Archive for peaceful holiday

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

January 2017 Yoga Schedule and Post Election Satsang Sharing Circle

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy New Year, and hoping you had joyful holidays.

This past year’s Christmas and Hanukkah were celebrated on the same day – an event that had not occurred in 40 years!  Let us hope that is a good sign for more tolerance and harmony in the world for 2017.

I was raised celebrating all the main Jewish and Christian holidays (of course, loving all the extra gifts). But now as an adult, I appreciate having been exposed at a young age to many holidays and traditions. I was also raised in Teaneck, NJ after my parents moved from NYC when I was a toddler.  My town was a true melting pot of ethnicities and races, and I believe was the first town to voluntarily desegregate its’ schools. When I look at my old class photos, I am amazed at how diverse my class truly was.  We just accepted it as normal, and I do not remember any racial issues or religious intolerance between the young students. Looking back at that formative time of my life, I also appreciate that positive exposure to inclusivity and believe that early exposure to differences is key to tolerance, acceptance, and racial harmony.

As a young ballet dancer in NYC, I was further exposed to students with different sexual orientations and that broadened my horizons as well.  When we have friends who some people label as “the other”, we see beyond those externals and to the true inner selves. It is harder to generalize and rely only on unfair stereotypes, when we know the humanness of the individual beyond the color of skin, beyond whatever god that is being worshiped or not, and one’s sexual orientation.  It is not to say that we are completely immune to internalizing some cultural and media-influenced stereotypes, but hopefully our self-awareness cultivated through our meditative and psychological practices allows us to examine those negative thoughts or feelings, and release them without acting upon them.  I am grateful to have lived my entire life in the northeast of America where I have worked and socialized with the world’s multicultural human rainbow.

Many of us are thinking about these issues of inclusion versus discrimination, love versus hate, peace versus violence after what can be described as a depressing and base election season (I believe, a true low point in this great country’s history).  January 2017 will mark the end of our first African American President’s two terms, and I can remember the excitement and pride I felt 8 years ago watching President Obama being sworn in to office.  This month also ushers in a new president and administration, and with any major changes, anxiety and stress may ensue; especially given the tenor and tone of the campaign.

As such, my friend and fellow yoga teacher Deborah Quilter and I are hosting an evening of sharing.  You are invited to a yoga “Satsang” on Thursday evening January 12th where we can share our responses to the 2016 election and our hopes for 2017. This will be a sharing circle where we will create a safe, non-judgmental space for all opinions and feelings. As such, we all will participate in non-partisan political way, and as open-minded yoga practitioners.  We will come together for an evening of chanting, sharing, and support. We thank Integral Yoga Institute for ​providing space for our Satsang! If you know anyone who would like to join us, please pass this invitation along to them, but please let us know who will be attending. This is a free event as IYI is generously donating the room for the event, and Deborah and I are volunteering (“karma yoga”).  However, IYI will accept donations for their continued mission of being an oasis of peace and yoga. We look forward to seeing you on January 12!

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!