Archive for Qigong

Fall 2018 Schedule: Fall Prevention Workshop; Tai Chi Easy and Chair Yoga; Telephone Classes

Hi friends and family,

Wishing to those of you who celebrate the Jewish New Year, a blessed holiday and all the very best for the New Year – 5779!   Here is a cute song and dance video a friend sent me, and I thought it would bring a smile to you as well!  http://www.aish.com/h/hh/video/Get-Clarity-Aishcoms-Rosh-Hashanah-Music-Video.html

See below for my Fall classes and also for information on my cousin Michelle’s Fall yoga retreat for women in Vermont!  Sounds heavenly!

Falls Prevention Talk and Practice with Tai Chi Easy™ 

Friday, September 21:  1:00 – 2:30 pm

With Melissa Elstein, Tai Chi Easy™ Facilitator & 
Shannon O’Connor, DOROT Staff

As part of Falls Prevention Week at Dorot, this workshop is a part-lecture, part-exercise class.  Shannon will introduce tips to prevent falls and become more mindful when moving throughout your home or the community. Melissa will teach Tai Chi Easy™, a simplified yet practical version of Tai Chi created by Roger Jahnke, O.M.D.  Learn weight shifting exercises (and starting with Melissa’s chair exercise warmups), to gain confidence and leg strength.  This Tai Chi Easy™ class will include standing while holding the chair for support and weight shifting, but not tai chi walking.
Focus in motion with us!

Rsvp to Shannon O’Connor required for attendance to this Workshop:
(917) 441-3743 or soconnor@dorotusa.org
Main Tel:   (212) 769-2850
www.dorotusa.org

Check out DOROT’s Wellness Program!

Seated Tai Chi Easy TM Teleclass:
Dorot Center for Seniors “University Without Walls”

This telephone class brings the benefits of seated qigong, meditation, and breathwork to those who cannot attend in-person classes. This is now our fifth 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.  This class meets Fridays 10 – 11 am November 2 – January 18.  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#.W5fW6ehKiUk

Check out DOROT’s Wellness Program!

www.dorotusa.org
(212) 769-2850

“Chair Chi & Prana” Class at IYI NYC

I hope you are having a wonderful Summer!  This Monday night is our final “Chair Chi & Prana” of the season, and I hope to see you there at the beautiful and peaceful Integral Yoga Institute.  After July 16, there will be a short break for August, and I will be looking forward to resuming this class in the Fall. (When the Fall dates are confirmed, I will email you as well.)  See below for more details on this Monday’s class; you may sign up at http://www.iyiny.org or simply sign up as a walk-in.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and hopefully I will see you tomorrow!

Class Descriptions:  

Chair Chi and Prana is hosted by the beautiful yoga center – Integral Yoga. This fusion class increases our vitality, and improves 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 our life force energy (chi or prana), and Tai Chi walking increases balance and helps with fall prevention.  Additionally, these practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, increase immune support, 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! No prior experience is necessary.

July’s Chair Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi Classes/Trainings and Finding Balance at Summer Solstice Times Square Yoga

Hi friends and family,

Hope you are keeping your cool and comfort in the midst of this Northeast heat wave!  Please stay hydrated!

Speaking of heat, once again I attended the uniquely NYC “Summer Solstice Yoga” in Times Square.  This year, over 12,000 participants attended yoga classes throughout the day as Times Square was shut down to vehicles, and turned into one large outdoor yoga studio. Attendees were generously given yoga mats by Aerie and the Times Square Alliance, and we literally placed our mats in the center of the city (or the world, depending on your NY-centric perspective!).  Participants braved the high temperature, curious onlookers, photographers, and different styles of yoga to join with New Yorkers of all ages, sizes, colors, and backgrounds to create a beautiful mosaic of humanity.

Times Square Solstice Yoga is always one of my favorite events of the year as I find it uplifting being with so many others practicing yoga in such a large communal way. Even in the midst of chaos and busy urban activity, the practice of yoga prepares us to go inward no matter the external environment.  What better way to test that precept during a packed mid-day yoga class in Times Square! If we can literally balance and focus in dancer pose and other challenging asanas in the middle of 42nd Street, we know that with practice and intent, we can stay steady outside of yoga class no matter the circumstances. During these chaotic and anxiety-provoking times.our daily connection to that deep inner core within each one of us is so necessary for maintaining balance and finding inner peace.  Yoga, meditation, qigong, tai chi, dance, nature walks, creating art, gardening, shamanic journeying, writing, playing music, jogging are some ways during which we can go deeply inward. What do you find works best for you in this moment? Has that changed throughout your life, or has it remained a consistent path?  Enjoy the process and the journey!

This month, my yoga-qigong-tai chi fusion class (“Chair Chi & Prana“) will be held on July 16th at the beautiful Integral Yoga in the heart of the West Village. Much of the qigong and simplified tai chi that I incorporate into my yoga classes I learned from my first tai chi teacher – Dr. Roger Jahnkehttp://www.feeltheqi.com/Dr_Jahnke/   If you would like to meet him in person, there will be a free intro evening at NYC’s Open Center on Thursday, July 5thhttps://www.opencenter.org/awakening-healer-within  I hope you can attend that event this holiday week!

Dr. Jahnke created  “Tai Chi Easy”TM – the system of tai chi, qigong, self-massage that I studied at the Omega Institute in 2007.  http://www.healerwithinfoundation.org/taichieasy   It was a fantastic training, and to this day, it is the style that I primarily teach and practice. It is very accessible to all ages and levels of experience, and as you can see from our facilitator graduation photo, we had a fun and diverse group.

In July, Dr. Jahnke will be at The Open Center in NYC, and in August at Kripalu in the Berkshires.  Please go to his website to see the exact dates and for more information:
http://instituteofintegralqigongandtaichi.org/calendar/  I highly recommend doing one or more of his trainings!

Class Descriptions:

Chair Chi and Prana is hosted by the beautiful yoga center – Integral Yoga. This fusion class increases our vitality, and improves 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 our life force energy (chi or prana), and Tai Chi walking increases balance and helps with fall prevention.  Additionally, these practices are a moving meditation that calm the nervous system, increase immune support, 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! No prior experience is necessary.

June 2018 Classes; Tai Chi Easy Trainings with Dr. Jahnke

Dear friends and family,

I hope you are having a lovely June!  This month, in addition to my monthly Integral Yoga “Chair Chi & Prana” workshop, I am back teaching at Dorot for Seniors and Bloomingdale Aging in Place (“BAIP”), and look forward to reconnecting with my students there.

Many of you inquire about the qigong and simplified tai chi that I incorporate into my yoga classes, and I always recommend my first teacher – Dr. Roger Jahnke. http://www.feeltheqi.com/Dr_Jahnke/  He directs the Health Action Clinic in Santa Barbara, CA and is the founder and creator of “Tai Chi Easy” – Dr. Jahnke’s system of tai chi, qigong, self-massage that I studied at Omega in 2007.  http://www.healerwithinfoundation.org/taichieasy and  It was a great training, and to this day, it is the style that I primarily teach and practice. It is very accessible to all ages and levels of experience, and as you can see from our facilitator graduation photo, we had a fun and diverse group.

Every Summer, Dr. Jahnke returns to the Northeast to lead more trainings and this June – August, he will be at Omega in Rhinebeck, The Open Center in NYC, and Kripalu in the Berkshires.  Please go to his website to see the exact dates and for more information:
http://instituteofintegralqigongandtaichi.org/calendar/   In fact, there will be a free intro evening at the Open Center on July 5th: https://www.opencenter.org/awakening-healer-within  I highly recommend doing one or more of his trainings!

February Classes; Telephone Qigong & Meditation; Weight Training for 50 and Older; Chair Chi & Prana

Happy February!

Berkshires Fireplace – Melissa Elstein

This short Winter month brings us Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day, and Black History Month.  It is a month when we tend to long for Spring to arrive, but grudgingly know we still have a couple more months of Winter.  So for those of us in the North East, how do we brighten our days and motivate when we are still dealing with snow and ice storms, and frigid temperatures?  I find myself wanting to hide under a warm blanket with a good book, and hibernate until the Spring thaw.  But, given I am not a bear, hibernation is not an option!

Taconic Trees by Melissa Elstein

I find that signing up for group classes keeps me committed to my workouts and my spiritual practices, and the group solidarity helps boost my mood as well (you all can tell by now, I am not a Winter person!).  Whether I am teaching a group class or taking one, the group interaction and solidarity is extremely motivating.  One of the classes I recently signed up for is a fun conditioning circuit class geared towards those of us 50 years of age and up,  taught at Silver Stars Fitness (fitness specialists for baby boomers and beyond).  http://www.silverstarsfit.com  I highly recommend this specialized fitness studio; see below for more details on their classes and training!

Another class I find personally uplifting due to the positive group interaction is the telephone class I offer for the Dorot Center for Seniors “University Without Walls”:  Seated Qigong, Tai Chi Easy Arms, & Guided Meditation.   Each week we discuss and read tai chi articles and my teacher Roger Jahnke’s qigong books. The intellectual understanding of this ancient philosophy is enhanced by guided gentle movement, guided meditations, and relaxation exercises.  This is now our fifth semester of our teleclass, and I have found that distance is no obstacle to having a profound group and individual experience.  In fact, I have found that focusing on the phone actually enhances our powers of concentration as we also must visualize what we are hearing described.  The next semester starts this Friday, Feb. 9, so please call Dorot to sign up, or to receive a catalog: (877) 819-9147.  No prior experience is necessary, and since this class continues through May 2018 you can sign up at any time (though I do recommend starting sooner rather than later)!  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:// http://www.dorotusa.org/site/DocServer/UWW_Spring_Summer_2018_Catalog.pdf

Last year, I organized at home personal training for my father with a trainer from Silver Stars Fitness so that he could maintain and even improve his strength while he was going through various health challenges.  He really enjoyed his workouts with Mary who visited him in his apartment, as he could not commute to the Silver Stars Studio.  Mary brought the necessary equipment (like bands and other resistance tools), and because she has specialized training working with seniors, was able to safely teach him strengthening exercises, stretches, and balancing skills.  My father raved about Mary, and her visits were one of the highlights of his week!

In addition to Silver Stars’ roster of specialized trainers who will do at home training, they also offer small group classes and individual personal training in their beautiful gym located at 7th Avenue and 54-55th Streets.  Classes are limited to a maximum of 6 students, so there is much individual attention to form and safety.  I signed up for a weekly “30-Minute Circuit” class, which is a lot of fun and a well-rounded workout using weights, bands, balls, and balance boards, and including movement across the floor.  This class is offered five times per week, and they also offer a very practical “Balance & Fall Prevention” class.  If this sounds interesting to you, you can contact owner Jason Greenspan to schedule a consultation or attend their next Open House:  (646) 370-3843 or info@silverstarsfit,com  I believe that functional cross training (doing multiple modalities of fitness) is very important, especially as we get older, and that yoga or dance alone is not sufficient for full body conditioning.  As that saying goes, variety is the spice of life!


Working out at Silver Stars Fitness

Speaking of variety of movement, our next Chair Chi and Prana class will be held on a Tuesday this month – Feb. 27.  This class too has a great group energy.  The beautiful and historic yoga ashram Integral Yoga Institute has been hosting this class for many years, and it is accessible to both newcomers as well as experienced students.  This unique class is designed to 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!

January 2018 Qigong & Yoga Classes; Simplification for the New Year

Happy 2018 to you all.  Let’s hope that the New Year is filled with more positivity and peace than the preceding year, and that we all find the tools uniquely helpful for each one of us to best navigate these complicated times with ease, clarity, and a lightness of spirit.


Mexico Sunset 2018 by Melissa Elstein

My personal mantra for the new year is to “simplify” – to streamline and declutter my internal and external spaces.  With our 24/7 information age, social media threads to infinity, email demands, online petitions, etc., it just seems as if we cannot keep up with the onslaught of news, requests to act, donate, join, resist, and other pulls for our attention.  If you are a caring person, it can feel overwhelming as there are so many worthy causes and too little time.  The problems of the vast world can seem so much closer and more personal these days as we view them in our handheld gadgets at all possible moments.  Unlike the days of my childhood, the tv does not turn to gray static once the late news has ended.  There is no end to the news. Last year, many of us sought more and more information to find understanding of what has been unfathomable.  We endlessly clicked, to assuage our anxiety with the false belief that the more we knew, the better we would feel.  Or maybe that was just me.  In any event, I found that game plan does not work so well.  The news keeps coming, whether I tune in or not – and the results are still beyond my control.  So to simplify my life this year, without hiding my head in the sand (though at times, that would seem heavenly) will be a learning process and a goal.  Creating healthy boundaries of what and how much we take in from our external environment, allows more time and space to nurture our own personal inner environment – and that is just as real and important as any headline or breaking news story.  As with so many spiritual lessons, it’s all about finding balance.

And speaking of balance, our next Chair Chi and Prana class will be held this Monday night, January 22 at Integral Yoga.  This unique fusion class helps 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!

Here is a wonderful short article written by a psychiatrist on how tai chi class has benefited her:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/denise-nagel-md/health-benefits-of-tai-ch_b_7641712.html

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 fifth 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:// http://www.dorotusa.org/site/DocServer/UWW_Spring_Summer_2018_Catalog.pdf

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

September 2017 Classes; Eclipse and Yoga; Adult Ballet; Self-Care Sabbatical

Hi friends and family,

I hope you are enjoying the last couple of weeks of August, whether you are on vacation or back at work. Maybe you had the opportunity to watch the solar eclipse today.  Although those of us in NYC did not have the total eclipse other parts of the country experienced, it was still pretty exciting watching NASA TV, observing the amazing eclipse effects and the excitement of the crowds and scientists. Were you aware that “hatha” yoga actually means sun-moon?  In other words, hatha yoga is the balance of the masculine energies within ourselves with the feminine.  This is an individualized personal assessment for each practitioner to explore. Similarly, tai chi state is the balance of the yang with the yin energies. Achieving that energetic balance in our yoga and tai chi/ qigong practices will be different for everyone, and will likely differ with each personal practice as well. So when we design our practice, or take group classes, we ideally want that balance of effort and ease, stability and mobility, rigor and rest, energetic and relaxation. These principles as well shall be applied both on and off the mat, so that we don’t suffer burnout or physical strain yet we do not become lazy or complacent – in our exercise and in our lives. Seeking balance, or the middle ground, is the heart of so many spiritual practices (even though we often observe how that middle ground is usurped by fundamentalism and extremes).  So it is our own quest to continually seek and find balance, knowing that there is no end result but rather a lifetime practice.  Enjoy the process, keep an open mind, and be non-critical to one’s self (ahimsa).

Speaking of balance, I am also making some yoga class schedule changes starting this month.   As many of you know, this past year has been a challenge for me and my family, as my father has been dealing with various health issues that have necessitated numerous trips to the ER, hospital stays, and doctor visits. He has been rising to each medical challenge with a level of determination that is admirable and I hope he continues to fight to regain his strength and health. However, the number of doctor visits and specialists has grown and it has been challenging for me to coordinate all those appointments around my daytime class teaching schedule. Truth be told, it has also been emotionally and physically exhausting, and I am listening to my inner guidance which is telling me to slow down and take time for myself and my family.

As such, I am taking a 4-month sabbatical (September – December) from my weekly daytime yoga classes.

My dear friend and fellow Integral Yoga teacher, Nobue Jaya, will be teaching the Monday morning Chair Yoga class at Dorot.   Many of you already know and love her classes, as Nobue has been teaching at Dorot’s Memory Tree program for a while. You are in lovely and capable hands with Nobue!

Jessica, who already teaches Core Yoga at UWS Yoga and Wellness, will teach both the Tuesday and Thursday Core Strength Hatha 1 Yogaat noon. I know that many of you already take both my Tuesday class and Jessica’s Thursday class, so again you are in capable and lovely hands with Jessica!

My Chair Chi and Prana class will be held during this sabbatical period on three Monday nights (Sept. 25, Oct. 30, and Nov. 27) instead of weekly during the daytime. It will also now be 1.5 hours so we will have time for a longer savasana and yoga nidra (deep relaxation). I hope that you will appreciate this enhanced version of this fusion class! If this new time slot goes well, we will likely add a December date too.

During my sabbatical, I will continue to be on the sub list (so for example, I will be teaching Core Strength Yoga on Tue. Sept. 12 at noon at UWS Yoga and Wellness).

I trust you will all understand my situation, and my need for a bit more space (“sukkha”) in my life due to changed family circumstances. Since I plan to sub, I will notify you when I sub, and hope to see you in class on those occasions. I also know we will stay in touch via emails, and perhaps by getting together in person.

I hope you know this change is not a reflection of my feelings towards any of you. But rather, a needed self-care adjustment to support my and my father’s well-being.  Please email me any questions, concerns, and thoughts.

Adult ballet classes this month:  Additionally, my ballet mentor Finis Jhung will be having surgery early September, and so I will be helping to sub his adult ballet classes at the Alvin Ailey Extension School. These classes are open to the public and to adult beginners.  If you have had dance experience, you can take either the basic or beginner class, and if you are a brand new beginner, please take the basic class. I hope to see you in ballet class, and please join me in sending ballet master Finis Jhung healing energies for his surgery and a quick and full recovery!

June 2017; Graduation Thoughts; Girls Rising; NYU Wellness Forum

I just attended my niece’s high school graduation, and it was a beautiful event filled with such hope and positivity.  The student speakers, the dean, and the guest keynote speaker (Christina Lowery of Girls Rising: http://www.girlsrising.com and for her documentary trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJsvklXhYaE ) spoke to the graduates and their guests about approaching life with gusto and grace, finding happiness along many varied and not necessarily linear life paths, finding one’s unique voice, helping others, the global importance of educating girls, and letting go of perfectionism. Noteworthy to me, was that the speakers emphasized relationship building and developing personal inner qualities rather than traditional academic speeches of past that touted success and achievement more narrowly. The student body at this all-girls school is very diverse, and also very international.  It was lovely to see such a melting pot of humanity of the stage, and I was impressed with the messages of empowerment for these young women. I could truly tell that throughout their years at this historic school their voices were being respected and cultivated in a very positive way.  The future felt very bright as I watched their ceremony this morning, and wondered what each graduate will become as they grow into adulthood.  Although today’s graduation represented saying goodbye to high school, it also represented the beginning of their next chapters of their lives. We are always evolving, saying adieu to something, and bonjour to what is next.

(I add a little French in honor of Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected president of France, who has so far been quite an eloquent international leader. For those of you who may have missed his speech in response to the US withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, please watch:   http://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2017/06/01/emmanuel-macron-donald-trump-paris-accord-sot-cnni.cnn ).

Regarding life changes, due to pressing family commitments, I am reducing my teaching schedule a bit.  My father has been dealing with serious health challenges, including most recently recovering from surgery for a broken hip. I have been spending much time and energy overseeing his health care, and juggling these new responsibilities with teaching and community work.  As anyone who has been a caretaker of a child or elderly parent knows, it is a priority to be there for your family member as navigating the bureaucracy of our health care institutions is complicated, frustrating, and time-consuming. And additionally, there is no substitute for the personal attention, love and care that a family member will give to the parent or child in need.  As such, I am making some room in my life, and will no longer be teaching the Gentle Yoga class at Integral Yoga on Mondays at 3:15 pm.  I will still teach the ongoing workshop series Chair Chi & Prana there at 2-3 pm most, but not all, Mondays. I will also continue to teach my 11am Chair Yoga class at Dorot for Seniors most Mondays as well.

It has been a true pleasure teaching the IYI gentle class and building it up in popularity, as gentle yoga is what drew me into yoga initially and changed my life for the better (I left the practice of law to teach gentle yoga!).  I will still sub gentle yoga; in fact, I am subbing Yoga & Qigong June 15th at 5:15 pm for my friend Nadiya.  I hope to see you there and also in my 2 pm chair yoga and qigong/tai chi walking class as mentioned above.  I have loved our Monday afternoon gentle practice, and know that my relationship with all of you is what makes teaching and learning (we are all teachers and students) so rewarding. Please email me any questions you may have.  I have appreciated all your support throughout the years and know you will be just as supportive now as I reorient some of my life priorities.


My Father On His 85th Birthday Last Week!

Speaking of health, one of my lovely and brilliant body workers, Sara Vogeler, will be speaking at an NYU health expo this Wednesday.  I signed up and thought you would be interested as well.  The expo will address the connection between stress and overall mental and physical health; how to minimize stress through mindfulness, exercise, and nutrition; discover ways to use emotional and physiological responses to stress to your advantage; and develop practical next steps at regulating and reducing stress in your everyday life.

The expo starts at 11:00 am: get tested for blood pressure and blood glucose, learn hands-on CPR, receive a massage, and receive important information about a variety of topics that matter to older adults and the people who care for them. Attendees will also enjoy a light lunch buffet.

At noon, Dr. Max Gomez (CBS Emmy-Award-winning medical journalist) will moderate a panel of health care experts, who will each provide a 15 minute presentation on a variety of topics.  Closed captioning will be provided.  Panelists include:

Dr. Tara Cortes, Executive Director, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, and a Professor in Geriatric Nursing;
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, Director, Women’s Heart Health, Lenox Hill Hospital;
Sara K. Vogeler, BMC, LMT, RMT, Founder and Director of The NeuroMuscular Center, Inc.; and
Dr. Jonathan Whiteson, Vice Chair, Clinical Operations, Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine, and Medical Director, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation – NYU Rusk Rehabilitation


Guests will need to RSVP for this event :
https://www.nyu.edu/community/nyu-in-nyc/community-news-and-announcements/6th-annual-community-health-forum.html#program?utm_source=NYU+Symposium+reminder+video+05%2F30%2F17%2C+4%3A15+PM&utm_campaign=NYU+Symposium+June+7%2C+2017&utm_medium=email
Maybe I will see you there!  (I can only stay until 1 pm as I need to take my father to a doctor appointment, but the expo seems worth attending even if you can only make part of the event).