Archive for Yoga

Fall Musings

I hope you are doing well and enjoying the beginning of the Fall season. This time of year always reminds me of the excitement I felt as a child of starting a new semester at school. My mother always brought my sister and me shopping for new school clothes (she was a traditional Swede, so no jeans or sweats for us – instead, always beautifully tailored skirts and slacks, and collared shirts with sweaters). We had our new paperback books from Scholastic, empty notebooks to soon be filled with creative writing, and leather containers of pencils and pens. The fresh, crisp air on our morning walks to school invigorated us for the school day ahead. Each day was filled with new experiences and growth opportunities, and the expansion of young minds absorbing new lessons – both academic and social. Decades later, as a mid-life adult, I still get excited about the fresh start that Fall offers – new classes to teach and take, new opportunities to learn and grow. After all, life is a continuous lesson if we allow ourselves to experience all we observe with the wonder of a young child. I believe, in Buddhism, that is described as “beginner’s mind”. Not assuming we already have all the answers, and not going through our lives on remote control. Instead, truly observing and experiencing all that surrounds us, as well as our inner worlds. As we practice yoga, qigong, dance, or any forms of exercise, we can aim to approach the movements with a fresh perspective – even if we have done that pose or move hundreds of times before. After all, our bodies are different day to day, moment to moment, as are our thoughts. Just like the young child reading her new books or running on the school playground, life is more interesting and full when we are truly experiencing it in the moment.             

Oberlin College – 2019

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.  

March Classes; New Gentle Ballet at Dorot for Seniors; Yoga and Qigong Workshops

I hope this email finds you well on this snowy and rainy Sunday evening. Please commute safely tomorrow! 

I am delighted to be returning to the Dorot Center on the Upper West Side to teach a special series – “Gentle Ballet for 60+”.  The full description of this new weekly class (Tuesdays 10-11 am) is below.

Ballet had been an integral part of my life since I was a child. I started taking classes and performing in recitals as a young child in New Jersey, and then auditioned for and was accepted into George Balanchine’s “School of American Ballet” at Lincoln Center.  Performing with the New York City Ballet as a young dancer in classics, such as The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Harlequinade and others was a gift that I will always cherish.  I so appreciate that I was able to dance at The New York State Theater with ballet superstars Suzanne Farrell, Baryshnikov, Helgi Tomasson, Jacques D’Amboise, Patricia McBride, Merrill Ashley (to name a few) as they were coached by Balanchine. It truly was the heyday of ballet in NYC, if not the world, and I soaked it all in. After high school, I joined the Pennsylvania Ballet Company in Philadelphia, dancing professionally for several years.

Growing up, ballet was my deepest passion.  I never imagined my beloved career would be cut short. But various factors (injury, emotional burnout, immaturity) led me to leave the dance world for a decade to pursue academics and a law degree instead. I thought the ballet for me was just a memory. But while studying for the bar exams, I went back to the other “barre” as well and returned to ballet classes. It was like coming home.  Since then, I never stopped dancing; even while practicing law, I would hop on the express train and take class during lunch or after work. When I left the practice of law and became a teacher of yoga, pilates and Qigong, it was only natural that the appeal of ballet teacher trainings would follow, and I subsequently trained with ballet master Finis Jhung (my ballet mentor to this day) and American Ballet Theater’s school. 

While now teaching ballet to children, adults and seniors, I love to bring joy of movement combined with technical skills – modified to students depending on age and ability. One is never too old to start dance classes, as long as the class allows for the student to respect the body’s limitations and work within safe ranges of motion, as are my guiding principles. Ballet is a beautiful art form that also has practical benefits for students: increase of strength and flexibility; improvement of balance and coordination; focus, attention and memory can improve. Plus, it feels wonderful to move to classical movement.  It truly uplifts the spirit!           

Dorot Center – photo by Shannon O’Connor

CLASS DESCRIPTIONS

“GENTLE BALLET” AT DOROT FOR SENIORS (60+):

Stretch and strengthen like a ballet dancer, and learn ballet barre technique in a modified gentle ballet class that uses a chair for support.

We start with seated warmups for legs and arms, and gentle core strengthening.  Once the body is warmed up, we will stand holding the chair for the traditional ballet barre exercises.  Ballet class has been shown to improve coordination, balance, flexibility and muscular strength – all while moving to beautiful classical music!

Please rsvp to Shannon O’Connor before class and note the standing movements are best wearing ballet slippers, socks with traction, or flexible sneakers (i.e., allowing the feet to flex and point).  

Melissa Elstein at the barre.

 photo by Stephen Von Der Launitz

______________________________________________________

“TAI CHI EASY & CHAIR YOGA”:

Tai Chi Easy™ and Chair Yoga continues at the beautiful Integral Yoga Institute.  This fusion class supports the immune system with gentle movement, energy work, and self-care techniques. Our practice combines all the above, as we warm up, strengthen and stretch the body with Chair Yoga exercises, standing balancing poses (optional use of the chair for support), Tai Chi Easy™ weight shifting and walking for balance and coordination, and Qigong energy cultivation.  Class ends with an extended yoga nidra deep relaxation and guided meditation to refresh the body and spirit. This class, formerly called “Chair Chi & Prana“, is accessible to all ages and levels.  Please wear or bring traction socks (like pilates or Barre socks).  

February 2019 Classes

On this balmy Superbowl Sunday, it feels like Spring may be right around the corner, and I certainly hope so!  This week’s Arctic Blast left my body feeling stiff and tense, as I found myself bracing against the chilly winds on my daily walking commutes. During the Winter months, it is even more important to take time for stretching and relaxation, as our muscles reflexively contract in the cold and it is mentally exhausting dealing with such inhospitable conditions.  This month, I am teaching numerous styles of movement modalities all of which will assist with such gentle stretching with a meditative focus.  See the side bar for the February dates and below for descriptions of Adult Beginner Ballet; Chair Yoga & Tai Chi Easy™; Gentle Hatha Yoga; and a special Gentle Yoga & Qigong for Heart Opening on Valentine’s Day.  Hope to see you in class!  As always, email me any questions you may have about these classes.  

Hudson River Sunset 2/3/19 by Melissa Elstein

______________________________________________________________________________

CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:

Special Valentine’s Day Class:

On this 2019 Valentine’s Day, you are invited to a special Heart-focused Yoga & Qigong class 5:15 – 6:45 pm at Integral Yoga Institute. Qigong and yoga are heart opening practices, opening to our own hearts as well as to others. Yoga and Qigong cultivate acceptance and non-harming (Ahimsa) towards oneself and others. In this special class, welcome to everybody (all genders, singles/ couples), we will collectively and individually create more openness of body and spirit as we practice asana and energy work with a gentle heart-centered intention. 
_______________________________________________________ 

Chair Yoga. Qigong & Tai Chi Walking:

This fusion class combines gentle movement, energy work, and self-care techniques. Our practice will include all of the above, as we warm up, strengthen and stretch the body with Chair Yoga exercises, standing balancing poses (optional use of the chair for support), Tai Chi Easy™ weight shifting and walking for balance and coordination, and Qigong energy cultivation.  Class ends with an extended yoga nidra deep relaxation and guided meditation to refresh the body and spirit. This class, formerly called “Chair Chi & Prana“, is accessible to all ages and levels.  Please wear or bring traction socks (like pilates or Barre socks).  

______________________________________________________________________________

ADULT BEGINNER BALLET LEVEL 1:

This class is open to all, whether you have ballet experience and want to review the basics or you are a brand-new beginner.  Non-dancers will not be intimidated as the instructions are clear and the class moves at a slow pace. You will begin standing at a portable barre placed in front of the mirror. Most exercises are done with both hands on the barre and proceed slowly and methodically, and the second time you will practice away from the barre so you develop balance and strength. In Ballet Level 1, students learn the basics of correct dance posture, positioning, and balancing on one leg. Your muscles will develop properly so you gain strength and control of your movements. The centerwork includes stretching on the floor, as well as basic dance movements which travel across the floor.  Ballet helps with increasing coordination, balance and memory, and movements are coordinated with beautiful classical music.

Melissa Elstein at the barre.

photo by Stephen Von Der Launitz

______________________________________________________________________________

Gentle Hatha Yoga:

Restore your balance in this gentle Hatha yoga class that focuses on proper alignment and inner awareness during each yoga posture, deepening the meditative aspect of the yoga practice. This class is designed as a moving meditation that helps us slow down our thoughts so we can connect to our true essence – our higher self.  We begin with the Integral Yoga chants and eye exercises, before exploring the yoga asanas allowing for modifications for each practitioner if appropriate.  Class includes a guided yoga nidra (deep relaxation technique) and savasana (relaxation pose) leaving us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  We conclude with breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation, as well as the Integral Yoga peace chants – creating a well-rounded and thorough yoga practice suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners.

Happy 2019! Resolutions and my Tai Chi Easy/Chair Yoga Returns

Wishing you a magical and wondrous New Year filled with happiness, harmony, and abundance!

______________________________________________________________________________
Often as we think about our plans or resolutions for a new year, we have been conditioned by society to create unrealistic or onerous resolutions, such as to lose 15 pounds in a month or eliminate sugar or “bad” carbs completely.  Perhaps there are some who will be able to succeed in their quest and maintain such a rigid restriction or goal for the long term.  But most such resolutions get broken fairly quickly, creating more disappointment and negative self-talk for the goal seeker.  However, if we can flip the resolutions so that they are not about removing something desirable from our lives (let’s be honest, sugar tastes delicious!), but instead is about adding things (such as, I will eat more fresh fruit and veggies), we won’t feel the same level of deprivation.  By focusing on the positive side of a new dietary lifestyle (note, I did not use the word “diet”), we will not feel as if we are on punishing ourselves – as we eliminate the things have been used to eating or craving.  Instead, it is more likely that if we add more nutrients and fiber from fresh fruit, berries and veggies, for example, we probably won’t be craving as much sugar or unhealthy carbs. Psychologically, we are adding to our lives – not detracting –  which is very different than a resolution that focuses on depriving ourselves.  As soon as we vow to not have something anymore, ironically it becomes all that we seek.

I used the sugar issue as an example, but there are so many more examples of how we can create positive goals instead of punitive ones.  Let’s say we want to spend less time on our electronic devices, social media, tv, etc. If that is our resolution, we are likely to go through withdrawal, experience FOMO (fear of missing out, especially in these politically charged times). But instead, what if our goal was to add activities such as going to more museums, plays, concerts, yoga and dance classes, walks in the park?  We reward ourselves with these positive lifestyle changes and as a secondary consequence, it is likely our screen time will diminish without any feelings of deprivation or loss.  So in this 2019th year, let’s ask ourselves what we would like to add into our lives that makes us feel inspired, excited, healthy, and optimistic!  What are the things we experience that uplift us and what do we find energetically draining?  Take some time to create two lists noting this, and after a week or so of adding to the lists, reflect upon the answers. Can we find a way to nourish ourselves by increasing the things we now explicitly see uplift us?  Now, that’s a New Year’s resolution I can make and stick with! 
__________________________________________________________________________________

     WINTER TAI CHI EASY & CHAIR YOGA CLASSES:

I hope to see you this Monday night at our first Tai Chi Easy™ and Chair Yoga class of the Winter semester at Integral Yoga Institute.  The chilly Winter season is a time when it is tempting to hibernate in one’s abode, but is important to continue to support the immune system with gentle movement, energy work, and self-care techniques. Our practice will include all of the above, as we warm up, strengthen and stretch the body with Chair Yoga exercises, standing balancing poses (optional use of the chair for support), Tai Chi Easy™ weight shifting and walking for balance and coordination, and Qigong energy cultivation.  Class ends with an extended yoga nidra deep relaxation and guided meditation to refresh the body and spirit. This class, formerly called “Chair Chi & Prana“, is accessible to all ages and levels.  Please wear or bring traction socks (like pilates or Barre socks).  

______________________________________________________________________________

Additionally this Friday morning, we continue my Fall/Winter Tai Chi Easy™  telephone course with the “University Without Walls” Dorot for Seniors program.  I love teaching this course as it brings the benefits of seated qigongmeditation, 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 (included my teacher’s book “The Healer Within” by Dr. Roger Jahnke), and each session is devoted to reading and discussing the materials, alternating with experiential movement and guided meditations.  Please call Dorot to sign up, and 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.  If you know someone who can benefit from at home learning, please share this wonderful resource! http:// http://www.dorotusa.org/site/DocServer/UWW_Spring_Summer_2018_Catalog.pdf

October Classes; IYI Fall Fundraiser

Hi friends and family,

It may not feel like Fall yet, given the current heat and humidity in NYC, but at a visit to the Kripalu Yoga Center in the Berkshires, they had a festive Fall pumpkin display that reminded me how wonderful this season truly is. The leaves were just starting to turn to their bright orange, yellow and red hues.  The evening mountain air felt crisp, cool and clean while the days were warm enough to enjoy a morning walk and afternoon latte outside in the sun. Although NYC is usually a few weeks or so behind the Berkshires in terms of seasonal shifts, soon our city trees will  also be creating a kaleidoscope of colors for our viewing pleasure. Let’s allow the metamorphosis of the deciduous trees to inspire us as well; shedding what we no longer need in our lives and preparing for new growth and personal expansion.

Tree pose in yoga is one of the most grounding asanas; not only does it help us work on our balance, but it also helps us focus and still the mind as one cannot easily balance on one leg if the mind is scattered and not connected to what the body is doing in that moment.  Whether one is balancing on the yoga mat, or holding on to a chair or wall, envision the soles of your feet as if they were the roots of the tree reaching down towards the center of the Earth, your legs and torso as the strong, steady tree trunk, and your arms as the tree branches connecting to the sky above or laterally towards other trees in the forest. One nice, and challenging option, is to wave your arms and torso slightly from side to side emulating a tree swaying in the gentle breeze and further challenging our balance in the pose.  Perhaps next time you practice tree pose (vrikshasana), embody a beautiful Fall tree with its’ vibrant colors inspiring awe to those who view it.  Have fun with your experiment, and remember no judgments (employing the yogic concept of ahimsa in all our poses) – even if you come out of the pose sooner than you had planned! Yoga is all about practice and process, being in the moment and letting go of goals.

See below for this month’s class schedule.  Please note that I will be on vacation until mid-October, but hope to see you before or after my trip!  I will be attending the Integral Yoga Fall Fundraiser,and perhaps you will be there as well?  See below for the information on what will no doubt be a special evening supporting this historic NYC yoga center and ashram. IYI directors, Chandra and Swami Asokananda, are truly lovely people and dedicated yogis; you will have an opportunity to converse with them and your fellow students outside of yoga class, enjoy a delicious meal, and help support this yoga non-profit organization.

Gentle Yoga; Fall Equinox 2018

Happy Fall 2018! I hope you had a wonderful Fall Equinox weekend.  I spent a good portion of the beautiful weekend in both Riverside and Central Parks, and it looked as if most of the city was there as well enjoying our urban nature! Every time I step into Central Park, I feel a wonderful energetic shift as I breathe in the fresh air, park trees and flowers, and soak in the beauty around me.  I highly recommend adding a park walk to your work commute, or general daily schedule. If you have not been to the Central Park Conservancy’s lotus and lily pond at 100th Street off 5th Avenue, please check it out.  The pond and the surrounding gardens are spectacular!

Here is an interesting article on the Fall Equinox as well!  https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/12-facts-about-autumnal-equinox.html

This Thursday morning, I am teaching a Gentle Yoga class at Integral Yoga on West 13th Street. See below or right for the details.  I hope to see you there, and I am delighted to be be teaching at one of my favorite yoga centers again this week.  I realize that there is an important Senate Judiciary Committee Supreme Court hearing at the time of this class, and many of us are finding this whole situation very stressful, so I recommend setting your television DVR and watching it (or reading about it) after connecting to your inner centered place during yoga.

gentleyoga

Class Descriptions:

Gentle Yoga:

Restore your inner balance in this gentle yoga class that combnes toning and chanting with flowing posture, deepening the meditative aspect of the practice. This class is designed as a moving meditation that helps us slow down our thoughts and connect to our true essence; balance our chakras (the subtle energy centers so vital to overall health, well-being and spiritual development); and harmonize our body, mind, and spirit.   Class concludes with a guided yoga nidra (deep relaxation technique) and savasana (relaxation pose) leaving us feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

This class is suitable for all levels, from beginners to advanced practitioners.

“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.

April Yoga Class Schedule; Sun Salutation Workshop; Chair Yoga; Super Blood Moon; Plastic Pollution Seminar;

Wishing you a very happy holiday weekend!  This weekend brings us Easter, Passover and a second “blue moon”.  A very auspicious time, it seems!  Here is an interesting article, with a beautiful photo slide show, describing this weekend’s phenomenon that also gives us a super blood moon and full lunar eclipse:  https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/938509/Blue-moon-2018-spiritual-meaning-superstitions-astrology  Happy viewing!


Google Images

This April I have a number of workshops and classes I am offering; full descriptions are below. I hope to see you at one or more of these.  Also, I am seeking donations for my environmental community event I host in May that helps educate about the importance of our street trees, and provides tools and materials for New Yorkers to “adopt” and care for their own neighborhood tree! See below for more details.  Any donations would be most appreciated, as this is a matching opportunity, and is tax deductible!   https://www.ioby.org/project/love-your-street-tree-day-2018

SUN SALUTATION WORKSHOP: 
If you have struggled with all or part of the famous yoga sequence, the Sun Salutation, this workshop is for you!  Learn each position and transition in the flow with time to dissect it part by part and discover which modifications or versions work best for you.  This workshop involves discussion and practice and comes with a take home outline.  Bring a pen and your questions, and learn how to flow with ease the next time you salute the sun!


PLASTIC POLLUTION SEMINAR:
In honor of Earth Day 2018 and its’ focus on plastic pollution, I will be speaking at the Dorot Center for Seniors on Friday, April 27 on “How to Reduce Our Single-Use Plastic Consumption and Why It’s So Important”.  I will be joined by marine biologist Dr. Judith Weis; we are both steering committee members of the NY/NJ Plastic Free Waters Partnershiphttp://www.plasticfreewaters.org  Learn about the plastic pollution crisis currently facing our planet, how it impacts all of us, and what we can do to reduce our plastic footprint with easy to implement solutions.  It is estimated that at the current rate of plastic consumption, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050!

An impromptu 1-hour beach cleanup in Boca, Florida (Feb. 2018)

MY CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN TO HELP THE STREET TREES:
Seeking your support!  As you may know, I cofounded with a couple other folks, the NYC “Love Your Street Tree” initiative almost four years ago.  This initiative is to bring awareness to the importance of caring for our street trees especially now that the city completed its’ million trees planting initiative.  As part of our “Love Your Street Tree” project, we provide free educational events at schools and in the community, created and host our Annual “Love Your Street Tree Day” Spring Cleanup and Planting Day every May.  This May 20th, will be our 4th year hosting tree loving New Yorkers and providing them with free gardening gift bags that contain all the tools and supplies they will need to take care and steward the street trees in their neighborhood, including our popular double-sided “curb your dog signs” – dog waste being a health issue when it is not properly disposed of (and frankly disgusting when it is tracked into our homes on the bottom of our shoes).   At our event, we also teach participants how to properly care for a street tree and do sample demonstrations.


http://www.loveyourstreettreeday.com

This year, our project has been accepted by non-profit crowdfunding site – ioby.  This is very exciting, as all donations will be matched dollar for dollar!  Your donations will help us purchase the items for our free urban gardening gift bags, such as gardening tools, the curb your dog signs, watering buckets, gloves, plants or seeds – all the items necessary for beautifying the neighborhood and properly taking care of our beautiful and beneficial street trees!  You will be emailed a charitable tax receipt.  I and our other tree cleanup volunteers will be so grateful!

If you can do me a favor and donate this week before our official public ioby launch next week, I would very much appreciate it as that creates important momentum!  Street trees help clean, cool and purify our urban air, improve citizens’ physical and emotional health, absorb stormwater thus keeping raw sewage and other pollutants from entering our waterways during storms, increase property and business values, provide shelter for birds, and beautify our city!  

Please donate here:  https://www.ioby.org/project/love-your-street-tree-day-2018

By the way, when you donate, there will be an ask from ioby to make an optional gratuity to them as well – they are also a non-profit.  Just a heads up, in case that is confusing!  Thanks again.

Other 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.

Seated Tai Chi Easy Teleclass hosted by Dorot Center for Seniors “University Without Walls” 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