The physical and spiritual benefits of the Ashtanga Yoga practice unfold with a committed and regular practice, so we thought it was time to offer an additional class to the regular weekly offerings. This new class, which will also be a Primary Series class, will be led by experience Ashtanga yoga practitioner and instructor, Kathy Reisfeld, and hosted at our Uptown studio at 57 Crown Street.
Those who are newer to the Ashtanga Yoga practice, please feel free to come to any of our now three(!) Ashtanga classes, but know that we will be offering another Intro to Asthanga Yoga Series in January. If you’re interested in finding out a little more about what the practice is, please read our blog post here.
Kathy Reisfeld has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga since the fall of 2001 when she was introduced to the Ashtanga primary series. In the summer of 2003 she had the privilege of studying with Nancy Gilgoff and Christine Hoar at a workshop in Burlington, Vermont, which opened her eyes to the true depths of Ashtanga Yoga.
While living in NYC she practiced at Ashtanga Yoga New York with Eddie Stern as her teacher from 2005 through 2010. She had the good fortune of meeting and practicing with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in the fall of 2003 and again in 2005 and 2006. She traveled to Mysore, India in 2005 in order to study at the Ashanga Yoga Research Institute with Sharath Rangaswamy.
In 2010, while pregnant with her daughter, Ruthie, Kathy moved up to Woodstock with her husband, Scott. Kathy has been maintaining a home practice since her move up to Woodstock. She is grateful for the love, support, and wisdom of her teacher, Christine Hoar. Kathy hosts a Mysore style Ashtanga practice group at her home studio in Woodstock. Visit Ashtanga Yoga Woodstock for more info.
We knew when we opened the studio that we were signing ourselves up to meet a lot of people, and we have to admit, we didn’t give this aspect of the enterprise a ton of thought. We figured we would meet many nice people, many hardworking people, perhaps (just the universe’s way of keeping things interesting…) a rare ornery sort. But on the whole we expected to be interacting with mostly warm, well-meaning fellow humans. The matter took up very little brain space, and we had no way of anticipating the substance, nuance, reality, and boon, of participating in so many relationships over the years.
It’s difficult not to use superlative language when we consider how many people have simply floored us by their level of commitment to service work or by the creativity and accomplishments they’re often keeping secret. Obviously you don’t have to be harboring some surreptitious superpower to be an amazing person, but so many of you are dedicating your lives to life-affirming projects that we want to say a few words about it.
Here’s a quick portrait of the sort of lives converging in the yoga rooms on Broadway and Crown Street:
Craftspeople and artists who are seriously — like, intimidatingly — good at what they do: digital designers, muralists, sculptors, clothing-makers, interactive space builders, writers, filmmakers, and photographers — just to get started.
Leaders running mission-driven, non-profit organizations dedicated to serving the underserved in the U.S. and in developing countries.
Unsung parents and single parents running the show for their children at the same time that they maintain a career and a personal practice.
Angel-style selfless servants who perform (often anonymously) time-consuming, labor-intensive acts of succor, requesting exactly nothing in return.
Activists and involved citizens expending heroic personal resources to organize and raise awareness in various spheres.
Clearly, we could go on. But our aim is not to celebrate individual accomplishments. We want to point out that each of us has an opportunity to join collaborative arms with the many competent, incredible people in our midst. And doing so has more to do with the yoga practice than meets the eye.
If you are at all interested in inquiring into the workings of ego (in Sanskrit it’s ahamkara, the notorious“I-maker”), there is perhaps no better way than to work closely with another person. Wow oh wow, does such a partnership reflect back in crystal clarity our blind spots. If we are willing to see our defensiveness, our conceit, our excuses, our self-defeating tendencies, our inner bully or inner victim presented before us on a platter to confront — we’ll want to partner up.
Working with someone on a project that demands our functioning at full capacity is like being put through emotional maturity boot camp. If you see a chance to do it, seize it! And then do two more things, quickly:
Establish a gratitude practice that speaks louder than any interpersonal griping;
Understand and embrace the precept that most of the disappointments, criticisms, or irritations you have involving the other party are actually an invaluable schooling in your own unexamined (let’s call it…) stuff.
The payoffs: Uniting consciousness with someone else’s to become a more expansive locus of awareness. Removing the layers of personhood that have kept us in separation and delusion, moving closer to citta vrtti nirodhah, a lucid head, open and untied to disturbances. Perceiving how our very energy impacts other beings. Discerning which energies facilitate our joy and growth and which to keep at arm’s length. Knowing when our own energy body needs a little caressing before it’s presented to others. Developing self trust and sturdy confidence as we understand our strengths and gifts. Grounding ourselves in the reality beyond our own container. Recognizing ourselves as a vital piece of the cosmic unity.
There is so much inner seeing to be had by, as a friend says, “bouncing our molecules off of other people.” And there is so much light to be spread when brilliant minds with genuine hearts plug into one another.
‘Cause we can work around the clock by ourselves, but when we link our efforts to someone else’s, the results really are greater than the sum of their parts. It’s been a gift to collaborate on partner projects with so many of you, and we are optimistic when we consider the many fruitful shifts that can take place when we are co-creating a future.With love,Leigha & Jacqui
At our Midtown location, 474 Broadway Ave., Kingston, NY
Have you fallen in love with the Sutras yet? This rich and many-layered text lays out, quite directly, the why and the how of yoga as it is meant to be practiced. This weekend intensive is especially appropriate for yoga teachers, serious students of yoga, and academics who would like a deeper understanding of the origin, content and living application of the most essential text in the yogic lineage as a whole. Edwin Bryant’s published commentary and interpretation summarizes the most significant pre-modern commentaries, adding clarity and insight in an accessible but rigorous way. He is both scholar and committed yogi on the path. We are honored and delighted to be hosting him and we hope you will join us for this exceptional chance to dig deeper into yoga’s roots.
12 Continuing Ed credits available for Yoga Alliance-registered yoga teachers.
Edwin Bryant received his Ph.D in Indic languages and Cultures from Columbia University. He taught Hinduism at Harvard University for three years, and is presently the professor of Hinduism at Rutgers University where he teaches courses on Hindu philosophy and religion. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, published six books and authored a number of articles on Vedic history, yoga, and the Krishna tradition. In addition to his academic work for the scholarly community, Edwin’s Penguin World Classics translation of the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, the traditional source for the story of Krishna’s incarnation, is both for Indology specialists as well as students and those interested in Hinduism from the general reading public and the yoga community.
As a personal practitioner of yoga for 35 years, a number of them spent in India studying with traditional teachers, where he returns yearly, Edwin strives to combine academic scholarship and rigor with sensitivity towards traditional knowledge systems. In addition to his academic course load, Edwin currently teaches workshops on the Yoga Sutras, Bhagavad Gita, and Hindu Philosophy at yoga studios and teacher training courses throughout the country. His translation of and commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (North Point Press, a division of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009) is specifically dedicated to contributing to the growing body of literature on yoga by providing insights from the major pre-modern commentaries on the text with a view to grounding the teachings in their traditional context.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali with Notes from the Traditional Commentators. New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux in press 2008.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the classical ancient Indian treatise on the practice of Yoga. While Yoga conjures up images of bodily postures and stretches in popular western culture, this aspect of yoga, the asanas, is only the third limb of the eight limbs outlined in the Yoga Sutras — and, indeed, Patanjali pays only passing attention to this aspect of the system. This seminar series will consist of a close reading of Patanjali’s original text, focusing on the opening section of the work, wherein Yoga is defined and the state of samadhi, liberation, described, as well as on the eight limbs of yoga covered in the heart of the text, which outline the step by step methods for attaining this enlightened state. Attention will be paid to the pre-modern commentaries of the text, thus exposing students to the traditional understanding of the practice of classical Yoga and its goals. Students are advised to bring any copy of the Sutras which has the Sanskrit text in romanized script as attention will be focused on the original source rather than its westernized manifestation.
Share your practice with your child or discover the world of yoga together! This class is designed for families to explore yoga and mindfulness at a playful, kid-friendly pace. Through yoga games, story-telling with our poses, parallel practice, and simple partner yoga with your child, incorporate relaxation and breathing techniques into your family’s life, establish boundaries for your home yoga practice, and learn how to Play Yoga with your child. This class is geared for adult yogis of any level (newbies strongly encouraged) and their child partners (ages 4-10). One adult per child is ideal, so the class fee is per adult-child couple. $18 to drop in. Have questions about if it’s right for your family? Give a call! And check out the free sampler class on September 13th.
SLACKLINE is a unique practice that redefines your sense of balance and mental focus on a one inch wide piece of webbing! Great for climbers, yogis, surfers, runners and athletes of all forms, the YogaSlackers bring their unique practice of slackasana to climbing gyms and yoga studios around the world. This practice helps students to develop new techniques of complete body awareness and strength while improving concentration, so much so that some have labeled it “meditation for those who can’t sit still”. In this 2 hour workshop, students will learn the basics of the series including poses such as kneeling, sitting, standing, lying down, arm balancing and even going upside down on the slackline. Often times the practice is combined with AcroYoga and Thai Massage to offer a full exploration into balance and holistic well-being.
Adi Carter has been a life long student of practicing yoga off the mat in all shapes and forms especially when it involves being outdoors. Her passion for movement and the environment have taken her on countless adventures around the world and she currently travels and teaches as part of the YogaSlackers & created the Redefining Balance series and retreats to share the modalities of shifting perspective through yoga, slacklining, AcroYoga, climbing, surfing, mountain biking and just about anything else you can think to do on the Earth’s terrain. Traveling & teaching often times with her car as a home base, you can find her somewhere in the vicinity of an ocean, climb site, mountain or legit climbing tree as she works with students on and off the mat to discover a new sense of balance, strength and focus in whatever their form of practice might be. Her yoga classes are alignment based and draw from a background of practicing Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Anusara, Pilates and Thai Massage.
Adi’s adventures and environmental awareness endeavours have been featured in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, Outdoor Japan, New York Magazine, National Geographic, L.A. Yoga, Yoga + Joyful Living, Urban Climber, elephant journal, Current TV and TIME for CNN.