First Street Yoga Community News and Blog

celebrate the sun!

There’s still room in the Salute to the Sun Workshop

Saturday June 26 9-12

$40  with Jane Carlsen

Sun Salute (surya namaskarasana) is a classic asana sequence of moving outward and moving inward.

Traditionally, this vigorous sequence is practiced in the morning to align the individual’s energy to the primal energy of the sun.

Focusing movement, breath, and intention, surya namaskar becomes a meditation, a prayer, that helps us coordinate our outward get it done energy with our inward give it meaning energy.

For more information, see the workshops page.

coordination makes it happen

After twelve years of working out at the gym, a student recently told me, she can finally use an exercise machine she’s been trying to master. It wasn’t the twelve years of working out, she explained laughing, but the single year of yoga that made the difference. How does yoga do that?

As we struggle to learn the yoga exercises (called asana) we begin to understand that our strengths and weaknesses are so connected they are like flip sides of a single coin. Often, lack of strength is not due to simple weakness (twelve years of working out will improve simple weakness). When we can’t do something that we’ve been trying to master for a long time, it’s usually because something else in us is undermining our efforts. One step up and two steps back.

Muscles in the body are often paired. When one contracts, the other should release to allow movement. One muscle may be very strong but if its antagonist muscle is weak by comparison, the joint will not move well. For healthy movement, coordination trumps brute strength.

The same need for balanced effort is apparent in life as well as in our bodies. For example, an ambitious personality may be good at identifying and moving toward goals but if the skills of focus and determination are not balanced by an equally robust ability to relax and enjoy, they may miss the satisfaction that should come from the achievement.

Yoga asanas are designed to balance the physical body. The equal emphasis on effort and relaxation helps us balance mentally and emotionally as well.

In yoga class, every student may be doing the same asana, but we’re all developing different skills as each individual investigates what they need to be better balanced. Then, almost like magic, the hard things get easier and the easy things get more interesting. You may find yourself wondering why it took so long.

farewell, Darcy

I am sorry to announce that as of the summer session, our friend and colleague, Darcy Renda, will no longer teach at First Street Yoga. She finds she needs more time to dedicate to her personal practice and her family and cannot sustain the commute and commitment of regular teaching.

Darcy’s passion and dedication to yoga have broadened the perspective of all of us who have had the opportunity to work with her. We hope to see her occasionally in workshops, classes and perhaps as a substitute from time to time, but we will miss her regular contributions to our community. Her students join me in wishing her the very best as she proceeds on her path.

Not surprisingly, I have not been able to replace Darcy and unfortunately the Saturday and Monday classes will close for the summer. I am committed to finding and developing new teachers and will expand the schedule as soon as I am able.


memorial day schedule

There will be one class held on Monday, May 31 (Memorial Day):  Level 1      12 – 1:30 pm      with Darcy

Yoga in the News…

Yoga May Help Cancer Patients’ Fatigue, Insomnia After Treatment

ABC News Medical Unit

May 21, 2010

In the chemotherapy infusion room at the Staten Island University Hospital sit several cancer patients hooked up to IVs. But they aren’t leafing through magazines or staring at a talk show and worrying about their health.

Instead, their right legs are lifted up in the air, and they’re circling their ankles clockwise while breathing deeply under the instruction of their yoga teacher.

“Most people don’t look forward to chemotherapy,” said Kerry Gillespie, director of the hospital’s Center for Complementary Medicine. But he said the patients in this program look forward to the yoga class they take during their chemotherapy infusions every continue reading »