Archive for ballet class

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

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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. 
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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).  

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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

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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.

June Schedule; New Yoga and Ballet Classes this Month and Change to Thursday Core Strength Yoga

Hope you had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and took some time to honor all those who have bravely served all over the world in defense of freedom, human rights and liberty.  
Sailors and Soldiers Memorial, Riverside Park, NYC (2016)

Some scheduling announcements:

I am teaching a Yoga & Qigong fusion class at Integral Yoga Thur., night, June 16th – subbing for my friend Nadiya.  Additionally, this Sunday, June 5th, I am teaching two ballet classes at Alvin Ailey Extension – subbing for my teacher, Finis Jhung.  For brand new beginners (no experience necessary), the 12 noon class is ideal.  For those of you with ballet experience, you can take the 12 noon class if you want a great refresher on the basics and an opportunity to really feel your muscles work, and/or the 2 pm class as well – which moves faster, includes turns and more center work off the barre. Sometimes, I take both classes in a row, and it a great combo to solidify one’s technique and build strength.  Please email me any questions!

Also, staring this month, I am taking a leave from teaching the Thursday noon Core Strength Yoga class at UWS Yoga & Wellness in order to work on a friend’s local political campaign through the Fall.  Micah Lasher is running for State Senate in my district (to replace Senator Espaillat who is running to replace Congressman Rangel).  In case you live in my district, here is Micah’s site:  http://www.lasherforsenate.com

Depending on my campaign workload, I will possibly be subbing other classes at UWS Yoga and offering periodic workshops.  I have loved getting to know all of you at UWS Yoga individually and collectively, and being a part of the UWS Yoga and Wellness family!  I hope to remain a part of the teaching group there, and am trying to consolidate all my weekly group yoga classes on Mondays and Tuesdays during this Summer and early Fall (the primary is September 13th).  Currently, I am looking at spaces to potentially rent on Tuesdays for Core Strength Yoga, and I will let you know the details if a studio space is available.

So please, stay in touch, and email me if you want to organize periodic classes or semi-privates, etc., that can work around my campaign hours. I want to remain flexible (no pun intended) with my teaching and will have a better idea of my schedule once I start with the Lasher campaign.  Please email me your thoughts and/or concerns.  I do hope we can still practice yoga together, and can work something out if you are interested!

On another note, my neighborhood association’s Second Annual “Love Your Street Tree Day” event went very well on Sunday, May 22, with a large turnout of volunteers who came from the W. 90s down to the W. 30s in Manhattan!  It was a lovely day for cleaning and beautifying tree beds, removing litter, adding compost, mulch, flowers, curb your dog signs, and tabulating the amount and type of litter for our sidewalk trash audit. Here is a short article on the event, and stay tuned for hopefully a longer piece to be published.  http://www.westsidespirit.com/local-news/20160524/uws-trees-get-tlc