In the World of Yoga Today

 In the World of Yoga Today,                                                                          

There are Festivals to Spread the Word of invigorating Yoga techniques and happenings. 

There is a Loud and Strong Community to Reach Globally On and Off the Mat.

There are many more certifications in the learning of Yoga to meet all peoples needs, wants, and yearnings physically and mentally.

Over abundance of yoga study and teaching has lead to more certifications, more teachers, more disciplines, and commercialization of the Practice of Yoga some may say.   

Yoga has become in a way mass marketed for money and fame some may say. 

The quietness is somewhat gone. 

The personal practice is becoming more about showing publicly verses just doing.

Beautiful bodies are undressing in the presence of their practices to share with yoga communities. 

Yoga becoming more free and in display leaves some feeling as if Yoga is perfect. 

Yoga is not perfect. 

It is a Way of Life. 

You make your Practice. 

Now, Practice Personally. 

I hope for more stillness in the Yoga community of today.  

I hope for less bigness and shouting out through community gatherings. 

We do not want to be a display turning away from the classicism of Yoga. 

Yoga of Today needs to return back to ABC basics and the purity.  

Remember to be pure and real in the Study of this Ancient Practice.

Hit your personal practice every day to be true to yourself and true to others that you may be teaching. 

End the display. 

Work towards the quietness. 

Your practice, your global outreach, your community outreach will become more true, sincere, compassionate, and trustworthy in a time of massive overload if you return back to the feeling you had during your first Yoga class and Personal Practice. 

Remember that Quietness,

Remember even the Awkwardness,

Remember the Release Emotionally and Physically,

Without the Shouting Out!

Focus everyday to connect to the Yoga of Yesterday and Ancient Times.  

 

I am not saying to stop personal viewing of Yoga Journal or You Tube for inspiration and awareness of where the World of Yoga is going today. 

It is important to view all the information out there about yoga certifications, teachers, and studying yogis in varying communities.  

Take a look at the festivals and attend if your heart is telling you too!

Be appreciative of the Classic Yoga study of Ashtanga, Anusara, Vinyasa, Hot Yoga, Bikram Yoga, and all the other Creative Disciplines that are developing off of the ones just mentioned. 

Take the social media/commercials/and gossip of the World of Yoga Today in for a brief minute.  

But, most importantly take a good look at YOU!

You will make your practice each and every day. 

You will mold your body, mind, and spirit to your own study. 

Appreciate all around you to begin. 

Then let go of it and trust your own heartbeat.  

Create your Yoga pathway in the context of self learning and individual practice first. 

Be still, real, and pure in your pathway of Yoga study and practice.

Your Yoga is an everyday Expression of YOU!

Be Proud of it and Embrace it!

 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Movement-for-You-and-Artists-in-Unity/179731992111934

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hot Yoga Buzz

It is a very cold morning in Northeast Pennsylvania in mid January.  My face hits the freezing cold air and I questioned why I left my warm bed on a Sunday morning with my kids and hubby playing around me.   

Maybe Hot Yoga today I ask myself? 

My mind keeps wandering on the possibility.   I promised myself this year to take on challenges of different practices and guide my own practice to a deeper level.  I have been hearing the Hot Yoga Buzz throughout the Lehigh Valley since before Christmas and figured this may be the day to take on the challenge.  I see myself creeping into the hot environment, comparing it to my past studies in Bikram, and wondering if my heart and mind would be up to the challenge this time around. 

I will take you back seven years before the birth of my first child Penelope.   I was training and performing as a professional dancer in New York City and teaching dance/yoga/gymnastics at a wonderful facility called Chelsea Piers.   In my spare time, which wasn’t a lot, I was always trying to scope out the yoga/Pilates/and dance scene.  My friends would always joke and say “Lindsay, You are a Professional Class Taker.”  I loved class what can I say and still do.  I loved the energy from teachers and fellow dancers, yogis, or movers of any kind around me.  I felt inspiration from it all and always knew it would lead me down the road to be a giving and wonderful teacher.

One day a friend approached me about a new class in yoga involving heat.  I said, “Heat and me do not really get along except for when I can be in a bikini on the beach.”  Well, the friend reminded me of how I am always open to classes with challenges and wouldn’t let it rest.  On a beautiful Spring Day in New York City I hit a hot yoga class known as Bikram Yoga on Broadway and 23rd.  It was an experience that I will never forget. 

On that day, we arrived 15 minutes before class to the Bikram Yoga Studio.  The studio was very clear about arriving early to allow your body to adjust to the heat.  You felt the intense heat hit your face and extremities the minute you walked through the studio door where class would be held.  The studio was filled with mirrors on two walls and a wonderful window overlooking Broadway.  I will tell you this, mid way through class seven years back I wanted to jump out those windows.  “Please take me away from this Torture Chamber of Heat.”  Bikram Choudhury himself would call the studios filled with heat, torture chambers.  He often stated that you needed to heat the body first in order to change its construction.  Your bodies will then soften, become more flexible, and reshape themselves. 

Bikram Yoga was an eye opener to say the least.  The studio encouraged you to take seven classes in a row to allow your body time to adjust to the environment.  After the seven days, I understood the principle behind it all.  The first day I was ready to cry afterwards.  The heat made me nausea and dizzy at times.  I questioned myself almost every minute during the first class.  Then I noticed the first class was hard.  Second class was even harder.  But, then the third class shined the light down on me and I didn’t want to jump through the window anymore and hide.

 The third class I let the heat just be around me.  I imagined myself swimming in the heat and moving through it instead of feeling trapped by it.  Once I embraced the heat, my body took on the breath and the 26 poses before me.   Each pose got easier on the second repetition.  As a dancer, the instructors wanted to push me to go deeper and deeper with my flexibility.  I share this with you because in Bikram Yoga and Hot Yoga both you need to know your own limitations.   You can very easily in these heat filled classes of 100-105 degrees go further with your flexibility.  Your body may not want to go there yet and this is when injury can occur.   I say this to all practicing Bikram Yogis and Hot Yogis- “Practice with Care, Know your Limitations.”  

The seven day challenge did not end at seven days with my Bikram Yoga Practice.  I continued to add Bikram into my yoga studies along with Ashtanga and Vinyasa.  The Bikram Yoga had many strict rules that I tended to rebel from.  The mirrors were always present in each class.  As a dancer, I was always in front of mirrors and wanted yoga class to be my escape away from them.  Do the mirrors help in ways for practicing Bikram yogis?  I actually believe yes, they do.  They can help studying Bikram yogis find alignment and adjustments in their bodies quicker.  Plus, the mirrors can give them a whole picture of class and make them work harder.  Staring yourself in the face does push you to do more.  I personally, love the no mirror rule in yoga class unless you are a student teacher of yoga.   No mirrors require you to go deeper internally and to find the alignment with your own voice.   www.bikramyoga.com

Fast forward seven years, many yoga classes have been explored in Bikram Yoga and beyond. Travels have taken me outside of New York City and now to the Lehigh Valley.  Bikram is not the Buzz word in the little town of Bethlehem as it was years back in Chelsea district of NYC.  But, instead Hot Yoga Buzz is what the yogis are speaking of.  Instead, of a seven day challenge it is a thirty day challenge. 

Ashtanga and Hot Yoga teacher, Randi Perrett, R.Y.T. at Lehigh Valley Yoga has developed a spin-off of Hot Yoga and Bikram Yoga called Hot Yoga 40.  It is a class that has developed from her love for Ashtanga and Bikram Yoga.  The Hot Yoga 40 is a series of 40 postures that is practiced in a room of 100 degrees.   The class is 75 minutes in length and yogis are asked to arrive 15 minutes in advance to adjust to the heat.   No mirrors are present in the room or carpet as in Bikram Yoga.   Lightness and a working together attitude were more present in the Hot Yoga scene at Lehigh Valley Yoga then in past Bikram Yoga studies.  Gail Brown, Hot Yoga instructor at Lehigh Valley Yoga offered the 40 poses to her students with care and demonstration.  There were key points in this class that brought me face to face with the challenges I once felt in Bikram Yoga.  The heat was there.  The intense poses with repetition were there as if practicing for perfection.  But, the difference today was my heart was more open for the challenge of Hot Yoga.  www.lvyoga.com

Even though a Level I Hot Yoga 40 class stood before me, I was able to adapt it to my own needs.  In Bikram years back, the knowledge and openness was not there to do this.  I was struggling with just getting control of the breath to move through the posture work let alone master it. 

The environment at Lehigh Valley Yoga today helped to guide all the Hot Yoga students into a different place.  Tensions and chatter were told to be left at the door with the guidance of Gail Brown’s voice.  Through countdown of poses 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 each student knew the duration of the pose.  It helped us all to stay connected and in sync with one another.

 I guess one can say “Lindsay, you still do love taking class.” I will take the Professional Class Taker name card no problem these days.  I am glad the openness has come my way to venture into all these classes whether in the Lehigh Valley or in New York City.  My Bikram Yoga fears have been laid to rest in Hot Yoga 40 thanks to the Lehigh Valley Yoga crew.  As a professional movement specialist I can just hope that teachers will continue to offer guidance to all their students.  I can only hope the Bikram Yogis and Hot Yogi Instructors continue to educate themselves through their own practice on a daily basis.  These styles of yoga require much knowledge so that students will learn their own limitations without injury. 

Bikram yoga, yes was developed through Bikram Chaudhury, a yogi since age 4, marathon runner, and Olympic Weightlifting champion.  The intense training can be seen and felt in every pose.   You need the stamina and endurance of your breath to carry you through the practice.  Bikram was injured after training as an athlete and found himself back in the hands of Guru Bishnu Ghosh where the Bikram Yoga of 26 poses developed.   Who would have thought that an injury would have developed such an intense practice?  But, who could think less of anyone who was an athlete at that level listening to a doctor tell them they would never walk again.

 I thank Bikram Chaudhury for his developments and making me come face to face with challenges and fears of non perfection seven years back.  I thank all the Hot Yoga teachers at Lehigh Valley Yoga and beyond for developing their work and spin offs from Bikram Yoga.  Hot Yoga Buzz I may be following you.  I am quite interested in seeing the challenges Hot Yoga may bring to me and the further developments it may lend to my own personal practice and teaching.  Lindsay, you officially have taken the Hot Yoga Challenge.  Now Practice with Care, Know your Limitations! 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

Facebook

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

 

Lindsay Schaefer has been performing and teaching professionally throughout the U.S.   After completion of her BA in Dance from Point Park College, Lindsay taught and directed a high school dance program in Arizona and performed with Arizona Movement Source Company in Phoenix, Arizona.   Furthering her dance training and performing opportunities she headed to New York City to study with Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor II and performed with various modern dance companies and independent artists throughout N.Y.C.  Lindsay was co-artistic director of NY Dance Collective and Odonata Dance Project. Her choreography has been performed at Cunningham Studio, Wax, St. Marks Church, 92nd Street Y, and SUNY Purchase.   She also directed a recreational dance program for Chelsea Piers and taught at P.S. 163 outreach program in Manhattan.   In connection with her dance training, she trained in gymnastics and completed her yoga certification through YogaFit.  With her extensive study in Yoga and Pilates, Lindsay has had the opportunity to teach independently throughout Manhattan. She is currently teaching Yoga, Pilates, and Dance independently in PA, NJ and NY.  She is the creator of Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice and founder and collaborator of Artists in Unity. Lindsay is excited to be working as a delegate/writer for Yoga Stage as of November 2011.      

 

 

 

 

 

Words of a Dancer

 

Perfection

Better Tomorrow

Dream

Body

Diet

Who is that Dancer?

I need to Practice NOW

I want to be just like …………

Gym

I will copy every move that I see

Workout

Who got the lead?

I am not good enough

Me?

Money……where is it?

I hope- I got it!

How many years will this take to be a Professional?

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8

I am a Ballerina

At six that was the dream

3-6-9-12-15-18-21-24

Now Modern

The body determines it all

Pilates

Why do I need to Work More?

Yoga

Do you want to be a Professional or Not?

Conditioning, conditioning, conditioning

More now or it will not happen

Arms, legs, core, spine, neck, head

Extend, extend, extend

Breath

I wish the instrument was perfect

I can’t have that pizza?

Audition

I want that pizza

#31

Cut

#500

Call back

A dancer

Thank you, but………..

I want the part

Train

We only need one

Forget the pizza

Train

Forget the fun

Train

Forget the Balance

Hours, hours, hours

Dedicate

Should I wear black or color?

This will matter

Do I look thin enough?

Tall enough?

Good enough?

Appearance is part of the game

College

Touring

Performing

Small company

Large company

Ballet

Shoes

Modern

Feet

Jazz

Attitude

Who am I?

Fly

Dancer for who?

Create

Dancer for what?

Freedom

Dancer …….

Own it

Dancer……..

Want it

Dancer……..

Make it Happen

Dance for Me!

 

I remember these thoughts at 19 as a dancer.  The sad part and reality is that the attitudes of dancers have not changed in 15 years.  The young girls, trainees, apprentices, and professionals still have some of the same thoughts today. 

Should this be? 

In my eyes, I wish it would change.  As a professional teacher, performing artist, and movement specialist, I can only guide the dancers before me in having different thoughts and attitudes.  I can only try and nurture the young dancer’s soul to believe enough, to trust enough in themselves. I want today’s dancer and professional to realize BALANCE earlier in their careers.  I want them to understand it is not always about more but about less and trusting the heart and talent that was given to you.

 I will continue to push hard for attitude change in the dance community every day I walk into the studio.  To all my professional friends, acquaintances, supporters, and non supporters this job of Positive Change in attitude and in the words that dancers carry with them will take a Village.   I hope you will be part of this teaching Village with me.  Let’s join together to change the dancers words of Tomorrow!

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

Facebook

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

 

What is the meaning of giving?

To some giving may be helping a friend or family member out.  To others it could be volunteering your time to the less fortunate.  For some giving may have to be thought about and not automatic.  Today, I was able to see the purest form of giving by Acro Yoga Specialist Chris Loebsack. www.chrisloebsackyoga.com

 

Chris guided the Lehigh Valley Yoga crowd through a 2 and a half hour workshop of acceptance, giving, and embrace.  She shared with all of us her passion for Acro Yoga and her soul for movement.  She guided us like a mother figure through transformational postures and exercises to break down barriers that some of us may have been holding.  We learned within the first minutes of class that love needed to be present not only towards our partners but most importantly towards ourselves.  I felt many break through moments in this workshop and am very grateful that Lehigh Valley Yoga allowed me to come into their wonderful facility to reflect on Chris Loebsack’s workshop to share with Yoga Stage and the whole yoga community! www.lvyoga.com

We came together in the beginning of the workshop in a circle formation to share half lotus and breath.  With our knees touching our breath became more present due to human contact and awareness to each others’ energy pulses.   With time we were given the floor to introduce ourselves personally and connect with the class with our own given talents.  I find this introduction process fabulous because it sets the tone of acceptance immediately.  You are allowed to speak who you are to the class and to Chris. She is then able to guide you throughout class on your own needs.   Everyone was from different backgrounds whether it is yogis practicing for fun, yogis further educating themselves in Acro Yoga, or even artistic individuals such as a dancer/musician/and visual artist coming for creative energy.  Chris took in all the varying levels and molded us together as one.  We all learned from each other.  We all accepted each other.  We all gave our hearts to one another.  This is the beautiful element of Acro Yoga and Chris highlighted it in all of her class work.  

We then were broken into a trio group to work on a partnering warm -up exercise for the body.  It was amazing how using others peoples body weight created such a joyous heat in the muscles throughout the hips, lower back, and abdominal core region.  The trio stood together as if they were peaks of a triangle with our bodies facing in towards each other.  We then raised our arms to meet above our heads and joined palms in a V formation to share in a counter body weight experience.   While finding the weight exchange through the hands, Chris guided us with her voice in lifting one leg into tree posture.  As our trees presented themselves we all felt secure in releasing our upper bodies into a slight back bend release to share our hearts to our trio group.  The hands replaced themselves from above our heads at this time to the back of each others’ shoulders to help release the back into an upper release and some improvisational work in windy tree.  After gaining trust and creating appropriate heat in the body we moved into binding legs and feet into each others’ hip points and experienced straddle chest expansion with a giving exchange of weight through our hand and palm embraces. The trio then dived into assisted back bend releases over each others’ thighs and legs while in straddle.  The warm up experience reminded me so much of contact improvisational work in modern dance.  Yet, there was more of a giving exchange from each others’ hearts immediately.  There was a giving to your trio partnership and then a further giving to the group surrounding us all.  After the warm-up everyone caught a glance of a new person in class.  There were many smiles exchanged at this time.  You could just feel the warm energy and bodies craving the Acro Yoga experience.   

Chris connected us with different individuals throughout the whole workshop by giving us different groups to work with.  This challenges the mind and spirit to be more open to everyone around you. The other wonderful aspect in this is the fact that you learn to be a base in one situation and a flyer in another.  A year back when I took my first workshop with Chris I was afraid to fly.  Even with only being 5’3, I struggled with the release.  I was blocking my freedom to fly with fears.  Maybe it was the fear of falling.  But, it was deeper than that.  There was fear of not being in control.  Acro Yoga eliminates control and allows you to collaborate to the fullest.  The first workshop I was challenged to only release my body in flight in a basic flight element in acro yoga similar to superwomen or superman flying on another person’s feet. 

My second workshop was different. My fears released immediately in Chris’s presence.  She sensed my barriers and was able to push me in a nurturing way through them all.  I was challenged this workshop as everyone else to sit in a throne seated posture, plank stack on another body,  tripod headstand release into backbend, and star posture.  Chris had me flying like never before.  It was amazing as if I was walking back into childhood or as if I was one of my children of 4 or 6 years of age at play.  I look forward to taking all the elements of this Acro Yoga workshop and building on the foundation in active play with other yogis and even my own children at times.  Chris opened my heart even more to the world of Acro Yoga and to exploring all its endless possibilities. 

Thai massage brought closure to the workshop.  Chris partnered us up with one other individual and guided us with her voice on proper techniques of Thai massage release.  The giving and receiving was felt tremendously at this time due to the acceptance of human touch.  Barriers were broken, a release was felt, and heat, energy, and a sense of renewal was present in all of us.  Chatting of an Acro Yoga community in the Lehigh Valley was spoken of.  Many thanks verbally and non- verbally were shared amongst everyone attending the workshop.  A true sense of acceptance, promise, and community was felt by the end of the workshop.   

 I have been very blessed in my past studies on the west coast, east coast, and especially in NYC to be given wonderful teachers in dance and yoga.  In all of my travels, I have been able to find a place of community.  About three years ago, I relocated to the Lehigh Valley from NYC area and have been struggling with finding the right community of yogis to mingle with.  I have developed my own communities through my own companies Movement for You and Artists in Unity since a true fulfillment could not be found.  www.movementforyou.com and www.artistsinunity.com   

 I share this with you all because Lehigh Valley Yoga welcomed me into their presence with open arms during this workshop with Chris Loebsack.  Jacque Porterfield owner/educator at Lehigh Valley Yoga was thrilled to have me in the workshop to share how she is bringing Acro Yoga to the Lehigh Valley Community.  It is wonderful to see an owner taking steps to bringing new and innovative techniques of yoga into her school.  Jacque was present in the Acro Yoga workshop and shared her soul as much as the rest of us.  Jacque is constantly striving to educate herself further in different practices of yoga.   I was truly honored to cover this workshop at Lehigh Valley Yoga. Thank you for your warm welcome into your community of yogis.  

 I look forward to connecting more with Lehigh Valley Yoga in the future and bringing Yoga Stage (www.yogastage.com) more developments in yoga workshops/practices/and teachers in the Lehigh Valley and beyond.   Hopefully, with time and more outreach through writing the Lehigh Valley can be placed on the map as a yogi hub.  Thank you to Chris Loebsack and Jacque Porterfield for dedicating their work to further educating individuals in the Lehigh Valley in Acro Yoga. 

 

This blog is written and created by Lindsay Schaefer. For more information on Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice or Artists in Unity please visit the following sites. 

www.movementforyou.com  and www.artistsinunity.com

Facebook

lindsayschaefer@movementforyou.com

 

Lindsay Schaefer has been performing and teaching professionally throughout the U.S.   After completion of her BA in Dance from Point Park College, Lindsay taught and directed a high school dance program in Arizona and performed with Arizona Movement Source Company in Phoenix, Arizona.   Furthering her dance training and performing opportunities she headed to New York City to study with Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor II and performed with various modern dance companies and independent artists throughout N.Y.C.  Lindsay was co-artistic director of NY Dance Collective and Odonata Dance Project. Her choreography has been performed at Cunningham Studio, Wax, St. Marks Church, 92nd Street Y, and SUNY Purchase.   She also directed a recreational dance program for Chelsea Piers and taught at P.S. 163 outreach program in Manhattan.   In connection with her dance training, she trained in gymnastics and completed her yoga certification through YogaFit.  With her extensive study in Yoga and Pilates, Lindsay has had the opportunity to teach independently throughout Manhattan. She is currently teaching Yoga, Pilates, and Dance independently in PA, NJ and NY.  She is the creator of Movement for You, A Way of Life Practice and founder and collaborator of Artists in Unity. Lindsay is excited to be working as a delegate/writer for Yoga Stage as of November 2011.