothies, or natural snacks.
lifestyle / Travel
Things to do Bodhi Tree offers bikes to take into town or to the beach. You can also get surfing lessons, shop the boutique, hit the gym and enjoy spa treatments or a Pilates class. Bodhi partners with local companies to offer a variety of off-site adventures such as stand up paddleboard lessons, ATV tours, horseback riding, turtle watching, and zip lining. Oh yeah. You can practice yoga too. Classes are offered two or three times a day in beautiful classrooms ranging from partially enclosed, open-air, and glass-enclosed amidst the green treetops. Practitioners of all levels can find a class to suit. Opt for more traditional classes such as Ashtanga, Restorative, or Kundalini, or try Bodhiunique variations such as Hip Bliss, Sunset Flow, or Surfer’s Pre-hab & Re-hab. No mat? No problem. Bodhi offers quality mats and props, free of charge. If you’re an instructor looking for a wonderful place to lead a retreat, look no farther. The Bodhi staff are very accommodating and eager to help you with all of the finer details.
There’s something magical about this place.
Hospitality with a Conscience While it may be relatively easy to find a yoga retreat that provides eco-conscious luxury, it’s more difficult to find businesses that truly care for their communities. Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort has committed to help rebuild the local school, Esperanza. Much of the original building was destroyed in a major earthquake. Currently, children attend in what remains of the building. It’s overcrowded, and many of its amenities are no longer functioning. Efforts to rebuild are spearheaded by Stacy Seebart, Minnesota
native and Public Relations Director at Bodhi. She says, “Local schools here do more than educate, locals are revered as the heart of the community.” About Nosara Nosara is a yogi and surfer’s paradise. The beaches of Nosara are unspoiled, raw, rugged, and beautiful. There are no restaurants or hotels to be seen. There’s no “strip,” in Nosara. You can find quaint shops and open-air market stalls filled with lovely wares crafted by local artists. Author Dan Buettner dubbed this area of Costa Rica as a Blue Zone. A Blue Zone is a specific region of the world where people live longer and happier lives as evidenced by the number of centenarians that reside there. “la pura vida,” a Costa Rican motto, can be directly translated to “the pure life.” A more nuanced and deeper meaning of the term embodies the culture in Costa Rica, and refers to the way in which they fully appreciate and embrace both the good and bad that life has to offer. I came across the saying, “Those who are lucky enough to live in Nosara, are lucky enough.” Same goes to those who are lucky enough to visit Nosara and the Bodhi Yoga Tree Resort.
For more on the Esperanza School Project: www.crowdrise.com/bethevision2015 For more on Bodhi Tree Yoga Resort: www.bodhitreeyogaresort.com
lifestyle / Home
Spring Cleaning for the Soul
BY: K. M. COPHAM ILLUSTRATION: ©K. M. COPHAM
Spring is the official season of rebirth, and to many represents new beginnings. Many people take spring’s cue to tackle deep cleaning projects in their homes, and sweep away the cobwebs. As a yogi, you can also harness spring energy for physical, and spiritual cleaning. As the world awakens once more around you, is there something important – a potent seed within you – waiting to awaken as well? Here are five steps to “spring clean” your soul and allow your seed to grow.
LET GO OF THAT WHICH NO LONGER SERVES YOU
Just as old leaves on branches must be released to make way for new buds, so too must we release something old in order to invite something new. Are you clinging to something in your life that that you intuitively know is no longer useful or helpful to your journey? When we spring clean our house, we consciously get rid of things we no longer need. Likewise, identifying habits, desires, relationships, jobs or mental blocks to which you unhealthily cling is the first critical step to release. Letting go sounds like an easy task, but the reality is there is nothing harder. The important thing is to stop feeding and watering your old habits, and replace them with something fresh and new.
SOFTEN THE GROUND AND THAW OUT YOUR FROZEN AREAS
Most seeds will not bud in frozen ground. First, the ground must thaw sufficiently to allow the growth within to break through the surface. Yoga is a fantastic tool for softening our frozen areas. Are your hips tight? Hips hold fear. Hip openers can help release fear – of change, rejection, failure or even success. How about shoulders? That’s stress and anxiety. If backbends are difficult, maybe you are overly protective of your heart. By examining the body, you’ll find clues to the obstacles in your life that are holding you back. The body is the mirror to the soul and when you tune into it, you learn about yourself.
DO THE WORK TO CULTIVATE YOUR SEED
Nature is so powerful that often you can put a seed in the ground, do nothing, and your plant will grow. Plant your seed in the sunlight, with plenty of water and tend to the weeds, and you have an even greater chance of success. Likewise, by stating an intention, you very well may reap some results. But to improve your chances, you’ll need to do some work. Water your intentions by practicing daily affirmations or mantras. Create an environment for success by pulling out any weeds that are in the way, thus allowing the sun to reach your seed. This might require changing your surroundings, routines or relationships, but it could also be as subtle as forgiving yourself for your setbacks and trying each day anew to simply do your very best.
SURRENDER TO THE RESULTS
One of the greatest gifts we possess as humans is the ability to consciously surrender. It may sound like a weak thing to do, but in fact, surrender is incredibly courageous. In order to prepare ourselves for change, to really soften and thaw where it matters – we need to surrender the need to control everything around us.
PLANT A SEED FOR SOMETHING YOU’D LIKE TO CULTIVATE WITHIN YOURSELF
Your yoga instructor may begin a class by inviting you to “set an intention for your practice.” What does this mean exactly? It means that you are about to undertake a journey which will likely require some effort, and setting an intention is a way to acknowledge that effort. This helps us mentally prepare ourselves for what lies ahead. Sometimes, we dedicate the practice to somebody in our life, or to something important to us. Sometimes, our intention may simply be “I will do my best.” Planting a seed is setting an intention.
Whether it’s the desire to meditate daily, to eat healthy food, to cultivate kind feelings toward someone difficult, or to break a bad habit – resolve to plant the seed now.
LETTING GO sounds like an easy task, but the reality is there is nothing harder. The important thing is to stop feeding and watering your old habits, and replace them with something fresh and new.
lifestyle / Home
Spill your Desire
to love and be loved everywhere
BY: DANIELLE LAPORTE // PHOTOGRAPH: CATHERINE JUST
’ve had thousands of conversations with people about desire and this is what I’ve learned from them (and from my own fiercely tender fierce heart): Desire is simple. You can crave it, distill it, and peel back every kind of wish and most get to this: Everyone desires to love and be loved. Beloved.
Some of us spill that desire in all directions — we yearn for real love with ourselves, our God, our blood family, our soul family, our lovers, our twin flame, our collaborators, our community, our culture, our galaxy. We want to give love and we want to get love to and from every possible source. We are desire spillers. Some of us focus our craving on one faction of our life — we really just want our father to acknowledge us; or our dream mate to enter; or to be cherished by our colleagues. The want is very specific and it’s usually quite acute. There’s no right way to desire. You can go widespread with your desire for love, or you can crave it with great particularity. But I’m going to make an ardent suggestion—based on, you know, my extensive desire data: women crying in my arms after gigs; conversations in bars with perplexed but good men; celebs disclosing their behind-the-fame wants to me; over-achievers getting really real; Buddhist Lamas, Benedictine Monks, and Gurus of Kundalini entertaining my queries…and my own fiercely tender fierce heart. Here’s what I recommend… “SPILL YOUR DESIRE FOR LOVE EVERYWHERE. Want deep love from as many sources as possible. Crave connection—and courageously offer your intimacy whenever you can. Keep the deepest of your deep heart for sacred union, but beyond the one you call The One, keep offering the rest of your loving self to everyone. Because Love is infinite, my Love. Eye contact. Strangers who make you melt with a glance. Lovers who have become strangers, craving to melt. Real conversations that comfort you deeply. The jazz of making things together. Amazing feats of friendship. Hottest heat. A favour. Met.” We come alive in connection. Pour your desire to love and be loved all over your life. Fiercely tender fierce hearts…meeting.
This article originally appeared on www.daniellelaporte.com
THE TRANSFORMATIVE QUALITY OF DESIRE, AND HOW IT BRINGS ME HOME BY: DANA TRIXIE FLYNN ILLUSTRATION: GENE-MANUEL WHIRLING
“I once had a thousand desires. But in my one desire to know you all else melted away.” Rumi
ave you noticed how your desires change right along with you? Certain desires, of course, never go out of style. The desire to be happy, to be free, to see more clearly, to fear less and love more—these desires live deep inside the bones of my soul. I have had one desire that has been deeply rooted in me since forever and that is the desire to Serve. Serving others allowed me to feel a part of something bigger and deeper. It was my first connection to a spiritual family. Back in high school, I threw a 24-hour dance marathon and benefit and loved how everyone worked together to pull it off, all of our differences dissolved into this shared effort. It allowed me to include all of my favorite things: dancing, music and community. Connecting with others in this powerful way filled my life with meaning; it gave me the feeling of home that I had always I longed for. NY YOGALIFEMAG.COM
I created the same loving vibe at Trixies, the restaurant and hot spot I opened when I was 25 years old in the late 80’s. The strong desire to open up the restaurant years later materialized, but something else was calling me. I wasn’t sure what the change would bring about but staying the same was no longer an option. Yoga and I met when I was 27 years old and that was 27 years ago. I had always been super physical, but now I had a desire for something more, a longing to transform and to lean into this mystical presence I was feeling. I started to dig around and began reading The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and other books from many different traditions, including Baba Muktananda, Ram Dass, Osho and Hafiz. I became curious: was the aim of yoga to have no desire, have less of them or have healthy desires. I became more interested in the motivation behind my desires and prayed to have my desires align with my highest good. With my desire to change, I chose mantras over martinis, pranayama over prosecco, mudras over madness and bhakti over burgers... I allowed my desires to change with me, and my personal path kept rising to meet me. Change was slow but steady and I remained enthusiastic and disciplined. My strongest desire sent me to mother India, to touch her feet with my feet, to bathe in her holy waters, to soak up the spiritual teachings, and to find a teacher. My first trip to India was a year long adventure and where I met my teacher Geetha in Bangalore. Teaching yoga is a lot like a spiritual game of tag and she tagged me and said you’re IT. She gave me her blessings and said open up a community center for yoga and share what you have learned. You need someone to shine their light on your path and she taught me that we can be a home for each other. My desire to serve the yoga community has kept me showing up for over 16 years. It has helped me to stick around, to not quit before the miracle, to get out of my way and step into the magic everyday. Since I am my own biggest obstacle, there is something about serving others that truly helps me serve my Highest Loving Self. Today, my desire is for my mom to know peace — sweet deep everlasting peace, while living. I have a desire to heal with my sisters and have them both in my life. I have a desire to be a better servant and a better leader. I have a desire to always feel God’s embrace. I have a passion for peace and for friendship. Thank you for letting me serve.
Lifestyle / Dance
Jogo Bonito Yoga in Action
BY: LUZ EMMA CAÑAS MADRIGAL PHOTOGRAPHY: ADRIAN MILES
Jogo bonito translated from Portuguese means “the beautiful game.” The most beautiful games happen when two Capoeira practitioners flow with each other and allow the game to develop. Practitioners playfully prod each other to raise the bar, and push each other to rise to the occasion. The potential for violence is ever present, as the “game” (jogo) Capoeira is not always “pretty” (bonito)—bones break, noses bleed, and egos bruise. But how one’s Capoeira evolves largely depends on one’s character. I began my Kundalini yoga practice in 2003 while simultaneously discovering the AfroBrazilian martial dance known as Capoeira Angola. At the time, I was going through a difficult transition, seeking healing for myself and my two kids. Capoeira can offer practitioners the opportunity to transcend one’s human condition and tests the the weight of your meditative practice. In Capoeira, your Self is placed in a situation where you are in symbolic “conflict” with another person triggering one’s “fight or flight” response to stress. Kundalini yoga and the Afro-Brazilian martial dance known as Capoeira Angola share many similarities. Both access primal creative energy that can be elevated through movement and sound vibration. Many of the movements in Capoeira look like yoga postures: handstands, headstands, bridges, planks, and balances. In Capoeira however, these positions are not static and confined to a mat. Positions are continuously in motion and done in a circle with another person and an audience. The ritual ceremony takes place in a roda (circle) and is considered a micro-cosmos of the universe. In the roda, there is no hiding from one’s shadow Self. Capoeira Angola’s origins are in Central and West Africa, and its roots lie in the N’golo tradition in which two combatants, mimicking the movements of fighting zebras compete for the hand of a bride. During the colonial era, this and other martial practices were up-rooted and transplanted by the Portuguese to Brazil via the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In Brazil, Capoeira was used as a means of liberation from colonial oppression and slavery. From the late 1800’s until the 1930’s, Capoeira, along with other African traditions, was abolished and its practitioners persecuted. Today, Capoeira is revered as the cultural treasure of Brazil.
Capoeira Angola differs from other martial arts in that Capoeira is considered a “game” where two practitioners have a non-verbal conversation with their bodies, much like call and response in African music. It is considered a “soft” martial art characterized by circular movements, escapes, and the use of one’s intellect. These movements primarily
IN CAPOEIRA, THERE ARE NO WINNERS OR LOSERS BUT RATHER FAVOR AND RESPECT GOES TO THE PLAYER WITH THE BETTER SKILL, GRACE AND BEAUTY: JOGO BONITO.
who serves as the conductor and referee of the roda. He or she gauges and tempers the energy of the circle with the berimbau (African stringed bow) while two practitioners improvise movements in the center of the circle within the parameters of the game. In Capoeira, there are no winners or losers but rather favor and respect goes to the player with the better skill, grace and beauty: jogo bonito. As with life and the yoga practice, you enter alone and leave alone, relying only on the sum of your deeds, your practice and your spiritual connectivity. But in practicing Capoeira you heal communally and spiritually by elevating the vibration of each other and one’s spiritual team. As with any healing movement modality, through deep practice, one gains mastery over one’s Self and essentially one’s life.
made up of kicks, sweeps, and escapes are stylized depending on the practitioner’s particular lineage and master/guide. Also, the roda is accompanied by an eight-piece bateria (band) of ritual percussion instruments of the African diaspora while corridos (chants) are sung in Portuguese and African dialects, telling stories of warriors, colonialism, victories, and spirit guides. The ceremony is led by the master/guide
lifestyle / Music
DESIRE IS THE FUEL AN INTERV
MC YOGI IEW WITH
BY: TAWNY LARA PHOTO: AMIR MAGAL
icholas Giacomini, also known as “MC Yogi,” is a hip hop artist and yoga instructor known for lyrically modernizing ancient yoga teachings through song lyrics, motivational speeches and yoga classes. His authenticity resonates with yogis all over the world. Russell Simmons has even said, “The world needs more artists like MC Yogi.” MC Yogi performs at international yoga festivals and teaches classes with thousands of participants, but before he can do any of this, he must remind himself of his mantra: Soul is the Goal.
What are your goal-setting tactics? I have one overarching goal that goes throughout my whole life: SOUL IS THE GOAL. Of course there are daily goals and hitting certain timelines, but having a soulful experience supports the big vision. It helps to steer my whole life in the right direction. Whether I’m walking my dog or performing in front of 5,000 people, my goal is always to have a soulful experience. Atman is Sanskrit for soul, so I have a little saying: “The Atman is where it’s at, man.” Last year lululemon had some pants called the Atman Pant — it’s cool to hear the origin of the word. It’s a very rich history that ended up becoming the name of some pants. What an interesting evolution! The Sanskrit words are so powerful. The ancient teachings say that even hearing the word yoga in your lifetime in considered a huge blessing. It’s great that the words are out there now and being used more. How did you come up with this mantra of Soul is the Goal? When I was a kid, I had a few experiences that led me to realize that my soul was being compressed. The more I started meditating, I realized that my purpose was to unpack, open, expand, and stretch this light that is inside all of us: the soul. I don’t think I’m special in this way, as we are all made up of the same stuff. Yogis say we are made up of bliss, light, and the soul. When you start practicing yoga, you get the initial endorphins that are released just from going to the gym. As you begin to look into the philosophy and live the philosophy of yoga, you begin to dig a deeper tunnel into yourself. On the other side of the mind you find a vast storehouse of bliss, love, energy, and peace. You can’t just read about these things or listen to people talk about these things. You have to develop the desire on your own. Essentially, desire is the fuel which drives the process. You have to be hungry and thirsty and really want to get free from your own mental psychosis and habits. When that desire gets strong enough and you want to free yourself from your own suffering, you will begin to take the practices more seriously. Yoga is not just about stretching; it’s about eradicating your own demons from the inside. You have to go all the way or not at all.
That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” Yeah, that’s a really good one—I use that philosophy as well when making decisions. Sometimes I’ll find myself not wanting to do something but for some reason, destiny has me do it and I’m grateful that I didn’t miss it. Sometimes it’s a hell yes and I didn’t even know it; it’s not always so cut and dry. That’s along the lines of learning how to say no to things. It’s easy to be a “yes man,” but I have to try and stay focused on my purpose. Sometimes the rational mind doesn’t always know what’s best, so you have to get in tune with your intuition. There are times when I’m in a bad mood and think I don’t want to do something, in retrospect I look back and realize that if I didn’t do it I would have missed an incredible opportunity to broaden myself and get better at my craft. It’s a tricky one — you gotta follow the soul.
YOGA is not just
about stretching; it's about ERADICATING your own demons from the inside. YOU HAVE TO GO ALL THE WAY OR NOT AT ALL.
agree with - but he reminds me to stay focused on the process. It’s the old saying, “it’s not the journey, it’s the destination. If you’re too focused on a goal, you could be missing the show as it’s happening.
Do you write down your goals? I constantly make lists and I see it as a bad habit in a way. I could just be doing the thing that I need to be doing instead of making lists. I’m a graphic person - always drawing or scribbling but at a certain point I make myself stop and just do what I need to do. What’s something that distracts you from achieving a goal? The goal itself can be a distraction. Goals are great. There’s no doubt that having some direction is good, but sometimes goals can be a problem. You can set goals that are unrealistic and create a pattern of failure if you don’t create a smart goal. You know the acronym for S.M.A.R.T? (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely). It’s important to use that to make sure that you’re setting the right kind of goals. If you don’t set S.M.A.R.T. goals, you could get frustrated and give up. Being too goal-oriented can create a mentality of not paying enough attention to life. You can get myopic and lock-jawed. Society can become too focused on the outcome, but it’s about the quality of the process. My manager Tim, always reminds me of that. His philosophy is actually not having goals - which I don’t always
There’s such a juxtaposition with New York and yoga. Everything is going so fast and yoga tells us to slow down, and sometimes it can be hard to listen. Any tips on finding balance in a crazy city like this? In my song “Clear the Path,” I speak of a teaching referring to the world being binary meaning zeroes and ones. Essentially, everything you do is a zero. This includes work and family. You can have a lot of zeroes and a lot of ones, but if you have a lot of zeroes in the front it doesn’t add up to a lot. If you put a one in front of everything else, it enriches anything that you do because you put that one thing first. That’s why we say “Soul is the Goal.” My number one…before my family, my music, and my art…is my spiritual practice. Even if that’s just sitting for five minutes in the morning, chanting a mantra throughout the day, going for a walk, or whatever I need to do to reignite that connection, then I find that everything else flows better because I put a one in front of those zeroes. So my advice to anyone...is to make your spiritual practice a priority and let everything else fall into place.
Instagram: @mcyogi // Twitter: @mcyogi108 Music available on SoundCloud, Spotify, and iTunes
lifestyle / Music
We asked Dina Kaplan, founder of The Path in NYC who her meditation inspirations were. This is what she shared with us.
BY DINA KAPLAN ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS BY KELSEY COLLINSI
BY: TAWNY LARA PHOTOGRAPHY: KELLY MARSHALL
Guy Mandia, a.k.a. GuyZhon (1992) is a musician born and raised in Philadelphia, who moved to New York City in 2012 with the role as Action in West Side Story. Since his time on Broadway, Mandia has been writing his own music, vlogging, and DJing events around New York City.
What got you interested in playing music?
When I was a teenager, both of my parents were diagnosed with cancer. As an outlet, I began writing music and performing for them. I played my electric keyboard and sang for them. When I was in college, I also lost a good friend to cancer. He made me promise to keep performing for the both of us after he was gone. That’s probably been the biggest driving force to my desire to keep going.
posed to happen. Patience is a necessity when it comes to setting, pursuing, and achieving goals.
Do you believe in being realistic when setting your goals?
To a certain extent. An unrealistic goal I have is to be playing Madison Square Garden in a year. It might happen, who knows, but most likely not. It’s still fun to think about. If I fail to reach that goal, I’m OK with that. To be an artist, you have to be comfortable with failure.
How do your parents feel about your music career now?
They’re super proud. It’s hard right now, because my father is still sick. They love me, they love music, and they love my music. They’re sharing my work with friends and family and have always been very supportive.
How does that desire affect your goals?
To me, desire is passion. It’s something you’d die for. In my daily language, I often feel misunderstood and unheard. My music is a way for me to escape the misunderstanding and finally be heard. My goal is my future; it’s what draws my path. When something inspires me, it gives me the desire to create and give back. It’s a full circle.
IG: @guyzhon Twitter: @guyzhon SoundCloud: mcmxcii_music
IS . IT’S SOMETHING YOU’D
What are your goals in your music career?
My goals are simple. Simplicity is the key to a good life and a good career. I want to create music and I want it to inspire other musicians to create. I want my work to be relatable and for people to have fun when listening to my songs.
Do you have a mantra that helps you focus on simplicity? “Where words fail, music speaks.” I have it tattooed on my forearm. I find that when I’m trying to over-explain myself, I’m not keeping it simple. And I always remind myself to be patient, to push myself but not to get stressed or overreact when something seems wrong. I’ve learned that things happen when they are sup-
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yoga / Asana
IS FIRE BY: ABBIE H. GALVIN AND CAROL S. PRATT PHOTOGRAPHY: CHAS KIMBRELL MODEL: DARA SENDOWSKI
DESIRE, LIKE FIRE, CAN RUN OUT OF CONTROL, AND WHAT WAS ONCE CREATIVE CAN BECOME DESTRUCTIVE. 50
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In Greek Mythology, Prometheus was assigned the task of watching over mortals on earth. Prometheus loved the mortals and noticed that they were miserable - they couldn’t warm themselves, cook food, or commune together. So against the wishes of Zeus, he gave them fire. Zeus punished Prometheus, contending that giving the gift of fire would make mortals like the gods with fire mortals would learn how to fulfill their desires. Fire rendered the mortals higher functioning; but the true power they gained was a vision for a better life. As yoga practitioners, desire is a fire cultivated within. The body, being our container, houses our feelings, thoughts, and capacities. Through the practice and a specific methodology of yoga, we develop techniques to ignite the fire with breath, keep it going, and use it to our advantage.
The Body as a House Think of the body as a house with three floors: the lower body (pelvis), the upper body (torso), and the antenna (head), each with its own fireplace, with its own flame of desire. To be well integrated, tenacious, competent, visionary - is to have all three fires burning in balance. Desire, like fire, can run out of control - and what was once creative can become destructive. Maintaining a fire requires a recipe and a technique, and to manipulate the three fires in the body leads to fulfilling one’s desires in life. The skill to ignite and make contact, to fan its flames with enough breath and to give it fuel, creativity and charge, is the therapeutic work of the practice.
FIRST FLOOR: Primal Our first floor, the lower body, is primal. It’s where one’s pilot light is lit, like the boiler room in your house. We use it to hold fast and feel safe. We use it to lift off and take risks. When the flame on this floor is out, we feel dull and lethargic. Lighting a fire under our ass adds the necessary momentum to our primal impulses, which ignites one’s yearnings and stirs things up. Primitive desire is the yearning to be alive, to be incarnated, and tip yourself into the future. It is the desire to be here, to hold ground, make a life, and to start one’s engine. We light this fire by making contact and generating friction. The specific technique of cat/cow allows you to kick your own rear and engage in an effort to generate heat. Undulating the pelvis forward and back moves energy through the arches of the feet, the back of the knees, the lower back, and the neck, creating a wave whose crest and fall is repeated all the way through the form. Then, circling your lower body stimulates your adrenaline and creates the conditions for our personal engines, our most primal drives. If one tips the pubis forward, provoking desire, we are setting up conditions for the “I want.” “I want to get going, I want to be tenacious and survive well, I want to connect.”
SECOND FLOOR: Realm of the Heart Our second floor, the upper body, is our personal hearth and the realm of the heart. It is our immune system housed in the middle of our chest. This little fireplace expresses the “I.” It is the personal and communal drive to handle one’s desires, to articulate and reach for them. This “I” is literally the heart of the matter, articulating our longing and striving for it. At a steady burn, it becomes the flame of our competency. Fire can consume and overwhelm us, or fire can warm our hearts, making us available to those around us and to what we want most. Reverse namaste is an example of a technique that we use to mediate between the articulation of one’s personal feelings and the handling of those feelings in the world. When we put our palms together in reverse namaste, they make a
yoga / Asana
perfect connection, similar to the dynamic of a clap. That clap is the spark, the creation of a third hand, whose sound and energy vibrates out from the center. That sound is the vibration that embodies the esoteric third hand with which we ignite our second fire.
THIRD FLOOR: Universal Spirit Our third floor, the head is the realm of imagination, intuition, and foresight. It’s the observatory or the crow’s nest, which functions like an antenna in our lives. A fire in this highest floor allows us to develop vision and clairvoyance; it is the torch we rise above our head proclaiming our loftiest goals and our future hopes, as though we are the Statue of Liberty. It is the overview, our universal spirit. This third fire makes us long to be one with the universe, to have a big idea, and to generate seeds for new ones. When we put ourselves in a rounded plow, we fold ourselves into a cocoon and listen to our own deepest longings. Here, we make contact with our most personal and our most lofty desires, planting seeds for our future. Desire is a fire. Every fire needs a spark, the ignition of contact to get it going, enough air to keep the flame alive, and good fuel with which to feed it. Making a good internal fire is maintaining the right temperature, fueling the spark of tenacity in order to feel grounded, and having enough air to be exuberant in order to develop a big imagination with the goal of transcendence.
The ritual of a yoga practice is to develop one’s powers for use in life, whether it’s the desire to be grounded, the desire to have joy, or the desire for transcendence. Every pose in yoga is the expression of these desires. Like fire, yoga techniques are tools that take you to the next place. Fire itself is not the reward; it is using the fire to get what you want in life that is valuable. Just as the pose itself is not the goal, using the poses as tools to construct your life is the real insight.
Dara our student on the right, has what most yogis value: flexibility, which allows her to go deeply into her joints. When she drops down into the joint however, she snuffs out her own fire, leaving her feeling sluggish and lethargic. Instead of practicing the poses in a way that comes naturally to her, Dara could employ a recipe to fire herself up, creating a more dynamic practice. For example, if Dara lunged her front foot forward to a right angle rather than going as deep as she can go, she could anchor her back foot to its baby toe side, putting herself in the center of her back knee cap. Her hips would be more stable and aligned, allowing her pubis to come forward to make more space in the joint. Ultimately, opening up her lungs like windows to get more air as her head hunts for more vision. As a result, her primal fire would ignite, clambering for vision that is dynamic, measured, and oriented. She transforms the pose with the technique of going above to find vision, below to be grounded, in front to find her future, and behind to reflect and remember. This beautiful crescendo is potentiating, allowing her to rise from the bottom and reach for the top. A huge shift happens in our practice and our body when we move out of personal propensity and into a more conscious use of recipe or formula. Using purposeful technique puts you in the moment of effort, instead of relying on personal habit.
Yoga / Asana
So you think you can
BY: JEFF POSNER // PHOTO: ROBERT STURMAN // ILLUSTRATIONS: IANA VELEZ
Mastering the art of the handstand, has drawn the attention of yogis and fitness people alike. If learned correctly, handstands are not only empowering, but a lot safer than people think. Learning handstands can induce fear, so it’s important to keep it simple.
BACK BENDING The most common mistake people make stems from the fear we all share of falling. Fear is the reason we tend to curve the spine, which results in a back bending action. When we do this, it literally pushes the body’s weight away from the balance point. Over time this leads to a counterbalance between the lower half and the upper half of the body, mostly emerging from the hips and shoulders. Many of us fall victim to the “back bending path” because at first it seems easier, but it is riddled with poor muscular and core control. Over time this can pose major long-term risks. Just as standing incorrectly can lead to pain in the back, practicing a handstand incorrectly can lead to pain in the joints and the lower back. The backbend approach is dangerous to learn first because of the lack of core awareness being engaged while being inverted. The back bending path also promotes what I like to call the “wheeling” effect. Letting the legs come over the head due to the loss of engagement in the hands results in the body to go over into urdhva dhanurasana, or wheel pose. This “wheeling” effect forces your weight out of the proper shoulder alignment and changes the balance in the hands by putting most of the pressure in the wrists. When a baby is learning to walk they lean their hips back to counter balance, since there is a natural fear of falling forward. We can see “the wheeling effect” is similar to the action of a baby falling on its butt. When a baby finally learns to take the hips forward (towards toes) against resistance in the feet, they are able to find true balance. In relation to the handstand, when you finally learn to take your shoulders forward against the resistance in the hands, you will be able to find true balance as well.
Yoga / Asana
Now let’s take a look at another path to handstand involving the action of a forward fold in the body. While forward folding may not be as noticeable as back bending to the outside viewer, the feeling inside the body is significantly different. Every time you stand/walk the weight in your body moves forward (hips) and you have to somehow resist that weight to maintain balance in the process. This resistance is mostly coming from your feet and ankles. When applying this concept for a handstand, activate the hands and flex the wrists to create resistance against the weight (shoulders) moving forward just like you do in the feet. Try standing upright with the feet hips width apart. Without stepping forward or bending the knees too much, lean as far forward as you can and observe how the feet push into the earth to resist the weight moving forward. Look at the toes and think of your fingers. Now try to mimic the look and create the feeling in your hands using crow or plank pose. Look to identify the edge where the resistance in your hands against the shoulders moving forward creates a stalemate, which is the balance point.
THE “L” JUMP I promote this path to handstanding because it teaches you how to achieve the pose using the resistance of muscle instead of counter balancing body weight. Beginning with this approach enables you to protect the body as you make your way through more challenging variations and transitions. Once you learn how to build the handstand with resistance and core stability, the back bending progression can be natural and safe. Using resistance in your handstand will change the dynamics of the balance and require the body to be in more of a forward folding action once in the air. The fold is like a micro pike in the body, which teaches you how to engage the core and bandhas without being totally aware you are doing so.
The most recommended and popular jump I have seen is the “L” jump. This is where one leg is working towards the sky and the other is hanging towards the earth allowing the body to access the hip safely in a forward folding (micro pike) action. So instead of the legs dangling over the head as weight to pull you forward (back bend), one leg lifts and the other leg hangs (forward fold) to keep you from going over or getting the “wheeling effect”. Learning to access the hip through this forward folding (micro pike) action will change the center of gravity and make it easier to understand and feel the pose foundationally in the hands.
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Yoga / Asana
WORDS: KO IM PHOTOGRAPHY: TEDDY WOLFF ORIGINAL ART: MURRZ
“Airport Pose” At the airport: squat with hands in prayer. While waiting for your flight, feel a sense of deep grounding before liftoff.
“Train Pose” On the platform: crescent lunge. Lengthen one foot back at a time and point your fingers toward the sky. Extra challenge: balance on a moving train.
“Beach Pose” On the beach: tree pose. Enjoy the present moment in nature with your hands clasped behind you to open your shoulders and set your sights on the horizon.
Our features editor Ko Im also travels for a living. Whether you’re on the go for vacation or for work, here are a few physical postures you can take anywhere between long periods of sitting in small spaces — sans yoga mat. Athleisure courtesy of Lole
“Bus Pose” By the bus: downward dog. If you don’t feel like putting your hands on the ground, find some standing support to stretch the backs of your legs and activate your back muscles.
Ashtanga 101 ...Ashtanga is pure meditation in motion. -muri
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your first ashtanga YOGA class BY: MURI ASSUNÇÃO PHOTOS: CHAS KIMBRELL
t’s almost like dating. You try something new, fall in love, obsess over it, then somehow you lose interest. Before you know it, you’ve parted ways. That was my first affair with yoga.
I was in a fully committed relationship, practicing three to five times a week with two teachers I really liked—but then life happened. Both my teachers left New York, work got in the way, and in the blink of an eye, I’d gotten a divorce. A yoga divorce. Four years later, I decided the new year would be the perfect opportunity for me to rekindle my relationship with yoga. Or even better, build a new one.
mally would have been a little intimidating, but somehow that day it just wasn’t. Lara’s instructions were minimal and precise. By continuously adjusting me, she made sure my body understood how to get into the poses. The symphony of breaths that surrounded me reminded me of that yoga group energy I’ve always liked so much, and listening to my own breath made me feel like an important part of that community. Hands up, reach, breath in. Exhale, arms down, fold forward. “Oh, yoga,” I thought, “how I’ve missed you…” Mysore Ashtanga worked well for me because your teacher identifies your level, and will give you the sequence of poses that’s right for you. They will start adding newer poses when you’re ready, and you are encouraged to practice six times a week with the same teacher. Initially, I was a little concerned that Ashtanga would be too gentle, a slow-flow type of yoga. My favorite practice has always been the more athletic ones, where breath and movement take over, and sweat just
pours down onto the mat. That’s what helps me focus, and keeps me present. Thankfully, my concerns were unfounded. Ashtanga is pure meditation in motion. By going at my own pace and following my own rhythm under Lara’s guidance and corrections, I was able to let my mind and body go through the continuous moving and breathing. After about forty minutes of intense work and sweat (I had forgotten how challenging the holding - both physically and mentally - of a pose could be), Lara told me to bring my mat to the back wall for my least favorite yoga pose ever: savasana. I’ve always had trouble trying to tell my mind to calm down and unwind, but this time it somehow felt a little easier. I swear the constant voice in my head yelling “You need to relax now, please let it go ” was finally silenced for a brief moment. After hanging out in the Land of Lara and getting to play Ashtanga-style, it’s safe to say that yoga and I are back together and happier than ever. Namaste, indeed!
I chose a style of yoga I had never tried before, Mysore Ashtanga (sorry, old exes Vinyasa, Anusara and Bikram) and went in with an open mind. It took a great deal of willpower, but I was able to fight the urge to Wikipedia, YouTube and hashtag-search everything about Ashtanga. I picked Land Yoga, a delightful and cozy studio owned by Lara Land in a very hip part of Harlem. The first thing I recall from that cold, rainy Sunday morning was Lara’s smile as she greeted me at the door. She spoke to me about breathing and focus, and explained how the class was going to work: I’d go through a sequence of poses on my own, and my guide throughout the class would be my breath. That worried me a little bit, I must admit. I’ve taught fitness classes for almost two decades, and having somebody in front of the room, leading you through a routine is part of my DNA. In the beautiful and spacious studio, there were already some advanced yogis going through their twists and balances which nor-
yoga / Asana
your first ashtanga YOGA class BY: LARA LAND
f you ever found yourself staring in confusion at an Ashtanga Yoga class schedule, you aren’t alone. Mysore classes can run upwards of five hours at some studios, and students may enter at anytime within that period as long as there is room to complete their practice. The practice is dictated by the teacher and follows a set sequence that begins with two variations on sun salutations and moves from standing, to seated, then closing postures. Students are taught a small portion on their first day which they repeat and memorize, matching their movements to their breath pace. As they return, they receive more poses from the teacher, and the practice increases in length. A beginner to Ashtanga Yoga can expect a practice of about forty minutes to an hour.
MAKE A COMMITMENT It takes at least one to three months of consistent (4+) days a week of practice to really get the feel for Ashtanga Yoga. Decide in advance that you are going to give yourself that window of time to get to know yourself in this practice. FIND A GREAT TEACHER In Ashtanga Yoga you practice with the same teacher daily, so make sure you get yourself a good one! You can find an authorized teacher off the official list at www.kpjayi.org REMEMBER WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT Focus on your own ability to look inward, be present, and show up. All the good stuff is in there!
Ashtanga Yoga is an energetic practice where the student’s focus rests in three places: listening to the sound of the breath, gazing softly at one of the nine gaze points, and experiencing the feeling of the body in each shape. The practice rotates between the stillness of each asana and the flowing vinyasa where heat is built. Because the sequence is set and the same poses are revisited daily, the student is able to go more deeply into the essence of the practice and even experience a moving meditation. Ashtanga has a reputation of being challenging and rigid, but it is actually a radically flexible practice. Ashtanga can be modified to the individual student since the class does not practice in unison. It is challenging, as all great things are, but the teacher is there to guide you through any challenges you face on the mat.
yoga / Business
Style: There are an overwhelming amount of styles of yoga. Know which style of yoga you practice, and the teachers who inspire you. Where did they study and who are their teachers? You want to be involved in the lineage of teachers who have inspired you, and become an embodiment of their teaching.
Time: Be clear about what kind of time commitment works for you.There are many different structures of how a 200 hour TT is laid out. Many are every weekend for 9-10 weeks, which works great for working yogis. If you have the time to completely immerse yourself in a full time intensive TT, itâ€™s also an amazing experience to put yourself through a deep immersion of all things yoga.
the Yoga Teacher Training BY: KAY KAY CLIVIO
t is a natural evolution as a yogi to want to learn more about this mystical, magical practice. To have the desire to dig deeper into its rich history and ancient wisdom. To dissect the postures, and maybe even learn how to teach. I remember when that desire manifested in me fifteen years ago before I stepped into the transformational fire of Yoga Teacher Training.
The desire to teach was not my original intention, just simply to learn more. I wanted to be immersed in the experience of learning deeper layers of the philosophy that had been slowly transforming me over the years. It was my passion for the power of the practice that brought me to lead over twenty 200 hour teacher trainings. I consider myself a guardian of this sacred tradition and honored to have the privilege of certifying aspiring yoga teachers, even if their intention is just to deepen their practice. But how does someone choose the training that is the right fit for them? There are currently 4,400+ Yoga Alliance registered yoga schools worldwide, and 51 on the island of Manhattan alone to serve the surge of yogis seeking to evolve their practice. Here are some helpful tips to find the program that is right for you.
Make a list of the all the things that have inspired you to sign up for the training and what areas of practice you want to enrich and expand your knowledge of? (i.e. asana, philosophy, history, teaching, sequencing, anatomy). Knowing this will give you direction in your search for the perfect match. Most 200 hour trainings hold open houses that you can attend to meet the lead teachers and ask the questions that will help you figure out if itâ€™s the right fit.
Budget and Location: Teacher trainings run anywhere from $2,000 - $20,000. What is your realistic budget? If you have the financial abundance to travel to Bali or some exotic location to do your training, amazing! What better way, than to be somewhere beautiful and immerse yourself in the teachings. If travel is not possible, find a studio you love and feel comfortable at because you will be spending lots of time there during your training.
Class Size: Every training will have a maximum number of students they will allow to join. Sometimes the trainings are too full and you lose the intimacy of the teachings. Inquire on the class size, and the teacher to student ratio.
by the numbers SOURCE: YOGA ALLIANCE
69,000 Registered teachers // 4,400+ Registered schools
57,342 Registered teachers // 3,614 Registered schools
46,656 Registered teachers // 2,940 Registered schools
yoga / Philosophy
BY: LAUREN CAP PHOTOGRAPHY: DANIELLE STACK
he popularity of yoga has skewed things dramatically, replacing meditation with ab work and tiny classes with packed houses. The desire to be thin and invert like a pro has shifted the landscape of the yoga industry, as self-acceptance and competition battle each other on the mat.
Yoga is a multi billion-dollar industry, with the internet continuing to reinforce its presence. Our culture of tapping and swiping pictures of strangers has become the norm, allowing social media to shape the way yoga is perceived. We are inundated with information about veganism, gluten-free foods, juicing, and our pick of any health coach in town. With this over-commercialization of the industry, something seems to be missing underneath all of its excess: self-acceptance. Flexible and skinny, often grace the pages of magazines and websites imprinting an idea of what yoga should look like. However, many who practice yoga are not the images that shape the online culture. Pregnancy, C-sections, injuries, bone loss, tight hips, and extra weight all walk into a yoga room. The strength it takes to hold downward facing dog for five full breaths can bring as much satisfaction to one person, as the most challenging yoga posture to another. When a sea of inversions and arm balances grabs the admiration and attention from the room, the gratification for someone’s small personal hurdle can get wiped away. An advanced practice is inspiring and respectable. However, the applause for those in advanced postures should be equivalent to those mastering their own personal accomplishments. Comparisons and competition make it especially difficult to look within. Ignoring signs from the body in order to mirror what other people do, can take the “yoga” out of a yoga practice. Forcing or manipulating the body to emulate images online or a person in class is recipe for physical disaster and messes with the mind. Self-worth should not be
yoga / Philosophy
measured by how advanced a practice is, rather by the respect given to the body. What one person can do with ease, another personâ€™s body type will never allow. Accepting these differences will change how the practice is approached. Desiring what one person can do with their body should not take away from the love of your own. The yoga industry will continue to grow and evolve, as many try to hold on to its roots. What was once so simple and obscure is now elaborate and well known. As more people turn to yoga in hopes to find peace, the saturation of the industry will make it harder to stay focused. Holding on to self-acceptance in a world of such excess is a challenge greater than any asana. Recognizing limitations and loving your body for where it is at the moment, is the real yoga practice.
RAISE YOUR VIBRATION
and Manifest your Desires
BY: TARA MARIE HOXHA
hen you’re healthy, happy, living life on your own terms and thriving – you can pretty much manifest anything you have your heart set on. Like attracts like – we all vibrate energetically on a particular frequency and attract things on that same frequency. Of course we’ll be up and down many times in any given day, but the key is to be aware, practice self-love and do things that raise your vibration as often as possible.
We are not our past, it is simply a story. I spent six years of my youth struggling with drugs, alcohol and depression. All the while, I knew I was put on earth to love. When we realize that everything in life happens for us, and not to us, we become the authors of our story. When I started loving myself and loving life, I met my dream husband and got my dream job. When I stopped “searching,” I started operating on an higher energetic frequency I like to call my “love vibe.” If you take inspired action towards the things you desire, they will start to manifest one by one. If you make an effort to do at least one thing every day to raise your vibration, you will reap the benefits. Love is the highest energetic frequency there is. Here are some tips on how to raise to the highest energetic frequency.
SELF LOVE & SELF CARE
Watch what you put into your body. Green juices, raw foods and pure water will fill you with positive life force energy and flush out toxins.
Be around people, places and things that make you happy or uplift you. Avoid toxic people, places and things that will drag you down.
Do things that make you feel Mantras and deep breathing. good, rested and relaxed: Epsom Things that relax and quiet salt baths, lavender essential INSPIRED the mind are important for oil, spa treatments and pediACTION your mental and SAVOR cures. You can do this at emotional energy. It’s not enough to dream home with someone Moments with loved ones, about what you want to manifest. else or alone. beautiful sunsets, people Operating on a high vibration comwatching, notice the beauty bined with action steps will get and the little things. This is you there! Set daily, weekly GRATITUDE being present, and in and monthly goals for FITNESS: the moment. Practice compassion, and yourself and celebrate Yoga, stretching, and dancforgiveness. Make a list of your successes! ing all create endorphins, everything you’re grateful improve circulation, and for: what you’re grateful give you more energy! for grows! Do this every day and watch how things start to change.
Yoga / Philosophy
Tantra & Desire BY: SARAH PLATT-FINGER ILLUSTRATION: MIRIAM CASTILLO
he feeling of completion of desire is known as Samadhi. Yet, the concept of desire has traditionally been admonished from a religious standpoint. Ascetics strived to master their mind as a means to control or obliterate their desires completely. There are stories of the Buddha exposing himself to the harshest elements and going for days without food as a means to transcend beyond the human want for pleasure. From a Tantric perspective, desire is what drives us to connect with a higher intelligence. Isn’t there an element of desire to attempt to transcend all desires? Governed by the water chakra, svadishthana, our desires are primal and innate in our being. Without desire we would not procreate and the human race would cease to exist. But how can we know that our desires are for our highest good and purpose in life? That is where the power of yoga and meditation lie. In yoga, we talk about the gunas as being the qualities of nature that make up all things. Everything in life is affected by the gunas: our diet, our relationships, our posture, even our communication. Rajas is volition, or the activating force that propels us forward. Think: the inhalation, the future, and the front passage of the body. Tamas is inertia, the pacifying force that draws us inward. Think: the exhalation, the past, and the back passage of the body. Sattva is the pure space that aligns us with spirit. Sattva guna is being in complete harmony, or balance. This is represented in the kumbaka (the pause between the breath) the present moment, and the central line of your spine, or brahma nadi. Being in sattva guna gives us the space to see what our true desires are and to respond to them from the spirit, rather than react to them from the ego. When we rest in that space we are connected to the unified field of consciousness that is all around us. Through the practice of yoga and especially meditation, we fine-tune our connection to brahma nadi. It is like an antenna that interprets and filters the intelligence of the universe into our physical body via our consciousness. That is why the more we practice, the more our desires shift. When we keep the channel of brahma nadi clear, we are able to honor our deepest desires and use them as seeds to manifest the life that we are meant to live, our soul’s calling. OUR DESIRES AND THE CHAKRAS From a subtle energetic perspective, our existence is made up of five main elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. The chakras are the headquarters of those elements that exist in our physical body. They govern everything from our posture, to our emotions, to our glandular
“You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” –Upanishads system and of course, they affect our desires. A common saying in Tantra is “We use the floor to get up off the floor.” We use what is available to us on this plane of existence: our body, our breath, our mind, and our desires, to transcend beyond the limitations of this realm. They are all made accessible to us in order to connect to the unbound field of potential that lies within: the inner guru. The inner-knowing.
THE CHAKRAS The first chakra, earth (muladhara) governs our survival and relationship to the material world. Too much rajas and we become excessively concerned with material things; too much tamas and we reject our survival needs. When in balance we are able to listen and respond to our physical desires appropriately. The second chakra, water (svadishthana) is where true desire stems from as this region governs our likes, dislikes, sensuality, and sexuality. Too much rajas in this locale and we become lascivious; too much tamas and we subscribe to the “no gain, no gain” approach. When we are balanced in this chakra we can respond to our desires gracefully and without attachment. The third chakra is the fire center (manipura). This is where our sense of individuality and independence stems from. Our desire to be autonomous, to stand for a cause, and to empower ourselves is governed by this chakra. Too much fire and we are driven by the need to dominate. Too little fire and we disempower ourselves by putting other people’s needs and desires ahead of our own. The fourth chakra, heart (anahata) relates to the element of air. Here is where we start to connect to our feelings and harmonize our relationships in the world. Our desire for connection, belonging, and love is governed by this center. Too much rajas and we force relationships. Too much tamas and we reject people’s offering of love and kindness towards us. The fifth and final elemental chakra is the throat (vishuddha), governed by the space element. This is our communication center and the vortex that influences our desire to express ourselves. When we are sattvic in this area we can communicate with honesty and clarity, knowing our own truth. When we are rajasic, we speak excessively to fill the discomfort of silence. When we are tamasic, we are unable to voice ourselves, doubting what we have to say as meaningful.
yoga / Kids
Baby Yoga BY: SHARI VILCHEZ-BLATT
If you think about it, baby yoga makes perfect sense. Babies develop through yoga poses, which can aid in their gross and fine motor skills. When a baby on their tummy first lifts their head up, that’s cobra pose. When a baby first gets up on hands and knees and looks up to the world, they’re in cow pose. When they look down, cat pose. Look at an infants stunning posture. Make a noise behind them that will make them turn and twist to see – and look at that perfect twist that comes from the upper body. A twist we as adults strive to achieve. Before they stand, a baby will come into a downdog pose and lift up from there. Babies are natural yogis. What is Mom & Baby Yoga? Half the class is geared towards the mommas, the other half, for the babies. Anything goes in class: crying, feeding, fussing, and changing, it is all welcome. An infant may scream the entire hour, and that’s ok, we are there to support mom. There is no such thing as “zen” in this class. If it happens, it’s truly a miracle. During class you might find one or more babies crawling on your mat under your downdog or warrior pose. Or you might find your infant (or someone else’s) helping you to “get deeper” into a pose as they lean on you and smile. You might find peek-a-boo sessions happening while in a plow pose. You also might get your hair, nostrils, or lips pulled too. You can expect to hear cooing, crying, as well as screaming. You can expect drool, spit up, diaper changes, water bottles and other personal belongings disappearing or being tasted, and pick-pockets in your
diaper bag. You can expect raspberries and possibly some waving. You might have a “first” in class – first roll over, first sit up, first stand, first step. You might even hear a word. Babies naturally move through many of the primary yoga poses in their developmental process from birth through crawling, standing and walking. They need to do this to develop the natural curves in their spines as well as build strength in their muscles. Baby yoga also aids in digestion. How amazing that you can help an infant experiencing gas pain and discomfort with yoga poses! Yoga helps build healthy sleeping patterns and is a great bonding tool for mom, dad, and baby. Requests are taken to best serve the mommas, to really listen to their needs, and to support the women that are purely serving the needs of their infants. This class offers them an hour where they can be served, and take a moment to find and listen to their breath. The requests are often the same: heart opening (to counter the hunching from breast feeding) lower back (from constant bending down and lifting baby up) upper back and shoulders (holding baby, nursing, fatigue) core (no explanation needed here) and hip openers (how’d they close up so fast?) and overall movement. Moms are invited to approach class with a sense of humor – they might get a great yoga workout and baby might too, or they will nurse the majority of class. Baby might even sleep through the whole class, you never know. Sometimes it’s just great to get out of the house and make a mom friend, and a baby friend, too. Last and most challenging part of the class... relaxation. Some babies love to fall asleep or just chill on moms chest or on a blanket.
Some want to eat, some prefer to play with the baby toys that are set out in the middle of the circle. For mom, relaxing while babies are banging toys together might be challenging. Most don’t care and find their peace for just a few minutes of much needed deep breathing and turning inward – likely something they have not had time to do since baby was born. Ahhh…the very precious and present moment.
IN A MOM & BABY YOGA CLASS The room is set up in a circle formation, as it lends itself to community and playful space for the babies in the center.
Introductions are important: moms introduce themselves and their babies, tell how old their little one is, and if they have any milestones to share with the group. Common baby poses include: butterfly, twists, tree pose, warrior three, bridge pose, half or full bow pose, cobra, and downdog.
Singing and praising is encouraged throughout the class, using our happy energy to show delight.
yoga / Meditation
AND THE ART OF THE ONION BY: KRISTIN MISCALL PHOTOGRAPHY: DIANA BEZANSKI
nions are one of those ingredients that seem to make everything taste just a little bit better. I love how if prepared correctly their flavor morphs to the food around it, encouraging its fellow veggies to come out of hiding and take their place on the plate. And yet, I have a sordid history with the onion. That relationship started off adversarial, blew up, and culminated in blood and tears before it finally settled into a civil, if not harmonious union. Calling my battles with the dear onion a relationship might seem strange. But it isn’t if you shift the lens of relationship just a teensy bit. See this battle has never been about the onion at all. It’s only ever been about how I related to the onion. The onion itself has always been just a pungent ‘lil bulb of explosive smell, taste, and texture. My mind, well that’s always been an inundation of endless activity that convinced me I need to beat this smelly little goliath into submission. Crazy, I know. Facing the truth that my mind had been whipping me around fiercely for as long as I could remember finally drove me to seek a different way. In my forties, life delivered a series of massive sucker punches to the gut, and all of my time-worn tricks to try to muscle through them had failed. I turned to my dear friend who happened to be co-founder of the Brooklyn Zen Center, and she invited me to come to a brief meditation instruction. I was so desperate to free my mind from its shackles, I skeptically agreed. I had an image of Zen folks as solemn, shaved-headed monks who always did the holiest things and were never annoyed by bad drivers. A.K.A, who were not me, but my struggle was so deep and so intractable, I surrendered. I showed up and sat down on a perfectly puffed black cushion inside a silent, white-walled temple in Brooklyn. The truth was that in the beginning, my seated meditation practice was excruciating both mentally and physically. I was dismayed. How could sitting on a cushion
staring at a blank wall bring me so much misery? I expected the mindlashings, but I did not expect to feel like my entire body was on fire. Just breathing made my body spasm and shake. But I sat and I sat, determined to “get it fucking right.” Months went by and I was starting to feel really, really defeated. It got to the point where I would envision my cushion and immediately have a Pavlovian response of physical pain. I was stuck. Yucky-mud stuck. Thankfully, I had the good sense to combine my introductory meditation practice with consistent weekly meetings with the head teacher. In one of our meetings, I confessed that I was growing to hate this body. My body always had a current of electricity vibrating through it, it was a body that could rarely be still. I admitted I was starting to believe that I just couldn’t cut it as a Zen student. If my body could not physically handle sitting for meditation, how in God’s name could I meditate? I was exasperated. My teacher however, didn’t entertain such defeat, not even for a small moment. Instead, she smiled and said softly “how about you try kitchen practice?” I had been watching the kitchen crew for a while as they silently moved in a seemingly choreographed dance of culinary creation. I had a secret wish to join them, but at the time, I could barely step into my own kitchen without being overcome with sadness since my ex-husband had been the cook in our family. I told my teacher this too, but she was undeterred. “Even more of a reason to practice there.” My first few times in the kitchen, I provided support for those preparing the meal. I washed dishes, measured spices, rinsed rice, cleaned cabinets. Soon, the tenzo asked me to help chop vegetables. I was nervous. On the rare occasion that I did chop onions I’d usually massacre one super-fast, cursing like a drunken sailor as my eyes burned and teared. But there would be no cursing here. Zen kitchen practice is done in total silence. Sounds pretty peaceful. It is, and it most certainly isn’t. The surrounding sounds are a lovely symphony of knives on cutting boards, wooden spoons stirring the bottom of heavy-bot-
yoga / Meditation
tomed metal pots, sizzling, popping, crackling of vegetables at various stages of transformation. But the sounds inside the head...those are a cacophonous racket. As I prepared to take the onion down, I decided the best plan was simply to get it over with as quickly as possible. I began chopping erratically, the knife sliding all over the chopping board in wanton madness. Look at me, man…I was born for this! And then, “WHOMP.” Just like that, knife meets finger, and all my puffed up glory was dashed as blood poured down my finger onto my pile of massacred onion pieces. “Don’t scream, don’t scream!” I begged myself. “It’s a SILENT kitchen, for Christ’s sake!” I headed to the bathroom and fell into a lump on the cold tile floor. Then the mind noise really started to fly. I berated myself for not knowing better. I lashed myself for thinking I could try something new. I derided my efforts and I vowed never to set foot in a kitchen ever again because, see, I am a failure. When I opened the door and went back to the kitchen, the tenzo simply smiled at me, “You ok? Hurts doesn’t it?”
And just like that, she directed me to a smaller, simpler task without so much as a whisper of criticism or judgement. I was left to just start again. New task. New moment. The sliced, bloodied finger, the mind-whippings…all simply GONE. Where did they go? Where they came from, I am told. And where is that? That’s a Zen riddle I’ve been pondering ever since. I kept showing up. Over and over again. I learned to chop. Properly. I learned to watch as my mind tried to hijack me away from the simple task in front of me and then gently but firmly brought it back to the activity of the moment. Just chop. Just wash. Just stir. Just breathe. To my utter shock, I learned how to slow down that electric wave of energy in my body that plagued me so on my cushion. By giving my body permission to move in the activity of the kitchen practice, I allowed it to be just as it is, a little jittery, a little twitchy. By allowing all of that, something began to ease toward calm. Back home on the cushion, well that eased too. I still twitch, and shudder, and even shake sometimes, but I watch and it passes. Sometimes
with less struggle, sometimes with loads. But it always passes. So my tale here is one not of redemption, because there was never any sin to be forgiven for. It is one of perseverance, dedication, devotion, and practice any damned way you can manage it. There is not an ounce of doubt within me about the value of meditation or mindful activity. It has steadied me, centered me, saved me, because it has provided me with the tools to meet myself exactly as I am without judgement. I still fail, a lot. But it doesn’t matter anymore because the failures are opportunities now. Opportunities to watch how I relate to myself at each moment, without running away from myself and without creating a story about what arises as I witness failure. Sometimes my meals at the Zen Center are delicious. Sometimes the potatoes are not cooked enough. But the onions. Oh, the onions. Well they’re always there beckoning me to engage. One chop at a time. The onion just is and doesn’t have a shred of attitude about it. Wise little veggie.
“THERE IS NOT AN OUNCE OF DOUBT WITHIN ME ABOUT THE VALUE OF MEDITATION OR MINDFUL ACTIVITY.”
Meditation in the City
5. THE RUBIN MUSEUM
150 W. 17th Street
This cultural hub of the Himalayas, India, and neighboring regions holds 45-min. weekly mindfulness sessions in the museum. My favorite dose of zen is at the museum’s Café Serai. The aromas and flavors of the Himalayas transport me back to my first taste of homemade Chana Masala. www.rubinmuseum.org
6. INTERDEPENDENCE PROJECT 302 Bowery
places to visit to add meditation to your lifE
Excellent Buddhist-inspired meditation instruction for beginners and advanced students. Founding Director Ethan Nichtern is full of a wakening insights, Buddhist knowledge and charming humor — I could think of worse things to distract the mind. www.theidproject.org
7. TIBET HOUSE 22 W. 15th Street
BY: ASHLEY ROSE HOWARD
1. KADAMPA MEDITATION CENTER 127 W. 24th Street
Less sit, more talk. The most popular are thought provoking dharma talks (30-min. meditation/60min. Buddhist teachings). It’s a hidden oasis in a refinished basement with folding chairs, and florescent lighting. Namaste, Manhattan. www.meditationinnewyork.org
2. MNDFL 10 E. 8th Street
The trendy and chic way to practice mindfulness in the city, they offer a variety of 30 or 40-min. sessions, including meditation for sleep/emotions/energy and my favorite, sound meditation. Impressive roster of expert teachers (book your cushion in advance!). They had me at free tea. www.mndflmeditation.com
3. SHAMBHALA MEDITATION CENTER
118 W. 22nd Street
9 10 multiple locations
I learned how to meditate from this urban meditation community originally founded by Buddhist meditation master, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Tuesday evening dharma talks offer an abundance of Buddhist wisdom and guided meditation for newbies. Imagine a revitalizing spa-like experience for the mind, sans the fancy amenities. www.ny.shambhala.org
4. ZEN BUDDHIST TEMPLE 206 E. 63rd Street
A super zen Buddhist Temple, just a few blocks from the Upper East Side Bloomingdale’s, conveniently located for post-shopping-spree meditation. www.zenbuddhisttemple.org
A true experience of Tibet’s unique culture, meditation happens amongst breathtaking artistic pieces including Tibetan tangkas, statues and shrines. It’s New York Magazine’s highly rated (4 stars) place to explore mindfulness and a top pick from yours truly. www.tibethouse.us
ART OF LIVING FOUNDATION 286 5th Avenue
More like the art of meditation for personal development. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, philanthropist and spiritual leader, founded AOLF under his philosophy: “Unless we have a stress-free mind and a violence-free society, we cannot achieve world peace.” www.artofliving.org
9. DHARMA PUNX NYC multiple locations
I consider this the most welcoming Buddhist community for all walks of life. Classes are often led by Josh Korda, inked with tattoos and compassion, welcomes the young, artful and mentally restless to embark on a logical and scientific journey of meditation. www.dharmapunxnyc.com
10. THE PATH multiple locations
My favorite way to slow down is with the convenience of pop-up meditations designed for busy New Yorkers. Sessions are held at local art galleries, rooftops and hotel lounges. The locations vary week to week, but the meditations consistently guide me on the path back inwards. www.thepath.com
Health / Ayurveda
Spring is Kapha Season BY: LARISSA HALL CARLSON PHOTOTOGRAPHY: ©KADRI KURGUN
An Ayurvedic Detox Guide
Larissa Hall Carlson, E-RYT 500, Dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda shares an Ayurvedic approach to yoga practices sure to get you feeling lively and playful this spring. There’s good reason for the cultural tradition of renewing health club memberships and revving up yoga pledges in the spring. According to Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, the kapha dosha rules the cool, damp, rainy season of spring. Made up of water and earth elements, kapha’s main qualities are heavy, cool, dull, sticky, thick, steady and cloudy. When transitioning from winter into early spring, we must balance those qualities appropriately through a physically heating and energetically circulating yoga practice. If we are out of balance it’s common to feel bogged down by mental and physical kapha accumulation—congestion, water retention, weight gain, dullness, lethargy or lack of motivation. The yogic remedy for excess springtime kapha is to gradually stoke agni (digestive fire/metabolism) and thoroughly circulate prana (life-force energy) with detoxifying asana, purifying pranayama, and mind-clearing meditation. Ayurveda considers 6-10 am to be the kapha time of day, when the kaphic qualities are strongest. Early morning on an empty stomach is generally considered the best time to practice a warming, stimulating, and challenging yoga practice to balance kapha.
YOGA: (asana) Utilizing chest-opening backbends to remove stagnation, invigorating side-bends to help clear the lungs, detoxifying twists to lighten the belly, and electrifying arm balancing postures to turn things upside down will leave you feeling vibrant.
PRANYAMA: (yogic breath-work) One of my favorite ways to balance kapha. Energizing practices, like bhastrika (bellows breath), kapalabhati (skull-shining breath), and agni sara (fanning the fire during external breath retention) are marvelous for cultivating inner heat, removing impurities, and stimulating circulation. The belly-pumping action is also effective for clearing the sinuses—just make sure you have a tissue handy. MOVEMENT: Movement is key for kapha, so walking meditation is an excellent practice to combat the static heaviness of the season. Instead of focusing on the traditional anchor of sensation at the soles of the feet, note the sensations of movement higher up the leg. Feel the lift and forward movement of each knee. Raising the drishti (focal point) just a little provides mental stimulation and supports the lightening of the mind.
Bhastrika Pranayama (bellows breath)
Precautions: Avoid if pregnant, if you have heart or respiratory conditions, or have had recent surgery. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure.
Sit with a long spine and relaxed abdomen Take several deep breaths to warm up, center, and connect Inhale fully through both nostrils to expand the ribcage in all directions Exhale strongly through both nostrils, deflate the ribcage Repeat inhalation and exhalation 20 times, maintaining a steady, peppy pace. Give equal emphasis to the inhalation and the exhalation. Do not force or strain the breath. Return to a natural breath. Scan the body and mind, feeling the afterglow
Aligning your yoga sadhana to harmonize seasonal qualities requires minimal adjustments, but the overall effect can be significant. To enhance your journey of yogic transformation, allow Ayurvedic principles to inform your practice. Remember, just a few minutes of warming, stimulating yoga each day can greatly support doshic harmony. Befriend kapha balancing this spring and emerge from each practice feeling clear and radiant!
Health / Ayurveda
SHAKTISALON BY: ALI CRAMER // ILLUSTRATIONS: ©K. M. COPHAM 2016
Spring in New York, Hallelujah! After a long winter, our skin and hair need a little extra love. In Sanskrit, the word for oil, sneha, is the same word as love. Ayurveda has some great solutions for when we are ready to start emerging from our winter shell. Here are a few simple self-care routines you can do on your own, or invite some friends over for an Ayurvedic home spa day.
Once every two weeks, do a shiroabhyanga (head massage). It’s nice to heat the recipe gently on the stove for a couple minutes before application. Pour the oil on top of the head, rub it in briskly with your fingers for a few minutes, then coat the rest of your hair. Put your hair up in a loose bun if it’s long, and throw an old towel over your pillow case. Try to leave the oil in for twenty four hours before shampooing. This is also great for insomnia. Use the following recipe for corresponding dosha (bodily constitution): Vata Dosha: dry, thin, frizzy hair 1/2 cup sesame oil base Add 1 tsp. neem powder 1/2 tsp. brahmi powder Add a few drops of geranium, rose or jasmine oil Pitta Dosha: itchy scalp, thinning hair or premature balding 1/2 cup coconut oil base Add 1 tsp. neem powder 1/2 tsp. brahmi Add a few drops of mint, sandalwood, or rose oil Kapha Dosha: thick shiny hair, can get greasy when out of balance 1/4 cup sunflower or almond oil base Add 1 tsp. neem powder 1/2 tsp. brahmi powder Add a few drops of sage or eucalyptus oil
Try not to wash the face or body with hot water, it dries out the skin. Use warm water.
FACE Face mask (all doshas) 1 tsp. sandalwood powder 1 tsp. neem powder 1 tsp. honey 1 tsp. organic aloe vera juice Stir in 1 Tbsp. of white or green clay powder. Use either organic milk or coconut milk to create a soft consistency. Coat face, leave on for 10 minutes, and rinse off with warm water. If you don’t have sandalwood and neem, you can use clay with the honey and add a few drops of vitamin E oil.
Skip the commercial soap and get an Ayurvedic soap or a rich milky organic all-natural soap.
If you skin is very dry, add more good quality organic oils to your diet.
Stay away from harsh detergents for your clothing and bed linens.
Apply a little organic vitamin E oil every night to your face before bed.
Dual Specialty Store 91 1st Avenue #3 New York, NY 10003
WHERE TO BUY YOUR SUPPLIES
Butala Emporium 132 E 28th St New York, NY 10016
BODY A daily abhyanga, or massage, is a lovely thing for both the skin and muscles. With all formulas, simmer one cup of base oil gently on the stove for 15 minutes. Allow it to cool, then decant into a glass bottle. If your skin is more oily, use before shower, if it’s more dry, use after shower. Vata (dry and cold skin) Base of sesame oil or avocado oil with three drops of rose oil and 2 Tulsi tea bags. Pitta (red and inflamed itchy skin) Base of coconut or sunflower oil with three drops of geranium oil and 2 chamomile tea bags. Kapha (dull, congested skin) Do a dry brushing before you oil up, to get some lymphatic draining and the blood flowing. Use a base of almond or olive oil, three drops of cedar oil and two eucalyptus tea bags.
ECO BEAUTY fresh picks for spring BY: JESSICA ARNAUDIN
Spring evokes light-hearted feelings of joy, vibrancy, and renewal. From modern painterly splashes of color, to bright florals—let your inner flower child shine. NYC based skin therapist and eco-makeup artist Jess Arnaudin shares her picks of all-natural makeup brands to achieve a gorgeous spring glow.
SKIN: GRESSA Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation: This lightweight serum is packed with certified organic botanical extracts and mineral pigments that corrects uneven skin tone to leave skin looking fresh and dewy. www.gressaskin.com VAPOUR ORGANIC BEAUTY Halo Illuminator: Brighten up any look with this all-natural highlighting stick. Filled with plant-based oils and extracts, this creamy formulation melts seamlessly into skin. Bonus: It’s made with wind power and the packaging is 100% recyclable. www.vapourbeauty.com
ILIA BEAUTY Nightfall Mascara: This rich black shade of mascara builds volume and length without harsh synthetic preservatives. Plus, the sleek packaging rivals even the most mainstream department store counterparts. www.iliabeauty.com
KARI GRAN Tinted Lip Whip: Heal and hydrate chapped lips with this buttery boost of moisture. Formulated with natural oils like avocado, calendula, and sunflower, this soothing balm is perfect day and night. You can choose from two flavors – tingly peppermint or warming cinnamon. www.karigran.com MODERN MINERALS Lotus Wei Infused Lip Gloss: Finally! A gloss that’s smooth, shiny, and easy to apply without the sticky finish. This collection is infused with gemstone and flower essences intended to uplift spirits and encourage positivity. www.modernmineralsmakeup.com
Health / Therapeutics
SOUNDS & THE CITY
Here’s a meditation that will help get you moving in the right direction.
MINDFUL LISTENING MEDITATION:
BY: SARA AUSTER
Close your eyes for a moment and listen. See if you can notice the sounds in the room and outside of the room. Trying to fight the sounds is unlikely to work, they are not going to go away because you don’t like them. If you respond aggressively to them, then you are just getting yourself into a fight that you cannot win.
There’s a fire station right across the street, the subway is around the corner, a bar downstairs, and to top it all off, building construction down the block. Sound familiar? You’ve tried earplugs, soothing music, white noise machines, meditating at work, but have you tried just letting go? Stop fighting it. Take it one step further and appreciate the noise. Embrace, notice, and accept all of the sounds around you. We don’t necessarily have control over the sounds around us but we do have control over our relationship and response to those sounds. Pay attention to which sounds trigger a stressful response, or a hardening in the body or mind. Noticing that is a good place to start.
SIRENS: Whether they are from a fire truck, ambulance or police car, screeching sirens have a tendency to put us on high alert. You may not want to hear this, but that’s partially a good thing. Those people are working hard to get to someone in need or distress and they have to get through the city streets as fast as possi-
ble. Instead of hardening to the sirens, simply remind yourself, “Help is on the way.” Find a way to wish them well in your mind, and hope that the person or situation they are trying to get to will get the assistance they need. Then notice how your body softens. CONSTRUCTION : Jackhammers, cranes, lifts, drills—not the most pleasant sounds. But think about it, one of the charms of NYC is that it is constantly changing. Structures need repairing, remodeling and maintenance. If there happens to be one of those situations on your daily commute, try to find a new route. There’s no point in getting worked up on your way to work. You may even discover a cute, new juice spot. SUBWAY: Packed train cars, crowded escalators, people running past you on the stairs, all serve as potential stressors. This is a perfect time to throw on your headphones. “Masking” is a process of using sound to cover up other sounds that are disturbing.
Call to mind the living, breathing, feeling human beings behind the noises and sounds you hear, and wish them well. Accept these sounds as part of your meditation practice. Stay loosely focused on your breathing, and let the sound be a secondary focus of the practice. If you can stop seeing the sound as the enemy of the practice, and instead see it as part of the practice, the conflict will start to dissolve.
Become aware of the space in front, behind, and around you. Even the space above, and below you. Allow yourself to feel as if your mind is expanding into the space surrounding, and expanding outside of the room. Let the sounds you hear be your anchor to the present moment. Don’t judge what you hear or analyze the sounds, just listen, observe and experience them. If you become restless or impatient, notice these feelings and allow them, but do not react to them. Stick with this for at least five minutes and notice how your awareness has shifted. Perhaps you have tapped into a whole new level of silence within.
For more information and music for meditation please visit saraauster.com
shrams for Autism seeks to empower and guide the autism community toward peacefully achieving their highest potential through yoga. They currently serve over a 100 participants per week ranging from children to young adults throughout New Jersey and New York. NY YOGA + LIFE Magazine sat down with Sharon Manner the founder of Ashrams for Autism to find out more about this very special organization. Tell us how the idea came to you to create this very special community ? With 35 years of yoga and mediation experience, I created Ashrams for Autism because I’ve seen first-hand how the science of yoga and the yogic lifestyle has benefited my daughter and other individuals in the autism community. I firmly believe that using yogic techniques positively affects those on the spectrum; helping them achieve peace within the body and mind and to feel a sense of dignity within themselves. What is the goal of Ashrams for Autism? At Ashrams for Autism, our core mission is to spread yoga and mindfulness to individuals on the autism spectrum, to their families, parents, schools, and facilities and to do this all over the world. Ultimately, our goal is to build a facility, an ashram where individuals with autism spectrum disorder can live, work and reach their highest potential through yoga.
What is the best way for people to get involved? Take our trainings; learn how to help guide the autism community toward peacefully achieving their highest potential through yoga. Or make a donation to our work – this allows us to continue to provide yoga in schools and facilities, and toward our ultimate goal of building an ashram. Tell us about the trainings? We offer the most complete trainings available to prepare you to work with individuals on the spectrum, their parents and caregivers, and we want to share it with the world. We offer a 100-hour Yoga Alliance recognized certification that is split into two modules. The first module was co-created by Margabandhu Martarano and Sharon Manner. This Module teaches students about autism; how to mindfully work with compassion with ASD individuals and deliver a conscious, effective class that promotes wellness and peace in our students. The second module teaches how to work with parents and caregivers of individuals on the spectrum and gives them tools to promote a happy and productive life. We have an incredible staff of instructors that includes Dr. Marc Rosenbaum, Dr. Jill Brooks and Dr. Amrita Clanahan.
SHARON MANNER SHARON STARTED ASHRAMS FOR AUTISM IN 2010 OUT OF LOVE FOR HER DAUGHTER WHO IS ON THE SPECTRUM AND FOR HER PASSION FOR YOGA. SHARON HAS 40 YEARS YOGA AND MEDITATION EXPERIENCE AND HAS BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO STUDY WITH MANY GREAT MASTERS SUCH AS MARGABANDHU MARTARANO, SWAMI RAMANANDA, NISCHALA JOY DEVI, MUKUNDA STILES, GURU DHARAM AND MANY MORE. SHARON IS ALSO THE FOUNDER OF SAMADHI SUN YOGA SCHOOL THAT OFFERS 200 AND 500 HOUR YOGA ALLIANCE CREDITED TEACHER TRAININGS.
DR. MARC ROSENBAUM AUTHOR OF FOUR BOOKS THAT ARE USED AS CURRICULUM GUIDES FOR THE SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL LEARNING PROGRAMS AND TEACHER TRAININGS. DR. ROSENBAUM HAS A MASTERS IN APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF SANTA MONICA.
MARGABANDHU MARTARANO DIRECTOR OF IYI FAIRLAWN FOR MORE THAN 35 YEARS. HE ACCEPTED THE POSITION AT THE REQUEST OF SRI SWAMI SATCHIDANANDA, THEN FOUNDER OF IYI. MARGABANDHU IS A SENIOR CERTIFIED YOGA INSTRUCTOR, PROFICIENT IN ALL ASPECTS OF YOGA, HAVING RECEIVED INSTRUCTION AND GUIDANCE DIRECTLY FROM SWAMI SATCHIDANANDA.
Ashrams4autism.org email@example.com P.O. Box 122 Madison, NJ 07940 (973) 295-6438
Health / Food
FARM TO TABLE BY: JUSTINE MA
As New Yorkers, we have access to some of the best restaurants in the nation and the freshest ingredients they use in their kitchens. Yes, it’s true. If you wake up early enough, you’ll see chefs at your local greenmarket buying ingredients for their customers while supporting the farmers that grow them. If you want to support chefs who support farmers, these are the places to dine!
275 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Owner and Chef Dan Richer is a bread master who works closely with small farms in New Jersey. For the past five growing seasons, he’s been working with Ralston Farm in Hopewell to mill grains for the restaurant. “I’ve had the pleasure of watching Ralston Farm grow from two acres to over thirty acres! We commit to buying whatever they plant for us so they’re guaranteed a sale before the season starts. They’ve given us unique and wonderful vegetables too…we’re not just talking iceberg and romaine lettuce here.” Razza is first come, first serve, and Jersey City residents are keeping this place a secret! Located three blocks from the Grove Street PATH stop, this restaurant is open every night for dinner, excluding Sundays. If you go on your own or with a friend, I highly recommend ordering the bread and butter, any salad, any pizza, and you must finish with a dessert (my personal favorite is the panna cotta). The bar has a great selection of beers, wines, and cocktails too! LOCAL TIP: If it’s a busy night, order a pizza to-go at the host stand and enjoy it on a bench at Grove Street station!
246 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205
In 2004, Catherine May Saillard opened one of the first farm-to-table restaurants in Brooklyn. As a seasoned restaurant opener for famed chefs, she decided to create her own restaurant concept that celebrates farmers and their food. Twelve years later, Catherine has stuck to her vision and continues to support the farmers that have been by her side since day one. With her French country menu in hand she says, “I believe everyone should have access to locally sourced, and sustainably produced food.” The menu at ICI changes seasonally, but her farmers stay consistent. Dine solo with a glass of wine and a plate of cheese, invite a date and share your appetizers and entrees, or bring your family and order the entire menu. ICI is the perfect restaurant for any occasion. LOCAL TIP: ICI has become one of the most soughtafter wedding destinations in Brooklyn. If you have a special occasion coming up, contact them before they’re booked!
THE LITTLE BEET TABLE 333 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010
Gluten intolerant or avoiding gluten? The Little Beet Table is 100% gluten-free. Based off of his personal food philosophy, Chef Franklin Becker offers a menu featuring wholesome ingredients and fresh flavors. The restaurant collaborates with trusted farmers and purveyors in order to create a quality menu featuring seasonal produce. Chef Franklin says “It’s important to be in touch with the farmers. For example, Paffenroth Gardens in the Hudson Valley grows the best carrots and squashes out there. Sweet, succulent and robust. They care about what they grow.” Located in Flatiron, The Little Beet Table is a great spot for lunch or dinner in Manhattan. There’s something for everyone as their menu caters to vegans, vegetarians and omnivores! LOCAL TIP: The Little Beet Table is the full service offshoot of its fast casual counterpart, The Little Beet. If you want to pick up a quick breakfast, lunch or dinner in Times Square, you can visit The Little Beet on 50th St. between 6th & 7th Avenue – it’s a great option before heading to the theatre!
Health / Food
10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT URBAN BEEKEEPING BY: JUSTINE MA PHOTOGRAPHY: DIANA BEZANSKI SKI
Angie Bilotti is a local chef and urban beekeeper based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Trained by the Natural Gourmet Institute, Angie is passionate about educating others about food as medicine for the body. She reconnects to ancestral food principles that honor Mother Earth as she takes care of rooftop gardens and creates recipes from nature’s bounty. When she’s not in her Brooklyn kitchen, she climbs rooftops and takes care of 20,000-60,000 bees! NY YOGA + LIFE got up close and personal as Angie guided us around the hive and shared her knowledge about Brooklyn Beekeeping.
1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION Urban beekeepers need to be strategic about their hive placements. When choosing a home for her bees, Angie has to consider the entire environment — is there enough food for the bees to forage? Should I plant a garden? Is it too noisy? Will I be able to reach them? Do I need to climb a fire escape? No, this is not a drill. 2. SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS Once beekeepers find a home for their bees, they register their hives to the U.S. Department of Health. Angie is part of the NYC Beekeeping Organization and was trained to inspect hives all over New York. She participates in forums to update her beekeeping practices and checks on her bees every week. Make sure to read up before you start a hive! 3. OH, HONEYYY Did you know that honey is the only food we eat that’s produced by insects? And it never spoils. 4. NO TWO HONEYS ARE ALIKE The flavor of honey depends on the food the bees are able to forage. The flowers and trees nearby affect the color and flavor of the honeycomb. No two honeys taste the same and beekeepers prefer to eat it straight from the comb…because they can. 5. YOU’RE SWEET Honeybees aren’t aggressive, and they aren’t looking to sting you. However, if you’re wearing perfume or any scent, you will attract bees. 6. WHO RUNS THE WORLD? GIRLS All worker bees are female. These ladies provide food for the hive, they clean the hive, they do it all. As for the males? Their only role is to mate, and then they are kicked out in the fall before hibernation. 7. QUEEN BEE The Queen has the ability to choose whether the bee will be male or female based on the need of the hive. Talk about gender selection! 8. AIR MAIL In NYC, most beekeepers order their bees online and have them delivered to the post office. If you see someone casually walking down the street with a package that’s buzzing, you just met a beekeeper. 9. CLEAR SKIES It’s best to avoid visiting a hive on a rainy or cloudy day. The bees are sensitive to nature and can get moody just like we do.
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10. REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE After extracting the honey from the comb, beekeepers like Angie enjoy melting and straining the wax cappings into lip balms and medicinal salves. Just remember, taking honey out of its comb is incredibly messy, so leave it to the pros. Look for local raw honey at a farmers market near you!
Infused honey is easy to put together and makes the perfect addition to yogurt, cheese, oatmeal, salad dressings, or marinades. It can also be used as a sweetener in lemonade, tea, or cocktails. Some people use herbal honey for medicinal purposes. For example, sage honey can soothe a sore throat. Below you’ll find a basic formula to create your very own honey infusion!
1 cup local raw honey
½ cup lightly packed fresh herbs or flowers (Sage, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Chamomile, or Rose Petals)
1 tbsp spices (Cardamom, Star Anise, Peppercorns, Ginger, Lemon Peel, Orange Peel, or Vanilla Bean)
Bowl of Ice Cheesecloth
Mason Jar or Honey Jar
Pour honey, herbs and spices into a double boiler; or a glass bowl that fits over a pot of low simmering water. Occasionally stir honey for 30-40 minutes; be sure to check on it often so it doesn’t overheat and destroy the beneficial enzymes/antibacterial properties. The temperature of the honey shouldn’t exceed 115º F. If the bowl gets too warm, keep an ice bath nearby and rest the bowl on ice. When the temperature goes back down to 115º F or below, return to double boiler until 30-40 minutes is up. Strain honey through cheesecloth and into a mason jar. Let it cool down completely, then cover. BONUS TIP: After you’re finished with your cheesecloth, tie it up and make a delicious tea by letting it sit in a cup of hot water. Connect With Angie: Angie Bilotti is available for private tours of her hives and hosts a variety of classes and workshops. For more information, visit AlchemyQueen.com for more Brooklyn Beekeeping tips and recipes!
CAKE with Roasted Cherries & Maple Salted Pecans
VEGAN // SERVES: 7 // EQUIPMENT: SMALL 6 CUP BUNDT CAKE PAN
PHOTOS AND RECIPE BY: DIANA BEZANSKI
Spelt is a whole grain flour more nutritious and less refined than white flour. It contains less gluten and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Spelt can be found in natural food stores, and some supermarkets
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour ¾ cup spelt flour ½ tsp fine sea salt 1 ½ tsp aluminum free baking powder ¾ tsp baking soda ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp chipotle powder 1 ½ tsp fine ground coffee (grind with sugar if coarse) /3 cup unrefined brown sugar such as coconut, sucanat or muscovado, (grind to make powder using spice grinder ) 1
1 ¼ cup very hot filtered water 1
/3 cup mashed ripe banana
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 4 tbsp pure maple syrup 1
/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
health / Food
CHOCOLATE CHIPOTLE CAKE Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF with rack in the middle. Lightly oil the bundt pan and dust with cocoa powder. In a large bowl, sift the whole wheat pastry flour, spelt, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle powder, ground coffee, and sugar. Once passed through, stir it again. In a medium bowl, combine the mashed banana, vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla extract and mix well. Add the hot water and combine well, and add this to the flour mixture. Using a whisk, mix until just combined (do not over mix). Quickly add to the bundt pan and bake for 43 minutes at 350ºF. Toothpick inserted should come out clean and cake should be slightly firm to the touch. When done let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. After 10 minutes carefully flip the cake out of pan and continue to cool on rack before adding the ganache.
ROASTED CHERRIES Raise oven to 400ºF Line a baking sheet with parchment paper Take 1½ cups fresh, pitted cherries and slice in half Roast cherries for 10 minutes, remove from oven and transfer to a bowl. Let them cool.
MAPLE SALTED PECANS Lower heat to 325ºF 1 cup pecans lightly chopped 2 tbsp pure maple syrup ¼ tsp fine ground sea salt Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat – taste for seasoning. Bake for 7-8 minutes
CHOCOLATE GANACHE 3.5 oz 70-72% chocolate chopped into small pieces ½ cup almond or coconut milk 1 tsp pure maple syrup Pinch of chipotle or cayenne powder Small pinch of sea salt Chop the chocolate into small pieces and add it to a stainless steel bowl. Heat the milk until bubbly hot and pour it over the chocolate and let it sit one minute undisturbed. Stir the chocolate until melted then add the maple syrup, chipotle powder, sea salt and mix well. Let the chocolate sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken but still pourable. Drizzle the chocolate on the cake on all sides, especially near the opening at top so the cherries and nuts can stick to it. Add the roasted cherries and pecans to the top of the cake.
Health / Food
PERSPECTIVE SHIFT THE
BY: JUSTINE MA
How much of your eating is really about your desire? How much is it about actually nourishing your body? Adam Sobel of The Cinnamon Snail is a vegan chef and longtime yogi who sat down with our Food Editor Justine Ma to share his perspective on food, desires and veganism. I had been practicing yoga for a while with Sri Dharma Mitra at the Dharma Yoga Center and became vegan in 2011. Through his teachings, he
helped me understand deeper levels of how your diet affects not only your world, but the creatures that you may or may not be eating. He also spoke about the way food affects your own spiritual progress, which can help or hinder your progress towards self-realization.
vegan drumstick) of benefit to your body, and it’s probably detrimental to your health, just to fulfill your ‘desire.’
When it comes to food, you can eat in a way that’s entirely guided by your own desire for a sensory experience - this is honestly how I think most people eat. Think about it, you eat deep fried pierogies not because your body needs it to survive, but because you have some habitual, emotional stuff that causes you to desire this food.
To make a decision to eat vegan, and then do something that causes all this additional indirect suffering and violence seems really misguided. I think, very urgently, the mainstream culture needs to shift their consciousness in a major way if we’re going to survive on this planet.
On some level, some of these things you’re eating because you desire them, are causing all kinds of suffering to our existence; especially foods that have no nutritional value, including vegan food. For example, people eat super processed fake meat that is made in Taiwan. It starts with clearing an entire ecosystem to make genetically modified soybeans. Then they’re processed and shipped across the ocean, using tons of fossil fuels to keep it frozen just so it can look like a drumstick. At this point there’s nothing (in the
All of this destruction to the environment makes you question, “How yogic is that?”
The Cinnamon Snail is a way that a lot of people are receptive to. It’s like planting a seed that hopefully develops into people thinking much further beyond themselves, beyond vegetarianism. To become aware of everything going on in the planet, and how we treat each other: the planet, the animals, and becoming open-minded towards vegetarianism, veganism, or just where your food comes from in general. It begins the process of thinking further outside out of your own needs and desires.
To learn more about Adam’s perspective on veganism, pick up a copy of Street Vegan, and cook delicious meals in your own home. If you prefer someone else cook for you, buy a copy for a friend or visit The Cinnamon Snail at The Pennsy located next to Penn station at 33rd & 7th Avenue.
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