Thursday Night Classes

I’ve got the prettiest yoga studio in town for you! Central Park yoga is back this summer!!!

Thursday nights at 6:15pm. 

Core Strength Vinyasa in the park.

We meet at 81st and Central Park West, just by the Diana Ross Playground.

Bring a mat, bring some water, (maybe some bug spray) and get ready to enjoy some outdoor yoga flow.

See you there,

Brian

Undermining

My friend Mike Albo wrote a really funny, sharp book a few years ago called The Underminer. I was just reading it, and laughing, but wincing. It’s one of those books that you read, and you laugh out loud at, but it also hurts, because it hits home so truthfully. It made me think about all the underminers I’ve known in my life. Plenty of them.

Not so much the awful, scary bullies that seem to haunt the halls of every middle and high school in the country, but the ones we keep around for some reason, as if we aren’t doing enough of a job in talking smack about ourselves.

I’m talking about our “friends” who seem to really enjoy telling us that maybe we “should have the sorbet” rather than the sundae. The ones who ask if we’re “still at that studio?” or if we’d like the number of the “great girl who cuts my hair.” Or best of all, the one who asked me once, incredulously, “you own an iron???” For the record, that shirt was supposed to be wrinkled, it came that way, it was the look.  I do own an iron and I use it all the time. I’m also the only person I know who uses spray starch when I use my iron.

At any rate, being someone who writes and directs theatre as well as teaches yoga, I put myself out there. In a very public way. I’ve sort of  gotten used to the fact that some of my friends, being artists themselves, like to be critics, and think their opinions and feedback will be treasured by everyone they know.  They love to share their opinions about everything. They actually believe, I think, that when I’ve just finished teaching a class, or have just opened a play, or finished a screenplay, that I want their real, gritty, no-holds-barred, honest feedback about my work. Guess what? I don’t.

I stand by what I do. I like what I do. If I want to hear some criticism or feedback, I’ll ask you for it. And if I ask you, that’s your cue to say what you think.  But please, wait until I’ve asked, and if you’re going to give me feedback, make it useful. Make it constructive. Give me ideas for how to improve. But if I didn’t ask, and you didn’t like it, just lie and say “It was great. Good job.” Sometimes that’s the best way to do it. Oh, and don’t say “congratulations.” That’s such a vague, shitty thing to say to someone who has just created something.

The worst thing anyone ever said to me on an opening night was “Congratulations. Did you have fun?” Yuck. Guess what? I sat through that seven hour “Mahabarata” set in Disneyworld that you were so proud of your work in. I didn’t call it “interesting” or say “congratulations.” I hugged you and said “you were fabulous.” You weren’t, by the way.

Don’t be an underminer. And don’t ever, EVER tell me I look tired. You don’t want to hear my response to that.

Be kind. Sometimes honesty isn’t the best policy.

I’m a fan of the following litmus test:

Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary?

The yogic thing to do, in my view, is to think about how you’d want to be treated, and then act accordingly.

For a real laugh, here’s  Mike as The Underminer.

New Class in Harlem

I’m really excited to be teaching at Asali Yoga in Harlem! It’s a beautiful space with some inspiring teachers, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this great new studio!

Class will be Mondays from 12:15-1:30. Expect a core-strengthening, flowing meditation suitable for all levels of practice! Come and see me uptown.

http://www.asaliyoga.com

Why Virgin Vinyasa?

I love vinyasa yoga. For those of you who don’t know that that means, vinyasa yoga is a style that puts the asanas, or poses, into a sequence of movements, so that the poses flow from one into another, almost like a dance. The practice, linking pose after pose, and letting the breath move you from one pose to another, becomes a beautiful moving meditation.

Vinyasa yoga makes you sweat, too. You’re moving a lot, even though there are moments when you are in a pose, and you stay there, the practice is active. If it’s done right, vinyasa yoga is safe, and the class builds one pose upon another, so that it is an intelligent journey, not just a random string of poses.

However, there can be problems with vinyasa, too. Many times, the teachers get so involved in making up interesting sequences, and making sure that the class “flows” that they don’t instruct students how to align their bodies in the poses, nor do they allow time in the actual pose for the student to actually align herself properly. It can be a practice that is so movement focused, that the alignment flies out the window, especially if the teacher isn’t reminding the students to breathe properly, or if she is too worried about getting everyone to sweat a lot.

Anyone who has taken my class can tell you that they sweat in it. They can also tell you its one of the slower moving vinyasa classes they’ve taken. That’s because I make sure everyone is aligning the poses properly.

But I’ve taken this a step further. I’ve created Virgin Vinyasa, a class that spends the time on one or two poses, or a class of pose, in a flowing sequence, so that students can learn the pose or poses from the ground up. It’s for beginners, but it is also for students who’ve never taken an alignment based yoga class, or for students who just want to learn more about how they should be doing the poses for optimal benefit and the least chance of injury. I’d love you to come and check it out.

See how you can keep the spine aligned, stay safe in your yoga practice, and breathe properly throughout. See how you can transform your practice through precision and breath.

Wednesdays from 7-8pm.

Reflections Yoga.

250 W. 49th Street.

$15.

I hope to see you there!