|Beyond Anusara Yoga - Teacher Training/Immersions - Ongoing Classes - Online Classes - Events - Retreats - About Lois - Contact|
YOGA MATTERS October 2010
Heads up! I’ve retooled (and renamed) my newsletter to offer you essential (and practical!) tools for living fully on and off the mat. This issue includes:
WHERE AND WHEN
IT LIST: BECAUSE COPING IS NOT ENOUGH!
I accepted my first invite to teach in China two years ago, when the world was abuzz with the Beijing Olympics. Being an architecture geek and all around cultural snoop, I was itching to glimpse the Land of the Future. Twenty-four months and seven trips later, I have yet to see the Bird’s Nest stadium, the Great Wall, or the 10,000 Terra Cotta Warriors. Instead, I have put in seven- or eight-hour days at yoga studios grand and small, pursued by a loyal band of students and teachers who often cross the country to study with me in intensives that run seven days nonstop. On my days “off” I commute from city to city, and the minute I am done, I hop on the first plane back home to be with all of you.
On my last visit, one teacher asked me why I bother. She had me there! It’s true that the cultural divide is huge (made worse by my inability to pronounce, read, or understand any Mandarin beyond Ni hao! (How are you?)), the travel is exhausting, and the take-home much less than I could earn by staying put in New York.
I paused. I thought. I turned inward. I thought of my grandfather, a Presbyterian missionary who spent twelve years creating schools for the untouchables in India. He, my grandmother, and their children (including my dad, who was born in Dera Duhn) made two round trips by boat, an onerous eight weeks with many stops each way. (Their first trip was before the Panama Canal, so they traveled around the tip of Patagonia.) Whatever our current views on religious proselytizing, there is no doubt that his work vastly improved the lives of many who were considered subhuman in their own culture. Only the loss of one son and my grandfather’s own disintegrating health drove them home.
I also thought of my dad, a psychiatrist and not one to travel, who put in twelve-hour days plus half of every Saturday tending to the mental ill and unstable closer to home.
I realized that service runs in the family. People everywhere are in pain of all sorts, are stressed out, are baffled by the paradoxes of modern life. I know that the work I do to spread Anusara Yoga in China is crucial. Students and teachers there do not have the same access to the teachings that we have here. Many are getting injured through ignorance; others crave a philosophy like ours that celebrates life and strikes a balance between the individual and the greater whole. This stuff changes lives, over there as it has here, and I am both proud and humble to be opening eyes. In September, I began the first-ever Anusara Yoga Teacher Training in the People’s Republic of China—truly an historic moment! Those fifteen teachers are the wave that will carry this outstanding practice to others throughout that vast nation.
“The Hamptons” No More?
When my grandfather returned to New York in the early 1930s, he found himself at prestigious Presbyterian church on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street. Thus overnight he went from serving the desperately impoverished to counseling and consoling the, well, undeniably rich! Shuttling back and forth from China to Manhattan and East Hampton, I experience an only somewhat less dramatic contrast. China’s economy may be on the rise, but most people I meet there live frugally. Some endured the deprivation and distress of the final truly communist years, including the harsh penance of the Cultural Revolution. We all enjoy comparative ease and abundance.
While the economic downturn has had some undeniably tragic consequences round the globe, the “readjustment” closer to home continues even among New York’s most affluent. This shift has been palpable in the Hamptons during the past two summers. Still a playground of the rich, the frenzy of the heady, high-rolling nineties has partly abated. Fewer fields sprout new houses each spring, and the local economy sputters along, ticking up and down with the stock market. We may in fact be returning to the times when there were no “Hamptons”—before the media lumped this picturesque grouping of villages under a moniker that came to stand for all that was excessive in America getting and spending. When people went to “the country” or “the beach” to escape the city’s endless pressure to see and be seen, not to make deals on cell phones in beach parking lots and maximize their face time at high-ticket charity extravaganzas.
I’d like to think that the shift will be permanent, but I suspect that the minute the economy rebounds, all of that will return at full throttle. Either way, those of us who never had the cash and prizes, felt embarrassed about having them, or wouldn’t know what to do with them if we had them are finding peace in a less frenetic world. Fewer students may sign up for private lessons, but I’m happy to see more of them in group classes. I also see that “value” matters, and that people are willing to put out for the best.
I’m tickled that the slowdown is protecting this stunning landscape from becoming suburbia overnight. Of course I’d like to see everyone’s property and investments rise to their former levels, including the house my dad bought out there on the eve of his own retirement, so that I would have a place to call home. On the other hand, I’ll be more comfortable when we all learn a few things from my Chinese friends—like the importance of family and long-term loyalty and the prudence of saving for a rainy day. In the meantime, you can’t put a price on an afternoon at one of the South Fork’s stellar beaches or a dip in the salty sea!
WHERE AND WHEN
More info on all of my current and upcoming programs at www.blueskyyoga.com. Here’s the short version:
NEW YORK CITY
One Ocean Yoga
East Hampton NY
Part One: October 15-17 and November 6-7
This life-changing program occurs amid the stunning natural beauty of fall in the Hamptons—sunlit beaches, farmstands spilling over with the harvest, evenings by the fire. These mini-retreat weekends invite to deepen your love and understanding of yoga, surrounded by others who share your passion for the best of life. Each weekend features yoga practice, breathing, meditation, and discussions. Meals provided for all and housing arranged for those visiting from New York and beyond.
BEACHFRONT YOGA RETREAT
Our second-annual bliss-out by the beach will sell out, so reserve your spot today for a week in paradise with two of New York’s top teachers!
Up in the Air
Okay, I travel a lot. But so do most people I know. And travel takes its toll on our bodies, minds, and spirits. Being myself somewhat highly strung and attuned to changes of all sorts, I’ve had to find creative ways to make the long and short trips not only tolerable but fun. Here’s my lowdown:
STUFF THAT HELPS