I was recently taking a walk at work on the first beautiful day our city has seen so far this Spring.
I don’t always get a chance to stretch my legs at work - much of my day is spent two floors below ground at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where I work as a radiation oncology social worker. I have to remind myself to get up and take a break or else my backbends in practice will feel like torture. I had a moment on my walk when I was watching a husband and wife couple getting into their car to leave the hospital. Not an unusual thing to observe, except that the wife was in a wheelchair and the husband was lifting her out of her chair and into the car, and having some difficulty... At that moment, I felt an overwhelming feeling of love in my heart for these two souls. Their love for each other was obvious. I felt a connection to them in a very human way, and my heart also ached for them. It reminded me that we are all so interconnected. We are each connected to the planet by an invisible tether, and all of our tethers meet somewhere in the planet’s core. So when one person’s tether gets tugged a little bit, we all feel it.
There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. ~ Thomas Merton
I have two favorite parts of the day: First thing in the morning when Erik and I talk over coffee and right before bed - when we talk about moments like this one and try to figure out what it all means.
I feel a bit like I’ve just finished running a marathon. Since the studio moved in January, we have been moving non-stop. I sometimes dream about what it would be like to be able to dedicate my work solely to the studio, but my dharma as a social worker is co-mingled with my yoga practice & teaching, so I know that is not quite the answer. I am reaching a point where I can return to some stability in my life since before the studio moved: My own practice with my teacher Joan White, therapy dog training with our pup Scout, and maintaining personal care rituals (scheduled 'nothing-to-do' time is also important!)
I have been practicing and teaching yoga since 2008, and the practice changes from year to year. My body is not the same as my 17-year-old-body, or even how my 26-year-old body was. There are new aches each year! But there is also more stability each year, more groundedness, more foundation, more rootedness. Practice has moved beyond just a physical practice into much, much more. It’s all very thrilling actually. I invite you to come practice with me as I return to Tuesday nights (Thank you Colleen for holding down this class for me!) Once a month I will be offering an advanced practice session on Tuesday nights to explore some things that we do not get a chance to investigate in group classes. It will be a small group size of no more than 8 students. I hope you’ll come. I hesitate to use the word advanced as this word is really more about how we approach our practice than about the kind of postures we practice. So when I say advanced what I really mean is, a willingness to be curious about what is next in your practice. There are 3 spots remaining for May 15.
In ending this note I just want to share an interview that took place in 2009 with the late beloved BKS IYengar, for your reading pleasure. Read it, and let’s talk about it sometime over coffee.
Cheers & Namaste,
The body belongs to the Nature which is eternal but destroyable. But Self is eternal, immovable, and it cannot be destroyed. So there is decay in the body, but there is no decay for the Self. The Self is like a mirror; when it is dusty you cannot see. So when the body decays, the dust, in the form of various ailments—physical, moral, mental, intellectual, etc.—engulfs the Soul and the self gets ill by these afflictions, sorrows, etc. Therefore Yoga asanas are taught so that the dualities between the intelligence of the body and the intelligence of the Soul are not varied but balanced evenly, so there is no duality between the body and the Self. That is the definition of the effect of the asana. ~ bks iyengar
May Student Highlight: Jeannie
Meet Jeannie. She lives on a boat!!! When she met her husband, Peter, in 2007, he told her stories of past extended sailing trips he had taken. Right away, the two of them knew they would someday take a trip together, but the exact timing was never established. Then, in 2015, a close friend became ill, which taught them that the future is unknown and that there is no time like the present. So, after the Pope left town, they set sail down the Eastern Seaboard. They spent time in Miami, the Bahamas, Jamaica and Panama. They returned home the following July (you can check out their trip on Facebook: Cruising In Gratitude). There is an obvious twinkle in Jeannie’s eyes when she talks about this trip.... Jeannie started practicing yoga 16-17 years ago when she was teaching & living in Barcelona. Her yoga teacher, Oliver, would come to the school to lead her and three other teachers in practice. She practices yoga to feel stronger, and she feels better after class. It helps get rid of stress. She does it for herself. She wants to “go through life with a tiny bit more grace." She started practicing at Roots in November of 2017. She appreciates the studio’s location and class times. Plus, she knew Erik from a previous yoga studio and knew he was a solid teacher. Besides Barcelona, Jeannie has taught in Milan and Trinidad. Currently, she teaches English as a second language to high school students in Media. Jeannie is passionate about sailing, rowing, traveling, thinking about traveling, reggae music, cooking, and checking out new places in Philly. Some of her favorite places are La Peg, Race Street Café, Old Bar, National Mechanics and Positano Coast. She loves a good atmosphere, but she also enjoys spending time at home. We are honored that Jeannie shares her yoga practice & her smile with us at Roots Philly Yoga.
Thai Bodywork Workshop
Saturday, May 12
In this two 1/2 hour workshop we will explore the ancient healing modality of Thai Massage. Learn the art of helping your partner relax by incorporating stretching, compression, and energy healing techniques. By working along energetic pathways or Sen lines in the body we help to relieve both physical and energetic tension. This style of massage is done fully clothed on the floor so please be appropriately dressed in yoga/athletic attire. Students will leave with the knowledge of how to give a short but sweet full body massage! Perfect for couples, but bringing a partner is not required! Come alone, with a friend, or a significant other and experience first hand both giving and receiving thai massage. Led by Robina Winkler.
This will be a small group practice session (8 spots; 3 remaining) for those looking to advance in their practice. Recommended 6 months or more of dedicated practice and comfort entering headstand & handstand at the wall. Attendance is available with unlimited membership, $20 to drop-in for non-members. Advanced registration requested. Led by Lauren Burling.
Saturday, May 19 11:15am-1:00pm
Please join us for our third book club selection, 10% Happier by Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and the weekend edition of Good Morning America.
How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works - a true story
E-mail Bill with questions (firstname.lastname@example.org)
June Book: "Siddartha" by Hermann Hesse, we will meet on June 30
May Happy Hour
Love City Brewery, Friday May 25, 6:00pm
Start the Memorial Day weekend off right with a Roots happy hour at Love City, 1023 Hamilton Street
Do you love getting down to some Bad Girl RiRi but find that you spend more time in the yoga studio than in the club? This class is for you. Do you find that you’re spending way too much time at the club and know that you should be spending more time at the yoga studio? This class is for you. Are you somewhere in between? It’s for you too. Come spend 90 minutes moving through a fun and funky vinyasa class to the tunes of all your favorite badass ladies of hip hop. Prepare yourself for a lighthearted all levels flow class, filled with glute activation for improved booty shaking, and maybe even some gentle twerking. Come celebrate yourself!
We are so excited for our partnership with Katie Jiunta of National Kids Gym for our first ever kids series!
National Kids Gym will be offering a beginner gymnastics and tumbling session at Roots Philly Yoga on Tuesday evenings with Lead Instructor Miss Katie Jiunta. This recreational gymnastics program is offered to children 3-8 years of age. Based on instilling values of physical activity at an early age, our program will teach your children that being healthy can also be fun! This program offers a strong emphasis on developing basic gymnastic and tumbling skills, while incorporating the latest technology. We include tumbling, floor skills, balance beam, training bar, mini trampoline, games, group activities, stretching and strength. Our program offers an energetic class for beginner gymnasts. The focus is on skill development, increased coordination and balance, and increased confidence! We will try new skills, increase gross motor skills, and have FUN. Come try a class or sign up for the entire 10-week session. Classes will be capped at 10 participants.
Join Erik on June 16 for a thought-provoking and light-hearted discussion centering on discernment, contemplation and the fulfillment of spiritual prophecy. Citing Buddhist scripture, The Bhagavad Gita and The Journey of Souls, we’ll explore the the process of reincarnation and its relation to karma and dharma (spiritual duty). Students should be comfortable discussing past-life theory and how it relates to present life circumstances. All theory will accept a premise that we are all spiritual beings merely having a human experience. What does it mean to be a ‘once-returner’? And how can The Way of Zen Warrior assist us in fulfilling our purpose on this planet? Join us and we’ll find out.
Looking for something different to do on Friday Night? Come take a glow in the dark vinyasa class with upbeat tunes that take place under black lights! Be sure to wear white or bright neon colors for an extra "glow" effect. Show up a few minutes early to apply some black light body paint and crack a few glow sticks. After, strut your glow over to our next door neighbor, Love City Brewery for some well-deserved beer!
July 26-29 in Interlaken, NY
We have two spaces left for our retreat this year. Perfect for a couple or two friends coming together. Arrive Thursday afternoon and enjoy yoga, wine, and lake time until Sunday morning. We will practice asana each morning, meditate on the dock each evening, paddleboard on Cayuga Lake, enjoy tasty eats at the Busy Bee Market, visit a local winery, and maybe even play with some baby goats. E-mail us if you are interested in making it yours! email@example.com
One of our bungalows on our annual retreat at Cayuga Lake