OH! That’s why you do it

This summer, I spent two weeks at a sleepover camp teaching yoga to teens. It was my first time teaching older youngsters. At first I was nervous, and tried to change things up, but then I decided to trust in the teachings of the yoga sages who created the Ashtanga yoga system for 12 year old boys, and just teach what I know and love. And it worked. The teens caught on. They worked hard. They stopped chatting with their friends or looking around to see who was watching. My classes were filled with enthusiastic and interested people who seemed able to shelve their insecurities with their shoes at the entrance of the studio.

This week, I am pleased to invite teens to our WEDNESDAY evening practice. A new student asked if she could bring her teenaged daughter, and I suddenly remembered the request of one of my summer students, the one who lives with me. She had, gotten so much out of the regular yoga sessions, with some degree of surprise I might add, that she had begged me to keep that up during the year. She said she finally got why I spent so much time in these weird poses all these years.

If you know a teen or have one in your proximity, invite him or her this week, and you can come for free. The benefits of such a practice for our youth cannot be overemphasized. At a time when we feel most insecure about our bodies and thoughts, yoga can bring us in, soften and secure the all too powerful meanderings of our minds and allow us to learn a moment or two of how simple and pure our lives have the possibility to be.

MONDAY  FEB. 8      8:30-9:30 AM

WEDNESDAY  FEB. 10   6:30-7:30 PM

 

In appreciation,

Michelle

Giving and Receiving

I lock my keys in the car sometimes when I go to the grocery store it seems. This is not a habit I am proud of, and it certainly does not help get eggs safely home or keep my always cold hands warm as I search my purse out in the rain for the keys that I instinctively know are hidden on my front seat.

Today, I tried to calm down as I waited for AAA. They were sending a man named Rafael to come save the day. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a sign. The angel Rafael coming to help out a mom with a lot on her mind, in a post yoga state of bliss, on the way to her good friend’s house for cozy coffee time. Rafael did indeed come in record time, with a smile on his face, and fancy utensils to pry open my car. He gave me his card, did not ask for mine, and off he drove as I turned on my car.

I wanted to judge myself harshly for this incident. I wanted to crawl into bed, but I remembered something my dad had taught me- if something happens that disrupts your day, see what you can do to just fix the situation and go about your day. I reached out instead to my NYC pal who concurred with my good ole dad, and drove on to keep the playdate with my good LA pal. I felt in grateful abundance for friends in my time of need.

This friend who champions designs both on the ground and above, offered me warm coffee and a quote from her newest book, SASSY TIPS. I offer a piece of this essay by Max Ehrmann back to you, kind reader.

BEYOND A WHOLESOME DISCIPLINE, BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF. YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE UNIVERSE, NO LESS THAN THE TREES AND THE STARS.

I trust I will see you this week MONDAY and THURSDAY mornings, as we shall swap out our WEDNESDAY EVENING for a second morning.

2/1 and 2/4    @8:30 am  Temple Emanuel of BH

in peace and much gratitude for your friendships,

Michelle

The morning why

Sometimes I get bogged down by the WHY of things. My mind spins out of control, specifically in the morning it seems, with the pursuit of getting to some mysterious core of my intentions- why my behavior or was what it was, why my emotional body feels the way it does, why…

I have an acupuncturist I like going to when I’m in Chicago. He is one of those strong, never doubtful, Israeli types. He listened once to my list of why’s, and firmly instructed me the following: “No Why.” At first I thought he was applauding my quest by saying, Know why. But alas, his was the opposite. His thought was at some point, we need to just stop and live it all out. Helpful at times to question, certainly, but for a more peaceful mind and body in the big picture, the cessation of the questions can prove helpful.

Know when to ask. And maybe more importantly, know when to say NO to those same buggers knawing away at an otherwise peaceful path.

In peace and joy for a week of strength and practice,
Michelle

Schedule for the week of January 18

Monday 8:30 am

Wednesday 6:30 pm

learning it anew

I love being out with my husband. Not because we go to nice restaurants or anything, though sometimes we do, but more because I hear so many new stories about this man I have known for over 20 years. More surprising really is sometimes when at synagogue together, I hear him start to talk about me to the whole congregation. This past Friday night,  it was about a little thing I introduced to our family for New Year’s Eve.

It was neat to hear him recount this new little game of writing two things on two pieces of paper. Neat to hear how he remembered it, but really neat because I had no idea he was listening.  On one piece, we wrote something we wanted to get rid of, and on the other, something we wanted to have happen in this new year. Then we threw both the papers into our fire.

This was not a planned out game, nor an original one. The point that I wanted to emphasize is that both negative and positive things have the same weight in the world when we attach too much importance to either one. Change is good and desire can be good, so long as we are in observation from our place of clarity, and not out of a reactive attempt to fix what we might deem “bad” in our lives. The distance we can have from these labels can help us breathe into letting go and manifesting.

When I listened to my husband explain this midnight exercise, he spoke of it as tool to unravel that which you will BE over the year. In a non-resolution type of way. I liked this take on it a lot, and realized how nice it was to have a partner from who I could learn about my own path through his own unique perspective.

Put it out there thing. That which you want to remove and that which you most want to show up in your life. And then let it go. Quietly, maybe this will help us observe our choices and those of your loved ones, anew.

in appreciation,

michelle

Reminder: 

monday      january 4         no class

wednesday january 6     6:30-7:30

 

the other happiest place on earth

I frantically tried to squeeze my car into the potentially too small space in order to get to my dance class on time. I still had to change my clothes and was beginning to wonder if I should just go home, but just as I managed to park, a young woman leaving the studio caught my eye. Her smile shone through the night, like a tiny star of assurance saying, “I just left my great dance class, and I see you’re rushing to get to yours but don’t you worry, it’ll all be worth it.”

She was right. I love the Monday night Broadway Dance class at YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD STUDIO in Culver City. As Tor Campbell, our teacher, ran in with his own HUGE show stopping smile, I loved it even more. He dove into the warm-up  while clutching his white hanky, and I remembered the one time he forget this idiosyncratic-security blanket- dance -clutch object and he seemed all out of sorts. But here he was, encouraging us to Ease On Down the Road with him, and all all worries truly were left behind.

My childhood was all about the music and movements of Broadway. I didn’t have what it took to be any kind of ballerina, but the role of perky hoofer belting out a tune was my happy place. I left that world slightly accidentally and now, some many years later, I find myself wandering back.

I don’t go regularly, and I don’t go to any other class. Hip hop, burlesque, yoga booty, and their other offerings sound fun , and people look deeply thrilled as I watch them, but it is Tor and his music that keep me coming back. Sometimes I find a tear or two escape my eyes, a sort of unconscious musing as to what might have been. Sometimes too I just have to sit out a second as my rusty ability to retain choreography embarrasses me. Most of the time, however, you cannot wipe the smile from my face as I move through the cobwebs of my adulthood and release into the time and space of my youth. Tor smiles and encourages us, and seems to delight in his own connection to these miracles. Hs is so at home in this world, and his skill wows me each session.

The students high five and compliment each other. I always smile but leave rather quickly. This time, I smile and make eye contact with everyone in the cramped hallway as they await their class. Then I catch the gaze of the woman rushing in. She is hoping not to be late, and I try to calm her with my smile, saying, “I just left my great dance class, and I see you’re rushing to get to yours but don’t you worry, it’ll all be worth it.”

Whatever you can do to move your body and get to a place of child like release, do it.

See you this week, MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY 8:30 AM AND 6:30 PM and then let me know your preference of times! Those who write back first, will get first dibs!

in appreciation,

Michelle

giving back

Some years ago, I started sending out little thoughts along with our schedule updates. I am not really sure why I did this. I just started to write down my observations of our practice time, and how it related to the rest of my life. Then I put it out to our little reader base and you responded. Well, some responded with a plea to “Take Me Off Your Mailing List.”  And some replied with a, “Thank You!” Or, ” I Needed That!”, or even an observation of their own. Then my sweet husband made me an official blog, and so it went. I think this was the first adult endeavor I undertook without much thought. All the doubt distractors I usually ask tear myself up with: will this be liked, where will it lead, just kind of got still and quiet.

So, because of you all receiving me this way, I submitted to a great on-line publication called KVELLER. They read and liked, and even paid me a couple bucks to write a piece or two for them. So… In appreciation, and as a little Hanukkah gift, I would like to treat everyone to practice THIS MONDAY, DECEMBER 14 AT 8:30 AM.

Even if you haven’t been in a while. Even if you haven’t read my ramblings in a while or EVER read ever. Come. And it’s on me. Because I never would have started this whole thing without you.

Below is the link to the latest article. Feel free to investigate and sign up for their weekly publication. Lots there to be mined.

http://www.kveller.com/everything-i-needed-to-know-about-life-i-learned-from-the-peanuts-movie/

Recap of our next week’s schedule :

MONDAY 12/14     8:30 AM     FREE CLASS

WEDNESDAY 12/16    CANCELED

We will meet over the holidays, and if you need childcare, just let me know.

 

In gratitude, Michelle

why do it

Yoga comes from an ancient tradition of breathing in order to put your mind in the driver’s seat. The sages write that taking time out of your regular day to day in order to practice the postures helps you to be more aware. They liken it to driving a car drunk verses not drunk. Drunk you tend to drive too fast, you are at greater risk to hurt yourself, and worse, irreparably hurt others. However, when you spend even a short time in any kind of daily activity of reflection, breath, and movement that stretch the limbs and open the heart , you gain more control over your reactive mind. This kind of investigation keeps some of the seemingly compelling arguments offered by your untrustworthy brain as invitations rather than compulsions.

So when we take time out to pray, or meditate, and to move your body, regardless of your personal notions of God or spirit, you can begin to spend time KNOWING your mind and giving it some discipline and choices.

Come this week, Monday morning and Wednesday evening, during this auspicious time. The seasons are in full change mode. It gets dark and cold, and we must not let ourselves darken and freeze up as well. People are asking for more classes. Let’s fill up these and go from there.

CURRENT WEEKLY SCHEDULE AT TEMPLE EMANUEL, 300 N. CLARK DRIVE BH, CA 90212

MONDAY          8:30 AM-9:45 AM

WEDNESDAY  6:30 PM-7:30 PM

 

Privates and semi-privates always available.

 

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