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"Practicing with Kim is an oasis in my responsibility-and stress-filled days. She brings light and peace with her into my home, and helps me achieve confidence and happiness in my practice through her articulate instruction, attention to alignment and enthusiastic support of my movement and my journey." Roxanne, 45, public relations executive, mother of two, has it going on
"I have been practicing yoga with Kim for over 5 years now. It began with vinyasa yoga which was a wonderful break from going to the gym. Kim helped me recover from ACL surgery and my husband recover from back surgery with strengthening and stretching sessions that were more therapy than yoga and demonstrated her extensive knowledge of the body. Over the past few years we did pre and post natal yoga through two pregnancies. Over the course of the past 5 years Kim has become a great friend who is always there to listen, offer a new perspective, and give advice on how to better take care of yourself."
Elizabeth, 31, interior design, world class mom
"Kim taught me that it was important to take time out of my busy schedule to breathe.
The result was less pain and stress and finally an end to my sleepless nights."
Amy, 35, author, artist, Renaissance woman
Ethan and I had to cancel the retreat as Ethan just found out that a mandatory meeting in Colorado with Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has been announced during the week we had planned for the retreat. Sorry if you were thinking of coming. There are many other retreats happening at Prana Del Mar and if any of you were thinking of going away and couldn't make ours, follow the link to Parana Del Mar for other options.
As a yogi and teacher of The Dharma, I support The Occupy Movement. By studying self, learning about self, we are able to learn about others - our fears, hopes and how to break down the barriers of self and other. In both meditation and yoga we become intimate with our breath. We watch the inhale and the exhale. Each breath marks our impermanence. Each breath we see the exhale dissolve and we let go a bit of ourselves in each moment. We can not hold onto the breath infinitely. We have to let it go. As we practice, we begin to develop patience with ourselves and others. Space or gap develops for things to grow and evolve. Something new can arise from this space. I like to think of the possibility of living where the script hasn't been written. How comfortable are you with surprises and not knowing what will happen next?
What is happening in our society isn't working any more. This is the uprising of OWS. A statement from OWS website on what this movement has affected thus far, "Since the arrival of a new grassroots economic justice movement represented by Occupy Wall Street's, we have helped to block new debit card fees the big banks wanted to impose on millions of Americans; helped homeowners win easier terms on mortgage debt and college grads on student debt; and opened a broad national conversation on income inequality and economic justice that is leading to real change. We will keep working locally, nationally and globally to demand a more just economy and better lives for all." We don't know what will happen next. Specific mapped out demands haven't been made, but yet changes are happening.
Michael Stone so eloquently says, "This movement is pulling the collective handbrake." Let's look at our actions from all sides because we all need each other and it's going to take time and patience. The core message of The Occupy Movement is that we have to start taking into our hearts the parts of our culture that have been discarded. We can't treat people like garbage - throwing out that which is no longer useful to us. We can't just end up will all the goodies and pretend what we don't want doesn't exist. Tich Nhat Hanh talks about roses and garbage as one in the same. They inter-are. "Without a rose, we cannot have garbage; and without garbage, we cannot have a rose. They need each other very much. The rose and the garbage are equal."
I encourage you to listen to Michael Stone's talk on the Occupy Movement. He is able to clearly articulate the vision. He spoke at The Interdependence Project a couple of weeks ago and I was honored to hear this talk in person. "Our economy and consumerism has outgrown the limits of the biosphere and really take that into our hearts ... It's not about politics it's about ethics. Its about interdependence about waking up through relationships with the earth and each other and valuing that."
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|So Deb, Will You Occupy My Life?
Wednesdays I teach Mommy/Baby Yoga class at The 14th Street Y in Manhattan. One particular rainy, wind whipping Wednesday, my core group of devoted moms strolled in with the little ones and we were more philosophical and chatty than usual. I encouraged an open forum to talk about lifestyle and meditation, while we mindfully added in some yoga postures here and there. A full weekend of Dharma Teacher Training with The InterdependenceProject followed by an organized meditation at Occupy Wall Street this past Sunday, incited some juicy conversation including what to do about mouse droppings in your cabinets and how can one find equanimity in that situation?
One of the moms commented how her 6 month-old daughter is always calm in yoga class, but can be, well, more like a baby in some of the others. I can contest to this. I've never seen baby Naomi cry in the 3 months that she's been coming, or baby Ken for that matter. Babies do cry in my yoga class, but it doesn't escalate into an all out scream fest where they are all in a state of panic. Babies have empathy and that's why if one baby continues to cry without soothing, others join in because it's their only way of notifying someone to help out the distressed one and then they all get distressed. Interesting, huh? Moms said they like the music whether it's Jack Johnson, Krishna Das or easy listening 70s, we cultivate a calmness that the babies vibe. We do this by paying attention to the breath, body, and opening to a more relaxed state of being.
Deb and baby Dom have been coming to class for a couple of months quite regularly. Every mom always expresses how just getting out of the house, even on stormy days, is a good thing. They are grateful to be at their yoga class, meeting new friends and the babies get some chill time. I work more with the moms getting back in touch with their bodies and they are free to feed, change diapers, do whatever it is they need to do while in class. It's yoga after all. I am there to help cultivate some balance in a new mom's hectic life. At the end of class, we interact with the babies. A real crowd pleaser is tree pose, holding the baby in standing position and drawing one leg up. It really looks cute, especially with a bare tushy, which happens on occasion. The class is for infants up to a year old and then they outgrow the class. Moms experience lots of transitions and I do my best to talk about letting go. There's a sweetness and a sadness to aging. Every parent's wish is to see their child grow up and live a beautiful, healthy life. But in order to get there, you have to let the "baby" go.
During our many subjects we touched on, we arrived at Deb beaming that she just got engaged on Sunday to Brian, Dom's daddy. She said marriage was going to happen at some point, but they weren't in a rush. The ring needs sizing so she doesn't wear it on the traditional left ring finger. She held up her hand for all to see. We oohed, and then she told us Brian bought it from an antiques jeweler. Though she didn't really need a ring at all, she loves the one he found for her. She said they have an amazing relationship and went on to tell us how he proposed ... at Occupy Wall Street. Her fiancÚ is political activist and they have been to OWS on other occasions, so this past Sunday, she was completely surprised when he started his proposal with, "Mic check", initiating the Human Microphone. Deb went on to say that the proposal has become somewhat of an unexpected sensation on Twitter and YouTube. She's been fielding all kinds of comments supportive and jibing. All of the attention is completely unexpected.
|Occupy My Life (Marriage Proposal at Liberty Plaza)|
Yoga class was just about over, and I have a handy dandy iPhone, so I asked if we should watch the video. Of course the ladies wanted to see the marriage proposal. It's exciting getting engaged and we wanted to share in Deb's glow. Brian is one romantic cat. To propose in front of a community of activists as well as close friends, and have them involved in the experience as part of the Human Microphone is way cool. I experienced the Human Microphone system for the first time, first hand that same Sunday. Words roll through the crowd. One has to pause in between thoughts and their next spoken words to be heard. Others have to pause to listen in order to repeat what they just heard. It's fantastic. Brian's process of having to slow down to profess his love, asking for a commitment to marry (occupy his life), and to be heard, really heard by Deb is extraordinary and beautiful beyond words. Using the words, "Will you occupy my life?", as a way of asking someone to marry, I see becoming an alternative way of expressing sharing your life with someone. Brian went big with freedom of expression, took a risk, and this certainly expresses their lifestyle, their values and how they choose to occupy this life as they know it with each other and baby Dom.
Congratulations Deb, Brian and Dom!!!
| Yoga Pose of the Month: |Jathara Parivartanasana A (supine twist)
Ahhh, supine twists! What a great way to stretch your back muscles and help with digestion (read post Thanksgiving meal). Being that the large intestines are shaped somewhat like a question mark, twisting left first can assist movement towards elimination. A variation of this pose is to bring the knees together to one side. The higher the knees are to the abdomen, the deeper the twist. Be careful if you have back issues! Keeping both shoulders on the floor is important here. If the leg that is twisting doesn't touch the floor with the opposite shoulder down then place a blanket under the leg that is twisting.
1. Lying on your back, bring your arms out to the sides with the palms facing down in a T position. Bend both knees into the chest.
2. Exhale drop both knees over to the left side of your body, twisting the spine and low back. Slide the knees as close to the left arm as possible. Look at the right finger tips.
3. Keep the shoulders flat to the floor, close the eyes, and relax into the posture. Let gravity pull the knees down, so you do not have to use any effort in this posture.
4. Breathe and hold for 6-10 breaths.
5. To release: inhale and roll the hips back to the floor.
6. Repeat on other side.
Benefits + Contraindications:
Benefits: Belly Twist pose stretches the back muscles, realigns and lengthens the spine, and hydrates the spinal disks.
Contraindications: Recent or chronic injury to the knees, hips or back. Second and third trimester pregnancy.
|Meditation Practice: Metta
Find a quiet place where you can sit quietly for 10 or more minutes. Use a timer for your practice. There are many apps available. I use Insight Timer app.
You may sit on a chair with the feet flat on the floor or if you can sit cross-legged on the floor comfortably then try that. It is important to make sure you're not struggling to sit comfortably. Zafu meditation cushions are great to have, sitting on firm pillow or thick sturdy blankets like you find in yoga studios are all good options. When sitting cross-legged, you want to be able to sit up tall, upright but not uptight. The knees slope down from the hips and the hands rest on the thighs with palms up or down. Imagine their is a string in your spine that is being drawn up towards the ceiling lifting the whole spine up. Check to see that you didn't take your shoulders up with you. Allow them to slide down your back on an exhale.
Now that you have taken your seat, check in with your mind. Ask yourself how you are doing in the present moment. Try not to dig too deeply here. You are seeing what the flavor of your mind feels like and leave it at that. Eg: I am tired, excited, anxious, OK, etc. Spend a few breaths with the flavor of the mind. Let that go and begin the contemplative practice of metta. Spend a couple of minutes with each suggested contemplation. I am giving you the 10 minute time version. A full Metta practice can take 30 - 45 minutes.
These are the four that I use. In the book by Sharon Salzberg listed below, she goes in to full detail about the practice of Metta.
1) May I be happy
2) May I be healthy
3) May I be safe
4) May I live with ease
First offer these phrases of loving kindness to yourself. You can either repeat the first phrase a few times and continue to the next and so on or go through 1-4 one at a time and repeat that way. If bringing your hand to your heart helps you connect then you can do that if it feels right.
You will spend about 5 minutes on yourself and then think of a mentor or hero. Someone that brings a smile to your face. Offer these 4 phrases to them. Let go of this person. In between people take a couple of full breaths. Complete your Metta practice by offering these 4 phrases to all beings everywhere for a couple of minutes.
Notice how you feel after these contemplations before ending your practice.
Generating Metta towards self and others opens our hearts and minds and breaks down barriers between self and other. You may not feel anything and you may feel strong emotions. If strong emotions arise, bring awareness to where you feel the emotion in your body and breath with it. When it passes, and it will, allow the mind to rest with your breath, following inhale and exhale, feeling the breath in your body. Maybe in your abdomen or the tip of the nose. When the timer rings you may want to acknowledge your practice by placing the hands together at the heart and bowing to self and your teachers. This is an option and an offering for your practice. Meditation is recommended as a daily practice. You have the time.
For more teachings on Metta and pod casts on meditation, please check out The IDProject.org
For establishing a daily practice Sharon Salzberg (the queen of Metta) has written the insightful gift of Real Happiness The Power of Meditation.
Join us for the Joan's Legacy, founding partner of Uniting Against Lung Cancer, annual benefit to highlight lung cancer awareness month in New York City.
News anchors Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams serve as honorary chairmen for the event and blues great Delbert McClinton will perform.
Supper, spirits, entertainment and silent auction.
Check back soon for a list of available auction packages!
Uniting Against Lung Cancer 27 Union Square West, Suite 304, NY NY 10003
|Stick Figure Greetings and Gifts|
what your heart wants to say is simple
These cards and gifts are super sweet, fun and simple. Printed on 100% recycled paper you'll find just what you want to say to someone special. How nice is it to open your mailbox and receive a good old fashioned card?
For more goodies click here.
Kim Stetz is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, AADP, Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher and meditation teacher.Her dedication to health and wellness comes from her passion for yoga and nutritious food. From the very first time she stepped on a yoga mat in 1992, she knew her life was about to take the path less traveled. Kim received her nutrition training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Kim's meditation teachings are of Buddhist lineage and studied with The Interdependance Project sangha. Kim has yoga certifications from OM Yoga, Yoga For Two The Barnes Method (pre/postnatal), Relax and Renew Judith Hansen Lasater, and Anatomy Studies For Yoga Teachers with Jason R. Brown.
Gravitating towards the healing aspects of yoga from the inside out, Kim teaches Hatha Yoga through a mixture of creative and challenging vinyasas, practiced with flow and grace while bringing mindfulness to alignment and the breath. She has guided many women through their pregnancies in classes, privately, and in couples yoga. Her strong background and training in therapeutics lends diversity to clients who are recovering from injuries or in need of healing. She has been blessed with students for eleven years since moving to NYC from LA in 2000. Her personal practice developed under the guidance of Anthony Benenati City Yoga, LA. Kim is thankful for his guidance and the many other gifted yoga and meditation teachers that have shared their knowledge and courage. Kim believes that yoga is a way of life that can be embraced by getting into the nooks and crannies of your heart, body, and mind. Sit, breathe, smile on the inside and eat your greens!