Archive for community organizing

June Telephone & Zoom Yoga & Qigong/Tai Chi Easy™ Classes; Spiritual Thoughts on These Turbulent, Historical Times

 I hope this email finds you safe and well. We are in the midst of much planetary upheaval, with multiple "once in a lifetime" type of events happening concurrently and with much intensity. It can all feel overwhelming, scary, depressing, anger-inducing, to name a few emotions. However, the message is clear: society must change for the better if we are all to survive and thrive on our one Earth home.

 The start of this new decade has been beyond turbulent. Going into 2020 we understood that this was the last decade to confront and curtail climate change to prevent its most devastating, runaway effects. Yet massive forest fires (some due to manmade illegal deforestation) raged across the globe in places such as California, Australia, the Amazon rainforests, and Indonesia. Then the global pandemic followed, likely stemming from a Chinese "wet market" at which wild and often poached animals are sold for food and medicine, either illegally or with insufficient governmental regulations. These markets have long been criticized for animal welfare and potential human health issues. However, consumer demand continues to create a reduction of biodiversity and wilderness areas throughout the planet as humans have encroached further into the forests. If the health effects of the pandemic were not worrisome enough, with over 400,000 worldwide deaths and 7 million cases as of today, the mandated social distancing/shutdown rules have led to economic turmoil and massive unemployment levels - numbers we have not seen since the Great Depression. As businesses began to prepare for a slow reopening, traumatic videos of unarmed black men being killed by current and former white police officers went viral, and were the final straw for our nation that was originally built on a racist legacy of white European domination over and the murder of Native Americans and African slaves. So entrenched was slavery, that only after a brutal Civil War, and approximately 100 years after our Declaration of Independence had declared that "all men are created equal" with rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, was slavery abolished. Yet, we know racism (and sexism) and white supremacy movements have remained very much a fixture of life in the United States (and elsewhere) to the present day. This past week has seen marches for racial justice in numbers not seen since the 1960s, and due to social media connectivity, international marches in solidarity never experienced before. The status quo is being challenged in all respects, and revealing the many ways in which our "normal, business as usual" is harmful and unjust.   

 Tragically, "I can't breathe" is the mantra of 2020 so far - chokeholds, neck restraints, pepper spray and tear gas choke our populace; the respiratory-borne coronavirus attacks our lungs; mandatory mask wearing inhibits our breath; lockdowns and quarantines have kept us inside apartments with reduced access to fresh air; fires and smog have polluted our air and exacerbated asthma, which in turn make us more vulnerable to Covid-19; anxiety, fear and panic constrict our muscles of respiration; and worry makes us hold our breath. As practitioners of yoga and qigong, we know breath is prana, qi, life force energy. Breath is all. We all deserve to breathe.

 How can we utilize our spiritual practices to help us individually during these challenging times, and improve our society as a whole? I certainly don't have all, or many, of the answers to such a complicated, layered crises, but I always hope to be of some service to others (which I find also uplifts myself). As a yoga teacher, we talk about breathing throughout the class. Physically in yoga class, we learn how to deepen and manipulate the breath through different yoga poses, breathing exercises and deep relaxation, keeping the lung tissue healthy and the accessory breathing muscles toned. Slowing and deepening the breath in a mindful practice relaxes our nervous system, releases healing hormones in the body, and helps to focus the mind away from repetitive worrisome thoughts. We coordinate breathing with our movements in an individualized practice even in a group class. Using visualizations, we send the energies of our breath to areas of our bodies, such as muscles, organs, glands and blood cells. With intention, we breathe in the positive and exhale out the negative. Physiologically, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon, in a reciprocal relationship with our environment - the trees which convert carbon into oxygen. 

 In our spiritual studies, we learn that all is one, that we are energetically connected to one another and to all parts of the web of life, and that our actions create karma (consequences). We learn that our true, deeper selves are not our bodies, emotions or thoughts but rather we are immortal energies or souls in temporary muscular-skeletal vessels learning life lessons on this Earth plane. We are not defined by our skin colors or genders. Our lessons are both individual and collective, interwoven as we all progress towards higher ideals through lifetimes. In yoga practice, to assist us with our spiritual lessons, the Yoga Sutras (one of the most ancient yoga treatises) espouse numerous moral and ethical principles for living a peaceful life and creating a peaceful society, such as ahimsa (non-violence in action, speech, and thought), satya (truthfulness; seeking truth; honesty; non-lying), and asteya (non-stealing; generosity; charity; non-greed). These principles are applied to oneself and to our relationships to one another and the Earth. As we navigate our way through the myriad of crises we are currently experiencing, I hope that the physical, spiritual and ethical teachings of yoga and other spiritual practices can bring us some comfort at this complicated time, and help to advance us to a kind, healthy, equitable, and just future. 

I was very inspired and wanted to share with you this beautiful video of some “Moments of Kindness and Solidarity During George Floyd Protests”:
https://youtu.be/dTypsyd3rvs


Although my in-person classes at Dorot for Seniors, Integral Yoga Institute, and the Children’s Dance Program at Steps on Broadway have been cancelled until further notice, my Dorot University of Walls telephone series continues through the end of August. I have years of experience teaching seated qigong and Chair Yoga over the phone, combined with meditation and visualizations, and I find this medium works very well – especially if you already have experience with those modalities. My in-person Chair Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi Easy™ fusion classes for Integral Yoga and the Dorot Center for Seniors are now Zoom classes. See below for more details on these classes and descriptions, as there are differences between the two online classes. Please email me any questions you may have about my teaching schedule, and I would also love to hear from you with the sincere hope that you and your loved ones are safe and well.

                Photo by Melissa Elstein

December Musings

Dear Friends and Family,  

I hope you are doing well and enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday weekend! 

I am happy to share with you that my “Tai Chi Easy™/ Chair Yoga” fusion class returns to Integral Yoga Institute this Winter 2020. Come to any one or all of the classes; no prior experience is needed!  Description and class dates are on my website, and as always, feel free to email me any questions.  Hope to see you and your friends there! 
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Additionally, I will be volunteer gift wrapping at Book Culture (a charming book and gift store) on Columbus Avenue at 81-82 streets this holiday season in order to raise funds and awareness for my non-profit organization and volunteer work (http://www.west80s.org ), and to encourage support of our mom and pop stores. We have all observed the sad state of our NYC storefronts; it seems as if every block has at least two empty storefronts these days, and many blocks are almost completely barren. Not only does this create a sight of urban blight, but it also results in less appealing urban conditions (darker sidewalks, increased litter, reduced sense of community, fewer jobs, loss of neighborhood character and uniqueness, to name a few.  So when we shop local, we not only help that small business but we are helping our community as well!    

With the two of the owners of Book Culture on Columbus Avenue
I enjoy volunteering at Book Culture, which in addition to bookssells household products, scarves, hats, handbags, calendars, decorative items, Christmas tree ornaments, and more! Please shop local, shop small, and come visit me at Book Culture during these times:

Monday:     December 23 (11 am – 4 pm)
Monday:     December 23 (4 – 9 pm)
Tuesdays:    December 317 and 24 (11 am – 4 pm)
Tuesday:     December 24 (4 – 9 pm)
Thursday:   December 19 (4 – 9 pm)
Fridays:        December 13 and 20  (11 am – 4 pm)

A reminder that all gift wrapping paper when done, can be re-used or should be recycled!

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This past Tuesday night, my community work was honored at a local, innovative arts center housed in a beautiful landmarked church on the UWS – The Center at West Parhttps://www.centeratwestpark.org/ . The funds raised at their Gala help pay for structural repairs to their historic building. I am a big fan of their work that brings affordable, high quality performing arts to my neighborhood and am honored to be a part of their Benefit this year. Hoping you can join me in supporting their mission!  To contribute, see https://secure.givelively.org/event/center-at-west-park/3rd-annual-glitz-grit-benefit?mc_cid=6d70fbae85&mc_eid=aaab25eb73


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Hope to see you soon! Thanks for your continued support of my classes and wishing you a joyous holiday season!

Celebrating Broadway with a Free Community Outdoor Movement Class!

Sat., Sept. 21, I taught a free outdoor Tai Chi Easy™, Qigong and yoga class at UWS Streetopia’s first ever street fair. See their flyer below and their website to learn more about this new community group aiming to improve the upper west side of Manhattan and give a stronger voice to New Yorkers in local municipal decision making – https://www.streetopia.city. I also tabled there during the afternoon to spread awareness about my street tree care advocacy work with my Love Your Street Tree Day coalition – http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com. It was a lovely community event and I was happy to participate wearing my two hats, so to speak.  

Dec. 2017; Super Gemini Moon; Yoga Classes; Dorot’s University Without Walls Teleclass; Holiday Gift Wrapping for Community Work & Street Tree Care

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous holiday season!

As I write to you on this Sunday evening, I am aware that tonight brings us a special Super Full Moon in Gemini, and the beginning of a mercury retrograde period lasting until December 22, which is also just after the Winter Solstice. I was curious about any spiritual significance to these lunar events, and a quick internet search led me to this beautiful website:
http://foreverconscious.com/category/astrology .  According to this site’s author, Mercury retrograde is the opportune time for reflecting on the past year, journaling, and intuiting about the New Year, without yet making definitive plans or starting something new.  “December’s retrograde is really about releasing and shedding all the mental blocks and thought patterns from 2017 so you can enter 2018 with a fresh perspective and a new outlook.”  The author describes the Gemini Super Full Moon as signifying our connection with truth, including the truth of who we are: “… here for a journey of learning how to love yourself more, love the planet more and love one another more.”

Recently, I came across this postcard and placed it by my computer as I found it very beautiful and its’ affirmations very powerful.  On this Super Full Moon, I share it with you as well and hope you will be equally inspired:

Regarding my yoga classes this month, I am subbing at UWS Yoga on Dec,. 28th, happily returning to that lovely yoga center after a few months off while on sabbatical!  Also, at Integral Yoga, our next Chair Chi and Prana™ class will be held Saturday afternoon December 9 at 3:30-5 pm. This is our first weekend afternoon class for this fusion class, and I am looking forward to teaching during this new time slot! In 2018, we return to evening classes.  This unique class will help increase our vitality, and improve balance and coordination by combining Chair Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi Easy™ walking. Seated and standing Yoga poses strengthen and stretch the body, gentle and flowing Qigong movements enhance one’s life force energy, and Tai Chi walking increases balance.  These practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, focus the mind, and are accessible to all bodies and ages.  We end class with a long savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation) to fully relax and absorb the benefits of our practices.  All levels are welcome!

Additionally, I am so pleased to be again teaching a telephone class for the Dorot Center for Seniors “University Without Walls” that brings the benefits of seated qigong, meditation, and breathwork to those who cannot attend in-person classes. This is now our fourth semester of our teleclass, and I have found that distance is no obstacle to having a profound group and individual experience.  Written materials are provided in advance of the class, and each session is devoted to reading and discussing the materials, alternating with experiential movement and guided meditations.  We will continue with this course throughout 2018, so please call Dorot to sign up, or for a catalog.  No prior experience is necessary!  In general, Dorot’s University Without Walls is a wonderful resource for telephone learning and community-building, and their courses cover a myriad of topics.  Please help spread the word about this wonderful resource!  http://www.dorotusa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=seniors_programs_on_phone_D

Also, this holiday season, as in past years, I am volunteer gift-wrapping at our local independent book and gift store – “Book Culture” on Columbus Avenue at 81st street – to raise funds for my non-profit community organization (the West 80s Neighborhood Association – http://www.west80s.org).  We organize street tree care volunteer work, neighborhood beautification, rat eradication outreach, among other community-minded projects.  It has been lovely seeing some of your friendly faces at Book Culture already, and thank you for your support of my community work.  This year, as I am on sabbatical from my weekly group yoga classes, I have taken on more volunteer shifts at the store.  I find gift wrapping very zen, as are many arts and crafts projects (like knitting, for example). It is also enjoyable to chat with so many locals, as well as meeting tourists visiting our great city for the holidays.  I love the community that local businesses create (something not possible with online shopping), and I am very grateful to the community-minded owners of Book Culture for inviting small and local non-profits, like mine, to volunteer gift wrap for tips and to spread awareness of our charitable organizations.  In addition to books, Book Culture sells household products, scarves, hats, handbags, calendars, decorative items, Christmas tree ornaments, and more!  So I hope you will do your holiday shopping in your neighborhood and support your “mom and pop” independent stores.  I’m at Book Culture during these days:
Mondays:       December 4, 11, and 18 (10 am – 3 pm)
Tuesdays:       December 5, 12, and 19 (10 am – 3 pm)
Wednesdays:December 13 and 20 (10 am – 3 pm)
Thursdays:    December 7, 14, and 21 (3 – 8 pm)
Fridays:          December 1, 8 and 22 (3 – 8 pm)
Saturdays:     December 2 and 23 (3 – 8 pm)
Saturdays:     December 16  and 23 (10 am – 3 pm)
Sundays:        December 17 and 24 (10 am – 2 pm)
Sundays:        December  10 and 24 (2 – 6 pm)


http://www.bookculture.com/locations

Columbus Avenue Bike Lane Tree Bed Stewardship by West 80s Neighborhood Association:

http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com

November Gratitude; Chair Chi Prana Class; Gift-Wrapping at Book Culture for Love Your Street Tree Cause

Wishing you a peaceful and joyful holiday weekend, filled with gratitude and appreciation!  I saw this beautiful wall hanging at one of my holistic doctor’s offices, and thought it was inspirational.  On Thanksgiving, I share the Dalai Lama’s wisdom with you with the hope you will be similarly touched:

Our next Chair Chi and Prana class will be held Monday night November 27 at Integral Yoga (6:30-8 pm). This fusion class is functional and practical; learn the tools you can do at home or at the office to strengthen and de-stress!  Increase your vitality, improve balance and coordination with a unique practice that combines Chair Yoga, Qigong, and Tai Chi Easy™ walking.  Seated and standing Yoga poses strengthen and stretch the body, gentle and flowing Qigong movements enhance one’s life force energy, and Tai Chi walking increases balance.  These practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, focus the mind, and are accessible to all bodies and ages. Class includes savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation). All levels are welcome! No prior experience is necessary to enjoy and benefit from this class!


Lanai, Hawaii

Also, this holiday season, as in past years, I will be volunteer gift-wrapping at our local independent book and gift store – “Book Culture” on Columbus Avenue at 81st street – to raise funds for my non-profit community organization (the West 80s Neighborhood Association) that does street tree care volunteer work and neighborhood beautification, among other things.  Remember to shop small and local not just during the holidays, but throughout the year!  We all bemoan the empty storefronts in NYC, but if we are supporting big online corporations with online shopping, how can these beloved brick and mortar shops survive?  How and where we spend our money is a choice, and our collective choices have direct consequences. I love the community that local businesses create, and I am very grateful to the community-minded owners of Book Culture (pictured below) for allowing small and local non-profits, like mine, to volunteer giftwrap for tips and to spread awareness of our charitable organizations.  In addition to books, Book Culture sells household products, scarves, hats, handbags, calendars, decorative items, Christmas tree ornaments, and more!  So I hope you will do your holiday shopping in your neighborhood, and come visit me at Book Culture during these November shifts (I will email my December shifts next week):     http://www.bookculture.com/locations
Monday, November 27 (10 am – 3 pm)
Wednesday, November 29 (10 am – 3 pm)
Thursday, November 30 (3 – 8 pm)

Part of the voluntary community work I do with my neighborhood association is to create awareness about the importance of our NYC street trees and to encourage neighbors and businesses to properly care for them. The West 80s Neighborhood Association, a 501c3 I co-founded with neighbors, is the main organizer of fun and educational street tree care events through our collaborations with other groups, electeds, businesses, schools, and government agencies as part of the Love Your Street Tree Day initiative.  We would love for every street tree to be “adopted” and cared for, as they provide so many environmental, social, emotional, and financial benefits to us.  To learn more about our work, check out http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com  and to make tax deductible donations, please visit http://www.west80s.org  or stop by Book Culture when I will be gift-wrapping!  Thanks in advance for your support!


In front of one of our “adopted” street trees along the Columbus Avenue bike path at West 85th Street. New Fall cabbage arrangement, daffodil bulbs planted for Spring 2018 blooms, wood chips added for Winter protection, and Love Your Street Tree “curb your dog” signs added.
Many thanks for your continuing support of my classes and workshops, and your dedication to the healing arts!  No prior experience is needed to participate in most of these classes; all levels are welcome!  Please, remember that perfume, cologne, or heavily scented lotions or deodorant should not be worn during any of the movement classes and Reiki sessions. It is suggested that one not eat for 1 – 2 hours before practicing yoga.  I recommend for one’s health and the health of the planet, to not bring plastic water bottles to class; instead use reusable steel or glass bottles filled with filtered tap water.  Also, for the safety and consideration of all students, latecomers will not be admitted.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone who may be interested in these offerings!  Many thanks for spreading the word!

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving! In honor of the First Nations of this country, enjoy this beautiful song by a Native American singer on this season’s Voice:  https://www.nbc.com/the-voice/video/brooke-simpson-praying/3623073

Namaste,

Melissa Mati

May 2017 Schedule; DC Climate March; Sun Salutation Workshop; Love Your Street Tree Day

Happy May!  I am back from an inspiring weekend in DC, marching in the People’s Climate Movement “March for Jobs, Justice and Climate.”  In a sweltering hot and humid day of 90 degrees, over 200,000 diverse people joined together in creative solidarity seeking a safer, cleaner, and better future for all. Just like the 2014 historic march in NYC, the vibe in DC was so uplifting, the artwork beautiful, the signs super creative, witty, and poignant.  It again demonstrated (no pun intended) how beautiful it is when people from all walks of life peacefully come together in support of causes greater than themselves to envision policies that curb runaway climate change, create a clean energy economy, support ethics in government, and bring about a more just system. I truly hope these newly invigorated political and environmental protests manifest those visions.  For those of us too young to remember the Civil Rights, Peace, and Anti-Nuclear movements that started in the 1960s (not to mention the preceding Suffrage Movements), the last six months has witnessed a remarkable shift in our country and in many other places abroad.  I do believe we are a part of a historic shift at this time – and all shifts have challenges, struggles, disappointments, successes, failures and victories along the way. Just like an EKG reading of our heartbeat, movement is not a straight line but rather a zigzag.  Let us rejoice in this new spirit of shared positive activism and keep the faith.

One tip for keeping the faith: I have been more content since I recently reduced my post-election habit of TV news watching time.  I am still staying informed, and not burying my head in the sand, but I have made a conscious decision to limit the amount of television news that I watch as, no matter the network, they focus on the drama, the negativity, and conflicts in a away that is emotionally draining (I believe) to the viewer.  So for me, I am learning to find that balance of being informed and not overwhelmed. Anyone else in a similar state of mind?

For  the climate march, I created a “vision board” on the back of my climate march poster.  I love creating vision boards, as the process is meditative, artistic, and a visible manifestation of one’s desires and intentions (either conscious or unconscious).  Perhaps, if there is interest, we can do a vision board circle in the near future – please let me know your thoughts!

On Monday, May 8th I will be teaching a “Sun Salutation Workshop” at Integral Yoga during which we will break down each pose and transition of the famous yogic salute to the sun, and explore ways to make it more easeful for each participant. If you have ever struggled with all or parts of the Sun Salutation, then this workshop is ideal for you.  And don’t worry, there will be lots of discussion time – so we will have breathers between the physical practice.  🙂  Bring a pen for note-taking as I will hand out take-home outlines.

For those of you interested in neighborhood beautification activities in NYC, my neighborhood non-profit organization (along with many co-sponsors such as elected officials, environmental groups, local businesses, students, government agencies) is hosting a large community cleanup and planting day on Sunday, May 21. It is rewarding to know that this is our Third Annual “Love Your Street Tree Day” Spring event, and each year it has been a fun and effective way to clean up our tree beds, bring awareness to our street trees, and beautify various NYC blocks!  If you are interested, please rsvp via the Eventbrite link. Please note it is first come, first serve for a free gardening bag, with tools, educational materials, and a “Love Your Tree” double-sided Curb Your Dog sign.  See http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com
for more information!

February Schedule; Thoughts for Turbulent Times

Wishing everyone a February filled with Valentine’s Day love all month – love for one another, for our country, for our planet!

During this turbulent political time, cultivating love may be more challenging than before, or you may be finding the opposite – that the more some (those who will not be named here) espouse hate and separatism, the more you are seeking and finding love and harmony.  For me, joining with others in peaceful protest and community organizing (as well as teaching and taking movement and spiritual classes), makes me feel more connected to others and more positive about the future.  Even though I highly value solitude and my peaceful walks in Central Park, sharing my feelings with others has been an important tool for support. After just two weeks of a new “presidency”, most of the people I know (including myself) are aghast, petrified, depressed, anxious, embarrassed for our country, fearful for our democracy, and desperately wishing that we are going to wake up from this horrible situation to find that it was all a nightmare in our dreams.

So how do we deal with this unique time in our history?  How do we stay involved but also protect and nourish ourselves, our health and sanity in the process?  How do we not burn out?  To be honest, a part of me since the inauguration, is already feeling exhausted and burnt out.  In part, because I was already doing so much organizing and environmental protesting during the last 10 years, and I felt like we had made progress. Then the election happened, and it feels like there will be a huge concrete wall (no pun intended) blocking any more progress.  I know we are currently facing enormous obstacles towards making progress on not just environmental issues, but every issue I care about from human rights, rights to a living wage, money out of politics, animal welfare, education, gun control, free internet, voting rights, separation of church and state, ending gerrymandering, income inequality, corruption, corporate greed, government transparency, criminal justice, the Supreme Court, and the list goes on and on.  It honestly feels overwhelming and we are just two weeks in.

During this time of transition, I have felt so much compassion for those who have lived or are currently living under even more challenging political situations.  For my generation of Americans who have not been overseas fighting in the Irag or Afghanistan wars, we have not had the experience of living in such uncertain and stressful times – unlike our recent ancestors who experienced the World Wars and the turbulence of the 60s. If we were born here, we have not lived under dictatorships, strong men or military regimes. We have not experienced life under a repressive system, such as North Korea’s. We have not lived through coup d’etats. I cannot even imagine the stress and fear that citizens under those types of political situations must suffer.  I know that those of us fearful of losing our democratic system here in the US are seeing warning signs under this new administration, and we feel that we are literally fighting for our country, and more globally for the environmental health of the planet and the prevention of nuclear war.  And that feels heavy, depressing, and infuriating – especially given that we are such a technologically advanced society and yet, in the year 2017 that we are still having to fight against greed, hate, power-mongering, and short-sighted visions.  All the qualities specifically listed in the ancient yoga sutras’ yamas.

So these are the thoughts and feelings I have been experiencing the last two weeks.  I hope you will appreciate my honesty and my openness about my inner struggles at this time. What are some of the things that have lifted me from my despair?  Joining with others in solidarity, humor (thankfully, we have so many genius comedians/ennes), movement (from yoga, dance, qigong, running/walking in the park), being with open young children who are still not yet conditioned by society, petting a dog, listening to beautiful classical music, attending the theater, gentle bodywork, aromatherapy, and yes, probably having a little more wine, chips, and dark chocolate these days.  But maybe most importantly, is having the belief that this is a historic international moment and movement that perhaps needed to occur to truly awaken us. That not only are we witnessing history, we are also co-creating it.  And in that, we have power. How will we each co-create our present and our future is individualized.  But my intention is to not be an angry activist, even though I do have a lot of anger at the situation and injustices I observe. But if I can channel that anger and that despair into fighting for what I believe in with positivity and good energy, I think that will ultimately be more helpful for myself and for others.

Towards those goals, I hope to, in addition to continuing to march and engage in community work, create and host vision board and manifestation circles. Please email me back if you are interested in this as well, and we can organize one hopefully soon.  This would be a group of us creating visual representations of how we each envision a positive future. I believe it would be a very powerful and uplifting event.

December Yoga Schedule; Post-Election

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy holiday season!  This beautiful white bird landed on my terrace Thanksgiving Day, and this is the first time in 16 years we have had such a bird come visit us.  This month’s Really Simple magazine also caught my eye while waiting for the subway to Integral Yoga, and so I hope these symbols of peace are prophetic for all of us!

I have seen many, but not all of you, since the Presidential election results in the beginning of November.  For those of us who voted for a candidate who did not win the election, it has been an extremely emotional and challenging time.  Many, including myself, observed that NYC felt as depressed, shocked and traumatized after Trump won as it felt on 9/11. NYC was eerily silent after both of these game-changing life events. Just as after September 11, 2001, we will find ways to move forward by processing the events, digesting emotions, gathering with others, sharing feelings and thoughts, creating coping plans, and cycling through the cycles of grief over and over.  Joining others in dialogue as well as in healing circles, movement classes, protests, prayer gatherings, and meditation groups can be very therapeutic and each of us will find the best way to meet our own unique needs during these turbulent times. For me personally, I am finding it uplifting to be with others at this time, and that includes an all-of–the above approach: yoga and dance classes, human and environmental-rights affirming marches and street gatherings, dinner conversation, lectures and town halls, and organizing meetings. For each one of us, it will be individualized – there is no one recipe and there is no time limit. What is feeding your spirit and soothing your soul at this stressful time?  I would love to hear!


(Gathering in Support of the Water Protectors at North Dakota’s Standing Rock just as the Army Corps of Engineers Withdrew the Oil Pipeline Easement Today!)

Last month, NY1 did a profile of my Chair Yoga teaching and volunteer community work on the UWS of Manhattan, and I was very flattered to be profiled by one of my favorite news channels!  The 2-minute clip is linked below.  The final segment was edited down from 5 hours of me being interviewed and filmed by the lovely reporter Michael Scotto (who by the way, does his own filming, interviewing and editing – impressive!).  Let me know what you think:
http://www.ny1.com/nyc/manhattan/news/2016/10/12/manhattan-week–the-mayor-of-the-upper-west-side-uses-her-green-thumb-to-keep-the-neighborhood-serene.html

If you appreciate my community work efforts and would like to contribute, I would be most appreciative! My all-volunteer neighborhood organization is a 501 c3 organization, and so donations are tax-deductible! We rely fully on contributions to continue our work seeking to create a cleaner and greener NY!  Please go to http://www.west80s.org  to make donations, or to see more about community work.  Thanks for your consideration!